My parents know how to enjoy an evening in Maine, and we arrived in Biddeford to open arms, a few bottles of Sancerre, and the first lobster rolls of the visit. We enjoyed these immensely before heading to the hot tub and admiring the stars. As you’ll recall from my prior post, the porch in Maine is my happiest of happy places. Our house sits atop a little hill, over a rocky landscape that my parents have beautifully landscaped over the years. Just in front of the house is Lily Pond and a two lane road which divides the pond from the ocean and a small bay which we have a lovely view of. I think my heart rate slows done the minute I sit in those adirondak chairs and start breathing in the salt air.
The next morning my brother, Devin, and his two dogs Louie and Ryder joined us. The boys played some tennis while I got in a workout chasing Lou and Ryder around the yard. Good gracious does Ryder have some energy. I think I always sleep well after playing with that little ball of exhaustion.
For dinner we enjoyed round two of lobster, this time enjoying some soft shell lobster in the rough. They were fantastic – best lobsters I’ve had all season. I’d like to add that Alan put in his notes: “Jenni crushed her lobster.” Devin surprised us with some fireworks and a Roman candle, which he launched over the pond after dinner while we continued enjoying our Chablis Premiere Cru.
The boys played tennis again the next day, and we all enjoyed a relaxing evening spending some time in the hot tub, devouring a delicious escarole and pasta dish my dad cooked up as well as a blueberry pie, then of course more wine in front of the fire built by our expert fire maker, Alan, whom my father dubbed “Bodaway” (Native American for fire maker, apparently).
The following day my mom made one of my favorite meals (linguine with clam sauce), after which Alan and I went out for a long walk on the beach down to the nunnery and back. I again pointed out to Alan the rocks that I’d spent my childhood learning, and the names of my favorites (house rock, with the kitchen sink of course topping the list). At night, Bodaway created another fire and we enjoyed leftovers with the parents and lively discussion, which somehow always seemed to come back to passive solar. (The new house will use passive solar design to keep it warm in the winters and cool in the summers – ask Alper about it, he’d love to tell you more 😉
Sven pooped out on us again the next day, which was poor timing at my parents had already left. Luckily my dad’s car and a battery-jumping tool were there and we were able to start it so that Alan could drive it back to Portland for the third set of Volvo service people to look at it. Over an hour and a half later we finally got a theory as to why the battery constantly dies though the battery itself is fine: apparently (and only maybe) there is a glitch in the Sirius XM radio (which I don’t even have turned on) which causes it to drain the battery while the car is off. Strange, because it never did this for the first two years I had it in LA. On the bright side, we picked up lobster rolls from my favorite spot: Mike’s near downtown Biddo. Well, it’s no longer called Mike’s, it’s called Pool Street Market, but I still think of it as Mike’s. The size of the roll never changes, they just sell lobster rolls by the amount of meat you want, ranging from an original at just $5.95 up the range of Jumbo, Deluxe, Supreme and Winn for $18. I order them with mayo and lettuce, which is placed on the bun before the lobster meat, rather than mixed in with the meat itself. It’s not your classic lobster roll, but it is divine. I used to be content with a Deluxe, lately I’ve been ordering Supremes. Though tempted, nobody has ever tried a Winn.
For dinner, we drove over to Cape Pier Chowder House in Cape Porpoise and got the more traditional lobster roll. The location is really what sells this place, you drive through the quintessential sleepy New England beach towns to get to the cape which is charming beyond belief with its light house and boats and lobster traps. The restaurant itself is decked out with buoys, though we usually opt to sit outside and enjoy the views of the water at their full effect. We split a bowl of clam chowder to start, and finished with lobster rolls, served on the more classical toasted and buttered hot bun. They were a bit disappointing this time, I think this late in the season they may have been off their game (it was already October by this point), and they may have even forgot to put mayo on them. Oops.
The government shutdown began this day and we discussed our good fortune in not being at the several national parks we visited on the trip during this time. We also opined on how foolish and third worldly this must seem to foreign tourists visiting those parks.
On our way down to Mass the next morning we stopped at the Cape Porpoise Kitchen for coffees and breakfast.
So here is Maine in a nutshell: family, dogs, lobster, wine.
I was also surprised to notice on our drive out that there is another coffee shop named Brewed Awakenings in Maine. In addition, I noticed that there is a state minimum price for milk and I got to wondering if this is the case everywhere (I don’t believe it is). If you’re curious how the Maine Milk Commission establishes milk prices, read up here: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/mmc/priest.htm. The strange things you notice while driving the perimeter of the country.