Food & Drink Magazine

Coastal Town

By Lilveggiepatch @Lilveggiepatch

Greetings from Portland, Maine!


B is here on a business trip, so I jumped at the idea of spending a few days out of town and tagged along. I used to go to camp a couple hours north of the city so I’ve been here before, but we were never able to spend very much time. Of course, the first thing I started thinking about when I knew we were coming was the food, so almost a week before we left, I started researching and making lists of places I wanted to try.

IMG_3187.PNG is a great tool to use if you’re looking for meat-free options when you’re out-of-town. The Urbanspoon app (it’s free) is also really helpful- and a good way to lose track of time, so consider yourself warned! Both sites have a “nearby” button that uses GPS to see what’s around you.


We went out to dinner with some of B’s colleagues on Monday night. I’d added Pepperclub to my list, a suggestion that was corroborated by our innkeeper. The menu changes constantly depending on the chef’s creativity and what’s in season. It’s meat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan-friendly, so there was something for everyone.

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Pepperclub has a great 4-course prix-fixe (again, available for carnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans) for $20- $30, depending on your entrée. Dinner + an appetizer or dessert could easily exceed the fixed cost, so the menu was the way to go!

You can select any item from each course, so I started with the crispy sesame-tempeh spring rolls. They were actually quite light and not at all greasy like most spring rolls you find. We also got a small side salad to load up on greens!

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For my entrée, I ordered the baked corn cakes with black + pinto beans (cooked with tomatoes, onions, and a little spice), quinoa, and a slice of grilled zucchini. Loved these! I’ll have to remember to serve these with black beans next time.

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We ended up taking our dessert to go. Didn’t you know that cake always tastes better when you eat it in bed? This (vegan) vanilla bean cake with chocolate ganache and cacao-espresso drizzle was no exception.   

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I was really impressed with Pepperclub! I always appreciate when a restaurant has a creative vegetarian option, much less five (four of which were vegan). B was pleased with his asiago risotto cakes, and the rest of our companions enjoyed their respective meat loaf, lamb strudel, and sautéed scallops.

B is busy with work during the day, so I’ve been using my time alone to explore the city! On Tuesday afternoon, I did something I haven’t done since I studied abroad in Paris: I went to an art museum on my own. The Portland Museum of Art had quite a collection!

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There were quite a few Impressionist paintings, which is my favorite period in art history. (The Musée d’Orsay in Paris is no to be missed if you, too, are a fan of Dégas, Cassatt, Monet, Renoir….)

The figures in Russell Cheney’s “At Cassis” look like the spitting image of Mad Men‘s Duck Phillips and Lane Price!


My stomach was grumbling as I left the museum, so I headed a couple blocks to Local Sprouts Cafe.

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With chalkboard menus, books to borrow and toys for kids, it’s the spitting image of your favorite college coffee shop, and the kind of place you wish you had around the corner from your apartment. (One day, one day…)

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At my server’s suggestion, I ordered the jerk tofu wrap with pickles, pickled onions, salsa and greens. It was served warm, and left my mouth pleasantly spicy! It came with a side of vegan potato salad, which I also enjoyed (though it could have used a bit of salt).   

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The café was so pleasant that I ended up sitting and reading for a couple hours. They seem to encourage people to sit with a cup of coffee, as almost everyone in the room was typing away on their laptop or lingering over a cookie.


When B was finished for the day, he picked me up and we drove to Two Lights Park in Cape Elizabeth.


The main lighthouse, shown above and below, is the most photographed lighthouse in the country! Despite the low moan of the foghorn, the park was really peaceful.


In the distance, you can see the second of the “Two Lights.”


We both thought the life of a lifehouse watch(wo)man must be nice, in a quiet sort of way.


A few minutes away, we found dinner at The Good Table.


The restaurant is known for it’s creative meat and seafood options, so unfortunately I didn’t find much for myself to eat except a romaine salad with tomatoes and shredded carrots. B’s hake, however, looked delicious, and we both enjoyed our raspberry margaritas!


On the way home, we stopped back at Local Sprouts so I could pick up a carrot cupcake made by Portland’s Bomb Diggity Bakery. I’m liking this whole dessert-in-bed thing… it’s a remnant of vacation that I’ll most certainly be bringing home with me.   

Do you enjoy going on outings by yourself? What will- and won’t- you do alone?

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