Merriland Farm Cafe – so good, we went back 2 days later! Now that’s good.

Breakfast is always a bit tricky as a ‘eating out’ meal. We all know that its fast, easy, and relatively inexpensive to just make your own coffee, cereal, maybe a bit of fruit, some yogurt. So why eat out. It’s just going to be expensive.

I must at this point admit that I find the proliferation of coffee shops (here – and in Korea) a bit puzzling. As noted – making coffee at home isn’t that hard. And for $100 you can get a foamer that works perfectly every time – so its not about the latte. I think it must be related to convenience. Run it – drop a few bucks – get coffee. Tis a puzzlement.

But moving on to ‘eating out’. A serious breakfast place has to offer something special I think. It’s not good enough to just have 5 different kinds of omelets – discriminating guests demand extras. And on that score – the Merriland Farm delivers – in spades.

First location. It’s not really that well located. Its off the main drag (on the beach in Maine – that’s Route 1). And not towards the ocean either. It’s up in the hills – right before you are on the wrong side of 95. So as far as location goes – it has it’s work cut out for itself. To make up for that – it’s on a berry farm – fresh blueberries and raspberries. And it’s on a 9 hole golf course. So the surroundings – while not ocean – are rather spectacular.

You can choose to eat out side, or inside. The main building dates from 1800 – but it’s been modernized and sophisticated. Hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, great paint job. It’s very nice. The A/C is a bit on the weak side – and the rooms can get a bit warm – but they are lovely. And not so noisy that you can’t hear yourself think.

The breakfast menu is long, detailed, and mouth-watering. The ‘tea bread’ starter is outstanding, too bad it’s not free. Order it – and you get a fresh loaf of blueberry laced bread with a delicious crumble on top. Yum. There are omelets, a selection of ‘Benedicts’ – including a lobster Benedict. There are waffles served with their farm made blueberry/raspberry mixture that are the best I’ve ever had. All the various dishes are served with your choice of sides – sweet potato fries (oh yum), or the absolute best thing – a 3 potato medley. Purple, Sweet, and Plain potatoes roasted to potato perfection.

On the table – Maine maple syrup – as if things aren’t sweet enough. The savory options include heart stopping options like Sausages and Pancakes. Even the Bacon is sweet – but delicious.

The one ‘oh well’ for us was the corn beef hash – my husband still thinks that the one he makes at home is better – but otherwise – outstanding.

How outstanding? We went back again for breakfast just 2 days later!

It’s an A. Oh, yes – definitely an A.

PS: quick note – they do dinner – which based on the quality of breakfast – we had to try. Not the same quality unfortunately. So definitely do breakfast – steer clear of dinner unless the chef gets a serious change of heart! (well – and menu!)

Merriland Farm Cafe on Urbanspoon

Easily the best Lobstah in all of Maine – Trust me!

Want the Best Lobstah in Maine? I’ve so got you covered

Nope – I’m not joking. I know the best place to get Lobstah – and Clam Chowder in Maine. And I’ll even share that information – but only after you get the entire picture.

My idea of the perfect holiday day starts with coffee, cereal, fresh fruit, and a sea breeze. The sound and sight of the ocean never ceases to bemuse and relax me – even when it’s cold and rainy – or hot and sunny – it’s not ‘Maine’ that I love – it’s the ocean. The fact that going to Maine makes it easier to get to the ocean is of course critical for vacation planning purposes – but without the ocean, Maine would just be another state.

So – breakfast listening to the ocean, a day spent with my feet in the sand, maybe jumping the occasional wave if the water is anything other than frigid – lunch of left-overs or fruit, and then dinner.

Ah, dinner. Maine doesn’t lack for restaurants – from the fab to the touristy, from the fried fish to mock italian, even Chinese and Thai. You want it – you can get it in Maine. But what I want is Lobstah and Clam Chowder.

We have rented what can best be described as a shack near the beach for at least the last 15 years. It’s small, it’s cozy, it’s across from a great walking and surfboarding beach – and it has a kitchen. Because there’s a kitchen, we can eat in. And that brings me right around to that best lobstah in Maine claim.

It’s the Wells Beach Lobstah Pound. The offerings are stunningly simple. Lobstah – you can get it raw – but for free they will cook it for you – and trust me, they know how to cook Lobstah. You just choose your size – tiny little ones, the 1.5 lb ‘normal’ size, up to 3 and 4 lbs monsters if you order ahead. They toss your choice into the cooker – and 15 minutes later – hand you a bag to ‘take-home’. Butter costs 60 cents extra – but you don’t need more than one to be honest. The Clam Chowder comes in pints and quarts – we always get a quart – and rarely have any left for the next day.

It’s perfect.

Oh yes – they also sell fresh off the boat fish – the quantity of which depends on the luck of the fishermen that day – generally there’s haddock and scallops for sure. And they will do the work for you and just give you the lobster meat – an option that I really don’t understand. If you don’t want to mess with the Lobstah – don’t eat it!

Can you do better? Maybe. I’m sure other people have their favorite pounds – but for me – this is the best. Lobstah is best eaten within the sound and the smell of the ocean, and the Wells Beach Lobster Pound is perfect. Just perfect.

Wells Beach Lobster Pound on Urbanspoon

Italian on the Beach in Maine? Why Not?

I admit it – I love pasta. And lasagna. Particularly lasagna. It’s probably one of my favorite foods. So despite the fresh fish, amazing lobstah, and of course the clams – I need my pasta fix.

And my go to option at Wells Beach in Maine is Varano’s. We started going there when nobody else went. It was a brand new restaurant – oddly located in a timeshare resort – but it advertised fresh pasta – and it was well located for us. We tried, we enjoyed, it became a family tradition.

We quickly learned not to go on a weekend night. An hour wait for even a great lasagna is not right. So we go on Tuesday or Wednesday – when the crowds are low, and we can relax and actually enjoy our dinner.

And so we did. Service wasn’t wonderful unfortunately. Our waiter tried – and somethings got done right – like the lid on the water for my 6-year-old grand-daughter, but some things were just – well – wrong. When we asked what the vegetables of the day were – the right answer is either “I don’t know”, or the names of the veggies. The wrong answer is “What ever the chef decides to throw on the plate”. Nope – I don’t think so.

We ordered 2 lasagna’s for 3 people – which was enough lasagna for us all to feel stuffed – and to leave 1/2 of each portion to take home for a super filling lunch the next day. That’s what I call extreme portion size! My daughter opted for Clams in the style of Scampi – that’s with white wine, olive oil and garlic. Again – no control on portion size – there was enough spaghetti on the plate to feed 2. More take-home.

But the food was delicious. The lasagna is one of the best I’ve ever had – fresh pasta, fresh ricotta cheese – and a delicious if too small portion of marinara sauce. We had to ask for more – which the waiter did bring.

For dessert, we all shared a single cannelloni – made with chocolate chips and way to rich for my taste. Which didn’t stop my grand-daughter from licking the plate. It was that good.

All in all – if you stay away from the crowded nights – Varano’s in a winner. Particularly good is the lasagna – but I think I said that already!

Varano's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Varano's Italian Restaurant on Foodio54

The Quintessential Maine Experience – Nothing is quite like it!

Fisherman’s Catch Restaurant – Simple Seafood, Fresh & at it’s best!

Nothing says Maine like fried clams, fried scallops, and fried Haddock. Sorry – but that’s the truth. Even thinking about Maine brings the taste of tartar sauce on freshly fried seafood to mind.

That – and “I ate too much”. Easy to do around here. You spend the day on the beach bouncing over and under the waves and you figure you’ve earned a decent dinner. Then – to compound the problem – you go some place like the Fisherman’s Catch – a rundown shack (on purpose) – that just serves fresh fried fish, clams, and scallops. And discover you’ve got an hour wait for dinner. By the time you are seated – well – control is clearly out the window.

Oh well – at least the fish is so fresh it could have walked to your table, and the fried clams and scallops are beyond yummy. The seating is on wooden picnic tables, the napkins are rolls of paper towels hung over your head, but the prices are reasonable, the portions large, the chowder delicious, and the service – once you’ve got a seat – fast.

Not much else to say – except that the great reviews aren’t kidding. This is the quintessential Maine experience – fresh seafood, salty breezes, and a waiting line.

Bring it on.

Fisherman's Catch Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Fidhermans Catch Restaurant on Foodio54