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Gluten-Free in Portland

November 10, 2012

My husband and I took a weekend trip to Portland, Maine.  We had heard good things about the city, but were both very pleasantly surprised with how much we loved it.  It was a good, manageable size, with great places to eat and lots to do.  It reminded of the same vibe Seattle, WA has; very green, filled with local markets, and hipster-esk people.  We were there for a wedding, so we didn’t have a ton of time to explore, but the city left us wanting more.  One thing that I didn’t expect was how gluten friendly every restaurant was!  I kept finding one gluten-free treat after another.

Best Halloween pumpkin I've ever seen!

Best Halloween pumpkin I’ve ever seen!

Our first night in town we at Five Fifty-Five, a restaurant recommend by the bride herself.  The restaurant was packed, so we sat at the cozy bar and ordered some delicious drinks.  Five Fifty-Five was very classy, upscale, costumer-centered and gluten friendly.  I ordered an amazing burger (without the bun, or course).  It came with a fresh salad filled with local vegetables, along with a homemade ketchup sauce that you could eat by the spoonful.  Craig also ordered a burger and his bun was fresh-baked and hot out of the oven.  If only I was lucky enough to try it.

The morning of the wedding we went to brunch to load up on energy to dance the night away.  We ate at Becky’s Diner,  a well-known, family run, local diner.  It had a classic diner feel, with red booths and a circular bar with stools in the middle of the restaurant.  As expected, it was packed, so we found two, red bar stools to swirled, and quickly ordered.  I usually expect to get very basic breakfast food at diners-like scrambled eggs and a side of extra crispy bacon.  That was not the case at Becky’s!  Not only did the waitress know what items were gluten-free, she also offered me plain OR cinnamon raisin GF bread!  She even asked me if I needed my bread to be toasted in a separate, gluten-free toaster!  I’ve never been asked that before and was very impressed.  I ordered scrambled eggs, with extra crispy bacon, home fries (also GF-they are grilled, not fried) with bell pepper and onions, AND cinnamon raisin toast!  The toast was about an inch thick and I assumed it was homemade…

We grabbed a free “Becky’s Dinner Nothin’ Finah!” bumper sticker on our way out started to rome around the streets of downtown Portland.  Full and happy, we stumbled upon Bam Bam Bakery; “gluten-free goodies for everyone”. I turned to Craig and said, “this can not be real”.  We went inside the bakery and found gluten-free heaven!  The whole bakery was dedicated to being gluten-free and only serving gluten-free goodies!  They had pizza, quiche, breads, cookies, cakes, muffins, and everything else you could possible want.  I started talking to the barista, and come to find out that they also outsource their food to local restaurants, like Becky’s.  Even though I was full, I had to get something to save for later.  I ordered a generous slice of GF pumpkin-bread.  I now wish I would have gotten the whole loaf!  We went back the next morning for breakfast without knowing that the bakery is closed on Sundays.  Sad.  We found another option…

Gluten-free goodies for everyone!

Up the street and around beautiful brick buildings is the Public Market House.  The Market House is a neat space that offers a “community gathering place that celebrates Maine people, food and agricultural traditions while joining the ongoing efforts to revitalize Portland’s downtown, incubating small business and involved the international community”.

The downstairs of the Market House is a deli and grocery store.  The upstairs is a community space full of eclectic tables, chairs, a coffee-house, and a few local “restaurants”.  The coffee-house had a handful of GF baked goods from Bam Bam Bakery.

Craig and I throughly enjoyed our time in Portland, Maine, and look forward to going back again soon!  Congratulations to our friends, Joel and Sarah!  We had a great time at the wedding and enjoy exploring Sarah’s hometown!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2012 6:08 pm

    That bakery sounds fantastic! How wonderful to find so many gluten-free-friendly places 🙂

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