DownEast Magazine: Best Restaurants

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to take a bit of a road trip up to Maine to photograph the Best Restaurants feature for DownEast Magazine.  I spent several days traveling to Kittery, Portland and way up north to Rockland and Rockport.  After several years of running laps around Boston it was a nice change of pace to head out on the road and see what Maine's foodie scene has to offer.  

On the cover: Maine lobster gnocchi with asparagus at Outliers Eatery in Portland ME.

On the cover: Maine lobster gnocchi with asparagus at Outliers Eatery in Portland ME.

Roadtrip!

Roadtrip!

I started my trip in Kittery at Anju, a great noodle bar tucked away just over the border.  When I walked in I saw co-owner Julian Armstrong and quickly realized that I had met him before.  Julian used to work at The Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth where one of my friends growing up worked for many years and that I frequented often.

Julian Armstrong at Anju Noodle Bar in Kittery ME.

Julian Armstrong at Anju Noodle Bar in Kittery ME.

Shoyu Ramen with slow roasted pork shoulder at Anju Noodle Bar in Kittery ME

Shoyu Ramen with slow roasted pork shoulder at Anju Noodle Bar in Kittery ME

After a wonderful day at Anju I stopped over for the night at my Uncle's farm house in Lebanon before moving on to Portland in the morning.

The DeTour farmhouse on a snowy Maine morning.

The DeTour farmhouse on a snowy Maine morning.

First up in Portland was Blue Rooster.  To say that Blue Rooster serves hotdogs doesn't quite do it justice.  With items on the menu like the Seoul Dog topped with spicy kimchi, toasted peanuts and garlic mayo, and a side of tater tot poutine, its more than just hotdogs!

The Seoul Dog with a side of Tater Tot Poutine at Blue Rooster in Portland ME

The Seoul Dog with a side of Tater Tot Poutine at Blue Rooster in Portland ME

Next up was my favorite from the list, Outliers Eatery.  Everything about Outliers is wonderful.  Executive Chef Jonathan Dexter is warm and welcoming, the food is spectacular and the design of the place is breathtaking (the tabletops, oh the tabletops!)  Tucked away on a quiet side street in Portland it would be easy to miss, but Outliers is definitely worth searching out.

Maine Lobster Gnocchi with Asparagus at Outliers Eatery in Portland, ME.

Maine Lobster Gnocchi with Asparagus at Outliers Eatery in Portland, ME.

Executive Chef Jonathan Dexter of Outliers Eatery

Executive Chef Jonathan Dexter of Outliers Eatery

The last leg of the trip took me several hours north to Rockland and Rockport. Salt Water Farms, open seasonally, is a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water (although I was there on a bone chilling day so it looked over the ice!)

Jerusalem Artichoke salad with bacon, watercress, parsley, and grain-mustard-and-lemon vinaigrette at Salt Water Farms in Rockport ME

Jerusalem Artichoke salad with bacon, watercress, parsley, and grain-mustard-and-lemon vinaigrette at Salt Water Farms in Rockport ME

An icy view over the water in Rockport ME

An icy view over the water in Rockport ME

Last up was 3Crow in Rockland.  A great spot on the main drag run by Joshua Hixon.  

Sous Chef Rose Valentine preparing a dish in the kitchen of 3Crow in Rockport ME

Sous Chef Rose Valentine preparing a dish in the kitchen of 3Crow in Rockport ME

Josh Hixon of 3Crow in Rockport ME

Josh Hixon of 3Crow in Rockport ME