2012 Best of Dining (outside of Portland)

Long Grain Spring Rolls

Continuing on with our week of 2012 favorites, Michael and I have compiled a list of our most memorable dining experiences outside of our hometown of Portland, Maine. (Our local list is coming tomorrow!)


Michael: The Bourbon-ginger cocktail at Palmetto Bluff’s Canoe Club, was one of the more creative and original cocktails I’ve had in the past year. We even had the opportunity to do a Q&A with its creator, Todd Phillips.
Meredith: Narrowing down my list of favorite drinks we had while traveling was insanely challenging. The May at the River House at Palmetto Bluff inspired my love for Woodford Reserve, and the Fleur Dulce (St. Germain, gin, and grapefruit) at the Canoe Club was absolute perfection.


Michael: After spending some time talking to R.J. Joyce, the wine buyer for Black Trumpet Bistro, about the locally-sourced ingredients that they strive to use in their dishes (some of which he provides from his family’s farm), we enjoyed a unbelievably simple, yet delicious dish of cannellini beans, radishes, and wilted spinach – proving that the ingredients really can make a dish. As a southern treat, the Pimiento Cheese and Hot Pepper Jelly at Crook’s Corner, has to be one of my favorite taste combinations.
Meredith: Thankfully the menu at Bar Louis highlighted the Celeriac & Apple Salad during our March visit last year – the combination of flavors was incredible.


Michael: The braised pork shank at Ten Tables Provincetown (for my birthday, no less) was one of the most fantastic dishes I’ve had all year. It was perfectly prepared, and worked well with its sides. Braise meat, and I’m in.
Meredith: The Vegetarian Quiche (made without a single egg!) at Canoe Club was easily the most inventive & delicious course I ate this year, but the Shrimp & Grits at Crook’s Corner will always be a go-to favorite, and are by far the best variation of the dish I’ve ever tasted.


Michael: Have you ever had a dessert where you think about asking the kitchen to just keep them coming? Kristin’s famous churros at Cava made me come closer to that request than ever before.
Meredith: I dream about the vanille macarons from Ladurée.

Dining with Orvis

Michael & Meredith: While vacationing at Palmetto Bluff, we shared multiple lunches with Orvis at Buffalos, and he simply couldn’t get enough of the attention from the other patrons!


Michael: My absolute favorite meal of any day. This one was a close one between the maple-glazed bacon and waffles from Tipsy Parson & sourdough french toast from Chase’s Daily. You can never go wrong with brunch.
Meredith: The Cheesy Grits at Tipsy Parson in Chelsea are downright sinful, but my deliciously healthy brunch at Sitka & Spruce in Seattle more than balanced everything out.


Michael: Since I know that Meredith will cover Le Jardin du Quai, I’ll select two slightly lower-key establishments – White Duck Taco in Asheville & Long Grain in Camden.
Meredith: Le Jardin du Quai will probably always be the lunch of all lunches for me.


Michael: Every trip to Wiscasset includes at least one visit to Treats, and in the 3 days we were in Provincetown, we visited Relish at least twice.
Meredith: We swing by Treats whenever we’re visiting our family in Wiscasset, sometimes making multiple trips in the same day. Of course, a croissant from Pâtisserie Fauchère is always a must for me whenever we’re in Milford.


Michael: Multiple times during our fantastic meal at Buvette, I caught myself believing that we were out to dinner in France. Luckily, there wasn’t a 7 hour plane ride to follow.
Meredith: The excitement of eating at Le Petit Pergolèse, a Parisian neighborhood bistro tucked away in the 16th arrondissement, and feeling just a tad bit like a local, thanks to our concierge, was unparalleled this year. Let me not forget to mention that every course was wonderful!


Michael: Le Jardin du Quai could’ve been a Provencal setting from a 50’s movie Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn – classically awesome to say the least. We definitely have to add Tipsy Parson to this category too.
Meredith: A stone garden in Provence complete with a vine-covered pergola at Le Jardin du Quai was nothing short of magical, but I also loved every square inch of reclaimed wood, subway tile, industrial accents, and exposed brick at Sitka & Spruce.

Overall Meal

Michael: This one is extremely difficult, but given that I’ve been craving another go at the Black Trumpet since we last dined there, I think that says it all.
Meredith: Our meal at the Palmetto Bluff restaurant, Canoe Club, truly set the bar high early on in the year. Later we remarked how every single course, cocktails included, were some of the most amazing dishes we’d ever tasted. From start to finish, everything was perfect.

Betsy's Crepes Southern Pines

Long Grain Camden Maine

Spring Rolls at Long Grain

Ginger Chicken Long Grain

Palmetto Bluff Buffalos

Dessert at Buffalos

River House Restaurant


Le Jardin du Quai lunch

Black Trumpet Cheese Plate

Black Trumpet Portsmouth

Oddfellows Seattle

Serious Pie Seattle

Sitka & Spruce Hot Cereal

Sitka & Spruce Seattle

Ten Tables Braised Pork Loin

Downtown Grocery

Castle Hill Dessert

White Duck Taco

Cava Desserts

Dinner at Buvette

Tipsy Parson Waffles

Tipsy Parson

Co. Pizza NY

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