Posts Tagged ‘Freeport Maine’

Old World Gourmet withdrawal

December 31, 2009

Today’s the last day until May, so if you can’t live without those chocolate chip cookies, go purchase a gazillion to keep in the freezer.

And, meats in the deli case (and probably a lot of other items) are 50% off. Stock up for that New Year’s Eve party. Then join me in withdrawal symptoms from those cookies (I only purchased two).

Not familiar with this little outpost? It’s at Freeport’s Big Indian. Need I say more?

In search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie

October 4, 2009

For much of my life, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect retail chocolate chip cookie. I seek one that best emulates a home-baked cookie. One that’s crunchy-chewy, made with real butter and brown sugar and good chocolate; nuts are good, but not a requirement. I prefer cookies that deliver three or four li’l bites, about a three-inch diameter rather than the humungo ones (which despite self-promises to only eat a portion, I never do), and I like them priced for mere mortals; spending $2 for one cookie seems sinful.

So here on my current favorites in Maine. If you have suggestions, let me know, and I’ll sample while in the area.

TOP CHOICE: Old World Gourmet, Route 1, Freeport (at the Big Indian). Oh man, these are perfect. Not too large, not too small, often warm out of the oven, and always full of flavor and dotted with plentiful chips. These are the classics by which I now judge every other cookie. Last year, Old World Gourmet closed for the winter. I’m praying it doesn’t do so again. I’ve been known to go well out of my way to score one of these beauties, and I’ve run into others who do the same.

CLOSE SECOND: Two Cats Bakery, India St., Portland. Until I tasted Old World’s, these were my fave. Again, dense with chips, right sized, good texture (although I prefer a softer center, but probably not possible given the lower profile) and full of flavor. It stands up well to dunking.


Rooster Brother, Rte. 1, Ellsworth: Downstairs in this kitchenware emporium is a small deli and a coffee station with cookies. I’ve yet to drive by without stopping in for one. These loose a few points for size and price (which, often go together) as well as for being a bit too nutty (and sometimes a bit on the dry side). But then, like I said, I always get one.

Orange Cat, Rte 27, Kingfield: These are almost chocolate chip cakes, rather than cookies, they’re huge (again, price correlation) with more of a cake-like texture. Chips are abundant, but tiny. But yeah, they’re quite yummy,  especially  when still warm so the chips are gooey.

D’Ellies, Sugarloaf and Boothbay Harbor: I used to love these cookies, but lately I’ve been finding them a bit on the dry side, sometimes to the point of almost seeming stale. Other knock-down points are size and price, too big and too expensive (and yes, again, I realize those go together). Still, after a few hours on the slopes, I find D’Ellies is like a magnet, I just can’t stop myself from going in and purchasing a cookie.

Spear’s Farm Stand, Rte. 1, Waldoboro: These softies make up for the lack of crunch, the absence of nuts, and a bit too much sugar with abundant chunks of chocolate and a perfect size.

Free this weekend at L.L. Bean

September 3, 2009

On Saturday, Eileen Ivers, Celtic fiddler extraordinaire. On Sunday, put your dancin’ shoes on for some western swing with Asleep at the Wheel.

Both take place in Bean’s outdoor Discovery Park beginning at 7.30 p.m. Bring a chair, bring a blanket, bring a picnic. Do note: Many folks snag their spots way early in the day.

Bean’s accepts donations for local food pantries, so bring some canned goods with you.

Sleeping and dining at the Harraseeket Inn

July 17, 2009

I spent a night at Freeport’s Harraseeket Inn earlier this week, dining in the Broad Arrow Tavern for lunch and the Maine Dining Room for dinner.

This is a classic country inn owned and operated by the Gray family, and they understand the biz. It’s got all the whistles and bells, but it neither shouts nor screams. Common areas include a living room, where afternoon tea is served—tea sandiwches, cookies, tea breads, cheese, and fresh fruit along with a selection of teas, and there’s no charge for guests. Nice.There also are a good-sized indoor lap pool and a tiny fitness room. And it’s only two blocks from Bean’s.

Guest rooms are furnished with comfortable Colonial repro pieces, and baths range from basic to fancy, with huge whirlpool tub and separate showers. Bath amenities are green—right down to the hollowed out soap (actually, I really liked that touch, the hole in the center acted as a handle).

There is one exception, and that’s a decorator-designed room with Thomas Moser furnishings. Way cool. It’s a large, corner room with a cork floor and a sandstone fireplace dominating one wall. A sofa and lounge chairs are grouped by the fireplace; quite inviting. The bathroom is combines a retro look with modern sizzle, and it works. Yeah, I could be quite comfy in this room.

Although listed room rates begin at $185, there are specials that can bring the rate down. If you’re inquiring within days, ask about the dinner package, which provides a room for $125 if you dine in the Maine Dining Room for dinner. Usually offered only in winter, it is being offered on a limited basis this summer, but you have to ask. And breakfast and afternoon tea are included, too.

I had the luncheon buffet ($16.95) at the Broad Arrow Tavern. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s quite a spread: fresh fruit, breads, soup, pizza, dips, an array of hot dishes including fish, mussels, chicken, beef, mussels, and lots more. And dessert.

The Maine Dining Room is no longer the formal fine dining place it was. The white tableclothes have been replaced by a rainbow of colors in muted shades. There’s even a small TV in the bar area. The prices are quite reasonable, with entrees beginning at $18 and topping out at $29 for whole poached lobster, and small plates ranging $7-$10. Service is spot on.

I began with a salad comprising fresh greens, roasted asparagus, prosciutto, and ash goat cheese, with a sage dressing. Off to a good start. Next we shared a few small plates: honey-glazed scallop with potato puree, frisee, pancetta, and rhubarb sauce; lobster spring roll, with micro greens, pickled onion, and herbed creme fraiche; and pea ravoioli with ricotta silata and rosemary cream. Frankly, I could have stopped right there. All that paired with the bread and flatbread that accompanied the meal, was plenty.

But if I had stopped, I wouldn’t have had the herb crusted halibut with spinach and pine nut dumplings and local onion cream sauce ($26). The fish was tender and moist, the dumplings were addictive.

What really stole the show was the lavender rubbed chicken ($23). Oh my. I took just a few tastes, but that was enough to know I’ll order this the next time I visit. I’m a huge fan of roasted chicken and I’m a sucker for the subtle flavors of lavender. The waitress had described the overall taste as soft, and I have to agree. It was gentle, and delicious.

Flower power

June 9, 2009

It’s June, which means the azalias and rhododendrons are in full bloom. Need an intense experience of either? Visit the American Rhododendron Society Garden, in Freeport, or the Asticou Azalea Garden, in Northeast Harbor.

Freeport in bloom

Freeport in bloom

Asticou Garden, Northeast Harbor

Asticou Garden, Northeast Harbor