After the 2-hour drive from Portland to Camden, Maine, I was ready for lunch. It was my first time in Camden, so, of course, I prepped as much as I could. Every article I read before my trip to Camden, and stay at Whitehall, said to eat at Long Grain.
Long Grain is a localvore Asian restaurant. From Vietnamese to Thai and everything in between, Long Grain uses seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients for every dish on their menu.
I arrived without a reservation on a Friday afternoon a little before 3. Fun fact: they close at 3 before they open for dinner service at 4:30. Also, a fun fact: I speed walked to the restaurant after I read that hoping to grab a seat and inhale some food.
I was in luck.
There were two seats at the bar. I grabbed them, ordered a glass of wine (priorities) and scanned the menu. Everything sounded great, but a few things stood out to me.
We ordered Vietnamese salad, spicy Thai beef, and Pad Ke Mao, a noodle dish with mushrooms, greens and pork belly. Our waitress said we were “batting 100%.” I didn’t know if that was a good thing (#sports), but I felt like I made the right choice.
Lunch was incredible. I was so happy with every bite. At one point, my mom said “I just want to curl up in this [Pad Ke Mao]. Needless to say, we literally ate everything.
After lunch, we perused their mini Asian supermarket. We bought a few things thinking we can try to recreate some of this magic at home. We were about to walk out the front door, and we turned to each other and said, “let’s come back for lunch tomorrow.” I spun around, asked if it was aggressive to make a lunch reservation for the next day. (Confession: I didn’t care if it was.) They had a noon reservation. I took it.
The moral of this story is that I love Long Grain so much that I ate there twice in less than 24 hours.
Vietnamese salad with nuoc cham dressing
Essentially a deconstructed spring roll, this salad is a great way to start your meal. The dressing is absolutely delicious and I plan on recreating it all of the time.
Spicy Thai beef salad
Mildly spicy and full of flavor. After I ate all the beef, I mixed the leftover sauce into my Vietnamese salad.
Spicy basil chicken fried rice
I never knew fried rice could have this much flavor. Hands down the best I’ve ever had.
Pad Ke Mao with pork belly
I will have dreams of this dish. The mushrooms, greens and pork belly are phenomenal together. Definitely one of my top 10 dishes.