Announcing Peter Peter Portland Eater at BDN

image

I am proud to announce that in addition to continuing Peterpeterportlandeater.com, I will now also be blogging as a part of the BDN Blogs Network as Peter Peter Portland Eater at BDN. I will be adding exclusive content to the Blogs section of the Bangor Daily News website on a regular basis. This will give me the opportunity to do more of what I do now, add some new wrinkles to it, and build an extended following which will in turn give me more opportunity to provide you, my readers, with unique and entertaining tales of food related fun.

Thanks to everyone who has read, subscribed, liked, commented, followed, shared, etc. You are in on the ground floor of this project, but I assure you, the best is yet to come. Please keep supporting me. I really appreciate it. If you want to support this leg of my blogging journey, you can do the following:

1. Read my blog posts at https://pppe.bangordailynews.com

2. Follow/subscribe to my blog at BDN Blogs

3. Like BDN Maine Blogs on Facebook

4. Follow @BDNMaineBlogs on Twitter

Finally, thanks to Sarah Cottrell at the Bangor Daily News for finding me and helping me through this process.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.

Vignola Cinque Terre – One of Portland’s Original Italian Stallions

image

Vignola has been around a while and opened even before I made my grand return to Maine a decade ago. I had been there since, but that was still long ago – maybe six years and long before I started blogging incessantly about what I was eating. It was time to go back and see what they were up to, especially because there is a bit of a new Italian scene popping up in Portland and I felt it was only right to give an updated look to an originator of it. I didn’t remember the last time I was there as particularly noteworthy, but to be fair, that was hardly relevant after so many years. I preempted this visit by doing my homework and found they have a farm in Greene that grows exclusively for the restaurant, which only added to the excitement of a return.

I arrived a few minutes early for our reservations and waited for Mrs. Portlandeater who had a nearby appointment, but was going to meet me. I was quickly seated where I scoured the menus multiple times, texted some friends, observed the goings-on around me, joked a bit with the table next to me, rearranged the table settings, asked questions about some menu items, listened to the list of rotating local taps, ordered drinks for both of us, and wrote an entire book about the developments in sustainable farming over the last 500 years. Then my wife arrived.

Soon the order of drinks flowed to our tables. I had an Allagash Black, which is one of my favorites from the local brewer. She had a can of Bantam, Rojo cider with sour cherries and pink peppercorns which was pretty good for a cider and tasted exactly how it sounds with the peppercorns as a very minimal addition to the cider’s flavor. We were happily drinking and I was pleased to finally be able to discuss food with my other of significance. I didn’t recall the menu being as extensive, diverse, or interesting last time I was there. I was thoroughly impressed with the deep cheese and charcuterie list which took the entire first half of the menu and also featured some great accoutrements. I was quite interested in ordering something from that area, but my wife wasn’t as keen on the idea, so I evacuated that thought from my brain, noting that those would be given prime ordering consideration on my next visit.

Once we nixed the meats and cheeses, I again tried to see if my wife and I had the inclination to share any food, but we decided sharing wasn’t really caring and picked provisions to only feed ourselves. I looked toward the salads, but saw a couple apps that looked to be more to my liking. After a careful decision process and verifying that the tuna was cooked, I started with the Tonno – Tuna belly stuffed pickled cherry peppers, bread crumbs, raddichio. Then I went with a Pepperoni pizza – House-made beef pepperoni, olives, San Marzano tomato sauce, aged mozzarella, fennel salsa verde. She opted for a salad to start, Lattuga -Organic Leaf lettuce, organic cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, basil buttermilk vinaigrette  – and then the house-named pizza, Vignola – Roasted tomatoes, aged provolone & stracciatella cheese, San Marzano tomato, basil pesto.

As we waited for the orders, we nibbled on some focaccia, sipped our drinks, and watched the food work it’s way to other tables. After skipping any cheese or charcuterie, those luscious conglomerations of meat and dairy made my mouth water as they went by and I had a tiny bit of non-ordering regret. Still, I was excited for what I did request, and as we watched lots of people head upstairs for a wedding party of some sort, my desire to dig into some food grew to a bundle of ravenous anticipation. No sooner did the drooling start than I received my Tonno and she the Lattuga.

image

The Tonno looked pretty much like what I expected. The four stuffed cherry peppers were topped with crumbs and sat in a field of shredded raddichio. A couple of the peppers were on the plump side while the other two were a bit small. I had ordered that particular starter because I have a fondness for both pickled cherry peppers and tuna. I wasn’t looking for anything too far out of the box and a bite of one of them proved to be what I envisioned. The cherry peppers exhibited a nice, but not extreme, heat and some acid. The tuna added a little heft, and the crumbs provided a small crunch. I’m not sure where the raddichio fit in outside of offering a nice presentation, but I ate it because I happen to like the partially purple leaf. My wife nibbled on her no-frills salad as I sliced, diced, and consumed my peppers.

image

We didn’t take long to finish our first courses and soon our places were cleared for pizza. Those came out without any significant delay and we observed the seductively sizable saucers steaming. I took a tiny bite, but it was too hot for my sensitive palate, so I laid back for a minute as it cooled. My wife took a bite of hers, and being much tougher than I, felt it was of an edible temperature and seemed to be enjoying it. I slowly went back to my slice and got into it. The house-made pepperoni was thicker than the standard and had a definite beef flavor. I didn’t find it as spicy as a typical pepperoni, but enjoyed it for what it was – a slightly new look at the common pizza covering. In addition to the ‘ronis, the olives added a bit of flavor and the slightly sweet tomato sauce was also a nice touch. I wasn’t sold on the fennel salsa verde when I ordered, but the amount on the pie was just enough to add a little extra seasoning to the pizza and I hardly noticed any fennel flavor, which to me was a bonus.

My wife’s Vignola wasn’t far off from a Margherita, but the addition of the sweet, creamy stracciatella gave it a little more of a substantial flavor profile. My issue with a standard Marguarita is that cheese is used sparingly and, while that is the proper preparation, I prefer more cheese in addition to lots of tomato and basil. This one had a leg up on the old classic and like the salsa on the pepperoni, the basil pesto added just the right amount of pop to give a little “umph” to the righteous, crusty creation.

image

After eating my entire pizza and a piece of the wife’s, we were ready to call it quits. We looked at a Dolci menu, but a full belly led us down a dessert-free path. At only $68 before tip, our meal seemed quite reasonable. We enjoyed our food, and though we didn’t get particularly adventurous with our choices, I think it’s safe to say that Vignola has their ducks in a row. Our relatively simple food was prepared well and with a little extra style that made it worthwhile in a city of fantastic food. Though I’m basing it off a memory which hardly exists any longer and despite our orders, it seems that their menu has more exciting choices than they did back in the day and they definitely have superb cheese and charcuterie options. I think that from now on, Vignola will be on my list for both meals and pre-meal drinks and snacks. Consider adding it to your repertoire too.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.

Rossobianco – Portland Just Got a Little More Italian

image

Portland’s Italian food scene isn’t huge, but it’s growing, and the newest addition to it is Rossobianco – an eatery from Chef David Levi, founder of Vinland. I tend to not get too hyped about Italian food most of the time, though I often enjoy it when I have it. The problem for me is that I’m really looking for something that stands out from what I’ve had before. I’ve eaten all manner of pasta, pizza, and the like, but I want something of a new take on those. I want rich, cheesy creations with fresh pastas, powerful red sauces, and flavors that are different and generally kill – in a good way. I didn’t know if I’d find those at Rossobianco, but I was hoping to.

A chalkboard sign outside the restaurant touted it as a “Northern Italian Wine Bar” on one side and told of cheap snacks, house-made pasta, and new wines daily on the other. As we entered, another sign told us to seat ourselves and we picked a table by the window. I observed a massive chandelier hanging by the bar, a mostly wood interior, and a nice overall feel to the place, though other than the chandelier, nothing stood out as extravagant or exceptional. A waitress brought us water and menus which included the small food menu, lots of wine including some wine cocktails, and a small beer selection.

image

With a few options under each of five categories of food, the choices weren’t extensive, but they were sufficient. My wife ordered a sauvignon blanc and asked about the size differences between the small and large portions of the main courses. We were told if we were ordering apps and/or salads that we may want to consider the smaller portions, while, if we were just sticking with a main, the large might be more appropriate. In a stroke of genius, my wife suggested we just order apps and salads first and then could decide how hungry we were for the larger dishes. I agreed and we started to figure out what to eat.

My thought out of the gate was to get one item from the Cicchetti or snack column. I decided to go with the Arancini con Funghi – fried risotto ball with oyster mushrooms, Grana Padano fonduta. That seemed like a sound decision, but I wanted to try something more and also went with the Frico – Montasio, cabbage, spring onion – which was under the heading of Antipasti. Mrs. Portlandeater kept it simple, choosing the Insalata – farm lettuce, herbs, shishito vinaigrette. We stopped there temporarily and waited for the beginnings of our feast.

Before anything else came out, we made our acquaintance with a basket of fresh bread and simply seasoned olive oil. After several bites of that, the fried risotto ball rolled up in front of us. The between-golf-and-tennis-ball-sized food was fully encased in a crusty shell and sitting in a small puddle of the fonduta. I made it my mission to cut into the sphere and grab a bite smeared in melty cheese. As I did that, I made sure to also get plenty of actual risotto and outer shell into my mouth. With a couple chews, I discovered incredible flavors. The crunch of the fried coating led the way to a creamy risotto with a nice mushroom flavor, but the fonduta added a first class salty cheese that took cheesiness to a whole new level – if that’s even possible. It was a ball of greatness and upon trying it, my wife gave a confirming “that’s really good”.

image

The ball wasn’t huge and didn’t last long, but soon the insalata and frico joined us at the table.  My wife’s salad looked like standard fare, but my frico was a bit unusual. Four charred squares of cabbage pancake sat on the plate with onion on top of each one. I went for it and sent my fork to cabbage town where it cut and shoveled half a pancake into my face. Wowee zowee! What had I eaten? It took a minute to sink in, but my shredded cabbage was encrusted in the cheese which again was salty and a sensational play-up of the green stuff. The onions were a safe and tasty finishing touch. My wife’s salad was simple but offered some nice notes with the herbs and shishito peppers.

image

We munched until all the food was gone and then considered our next menu-guided move. We were both in the mood for some pasta or risotto and had four choices. We thought about ordering small portions of all four, but eventually decided on three and another risotto ball since they were so delicious. My wife ordered the Scialatielli con Passato di Pomodoro – basil pasta, tomato, rosa bianco eggplant, smoked mozzarella – while I went with the Cannelloni – buckwheat pasta, chicken, potato, leeks – and Risotto e Aragoste – short grain rice, lobster, butter,  mushroom. It would have to wait until our next visit, but I thought the Tagliatelle al Ragu alla Bolognese – fresh egg pasta, meat sauce – sounded pretty damn good too.

image

Our first dishes came out after a short wait – the risotto ball, scialatielli, and tagliatelle. “Wait. I didn’t order tagliatelle.” As the waitress walked away, I was processing that the dish in front of me wasn’t something I ordered, refusing to believe it was the wrong item, and simultaneously digging into it. It was definitely egg tagliatelle with non-tomato meat sauce, and not anything like canneloni. The fork hit my mouth. It was buttery with a little shredded cheese and al dente in texture. The fresh pasta stood out and the meat was tender. It was the first bolognese I’d had without tomato and it wasn’t what I ordered, but…it was awesome. There was no sending this mistake back. It was hard to even call it a mistake.

My wife’s pasta included a red sauce and it was quite good, with a nice acid and aromatic basil, but I stuck to only one taste as I’m not a fan of eggplant. We finished what we had in front of us and waited for the risotto which took a while to come out. When it finally did, it looked luxurious with lots of sauce, cheese, and specks of lobster throughout. The rice concoction went directly into my mouth and the glorious flavors gave me a rush of food-borne adrenaline. The mushroom laden risotto from earlier had now had joined forces with more saucy sassiness and bits of clawed crustacean and the results were astounding. The dish was full of flavors and rich without remorse – a superhero of sorts.

image

When everything was finally finished, we were offered dessert, but it was not to be as I needed a food break. The meal came to $110 after tax and a solid tip and included a second glass of wine. Rossobianco is no ordinary Italian. They checked all the boxes on my list. Their pasta was a thing of beauty with freshness that shined through in every mouth-watering bite. They didn’t hesitate to put cheesy, buttery decadence on the front line of their food, and they dove straight into deep, flavorful waters. They focused on bringing together the richness of ingredients where each one stood on it’s own, but perfectly complimented the others. The risotto was a stellar example with mushroom and sauce sharing the starring roles while the lobster added another tier of taste.

Rossobianco offers a light, casual atmosphere that will be accessible to all types of eaters. Good for a snack and wine or a hearty meal of pasta or steak and beer, they are giving Italian cuisine a different look than anywhere else in Portland. If my first impressions are correct, Rossobianco is going to get busy and stay that way, because their food is absolutely magnificent. When you go – and go soon – start with a bunch of the risotto balls – everything there is a worthy offering, but one of those definitely won’t be enough.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.

MK Kitchen – Gorham Grub and Gulps

image

MK Kitchen sits in the center of Gorham and has earned a reputation for solid food and drink that stands out in its location a little outside of Portland. I was in the right mood to head out of town and into an area I visit infrequently, so we made reservations and took the drive. I had heard positive reports on the restaurant, though I didn’t have any particular intel before we visited early on a Saturday evening, so it was time to learn more about the eatery first-hand. We arrived hungry and thirsty, found a prime parking spot, and headed in to experience MK to the fullest extent possible.

The restaurant was large with a small but attractive bar all the way to the left. Its two rooms were filled with many copper top tables. It looked beautiful, felt spacious, and had a calm, inviting atmosphere that gave a strong first impression. It was honestly more than I expected, but that’s one reason why I always try new restaurants – I never truly know what I’ll find. Business was slow, but we were early, so that was hardly notable. We were quickly visited by a waitress who schooled us on the menus, adding a scallop special which was available both as an app and an entree, and then offered us drinks. We told her weren’t quite ready yet, but would be soon.

We took another minute or two and were prepared with drink orders when our server returned. My wife stuck with her safety drink of sauvignon blanc. I went with the MK Seasonal Manhattan – house infused peach bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, served up with an amerena cherry. I love peach and was taken by the idea of a Manhattan with some some of the hairy fruit in it. I couldn’t imagine it being anything other than a match made in heaven. After ordering those, we spent some time reviewing the food menu which had a substantial number of apps, soup and salads, pastas and grains, entrees, and sides.

Upon delivery of our drinks, which hardly took any time at all, we ordered the food. She ordered the Grilled Romaine Caesar – croutons, shaved parmesan, house made creamy garlic dressing – and a small serving of the Mushroom Risotto – roasted local mushrooms, fresh herbs, baby arugula, truffle oil, and parmesan. I considered an app of Lobster Cones because they sounded amazing, but eventually decided to start with the MK Wedge – romaine hearts, cherry tomatoes, bacon crumbs, blue cheese, pickled onion, and buttermilk dressing. After a lot of internal debating, I finally ordered the Pan Roasted Scallop special with parsnip puree, fennel arugula salad, butter sauce, bacon crumbs, and tomato jam.

When the waitress left, I focused on the drink in front of me, taking a serious haul of the bourbon based beverage. I had expected major peach flavor, but instead got something quite different. The peach provided only a hint of fruit background, the bourbon kept it’s full flavor, and the combination smoothed it all to a light, oddly refreshing cocktail which would work both for nights of heavy drinking or as a single summer sipper. It was very unique as I’ve had many bourbon Manhattans and this one was different than any of them. I continued downing my drink and nibbled on some delicious focaccia, momentarily forgetting we had more food on the way.

image

Despite my obsession with the whiskey and bread, when the salads came to our table, I dug right in. I was a little nervous about the blue cheese as I’m not a big fan, but picked some of it off and felt it would be perfect after that. I took a few bites. The fresh lettuce and tomatoes were boosted with great flavors from the onions, bacon, and dressing. It was a really nice take on a traditional wedge. The one change I felt would have made it even better was a little more dressing. I thought that would have added the ability to better blend the cheese into the plate and given it a creamier taste. It was still nice to get plenty of crisp vegetables leading the pack, but next time I might suggest denser drizzle when ordering. My wife’s salad was excellent with no shortage of parm a beautiful punch from the creamy garlic.

image

We kept eating until we were finished our greens and then waited for the main courses. I hadn’t had scallops in a while, so when they came out, my mouth was watering. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of food in my bowl; the four scallops were large with a hearty base of the parsnip puree and the salad on top.  The scallops were sensationally seared with the bacon, butter, and jam adding just a tiny bit of flavor enhancement. The puree was creamy and added a really nice feel to the mouth without overpowering anything else in the dish. The salad was a also good accompaniment with just the right amount of fennel not to take over and alter the flavors negatively.

As I plowed through my meal, the one thing that stood out about the dish was that the scallops were truly the centerpiece and despite so many other items added to them, nothing distracted from the unbelievably plump and delicious sea cylinders of yum. The other ingredients were all easy additions and the bacon, while a stronger flavor, was used only sparingly to add just a touch of goodness. I finished and was happy to take a couple bites of my wife’s risotto which packed a deliciously loud mushroom wallop.

image

When we were both done, we decided that a look at the dessert menu wouldn’t hurt anyone. Mrs. Portlandeater had a hankering for the Peach and Blueberry Tart, but I overruled her by going with the Cheesecake “Crème Caramel”. With blueberry compote, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and blueberry sorbet, it sounded like a winner to me. Fortunately, it came out after only a few minutes. The little cake was topped with the coconut and compote. Along the side were the sorbet, crumbs, and whipped cream.

Our forks touched down on the cheesecake at the same time. It was beautiful with a bit of burnt caramel and the standard creamy, cheesy awesomeness a great cheesecake offers. The blueberry and coconut allowed for different and interesting flavor combinations and the graham cracker threw in a traditional, but nearly essential element. I actually preferred the sorbet on its own, though I loved its super strong blueberry flavor that mimicked eating sweet frozen blueberries. It all worked together, but there’s no doubt the cheesecake itself was the leader of the plate.

image

A few minutes into the dessert, it was gone forever and we were done. The bill came to $100 and based on quality and portions, it was well within the realm of reasonable. After all the eating, it was clear that MK Kitchen has a particular talent for taking a central ingredient and altering it only slightly to play up flavors both delicate and intense. While certain ingredients can distract or hide the main player of a dish, MK avoids that completely, instead allowing the diner to revel in the beauty of natural and intended flavors while throwing in notes that create a well-played conglomeration of sensory superlatives. They do it right and there’s plenty of people who seemed to already know that as the restaurant was nearly full when we left. I recommend you take the time to head to School St. in Gorham and taste for yourself. I also suggest trying the lobster cones I passed on. Those gorgeous treats made their way past our table multiple times and will be my starter on our next visit.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.

Interview with Ginger Zee – “Food Forecast”

image

Good Morning America and ABC news Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee hosts a new show on ABC Digital called “Food Forecast” and the first episode focuses on Maine lobster. The show connects food and weather, explaining how weather and climate affect some of the most iconic foods in the country. In case you just moved to Maine from under a rock on Jupiter, Maine’s lobster is legendary and it’s no surprise that Ginger chose it as part of the five episode series, but it’s a little extra cool that it’s the very first one. Ginger is known for being obsessed with weather, so her being involved in a show related to that is no surprise, but I wanted to find out a little bit more about her connection to the show, food, and Maine and was fortunate to have the opportunity to do just that.

Peter Peter Portland Eater: How did you come up with the idea for the show? Obviously, the weather part was natural, but how did you come up with the food connection?

Ginger Zee: Almost a decade ago I helped a major winemaker entertain their investors in Chicago when I was a meteorologist there. I talked to them about micro climates, boundary layer meteorology and different topography that can impact a vineyard and different varieties of wine. I love wine and I love weather so I’ve always wanted to marry the two in a show that would entertain and inform. I want every line to teach you something.

PPPE: How did you make the decision about what areas and foods on which to focus the show?

GZ: Wine was a must because of the complexity of wine making regions and their impact on different varieties. Outside of that we just started researching hot topics that had some major climate or environmental impacts lately. With the eat local movement strengthening I feel like there is no better time to do a show like this. Although our focus is often on climate and weather impacts, environmental care is an immediate concern — especially in the case in southern New England. Overfishing, shell disease and predators like the Black Sea bass are all a part of the overall decline in lobster in southern New England.

PPPE: Did you get to try all the foods on which you reported?

GZ: Absolutely! I had to do my research to the fullest extent. And it was delicious!

PPPE: Had you been to Maine previously? What were your thoughts on Bar Harbor?

GZ: I had the opportunity to do GMA live from Acadia national park and I did a story in Bar Harbor a few years back so I had been before and fell in love with it. It was on that trip that a lobsterman explained the uniqueness of the ocean bottom in Maine and why it was so perfect for lobster. I never forgot our talk about the Labrador current, ocean temperatures and nutrients and I had the Maine lobster at the top of my list for items to cover on Food Forecast.

Check out “Food Forecast” on ABC Digital. The premier episode is out now and features a lobsterman and a marine biologist who explain why Maine’s lobster is the best in the world and what might cause it to go away in the future. Ginger’s added explanation of the weather conditions that affect it make it both informative and entertaining. And who doesn’t love watching as their home state’s favorite food is on display to make everyone’s mouth water? Okay, now I’ve got to go pick up some lobsters for dinner.

To watch the show – http://abcnews.go.com/US/secret-ingredient-makes-maine-lobster-delicious-threatened/story?id=40868826

Special thanks to Ginger Zee.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.

Peter Peter Portland Eater’s Somewhat Definitive Suggestions of Where to Eat, Drink, and Play in Portland, Maine

image

A lot of people ask me “Hey Peter Peter Portland Eater, you seem to have a reasonable grasp of the food and beverage happenings in Portland, so where exactly should I eat when I visit?” I usually follow up with some questions about what type of food they’re looking for and how much they want to spend and then I make some suggestions and potentially point them in the direction of the awards articles I release at the end of every year. However, I thought the perfect opportunity to help my loyal readers find the best places to visit presented itself when I had a friend from out-of-state over for a weekend and planned a food and beverage extravaganza.

My buddy arrived on a Friday afternoon ready to consume lots of food and wash it down with a moderate amount of booze. We enjoyed the warm weather in my backyard and before long, our stomachs started growling, demanding some nourishment. As he went down the list of foods he might want to eat, he seemed most eager for burgers and fries. I quickly made the decision to visit Nosh on Congress St., one of my favorites and a great place to pick up some man-food. We headed into Portland ready to chomp on some beef and potatoes after of a bit of a scenic drive through Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, and then Portland.

We got to Nosh and a review of their brand new menu revealed some changes since the last time I had been there. Before deciding on food, we each ordered a Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Co. out of Denver. Once the beer order was out of the way it was time to pick our lunch items and it didn’t take long at all. We both wanted the Sweet and Spicy Bacon Cheeseburger – Nosh patty, cheddar cheese, sweet grilled onions, smoked bacon, sambal mayo, grilled brioche bun. Then we added an order of Bacon Dusted Fries with a side of chipotle mayo and were ready to get to work.

Our orders came out quickly and Nosh did as they always do, producing excellent, over-the-top burgers with intense flavor combinations over a base of perfectly seasoned pork and beef patty. The fries stood the test of time, proving to be just as good now as they were years ago when I first had them. I also recommend the chipotle mayo dipping sauce. That stuff was super, though there are a number of excellent sauce choices that I’m sure are all superb. We eventually finished our food and beer and were ready to go relax a bit before going out for drinks and dinner later on.

To read more about Nosh and their decadent deliciousness – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2014/12/17/nosh-now-theyve-really-done-it/

Once we killed a little time and digested the burgers, I had a plan to get the evening started quickly with one of the coolest drinks anywhere. We made our way to Tempo Dulu at the Danforth Inn, where the summer heat made it a slow night, but we welcomed sitting inside with air conditioning. Pulling up to the bar and grabbing two seats, the bartender handed us drink menus and I quickly handed them back. “We know what we want,” I said. He pretty much did too.

“The Wayang or Jakarta?”

The Jakarta – Knob Creek Rye, Averna Amero, Cynar, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Coastal Root Bitters, absinthe mist, smoked Chinese 5 spice. There was no doubt about it. The award winning drink is one I am willing to buy for myself and others even at a hefty 15 bucks each. It’s not just that the whisky wonder tastes like it was birthed from the fountain of the gods, but the preparation of the drink itself is an event worthy of a crowd. As the bartender poured precisely the right amount of various liquors into a single measuring glass with ice, I was anxiously awaiting the headlining act.

The presentation hit it’s climax as the bartender hand picked whole Chinese five spice to place on our “drink board”, misted the glass in absinthe, torched the five spice, and then simultaneously blew out the flames and covered it with the glass. During the process, my buddy was amazed as the show created a magical ambiance. The drink was poured into the smoked glass and as the aromas filled the air, it was ready to consume. It was even better than I remembered as my senses were hammered with what is most definitely a majestic cocktail. While drinking and talking with the bartender, we peered at the bar menu, and I made note of some excellent choices to eat next time I sat there for anotherJakarta. We took our time to savor every last drop of the drink and then headed out to the water for some food.

To read more about Tempo Duly and their mind-blowingly amazing food and drink – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2015/07/06/tempo-dulu-peterpeterportlandeater-and-the-tempo-of-dulu/

Once we got to Commercial St., I veered toward J’s Oyster Bar, knowing that the long-standing dive always produced amazing, fresh seafood served a side of awesome sauce. We asked for the first seating available and were instructed to get a drink a the bar while waiting. However, the bar had plenty of open seats and we grabbed two of those. The bartenders were happy to slide menus our way and I ordered a Sam Adams Lager while he went with a simple lemonade. With that, we started entertaining food.

I was certain that I wanted a cold item since it was a scorcher of a day. He was thinking of ordering a hot item, but when I suggested either a lobster or crab roll, he thought he might try the first lobster roll of his life. We settled on the rolls as our final answer and happily waited with our beverages while the J’s Oyster crew shoved a little lettuce and large pieces of lobster meat into a toasted hot dog roll. When it arrived with chips, pickle, and a packet of mayo, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

image

Both of us shoved a bite of the lobster into our faces – his sans mayo and mine with the mayo added. I enjoy a little condiment and squeezed mine on there, but the option to just have the clear meat is a good one too. Lobster doesn’t get any fresher than what was on that roll and the sandwich that makes Maine go ’round was a really powerful intro to Maine seafood for my bro. J’s quietly serves one of the best examples of a lobster roll the state has to offer and I always love their divey atmosphere and on-the-water location.

To read more about J’s Oyster Bar and their dive-licious eats – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2014/08/22/j-s-oyster-bar-delightfully-divey/

Dessert was in order and my buddy suggested ice cream, but I pulled a minor swerve by walking up to Fore St. to go to Gelato Fiasco. With lots and lots of flavors made in small batches, Gelato Fisaco offers something for everyone, also serving a number of Sorbettos for those looking to avoid dairy. We both ordered a couple flavors – you can order as many as you want in a single serving – and found a seat to consume our concoction of the cold.

image

I dipped into my half mint cookies and cream/half peanut butter cup dish and was pleased with it’s cooling effect on a hot summer night. GF’s product tastes real because it is real, with everything made in-house and without garbage ingredients like artificial flavors. The mint in mine tasted like actual mint, not something produced in a food lab. We took lots of little bites with our tiny spoons, took advantage of their recycling bins, and left for wherever Portland would take us the rest of the evening.

Check out Gelato Fiasco’s website to learn more – http://www.gelatofiasco.com/

A walk around the Old Port eventually led us to the corner of Middle and Exchange where a Jamaican jerk cart sat waiting for us to approach. Little Jamaica offered some solo jerk chicken for a mere ten bucks. Once ordered, the jerk lady – who wasn’t a jerk at all –  pulled out a whole leg of chicken, commandeered a cleaver, and cleaved the hell out of the bird. After a quick warm up, it was ready to eat and we found seats where we could pick at it.

image

The chicken was tasty, but the chopped bone made it a little difficult to navigate the edible portion of the chicken while avoiding chewing a bony bit. Still, the slightly spicy meat was a nice second “dessert” of the evening. As we ate, we waited for word from my wife about where she and her friends were in their evening out and found out they weren’t ready to give us a ride home yet. We arranged a street meeting location and figured they would have an idea about where they wanted to go next.

You can find Little Jamaica on Facebook.

It turned out that my wife and her crew wanted to hit Glass cocktail lounge at the bottom of the Hyatt on Fore St. With lots of signature cocktails under the headings Stong, Savory, Bitter, and Fresh, they had lots of choices and it seemed each drink was a combination of many ingredients. I wasn’t feeling like beer or wine, but decided it was too late for me to make a decision on much of anything beyond that, so I went with a simple vodka cranberry. My buddy ordered an Atlantic Brewing Coal Porter and the ladies went with a bottle of bubbly.

Our drinks were happily consumed and that proved to be the end of our night as lots of yawns filled the room  while we drank our last drops. It had been quite a night, but I was prepping mentally to give my visitor an additional taste of the Portland life the next day as we would have lots of time to explore everything Portland had to give.

You can find Glass on Facebook.

Saturday morning started with a trip to The Holy Donut on Exchange St. We waited in a long line, eventually ordering a dozen donuts, picking flavors like triple berry, pomegranate, maple bacon, dark salted chocolate, and the like. After all 12 were in the box, I stared at the assortment of deep fried potato donuts made with no artificial anything and got ready to dig into their warm, fresh cakiness. First though, I had to make a stop at Bard Coffee just a hop away on Middle St. for some cold brews.

At home and only a single bite in to a donut, I remembered how the dense torus of taste made me so happy in the past and was doing so once again. I couldn’t get enough, preferring their fruit flavors and secondarily their chocolate frosted ones. I took sips of my cold, better-cause-it-ain’t-bitter brew in between donuts. Cold brew made me give up on my “only hot coffee” stance and Bard’s is excellent. If you like it a little frothy, order a nitro cold brew and you might think you’re drinking a Guinness…okay, maybe not.

image

The donuts did their job and I had to stop at three for fear that I wouldn’t be able to eat the rest of the day. My guest also stopped at three, leaving some for later which was fine with me. The donuts and coffee got the morning started right and it was time for a bit of a rest before we engaged in more eating and drinking shenanigans. We figured it might be smart to recharge our old batteries after a lateish night and  relatively early morning.

Check out The Holy Donut’s website to learn more – https://theholydonut.com/

Check out Bard Coffee’s website to learn more – http://www.bardcoffee.com/

A little after noon, we got it together and went to Rising Tide Brewing on Fox St. for some suds. Deciding on a couple samplers, we each ordered the Pisces gose tart wheat ale, Eté summer saison, Ursa Minor weizen stout, and Portside Porter. We sat at an outdoor picnic table sampling the delicious brews, sipping each one carefully to get its full flavor. As I often do, I preferred the porter and stout the most, but they were all good for certain.

image

While we were at the brewery, we saw the Brew Bus arrive – they’re everywhere there is beer – and observed as the food truck next to us kept busy. It was a beautiful afternoon and that combined with a little beer was just what the doctor ordered. Once the beers were in us, we went next door to Maine Craft Distilling to try just a few samples before we decided on a place to eat. There, we dipped into the Fifty Stone single malt whiskey, the Sprigge barrel rested gin, and the Blueshine blueberry moonshine. As I already knew and as my partner in crime that day agreed, they were all sure winners.

image

Check out Rising Tide’s website to learn more – http://www.risingtidebrewing.com/

To read more about Maine Craft Distilling and their uniquely spirited booze – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2016/02/29/maine-craft-distilling-theyre-crafty/

We had to decide on food, and a short walk took us to Silly’s on Washington St. Silly’s mishmosh of a menu is one of the weirdest, most awesome conglomerations of food in existence and I figured whatever we picked would be the perfect after-beer compliment. I have a ton of go-to foods there, but I always consider something new too. I listed my favorites from the menu and we decided to share the Pork Bootie Nachos – flour tortillas topped with smoked pork, BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, jalapenos, cheese, and sour cream.

image

We stuck with just water and went to town on the nachos, making a job out of eating them. I felt they were probably even better than last time I had them. Adding a solid amount of Silly’s hot sauce to the chips, I went crazy on the meaty, sweet and spicy, cheese-doused delights. These were no ordinary nachos, but extraordinarily heavy, well appointed chips. We ate for what seemed like forever and were finally done, leaving about four chips behind. The nachos were enough for us both because we had to be mobile to continue our walking tour of the town.

We paid our bill and eventually left. The nachos by themselves were pretty inexpensive and we definitely got our money’s worth. We began walking off the nachos around Congress St. and the Old Port. After a bunch of stops and looking around at various non-eatery locations, we made our way home for a few to recoup and decide our next move into the foray of food and drink the weekend had become. It wouldn’t be long before we knew what was next.

To read more about Silly’s and their unusual take on food – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2013/03/20/sillyssillys-with-a-twist-no-rhyme-no-reason/

One of my favorite locations on earth took us to Main St. in Westbrook for some ice cream at Catbird Creamery where the flavors were locked and popped. After trying a sample of the Lemon Balm and Merigold, I went with a couple favorites – Furious George and Strawberry Balsamic – opting only for the ice cream with no toppings. My buddy opted for the Coca Mocha Sorbet and Strawberry Balsamic. I had initially figured he was the person who traveled the furthest to go to Catbird that day, but there were people in front of us from China, so we didn’t win that game.

image

The first taste of my order was incredible I can never figure out how Catbird makes the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream on the planet, but it was no different that day as the strawberry balsamic packed in more flavor than ever and the furious one was as good as it always is. As with all the places in this article, it’s difficult to believe there are people in the area that haven’t been there yet. We consumed everything we had, verbally noting that it was “just so good” over and over. Our kiddie sized dishes proved to be more than enough and we were on to more adventures.

To read more about Catbird Creamery and their nationally recognized, often televised ice cream – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2013/01/23/catbird-creamery-a-kick-to-the-face-with-a-foot-full-of-ice-cream/

After ice cream, we revisited the home briefly to get some socks because we decided that bowling would be the right thing to do. We made a stop at Easy Day on Broadway in South Portland and after getting our hands on a couple pair of bowling shoes, we picked a couple balls and got to rolling them and dropping some pins. We spent a little over an hour there where I won three out of four strings with my really poor bowling technique. Unfortunately, we passed on any food and drink since we were still pretty full, though they have a pretty good menu for a bowling alley. Once we wrapped up, we went home and watched the Knife Show on TV and caught some z’s.

To read more about Easy Day and their way-better-than-bowling-alley menu – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2016/06/15/easy-day-bowling-beverages-and-bar-food/

As I awoke on Sunday morning, I knew I had one last chance to impress my guest before he left to go back home. The only choice for breakfast was Scratch Baking in Willard Sq. in South Portland. Scratch serves all kinds of amazing treats, but the line that forms for bagels every morning is certainly a good sign that those are some of their A+ offerings. After grabbing a couple of the seeded ones and a Maine sea salt, I picked up some herbed cream cheese. As I waited in the long line to check out, I couldn’t help but add a New York Crumb Cake, a Raspberry Caramel Muffin, and an Almond Horseshoe to my purchase.

image

Once home, I reveled in the fact that I had made a nearly perfect buy at the bakery. The fresh herbs in their cream cheese are a game-changer and their amazing bagels go perfectly with it. I’ve never had anything there that wasn’t top-of-the-line delicious and I happily ate two of the bagels with lots of cream cheese, saving the other goodies for later in the day. As my guest made his way through a bagel and then gathered his belongings to leave, he seemed to be very happy with the weekend, so it was a success.

Check out Scratch’s website to learn more – http://scratchbakingco.com/love/

It was a great couple of days. I got to see a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years and took him all around town, choosing my favorite places to eat and drink, and we had a great time. There are obviously endless other locations we could have gone to that would have been great, but I chose places that were both some of my absolute favorites and also fit the weather, mood, and action we were looking for. Want to go out in Portland and have a good time? Definitely check out all these places and click on the links to learn more about my past experiences there or check out their websites. In the end, it’s all about having fun, and the places listed above are all giants on the “fun places to go” list.

For more suggestions on where  to eat and drink in Portland and other areas of Maine, check out my 2015 awards article – https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2015/12/28/peter-peter-portland-eaters-eating-portland-me-awards-2015

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.

​Foulmouthed Brewing – You Can Say That Again


I like anything inappropriate – filthy language, dirty jokes, poorly timed humour. It’s all good in my book. So when Foulmouthed Brewing opened a couple weeks ago, I had a feeling they might have something in store for me. I knew not what to expect, but the name alone gave me the happys. When I found out they would be serving food and have a full bar in addition to their six brews created in-house, I figured the second brewery in South Portland was onto something that might cause me to make a habit out of visiting the Ocean St. locale.

With on and off-street parking, the brewery has plenty of space for everyone who visits. Once inside, the fun started with a tap and glasses in the wall to the right which I assumed were for self-service water, though I didn’t verify. The restaurant then opened into a single room with lots of seating, a full length bar, and a couple small standing-only tables that stick out of the wall. A couple were playing chess on one of them and the place was pretty busy.

We pulled a menu from the cart on the table. On the front were some notes including – most importantly – that food orders should be placed at the corner of the bar and drinks could be ordered anywhere along the bar. Also, the menu commanded customers to “Wash out your filthy mouth with our freshly brewed suds, served straight from the tanks.” That sounded like a direct order to me. As I checked out the available beers I noticed a flight passing by me and thought it looked like something I might want. I spied on the menu that I could get four ounces of all six of their brews for a mere $10. That sounded like a perfect selection. My wife chose A Clean, Well Lighted Place – light rum, Luxardo, lime, grapefruit, and Herbsaint bubbly. I went to the bar and ordered, dropping a card to start a tab and being told my drinks would show up right where I ordered them once they were ready.

A few minutes post ordering, I saw our flight and cocktail being placed on the bar and scooted back to pick them up. I verified with one of the staff that my beers were numbered one through six per the menu and that each corresponding number was underneath the glasses. I brought everything back to the table and we had our way with the beverages. The brews ranged in color from light golden to black and included a double IPA called Malcontent which sounded particularly interesting to me. We had a friend meeting us and after few sips of those and a few dribbles down my shirt, she arrived and right away ordered a Bad Word – Reposada tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, lime juice, Luxardo, Laphroaig.


The next step was to order some food. The food options were slight with three appetizers, two salads, and four sandwiches, though the choices sounded quite interesting. Among the items I was considering were the Charred Onion and Greens, Crispy Fish Sandwich, and Spicy BLT. My wife and our friend hardly had to think about it and knew that they wanted the Grilled Cheese – sharp cheddar with smoked mushroom duxelles and red onion jam on sourdough. They also wanted to share a side of the Fries – Potatoes from Green Thumb Farm, sea salt, choice of sauce. There were six sauce choices and they went with the standard ketchup in an unparalleled display of thinking inside the box. I eventually decided to go with Pulled Pork Nachos – corn tortilla chips, house smoked local pork, spicy queso, pickled jalapeno, cumin lime crema, cilantro, lettuce, and tomato.

Once we all decided on our food, I ordered at the end of the bar, was given a number to put on the table, and told that the food would be brought out to us. The number We received was 12 and on the other side of the number was a picture of Bob Sagat. Now I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of anyplace that realizes Bob Sagat makes everything better. We each posed for pictures with Bob and the number 12 as we waited for our food. We also watched as other food came out in very large portions.

Before long, I saw the orders coming our way and simultaneously a mass exodus occurred. I was concerned they might be closing, but  eventually realized it was too early for that and just concentrated on my food. The ladies’ grilled cheese didn’t look like anything too special except that it was made from three slices of bread and had couple pickle spears on the side. I’m a sucker for extra pickles, so that alone was a positive sign. My nachos were smothered in fresh cilantro, but after eating a few leaves of it and pushing the rest aside, I saw a well-distributed, relatively even amount of all the other ingredients atop my chips.

After a full inspection of my nachos, I started removing chips from the plate like I was playing Jenga. With a few gone and the chips starting to collapse upon each other aided by the weight of the toppings, I started to get a sense of what was happening. The local pork was so tender – both smokey and sweet, but not intense, more of a consistent flavor that added to the plate without distracting from the other ingredients. The cumin lime crema was like a sprinkle of fairy dust as the cool citrus and spice was just an unbeatable combination to add to the mix. Along with the cheese, jalapenos, and fresh vegetables, this was a great concoction.

All three of us paid attention to our food like it was reading us our rights and the ladies each ordered another drink. After I neared the end of my nachos, Mrs. Portlandeater offered me some of her sandwich. I took a huge mouthful to make sure I got a full taste of everything in it. Plenty of cheese gave it a good start, but the heavy mushroom and herb mixture with the onions was a combination to die for and sourdough always makes everything better. I gave my wife a reassuring look that said “wow, this is a really good grilled chesse.” She returned with an audible “yeah, it’s the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had.” As a grilled cheese connoisseur, her opinion was as good as gold on that matter and I couldn’t disagree. I thieved the last few fries too and those proved to be a nice, crisp bunch of potato sticks worthy of an order.


It took a little convincing, but I got my wife to concede that it was a bad idea to order five more grilled cheese sandwiches to eat at home. We finished our drinks and decided to cash out. The meal came to just under 90 bucks before tip. That wasn’t at all bad for three of us eating and drinking. And the beer? Well, that was really good too. My three favorites were the Kaizen Saison, Knightvillian – a black ale, and the Malcontent. Feel free to drink a lot of those, but beware of the last one because, while it was as good or better than I expected, it’s also a stiff 8.5% ABV.

Foulmouthed Brewing turned out to be more than just a brewery. They’re a brewery. They’re a bar. They’re a restaurant. They’re a Brewbararaunt. And they’re a really good one. With excellent food and top notch brews it’s like going to your favorite eatery that makes everything from scratch, including the beer. Plus, the prices are very reasonable. South Portland most certainly has a new go-to location and you’d be doing yourself a favor if you get there soon. Tell ’em I sent you, and for the hell of it,  let’s just call this the Summer of Malcontent.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “Follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.