The Foraging Trilogy II: To Market, To Market

I love visiting a city that has nice markets and Portland, Maine which is an hour away from our summer cottage on the lake, makes a great destination for searching out food sources. It was once named America’s foodiest small town for its great restaurants, fresh lobster, seafood and hand crafted beers. It is also well know for its markets, whether they are big stores, little shops or artisanal bakeries where you can find wonderful baked goods, unusual and hard to find items, gorgeous produce and specialty foods. These gems sometimes have me wishing I lived closer so that I could go all the time.

When planning a day trip to Portland, I pack a cooler in the back of my car that will hold   the perishable items that I collect from a day of foraging. So I’m off “to market, to market, to buy at fat pig”…no not really. But I’ll be searching for black pepper dry salami that I enjoyed at lunch at The Blue Spoon on their meze plate. I’ll also be looking for fresh produce, cheese, bread and dessert. I think a pie be will coming home with me as well.

Perhaps A Cherry Pie From Two Fat Cats

For the pie, my destination is Two Fat Cats. You may have heard of this traditional American style bakery as it has been written up in magazines such as Travel and Leisure, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and the Boston Globe and the New York Times newspapers. The bakery is housed in a bright yellow building on India Street. Walk down a small wooden staircase, and the sweet smell of freshly baked pies, cakes, cupcakes and their famous whoopie pies fills the air of this tiny bakery. Everything is made the old-fashioned way…from scratch with butter and local fresh eggs, homemade frosting and pie crusts rolled by hand.

Two Fat Cats, A Classic America Style Bakery

Fresh Baked Bourbon Pecan Pie

It is always a hard decision trying to decide what to buy but this time a bourbon pecan pie won out. Next time it will be cherry or mixed berry pie.

Down the street is my next destination, Micucci Grocery. It is a traditional Italian market filled with smells that will transport you to a small market on a back street in Italy.

The Deli Area Has Imported Meats, Cheeses And Olives

The deli has a nice selection of the finest imported meats, cheeses and olives from Italy and the Mediterranean. Baskets filled with fresh produce are lined up in front of the cases. Yes, they had the black pepper dry salami that I was searching for.

They have an entire aisle of imported pasta in every shape and size imaginable. This is where I purchased the Sicilian pasta called fregula. I always buy a new shape I haven’t tried every time I am in the store.

An Entire Aisle of Imported Pasta In Every Shape You Can Imagine

Down another aisle there is shelf after shelf filled with jars of Italian condiments, bottles of extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and dried herbs and spices.

Head past their large selection of Italian wines in the back, go up the stairs and past rows filled commercial size jars and cans of imported ingredients that supply many of the area restaurants and you will find what locals in the know go to Micucci’s for…”the slab”.

Commercial Size Italian Products

You will know you are in the right spot from the aroma of freshly baked Sicilian Pizza and artisan breads. A line forms in front of a rolling rack that holds “the Sicilian Slabs” that sell for $4.50 each. While standing in line, assemble a flattened pizza box which seems to be part of the experience. There is only the one kind of pizza and when it is sold out stay in line to wait for a fresh batch to be baked and cut. When you reach the front, grab one of the slabs on a paper plate and take it back down to the cashier at the front of the store. Locals rave about “the slab” with its thick, soft and yeasty crust topped only with sweet tomatoes and cheese. Too bad I had just finished lunch as the line wasn’t long.

The Famous Sicilian Slab

Next stop on my foraging adventure is The Standard Baking Company. Located under the famed Fore Street Restaurant and with the same owners, this is probably the best bakery in Portland for rustic breads and French pastries.

The Standard Baking Company

If you are a bread lover, you will think you are in heaven when you enter the front door. If not heaven, then at least in a small bakery in France. The baguettes are crispy on the outside, chewy inside as are the rustic organic boules. The delicious croissants are crispy, flaky and buttery. Pain au chocolat and morning buns are wonderful and can’t be resisted.

Crusty Breads And Rolls

Pain au Chocolat And Morning Buns Can Sell Out Quickly

The last stop of the day is not a small market but is a chain grocery store, Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Market

At the present time, there is not one in New Hampshire and the Portland store is the only one in Maine. The store is large and has the best assortment of organic foods I have seen in the area.

Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

Everything is first class from their huge choice of local and imported cheese and their large meat department to their produce selection that had a wonderful assortment of exotic mushrooms. Expensive but wonderful!

Bruschetta Three Ways…Cherry Tomato, Mushroom And Thyme, Roasted Pepper and Feta

I had no trouble filling my cooler with great ingredients for several future meals. Back home, I prepared tasty bruschetta from ingredients that I discovered today.  They were enjoyed with a nice glass of wine after a long day of foraging in Portland.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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185 Responses to The Foraging Trilogy II: To Market, To Market

  1. I would love to have been on that trip with you! What wonderful stores. And those bruschetta look great too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, I would have enjoyed having you. I love to do my food shopping in Portland for all the wonderful ingredients that I can’t get elsewhere.

  2. Eva Taylor says:

    Thanks for that informative yet compelling foraging trip into Portland, Karen. I usually carry a cooler with me too in the summer, you never know when you might need it. I love these authentic little European stores. We have a few Ukranean/Hungarian shops in Bloor West Village.
    We also have Whole Foods in Toronto too, we call it Whole Paycheck!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, I was just reading your latest post when your comment came in…I can see we are both early risers. I always comment that the grocery stores in Maine are expensive compared to New Hampshire but Whole Foods is the most expensive. I did find fresh morels and other mushrooms that I wouldn’t have found in other markets.

  3. Looks like Portland is the place to shop! My husband would kill for one of those pies.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rosemary, Portland is a wonderful place to shop and is worth the hour drive each way. Of course, we make a day of it by having lunch as well.

  4. Karen, I have just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award on my blog because Back Road Journal is one of my favourites. If you wish to pick up the award, please come visit my blog.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suzanne, Thank you so much for thinking of my blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. It is so nice to know how much you enjoy my blog…I really appreciate the compliment.

  5. What a great trip. The Bruschetta looks delicious and the Bakery..oh my! We are going to have to visit Portland very soon. Thanks for the great pictures.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, I’m glad you enjoyed the trip. The bruschetta was good. We had slices of the lovely marinated olive bread that Standard Baking makes last night…one of our favorites.

  6. Judy says:

    I could smell the pizza slab right through the computer. When we go to Portland, we head out with the cooler but come back with the cooler and the slab boxes. And, we always leave some $$ at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Portland is a wonderful destination. Sounds like you had a great day.

  7. valcitygal says:

    What a wonderful shopping excursion. I’d have trouble holding back in some of those shops. :) Greta idea for the bruschetta too – something for everyone, and it looks delicious!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Val, I’m glad you enjoyed the excursion. I never walk out of one of the shops empty handed. Doing several different types of brushcette does make everyone happy. Always a popular little nibble and easy to prepare.

  8. So many wonderful stores and so much time!
    I’ll take each pie x2 thanks ;)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  9. Larry says:

    You got some great shots of you shopping tour and it brought back memories of my youth in South Jersey where you would go to Dimaio’s for your Italian meats (they made their own sausages and capicola) and cheeses then head just up the street to Terrigno’s Bakery for bread. I like being able to buy from speciality shops.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larry, I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos and that the trip brought back nice memories of time spent in South Jersey. As nice as the large stores are, it is wonderful to have small specialty stores with great products.

  10. lulu says:

    For a small city, Portland does have so much to offer and, like you, I always come back with my car loaded with goodies. Bruschetta and wine are a perfect way tot relax after a busy day and a great way to enjoy some of your tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, Our small town market at the lake just can’t compare to what is available in Portland. Throw in the great restaurants and it is worth the drive. Bruschetta with the sweet cherry tomatoes from our garden is good.

  11. Now that’s my kind of foraging! ;)
    I’m awfully hungry here…and the Farmer’s market doesn’t open til 9!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie, Yes…my kind of foraging doesn’t mean that you have to get dirty digging in the woods. LOL. I love foraging at the local farmers markets as well.

  12. kbosin says:

    I can smell that slab all the way down here! YUM!

  13. I would love to visit Portland—probably need to make it a weekend trip as its about a 4 hour drive there from CT. Maybe I would need a week, just to be sure I saw everything!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. Depending where in CT. I think you are right about it being a 4 hour drive. If you planned more than just the weekend, you could do short day trips in the area.

  14. It would be so much fun shopping here! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sibella, Shopping in Portland is a lot of fun. Just think, this was only food. If you add in all the other shops, you could do some serious shopping.

  15. This made me so hungry!

  16. trangquynh says:

    wowwwww, all the products look soooooo beautiful, I’m truly impressed with the Two Fat Cats and the pies, amazing ^^

  17. Norma Chang says:

    That’s a shopping trip I would thoroughly enjoy. I would bring 2 coolers though. It is not yet lunch time but your post is making me so hungry. Want that mushroom bruschetta and slab now.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Norma, It was a fun shopping trip. We tend to take a cooler on many of our day trips. You never know what you will discover while out and about. The slab is one of the main draws at the Italian market…you made a good choice. And the mushroom brushcetta is so easy to make.

  18. Holy cow. That market is definitely worth the trip. The pies are gorgeous and the bruschetta, which I kid you not we might make tonight!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Greg, It really is worth the hour trip each way to get all the wonderful food products. It is hard to be in Portland and not stop at Two Fat Cats for one of their pies. Bruschetta is a wonderful little nibble, enjoy!

  19. spicegirlfla says:

    Awww….I’m sooo jealous! An Italian market! I’ve been searching everywhere in Atlanta for one! I think I could actually smell the pizza as you described it so perfectly!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, The quest for a good Italian market…I know it well. I’m sure there must be one near your new home, at least I hope so. Thank you for your nice comment, the Sicilian pizza really is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

  20. Sue says:

    Oh, I’d LOVE to have a great bakery nearby and a Whole Foods Market too. We do have an organic grocery about 40 miles from here, but wow-the prices are ridiculous. Most of the items I need I can get cheaper through Amazon…but I’m on the lookout for the radiatorre pasta and have been unable to find them organic.
    What a fun day that must have been. I’ve never been a “shopper” but I do love a good specialty food store and of course antiques too.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Karen. Loved all your gorgeous pictures!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sue for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I’d much rather be shopping for a great food product than clothes, so I think we are a lot alike. Whole Foods was expensive but they did have a great cheese and meat department. Also a wonderful selections of mushrooms that are hard to find elsewhere…certainly nothing I would ever find at the little market here at the lake.

  21. Wow! What a delicious spread! Every time you post anything about food, it always makes me want to eat gluten again! I was shocked to hear there’s only ONE WholeFoods there. We have so many in my area and they are not the best groc. to find good organic food here. We have the locals that are so much better. But we don’t have this deli!!!! Yum, my husband would go nuts! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you for your nice compliment. I don’t think that there are enough people living in our area to support Whole Foods. I have always heard about them and was happy when they built the one in Maine. I love the Italian market…I always come out of there with something new.

  22. flavorsofthesun says:

    When I travel, the first thing I always do is go to the local markets. Visiting with you and seeing your market makes me feel like I am on a lovely journey–and I am!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria, You can always tell a foodie when the first thing they want to see is the markets. When we are in Europe, I’m so envious of the products that we don’t have and the wonderful butcher shops where are meats are tied and presented so nicely. I’m glad you enjoyed the day trip into Portland to see the markets.

  23. Mary says:

    Great tour! If you like fish try Free Range Fish & Lobster on Commercial St! Another great place to check out is Willard Sq., in So. Portland, lots of wonderful stuff there! We’ll be visiting a few of your recommendations! Thank you!

  24. Lea Ann says:

    Thanks for taking the time to upload all those photos and taking us along on your trip. I’m glad this was urban foraging rather than woods foraging. :) And love those simple ideas for bruschetta. We’re bruschetta eating fools around here.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lea Ann, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our little foraging trip. I think urban foraging is the way to go. Bruschetta are so easy to prepare especially when you have lovely fresh vegetables.

  25. Now I really am hungry! The pies look delicious.. I love seeing what’s available in other parts of the world- it’s all pretty similar really though I would love a Whole Foods here!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, I have to say that I agree with you that it really is fun seeing what is available around the world. Whole Foods is one of the stores that you hear so many bloggers speak about…I’m glad I got to go there.

  26. thekitchenlioness says:

    Karen, this is a wonderful blog post with terrific photos! I love the “Sicilian Slab”, the Cherry Pie from Two Fat Cats and the vintage car in front of Whole Foods and, of course, your delicious looking bruschetta! I visited Portland a few years ago and loved it! It is a great place to visit and shop and eat!

    Thank you also for visiting my blog – I will make sure to take the time to enjoy some of your previous (and future) terrific posts!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post and photos. It’s nice to hear that you have visited Portland and enjoyed it. I loved the vintage car loaded with flowers at Whole Foods. The Sicilian slab is very popular and is Two Fat Cats pies are delicious.

  27. Mad Dog says:

    That’s an excellent tour Karen ;-)

  28. foodyrach says:

    Karen, you’re killing me with these pictures! They’re making me want to rent a Zipcar and head up to Maine for the weekend just to visit these places. My bf would find it fun too, as he’s into craft beer. And what I wouldn’t give for a few bites (who I am kidding, I’d eat the whole thing) of that bourbon pecan pie.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rach, I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the photos. I think you have a great idea. I’m sure you and your bf would enjoy Portland. Maine has the most brewpubs that sell handcrafted beers on the east coast.You could go exploring, have a couple great meals and take home one of those bourbon pecan pies.

  29. A perfect day of foraging indeed. For me I simply love continental goods and from a Sicilian Slab of tangy, cheesy goodness to bread & more carb heaven, I’m pretty content. The bruschetta looks lovely as did the rest of your treats from foraging ;)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alli, Thank you for your nice compliment.There were a lot of lovely purchases that involved carbs. Maybe it is a good thing that I don’t live too close to Portland. All three bruschetta were delicious and easy to make.

  30. Hi Karen,

    Oh what a lovely foodie paradise! I would be in heaven wandering around filling my cooler too!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dragonette, We did have a lot of fun searching out goodies to bring home in the cooler. Between the wonderful food markets and great restaurants, Portland is a great place to spend a few hours several times over the course of summer. The pantry is nicely stocked.

  31. Lady Kaldea says:

    Love the markets… Just wish we had them here. That is what I miss about this small town. Problem is no one here is willing to open their minds and try putting in shops like this. Have to go to Minn. for anything close to it! Am going to try the brucetta once I bake up the bread. Love the ideas!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lady, I know what you mean about living in a small or rural town. There are wonderful benefits but also there are some drawbacks. We don’t mind the hour drive to Portland as we always have a nice lunch there before we go looking for goodies. Enjoy your bruschetta…they will be delicious on homemade bread.

  32. What a tasty looking market!

  33. Two fat cats…that’s a fun name for a bakery. Gosh, look at all the bread!
    These Bruschetta are simply irresistible.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angie, One of the previous owners had two fat cats…I think it is a great name. You have to get to Standard Baking early for some of their breads as they sell out fast. The baguettes made terrific bruschetta with the fresh vegetables.

  34. Wonderful photos! This was not a good post for me today! I’m trying to lose a few pounds and now I want everything I saw in your photos! :) Yum!

  35. koritt says:

    Sounds like a trip that I should never embark on while hungry. Even with just your photos, I want to buy everything! :) Hope you are well and enjoying the summer!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Koritt, Nice to see you out and about in the blogworld. Summer is great with lots of good eating and enjoying Maine. I hope all is well with you. When we go on a food shopping adventure in Portland, it is after we have a nice lunch.

      • koritt says:

        Hi Karen,

        Thank you! I don’t have internet at home since I just moved, so I won’t be around much for a while.

        Glad to hear that summer is treating you well. I visited Portland, Maine a long time ago and have fond memories. Glad you do food shopping the “right” way. :P
        :)

        Take care!

      • Karen says:

        Hoping you get settled in your new home and that life treats you well. I’m glad that I brought back nice memories of Portland, it is a wonderful little city.

      • koritt says:

        Thank you! Yes, I’m hoping that things go well and that things wrap up nicely in the next 1.5 years. I’m ready to leave this town. :P I definitely need to pay Portland a visit again sometime soon.

        Hope the weather is nice where you are. We are finally getting rain! :)

  36. Your photos are making me hungry:)

  37. I want to shop where you shop. Then I want to come home with you and have you make me dinner…the bruschetta will do nicely. I will bring the wine and flowers–from your yard. If I disappear while there, you will find me hunkered down in the tomato plants having a feast. : )

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bliss, When I’m ready my comments and start laughing out loud, my husband can guess that I am reading your comment. Let’s see…you want to shop with me, have me cook dinner with your preference being a trio of my bruschetta. You will cut flowers from my flower garden and devour the ripening tomatoes from the vegetable garden. Well as long as you are bringing the wine, how could I possible resist a laugh filled dinner with you.

  38. lvaletutto says:

    Boy do you forage in style! Your posts on this town have made me not only want to visit Portland, Maine but possibly move there!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, My foraging technique is certainly different. No trudging through forests, climbing hills, or crossing streams for me. Instead I let the experts find the best ingredients and then I forage in their lovely stores. Portland, Maine is a wonderful little city to be sure.

  39. glamorous glutton says:

    How fabulous! Absolutely my kind of day. The slab looks wonderful, I could almost pluck it out of the picture. I love places that have artisan bread and as for the Italian deli shop, wow! GG

    • Karen says:

      Hi GG, Thank you for your compliment. I’m glad you liked my way of foraging. The slab is a must try if you are in the neighborhood and need a slice of pizza. The deli and bakeries are “must stop by” places when we are in Portland.

  40. A_Boleyn says:

    I love expeditions like yours. I often start the morning hungry and then when I arrive home I have a feast made of my foraged goods. :) I especially loved the slab.

    One of my stops, an Italian bakery, also sells groceries imported from Italy, as well as having a deli section at the back where they’ll make you a sandwich out of the the freshly baked buns you pick and an assortment of meats and cheeses. And they also have a freshly made pizza, lasagna, pasta station. :) You never need to cook.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Boleyn, Nice to hear that you enjoy going on a food expedition. Our foraging always leads to several wonderful meals. It is nice that you have an Italian deli near where you live…it sounds great.

  41. What a fun day of foraging, it sounds like my kind of day :).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, I’m glad that you enjoyed my husband’s and my day of foraging in Portland. It is always fun…we never know what we will be bringing home in our cooler. Thank you for your comment.

  42. hotlyspiced says:

    What a lovely day you you had. With so much on offer I would find it very hard to stick to my budget xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlie, It is difficult to stick to a budget when on a foraging adventure. Too many lovely ingredients are saying, “buy me, buy me”. How can you possibly resist.

  43. Charles says:

    That store looks wonderful – look at all that stuff. The photo with all the fruit and vegetables is my favourite… just wonderful, so many different colours!

    What’s an “ANDI score” by the way?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, All the markets that we enjoy visiting in Portland have wonderful selections of products. You have a very observant eye. The ANDI score on the lemon sign stands for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index which is a score of 0 to 1000 of nutrient rich foods…comparing the ratio of nutrients to calories. Aren’t you glad you asked? People who are eating the trendy Paleo diet use this as a guide for foods to buy and eat.

  44. musingmar says:

    This is my idea of soulful shopping! Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing how I like to shop for food. Soulful shopping…I like that. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  45. Ali says:

    I love a town with a nice market too! So much freshly cooked food and produce would make me a very happy person :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ali, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. Portland is a wonderful little city with nice markets offering lovely products. I always arrive back home very happy with wonderful goodies in my cooler.

  46. ceciliag says:

    Oh how completely stunning, i just LONG for stores like this and shopping for real food.. nothing AT ALL like that down here.. and i love your enthusiasm for a good forage!! c

  47. mjskit says:

    There’s no way I could have passed up that Bourbon Pecan Pie either! Was any left by the time you got home? :) What a great tour of Portland, Maine’s markets and what markets! I’m envious! Thanks for the tour!

    • Karen says:

      Hi MJ, I’m glad you enjoyed the tour of the specialty food stores in Portland. Bourbon pecan pie is my favorite and was savored over a couple of days. Croissants still warm out of the oven have been known to disappear in the car, never making it home.

  48. ChgoJohn says:

    I really enjoy spending a day like you’ve described, Karen, going from shop to shop, taking advantage of the specialties of each. And then there’s the ride home, planning the night’s dinner with the day’s finds. Once our daily temperatures return to normal, I plan to more fully explore the suburban Little Italy that I recently stumbled upon. What fun!

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, It really is fun searching out goodies and then going home and creating a delicious meal with them. It is nice that you have found a suburban Little Italy to explore.

  49. soffiagudrun says:

    nice to go shopping with you….the most fun shopping i have had for a long time. too bad it was not fod real because there are so many things i wanna taste and buy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Soffia, Thank you for your nice comment. I’m glad you enjoyed shopping with me. Wish you could have been at my side to enjoy our finds.

  50. viveka says:

    Love markets … this is a great post, Karen … reminds me to do one about one of the best market in the world – Granville Island, Vancouver … have so many photos from there. Have to get around to make a post about it. Like the look of your bruschettas – something I really like when eating out – but I never do it myself – wonder why ???? Thanks for taking me along.

    • viveka says:

      By the way I been i Portland at least 6 times … but I can’t remember it was a nice little town – with markets .. on the other hand we where only interested in the shopping mall just outside town. *smile – that was nearly 25 years ago.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Viveka, Portland is a small city with only 66,000 residents but I think that is one of the things that makes it nice. In 25 years, I’m sure much has changed since your last visit.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Viveka, Bruschetta are so good and easy to do, you must make them soon. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour of the markets. I look forward to seeing Granville Island from your visit to Vancouver.

  51. Candy says:

    beautiful photos :-)

  52. rsmacaalay says:

    That slab looks amazing, lucky I had some Italian for dinner otherwise I will be left drooling on this page

  53. Yum! Karen, the bruschettas look wonderful! I am putting bruschetta on things I want to make this summer. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ming, You definitely must make bruschetta…it is so easy. It is such a nice little nibble to have before a meal or with a cocktail.

  54. Fresh/good produce can be hard to come by here in Wyoming and there are no Whole Foods around. So ever time we’ve made a trip out of state we always load up the coolers. People at Whole Foods think we’re insane with how much with buy. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jed, The availability of really good food is one thing I missed when I first moved to New Hampshire from Miami. You can’t believe how far I will drive to buy good ingredients for a meal…so I can really relate.

  55. cabinet stew says:

    WOW! what a post! Full of all the things I like to eat! If it wasn’t so hot and lazy in this weather, I would be in the car right now, headed up there right now. (about 50-60mins for me) However I can not complain here in the Boston area with access to many if not all those things just without the charm. If you didn’t already spot it..next time you are in “Whole Paycheck” (yes we call it that too) be sure to pick up some Robusto cheese. It is only sold there (at least that I can find) and it is my absolute favorite cheese. I wrote a comical post about it actually: http://cabinetstew.com/2011/03/26/march-20/
    Anyway it is has been 20+ years since I spent any time in that town and clearly I can see I must make the effort soon! If only for the Bourbon Pecan pie -THAT is something I definitely can’t get in Boston!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you for your nice compliment. Wow…you must really fly on the expressway. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed if you made the trip only for the bourbon pecan pie but there is so much more to be enjoyed. I’ll have to look for the cheese the next time I’m at Whole Foods.

      • cabinet stew says:

        well we are northshore of Boston so that helps. I can be in Portsmouth in 30 mins, but you are probably right Portland is further than I remember. ( But I am the speeder in the family) Definitely get the Robusto!

      • Karen says:

        You are a little speeder. I bought gorgonzola dolce this time but will try your recommendation next time.

  56. Karen now I am really dying to visit. What a fabulous array of treats. You hit all the ones I would want. That slab pizza reminds me of Italy. And the Italian Grocery fo my beloved South Philly. I found a pie place like that on the Cape too….well I will be planning a trip to the Portland area.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donna, I’m glad you enjoyed the post on the wonderful little food treasures to be found in Portland. I think you would enjoy visiting the city.

  57. What a lovely way to spend a day Karen. you got me on the bourbon pecan pie, eventhough I don’t have a very sweet tooth I know I would love a slice. A great celebratory foodie post!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Claire, for your nice compliment. I enjoy the bourbon pecan pie very much. I should be trying all their other varieties but the pecan pie wins must times.

  58. ambrosiana says:

    Your trip was trully a foodies paradise! I really enjoyed reading this lovely post! I noticed a San Marzano tomato can and this is awesome!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ambrosiana, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Portland really is a food lovers town in so many ways. I’m sure you would be familiar with many if not all of the products that Micucci’s carries. They really do carry quality ingredients.

  59. Oh my, now that´s my kind of day out shopping!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, I’m glad you liked my shopping tour. I know that you do a lot of that kind of shopping when you are in England but instead of a cooler you have a suitcase.

  60. Hubby just had a little layover in Portland–I was so jealous! thanks for the great photos and adding it to my must go see list. I’m trying to get a little trip in Sept out to your great Maine!
    Stacey

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stacey, The weather in Maine is usually wonderful in September and would be a lovely time to visit. We usually stay at the cottage through the end of October unless we are traveling which we will be this year.

  61. Gorgeous photos and the food looks so delicious. What an enjoyable day! I’m being bitten by the Travel Bug. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Amy, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos. The travel bug bites me all the time. We will be off on another adventure soon.

  62. Wow!! That is an awesome post!! My wife and I honeymooned in Portland. Maine – we so enjoyed the culture there, which you’ve captured beautifully in your photographs… Thank you for such an enjoyable read!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Robert, for your very nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and that it brought back memories of your honeymoon spent in Portland.I’m sure it was memorable.

  63. oh that bakery looks incredible! great photos!

  64. Liz says:

    Those pies look amazing, what a great market.

  65. What a wonderful foraging you do, Karen! I think each of your stops is most inviting! I have a few local places I think are very special, but I think I tend to appreciate the places in other towns more…I wonder why that is? Perhaps it is just a connection to the “foraging” aspect…like an adventure! :-) I love road trips and finding those special places for particularly delicious finds! Fun to go with you and enjoy your photos! Debra

  66. kitchenriffs says:

    This is my kind of foraging! We always have a cooler in the car, because you just never know when you’re going to find something that you have to have but needs to stay cool. I love looking at pictures of food, and yours are great. Those pies are awesome, and who could turn down that wonderful looking bread?! I’ve never been to Portland – but obviously when I do get there, I’ll eat well. Fun post – thank you.

  67. Kristy says:

    How did I miss all these markets in Portland?! Now I know for next time. :) I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we ate at in town. I do remember enjoying it. It was back when Mr. N was just three and after a trip to the kids’ museum in town. Have I mentioned how much I love Maine. LOL. And those pies look fantastic!!! It would have definitely have been a berry pie for me. YUM!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristy, Other than Standard Baking, the markets would be easy to miss. I do know that you love Maine, I’m sure you will get back someday. The berry pies are a standout for sure.

  68. This food browsing looks fantastic Karen! Amazing American cakes (I love them! More than the Italian ones) and the Italian Deli…like you I love trying different pasta shapes which are not easy to find when you do not live in Italy. Rita aka ritacooksitalian

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rite, Thank you for your nice comment. Micucci’s has wonderful Italian products. I think the different shaped pastas are nice depending on the type of sauce being served with them.

  69. Karen, your pictures always make me feel as if I have taken a road trip with you. Thanks so much.

  70. Love your pics and “tour” of Portland. We visited twice, a few years ago, and enjoyed the food and freshness of all we ate. Plus, it is such a great town to walk around and savor the time spent just observing the neat shops, food stores, and specialty stores. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan, I’m happy that I brought back memories of your trips to Portland. It is nice that you really enjoyed your visits. There is so much to do and great places to eat that we never tire of visiting the city. Thank you for your nice compliment about the post.

  71. niasunset says:

    WOW! I loved them all, I wished to be there now… Thank you dear Karen, you are amazing. Love, nia

  72. Hi Karen,
    All those pies look incredible! It’s bed time for me but after seeing all these photographs I am starving.
    Whole foods is one of my favorite places to shop. It’s a little far away from where I live but I can spend hours in that store, just browsing.
    Nice post!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Asmita, Thank you for nice compliment. I love the pies from Two Fat Cats…they are so good. I really did enjoy Whole Foods as we don’t have one in New Hampshire.

  73. Pingback: The Foraging Trilogy III: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig | Back Road Journal

  74. Katerina says:

    I’ve been to Portland but I didn’t have the chance to taste all these delicious dishes and breads! Sounds like a full day, literally and in every sense!

  75. My kind of foraging, that’s for sure. That cherry pie is a stunner!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I’m glad you like my kind of foraging. All the pies from Two Fat Cats are wonderful…they have the best crust that stays nice and crispy even with a berry pie.

  76. That bakery looked fantastic! I could have taken one of everything! And the meats, and breads, and pastas…. now I’m hungry!

  77. Pingback: Spinach and Ricotta Fritters | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

    • Karen says:

      Hi Greg, Thank you for your lovely compliment. I always appreciate your kind words. By the way, the picture of the three varieties of bruschetta, that wasn’t in a restaurant. I had made those to have with a glass of wine before dinner.

  78. I love the idea of market foraging! When I read the word foraging I think of mushrooms in a forest…but you gave it a modern dimension that makes grocery shopping inspiring…

  79. Great market. I am with you. When I travel first for me is markets, a good super market and then my restaurants…..I just got back from Barcelona d took over 300 pictures at La Boqueria…

  80. spree says:

    It’s looking more and more like I may need to visit the other Portland! You’ve captured it so well in your words and photos Karen!

  81. That looks like a day in heaven to me! I’m a Whole Foods fan too!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Linda, for your nice comment. We don’t have a Whole Foods in New Hampshire so I enjoyed shopping at the one in Portland which is just an hour away for our summer cottage.

  82. Gobetween says:

    Gorgeous displays and tempting treats, I feel awfully hungry now.

  83. I love your bruschetta!! I’m off to find ingredients for my crostini and this has inspired me. We have a few streets in Calgary that are developing, but none that have everything in one place as this does. I can’t get the Two Fat Cats Bakery out of my mind.. how I’d love to have a bakery like that!! xx Smidge

  84. We had the bourbon pecan pie and it was incredibly delicious! It was my birthday pie. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Richard, What a nice way to celebrate your birthday. I’m glad you enjoyed the pie…it is one of my favorites. I hope your day was special.

      • Thanks, Karen. It has been a wonderful day and week. Going home tomorrow. Before I left I finished some duck pastrami and was letting it sit for 10 days so I’m looking forward to trying it when we get home. Hopefully, it will be good enough to post.

      • Karen says:

        So happy that you have had a wonderful day and week. My husband would certainly love hanging out in your kitchen with you…all the great food toys and creations like duck pastrami would sure make him smile.

  85. Carolyn Chan says:

    One of the first places we try to seek out every time we travel are the food markets and Maine looks delightful !

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