Portland, ME for Foodies

Since moving back to New Hampshire for the summer I’ve been itching to get back to that urban atmosphere, so when I saw the kickass forecast for the past few days I knew it was the perfect opportunity to give that itch a good ol’ scratch. Said itch was scratched by the amazing city of Portland, Maine. Now, most people outside of the New England area hear Maine and think moose, snow, and “that’s pretty much Canada isn’t it?”. Well, to those people I say you are doing yourself a huge injustice by missing out on all this great state has to offer, but I also say more for the people who recognize its awesomeness. Portland is about a 45 minutes drive from the ME/NH border and is nestled onto a peninsula along Casco Bay. Portland has always been a popular summertime tourist attraction due to its great ocean views and activities, however in the last 10 years or so the city has really come into its own and become a budding cultural epicenter (and possibly home of the original hipster, but don’t tell Brooklyn or Portland, OR). Unique shops and restaurants began popping up on every corner and started to fill up every block. They even have their very own Urban Outfitters (the true stamp of a trendy city, HA HA HA). But let me get onto what I know you all came here for, THE FOOD!

First off there is such a variety offered from your staple seafood joints, to Indian, to organic/ Farm to Table, and American fusion style cafés. I had the pleasure of spending 2 whole days wondering the city while visiting some friends, and I can honestly say almost every little neighbor has its own handful of exciting edibles. I unintentionally ended up eating my way through Portland tasting a plethora of iced coffees, soup (Kamasouptra), freshly made smoothies (Maine Squeeze), pizza, cakes, doughnuts, gelato, and a pretty impressive breakfast sandwich (Mister Bagel). Portland is also the perfect size in which you can walk practically anywhere, but as a result of my constant walking (and Portland’s variety of elevation) I didn’t get the chance to photograph everything I ate! Peep what I was able to capture on camera before I so gracefully stuffed it into my face, below.


Honey Baby Latte- Local Sprouts Co-Op

The Honey Baby Latte from Local Sprouts Co-Op on Congress St, is the perfect marriage of aromatic, nutty coffee and cinnamon, nutmeg, and local/organic honey. For someone with a killer sweet tooth ,like myself, this drink was the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. I got it iced because, well it’s Portland in the summertime, and it was amazingly refreshing!


Vena’s Fizz House

This is actually the one spot I regret not ordering from before I left, but let me tell you I WILL be back! Vena’s Fizz House on Fore Street, is a super-innovative mixology shop & soda fountain that pumps out both alcoholic and non, uniquely flavored beverages. The retail section also has probably one of the widest varieties of cocktail fixings, paraphernalia, and mixes outside of a kitchen supply store. My favorite item is stored in the back inside a large, opened up china/buffet cabinet. These beauties are called Infusion Kits, and are mason jars filled with dried fruits, herbs, and spices that come with a recipe simply recommending what liquor to pair the contents with. There was such a wide variety of flavors that I couldn’t choose just one, but I assure you I’ll be picking some up to try in the very near future!


Apple, Bacon, and Red Onion- OTTO Pizza

I also had to stop and grab lunch from OTTO Pizza because what’s a trip to Portland without it, right? I am  going to spare you the details on my one slice, which was a sweet and savory, perfectly crunchy slice, and tell you to just get your ass there and try any of their amazing and constantly changing flavor combos for yourself (in fact, if you’re staying in town for a few days I would suggest getting a whole pie or 2!). OTTO makes such a killer pizza with simple and fresh ingredients, it’s comparable to NYC pies that have won over my heart the past 2 years. There are tons of locations throughout Portland and Boston, so just get there already!


Sweet Potato Donut w/ Ginger Glaze- The Holy Donut

Since Portland is no stranger to the innovative food scene, of course they have an eclectic doughnut shop cutely named, The Holy Donut. What makes their doughnuts extra-special and unique is their potato base which gives the doughnuts a more fluffily, cake-like consistency (which I prefer). They had so many unique flavors to choose from, from dark chocolate sea salt to Allen’s coffee brandy. I went with the Ginger Glazed Sweet Potato. It had a clean, almost carrot cake like flavor, was not super fried or greasy, and had a refreshing finish with the ginger glaze. Definitely recommend this spot on Exchange Street for when you’re craving that little extra somethin’!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Iced Coffee & Nectarine Coffee Cake- Katie Made Bakery

I picked up my last little snack before laying out at the Eastern Promenade from Katie Made Bakery on Munjoy Hill. It was later in the day but this little bakery was still pumping out fresh baked goods and pastries. I landed on a piece of nectarine coffee cake and an iced coffee. I had never seen a coffee cake quite like this one. The top of the cake was more crust-like than crumbly, and I was nervous the cake would be dry as a result, but I was pleasantly surprised! This little cake was flavorful, moist, and chocked full of sliced nectarines. I could definitely see Katie Made being up there on my go-to list of places off Portland’s beaten path.

Upon this last trip I have truly fallen in love with the city of Portland, Maine. It has so much to offer and seems to just be built for exploring! I’m looking forward to spending my last summer in New England discovering this beautiful city and all of its food and adventure.


***If you absolutely cannot make it up to Portland (which I find rather hard to believe because this place is totally worth the trip) many of these bangin’ eats are available to be shipped practically nationwide! You can also find Vena’s Fizz Shop Infusion Kits on Etsy!**


Madison Square Eats

It’s back!!! As an avid lover of the Brooklyn food festival Smorgasburg, I literally cannot put into words how excited I was when Midtown Manhattan’s own little food festival came back for its bi-annual stint in Worth Square at Madison Square Park! Not having to travel all the way to Brooklyn (trust me if you live in Chelsea it’s a little bit of a haul) and still being able to chow down on some seriously delish cheap food and booze is definitely something to get excited about. Needless to say I have been itching get over to Madison Square Eats since it opened just about 2 weeks ago, and I finally made it there this past gloriously beautiful Sunday. I wanted to try a little bit of everything, but I paced myself because I’m sure I’ll be back again. My go-to spots right off the bat were Seoul Lee Korean BBQ for their Bibimbap bowl which has been sweeping food blogs and Instagrams with rave reviews. I also had to get in on some Momofuku Milk Bar action, because despite living in New York City for almost 2 years I still haven’t gotten my butt over to any of the numerous Milk Bar locations so when I heard they would be at Mad.Sq.Eats they went straight to the top of my list. I also couldn’t resist a little Melt Bakery, another sweet spot I have been wanting to sink my teeth into. I picked up a piece of Crack Bar pie from the Milk Bar (like a little slice of love) and tried Melt’s Special sandwich which was mango lassi ice cream snuggled between 2 cardamom cookies.

I highly suggest getting making your food decisions first, then doubling back for your drinks because there’s also an impressive bevy of deliciously enticing craft beers, wines, and boozes to compliment all your delicious food!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Bulgogi Bibimbap with Fried Egg

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Crack Pie

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Need I Say More?

Cardamon Cookie with Mango Lassi Ice Cream

Everything I tried was SO mouthwateringly scrumptious! I’m already planning my next chance to go back for more. So happy and excited that UrbanSpace gives all of these food vendors such an amazing platform to share their food with the people!


Bistro Cassis Restaurant

Bistro Cassis is a lovely French bistro on the Upper West Side. The atmosphere is delicate and absolutely delightful with tulip chandeliers and an intimate, but not cluttered, dining room (which is quite the accomplishment in NYC). I went for Sunday brunch, which I believe is the only brunch they serve (You can also visit them for lunch & dinner every other day of the week). I’d highly suggest a reservation because it fills up rather quickly around noon. The service was impeccable and the knowledge of the staff was impressive and comforting in a city full of different fare.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I ordered the Brie toast with fig jam and a poached pear salad. Decadent and sweet you’d think, right? Well, not quite! The crostini was perfectly toasted and had a nice crunch under the oozing, melted Brie. I sliced up the poached pear and put it on top, which gave the dish a nice, clean finish.
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
For my main course I had the tuna tarare wrapped in a thinly sliced cucumber, with honey mustard, ginger, and citrus flavors. I was hooked on the texture alone. So smooth and almost buttery. There were capers and chopped green onions in there as well to balance out the sweetness.
Other delightful dishes:
– Croque Monsieur
– Crab & Avocado salad
– French onion soup