For me, Portland, Maine had in store rain and sun, beautiful changing leaves, revitalizing discussions with friends, crisp fall air, a race to the airport only to miss my flight home and the best bagel sandwich I have ever eaten.

It is wonderful to eat the “best of the best” of your favorite foods. It is even more wonderful to know it is happening while you munch away. I love playing the game of “best” and “favorites” but often I find myself looking back and thinking, “I guess the best burger I ate was that one….” In the case of this bagel sandwich, I could see from the minute it was put in front of me that it was something special. One bite in, I knew to savor each additional morsel and fully enjoy the experience.

At 158, also known as 158 Pickett Street Cafe, bagels are made fresh in the small back kitchen. Students from Southern Maine Community College are rotating in and out the door, the smells of good coffee and baked goods permeate the quaint shop and friendly, casually-paced Maine folk are enjoying the delicious offerings. I was lucky enough to enjoy this bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich two days in a row and not a single swallow disappointed.

Other recommendations in Portland:
~Fore Street is a must-try for dinner. Every single dish at our table was a standout. The mussels were some of the best I’ve had cooked in a buttery, garlic almond sauce. The chocolate souffle cake was sprinkled with sea salt and after my first bite, I literally dropped my spoon on the table in awe.

~Maple’s Organic ice cream is worth every calorie and gram of fat. I suggest a double scoop even at the risk of a tummy ache.

~Bresca is a newish restaurant that only seats 20. Call for a reservation and expect outstanding food and wine. The owner and her sous chef personally cook every dish that leaves the kitchen and the smile of the wonderful server lights up the room.

Portland may have more delicious food options per capita than any place I have visited. The culinary delights paired with the easy-going attitude and sea air were just what the doctor ordered for me this week!