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Portland ME Restaurants


skeeter
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Olive oil....you should have popped into the above-mentioned Miccucci's and you would have had your pick of sizes....we get the big tins, but there are plenty of smaller-sized bottles. Spanish, Italian, some Greek too, I think.

Ah, blueberries.

I, too, used to pick great big buckets at my grandparents place in Bridgton, Maine out in the field. Lots of them...this a few months after we ventured out for wild strawberries (enough for my grandmother to make a couple dozen jars of wild strawberry preserves -- YUM!)

She'd serve these over plattar, a crepe-like, thin, eggy pancakes. She'd also make blueberry preserves and we'd have it on the plattar when the wild strawberries ran out.

"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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OK, call me a spoiled, fussy New Yorker,

Okay, you're a spoiled, fussy New Yorker! :smile:

you should have popped into the above-mentioned Miccucci's

Very true, this. I'm afraid I have to plead guilty to being short on time and thought the variety at the PPM would be entertaining for the short amount of time Aquitaine had in town. Miccuccis was a bit out of the way at the time. Instead there is now something to look forward on your return Aq!

It really seems oriented to tourists, like Faneuil Hall, et al.

Bingo!

"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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I hope you will not take askance that I'm posting since I am only a tourist when it comes to Portland, but we just got back a couple of weeks ago and I had some very good meals while there. And since I live in DC and eat out several times a week, I am fairly picky about restaurants. BTW, I cribbed this from my notes from another thread about Portland that is a little below this one.

One night we ate at 555. It was very nice, but the Grilled salad (greens with roasted peaches, bing cherrys, and pecans) was over sauced and the scallops were a little salty. However, the rest of the meal, mussels and a hanger steak, was excellent, the service very good, and the price not unreasonable. The restaurant itself is a pretty place and they were very friendly. The wine list was fun and fairly extensive. I was a little concerned when they brought the 2002 vintage of the Fess Parker PN I ordered when the 2001 was listed on the menu, but they were quick to point it out before I read the bottle and explained that they were out of the 2001. The last time I was in Portland, Abeurgene was in this space, but 555 is a pretty good replacement.

However, we had two better meals while there. My first choice would be Cinque Terre (right across from Street and Co)on Wharf Street. We had the 6 course tasting menu for $55. It started with oysters two ways (a Darmisgrotta raw and a Prince Edward Island fried) then crab and fresh peas risotto with white truffel oil. Next was the lobster tail with bread crumbs and basil oil. It was followed by a perfectly cooked hanger steak with chantrelle mushrooms. The next course was cheese, pecorina and toma with peanut jelly and an italian baggette. Last was the dessert, lemon grappa panna cotta and maple gelato with biscotta. Service was exceptional and the wine list, while all and only Italian wine, was very reasonably priced, very extensive and long, and very representative of Italy. They also had a nice selection by the glass. I had a 2000 Antinori Toscana Tignanello which was exceptionally well priced at $100.

Our other great meal was at Hugo's. A four course meal for $60. The food was excellent, very well presented (maybe a little over the top, but really pretty), and the service very good. I ordered two half bottles (a 2002 Daniel Dampt Cablis and a 1996 Chateau Meyney St. Estephe) since it was only the two of us. For our first courses I had Maine raised rabbit chartiterie with grainy mustand mousse, pistaschio, and celtic vinegar. My wife had the smoked shitake mushrooms and asparagus with capri pasta, milk foam and lily buds. The second course for her was the crispy skin loup de mer (rockfish this time) with artichoke en croute, basil seeks and warm olive oil panna cota. I had the honey mead glazed pork belly with sweet potato tot, tomatillo relish and ginger red pepper coulis. Third was the pan roasted tasmanian sea trout with fried fennel, pineapple salad and smoked trout roe. I had the Sous Vide duck breast and leg with golden beet, kola nut pudding and pickled plum. For dessert I had a superb Mita Cana Spanish sheeps milk cheese cake while my wife had the Maine rhubarb and pineapple with Greek yogert panna cotta and Thai basil. The plates may have looked skimpy, but we left stuffed. Very pretty place, but unless you want to sit in high bar type chairs, don't take a table in the window.

Another excellent meal was at the Roma Cafe on Congress Street. Excellent Italian food. We just walked in late (at about 9:30 and they stop serving at 10) but we were treated extremely well and the food was delish. Nice place, white linens and soft music, excellent service. I started with the fresh mozzarella and plum tomatoes with roasted peppers, pesto and garlic crostini. It was out of this world. The pesto was some of the best I've had in a long time. My wife had the calamari and it was perfect. For entrees we had the pasta de mer, perfectly prepared and full of lots and lots of seafood (I got to eat the mussels since she doesn't like them) and a wonderful duck breast rubbed in jerk spices and served in pan juices. Very enjoyable but we felt guilty about keeping the staff there just for us as everyone else had finished and gone by the time we started our entrees.

I was at Fore Street a couple of years ago when I was in Portland on business. I had a great meal and the bread was wonderful. I liked the wine list too. I was eating by myself, but I got a nice table, the service was very good, and I was impressed by how well I was treated as a single diner. One funny, just before I finished my meal, a group of young women came in, a bridal party the day before the big event. They were looking at he wine list trying to figure out what they could afford. I had a bottle of a nice Panther Creek PN, and since there was about a glass left in the bottle and I didn't particularly want to carry it to the hotel, I offered the rest to the table saying I wasn't going to finish it and I didn't want it to go to waste. As I was leaving I heard on of the bridesmaids exclaim, "Do you see how much that bottle cost?!?" I thought it was reasonably priced but I guess they aren't into wine as much as I was. I hope they enjoyed it.

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I love the last part about the bridesmaids.... you definately rock for that kind gesture.

I'm getting to know the pastry chef at Cinque Terre--she also does their pasta. Great girl..dreadhead, but I have yet to head over there for some dessert one night.

I have never been to Fore St. and am curious to know, from you guys, if the FOH is as bad as people say. I've only encountered them once, when I had to go there to get some basil and the one woman was great but the younger girl was not so pleasant. It's also been a topic of contention over on mainetoday.com in the dining area.

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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It's been a while so I don't know if they're still even around, but a little mom and pop Italian restaurant (up on the hill as I recall) had the best meatballs and red sauce that I ever had, including Philly and NY/NJ best....!

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I love the last part about the bridesmaids.... you definately rock for that kind gesture.

I'm getting to know the pastry chef at Cinque Terre--she also does their pasta. Great girl..dreadhead, but I have yet to head over there for some dessert one night.

I have never been to Fore St. and am curious to know, from you guys, if the FOH is as bad as people say. I've only encountered them once, when I had to go there to get some basil and the one woman was great but the younger girl was not so pleasant. It's also been a topic of contention over on mainetoday.com in the dining area.

Better to share than let go to waste, though I guess the waitstaff would have finished it. BTW, nothing wrong with dreads, from one deadhead to another.

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I love the last part about the bridesmaids.... you definately rock for that kind gesture.

I'm getting to know the pastry chef at Cinque Terre--she also does their pasta. Great girl..dreadhead, but I have yet to head over there for some dessert one night.

I have never been to Fore St. and am curious to know, from you guys, if the FOH is as bad as people say. I've only encountered them once, when I had to go there to get some basil and the one woman was great but the younger girl was not so pleasant. It's also been a topic of contention over on mainetoday.com in the dining area.

Better to share than let go to waste, though I guess the waitstaff would have finished it. BTW, nothing wrong with dreads, from one deadhead to another.

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When I'm in Portland my sister and I often go to Walter's, which is a good reliable lunch spot. (She comes down from downeast Maine specifically with going to Walter's in mind, but that may be more a reflection on the cuisine selection up there! )

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i have been by walters many times, but have never gone in... There is a new soul food place up on Deering, just in from Congress street(where the old Stone Soup Cafe was). It's called "Honey's" and I'm telling everyone about it. Thursday night they have Oxtails over White Rice w/Cornbread for 8.95 and I just about started crying when I took the first bite--probably the first time in over a year that I've had it.

And, fwiw, the former exec chef @ street and co. will be opening up a place in very late fall in the West End. Definately a neighborhood place, regardless of the price, that I"ll practically be living at.

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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Does that place have a tentative name yet Siren?

while I understand how with only one night in town you would choose Hugo's, please do yourself the favor of getting to 555 for dinner next time you are here

will do, CSASphinx, already planned to, I was really impressed with their brunch.

My only complaint recently would be that the menu seems a little stagnant. But I believe that is due to the fact that repeat business in Portland is even more important than in other cities, most people here tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to challenging their palate (my wife included), and heck, if you have an entree that consistently sells well, it doesn't make that much sense to take it off for something else....one of the realities of Portland.

That said, I still think the chef, Steve Corry, is talented enought to stretch his wings a little more than he does

Have you e-mailed Corry to let him know you'd support him changing things around more?

Much the same could be said of DC and many, many other cities. I think it's the nature of food--in the case of 555 maybe location plays a part--it's up off the waterfront and may have to play more to locals. That said, there is an advantage to not changing much of the menu when you are a neighborhood restaurant--it helps you keep costs down, there's less waste, ordering is easier and it's easier to train your staff in terms of what they have to do, repetitively, day in and day out. You might even be able to take an actual day off, play with the kids, sleep. If the customer base you're tapping into stays loyal, it's win-win--the thing is, there's a downside: this same customer base that has had the grilled caesar 10 times will know when it comes out sub-par. If that base hopes for more and searches elsewhere, and a chef is self-aware and self-critical, he'll realize why and adapt. Me, if I lived in Portland, I'd willingly return for that same simple perfect hangar again and again. But yes, I too would kind of slot it (and the chef) in that "I know what I'm gonna get" category and it might eventually prevent me from returning more often. But I frequent a few places that tend toward the safe and conservative--MOST places in DC are safe and conservative--and I actually don't want them to stretch, I don't want them to try to challenge, I want their perfect hangar: they do what they do well, and I can appreciate them for that. Not saying that's the case with 555, I obviously haven't been there enough to know, I'm just saying there may be good reasons to hope a restaurant doesn't step outside itself--as long as it doesn't also start to mail it in.

I also haven't had really good blueberries yet, the stuff we get in DC from New Jersey and Michigan have disappointed. So I'm hopeful you have better luck locally. I remain really excited for everyone up there in Portland, I think the volume of reports on this thread (and over time on eG) confirm something good is going on and I can't wait to come back up.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
There is a new soul food place up on Deering, just in from Congress street(where the old Stone Soup Cafe was). It's called "Honey's" and I'm telling everyone about it. Thursday night they have Oxtails over White Rice w/Cornbread for 8.95 and I just about started crying when I took the first bite--probably the first time in over a year that I've had it.

Went in to "Honey's Place" Thursday afternoon and instantly fell in love with the place. Sharon Moore is the tireless, cheery owner/chef with, I suspect, her two daughters tending the front counter. Sharon said it was a mess when she signed on the place. She clearly has an eye for composition as her choices of paintings and african sculpture which adorn the walls and shop-front window augment the simple pine wainscotting and VCT flooring. Great music too.

The menu, as Siren said, has daily specials including pig's feet and ample BBQ choices. I had a lunch size portion of (what else?) fried chicken with corn bread for $6.95 and a mound of perfect collard greens for an additional $2.95. It was crisp, hot, not over-spiced, just right.

Sharon opened July 29th and says business is good. "No one does this food in Portland," she said. No one can touch this place if they dare try.

"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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Johnny, we ate at Honey's last night--again :) It's so nice that it's just around the corner from our apartment. I had exactly what you had and it's just absolutely the best fried chicken I've had in my life. Sharon is such a kind woman, too and I hope that place is around for a long time. I have been telling any and everyone about Honey's.

Steve--Abbey did tell me the name and I know I would bastardize it, but it her partners family's last name. It's located right next to Aurora Provisions on Pine.

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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Steve--Abbey did tell me the name and I know I would bastardize it, but it her partners family's last name. It's located right next to Aurora Provisions on Pine.

A handy arrangement, that: when Aurora's closes, Abbey opens so parking is neatly shared. Looking forward to it.

"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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Went to Katahdin the other night. There were three of us.

Soup of the day was a tomato/artichoke with fontina. Nicely balanced, sublime.

Damariscotta Oysters w/mignonette

Halibut on a garlic smashed potato island topped with a cherry tomato salsa was melt in your mouth.

Seared scallops on beet green and lobster/nectarine reduction: phenomenal.

Roast duck in blackberry sauce was perfect.

Mondavi Pinot Grigio won the vote but there were other nice choices.

They serve the best martinis in town. Barkeep has been at it for over ten years there.

About $200 with tip but truly the best meal all summer. Worth every penny... except the oysters at $20 per half dozen bugged me a little. It was Mom's last night in town so what-the-hey? :smile:

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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Aurora's is closing? Sharon, from Honey's, told me she had originally looked @ Abby's site.. small friggin town..

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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Aurora's is closing?  Sharon, from Honey's, told me she had originally looked @ Abby's site.. small friggin town..

No, silly! Aurora's closes at around 5pm, so when Abby opens for dinner, her customers use the same lot.

"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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oh, jeesh.... silly me...

So, we nixed Hugo's because of $$ and ate VERY well at BiBo's Madd Apple Cafe and it was AMAZING!

We had:

Artichoke and Goat cheese rangoon w/sundried tomato paste

Lobster and Crab stuffed Portobello w/ mixed greens and balsamic

Bread and Dukkah(which they have just discovered @ my work--to my knowledge--it's just fabulous)

Soy Glazed salmon w/israeli couscous

Coconut curry shrimp and scallops w/watermelon kimchee and potatoes

2 coffee's

Mint chocolate creme brulee

Glass of pinot gris

2 glasses of a belgin style ale w/green apple

all for about what one meal and 2 glasses of wine would have cost us @ hugo's... and, while I know you really can't compare the two, when you're on a major budget getting every penny's worth and then some is important.

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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  • 1 month later...

Portland keeps growing...

Went to Lucky's Vietnamese Restaurant at 349 Cumberland Avenue on the recommendation of a Vietnamese colleague from work. I had Pho for the first time. It was amazing. A big bowl of wonderful broth with lots of goodies including beef and tendon. I've been back twice. Prices are too low: nothing over $7.

Tu Casa Restaurante Salvadoreno, reviewed here, looks promising. Fried plaintains, taquitos (3 for $6.50), beef quesedillas ($4.25) and tamarind soda or Guarana in a little hole in the wall with spanish cable-TV programs.

I am dying to try Shahnaz Persian Grille at 795 Forest Ave. which opened last month. They serve Ghormeh Sabzi ($8.95) sautéed beef, and fenugreek, chives, parsley, all simmered together with dried lime and kidney beans; Fessenjan ($8.95), chicken simmered in a combination of ground walnuts and a sweet-and-sour pomegranate sauce. They are aiming for a take-out clientele but they have three small tables and sell a variety of Persian spice products: pomegranate paste, turmeric and cardamom, rosewater, orange-blossom water, dried crushed lime pieces, sour cherry syrup, red melon seeds and more.

"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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  • 4 weeks later...

Has anyone been to Walter's recently? We're heading up to Portland next month and trying to decide where to book two dinners, a lunch and brunch. Last time we really enjoyed dinners at Local 158 and Thanh Thanh II, lunch at Scales and brunch at Friendship Cafe. I'd like to try Duck Fat this time. Really high end places are out because we'll have our three year old with us. I see the good reviews of Madd Apple Cafe and Katahdin here, so I'm thinking about those. Too many places, too little time, that's the problem! Thank you for any suggestions.

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"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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Mort Peche, eh? Nice job! (I really think so. :wink: )

I am dying to try Shahnaz Persian Grille at 795 Forest Ave. which opened last month. They serve Ghormeh Sabzi ($8.95) sautéed beef, and fenugreek, chives, parsley, all simmered together with dried lime and kidney beans; Fessenjan ($8.95), chicken simmered in a combination of ground walnuts and a sweet-and-sour pomegranate sauce.  They are aiming for a take-out clientele but they have three small tables and sell a variety of Persian spice products: pomegranate paste, turmeric and cardamom, rosewater, orange-blossom water, dried crushed lime pieces, sour cherry syrup, red melon seeds and more.

Fascinating. This may go on the list for post-Xmas dining. We had a Persian place in my town for a couple of years that served similar fare & was quite good. It was fascinating to go there on weekends, they drew Iranians from all over Jersey. But economics, & perhaps public attitudes after 9/11, were against them, they closed shortly thereafter.

Edited by ghostrider (log)

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone tried Caiola's (Abbey Harmon's new place) yet? I've heard that they opened two weeks ago, but haven't had much feedback yet and since I work every night that they are open, I haven't had the chance to try it myself.

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i went there about a week ago or so and it was wonderful.. had the sirloin w/balsamic butter w/kale and stuffed, roasted squash. Also, had the caesar salad w/fried spicy oysters--minus the salad.. and they were perfect. I brought home the hamburger w/housemade tater tots home for my gf and they were awsome. Homemade chocolate pudding was both delicious and nicely presented. It was more than reasonably priced and I can't wait to go back!

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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