Sunday, August 17, 2014

Travelogue -- Eat ME

Bumper sticker of the day: “Enjoy local food. Eat ME.” If that leaves you puzzled, remember the abbreviation for Maine is ME.

Back when I was planning this trip I discussed various parts of it with my friend and debate partner. One of the things he talked about (other than his experience at the Quebec-Maine border) was the great food of Quebec. You may have noted the biggest thing I said about Quebec food was the high prices.

That got me thinking about our differing views of food and what is behind my side of the story.

There are a lot of foods I simply don't like. Blueberries are one of them. I mention them because in Maine there is a strong push to enjoy the local crop. Blueberries are featured in many dishes. At a recent family gathering my sister began teasing our father because there are so many more foods she likes than I do. Perhaps we don't have the same parents? So I don't bother with a lot of high-priced exotic foods simply because they contain ingredients I don't like.

Thirty years ago, due to recurring headaches, I eliminated sugar and caffeine from my diet. Sweet desserts don't taste so good when I get a headache the next day.

With my recent attempts to eat healthy (almost a year now) there are a lot more foods I've eliminated from my diet. That includes breads and pasta. And that meant no Quebec meat pies.

I long ago concluded that a $30 steak didn't taste all that much different from a $20 steak. Why waste the $10? Then again I don't get steak very often.

I have added new flavors over the years. Many years ago I switched from white bread to whole-grain. It has so much more flavor. Yeah, I'm not even eating whole-grain bread these days. Recently I've added sweet-potato fries and sauteed butternut squash to my list of likes.

Here in Bar Harbor it seems every restaurant serves lobster. Well, the Chinese and Mexican places might not. So I decided if I'm ever going to try lobster, now is the time to do it. A couple nights ago I enjoyed a cup of lobster bisque, though there wasn't a whole lot of lobster meat in it. Today I ordered a “picked” lobster – the chef takes it out of the shell rather than tying the bib around my neck and giving me the tools to do the messy job myself.

My reaction: lobster meat is not yucky to my taste buds (which puts it way above onions), but not so wonderful that I think it is worth the price. That's the same opinion I have of shrimp. In this case the price was only $21 (tax and tip added later), but there isn't much meat in a lobster. The meal included a cup of chowder and chips. On leaving the restaurant I walked down to the grocery store and bought some peanut butter to fill me up. So, lobster: done. I can ignore that part of the menu for the rest of the trip.

Another bumper sticker: “If the environment were a bank, we'd have bailed it out by now.”

Back to today's events. After breakfast I paged through the inn's guide to Acadia's hiking trails. I found a couple that looked interesting. The one that sounded best, however, didn't sound like it was well marked and would not be easy to find. So I went with a second choice. A stop at the grocery store for lunch and I was ready.

Instead of taking the car I took the free shuttle service from the Village Green to Jordan Pond House. Along the way we made a stop at the park's visitor center where a flashing road sign suggested this option because parking lots elsewhere in the park would be full.

The Asticou Trail was easy to find. I took it from JPH southwest to Asticou, a section of the village of Northeast Harbor. I was amused by the route and distance signs along the way. Near the ends of the trail add the distance from the current location to JPH and to Asticou and the sum is 2.0. In the middle of the trail the sum is 2.7. I would guess the 2.0 is closer to correct because it took me just over an hour to walk the length.

Along the way I saw lots of equipment being used for improving the trail. New surfaces being laid, new drainage, new bridges over creeks, those kinds of things. At the far end there was a Map House, a shelter containing two copies of a map of the park. One was hung on the wall, the other enclosed on the table surface. This is where I had lunch.

In Asticou I spent a bit of time in the Azalea garden. Though the flowers were not in bloom, the place was beautiful and peaceful.

Back at Jordan Pond House I rested a bit and ate the rest of the food I brought for lunch. I then walked a bit of the Jordan Pond Trail, but decided I'd had enough. I took the shuttle back to Bar Harbor, getting there at about 5:00.

I wasn't quite ready for supper, so walked along the city's Shore Trail. This allows one to see the backs of some of the hotels and cottages – or their big hedges if they wanted privacy. Then I went to supper.

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