Quite some time ago now John and I were looking for a place to head to for a little weekend away. After some consideration we chose to head to Portland, Maine, as it was just close enough to Boston at about 2 hours away, neither of us had ever been there to explore it, and we had heard wonderful things. After just 24 hours in the great city we were hooked. Almost every time now that we feel the need to escape the hectic life in Boston, we head to Portland for a little relaxation.
As we sat yesterday in one of our favorite spots putting off the inevitable trip home I realised what it is that I love so much about Portland-simply put it appeals to all of my interests and passions. Any location on the ocean is a place where I am comfortable- add to that the wonderful artistic vibe that completely encases the city and reminds me of my long lost days of being a high school band groupie, and finally, of course there is the food angle. Portland is comprised of an amazing amount of restaurants, most of which hold dear the principles of good eating-food, made with love for those who are going to enjoy it and love for where it came from. So many of the restaurant support local farms and produce only making sure that their cuisine is served at its freshest point, resulting in amazing flavors, and wonderful combinations. Finally, it must be noted, that the people of Portland are some of the friendliest and warmest that I've met.
Each trip we start our time in Portland the same way- we head directly to the Brian Boru. Brian Boru, touted as a Traditional Irish Pub on their website, appears in every way to be just that. Sitting inside, at communal tables no less, it is truly a place to gather, to meet old friends, to swig down a beer or two, and to enjoy their truly delicious food.
We found the Brian Boru quite by chance on our first trip up to Portland. We had gotten ridiculously lost along the way, and had forgotten to bring any type of snacks (as we have since realized that we are prone to getting lost-we always have some food with us on car trips). Anyway-once we finally arrived in what we would later refer to as "The Great City", we were starved and went looking for food immediately. What we found was a cheerful red building, sporting the Guinness Pelican on one side-like a beacon to the weary travellers- we had found the Brian Boru. That day we dined on garlic fries, and sandwiches and were filled-it could have been food from the Gods. From then on- as soon as we get to Portland, we make a beeline for Pelican.
Friday evening we had our first dinner experience there, and we were not disappointed. I chose the Hot Roast Lamb sandwich. The lamb had been cooked with a fair amount of garlic, and then shredded, and piled high on a long sandwich role dressed with a sage may. This was so nice. The lamb was delicate, with the flavor of garlic but not over powered with it, and the sage mayo added a creamy, luxurious component with just the right amount of sage flavor. Together the sandwich was hearty and warming, exactly the type of meal that you would want after a long car ride and on a cold night.
John had chosen to have their pulled pork sandwich which he's had before and absolutely loved- so he was crushed when he was informed that they were out of it. A quick selection later though- he ordered their Rueben. I snagged a bite of his-wow. The corned beef was obviously homemade and incredibly well spiced. I have had my fair share of Rueben's during my time and often find that a lot of the flavor comes from the sauer kraut and not the beef-here the beef played a very rightful center stage, delicately enhanced by the creamy cheese and the kraut.
The Brian Boru hits the spot every time. From their food-to their great selection of beers- to their live music during the evenings, there is no better way to kick off a great weekend in Portland than indulging in one of their fantastic meals.