Monthly Archives: December 2014

Nosh – Now They’ve Really Done It

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When I went to – and reviewed – Nosh last year, it was on a Saturday night. Little did I know, the Sunday morning following my visit would mark the start of a new menu for Nosh – one that included some familiar items, but one that also had some significant changes. I don’t believe in re-reviewing restaurants unless there’s something different to write about; in this case, a new menu was different enough to give Nosh the full Portlandeater treatment once again.

After finding a nearby parking space, we walked into the restaurant – again on a Saturday night – and past the cold air barrier to wait to be seated. Within a minute or so, we were visited by the hostess who offered us a very cramped table or seats at the bar. We chose the bar and got the two seats at close end. Those were about the only two seats left, but they suited us just fine. The bartender quickly brought us menus. My first impression was that the menu physically looked very nicer than the last time I was there. I was excited to see the changes to the food offerings.

At first glance, the menu revealed the four main categories of food – burgers, fries, sandwiches, and noshing/apps. They also had drinks and dessert. There was also a specials menu with some food and, more importantly, the draught beer list. I first focused on the specials menu since I was ready for a a brew. Nosh has one of the best local beer selections around and I was determined to try something new. I quickly decided on the Bissell Brothers Substance while my wife stuck to a white wine. When the bartender came back, we put in those orders and focused on selecting food.

Other than the beer I chose, the specials menu didn’t offer anything I was exceptionally interested in. The main menu, however, I found to be particularly enticing. I brought my laser beams over to the apps and noticed Spicy Jerk Chicken Nachos – crispy flour tortillas, jerk chicken, nosh cheese whiz, sour cream, pickled frezno peppers, and scallions – sour cream on the side for the missus. My wife told me she was up for sharing them and I was ready for some nachos, man. We also planned to share the Sea Salt and Vinegar Fries with smoked tomato BBQ sauce for dipping.

I still had to choose a main course and I knew it would be a burger. I’d had a couple different burgers at Nosh and they were always amazing – undoubtedly some of the best, if not THE best, in town. I wanted to try something different though and two options stuck out. The first was the The Slab Burger with Nosh patty, SLAB pizza as the buns, sharp Provolone cheese, cherry pepper sauce, and basil pesto. The other promising vittle was the Mac N’ Stack – two crispy mac n cheese patties as the buns, NOSH patty, smoked bacon, American cheese, and smoked tomato BBQ sauce. After much internal strife and a recommendation from the bartender, I went with the mac n stack. We put in our orders with my wife taking the Toasted Caprese – Maine backyard beauty tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto, Fresno peppers greens, salt & pepper, olive oil on a ciabatta roll.

Our drinks came and they were quite good though my wife’s wine came in a cup as opposed to a wine glass. Apparently it didn’t change the taste though as she still enjoyed it. A few gulps in, we received the jerk chicken nachos. They showed up on a long, curved, wooden board/plate. There were a bunch of tortillas laid out and topped with lots chicken, cheese, and scallions. I dug in, making sure to get tons of toppings on my triangle tortilla temptress. Holy non-guacamole! The nachos were astounding. The chips were very crisp, the cheese was plentiful and delicious, the jerk chicken was second only to what I’ve had in Jamaica, and the other fixins rounded out a nearly perfect plate. The only very minor critique I had was that all the individual parts came together to make a dish that was probably a tad too salty. But it was a really small flaw. Overall, the nachos were truly superb.

We finished our nachos and within three flaps of a moth’s wings, the rest of our food was presented to us. My burger came on what was pretty much an empty plate except for the burger itself. The deep fried mac and cheese patties and American cheese completely hid all other parts of the cow sandwich. The fries were served upright in a cone of sorts. My wife’s caprese looked appetizing. I grabbed the makeshift “bun” and got at the burg, rocketing it into my mac n’ stack hole. TIHSGNIKCUFYLOH! It was so ridiculously good, I couldn’t even swear straight. The burger epitomized smokey, cheesy, manly decadence. This was the type of burger that could kill you if you ate it every day, but on this day, it simply took my childhood love for macaroni and cheese and hamburgers to the next level.

It took a couple bites of my burger before the deep fried mac patties began – inevitably – to fall apart. I donned a fork and knife combo without hesitation and continued to devour the heavenly health horror. What makes Nosh’s burgers some of the best are all the details. The burgers are naturally raised and made with beef chuck, brisket, pork shoulder, bacon, garlic, and rosemary. That’s a great start, but when you add some extra gooey, cheesy mac, you’ve got a winner of epic proportions. Throw in bacon, ‘Murica cheese, and smoked tomato BBQ and you’ve got the stuff of legend.

My burger made like D. B. Cooper and disappeared thanks to my healthy appetite for unhealthy food. My wife performed the same magic with her sandwich and we gobbled up the fries too. None of it was bad. In fact, it was so good, I was left with a feeling of utter joy which I shared with the people sitting next to me who happened to be the road crew from the show at the State Theater that night. It was their first time in Maine and I let them know they chose the right place for dinner.

Nosh provided me with a meal that was utterly incredible. I can finally say that I tried Nosh’s new menu and I was more than impressed. My only disappointment was that I didn’t have room for dessert. I had my heart set on The Holy Donut Sweet Grilled Cheese – one-halved caramel sea salt chocolate donut, smoked bacon peanut butter, grand marnier cream cheese, and peanuts – which sounds like one of the best things I’ve ever heard of. I suppose that not eating it may have saved my life after the rest of my meal, but it was a chance I was willing to take had my stomach allowed for it.

The entire burger bonanza came to about 55 bucks before tip. It was well worth it for what I felt was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten along with the other delicious parts of the night. Nosh has really outdone themselves. Their decadent comfort food really strikes a cord with me and apparently with lots of other Portlanders since they always seem to be so busy. I’ll be back and it won’t be long before I get there. They just have so much that looks like it has my name written on it.

Stay hungry.

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.

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Catbird Creamery’s Indiegogo Campaign is Underway

Catbird Creamery’s Indiegogo campaign is now well underway and in case their perks weren’t good enough, they have added a $100 gift certificate for $75. That’s one hell of a deal especially since their prices are already very reasonable. Donate now. They have a long way to go but are a great business that deserves your help and they’re not asking for it for free. They’re offering some great perks.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-bird-catbird-creamery-needs-a-new-home#comments

Pai Men Miyake – Loadsa Gyoza and Oodles of Noodles

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Pai Men Miyak is the sister restaurant of Miyake. Don’t confuse them. The former is a noodle bar on State St. while the latter specializes in serving up sushi on Fore St. I figured I should try one of them soon and on a cold Saturday evening, I thought a noodle bowl might suit me well. We made our way there, pulled off some shenanigans to get a parking space, and walked into the popular Asian joint which appeared to be pretty busy.

On this night we were eating early and arrived before 6 pm when there were only a few spaces left at the bar. We love sitting at the bar and definitely didn’t want to wait for a table as our bellys were empty and ripe for filling. We sat and waited for a server to visit, but before one did, we had menus delivered and water served by a surrogate. There were three menus; one appeared to be specials, one was beer and wine, and one was standard fare including signature cocktails. Before much time passed, our waiter came to offer drinks.  My wife ordered a chardonnay and I passed since I was driving that night. There were, however, a number of interesting drinks on the menu.

We looked intently at the food choices, hoping that there were no bad options, but trying to pick out only the best for our dinner. The menu consisted primarily of Ramen, Sushi, and Small Plates which included gyoza, pork buns, and the like. I really wanted to try one of each type, but I wasn’t sure I could fit all that into me. We decided we would avoid the sushi and if we were still hungry after eating a small plate and noodle bowl, then we would order sushi for dessert. We still had to decide what to actually order and that was no easy task as so much of the menu looked appealing.

After lots of contemplation, we finally made some decisions. We started with an order of Edemame to share. I went with Sui Gyoza – steamed chicken dumplings, shoyu, broth, rayu, scallion. Most of the ingredients sounded like characters in Mortal Combat so I figured they had to be good. My wife chose Shrimp Gyoza – pan seared shrimp and ginger dumplings. Next were the ramen. For me, it was the Shoyu with chicken and soy broth, pork loin, soy marinated egg, scallions, menma, nori. My young lady had the Shojin – kombu and shiitake broth, charred cabbage and carrots, tofu, ginger, menma, rayu, scallion, and nor.

The wait was on. The edemame came out quickly. They were standard and delicious. I chowed a bunch of them down without hesitation. When those were just about done, our gyoza came out. Mine came in a bowl with broth. The shrimp dumplings were served on a plate per usual. I prefer my dumplings steamed because I like the texture when they are prepped that way. I plunged a fork into my first nugget of joy, cut it in half, and then plopped it into my gyoza hole. It was glorious – doughy, well-seasoned, and perfect for soy sauce dipping. I ate more and dipped them all as though I was romancing them in a dance under the starlight. My wife tried the shrimp gyoza and loved them – no dip-dancing for her though.

Our dumplings were good as-is and with soy, but I also tried one with a spice combination that was at the bar. It was quite aeromatic and not very salty which was nice because the soy sauce provided enough sodium. They were so good I actually had to tell my wife that my gyoza had some pork in them so she wouldn’t eat any even though they were totally pork-free. We finished our gyoza very happy and hoped that the bowls were just as good.

When our bowls came, we were perfectly primed for them.  They were large and in-charge with my pork loin slices and egg sitting at the top. It looked pretty for a soup. We both tried ours. I started with the pork. It was tender and flavorful. I added a little soy to the meat and that pumped it up even more. The egg was good and different than any egg I’ve ever had. The broth and other parts were very tasty too. There were tons of noodles and lots of delicious parts to the bowl. My wife found hers to be the same. I finished my entire bowl with a fatality but Mrs. Portlandeater couldn’t finish hers. It was a hearty soup.

Sushi wasn’t in the cards as we had just had too much food. I certainly will try it the next time I am there. I’m confident that everything Pai Men Miyaki offers is delicious and the staff are really great. I couldn’t help but notice that the kitchen was working their asses off the entire time I was there. The wait staff was great too with our waiter even taking my coat and hanging it up in their secret coat-hanging area after it fell off the back of my chair. The place was really busy and everyone was keeping up with the demand quite well. By the time we left, the wait for a seat was two hours.

In the end, our meals came to about $55 before tip which I thought was very reasonable. The food was great and while I’m very particular about soup in general, their noodle bowls were not only delicious, but they offered a copious amount of food. Pai Men Miyake is the perfect place to quell your winter weather blues and satisfy your craving for Asian food at the same time. Go slurp down some delicious ramen immediately. Your brain freeze will thank you.

Stay hungry.

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.

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