Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New England Road Trip: 2011 (Part Two)

Our next gluten free stop of the trip was located in Maine. We Spent most of our time driving after Boston and stayed just outside Portland for our second night. The fridge was packed so we relaxed and ate in the room. In the Morning we made our way into Portland itself for a walk around and some lunch. 

Portland is a very quaint town with, from what I could tell, NO traffic lights. This made for a very relaxed and low key environment although being from Long Island I was rather confused by the calmness of the city. No honking? No Traffic? What!?  There were some small shops and a few interesting sights included the Maine Lobsterman Statue to the left and the port itself. Seeing cruise ships in the water was a bit odd, but you definitely got a feel for working class background and nature of the town's structure. One of the places we found was this little gem:

Public Market House of Portland Maine
Kamasouptra and Market House Coffee

This little place was a grocery store and food coop downstairs, with a line of small independent booths upstairs providing a variety of food. The people and space were very artsy and unique, making for an inviting atmosphere for any meal. The dining area was open, clean and bright. To top it off prices were good and low.  We ordered two gluten free soups, the Roasted Red Pepper and Gouda and the Gazpacho. Gluten free buns were offered and were stored in separate closed containers and cooked in an individual tin. I find that sometimes soups tend to all taste the same, but not these ones. Each soup was full of fresh flavor and had a very unique character. The Gazpacho was refreshing and clean tasting, with hints of fresh seasonings. The Roasted Red Pepper and Gouda and full of life and simply great. The buns on the other hand were dry and tasteless, mostly only good for dipping in the soups. 
For drinks I had a local brewed blueberry soda and Mike had a Peanut Butter Chocolate shake from Market House Coffee. Both were good. Finally, we topped it off with Cinnamon Crumb cake sold at Market House Coffee and from local Bam Bam Bakery, which left me wanting more, so delicious! Many GF deserts were also offered by this Bakery at the coffee booth, I mean just LOOK at the options to the picture to the left.... YUM! Loving the crumb cake so much Mike and I tried to find the Bakery after lunch. Apparently Bam Bam Bakery is run out of someones dedicated gf basement. Unfortunately though, it was closed on a Saturday and no one was there to answer our calls. If you are interested in taking a look at what they make here is link

All in all for a quick bite to eat this place was a good find, although difficult to actually hunt down. In terms of gluten free options I believe they could serve to expand their gf soups further. In addition, the other booths could simply offer gluten free options so you aren’t left with just soup or baked goods as your only options. GF breads and a dedicated area for sandwiches at some of the other booths may be helpful. 

Gluten Free Options: .5 
Atmosphere: 1
Price: 1
Hospitality: 1
Food Quality: .5

TOTAL: 4 Shamrocks

We didn’t stick around too long in Portland, getting quickly back on the road to head towards Bar Harbor Maine. With Mike and I being animal lovers we made a stop at the Maine Wildlife Zoo. Where we learned to throw Axes and paid a visit to some Moose, Coyotes, birds of prey and other Maine animals who were recuperating from injuries.  Unfortunately, We never made it to Bar Harbor (apparently Maine is bigger than I realize!), but this lucky change of plans had us run across this place:

Pat’s Pizza
Bethel, Maine

An old Coca Cola Sign with the words ‘gluten free crust’ caught our eyes and had us making an instant u-turn at almost 10pm at night. Pat’s pizza is a small chain located throughout Maine who offers not only gluten free alternatives to every one of their pizza’s but also Wood Chuck Hard Ciders, perfect to end a long day! This place was clean and spacious, but most importantly every table had trivia pursuit cards! What fun! Our waitress was very helpful in describing the kitchen procedure for gluten free cooking, which was a cautious and caring procedure. Pizzas were cooked on their own dedicated gluten free pans used only for the gluten free pizzas and were served on a sheet of wax paper so they don’t touch the plate.
Mike and I ordered the Auger and Ruben Pizzas. To put it frankly…. WOW. You all know I am a pizza fan and have reviewed many gluten free pizza places but this place takes the gluten free cake, or pie in this case. The crust, which I am not sure was made there or purchased elsewhere, is the perfect thickness and texture that is genuinely reminiscent of non-gluten free Pizza. This is of course hard to come by for gf crusts. Both The Auger had pesto,chicken,provolone cheese, tomato and cheddar cheese. It tasted like something you would purchase at a gourmet pizza place in New York City. As I said, WOW. The Ruben Pizza was a Ruben sandwich on a pizza crust, a simply unique and delicious Idea. The only mistake made was that the pastrami for the Ruben was actually ham, none the less still delicious! I really could find nothing wrong with Pat's Pizza, although GF Pasta may also be a big hit and benefit to their menu!

Gluten Free Options: 1 
Atmosphere: 1
Price: 1
Hospitality: 1
Food Quality: 1

TOTAL: 5 Shamrocks

So, where will we end up next in our road trip? Will we find more food in the middle of no where? Will we experience perfect rapture? Stay tuned for Part Three, to be posted sometime next week, to find out! 

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