Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Nibbles and Sips in Portland, Maine

I love Portland Maine. It’s such a lovely little city with wonderful New England charm — cobblestone streets, waterfront properties, great eateries, and some adorable shops. I am fortunate to have a good friend that lives just north of the city, so I have an “excuse” to visit more frequently than I otherwise might. I’ve been visiting the city and surrounding towns since I was a little kid, and as a result have had the good fortune to visit, and more importantly eat at, a lot of different places. But every visit, I try to seek out a few new-t0-me spots to try, and during my most recent visit, I finally got a chance to try Eventide Oyster Co. But first, the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club!

I’d never heard of thePortland Hunt & Alpine Club, but Hannah, my Maine friend, insisted I’d love it, and boy was she right. I found the vibe to be a bit hipster-esque, and the staff to be pretty into themselves, but the decor was gorgeous and totally up my alley. Plus — the cocktails! Deee-lightful. The three of us ordered a round of drinks, along the Popcorn (green chili, butter, parmesan) and House Pretzels (Maine sea salt, mustard) to go with them. The popcorn was ridiculously addicting — very buttery, light on the chili — and the pretzels were good, though nothing to write home about. I got the El Diablo, which had tequila, cassis, ginger, lime and soda. Another friend, Meaghan, also got that, and Hannah got the White Noise, which had house-carbonated elderflower, cocci, and grapefruit zest. They referred to this drink as their “adult soda” which they had on tap, and it was quite delicious — a bit sweet, a touch bitter. If I’d gotten a second drink it would’ve been the White Noise. However, the El Diablo was also quite good — I ordered it because of the familiar flavors, all of which played really nicely together, and created a flavorful, balanced, easy to drink libation. It was a wonderful start to the evening!

Hannah’s neighbor is the chef at Eventide, so she’d been plenty of times before, and knew how to direct our menu ordering. We’d just come from having delicious drinks and snacks, but wanted a bit more sustenance. Between Hannah’s recommendations and the waiter’s, we ordered a slew of dishes, all of which were completely to die for. I got a Celery Gilmet (gin, celery, lime) to sip along the way, which was almost on the savory side, with a very distinct celery taste. It was super unique, and I really liked it.

Everyone insisted we try the lobster rolls, served on house-made buns, which to me were reminiscent of pork bun buns. They were super doughy and soft and pillowy, with a slight sweetness. The little rolls were loaded with lobster — we tried both the famed Brown Butter Lobster Roll, and also the Ginger Scallion Lobster Roll. They were both completely heavenly — perfectly cooked hunks of lobster smothered in flavorful sauce, and nestled into the most delicate and delicious buns. I probably could have had a couple of these and been happy for the night, but we forged ahead!

We also ordered a Fried Oyster Bun, which came with tartar and pickles. It was simple, and delicious. The oysters were crispy and sweet, and perfectly cooked. Even the non-oyster lovers among us loved this dish!

Eventide Oyster - Sweetly Serendipity

Next came the Yellowfin Tuna Crudo, with ginger-scallion, tare, and radish. This dish was more delicate, yet still wildly flavorful, with a really great balance of textures. Along with the crudo we were served the Crispy Pork, with pickled onion and carrot and an avocado sauce. There was another garnish which I didn’t catch, something a bit crunchy, which added an interesting element to the dish. The pork was really rich and tender, and the dish all around was another total winner. It was hard to resist devouring each of these whole plates as they were served!

Eventide Oyster - Sweetly Serendipity

Eventide Oyster - Sweetly Serendipity

At this point, Hannah was down for the count (or perhaps being smart by not totally over-stuffing herself), but Meaghan and I wanted more, so we ordered the Fried Oysters with kim chee, lime, and cilantro.

We also got an order (compliments of the chef — such a nice gesture!) of the Chickpea Fries. I’ve had a lot of chickpea fries in my time, and these were no slouch. Served with raisins and some kind of seeded mustard, they were ultra crispy on the edges, and soft and tender in the inside. The perfect balance!

Eventide Oyster - Sweetly Serendipity

And as if this wasn’t all enough, we opted for dessert — and since we couldn’t pick one, we got TWO. One was the special ice cream sandwich of the day — oatmeal cookies with house made ice cream (can’t remember the flavor, cinnamon maybe?), sandwiched together and dipped in chocolate. HOLY YUM is all I can say. I went crazy for that cookie sandwich. And then I tried the chocolate peanut butter bowl, which had a warm chocolate cookie and cold, mousse-like peanut butter ice cream. The warm cookie to cold ice cream contrast really made that dish a winner. Needless to say, we went home fat and happy 🙂

I wasn’t with a raw oyster loving crowd, so I cannot wait to go back sometime and sample all that they’ve got. And maybe get another lobster roll… or three. If you find yourself in Portland anytime soon, I highly recommend a stop at Eventide. In a city known for its seafood, they truly set themselves apart.

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