Mrs. Horne decided we’d all go biking on our first full day in Portland. It was a bit of a challenge finding Peter a rental bike, but after lots of web searches and a few phone calls, he scored at Gorham Bikes on Congress.
In an effort to fortify our bodies for a few hours of biking in the midsummer heat, we decided to go to Portholes for breakfast.
It was 8:45 AM and already sweltering when we grabbed a table on the patio. We selected Portholes because it was close by, and despite the mediocre ratings, the breakfast was delicious.
Peter and Mrs. Horne ordered the breakfast sandwich. They were huge and mouthwatering, presented in a Portuguese Bolo Levedo.
Peter ordered his with ham, and Mrs. Horne ordered one with bacon.
I went with the Corned Beef Hash, Poached Eggs, and Rye Toast.
It was the most incredible Corned Beef Hash I’ve ever had. It was mostly shredded Corn Beef tossed with a few small potato home fries.
We truly appreciated the ice water with lemon.
The Traillink App
When Mrs. Horne started talking about biking, I started Googling “bike trails in Portland” and discovered an excellent app for bikers called TrailLink.
The basic service is free and once you open it, allow location services, and it will show you all the bike trails nearby.
It didn’t long to find over ten miles of interesting trails within a mile of the marina. The bike rental shop was over a mile away, and the route led through the heart of South Portland.
I decided to shoot a video from my iPhone as I rode down Congress Street. Being a Sunday morning, there wasn’t much traffic, and since we were on eBikes, we were able to flow with the traffic.
Except there was a guy in a black pickup truck tailgating me. Eventually, I pulled over and let him pass. As you can see, about halfway through the video, he almost hit a car speeding off.
It was about a mile down to Franklin and Commercial, where the Eastern Promenade Trail starts.
It runs parallel to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks. After about a mile, we crossed the track just as the train was heading back to town.
From there, we did the Back Cove Trail around the salt water pond.
From the Back Cove Trail, we took the Bayside Trail to downtown and through the park.
In the center of the park, we happened upon a splash pool built into a river bed. It looked like a kids dream come true.
The Portland Drone Video
After the bike ride, I decided to try and shoot a drone video over Portland’s harbor. I was skeptical of my ability to take off, given that we were in the city and near a major airport.
I secured takeoff authorization after applying for four different permits. It’s not bad, but I couldn’t do the high-altitude circling shots I usually do due to tall buildings and airspace restrictions.
Action On The Water
The Relentless Book Club held court on the Flybridge as the southwest wind gusted over 20 knots.
We spotted 45’ Flybridge attempting to back up on the straight dock with the wind blowing him away. He almost made it on the first attempt, but the dockhand made ROOKIE ERROR #1 and tried to pull him in rather than immediately cleating the line to the dock.
After a few more tries (and fails), he headed back out and made another run bow in. Peter caught the action on video.
I spoke to him later, and he told me one of his engines had stalled on the back-in attempt and couldn’t hear it in the howling wind.
RESCUE BY SEA – We Hope She’s Well!
Kind of a video day for me. Just before dinner, we saw the 65’ USCG ship fly through the NO WAKE zone full flank. On the way to dinner, we came upon the rescue scene, and I caught it all on video.
Helm Oyster Bar and Bistro
Everyone we spoke to recommended this place, so our hopes were high. They do not have their current menu online but rather a sample menu.
It’s a hip place with an incredible raw bar spread by the entrance.
At this point, my expectations were as high as they could possibly get. There was a wall of fine wine bottles on the wall, and I could almost taste the big Cab I was about to order.
We sat down and grabbed the list of reds by the glass.
No Cabs, nothing from California. Oh well, I guess I’d just get a bottle of California Cab and bring the rest home.
No Cabs by the bottle either! Lotsa Zinfandels, even a Sweet Berry Wine – whatever that is?
“Do you want to go someplace place else?” I said. Of course, I got that look from Mrs. Horne and decided I could live with a glass of French Pinot or Grenache.
I asked the server which tasted more like a Cab, and she said, “I can bring you a taste.”
Peter ordered a glass of the French Pinot and accepted her offer for a taste of the Grenache. The Grenache wasn’t bad, but the Château de la Greffiere Pinot was superb.
Okay, I knew I was getting some of the beautiful oysters, but what else?
I stared at the menu in disbelief.
I knew what lettuces and cucumbers are, but what the hell is a Brandade, Magalisa Pork Terrine, or a Johnny Cake appetizer.
The mains didn’t look much better. There were only three, and two of them were fish I’d never even eaten.
Thankfully, the Bone-in Short-rib looked promising. I dodged another bullet.
The food arrived, and it was spectacular!
We shared a dozen Basket Island oysters.
Plump, juicy, with a perfect mignonette.
Mrs. Horne went with “The Lettuces” and four perfectly prepared jumbo shrimp.
I think the shrimp were boiled in lemon herb water.
Peter ordered the Monkfish and shared a taste.
Once again, a spectacular presentation, deep flavor, and perfect texture.
My Short-rib was also the best I’d ever eaten.
The kunik cheese sauce was incredible (have you ever heard of kunik cheese before?)
I still think they should have a Cab and maybe five entrée choices, but it was still a fabulous meal.
We walked home along the waterfront, and I shot a few more photos of Portland.
Day 7 was a little busy but still a grand tour of Portland.
Storm coming tomorrow!