We were invited to a wedding in Portland and so found ourselves off for a three day weekend without the kids for the first time in 3 years. At the top of my list was having dinner at Fore Street Restaurant. Since I waited until the last minute to make a reservation (they were completely booked), we had to wing it and hope for a table. The restaurant reserves 1/3 of its' tables for walk-ins but when we arrived at 6 there was a 3 hour wait, so the hostess recommended we eat at the bar. We still had to wait an hour but we were able to sit in the lounge and enjoy a drink (or two). The restaurant specializes in local and sustainable foods, with an emphasis on wood grilled and roasted meats and fish. Selections change daily but a select group of favorites can always be found on the menu.
Since we knew we wouldn't be spending much time in our hotel room and we wanted walking access to downtown, we opted for the Marriott Courtyard Old Port. We were pleasantly surprised as It has the feel of a more upscale boutique hotel: huge walk-in showers, a bar in the lobby serving craft beers and wine, and a modern decor.
Our first stop the next morning was the Holy Donut. We had first gone last summer and knew we had to return. All of the doughnuts are made with potato flakes from Maine potatoes. The flakes add a moistness and cakeyness that result in a delicious doughnut. They use only natural fruit or vegetable dyes for their glazes, pure cane sugar, and all doughnuts are cooked in 100% canola oil. There are always a few gluten free and vegan selections every morning. Our recommended favorites are the dark chocolate sea salt and apple flavors.
We did a little shopping and stopped in Portland Dry Goods, just a few blocks down from our hotel. The shop has a very nicely curated selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women. I coveted the Swans Island throws (I love the idea of using a throw as a wrap) and Cat Bates jewelry.
We headed to Central Provisions for brunch on Sunday morning. It was recently voted by Bon Appetit as one of the best new restaurants of 2014. All food is served small plate style and meant to be shared. We again sat at the bar and really enjoyed watching as the chefs prepared the dishes. This was our favorite meal of the weekend and we wished we hadn't eaten at Holy Donut earlier in the day as we would have liked to try more of the menu. One thing we will definitely sample next time is the cinnamon roll which the chef would coat individually with warmed icing each time one was ordered.
Finally, we hit up Standard Baking Company to grab a treat for the ride home. This bakery is owned by the same people behind Fore Street and is located in the back of the building that houses the restaurant. We had always been somewhat underwhelmed by the selection during prior visits, but I think the problem was we always arrived too late in the afternoon and all the good stuff was already gone. This time we chose a homemade granola bar and a roasted apple hand pie and we were not disappointed!