Friday, August 27, 2010

Leaf Peepers Welcome!

The chill is in the air (at least for mornings anyway) and the leaves are already beginning to shift in tone - some reds and yellows are appearing.

Upcoming for Labor Day Weekend is the Windjammer Festival in Camden and not long thereafter will be the Harbor Arts Festival and the Sept weekend designed to drive through the region visiting all of the artisans and galleries. And, don't miss Lincolnville's Fall Festival and Vinfest at the winery (Cellardoor). All during our Leaf Peeping season.

Yankee Magazine just rated our area (Camden) as #6 in the top 25 places to view the fall folliage. Like the image above from Camden Hills State Park (just 2 miles from Bay Leaf Cottages!!), the season promises to be wonderful.

In the meantime, we're enjoying the restaurants of the region and exploring various "off the beaten path" options. And, we're getting ready for another wonderful round of cooking classes with Renate Tower - September 8th - Lunch 'n Learn is Cooking for Your Pooch and September 15th - Oktoberfest Dinner. Contact us at (207) 706-7929 for a space in these classes.

What I've found recently (food-wise) in Mid-coast Maine.... Conti's 1894 is THE place for amazing Italian seafood. It is totally NOT fancy but it is amazing. Chef John Conti (a self-taught chef and madman) doesn't advertise, has no phone, and won't take reservations at his hole in the wall restaurant in Rockland (south Maine Street - but you didn't hear it from me!). The parking lot adjacent to the white house covered with lobster traps has one small sign which reads: "no fry, phone or freezer" "no cards, no ketchup, no micro " "new menu everyday". It's the latter that is most important - FRESH seafood and creative items fill a 4x6' blackboard as you enter the place - strewn with baskets of plum tomatos, piles of fresh Italian bistro-style bread. The "house wine" was quite good, bowls of salad with freshly made dressings join the table. Speaking of tables - don't expect things to match here - it's an electic hodge-podge of decor but that's not why you are there. Select from the menu all sorts of seafood options with Aglio (oil and garlic) or Marinara sauces over linguini or other pasta of the day. I ordered the Sea Scallops (a small portion) and could not finish it all - there was about a pound of scallops on my plate! Perfecctly sauteed and delicious! My daughter was amazed by her crab and shrimp aglio on linguini entree as well. She too could not finish it all. Containers for take home exist and next time we're going to order the large portions so we'll have plenty to bring home and enjoy a second day! Don't miss this place - it's a lost art, a dying breed, etc. No chain restaurant or fried seafood shack is going to touch the quality of this food experience. And, you'll have a lot to talk about afterwards!