From Halifax to Portland

Wow, yesterday was a long day. I can’t believe we were in Halifax not that long ago! We were on the road by 6:20, but not without the help of some Starbucks to perk us up.

Halifax bridge

Since we had no time to eat beforehand, my sister and I also made our breakfasts in the car from some groceries we picked up yesterday – Kashi Honey Almond Flax, Oikos 2% vanilla yogurt, banana, and blueberries.

The drive was… well… a whole lot of nothing, to be honest. We drove for miles without seeing anything but trees and fields! We made it to Houlton, Maine a little past 12 pm Nova Scotia time (but 11 am Maine time) and stopped in the cutest little downtown center for lunch at a place called The Courtyard Cafe.

The Courtyard Cafe in Houlton, Maine

It looked like grandma’s house on the inside – think lace curtains, floral tablecloths and old fashioned wooden chairs. It was cute! And the food was simple and homemade. I ordered a whole wheat wrap with smoked turkey, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard with a side salad. It tasted exactly like something I could have made myself, which normally I might be disappointed with, but because I’ve been eating more elaborate restaurant meals for the past three days, I really appreciated this simple lunch.

The Courtyard Cafe - turkey wrap

The Courtyard Cafe and Garden Bar on Urbanspoon

We made it to Portland by 4:30 and headed straight for the Whole Foods. I was like a kid in a candy shop! There were so many products we can’t get in Canada. I was the most excited about the Barney Butter – an almond butter made in an almond-only facility so that there are no traces of other nuts in it!

We also picked up tons of other great finds: Nature’s Path Smart Bran cereal, almond coconut milk, Go Raw chocolate super cookies, pita minis, Adora calcium discs, Sunbutter cups, and The Good Bean granola bars

Portland Whole Foods purchases

Then we headed to dinner at Fore Street Restaurant, which was listed #16 in Gourmet magazine’s top 50 restaurants in the US in 2002! It has a strong focus on local ingredients and an open kitchen so that you can watch your meal being prepared.

Fore Street Restaurant in Portland, Maine

They had delicious Italian and multigrain bread served with whipped butter, salt and pepper.

Fore Street Restaurant - bread with whipped butter

And then I began with the beet and marinated house made mozzarella salad with mustard and rocket, pan seared fresh chickpeas and cipollini, balsamico and rich olive oil. This had the most amazing combination of flavours – I need to recreate it at home!

Fore Street Restaurant - beet and house made mozzarella salad

For my entree I got the arctic char, black rice with basil, fennel, and spicy pepper butter sauce. This dish made me realize how true the saying “butter makes everything better” is! The butter sauce brought out the most amazing flavours in the fish!

Fore Street Restaurant - arctic char with black rice in a spicy pepper butter sauce

But I don’t think anything can compare to my sister’s dessert, which looked so good that I had to steal a few bites even though I was already stuffed. It was a light, soft, moussey chocolate tart with chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream. And it tasted even a million times better than it looked!

Fore Street Restaurant - chocolate mousse tart

Fore Street on Urbanspoon

After our dinner, we went to Trader Joe’s for my first time ever! It was a lot smaller inside than I expected, but it had all the neat products I expected plus more. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy a lot of the products I wanted because they all said “May contain traces of nuts” on the label. I did pick up a jar of fig butter though!

Trader Joes in Portland, Maine

After we were done our grocery shopping adventures, I commented to my mom and sister “I love how most people from Canada go to the US to buy clothes… we go to eat and buy food” to which my mom replied “Yeah, my kids are just friggin’ weird.” I think that sums us up perfectly, haha.

Today we’re heading to Ithaca, NY and spending another long day on the road. I wish we could spend longer here… but I guess that means I’ll have to come back again soon. Goodbye Portland!

What’s your favourite dish with butter in it?

Have you tried any of the products I bought yesterday?


Filed under restaurant, travel

12 Responses to From Halifax to Portland

  1. Canada needs to get on the TJ's bandwagon! It's so sad that you don't have access! I honestly love anything cooked in butter. I rarely cook with butter for myself though because it makes my stomach hurt, but if I'm out I don't really care.

  2. This looks like SO MUCH FUN! I promise to get you whatever you want when I go to the states next year now that you're probably set up for an addiction. :)I also want to add that the word ganache is probably my favourite in the english language. :)

  3. I love portland! Its such a cool city!

  4. What a blast! You got some great loot at those stores too– I've always wanted to try barney butter! And I've never been to TJ's yet, but man I bet it is AWESOME! Falafel chips?! Yes please! :)

  5. Yay I'm so glad you got to go to Portland!! It's such a great little city with so many great local businesses and restaurants, home sweet home :) Have fun on the rest of your trip, Ithaca is awesome too!! Oh and I agree with Chelsey that it's too bad you guys don't have Trader Joes up in Canada…I practically live at that place!

  6. Oh man that is some yummy loot!

  7. You will LOVE barney butter! So good! I'm super jealous you got to go to TJ's!

  8. Tasty eats and great grocery store purchases! TJ's and WF are two of my faves…

  9. I am so so jealous of your TJ's and whole foods loot!!! Seriously, what is Canada thinking not having TJ's?! It is the worst ;) Hmm, I can not even remember the last time I ate something with butter. I used to love grilled cheeses made with butter though. So good.

  10. I love Whole Foods and Trader Joe's!! I never realized they weren't in Canada. I love the goodies you bought, and it sounds like ya'll are having so much fun! :)

  11. Sounds like you are having such an amazing time! I am sooo jealous of your foodie adventures!

  12. i hate when i order things at restaurants that i could have made at home! that's the whole point of going out! :) :)

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