Appetizer and Drinks at The Treehouse in Portland

We went to The Treehouse on a recent cool autumn night. Not the ideal time to venture to a restaurant known for its amazing deck that sits beneath twinkling tree branches. Even though it was too chilly to sit outside, we found The Treehouse on Stevens Avenue in Portland to be a magical destination for any time of the year.

As you enter the restaurant, you immediately head up a flight of stairs to reach the darkened dining area which is brightened by a seemingly endless number of hanging lights, both colored and white, throughout the space.

We made the decision to head there on a whim. Even though it recently won Portland’s Best Kept Secret award at the Portland Buy Local Indie Biz Awards, I knew it wasn’t that much of a secret. It’s a much buzzed about, well reviewed destination and we’d been wanting to try it for a while. Being on the fence about our plans until only an hour or so before heading out made making reservations a non-option. As we weren’t going for dinner, just a drinks and appetizers at the bar on this trip, we were hopeful we’d get a seat.

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Lunch at El Rayo Taqueria on Free Street in Portland, Maine

Who would have thought that it would be too hot to eat on the outside deck at El Rayo Taqueria in October? Although it was hot, that didn’t dampen our excitement at trying out their new Free Street location in Portland.

I had been to their previous Portland location as well as their one in Scarborough so I knew already that their food is delicious, and I was looking forward to having them back in Portland again. As soon as we walked into the restaurant, we were greeted with warm, festive colors and a casual atmosphere. The front has an order area for takeout behind which is a long wooden bar that draws you towards the back where there is a counter for dine in patrons to order. The space is narrow, but welcoming.

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Light and Fluffy Breakfast Sandwich from Biscuits & Company in Biddeford

I grew up in Saco and one of my favorite things is to see how the Biddeford-Saco area is coming back to life as new restaurants and businesses move into some of the vacant spaces and revitalized areas. I still get down to the area fairly regularly, and it’s always fun to check out some of these new places when I do.

On a recent  lunch outing with a friend, I was looking forward to going to Biscuits & Company. I hadn’t had a chance to eat there yet, and was intrigued by this biscuit bistro. It gets great reviews which I discovered during my quick google search for local lunch spots. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. My bar for biscuits is extremely low having only had experience with the Bisquick variety which I dropped by random spoonfuls into a homemade and remarkably flavorless chicken pot pie many years ago. There may have been a few of the Pillsbury frozen variety on occasion too.

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Doughnuts and Brunch at the Frog & Turtle in Westbrook

When I first moved back to Maine brunch was elusive. There were few options in the greater Portland area and when we did venture out the waits were long. Now there are so many more amazing brunch options to choose from and the choices seem to grow exponentially each year. It hasn’t shortened the lines, but it’s added a lot of wonderful variety to a Sunday brunch outing.

Recently we landed at the Frog & Turtle to try out their well regarded brunch. Our reservations were for 11:00 AM, and we had a larger party that arrived in stages so we decided to try a plate of donuts as an appetizer while waiting for the rest of our party.

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Outside Dining at the Dry Dock on Commercial Street in Portland

Trying to squeeze every last drop out of what has been a glorious summer for us, we headed to the waterfront for some outside dining. After swinging by the Portland Lobster Company, we realized we wouldn’t be able to navigate the crowds there as we were not the only ones who were looking for al fresco dining on this sunny afternoon. So, we continued further up commercial street and stopped into the Dry Dock instead. We were in the mood for a casual, relaxed lunch and the menu had some nice offerings.

Having spied their two-floor outside deck hidden behind the back of the restaurant and conveniently overlooking the wharf, we had been wanting to stop in for a while. We entered the first floor of the Dry Dock and waited briefly at the hostess station, before being lead upstairs and to the blindingly sunny outside deck.

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