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Portland ME Restaurants


skeeter
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Curiously, Margaret told us it was not an Irish pub (despite several published reports to the contrary, and the Irish feel) ... also several local Irish session musicians were asked to leave instead of play ... but that's another story.

Interesting! I've yet to go but that's important to hear from Margaret. I'll enter with that tidbit in mind.

Cheers!

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Clarification on the "Irish" thing - apparently not an Irish pub in the diddly-leprechaun sense, but Irish in the neighbourhood gathering place sense.

Also, there was food on offer at the weekend - a bowl of soup and a grilled sandwich, each $5.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey all--

Looks like Uncle Billy's has finally opened (soft opening, that it). I took a quick peek yesterday. The space looks nice, the jukebox sounds good and the specials board sounded great. I saw one beer on tap (Shipyward Export, *sigh*) in the bar area, which is separated from the dining room with a low wall.

Can't wait to hear the reports!

btw, no Takeout Menus yet. Location: Congress St. next to the USM dorm.

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I ate at Uncle Billy's on Saturday. I like how they changed the room - added a low wall to break up the space, with a small bar at the back. Most of the tables are the same as Nile used, which may have been the same as Bella Cucina used. Some of the decorations were the same, although the Elvis bust and black velvet paintings are classic Uncle Billy.

There were a few beers on tap - Shipyard, Geary's, PBR and one other. Soda is available, and water was served at the table in tiny glasses.

The entire menu was on the chalkboard; our waitress thought it would expand as they geared up and eventually be both constant and larger. No appetizers per se, but side dishes (fries, etc) could be ordered as starters. We had the gravy fries - tasty, but soggy.

On offer were a chopped pork sandwich, bbq chicken, ribs, gumbo, and piri chicken; there might have been another choice or two. I had the piri chicken, which was fantastic - succulent meat, spicy and flavourful sauce. My friend had the ribs, which were tasty but tough - could have stood a longer cooking time. The neighbouring table assured us that both the chopped pork and the gumbo were delicious. All dishes were served with beans, zingy minced coleslaw and yummy cornbread. The sauce on the ribs (and the beans) was sweet and good; there's Tabasco available if you want things spicy.

We didn't have dessert but there was key lime pie and something chocolatey.

Reasonable prices. Cash only (ATM on premises).

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Johnny St. Laurent, owner of Uncle Billy's stayed up all night last February to make a killer gumbo for the WMPG Mardi Gras party,

gallery_16643_1028_20294.jpg

He knows what he's doing, I'll wager!

gallery_16643_1028_145224.jpg

Can't wait to drop in on the new place

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Hello Portland eGulleteers, I interrupt your usual programming to announce the appearance on the food scene of a new participant. Coming soon to Middle street, directly adjacent to Hugo's, is Portlands very own food and wine book store!

But seriously folks, my husband and have leased the space and are planning to open a bookstore for all the food and wine lovers in Portland and it's environs by early to mid-April. The store will be called Rabelais and we have a nascent website with the most basic of information available here: Rabelais Books.

We will be stocking new, used, out of print and rare books on the sourcing, procurement, raising, preparing, history, politics, enjoyment, celebration and general importance of all things related to food and wine. We are very much hoping to become a resource to the vibrant Portland food scene, as well as a destination for those visiting our fair state.

The next few weeks will be spent hammering out physical issues (I can relate, erikd, to your position, not having a kitchen makes us less complex, and yet, ^&$%*& the things you have to deal with) but we hope to be visible by mid-February. If any of you have particular requests for volumes please let me know. I figure I will start ordering (new) stock by the end of February and am still working on our inventory list. The rare and used books just keep piling up around the house, trips far and wide add constantly to the accumulation.

Looking forward to meeting all of you at some point or another,

Samantha

www.RabelaisBooks.com

Thought for Food

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Portlanders!

My SO and I are returning to Portland for prolly the dozenth time. Love the city and love the restaurants.

(Which is why much of this thread just cracks me up, at least at the beginning. It takes all of Fairfield County to come up with as many superb restaurants.)

Two nights.

One night Street & Co. (we will never come to Portland and not dine at Street & Co.). But the other night...

We love Fore Stret.

We love Hugo's.

But always good to try something new. Was considering...

Cinque Terre or

555.

Firm opinions? Something else I'm missing. Not too concerned about price (everything's comparatively reasonable up there).

btw - how close is Arrow's to Portland?

Thanks all. (Been enjoying your shrimp that I get from Cap'n Cliff's van in Redding, CT.)

Edited by fchrisgrimm (log)
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Don't know when you were last here but Street & Co. chef Abby departed after 9(?) years and opened her own place, Caiola's in the West End. Heard great things about it.

Also, Vignola opened in July 06 at 10 Dana Street. It's an off-shoot of Cinque Terre. Have yet to go and use my gift certificate but if I do soon I'll post about it.

When are you two in town?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Also, Vignola opened in July 06 at 10 Dana Street.  It's an off-shoot of Cinque Terre. Have yet to go and use my gift certificate but if I do soon I'll post about it.

My wife and I ate there last fall and it was really enjoyable. Great room, great food. The ingredients are sourced from the chef's farm further upstate and other local farmers. It can get loud, it's casual, quite enjoyable. One dish I enjoyed was the "Pork and veal “country style” terrine and duck and foie gras mousse with cornichons and mostarda"

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Having eaten at Cinque Terre, Vignola's and 555 I can say you will not have a bad meal at any of them. I thought the pizza at Vignola's did not quite live up to it's hype. I am a Flatbreads girl myself. But the wine list was nice, the salads were great and the room, while a bit loud, was also festive and lively.

Cinque Terre is classy and should definitely be tried, if not this time, then next. Same can be said for 555. I think I liked the physical space at Cinque Terre better than 555, and they also run more to the small bites type of plates. 555 food was all delicious (and we were eating at the height of winter when offerings were slim), if I had one dislike, it was only for the number of ingredients used to describe each plate. But that is just a picky little peeve that I have.

Arrows is down in Oqunquit, about 30-45 minutes south of Portland. My advice would be to wait for summer months for them. They shine when you can eat straight from their beautiful garden. This time of year, not so much...

We're going to have to eat at Caiola's, don't know how we missed that one....

www.RabelaisBooks.com

Thought for Food

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Opinions are funny things...I like the space at 555 better than Cinque Terre. That said, they are somewhat similar--open kitchen a few tables downstairs and a few tables upstairs with a view to below.

It's been some time since I've been to Cinque Terre, though I've always found the food there to be top notch.

Many here know how 555 is my favorite place, all around, in Portland. It should be noted that if it has been some time since you came to Portland, that 555 added a lounge next door, where people can get small bites and a drink either before, or instead of dining in the main room.

Also in the past year their wine list has greatly expanded AND (this is something I've wished for for some time) Steve, the chef, is branching out from the tried and true and is spreading his wings.

Recently seen on the menu were wild boar, rabbit and char..OK I know char isn't ALL that different, but it's one of my favorite fish.

The good news is, from the list of finalists, you won't go wrong. As others have mentioned, Caiola could easily be tossed into that list, as well.

The only thing that stuck out to me was that if you will absolutley go to Street & Co., then Fore Street is eating from the same "family" of restaurants. Kinda like going to Manhattan for a few nights and only eating at Danny Meyer places...

"Democracy is that system of government under which the people…pick out a Coolidge to be head of the State. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies." H. L. Mencken

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Hey, all. To answer a couple of questions... Coming up at the end of this month. Were probably last up something between one and two years ago. We used to come up every Fall (for close to ten years) - though now Montreal is the new Fall weekend getaway place. I have a business meeting in Portsmouth and will drive up after. Leslie is flying up to meet me - $64 from JFK to Portland. Cheap!

How's Street & Co. holding up with a new chef? We've always loved the place - though it has certainly gotten fancier over the last decade.

Always felt it was different enough from Fore Street that it didn't bother me to go to both - though a fair enough point.

I'm probably leaning toward 555, though Cinque Terre may be more up Leslie's alley.

Doesn't look like Caiola's has the fish emphasis of S&C.

Over the years, we've enjoyed Back Bay Grill. A couple of places on that side of the peninsula - and that main drag past the museum, toward the hospital. There was a good Italian place up there. A few interesting places - though we prefer being right downtown.

Will grab Saturday lunch at Duckfat, I'd bet.

But I'm always eager for suggestions - especially things that have opened up fairly recently. I'm sure eG'ers pointed us toward Hugo's - and we absolutely loved the place.

(While I'm thinking of it - obviously for a different thread - recs for a solo dinner in Portsmouth?)

Edited by fchrisgrimm (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Area Food Consumers Alert!

Couldn't help passing along a choice nugget of journalism about Whole Foods arrival in Portland. The following opens a hysterical article in theBollard.com called

"Hanna and Her Hot Hippie Sister"

It seldom happens that an impecunious grad student like myself is pursued by not one, but two ardent suitors. They began to battle for my loyalty on Valentine's Day – what better time?

One of my pursuers was called Hannaford, my familiar procuress of viands and potables. Good old familiar Hannaford and I had settled into a long-term relationship that bordered on a rut. I kept her in greenbacks, she slipped me the egg noodles, we didn't think much about it. After all, where else could I have gone to satisfy my needs? Surely not Wild Oats! Like a high-class call girl, Wild Oats kept up a glossy appearance by keeping its selection small and its prices high. I'd long ago learned that he who sows Wild Oats reaps only a dearth of dough.

Then last month, on the day dedicated to hearts and flowers, Whole Foods came to Portland like a hottie socialite with a PhD in social work. Like many others, I gaped at her cans, stacked ever so high. Oh, Whole Foods, with your ripe and artful displays of edible plenty! And oh, the organic virtue that you wore upon your sleeve!

Hannaford saw that I was smitten and went a little nuts. It redecorated, making an effort to look more spiffy and more righteous. "I care about your health!" cried Hannaford. "Have you forgotten that star-based nutrition system I devised for you? I'll give you tote bags, coupons, discounts... please, just don't leave me!"

The article includes an item-per-item price comparison of 17 typical food items.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Area Food Consumers Alert!

Couldn't help passing along a choice nugget of journalism about Whole Foods arrival in Portland.  The following opens a hysterical article in theBollard.com called

"Hanna and Her Hot Hippie Sister"

The article includes an item-per-item price comparison of 17 typical food items.

Most amusing intro, though the price comparison is weak for not mentioning brand names.

I was particularly struck by the chocolate dichotomy, given that I buy the 365 Organic Brand of Swiss chocolate (3 oz bars) at WF for $1.69. Maybe that's NJ pricing, or maybe Wilkins was going out of his way to buy the priciest choc in the store? I can spend that much at WF if I want, but I don't. In any event I can't find Swiss chocolate for anywhere near that price anywhere else.

I suspect that WF chooses its loss-leader items very carefully & varies them from store to store.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Good weekend visiting Portland.

555 was very good. The mussels were terrific - the thickest broth (from the roasted garlic?) I can recall. Had the rissoto with Maine shrimp that was also fab. Combined, the two dishes made for something of a heavy meal - but that was my fault, not the restaurant's. Can't remember what Leslie had. It was a Friday night, which I say to preface my comment that the service rather lurched along. My fault for waiting to order drinks/wine until we knew what we were eating, but I'd have liked the drinks to come before aps, nonetheless.

Street & Co was the usual top notch. Had the best seat in the house, with the great view of the kitchen. Had their mussels, which I have to admit were very good, but shy of those from 555. Unfortunately (Saturday night) our main course orders seemed to be misplaced, so service here was especially slow. While we enjoyed watching the goings on, we shouldn't have had to entertain ourselves for the half-hour plus after ours aps were cleared. Grrr. But the bluefish special (blackened, over asparagus with hollandaise) was speactacular. Remains our fav place in Portland.

Did also have a cheese plate and wine at Fore Street - and told ourselves that we'd dine there (again) on our next trip. Had one lunch at Duckfat - really, what can beat (between the two of us) soup, frites, a black & white shake, homemade ginger soda, and beignets! Also were well fed breakfasts at Pomegranate Inn - which we love after ten+ years of visiting (though we tend to stay there only in the off season now, cuz it isn't cheap in season!)

Edited by fchrisgrimm (log)
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Today's New York Times features the Portland Public Market demise and transition to the Portland Public Market House, now located at 28 Monument Square.

Story here - NYT - 4/11/07 - BIZ section

Most days, a steady stream of customers follow their noses, thirst and appetites into the building, home of the new Public Market House, where in a narrow corridor flanked by vendors they can buy fresh-cut flowers, cheese from Maine farms, a sandwich on fresh-baked bread and beer from state microbreweries.

The seven-month-old market occupies the basement and first floor of the partly renovated four-story building at the heart of downtown, which was last home to a failing surplus store.

Kris Horton, whose K. Horton Specialty Foods has become a local landmark, led an active public campaign last year to establish the new market after the Libra Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Maine, sold the last of its real estate holdings in Portland, including the larger indoor Portland Public Market, two blocks away. Ms. Horton and other food and farm-product vendors had worked in that market since 1998.

The new Public Market House, situated in a square that has supported a large outdoor seasonal farmers market for decades, has become the latest example of how fresh local food and downtown markets can stimulate activity in American cities, big and small.

Although the Public Market House is and will continue to be significantly smaller in size and sales than the old market it replaced, it will not be subsidized. Moreover, the Public Market House’s proximity to the existing outdoor Wednesday farmers’ market prompted the authors of a new economic study to propose promoting the indoor market as the centerpiece of a “market district.”

“Markets bring life to a city,” said Nelle Hanig, a business development specialist in Portland’s Economic Development Division, who helped accelerate the permit process to have the market built. “This one is already a destination. The location of the Public Market House is important to its success. It’s right in the middle of town. It’s becoming a focus of activity, and that’s always good in a city.”

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
Today's New York Times features the Portland Public Market demise and transition to the Portland Public Market House, now located at 28 Monument Square.

Yo johnny & anyone else who knows -

Do you have any sense of what the parking situation arond the PPMH might be for Awayers like me who might want to do a quick hit & run on the place?

Is it the ultimate irony that the closest parking venue may still be the garage with the skywalk to the original PPM?

TIA!

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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i believe that there is also a small garage slightly behind it... and a few public lots on free street..

Deadheads are kinda like people who like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but people who like licorice, *really* like licorice!

-Jerry Garcia

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Can anyone suggest some don't miss items in the public market-particularly things that we can either consume easily there or things that we can take with us as we head up to Acadia (any good cheesemakers or bakers)?

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K.Hortons sells some wonderful raw goat cheeses, cryosealed, and priced around $4...perfectly sized to throw in your bag to snack on. you could get bread @ big sky.... drinks @ the beverage shop... they have some very nice import brews.

Deadheads are kinda like people who like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but people who like licorice, *really* like licorice!

-Jerry Garcia

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The popular but unremarkable Cap'n Newicks in South Portland, is closing, along with their Merrimak, NH location.

[WCSH6.com]

However, the chain's flagship restaurant in Dover, New Hampshire, will remain open.

The decision to close the two restaurants was apparently based on rising seafood costs and dwindling sales.

Fisherman Jack Newick opened his first seafood restaurant in Dover in 1948. The two restaurants will close on May 21st.

Prices aside, the classic fried seafood set-up is clearly in place: bored teenagers working the fryolaters, sea kitsch on the walls and tables, predictable menu... it all should add up to a decent bottom line. This is the place all the locals go to and it's really famous. They started a nutty but endearing TV ad campaign a year ago (lobster rodeo for one), so I would think they would be gearing up for another great summer.

My last time there I had a fried clam platter which ended up with pieces of haddock, scallop, oysters and finally clams - all indistinguishable nuggets - served with dependable fries, tarter and slaw, for about $13.95... could be why they're losing money here.

So there is a great big hunk of property right over the bridge just waiting to soak up those regulars.

Any suggestions?

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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