We love Micucci’s Market on India Street in Portland, our best pal in all things Italian. With onsite parking, great Italian food, Sicilian pizza, pasta, canned tomatoes and wines – don’t miss it! Excellent selection of cheeses, oils, salts and other great gustatory ephemera. I am a fan, and will be for life.
Don’t miss the lovely Pomegranate Inn in Portland’s West End for a great night’s sleep in an artfully relaxing atmosphere – you’ll feel hipper by the minute. Innkeeper’s “breakfast” (more of a high-end brunch) is truly worth waking up for – delicious as the decor. If it weren’t for the Pomegranate, my BFFL Jane says she never would have settled in Portland — and I can’t imagine my life without Jane Benson.
The Cabernet Inn
A sweet place (and not too far) in North Conway, N.H., in the beautiful Mt. Washington Valley. This 1842 country cottage-style B&B feels sorta like Mom’s, but nicer, with a warm, nurturing, not-too-hip vibe. Perfect when you have a little touch of homesickness. The innkeeper’s signature stuffed French toast is sweet and satisfying – like Mom’s, if Mom could cook.
Right next door is the venerable 1785 House restaurant, a romantic spot with great evening fare served by a charming waiter named Paris, whose table-side Caesar is worth the trip. As is their duck breast & foie gras, wow. A robust terrine of wild game – elk, rabbit, venison, it varies – is amazing. Who cares if it’s a bit old fashioned, even over the top? We absolutely love it. As a restorative, romantic package, the Cabernet and 1785 House can’t be beat. Trust me.
Now hear this – I am a fan. Rosemont now enjoys three locations and stocks not only locally grown fruit, vegetables and herbs, but also locally produced yogurt, goat cheese, honey and meat. The fish (a new addition!) comes from Harbor Fish on Portland’s hard-working waterfront. Their wine selection, baked goods and friendly vibe make them a daily stop – try their goat cheese and pesto Torta, it’s Rachel’s favorite.
I love a warm breakfast panini on olive bread at Borealis Café. Best with a foamy latte by the wood-fired oven. Whole milk, not skim. Comfort food and aromatherapy, a favorite yeasty respite in winter.
Love it when lunch or happy hour sozzles over into dinner after five or six delicious small plates. Chef and restaurateur Harding Lee Smith knows how to work a “room” — I am happily addicted to his Corner Room octopus; Grill Room carpaccio salad; and Front Room gnocchi with poached eggs and spinach.
Paciarino has been open since 2008 when Fabiana de Savino and Enrico Barbiero moved their family from Milan to Maine to bring authentic Italian cuisine to Portland’s Old Port, and I am so glad they did. Try the spinach ravioli Bolognese or the homemade ravioli with goat cheese and fresh sage. A presto!