As a Colorado girl I have never lived near a beach, much less a water port town. Moving to Portland, Maine to start my life in the baseball world transported me across the country from most of what I had known, and I didn’t know what to expect. I did some research before arriving and found that I hit the jackpot of baseball and food towns! Portland has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco. There is a growing movement in the state of Maine to support local business and keep corporate companies at a minimum. Despite it’s location it is home to some of the top ranked restaurants in the region. Many chefs source from local farms and seafood establishments, making Portland a culinary gold mine for all types of cuisine.
My bright hopes were slightly dampened on the below-freezing day of my arrival in early January. For those who have never journeyed to Portland, I would not suggest going much earlier than June. Many businesses are closed during the winter season and there are few accurate words to describe the pain induced by Portland winters. I was starting “the baseball life” alone while my boyfriend enjoyed the Spring Training sun in Fort Myers. My mission to be employed and settled was looking increasingly dismal as I froze at the airport waiting for our future host family.
A week into the job hunt led me to the website that would forever change our Portland experience. The Portland Food Map (www.portlandfoodmap.com) is without question one of the most comprehensive local food guides available on the internet. The brilliant anonymous source has made a virtual map of every local food establishment in the Portland area. In addition he has ranked or commented on most of them. The list is comprised of hundreds of establishments; from seafood purveyors to bakeries, wine merchants and top ranked restaurants, to hole-in-the wall Asian food, the map has it all. He continues to update the site daily with every newspaper article, upcoming food event, and blog piece pertaining to food in Maine. I may not have been employed, but I had found my mission: conquer the Portland Food Map.
- Warmer weather came as did my eating partner in crime. Ryan and I visited over 150 places on the food map, ranking them ourselves, and greatly expanding our food horizons. Our host family took part in the adventure as well and were beyond exceptional to us. The experience was amazing. Portland became an unforgettable experience and I recommend making the trip for anyone who has never been. There are beautiful beaches, quaint small towns, and an endless supply of fresh seafood awaiting.