Friday, June 14, 2013

Rockland and Primo

today we drove from portland to rockland for a date at one of america's top restaurants, Primo.  we've read about it, we've seen in on food network and the travel channel, and have salivated at every bit of press they've received.  so needless to say we were excited.

in the morning we took mindy's father for a round of golf at a different course outside of portland, where as usual, he met up with a couple of guys and whipped their asses up and down the course.  then bought them a couple of beers as a consolation.  meanwhile, mindy and her mom and i went about the town looking for fun stuff to do.  we wandered into Yes books, a used, rare, and wonderful bookstore on congress st.  we bought a few books and chatted with the owner a bit.  he was a great guy with a wealth of experience in the bookie world.  he'd met james baldwin and allen ginsberg, and even at one point before baldwin's death hosted the two of them for a screening of an unpublished, unedited, and unreleased film about ginsberg.  of course, he had a great selection of beat works.  the bookstore even continues to publish a regular anthology of poems, similar to what city lights used to be, before they sold out.  a place we actually can't wait to be able to drive back to so we can buy a few boxes of instead of just a few books.

after a little lunch we were on our way to rockland.  a wrong turn took us off the interstate and down some of the state highways that are quite literally, over the hills and through the woods.  thinking to myself, without this road, this must have been what thoreau must have discovered in the walden pond and the maine woods.  it is daunting, but beautiful, as i was waiting for a moose to go loping across the road.

we arrived in rockland, found our B&B at Berry Manor Inn, and had just enough time to relax before heading out to dinner at Primo.  Berry Manor is a national historic building and the staff is quite amazing.  they treat the guests like gold and, for my first experience at a B&B, has set the bar too high for most to compete.  highly recommended.  highly.

Primo on the other had was a bit disappointing.  when we arrived we wandered through the garden a bit, which is just awesome.  there are greenhouses, and pigs, and chickens, and fruit trees and shrubs, and flowers everywhere, all stuffed onto just 3 acres.  our hostess at the B&B told us that the chef's goal is to raise 80% of the food they serve in the restaurant on site.  needless to say the foodie in me was excited.  perhaps it was my high hopes or perhaps it was the bigot at the table beside us, but my experience did not live up to expectations.

We were seated in a room with 2 older couples (one of whom was a former pastor) who were yacking loudly across the room from different tables at each other about jesus and how wonderful he is.  no big deal.  our waiter read us the specials which we could not hear over their inconsiderate conversation.  having had enough, i turned and politely asked the woman to my left if they could keep it down a bit.  when i turned back, i heard her mumble something about how i was only annoyed at the subject of their conversation and some snide remark about the stupid chinese at the table beside them.  that ruined my experience right there.  thankfully, neither mindy, nor her parents heard the bigot bitch, who was scolded by her husband, saying she was embarrassing herself.  but she didn't stop, just kept going in a muttered-just-loud-enough-for-me-to-hear voice.  i was steamed, but remained calm, and just let it slide.  then our food came out.  appetizers were good.  the entree's however were disappointing.  mindy's dad's steak was over cooked and the bacon pieces were so big that the saltiness over powered everything.  the vegetables were so garlic salted that i couldn't taste the vegetable.  my steak was cooked well, but i ordered it rare, they really only had to cut it and sear it.  mindy ordered a pasta dish with wild foraged mushrooms, which she enjoyed, but her mom's meat was half charred.  a little char is nice on a steak, but too much is bitter and inedible.  the deserts were good, but everything else leading up to them had sealed the fate of primo for me.  it's too bad really.  i had looked forward to eating here for quite a while.  we built this portion of our trip around eating here, and i don't think my expectations were outrageous.  just disappointing, and the fact that we had to sit beside some xenophobic ignorant fucking bitch just made it a bad experience.  too bad, primo, Fore Street restaurant in Old Port, Portland puts you to shame, easily.  EASILY.  and it is cheaper too.

Tomorrow we head to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Forest.  i can't wait.  and hopefully the assholes will go back to where they came from.

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