Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Continuing on with our list of favorite foodie haunts in Portland, Maine, we're up to what might be my favorite of the favorites: Elevensies.

Who doesn't love this scene from the Lord of the Rings trilogy?  And who among us doesn't love the idea of Elevensies?  In the prologue of Tolkein's book, the total number of meals is six: 

“And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them).”

Bless Peter Jackson for taking the idea just a wee bit farther in his adaptation.  If you love the idea of a hobbit's meal schedule, you might be interested in this print from Stuart Thursby, available at society6

And if, like me, tend to think like a hobbit about food and drink, then you are in luck when you visit Portland.  

  1. Tandem Bakery Okay, I know I listed a bunch of yummy pastry places yesterday for Second Breakfast, but I saved Tandem Bakery for Elevensies.  That's how much I adore it.  It's in an old gas station/laundromat on Congress Street (the coffee shop and roastery are located in another spot in uber-hip East Bayside) with big plate-glass windows for people watching and cheery sunshine.  The baked goods are astounding.  Poppyseed cake with grapefruit glaze, chocolate chip cookies topped with sea salt, pistachio pound cake, scones filled with creative ingredients, and so much more.  If you go, wear your best plaid shirt and, gentlemen, wax your mustaches.  It's super hipster, but also super delicious.
  2. Black Cat Coffee This is our neighborhood coffee shop right in the heart of Deering Center.  It's full of comfy furniture and friendly people, plus they serve Matt's wood roasted coffee, and a wide variety of the best baked goods in town (even Holy Donuts).  It's just what you want a neighborhood cafe to be.  
  3. Maine Squeeze Smoothie & Juice Cafe This juice bar has two locations, one in the heart of the touristy Old Port and one upstairs in the Portland Public Market House.  I love the bustle of the Market House, so that's the one I visit when I'm craving a juice or a smoothie to go.  I usually get one of their chocolate-nut-banana concoctions, and then I don't need another thing until dinner.  Yum.    
  4. Aurora Provisions If you're in the elegant West End and you want a quick, delicious lunch or a snack, this is where to head.  I'm listing it for Elevensies, because they have great beverages at this lunch bar/deli/gourmet food shop, plus they make my favorite gluten-free snack in town: the peanut butter & chocolate gf cookie, which tastes like the most delicious peanut butter kiss you've ever had.  It's a beautiful shop full of gourmet treats, and once you've finished Elevensies, you can just stay on and enjoy lunch!  
  5. Coffee By Design A Portland institution.  They were here before almost all the other foodie/roaster/micro-brewer hipsters had ever even heard of Portland.  They have loads of locations around town, but when Mr. Magpie and I have serious work to get done, we pack up our laptops and power cords and head to their newest location: the Diamond Street Coffee Bar and Roastery in East Bayside (the most up-and-coming hipster neighborhood in town).  It's hardly ever overly crowded, there's loads of room at their tables or bar to work, and the people are great.  I love that they carry not only their own fabulous coffee, but also delicious blends of local Homegrown Tea.  
  6. Bard Coffee These are serious coffee people, which they have to be in order to compete in a city  like Portland, but they are also incredibly nice, and this is a definite daytime hot spot in Portland's famous Old Port.  I almost always see someone I know here, so while it's not the place for me to get serious work done, it is the place to get a delicious iced soy latte and chat with a friend or two.  If you want to see and be seen, Bard is the place to go.  I often really enjoy the eclectic mix of music they've got playing as well, which adds to the fun.  Oh, and they make a wonderful chai latte.  I usually find chai too sweet and cloying, but theirs is just right.

I'm keeping this list short.  I could go on.  Seriously, it's hard to stop, but I need to save a few special places for Afternoon Tea, my friends!  Check back in tomorrow for the Magpie's favorite lunch spots in Portland.  Oh, Lord, I have no idea how I'll do it, I really don't!  Too many wondrous choices.

Thank you notes made all the sweeter with pistachio pound cake at Tandem Bakery


  1. Gigi.. I am having serious elevensies envy at the moment! I love that you are doing this, always nice when travellers discover your post along the way. Now...afternoon tea, my ultimate weakness. I think I might have to buy a plain ticket after reading that post! Make sure you sample ALL the clotted creams, I must know which is the best. ;) xx

    1. Oh, my friend, this is a pure joy to write these posts. I love my city so much, and I love food, so it was a no brainer to combine the two!

      The afternoon tea will be interesting. While we do have some lovely tea shops, we don't have anything at all like a proper British tea shop. No afternoon cream tea, which I miss something fierce. Honestly, the only way I can have a proper afternoon tea is to make it at home.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeanne! xo


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