Get out and dine

Ten things to eat in Maine this summer
By KATE MCCARTY  |  June 19, 2014

Summer in Maine brings a long-awaited flurry of activity. While it’s tempting to recoil into a “locals only” routine to avoid the crowds, dining in Portland is at its finest when it’s warm out. Be strategic about your opportunities for great food within this short season of relative abundance. Here are 10 must-eats for Summer 2014.

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1) Bite Into Maine’s lobster roll
While Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams is in the eye of the tourist storm, the green space and endless expanse of ocean will keep you from feeling claustrophobic while you wait for your lunch. Gorgeous scenery or no, Bite Into Maine’s lobster roll cart alone is worth the drive. Choose from five preparations of fresh, never frozen (a feat more rare than you might think), Maine lobster: 4.5 ounces of tail and claw meat, all served on fresh-baked, buttered, toasted buns. Try the picnic-style roll, lobster meat tossed with melted butter, a layer of coleslaw, and sprinkled with celery seed. Think of it as research for your vote in Roll Call’s Taste of America competition, where Maine’s lobster roll has made it to the final round (vote at rollcalltasteofamerica.com). | biteintomaine.com

2) Maine Pie Line’s blueberry pie
This Maine staple can be surprisingly hard to find in a state that produces 99 percent of the country’s wild blueberries. Maine Pie Line’s Briana Warner consistently creates atypical pie fillings (like peaches poached in sage and wine and baked in almond pastry cream). Rather than just ho-hum blueberry, Warner adds warming spices cardamom and ginger to the fruit filling and covers it with a sugar-topped lattice crust. Maine Pie Line is open Wednesday–Friday, 10 am-3 pm, and Saturday from 9 am-1 pm at 200 Anderson Street in East Bayside. | mainepieline.com

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3) Central Provisions’ bread and butter
Since its opening in February, Central Provisions has blended seamlessly into Portland’s elite restaurant scene. One menu staple, the bread and butter, elevates the pre-meal snack into an appetizer worthy of its own stage. Slices of grilled sourdough bread come with a heat-tempered duck egg yolk that’s been whipped and piped onto a smear of salted butter. Heavenly. | central-provisions.com

4) A meal from the farmers’ market
The Portland Farmers’ Market is the premier spot to find fresh, local food this summer. Fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, herbed goat cheese: these ingredients don’t need much to rival any Old Port restaurant meal. Meat-lovers should visit Thirty Acre Farm for pork bratwurst for the grill; everyone will love Lalibela Farm’s black bean tempeh strips, pan-fried in tacos or a salad. | portlandfarmersmarket.org

5) Small Axe food truck
We wouldn’t dare to venture a guess as to whether Congress Square Park just needed a little love to become a viable public space again or if the uptick in visitors is due to the popularity of Small Axe truck alone. Either way, enjoy the fried haddock sandwich or pork belly fried rice from these friendly chefs for lunch and dinner on weekdays. There’s new seating in the park, free Wi-Fi and, of course, great people watching. | smallaxetruck.com

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