Monday, June 28, 2010

A Weekend in Kennebunkport

To celebrate my husband's finishing his first year of residency, we took a lovely weekend trip to Kennebunkport, Maine.  (Did you know that Maine's state motto is "Vacationland"?  Someone at the state ad agency totally phoned it in that day.)

About two hours later than we'd planned on leaving, we finally got in our car for the awesome 90-minute drive to Kennebunkport.  Our trip up 1-N took us past the three classiest establishments in the northern 'burbs, the Cabaret, the Squire, and the Golden Banana, the latter of which led to a spirited debate about whether said club was a fabulous gay disco or a very inappropriately named strip club.  

It's the latter.  (Incidentally, if you have not read the Yelp reviews for these joints, you are missing out on the writings of some very discerning critics.)

We didn't arrive in Kennebunkport until almost midnight.  And we were famished.  

So famished that we almost stopped off at a place called "B's Clam Box," which, despite its name, seemed neither to be a fabulous gay disco nor an inappropriately named strip joint, but just a skeevy-looking seafood place.

Thank goodness we didn't, because on arriving at our charming bed and breakfast, the Captain Fairfield Inn, we were greeted by the best cheese plate ever.  My husband had read about Captain Fairfield's cheese plates on Tripadvisor, but somehow the glowing reviews didn't quite capture the amazing bounty that is the best cheese plate ever.  That's why I'm using italics here -- so you can fully grasp the quality of this cheese plate.

Unfortunately, I forgot to ask the innkeepers to identify the cheeses, but every one of them was delicious.  In particular, there was an herb-rinded manchego-like cheese that was just dreamy. Accompanying the cheeses were a selection of meats, fresh fruit, olives, and nuts.  Oh, and did I mention there were freshly baked chocolate chunk cookies . . . the most perfectly textured, chewy, buttery, and delectable chocolate chunk cookies?

Devouring the cheese plate and sleeping must have burned a tremendous number of calories, because we woke up the next morning hungry and ready to eat more.  Which is great because Loryn, co-innkeeper and resident chef, made a scrumptious 3-course breakfast.  We started with an arugula salad with fennel and apricots, followed up with a warm blueberry coffee cake that was so good we might have had a minor marital spat over who got the last little chunk of it.

The entree course was a choice between french toast with maplewood bacon and an omelette with cheddar and leeks.  I was forced to make up with my husband so that I could eat half of his delicious omelette.

The innkeepers had kindly rented us bikes for the day, so we went for a five-mile loop to check out the nearby beach . . .

and the Bush compound.  Though mostly my view was of my husband's butt as he coasted off ahead, leaving me sweating and pedaling furiously to keep up.  Grr.

We stopped off for lunch at the famous Clam Shack, where the lobster rolls were literally lobster + roll.  No fillers.

Then it was back to Captain Fairfield's, where I took advantage of a phenomenally comfortable bed for an afternoon nap.  

What?  Eating is exhausting.

Image Source: Taste of the Coast
In the evening, we took a short drive to Wells, and had dinner at Joshua's, a farm-to-table restaurant that's a hidden gem.  We started with the earthy roasted mushrooms with truffled herb butter and the Maine crab cakes with lemon herb aioli.  Both were delicious.  We then had Joshua's signature dish, haddock with a caramelized onion crust, chive oil, and wild mushroom risotto, as well as the evening's vegetarian special, a vegetarian ravioli with kale, squash, and asparagus.  The squash and asparagus, our waitress said, were picked fresh from the farm that morning.  Of course, the entrees were spectacular.

It's possible that we might have shared a maple walnut pie and the restaurant's housemade maple and caramel ice-creams.  But since that makes us sound like little piggies, I will neither confirm nor deny this detail.

I would have started my diet the next day, but Loryn totally outdid herself with breakfast.  We started with a yogurt pannacota with native strawberries, lime, and a fruit sorbet.  I'd never had sorbet over yogurt before, and now I'm wondering why not, because the dish was amazing.  If the dining room weren't filled to capacity, I would have licked the dish.

For our second course, we had freshly baked sea salt, black pepper, and scallion biscuits, which were delicate, savory, and so delicious that I tried to stab my husband with my fork when he reached for the last morsel of mine.  We again made peace by the entree so that we could share blueberry waffles and eggs florentine.  Then we debated staying for another night so that Loryn could feed us again.

Because at the end of the day, food is probably the best part of Kennebunkport.  While the coastline and beaches are beautiful, and there are a number of lovely art galleries, the town itself is pure New England kitsch -- a bit more vibrant than Newport, but otherwise fairly indistinguishable.

That being said, I'd happily take another weekend of faux-nautical tourist kitsch for more of Loryn's cooking.

High five to my husband for planning a great trip.  I will stop complaining that we never do anything fun.

Well, for a little while anyway.


lavenderpug June 29, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

that sounds amazing. so yummy. i feel kind of full after reading your post. how was the lobster roll without any filler? i mean, could you at least dunk it in butter?

charms June 29, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

oooh sounds amazing! this may just have to be a second anniversary location. :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa June 29, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

@ lavenderpug: You could get your roll with mayo or butter. We did one of each (and subsequently realized we should have gotten 2 with both, oink oink). We decided that it went against the whole reason to have lobster roll -- which is to make a small bit of lobster go a longer way by adulterating it with a lot of stuff -- but I'm not going to complain about having a pound of lobster on a roll. ;-P

@ charms: The B&B is definitely anniversary-worthy; not fancy in terms of accommodations but I know you'll love the food.

Jessica [ frequently full ] July 9, 2010 at 6:53 PM  

OK, this is going to sound strange but I've harbored an obsession over Maine since childhood. I blame Jessica Fletcher and Cabot Cove (even though the show was filmed in Mendocino!).

This post will be saved under "Things I must do before I turn 30" list.

And now I'm hungry.

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