Father’s Day weekend, New England style


My husband’s first Father’s Day was an all-weekend affair, but seriously, who doesn’t like celebrating all weekend. Starting on Saturday morning, we first hit the Portsmouth farmer’s market. Two breakfast wraps and a failed search for fresh strawberries led into a visit to Haven Park, across South Mill Pond from City Hall and pictured above. Evelyn is getting to the point where we can sit her down on the ground and know that something disgusting won’t make it into her mouth for at least a minute, so I was able to snap a few shots of dad and daughter before Evelyn snacked on a quarter-sized wood chip.

For Father’s Day proper, I wanted to do something special. Adam likes to eat delicious food, drink craft beer and get out of town every so often, so I suggested heading to Portland for the day. Adam remembered a spot he had tried while bar hopping on a bachelor party trip a few summer’s before called the East Ender. Known for good drinks and delicious, the menu looked like a smorgasbord of so-bad-for-you-it’s-good dishes, like lobster poutine, buttermilk fried chicken (a rarity in these northern parts) and smoked brisket hash. Sundays are for brunch, so we headed up late morning with our bellies growling.

east ender

The East Ender is located at the far end of the Old Port, near restaurants like Fore Street and next door to the famous Duck Fat. The buildings in this neighborhood are brick and the sidewalk is lined with brick. Just blocks from the water, the place has a very sea-worn feel.

The East Ender had a few tables out front and a few large parties in the ground floor dining room, so we opted for the quieter and less crowded upper floor where an occasional squeal from Evelyn would affect the fewest people. Our booth was roomy, comfortable and abutted a window overlooking the Ferry Terminal. Despite the bottomless mimosa calling our names, Adam started off with a bloody mary, which had a delicious smokey flavor and just the right kick. I tried the salty bulldog, a delicious glass of gin, grapefruit juice and a salted rim.

I went for the straight-up eggs benedict, which had a light and lemony hollandaise, just as I like it. Adam had the Montreal smoked brisket hash and after one bite had major order envy. The brisket’s flavor was so deliciously complex I had a hard time not stealing a big scoop for myself.

Not to be overlooked were the “snacks” we ordered while enjoying our drinks, including a strawberry-filled homemade donut, deviled eggs and a fresh greens salad topped with three house-made sausage meatballs. The deviled eggs were good but not amazing, the salad perfectly dressed and the meatballs were warm and juicy. The winner, no doubt about it, was the donut. Really there were three donuts, warm, not too greasy and oozing with a warm, slightly sweet strawberry filling.

east ender bar

Adam finished off his meal with a locally made stout, one of many delicious craft beers the East Ender had to offer. We headed home with that wonderful full-belly, slightly-drowsy post-brunch feeling.

The East Ender is a recommend for sure. With two bars, lots of great beers, delicious cocktails and both small bites and full meals, it is a great after work or late night destination.

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