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Everything posted by CSASphinx

  1. It's been nearly 30 years since my farmor died yet I can still taste some of the things she would cook up in her country kitchen here in Maine. pytt i panna is wonderful and as soon as someone said they had a burger I wondered if it was the kind with pickled beets, egg and breadcrumbs mixed in. The key is to get the outside of the burger crispy and keep the inside moist. Breakfasts could feature plattar, thin eggy pancakes crispy around the edges (a stack of 10 MIGHT be 2 inches tall) served with wild strawberry preserves. Meatballs? That goes without saying, though I have to admit that my mom (not a Swede) worked for years to replicate the taste and has now got it down cold. Things I haven't had in years that I would die for are pickled flounder and (if there are any Swedes here I apologize for any spelling gaffes) koldolmar. Pickled flounder are truly wonderful. When I was a kid it was still possbile to take a boat out for a day, anchor it in a "good spot" and with three or four people, pull up a tub full of three pound flounder. Little ones, only a little bigger than my hand we called "picklers" because we'd give them to farmor and she'd pickle them head off. Slightly sweet, slightly dill and more than slightly delicious. Koldolmar was always my favorite and that horrified my grandparents who considered it "peasant food." (not that they were well-to-do by any stretch). A combo of ground beef and pork stuffed cabbage, little packages about the size of a business card, served with a creamy gravy. Yum. Tack sa mycket, farmor. Enough, I'm going insane with desire. And thanks for the post. I'm keeping this for my next trip to NY.
  2. I've noticed a couple of recommendations for Union Oyster House, but be forewarned: the building and location may say "Boston" but the food says "Get me out of here!" Durgin Park in the nearby Faneuil Hall area is better but it can be hit or miss. The chowder is generally good and I've had good fried clams there. Still, I don't think I could recommend it. For something a little more upscale in the same area you could try Kingfish Hall and it could be a good little lunch spot for someone on a budget. When I hear Legal Sea Foods, I hear "chain". That said they do make a tasty lobster bisque. If you want a real New England experience head up to the Clam Box in Ipswich, a New England seafood shack of the first order, the only thing missing here is the view. Portions are huge, so you may want to split a plate with a friend.
  3. lala, September is the best time to come to Maine -- less crowded and the weather can be spectacular. If you give an idea of towns you want to see. I might be able to help with where to stay.
  4. lala, September is the best time to come to Maine -- less crowded and the weather can be spectacular. If you give an idea of towns you want to see. I might be able to help with where to stay.
  5. I must admit that my wife and I visited JUdson Grill two summers ago on our annual stuff-your-face-til-you-can't-move pilgrimage and we were underwhelmed. Perhaps it was on an off night, or our choices were a bit off, but I know that since we only get a grand total of perhaps five nights a year in New York, if you don't grab us that first time that's it. Not that the food was bad, it simply was not memorable and it didn't make us want to go back the way Babbo and Gramercy Tavern did.
  6. I'm partial, I live here and I think there are plenty of reasons to come to Maine for the the food. Great decision to stay in Southwest Harbor as you get all the benefit of being near Acadia without all the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor, which can be very, very crowded this time of year. If you come again in a couple of years (or even sooner) feel free to post ahead of time and I'd be happy to suggest some weigh stations farther south that would make both you and the little varmints happy. I'm with you on the lobster roll at Red's. Opinions vary, but in my mind a lobster roll should be made with lobster salad....not a heavily dressed lobster salad, mind you, but at least a small bit of mayo and a squirt of lemon to hold it all together. Next time on the way through Wiscasset, could stop at the Sea Basket on Route 1 a mile or so before you hit town. Great fried clams. Glad you had a good time here and thanks for the pix...We jaded natives need to remind ourselves every now and then that we live in a remarkable place.
  7. In or cupboard right now: Vodka: Grey Goose, Absolut Citron (I didn't buy this), Ketel One and a 1.75 liter bottle of Stoli in the way back that I think we haven't touched in at least a year. Whiskey: JD Scotch: The Macallan 12 yr. Bourbon: Knob Creek, Jim Beam, Bookers, Blanton's (latter two for sipping, first two for mixing) Rye: Jim Beam Gin: Bombay Sapphire (great martini gin), Tanqueray (for G&Ts) Rum: Bacardi Tequila: Cuervo Especial, Cuervo 1800 Other stuff: Martini and Rossi vermouth (both Rosso and Extra Dry), B&B, Hennessey Cognac, Chambord, Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Peychaud and Angastora bitters, plus an array of juices. I'm mainly a whiskey and bourbon guy, but have moved over to my old standby, gin for the summer. Pet peeve: going to someone else's home and being offered a gin and tonic then asked the question: "I don't think we have any limes, is that ok?"
  8. Hey Mario, So happy you have taken time to answer our questions...And greetings from Portland, Maine. Recently I sat at the bar at Babbo and you were holding court in the nook at the far end. A patron asked for recommendations and you simply recited the menu with flourishes... ending with an exclamation "Pity the poor man who needs to decide from this menu!" While I understand your attachment to each and every item on the menu -- and the difficulty of making a suggestion for someone you don't know -- I was left wondering what YOU would choose as your favorite to eat if you were going to sate your palate in house. So what would you choose at Babbo (even if it is just your whim tonight) from you own menu? Antipasti? Primi? Secondi? Dolci? Thanks, Chris
  9. greenfield, I like your bar hopping idea. Of course I would probabaly choose to go appetizer, appetizer, appetizer, appetizer, appetizer....But that's just me. This would probably work better downtown. Thanks for the recommendation of Les Halles as that is within walking distance (more or less) of my hotel.
  10. Thanks Felonius, While I love the idea of going to Babbo and sitting at the bar, I have seen how crowded that area can become, so your thoughts are more than welcome. Above all else I want a relaxed bar experience and good food. Veritas is a good idea, mostly because my wife and I have never been there on our annual food pilgrimage and I could be the advance scouting party. From memory, Gramercy Tavern also has a good space tha wouldn't have my personal space violated (and I'd be hard pressed to say no to a meal there under any conditions). Thanks to all, but feel free, anyone, to keep adding. Chris
  11. Thanks. Oh and one more thing. I know that some places are first-come when it comes to bar dining, but are there any that acutally require a reservation to eat at the bar. Interestingly, a couple of the more popular restaurants here in Portland, ME actually want you to make a reservation.
  12. Perhaps my site searching abilities are inept, but I'm looking for information about good places to go plop myself at the bar and have a great meal with friendly bartenders and other like minded food hounds to chat with at either elbow. Price is (mostly) not an issue. I'm staying in Murray Hill, but will gladly hop a cab for the right place. So have at it folks, or if I've missed a similar thread that I haven't yet found, please feel free to post it. Thanks, Chris
  13. Yeah, not faulting you johnnyd, but this has been out for a while and the Press Herald completely dropped the ball. My guess is they heard from a bunch of people saying "What about Rob?" after they ran that top of the page story just after Fore Street's Sam Hayward won the James Beard award. Good for both Sam and Rob. Bad for the locals who'll now need to fight even larger crowds to get a table.
  14. Ah! Now that's what I like to hear, a Manhattan made the traditional way with rye bourbon instead of Kentucky bourbon or whiskey. Once you've had one like this it's hard to go back. I believe Gramercy Tavern serves a Manhattan made with Sazerac 18-year-old Rye and house-marinated bing cherries....
  15. Been to Hugo's yet, skeeter? I haven't been to Primo myself, but I know I'll be making the long drive sometime soon. Too many raves to not make a special trip to Rockland from Portland.
  16. Hello Foodie Girl, The Black Point Inn is quite near my house. You'll love it out there. Make sure to take a walk along the beach you can see from the front porch. My recommendation would be be for youto head into Portland as it is only 10 to 15 mins away. I would venture that the best place in town right now is Hugo's, the chef has a French Laundry pedigree (from what I've heard) and it shows. Not only that, the prices are very, very good. If you are interested in Seafood I would go to Fore Street. It's not all local seafood, but it doesnt' matter. While Fore Street once seemed just a bastion for good meat on a spit, the past few years have shown Sam Hayward knows how to grill and roast fish to perfection as well. If you aren't tied to fish I would give Five Fifty-Five a try. While ther menu changes, I had a stuffed flounder dish there recently that was to die for. It's easy to screw up with flounder since it is such a delicate fish and the meal I had was perfectly prepared, still moist and filled with the wonderful flounder flavor I remember as a kid. If you MUST have fish and are considering going there, call ahead for the menu sinc eit changes frequently. Whilen Kennebunk, you shouldo to the White Barn Inn, hands down, and it's right in the same town. If you don't mind a little drive (maybe 20 to 30 minutes, depending on where you are staying), I'd give Arrows in Ogunquit a shot, run by people who are ex- of (the now defunct) Stars in San Francisco.
  17. My recommendations: Hugo's if you haven't been since it changed owners a while back http://www.hugos.net/ Five Fifty-Five (at 555 Congress St.) Cafe Uffa might also be of interest http://www.uffarestaurant.com/ And while it may have suffered toward the end of the last owner's tenure, the Back Bay Grill seems to have been rejuvenated somewhat, though I admit it has been a good nine months since my last visit. http://www.backbaygrill.com If you only have one night, go to Hugo's
  18. This Maine native also would like to point out that when it comes to lobster, bigger isn't usually better, the best meat in my opinion comes from a 1 1/2 to 2 lb. lobster
  19. Primo is no doubt good, but it is really not "in the Portland area" -- its 80 miles away and good hour and a half by car, more if the traffic is bad on Route 1 in the summer.
  20. Here's something I've always wondered about Chinese restaurants outside of major cities.... I wonder if they are trying to produce food that they THINK is what the American palate wants and if you go in and simply order form the menu, that's what you get. However, if you talk with the waiter or owner and they figure that you "get it" you'll get the real deal. Just a random thought.
  21. Just a thought, but perhaps you may want to head a little north to Wellesley and give Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger a try.
  22. Holly, Very interested in hearing an update on this trip and where you stopped along the way....or should I check your website first?
  23. I LOVE this thread. Only sorry that being here in the hinterlands (Maine) precludes me from joining the search for the ultimate burger. However, since I noticed some (nasty) burger cocktail postings earlier, I would suggest you put your blenders and squeezed burgers away and consider a jigger or two of good bourbon on the rocks as one grand accompaniment to a delicious burger.
  24. Thanks for the update tonkichi, Too bad you were too tired for Fore Street. You would have liked it a lot. I've never had the clam chowder at Gilbert's, but keep in mind that the traditional preparation of this does include potatos, unlike, say, an oyster stew which has nothing to get in the way of the milky buttery broth and the oysters. If you are ever back in the area, please give Michaela's in Portland a try. I can't say enough good things about this place...AND it is decidely non-snooty. Glad you had a good time.
  25. My couple of suggestions: In Portland, Susan's Fish and Chips Telephone: 878-3240. Some of the best fried clams around, fried lobster tail, scallops shrimp, haddock, great onions rings -- they'll fry anything. The unique thing about this place is they serve a "boiled" tartar sauce that is delicious. Still, without it the clams are still great. Take the Forect Avenue West exit off 295 in Portland about two miles and it's on your right Keep your eyes open because is it easy to miss. If you go past McDonald's you've gone too far. So keep the phone number handy. Also in Bath, Beal Street Barbecue. The usual fare. The advertising tagline is "Because it's a long, LONG way to Memphis." So long, apparently, they lost the last "e" on the trip. Of the two, I'd say a visit to Susan's is the more important. In Wiscasset, the Sea Basket, though I'm guessing you've already been.
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