Food trip: Rockland, Maine

If I were a lazy headline writer, I’d say Primo, the charming restaurant in Rockland, ME, that sources its produce from its backyard, is primo. But that would be lame. Instead, let me take you through my meal and make you jealous. 

I love when restaurants are respectful to solo diners and I felt welcome from the start. Immediately, I had trouble deciding on the salad: arugula with a wood roasted peach, gorgonzola crostini and a honey vinaigrette or the farmer salad? I went with the farmer salad: bianca, romaine, and dandelion greens tossed with bacon, olive oil croutons, and a soft boiled egg with a lemon parmesan vinaigrette. Served in a big wooden bowl, it was hearty and delicious.

I tried to resist the bread, but the assortment was too good: a scali bread, a Tuscan bread, and a squishy bread (not its official name) with caramelized onions and a tasty olive oil for dipping. An amuse bouche from the chef came in the form of a warm cauliflower soup with a tiny fried cauliflower on top. Ah, vegetables can be so good.

I got the pappardelle bolognese for my main course with bits of lamb or veal in the sauce and roasted tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and shaved parmesan cheese. When I hesitated over my choice, my server was nice enough to suggest getting a half portion so I could fit dessert. And I really wanted to fit dessert. 

I chose the warm chocolate “Budino” cake that came with a vanilla-based ice cream on a delicate wafer surrounded by dollops of caramel and a bit of praline. I almost ordered another one. My check came accompanied with a little tray of tiny homemade truffles and marshmallows, because hey, what’s a few more bites?

Dining solo you can’t help but eavesdrop, and my favorite conversation was a 12-year-old girl who confidently ordered the duck. “She has a very mature palette,” her mother explained. Who eats duck at 12?? I couldn’t help but be thankful I had come to appreciate good food later in life to avoid all that pretentiousness. Or maybe I was just sad to realize I could have been enjoying such a meal years ago.

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