Saturday, August 21, 2010

36 Hours or Longer in Portland

I was invited to a birthday dinner last evening in Brunswick, about a half-hour drive from Portland and the home city of Bowdoin College.  The restaurant was Clementine's on the main street where the chef and head of waitstaff, a married couple, honed their skills at the Back Bay Grill, another fine dining opportunity in Portland.

We all chose the prix fixe menu ($25) consisting of six to eight choices for each of the 3 courses, a perfect amount of food.  Starting our evening with martinis set the jovial tone for the rest of our experience.  As each course was served we talked briefly with the waitress where we found out several tidbits about the restaurant and its location perfectly situated between Portland and points north and serves as a meeting point from those two regions.

Our starter course, respectively, was heirloom tomato Caprice saladCaesar Salad Smoked Bacon, Garlic Croutons, Hard Boiled Egg, and Field Greens Salad Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Roasted Walnuts, Oranges, Honey Vinaigrette.

Main: Hand-made Pappardelle Vegetable Bolognese, Basil, Olive Tapenade,  Sautéed Sea Scallops Carrot Purée, Olive Oil Potato, Shaved Fennel Salad, Salmon in Bric Pastry Peas, Radish Salad, Fingerling Potatoes, lemon Vinaigrette.

In an unanimous desert selection we all had: Warm Chocolate Cake Crème Anglaise, Hazelnut Gelato, Mango Coulis.

All this, accompanied with a very nice Ave  Malbec, Mendoza, '08 Argentina   ($24), left us pleasantly satisfied and a little tipsy so we strolled Main Street Brunswick taking note of various tree species, where the roots of the ivy covering a whole back side of a church were rooted and several other rather obscure sights and sounds.

An evening so pleasant with friends I have not had for a long time.  

For more information about Portland's scene, click on the NY Times recent article "36 Hours in Portland".

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