Maine Foodie Tours: A Must-Do on your Maine Bucket List!
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Visiting Portland, Maine? There’s so much to do and see, it’s hard to fit it all in, but there are definitely some must-do things that just can’t be left off the list. I’ve lived in Maine my entire life and as a native, I consider myself something of a professional Maine-ah. I know about the hidden beaches, landmark lighthouses, seasonal festivals, and of course, the best eats. Or at least, I thought I did. Maine Foodie Tours introduced me to several new favorites in the Old Port.
Maine foodies know all about the baked beans, whoopie pies, corn chowder, blueberry anything, Moxie, and of course the coveted Maine Lobster (really, any freshly caught Maine seafood). These are the traditionally iconic foods that natives and folks from away rave about. What’s important is knowing exactly where to get such incredible eats.
Maine Foodie Tours will introduce you to the culinary delights of Maine and take you to exactly where to get them, while you get a dose of local history.
There are several different tours offered, each with a different foodie focus and in different regions of Maine from Portland to Bar Harbor, Kennebunk to Rockland. I recently had the chance to do the Old Port Lunchtime Lobster Crawl: I met some fellow Foodies, learned all about Lobster, and thoroughly enjoyed the backdrop of our walking tour, not to mention the menu.
We met our friendly, knowledgeable, and food-focused tour guide at 12:00, noon in front of Old Port Sea Grill & Raw Bar on Commercial Street. We didn’t go in, but their east coast cold water oysters were highly praised! After a brief meet and greet, I learned some interesting Foodie Facts about Portland. There are a slew of nationally recognized restaurants (with incredible chefs) in this small city of just over 66K people. It’s been rumored that Portland has the most restaurants per capita, second only to San Francisco. That’s created a lot of buzz on the Foodie scene in this little city.
We headed through the cobblestone streets of the Old Port straight to the working waterfront where our guide shared the 4-1-1 on lobster. Did you know Maine harvests the most lobster in the U.S.? How about 121 million pounds in 2015? That’s some serious lobster.
Our first destination was a surprise stop at Bull Feeney’s. The authentic feel of this Irish pub on Fore Street spoke to my Irish ancestry. An interesting fact: this pub actually stood in Ireland. It was dismantled and shipped here to be pieced together again, in it’s original glory.
I felt at home as soon as we sat down. It probably helped that I was immediately met with a cold, frothy glass.
And, then served a warm bowl of the best chowder I’ve had in a long time. With a Bull Feeney’s twist on the Maine classic, this chowder is made with fresh, local scallops and shrimp (depending on the season), haddock and bacon. With a rich, subtle cream that isn’t overpowered with seasoning, this hearty chowder lets you savor the seafood.
With a warm belly, we then headed out to a well-known local brew pub, Gritty McDuff’s. Since 1988, Gritty’s has been creating fine, handcrafted ales and traditional pub fare. We tried both.
With umbrella-covered, wooden picnic tables lining the cobblestone street, we had the perfect perch to try 3 different ales (my favorite was the blueberry with the sweet undertones) and to devour the Spinach Artichoke Dip, served warm with both fresh tortilla chips and crudite!
After this latest indulgence, we headed to what was my favorite restaurant on the tour. The Blue Rooster. Strange name, maybe….but AHHHH-mazing Lobster Rolls. Tucked in, almost hidden, is this Portland treasure trove of a sandwich shop. They offer a curious menu of unusual pairings that will make your mouth water and your stomach growl.
If you take away one thing from my Maine Foodie Tours experience: GO CHECK OUT BLUE ROOSTER. You will thank me later.
Full of lobster, topped with arugula, bacon, and drizzled with a perfectly zesty sauce…the lobster roll at Blue Rooster is the best lobster roll in Maine. Hands down. If you’re on a quest to find the best, look no further, it’s here.
How did Maine Foodie Tours top this last stop? We headed to our final destination, Vervacious. Their mantra is “Travel far, Eat Well, Live Long” and they offer artisan made culinary deliciousness. You can explore your palate with different spices, oils, and other condiments that are all made in small batches for a true foodie experience.
The last dish on our Maine Foodie Tours adventure was Lobster Mac & Cheese. As full as I was, I couldn’t resist the warm, creamy blend of cheeses melted over soft noodles with decadent chunks of lobster meat.
A sprinkle of Vervacious Mexican Chili Pepper Salt made this comfort-food even more incredible with a kick of flavor.
Ending our tour at Vervacious was the perfect finish to our tour. Being able to peruse the shelves and shelves of unique, raw ingredients and discover new ways to find flavor and truly ENJOY food was spot on.
Maine Foodie Tours opened the door to new Foodie experiences in the Old Port and introduced me to the exciting culinary explosion that’s happening in my own backyard. Be sure to connect with Maine Foodie Tours and book your own adventure for the next time you’re in town!