Portland, Maine Gluten-Free
This past month, I enjoyed a mini getaway to the lovely city of Portland, Maine. I had never been to Portland before, so I spent a great deal of time beforehand researching and creating an extensive list of celiac-safe places to visit. Though I didn’t have quite enough time to visit each of the places on my list, I certainly made a big dent in the four short days that I was in Maine. I adored each one of these meals, and I hope that you do too if you ever get an opportunity to visit this impressive New England City!
The very first stop of the trip after the three-hour drive was the 100% gluten-free Maiz, located inside of Portland’s Public Market House. When I first found Maiz’s website that stated that all of their menu is entirely gluten-free, I knew that I would need to check it out. I then went to their Instagram profile and spotted their bio - “Deliciously messy Arepas from the streets of Colombia to Portland.” That, combined with their incredible looking photos, helped them to climb right to the top of my list. Maiz is mainly known for their Arepas, which are corn-based dough pockets filled with different fillings. I ordered the Chicken Arepa, which had cheese, pico de gallo, avocado and their Salsa Rosada (mayo, ketchup, & hot sauce). The arepa was amazing! It was also deliciously messy as promised, which explained why there was a Wet-Nap provided with my meal, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
When it comes to Bam Bam, Downtown Portland’s 100% gluten-free bakery, there are three simple words that you need to remember - COOKIE. DOUGH. BAR. Though I tried several items at Bam Bam Bakery, the cookie dough bar was unlike anything I’ve ever had before! I also stocked up on some prepared meals while there, such as the mac & cheese, quinoa salad, and chickpea salad, all of which were incredibly delicious!
A few weeks before my trip, I posted an Instagram story asking for people to send me their GF recommendations in the Portland area. Of the many messages I received, The Holy Donut was by far the most highly recommended place for each person who reached out to me. When I walked in, the very first thing I noticed was that all of the gluten-free options were in a completely separate display case from the regular, gluten-filled options. Another fun fact is when I asked about the preparation process and cross-contamination, the manager informed me that the GF donuts are prepared in an entirely separate facility! I was totally and utterly overwhelmed to see that they had SIX different gluten-free flavors! The front-runners, in my opinion, were the pomegranate, dark chocolate sea salt, and chocolate coconut donuts. If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to head over there bright and early, as they do typically sell out!
If you find yourself with a craving for Mexican food while in Portland, El Rayo Taqueria is a MUST! One amazing fact about El Rayo Taqueria is that the majority of their menu is gluten-free. In fact, their menu has a little wheat symbol next to the few items that DO contain gluten, as opposed to the other way around as we see at most places. I ordered three tacos which were all incredible, but my favorite was definitely the fried shrimp taco. The carne asada taco was a close second, and I also was a huge fan of the Mexican street corn that I ordered as a side. My only wish is that they would open a location closer to me!
On day three of my trip, I was finally able to get my gluten-free lobster roll fix at Sea Dog Brewing Company in South Portland. Sea Dog’s gluten-free menu was filled with lots of gluten-free options, ranging from sandwiches to nachos, to pizza, and more. But after three days in Maine and still not having lobster, it was a no-brainer for me. I ordered the traditional lobster roll, accompanied with a side of coleslaw. The lobster roll was filled with lots of delicious lobster meat, served on a grilled Udi’s roll. Sea Dog’s lobster roll seriously hit the spot!