We sat on the deck of our room in Belfast Maine, taking in the view for probably half an hour or so. The calming sounds of the gentle low tide waves, slowly making their way to shore. The not quite dense yet still quite noticeable fog, hanging in the air despite the subtle breezes attempt to dissuade it. Then a decision to make our way to the water with our drinks was made, despite the fresh cut grass and the residue of an obviously much heavier fog, from a little earlier on in the day.
I found myself amused as the mixed aromas attempted to confound my sense of smell. I thought of all the tricks used to fool a good hound on the hunt, as hints of the Salt Water, Damp Grass, A pretty good Cigar and a very good Scotch, all seemed to lurk around my nostrils at the same time. Each one incredibly unique yet blended together, they somehow made the visual scene I don't know, jump out just a little bit more. The soft & subtle clang of rigging hitting the masts on the boats moored out in the harbour, as the waves continued to roll them slowly from side to side. It was a little bit of a sensory overload in fact, but in a very good way.
When we checked in, we talked to the desk clerk for a lengthy period of time. Mostly because of the entertainment value, as humour was clearly a huge part of his repertoire. But also because he admitted to being very local. We'd hoped to gain a little advance scouting report for dinner and in my past experiences, I've found that the 'lifer' type locals will always send you in the right direction for good local food. Alan did not even come close to disappointing.
At the bottom of what could be best described as the tourist's Main Street and right at the edge of the water, was what looked like an over sized Lobster Pound. Nothing too fancy, yet properly presented for the location and fare offered to it's guests. The silly Lobster cut out just outside the front door, begging those dropping in to identify themselves as true tourists to the location. We didn't bite..... yet.
(picture withheld at the request of the cutest little Lobsterface, in the whole wide world)
We decided to start by sitting at the bar. Neither of us was anywhere near starving so the thought of a good drink as a starter, just seemed a more appropriate start to the experience. We made our way to the bar, only to find we would be the only patrons there. The tables were filled with smiling faces, all apparently eagerly awaiting something pretty special. Some with huge grins above the already appropriately placed, cheap plastic Lobster bibs. No thoughts of tacky or foolishness in their heads. Merely anticipation so deep it could be seen in their eyes and written plainly for all to see, in each and every facial expression. A waitress would stroll by with a tray of plates all steaming hot, held almost too high in the air as if to build the excitement of the reveal.
The tray was set down on the stand at the table by the window.
"Holy crap!" came from somewhere uncertain.
"Ooooooooooooooooooooooo..." seemed to come out in unison, from all directions around the room. It was then I noticed that there was another, "Holy crap!" and that it had apparently come from the same source as the first one.
It was me.
Four Lobsters that appeared to be in the 2 ~ 2 1/2 lb. weight class, all piping hot on a serving plate. The melted dipping butter spilling over the edges of four ramekin like bowls in the center. There were other items included in the presentation, clams, mussels, maybe even crab perhaps. But the neon glow of the freshly steamed and brilliant red Lobsters set up around the center, held the entire room captive for that brief amount of time. Right up until all of them were scooped up and dissected by some very savvy crustacean crunchers.
Whether one by one or as entire clumps of plates for a table came out, it mattered not. Every time the wafting steam filled the air as another dish or twelve were brought out, the room stopped and wondered with excitement, what could be on that plate there? What wonder and splendor would grace our presence long enough for a tease, only to be gulped and gobbled away by the one lucky enough to have placed the order. It became a very recurring scene.
Since we had Amanda to cater to our every wish & whim and the Manager of the place Kathlene was very happy to engage us in banter at the bar, we decided that we'd just stay there for our meal. The view of each dish making it's way to the dining room was great but even more important, having the company of a lifelong local from town was even better. We learned so much that as we left, it was like we were looking at a old friend, rather than a town we'd just set foot in hours earlier. But we hadn't left yet! We had to eat something.
"It's a shame you have to come to Maine for a really good version of that Bam." said Kathlene as she placed the plate not quite perfectly centered between Peb's and I, but mostly to 'my' side of center.
Kids I give you,
Rhode Island Calamari.
The mix of sweet and savoury blended with the light dusting of a slightly heavier than tempura batter, all combined with the softest tender Squid you can imagine, well it's just too hard to do the flavour justice in mere words.
When we couldn't decide between Lobster, Clams or Mussels, it seemed that Kathlene had gone and made the decision for us. A large sampler bowl was placed to Peb's side of center, right beside the Calamari.
With appetites, pallets and souls sated by good food, fine drink and a few new good friends, we made our way back to the Hotel for the night. At the hotel as we sat with drink in hand on our little porch with a view, we met more new friends and ended up having a few more drinks with a couple from somewhere in the Boston area. It was a pretty good way to cap off a great day.
Monday's travels found us slightly ahead of the very loosely set schedule for our trip and that could only mean one thing. Explore time! When we realized we had that little bit of 'extra' time, we took a right at the next exit and found ourselves in Bar Harbour. (totally and unequivocally pronounced best as, Bah Habah, and it shall remain that way to me for life!) Well we were not so much "in," as we went around Bah Habah. The town is on the East end of what can best be described as a clock pendulum shaped point, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. We drove on the extreme outside edges of the point, gazing in bewilderment at the size and stature of a few of the homes and properties. Apparently there has never been nore will there ever be, a recession along the shoreline of Bah Habah.
But Bah Habah did have a huge downside! It's an obvious tourist trap location and as you can see, it was basically a traffic jam like this from start to finish.
We stopped at the section of local shops offering up touristy wear and souvenirs of all sorts, only to find after the first three shops that everything would be the same in each and every one. Not our cup of tea. The fishing pier was however, as we watched the fresh caught Lobster being unloaded along the length of one side. Man there are some HUGE Lobsters out there! Well were, as it were.
Seeing the fresh stuff head into a local restaurants back door, meant we were heading over for some grub at that place.
The picture really doesn't do justice to just how much Lobster meat was present in that Lobster Roll. It was just incredible! Oh and the Sweet Potato Fries were a nice touch too! (One of Peb's favs.)
Since the Lobstah wasn't the only thing the Fisherman had brought in from the waters, a steaming hot plate of these little buggers seemed a natural pairing to complete our lunch.
Completely satisfied that we had just ate some pretty fresh seafood, we started our way up and out of Bah Habah.
Easport Maine's claim to fame is, it is the Eastern most City in the USA. "Where the Sun first sets it's sights on our great Nation" or something like that. In actual fact, Easport is a quaint working town with a select few artistic shops present at the "downtown" corners. Surrounded by the Ocean, the view from pretty much anywhere on the point can be beautiful to say the least. We caught the bottom of low tide in Eastport and that gave us an opportunity to see several interesting things. On the main pier in town there were literally hundreds and hundreds of Lobster traps piled up. The cool thing was the variety of them that there was. I think we counted seven completely different styles of trap being used. Each obviously slightly similar in that a lobster was going to be trapped inside upon entry. Yet how the trap functioned and where the Lobster would ultimately end up, were quite different in each of the styles. The funniest thing we saw however, was the Ferry port in town, where vehicles were loaded up for transport across to Canada, by way of New Brunswick's small South Easterly Islands. Tide is out is no problem for these folks. In fact, it's clearly an opportunity for the Four Wheel Drive crowd to get to the front of the line!
I don't know if you could see much of it in that last picture, but I think I've damn near found my dream home in this little beauty!
(hard to believe I know, but that is NOT a Rockwell painting! It's real)
Surrounded by cliffs and water on all sides but for the narrowest of driveways, any outside contact would be totally up to the owners discretion here. I love it!
Another reason to love it? The closest neighbour was a little spot on the water called the Chowdah House. We were again recommended to this spot by the Hotel clerk that checked us in. We thought we'd check the place out a little earlier in the afternoon, only to find ourselves once again firmly entrenched in a local establishment. This time however, we were greeted with warm and friendly hellos and waves of encouragement to "come on in."
We knew we would probably end up loving the place, when we realized it was a gambling establishment of sorts. Not Poker, PaiGow, Craps or even Slots. It was more like Roulette with your bill for the bar tab actually! At the end of the bar sat a wheel not unlike the money wheel at The IP near the Geisha Bar. On the wheel were multi-coloured tags with various ways to pay for your next drink.
1) 1/2 Price Beer or Shot (20% of the spaces)
2) 10% off (20%)
3) $1 beer or shot (20%)
4) pay full Price (39%)
5) pay double ( one little sliver, for about 1%)
Peb's coolered me bad, as full price constantly came on every spin. (HEY! I gotta' blame someone and Trish behind the bar was pouring Scotch to the top of every glass!)
When we returned later for Dinner, my cooler powers were in full effect! The staff had been seeing Whales almost every day of the week, right off the patio deck at the back of the restaurant. Natch despite watching to the point of neck spasms extraordinaire, not a single whale to be found that day. *sigh.
Oh well, the view was great and the locally brewed version of an I.P.A., was going down pretty smoothly as well.
All that energy spent staring out into the ocean helped us work up a real appetite. So much so that the food porn pics of our awesome appetizers, came after we'd already started gobbling them up!
Those first six shrimpies were YUMMY!
Our "twins" came out with the antenae(sp?) shaped into little hearts.
Oh and I almost forgot! We got a chance to take a good look at this places Lobster Pound down on the pier below. They do not lie on the back of their menu!
We also had a great deal of fun with our wonderful and sexy server Mia, who obviously had something other than Lobstah on her brain at all times. Who knew oragami was such a tung twister? Somehow I liked the way she said it though.
"Orgasmi" just has that little ring to it, don't you think? ;)
I couldn't top that ending to this part of the trip in real life, so I won't pretend to be able to here either.
More later kids but until next time,
My sincerest thanks for dropping by....