In the past couple of weeks, Meredith and I have been undertaking the extremely enjoyable challenge of trying as many of Portland’s food trucks as possible. While we missed a few (that we’ll be sure to add as time goes on), the ones we visited spelled out a bright future for the Portland food truck scene. The general gist from all of them was that a tasty breakfast, lunch, late night, or dessert doesn’t necessarily need to come from a brick and mortar establishment – if you concentrate on doing a few things very well, your next great Portland meal might come from the curb.
It was also awesome to see other local food service businesses getting behind Portland’s mobile eateries. Tandem Coffee and Bunker Brewing have opened their parking lot to Small Axe for breakfast (making that amazing cup of coffee all that much more delicious), and Rising Tide brewery is doing a weekly Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon food truck rotation that adds a filling pairing to their tasty selection of brews.
Bite Into Maine
Parked at Fort Williams, just over the hill from the Portland Head Light, Bite Into Maine serves up one of the best lobster rolls in the area. I realize that this is no small statement, as seemingly every restaurant and roadside stop between Kittery and Lubec claims to have “Maine’s Best Lobster Roll”, but it’ll take only a few bites of this amazing roll to know that it’s the real deal. On our trip, Meredith and I grabbed a couple of lobster rolls, and a side of the must-try corn, cucumber, and blueberry salad, and settled on our blanket with Orvis for a gorgeous picnic overlooking Casco Bay, followed by a stroll along the cliff walk – the makings of a the perfect summer afternoon in Maine.
Small Axe Truck
We were particularly excited to hear about the highly-anticipated opening of the Small Axe Truck, and since they spent their first morning parked outside of Tandem Coffee Roasters, we worked breakfast and coffee into our Saturday morning farmer’s market routine. Meredith ordered the seasonal vegetable and goat ricotta bowl, and I opted for the sausage and green chili gravy bowl. We both enjoyed our breakfasts so much, that when we heard that the Small Axe Truck would be taking their show to Rising Tide’s Saturday food truck lunch later that same day, we went back home, grabbed our friends Cory and Robyn, and made the return trip for some afternoon beers, the cheeseburger-stuffed handpies, and a few pork sandwiches.
Meredith and I grabbed lunch from Mainely Burgers outside of City Hall (also where Small Axe will be taking up a more permanent spot), and were absolutely blown away by the handcut fries and The Mainah burger – a delightful burger with applewood smoked bacon, green apples, cheddar, and maple mayo (seriously, try one). After we were finished with lunch and the crowd had died down, owners Ben Berman and Jack Barber took a few minutes to introduce themselves. During our conversation about lunch in Portland, their approach to cooking a great meal from a mobile kitchen, and the number of trucks popping up around town. One thing that was said has really stuck with me: the two opened Mainely Burgers with the goal that a person could visit Portland and have lunch with them, then dinner at a place like Fore Street, and leave town completely blown away by the food scene. When the duo opens their new truck, Mainely Treats next week, you can bet that we’ll be waiting in line.
We found El Corazon last week parked at the intersection of India and Commercial, right across from Benkay. A delicious carne asada burrito, a couple of tacos, and two refreshing pineapple ginger agua frescas later, and we were stuffed and smiling in the shade of a stoop across the street, watching the constant stream of patrons lining up at the truck.
After our lunch from El Corazon, Meredith saw on facebook that Love Cupcakes‘s Falmouth trailer would be open that afternoon, so we promptly headed up 295 for a little lunchtime dessert (we’re fans of dessert after all three meals… and sometimes in between). Although not technically their Portland truck, the cupcakes served up from this picturesque stand, parked beneath an apple tree beside Foreside Antiques on Route 1 was easily Meredith’s favorite truck to shoot. The chocolate-iced, vanilla cupcakes were obviously a required staple, but the lime and coconut-iced, chocolate cupcake stole the show and make me want to return in the near future for their next special.