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Friday, September 30, 2011

Mainely Food (Part 2)

Let's see, where were we?  Hiking up the South Bubble.

The Bubbles are 2 distinctive small mountains at the end of Jordan Pond in Acadia.  If you've seen a picture from Acadia, it's possible that it includes them:

The Bubbles (on left) as seen from the shores of Jordan Pond.
The Jordan Pond House houses a gift shop and restaurant where you can eat on the lawn looking at this incredible scene.  The food is very good--they're known for their lobster stew and popovers, but incredibly expensive.  We used to eat there for lunch after hiking in the morning, but it just got too pricey.  Now we pack our lunch or snacks, bring a blanket and sit on the grass to wind down from our hike.

The hike we were winding down from was the South Bubble (the one on the right above).  It was a beautiful day and the views were incredible.  South Bubble features "Balance Rock"--a boulder that, from the Loop Road below, looks like it's teetering on the edge of the mountain.  Obviously, it's not.  But as boys do, Jake wanted to see if he could move it. 
We brought our lunch up there and ate it looking down over Jordan Pond to the lawn of Jordan Pond House.  Doesn't get much more picturesque than that.
We took a lot of nice hikes through the woods, up and down mountains, by the ocean and lakeside.  All of them beautiful in their own way.  At low tide, we walked out over a sand bar in Bar Harbor to Bar Island (should have stopped at a bar afterward!).  We hiked the first trail MB & I ever did in Acadia back in '99.  And Jake spent much time frolicking in the 57 degree water on Sand Beach.  (Made my feet hurt just walking in it.)

But back to food...

When President Obama visited Bar Harbor with his family last summer, he got ice cream at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream.  And for good reason.  Gourmet magazine named MDI Ice Cream one of the top 25 ice cream places in the US earlier this year.  Being big fans of Owowcow Creamery, we had to check it out.

Like Owowcow, everything at MDI is made in small batches with fresh (sometimes local) ingredients.  As for flavors, creativity runs rampant.  Mary Beth got a cone of Mexican Chocolate and Jake, Nutella.  I couldn't decide and got a "flight" of 4 flavors.  I chose to go with the most interesting ones I could find (it was a tough choice): Chocolate Orange--deep dark chocolate with real orange flavor; Salt Caramel--really tasty and the saltiness was great when tasted with the Chocolate Orange; Blackstrap Banana--molasses and bananas together was very good; and, the one that grossed MB & Jake out, Blueberry/Blue Cheese/Fig/Walnut.  OK, it was very weird with a very prominent blue cheese flavor, but it was really good.  Not something I'd like all the time, but was worth the try.

Maine Crab Cakes

Actually, that ice cream was our lunch for the day because we were going to Cafe This Way for dinner!  As I've said before, this is one of our favorite restaurants anywhere.  The ultimate in casual fine dining, you can schlep in there with your hiking boots, t-shirt and shorts and sit down for a perfect meal.  Their food is always great--sauces perfectly balanced, seafood perfectly cooked.

Cashew-Crusted Halibut
Here's the run-down:  As an appetizer, I got Blackened Scallops with corn cream sauce, tomatillo salsa and tortilla strips.  Mmmm....  MB got Maine Crab Cakes.  Mmmm....  Linda got my favorite app there, The Littlebit, which is melted Asiago cheese, fresh bread, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers and olive tapenade.  I forget what Pete got. 

Lobster Rolls Three Ways
For dinner, I went with the Brazilian-Flavored Shrimp, Scallops and Mussels in a tomato-coconut sauce.  Incredible.  MB: Lobster Rolls Three Ways--traditional, Asian and Southwestern (the latter was her favorite).  Pete and Linda got the same: a huge piece of Cashew-Crusted Halibut with Cajun tartar sauce, garlicky spinach and mashed potatoes.  One of the great things about Cafe This Way is their kids' menu.  It's not Mac & Cheese, burger, hot dog, etc like most places.  They actually offer grilled chicken (which Jake got), pasta, shrimp, fish and more. 

We shouldn't have, but some of us got dessert.  I had Key Lime Cheesecake--very light and tasty.  Pete got their amazingly chocolaty Chocolate Mousse.  And Jake had a really great brownie as part of his dinner. 

If you are ever in Bar Harbor, go to Cafe This Way.  I mean it!

Next time, we'll finish up the trip with a beautiful hike, a newly found dinner spot in Bar Harbor and Breakfast at Grumpy's.

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