Tag Archives: Kennebunkport

Maine 2016 – Earth at Hidden Pond

14 Jul

Every July, I spend a week in Maine. A nice relaxing time to simply check out mentally and enjoy the beach, the sun and the lobster of course! Every year, this week-off also coincides with my date of my birth – almost as if I planned it that way…. – so we always find a way to have a nice dinner to celebrate. This year, we made plans at a restaurant close-by in Kennebunkport at a little retreat resort called Hidden Pond. I had heard about this restaurant previously for its beautiful scenery and market cuisine and finally we planned ahead enough to be able to get a reservation, so we drove off to give Earth a visit.

Birthday Dinner at Earth in Hidden Pond

The restaurant is quite the looker – really playing with the “nature indoors” theme. The focus of the room is a tree lit up with string lights and there is constant use of wood logs for wall decor. Out back of the restaurant there is a pool with nice sitting areas and a little further you have a pond with fire torches and more seating. It is definitely a relaxing location. The downside of our visit was that it was raining which eliminated a chance to really enjoy that space. The final cool element is that Earth has a few private “shacks” along the pond for private groups. We reserved one of them and were not disappointed. The little cabin is decorated in a classic colonial look – ornate mirrors and fireplace, old artwork on the wall and ceiling, a chandelier, bookshelves filled with old books and a gorgeous varnished wooden table. There is a large window overlooking the pond as well. A very unique and intimate setting for a hopefully good meal!

IMG_2611

IMG_2594

IMG_2595

IMG_2597

IMG_2596

The menu is a market style menu focusing of local farmers and produce. As we were a group of 6, I got to try a bunch of different items. First up was their play on a caesar salad – baby Speckled romaine, coddled duck egg dressing, reggiano and rye crisps. A nice portioned salad overall with good flavour. The use of duck egg brought some extra richness and the use of rye crisps was a nice variant on standard breadcrumbs.

IMG_2601

Next was wood fired meatballs with sweet and sour peppers. The meatballs were nice and tender – firm enough but still able to come apart with a fork easily. The sweet and sour peppers brought a nice balanced flavour with the fatty meatballs.

IMG_2600

The split pea falafel with sheep’s yogurt, watermelon and Peekytoe crab was a pleasant and unique surprise. Nice crunch on the falafel with the earthiness of the split peas. The creamy sheep’s yogurt and the crab were very nice pairings to the main item.

IMG_2603

The last entree was the beet and turnip green kimchee. Excellent kimchee with just enough heat however I really didn’t pick up the effect of either the beet or the turnips. It could have simply been standard cabbage and I’m not sure I would have known the difference flavour wise.

IMG_2602

The main dishes kept the good times rollin’. First was my dish of choice – braised pork shoulder with Maine clams, Lola sausage, grits, garlic scapes and herbs. The pork shoulder, braised in cider and beer, was so moist and fall-apart tender. The creamy grit underneath added some richness to the dish. The clams were nice and fresh and the sausage bringing some heat. The portion was plentiful and left me very happy.

IMG_2604

The menu also included a cheeseburger served with a mushroom escabeche, steak sauce, pepper jack and fries. The burger was nice and juicy and the bun was great. Special mention to the beautiful crispy fries.

IMG_2607

The pasta dishes were big hits as well. The agnolotti served with ricotta, bee balm, Black Mission figs and smoked honey was a sweet and rich mixture of heaven. The Gnudi with English peas, pistachio butter, mortadella and reggiano were nice fluffy pillows of richness. The use of pistachio butter added an interesting earthy touch.

IMG_2608

IMG_2605

Finally we also had one of their homemade Pizzas. Their classic Margherita with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella and basil was excellent. The crust was nice and thin with a nice crunch to it. The amount of mozzarella was generous and the tomatoes were cooked nicely over top.

IMG_2606

Desserts brought some lovely options as well. I went with the Brioche doughnuts with sarsaparilla and sassafras glaze and kola nut gelato. The two doughnuts were massive and the Brioche style made them wonderfully rich but light. The glaze was exquisite as well. The other dessert was equally as decadent. The peanut butter and banana ice cream sundae with salted caramel was exactly how you would imagine it except for the strength of the banana flavour in the ice cream. I didn’t expect to be as pronounced. Banana and peanut butter are great partners so no surprise that the rest of this was wonderful.

IMG_2609

IMG_2610

Earth at Hidden Pond was a lovely experience. The food was excellent across the board, the service is quick and attentive and the ambience was wonderful despite the bad weather. The tab won’t be cheap but for a special occasion, it is definitely worth it. For a excellent night with family and dear friends for my birthday, I couldn’t ask for much more.

Cheers!

Earth
354 Goose Rocks Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046
207 967 6550

Earth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Maine 2013 – The Ramp Bar and Grill

4 Jul

If one visits Kennebunkport and take the lovely, long scenic drive past all the cottages and the waterfront inns to Cape Porpoise, you eventually get to a gravel parking lot that overlooks a bay (Goat Island Light according to Google Maps) and that has 2 restaurants: Pier 77 and The Ramp. While Pier 77 looks lovely, we turned our attention to the Ramp for this particular afternoon visit.

20130704-165437.jpg

20130704-165801.jpg

When that is the view I have before entering the bar, you are rather spoiled. Anyway, The Ramp is a small bar located directly under the Pier 77 restaurant and has the look of a sports bar on steroids. Every inch of this place is covered with retro sports paraphernalia (a little too New England focused as a Montrealer but I’ll let it go this one time…). Any time a bar has an old Montreal Forum seat, a NBA backboard & hoop and autographs from Bill Russell, Bill Belicheck, Red Auerbach and Arnold Palmer in the men’s washroom, you know you’re in a sports fan’s dream. As one such sports fan, I loved every minute of this.

20130703-230547.jpg

20130703-230612.jpg

20130703-230636.jpg

20130703-230701.jpg

Now, if this was just a simple sports bar, that would be one thing. However, this place actually rocked a great food menu on top of all that. The offerings go between typical bar food and more upscale stuff that highlights great seafood as one would expect in Maine. Spinach salad, a Greek mezze dish, Carolina style BBQ, burgers, fish and chips, a seafood stew, etc… All of that sounded great but we went for other options.

First, some onion strings with a smoked tomato ketchup. The plate was huge and delicious. The onions strings were nice and thin. The coating around the strings provided a nice crunch without being overbearing. The ketchup had a wonderful smokiness which added a nice note to the dish. A wonderful appetizer all around.

20130703-230412.jpg

For the main, there was only one option here: the Lobster roll. My first one of the trip, it was served with some homemade chips. The chips were nice and crisp as one would expect from chips but the real star here was the lobster roll. Beautiful fresh lobster pieces with just a little mayo, some celery and some scallions into a wonderfully buttery grilled bun. The naturally great flavour of the lobster is allowed to shine here. The overuse of mayonnaise is always a bad sign in a lobster roll. There was none of that here. Just the strong desire to eat another one!

20130703-230455.jpg

So great food, nice quirky sport bar look and atmosphere with a killer view… pretty hard to beat that overall combination. If every you are in the Kennebunkport area of Maine, you must check this place out. I am sure you find something to enjoy. Now I just need to go back when there’s a game on….

Cheers!

The Ramp Bar and Grill
77 Pier Road Cape Porpoise Harbor
Kennebunkport, Maine 04014
207 967-8500

The Ramp on Urbanspoon

%d bloggers like this: