Sights and eats in Maine

Playing tourist: Jodie, who calls herself “Ghandi Indian,” with a giant American Indian statue.

Funny how trying to blog a long trip works after you get home … work happens, and suddenly the flow of everything gets thrown off. But the timing is good, since I should remind you why I was on the east coast in the first place.

I do the social media for the television show, Search Hawaii, and their one-hour special on this visit to the east coast with the Hōkūle’a airs this Sunday at 7 p.m. on KHON. It’s going to be an amazing journey to New York and Block Island, as we discover the things you can forage and eat in these faraway places.

After our filming was done, I took a side trip up to Maine to reunite with a long-lost sorority sister, which you read about in my last Maine entry. Jodie and James Nielsen took me sightseeing all around their New England area, and it was neat to be able to cross three states in a day. I actually wanted to show you all the mansions we saw, but once I started sifting through my (hundreds of) photos, I realized it was going to be too big a task. You’ll just have to peruse the homes, here.

George Bush’s summer home on a secluded point. I think when the flag is up, the Bush family is home.

But I did want to talk about these homes. I had heard of people’s “summer homes” but after a lifetime of ignorance, I finally realized that this meant their second homes actually sit empty for most of the year, especially in New England. The weather is brutal in the winter, I get that. But these are mansions — mansions everywhere! — and they sit unused while their owners are in their primary homes somewhere else. Coming from Honolulu, where homeless camps are everywhere, this concept was mind-boggling to me. Maybe being homeless in Hawaii is still more pleasant than being in one of these mansions in winter, but couldn’t these people spend less on a house and divert their funds for those less fortunate? I could go on and on about how baffled I was, but I’ll leave this issue for you to talk amongst yourselves about.

On to more pleasant things. Like where the Nielsens took me to eat!

Colby’s is actually in New Hampshire (remember, everything is close together) and is one of those places you’d go for a solid breakfast or lunch.

James and Jodie with their breakfasts. I had the same thing as James.

The Down East Special ($8.99) with two eggs any style, house potatoes, pancake or french toast, and choice of protein.

Eggs Irish ($9.99), basically a corned beef hash Benedict. Super filling!

Colby’s Breakfast & Lunch
105 Daniel St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Whatever you do, don’t leave Kittery without stopping at Flo’s Hot Dogs. In the old days, Flo herself ran the place, and she was known for being cranky and mean. That was part of the charm.

Flo’s is a shack, kind of off the main drag.

The place is tiny inside, too! Look at that ceiling! There’s a few counter seats, but you probably won’t want to sit there, as the line has to move past you.

Ordering a dog is like ordering shave ice. Follow the rules, and no one gets yelled at.

Some people actually buy multiple dogs because they’re that good. I guess it’s like Hawaii, where people may eat multiple manapuas.

They say the secret to Flo’s dogs ($2.75) is her special onion relish and mayonnaise, but it’s also the sausages that are perfectly steamed so they have a nice little snap. I tried steaming hot dogs at home, and they didn’t even come close. Instead of a hot dog bun, it’s in a slice of white bread. This is totally craveable.

Flo’s Hot Dogs
1359 US-1
Cape Neddick, ME 03902

If you are in the area, you might as well check out York54 and its sister cafe, St. Joe’s. I didn’t get to meet the owners, but they’re good friends of Jodie and James. More importantly, they’re Azure chef Shaymus Alwin’s relatives! I forgot that he’s actually from this neck of the woods.

York54 is a casual pizza spot.

The pizzas are actually kind of fancy, even if the ambience is not. And they’re good!

449 US Rt 1
York, ME

If you want something more contemporary, try Anneke Jans in Kittery. It’s one of Jodie’s and James’ favorite restaurants.

Downtown Kittery is really quaint, with boutiques and restaurants everywhere.

Maine has some of the best mussels I’ve ever had. Their mussels are plump and silky soft, unlike the rubbery ones we eat in Hawaii. The mussels here ($12) are wild Maine mussels with bacon, onion, cream, white wine and Great Hill blue cheese. Winna!

The fried olives with garlic aioli ($5) were also outstanding. Who would have thought? I guess it’s kind of like eating fried pickles, but a little richer.

Fried chicken salad sandwiches with pickled beets and buttermilk blue cheese dressing ($12) were just the right size for Jodie, who wasn’t quite hungry.

Roast chicken with herb polenta ($21) was pretty good, but since I had the mussels, I really could only think about that.

Anneke Jans
60 Wallingford Square
Kittery, ME

And finally, one of the most iconic restaurants in Kittery: Bob’s Clam Hut.

I think it probably was a hut (or shack) at one time, but it’s so popular that they’ve probably expanded over the years into the monstrous restaurant it is today. It still has a lot of kitschy charm, though.

This is most of the menu. But you’re really here for clam strips!

The quirky, kitschy decor is really fun.

What makes Bob’s so good? They use clean, non-transfat vegetable oil and everything is cooked to order. You can order just the clam strips, or the whole clam (which includes the belly, which people sometimes don’t like). I like it all! Be sure to get extra tartar sauce, as they are famous for it.

Bob’s Clam Hut
315 US Route 1
Kittery, ME

And then here are a few highlights from the many places we visited. We really covered a lot of ground!

This tea shop in Ogunquit was so new, there wasn't even signage for it yet. But I barged right in, and the items are mostly local, so they made nice, lightweight omiyage to bring home.
Here's how you beach in New England!
There are some areas that look like real beaches, and they are quite beautiful.
Be sure to visit the Kittery Trading Post for some REALLY unusual omiyage!
They have everything you could possibly need in the Kittery Trading Post — it's a huge department store.
Urine and pheromones are hunter's essentials.
You can also buy a gun or a rifle, in almost any size you need. Or, apparently, color.
I guess they do have some Asians out here!
Cute towns like this are everywhere.
A piece of Hawaii in Maine.
L.L. Bean is the big thing out here! Be sure to visit their outlet, as well.
Mussels are everywhere and, if you are so inclined, you should get the local ones every chance you get. These are not like the kind we eat in Hawaii, I promise.

Okay, just a few more blog posts to go! If you want to see more from this trip, click here. To see photos from the Search Hawaii portion of the trip, click here.

Be sure to tune in to KHON on Sunday, September 11 at 7 p.m. for the special episode!