Blue Spoon Cafe, an extension of the restaurant of the same name on Munjoy Hill, opened in May in the spot that was home for many years to Aurora Provisions in Portland’s West End.
The cafe has a glorious breakfast menu that includes scones, beignets, breakfast sandwiches and grain bowls. On the lunch front, you’ll find a daily soup, four types of salads, three varieties of tartines and, what got my interest, a selection of sandwiches.
I rolled in there for a late-ish lunch on a dreary Tuesday afternoon, and the joint was pretty jumping with several sit-down parties, as well as a few people grabbing stuff to go.
Like with Aurora Provisions, the cafe revolves around an island of display cases where you can peruse baked goods and prepared side dishes, order food and help yourself to the coffee bar.
There are several seating options, including a corner alcove that seems like the perfect place to hunker down with a laptop and a giant coffee to get some work down. I chose a window seat and appreciated the natural light.
I could have ordered any sandwich on the lunch menu, including the BLT, turkey melt or ham and brie, but I went with the chicken salad, with dill, aioli and local greens served on sourdough bread for $9. A Spindrift cucumber sparkling water and bag of Deep River chips rounded out what indeed would be quite the happy meal.
When my sandwich was presented to me, I felt like “The Flinstones” in the Bronto Burgers drive-through, getting a rack of ribs so big it tips over the car. Surely, it would break my table in two. And surely I would never, ever be able to eat the whole thing. Right?
Of course, I did, partially because this became the day I fell in love with dill. I finally understood what’s been missing from every chicken salad I’ve ever eaten (and there have been quite a few), not to mention the magnitude of putting it on some of the best sourdough bread on the planet.
My only complaint was the acoustics. It was loud in there, an echo chamber of chattering voices and not the kind of typical din you’d expect to hear in such an environment, but I reached into my bag, pulled out my earbuds and the problem was solved with some cello music.
Now, a different song is playing in my head, as I think back fondly on my lunch – to the tune of “Blue Moon,” but with the word “spoon” instead.
Blue Spoon Cafe
WHERE: 64 Pine St., Portland; (207) 613-9922, thebluespoon.com
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
WAIT: Less than five minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes