Food, sunshine, friendship–not necessarily in that order!

Perfect blue skies, Monday holiday, sunshine before the rumored storm–a great day for lunch with my good friend Chris! The drawbridge ALMOST made me late, but it was a nice opportunity to look at the activity of Portland Harbor. Just in time, over, out, and into the sunshine of a glowing midwinter’s day!

Our favorite lunch spot: The Dogfish Cafe on Congress Street.

It’s a fine place to watch the sidewalk from a table in a sunny window, and catch up with a dear friend.

I love the mural!
And the border of corks along the bottom of the big plate-glass windows.

And I love the neighborhood! Funky Portland at its best. While I’m at it, let me throw in the link for a great “foodie” resource, the Portland Food Map:

Here’s the classy and historic Inn at St. John, with all flags flying.

Our cheerful and well-informed server, Kelly Moynihan, provided us with coffee, good advice, and boundless good humor along with fine service.
There were so many temptations to choose from!
Chris made the perfect choice:
Grilled Shrimp Panzanella

A warm salad of crispy salami, grape tomatoes, basil, bread and fresh mozzarella. Topped with grilled shrimp and balsamic reduction.

I enjoyed my selection as well!

Blueberry Salmon Salad
Grilled Atlantic Salmon atop pistachios, dried pears, shallots, Fuji apples, and mesclun greens with Maine blueberry vinaigrette:

Check out the menu:

There’s a handsome, friendly bar (and barkeep!) if you are eating alone, or just want to hang out with regulars from the neighborhood.

When you’re all done with lunch, doggy bag in hand (portions are generous!), there are lots of good shopping spots in easy walking distance. Union Station Plaza is home to a primo Goodwill store, and a mecca for Maine musicians, Buckdancer’s Choice Music Company
If you are a Maine musician, or love one, you have probably spent hours browsing in Buckdancer’s.

You can also feast your eyes on some of the elegant and distinctive architecture of the area. Here is a rendering (from a 1920 postcard) of the beautiful Maine Central Railroad offices, which remain and now house many interesting Maine businesses:
Here is the old, glorious Union Station; here depicted in 1911.
Here’s a good article about the railroad history of Portland, Maine, worth a look if you’re going to be in the neighborhood.
The best part of today was, of course, catching up with Chris! Just a few years ago she performed our wedding in the lovely Yarmouth home she shares with her husband, Jack. Jack is off to three weeks in the Philippines for work, one of her daughters is traveling with the Beehive Collective as an activist artist:, and the other is flying to Zambia tomorrow to begin 2 years of service to humanity in the agricultural field. We love vicariously adventuring through the travels of this amazing family.
I hope many of my friends are out enjoying the sparkling sunshine and mild temps. I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Portland bistros, haunts, and strolls!
Now: be sure to lay in some provisions for the SNOW!!!!

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