Monday, July 21, 2008

The Islesford Dock Restaurant

"The Islesford Dock is the center of social activity on Little Cranberry Island. The Islesford Dock Restaurant is the anchor around which Marian Baker's Pottery Shop, the Little Cranberry Yacht Club and Sue Hill's Winters Work gift shop revolve."

A recent boat trip over to the
The Islesford Dock Restaurant had mixed reviews among our party. Five adults and three kids. We had nice boat ride over but found it difficult to find a place to dock on the busy wharf. We arrive around 12 on a Sunday when brunch is served ($6 - $12). We have been before and have expected the prices to be a bit steeper than somewhere on the mainland (it is a unique location worth paying for the experience) but we were not expecting to wait approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes for our breakfast after placing our order. It was just eggs after all. The waitress said they were having a problem with their water so we couldn't get any ice water and after taking our order we didn't see her again until the plates were ready. No reorders of drinks or even an update on what the hold up was.

When the food did arrive it was ok. My omlete ("approriately priced" = $10) with brie and sausage was ok. The edges of it seemed nearly deep fried, so I imagine it was cooked in a skillet full of oil. The home fries on the side were deepfried and they wasn't any toast or anything else. Believe me when I say we were starving by the time the meals came! Surely a better deal for breakfast can be had at Denny's but even a fancy breakfast at Two Cats in Bar Harbor is more satisfying at only $8.

At night the Dock serves high end dinners aimed at the yahating crowd as it represents a reason for the rich to justify their expensive boat purchases. For normal people the dock is usually a fun experience and you can arrive by the Little Cranberry ferry or mail boat. Expect to pay a bit more then you'd expect but hopefully you won't have to wait as long as we did.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Seacoast Fun Park - Trenton, ME

Two summers ago I panned the Seacoast Fun Park for its terrible management of the water slides the day we went (letting big fat teenagers go down too soon after little kids and nearly swamping them under) and the crummy mini golf course with no shade and unleveled surfaces.

But today on a hot and muggy July day, we had a great time. The price seems to have been reduced from $18 or so two years ago to $15 for an all day pass that can start as early as 11 am and go until 5 pm. The price is still rather steep for locals who might want to go often but you can get a yearly pass to the slides and pool for $40 which is very reasonable if you for 4 or more times in the summer.

Today it was not over crowded and the attendants kept the kids under control and safe. I just wish they had more shade for the parents who don't want to shell out another $15 bucks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hard or Soft?

If you are looking to chomp down on some lobster in July or August on Mount Desert Island or in Downeast Maine in general this summer you might be confronted with a lobster choice that you may not have experience before - hard or soft?

For those "from away" lobster is lobster. But here close to the source of the lobster's watery home you have two "types" of lobster - hard shell or soft shell. Or I've seen it called "Tender New Shell" or as the locals call them "shedders". You see in order for a lobster to grow they have to shed their old skin and grow a new one. The hard shelled lobsters travel better than soft shell lobsters so they are the ones that get sent around the world. Soft shells typically are only sold locally.

So which one is better? Its a matter of preference. Hard shell lobsters typically cost more per pound because the meat is packed into the shell tight so you are not buying a lot of water. The shells are tough so you need to use crackers. Soft shells on the other hand are suppose to be sweeter than hard shells, cost less per pound and can usually be cracked open by hand.

The only down side I've experienced with "shedders" is the meat in the tip of the claws sometimes is a bit mushy. But like I said, its a matter of preference. A lobsterman friend of mine loves this mushy part. Its his favorite part of the lobster.

If your planning on gorging yourself on lobster you might consider the soft shells because you can rip into them fast. Besides locally on the MDI in the peak of summer shedders might be the only type of lobster you can find. The hard shells get harder to find and get shipped away.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Colonel's Restaurant, Northeast Harbor Maine

-------------- BURNED TO THE GROUND - JULY 2008! -------------------

After a pleasant visit to the public gardens (Thuya and Asticou) and the marine of Northeast Harbor on the Sunday after a very busy Fourth of July, our party enjoyed a very uncrowded early dinner (5 pm) at the Colonel Restaurant, down the alley and outside on the deck.

The Colonel is always a favorite spot for lunch when we are hiking in the area but this time we tried eating a light dinner and were pleased with our choices which included an excellent kid's meal of lightly breaded chicken fingers, shaved steak subs, a BLT and a nice mushroom pizza. All items were under $10 and were washed down with some excellent microbrews fresh from the tap.

Unlike the nearby Tan Turtle Tavern which boasts a ridiculously huge menu of hundreds of items that takes 20 minutes of concentrated study, the Colonel is very straight forward with its selections. Nothing is out of the ordinary, just simple and good. All the bread is freshly baked on the premises and the street side Colonel bakery is a great for grabbing desert. Too bad they are only open in the "season" because we've drive over to visit the Colonel all winter.

Who would have thought among all of the fancy art gallery's, sail boats and blue blooded mansions that you'd fine such a reasonable place to eat.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Queen Mary 2 visits Bar Harbor July 5th, 2008

Queen Mary 2 recently visited Bar Harbor and dwarfed the local lobster boats. It was the size of one of the porcupine islands!