Down East 2013 ©
This past weekend I partook in a bit of classic Maine, enjoying a few of Maine’s quintessential autumn offerings as well as sampling some delicious food from local restaurants. It was so good, and I’m so grateful to live in a place that allows me to do it, that I decided to share my itinerary. I recommend it to any local or visitor looking for a spectacular culinary escape on the coast. Herewith, my weekend of food:
Friday Evening: I finally went to Chase’s Daily in Belfast for dinner. It was as good as Saveur recently made it out to be : Flavorful fried green tomatoes; an eggplant and halloumi stack; A delicious delicata (squash) dumpling; buttercup squash tacos. Vegetarian has never tasted so good thanks to the Chase family’s farm produce (which you can buy in the restaurant/market during the day).
Saturday: This was a perfect day. The sun was warm and cast that golden fall light on the pockets of dark clouds. An email that I received earlier in the week prompted me to head out to Union to Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery . Known for their gin , Sweetgrass also produces a line of smashes (ports), including cranberry, blueberry, and peach flavors. Their latest, just released, is Maple smash. Let’s just say it merited the trip to taste, and then we bought many bottles.
But first, my companions and I stopped at the lovely Badger Café  in Union right on the common. In the forthcoming November issue of Down East, we included their recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. I decided I should try it straight from the source (that plus a chorizo chili cheeseburger, spring rolls, and a creamy tomato bacon soup that was killer good. Oh, and a pear custard. (Don’t worry. We shared.) The Badger is a great stop for hungry Route 17 travelers or vineyard goers looking for a hearty and cheap meal.
After the vineyard, we stopped at Hope Orchards  to pick up some Macouns and cider and found out that they make delicious dried apple slices and a yummy crabapple jelly.
That night, I took a friend to my local favorite, Francine Bistro  in Camden. Seated at the bar, we started off with seared scallops and Pemaquid oysters topped with sea urchin. For our main course, we split a rib eye steak from Caldwell Farms  that was truly heavenly. If you can believe it, after the day of eating we even made room for spicy chocolate mousse and some of bartender Chip Dewing’s marvelous concoctions.
Sunday: No weekend in Camden is complete without a breakfast at Boynton McKay . I had a delicious-as-always breakfast sandwich. My friend had the huge huevos rancheros, which for less than $7 is a steal. From there we made our way to Farmers Fare , the new foodie Mecca at the end of Route 90 in Rockport. I purchased local ground veal, beef, and pork to make spaghetti bolognese, local chicken for chicken piccata, and yes, even a delicata squash to try to imitate Chase’s delicious appetizer.
How’s that for a fall weekend of food, foliage, and friends?
Badger Café and Pub
289 Common Road, Union
30 Main Street, Camden 207-236-2465
96 Main Street, Belfast
3 Cross Street, Rockport
55 Chestnut Street, Camden
434 Camden Road, Hope
Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery
347 Carroll Road, Union