Tag Archives: food

Farewell Portland, you’ve been wonderful

When I started food blogging over six years ago, I did so simply as a way to write consistently. As someone who ate a lot around town with my wife, I had a reasonable idea of what the food scene was about and what it had the potential to become. I thought, at the time, that it was certainly one of the best in the country, at least, and that it would provide for regular content to blog about. It turned out I was right and it gave me a great opportunity to hone my skills and do something fun.

Blogging, in many ways, turned out to be much more than I anticipated. I was included in a book about whiskey (The New Single Malt Whiskey), met a who’s who of Portland food and drink, got to eat and drink like a king at various establishments around town, and got previews of what was to come in some of the very best restaurants in the entire state.

To say that I appreciate what I got to experience as a blogger is an understatement. I will not forget the great times I had working on this blog. At least 50% of it was just eating and drinking, so “work” probably isn’t even the right word. I loved all the feedback I got, both good and bad. Some people would tell me they loved the blog. Others made sure I knew they hated me because I said something critical of their favorite restaurant or made a typo. The fact that anyone responded to me at all was what mattered.

Late last year, things got busy and my writing slowed. I figured a little break was in order anyway as I had been one of the more active food bloggers in the area for quite a while. However, the new year brought news that I would be moving away to Burlington, VT. While the food scene there is pretty spectacular too, I have decided that my days of writing about food are over, for now at least. I will simply eat at a restaurant like an average person, with no need to take pictures or notes or remember details.

I plan on leaving the blog active, though I might delete some of the social media promotion for it and will probably revert back to a standard WordPress account, but you’ll always be able to find articles by Googling “Peter Peter Portland Eater (restaurant name)”. I would definitely like to start a new writing project at some point and will be considering my options very carefully. I have some stuff I’ve been working on that I could make an attempt to finish (or get closer to finishing) or I maybe I’ll just start something totally different.

At this point, I’m just focusing on moving to the next stage of my life. Someday, you might read my words again, but for the time being, I’m boarding up the windows and locking the doors. Farewell Portland, you’ve been wonderful.

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 and peterpeterportlandeater on Instagram. You can also find over 50 articles archived at pppe.bangordailynews.com.

Homey casual eatery sticks to the basics

East Ender on Middle St. has the feeling of home from the second you walk in the door. It’s amplified in the winter when the temperature is cold outside and the contrast – a 50 degree or more difference – makes it seem like you’re by a fireplace ready to cozy up for a while. Although, in those winter months, that feeling can be momentarily paused as you peek your head past the curtain/cold air barrier to find out if you’re going to settle upstairs or down for the evening.

We walked upstairs upon direction from the staff, accompanied by some friends. The beer, wine, cocktails list was significant while the food menu was a bit more modest – a single page with snacks, starters, entrees, and sides. I looked at the drink menu and, though they did have some nice options, I decided to stick with water. A couple glasses of wine – rose and white – and a soda were ordered by the others.

Once the drinks came, we placed our food orders, beginning with the a triple shot of starters to share. We requested Chicken Wings with chili lime rub ($7), Soft Pretzel with house mustard ($5), and Chicken Rillettes – pain de mie, house mustard, and pickles ($7). For the main course, I ordered Fish and Chips – local hake, thrice cooked fries, spaghetti squash ($17). My wife wanted the Parmesan Risotto – pan roasted Maine lobster and heirloom carrots ($24). Our counterparts each went with customized versions of the House Smoked Burger – schmaltz bun, jack cheese, ketchup and mayo, thrice cooked fries ($15) and the Mixed Greens with house vinaigrette ($5).

Wings were my first victim. As flappers go, they were medium in size and crispy enough. I liked them, though they were not particularly strong. I wondered if they could have been enhanced by a complimentary dipping sauce. Keeping with the chicken theme, I tried the rillettes next. Rillettes are seasoned meat combined with fat. Often they are made into a paste, but this was shredded chicken between thick slices of the soft pain de mie. It had tons of flavor and while it was clearly laden with chicken fat, it was far from a greasy sandwich, but rather a savory rich and deeply flavorful concoction. The mustard and pickles made it even better.

After sampling each of the chicken-based apps, I was happy to see there was pretzel and mustard left to eat. I wouldn’t have ordered the pretzel on my own, feeling self-conscious that night about wanting something so mundane at dinner, but a soft pretzel with mustard is actually one of my favorites, so I was thrilled someone took the initiative to do so. I was quite pleased with the result. The pretzel was ordinary, but the mustard was a perfect partner with strong, acidic flavor that stood out more on its own than in the rillettes.

Our entrees came out and it took me a second to realize that my thin spaghetti squash was underneath the cylindrical fish stick. Next to it were a cup of fries and some tartar sauce. The lighty crispy, flakey fish stick wasn’t heavily seasoned, but it didn’t matter much because the tartar sauce was strong enough to cover for that. However, the squash was a bit bland and could have definitely used something to make it a bit more zippy. The fries were excellent, as the triple cooking process worked very well to crisp them.

I finished my food, wishing for a little more fish, but instead having to resort to a bit of my wife’s risotto. I found it to be quite tasty – fully engulfed in cheesiness as expected with sweet lobster and carrots. It was a solid dish, nothing extraordinarily complicated, but spot on for what I expected based on the description. The burgers and salads seemed to fare well on the other side of the table.

None of the desserts jumped out at me that night, though the Profiteroles (cream puffs) with salted peanut ice cream and chocolate sauce did sound somewhat interesting. There was also Apple Crisp, Dark Chocolate Torte, and Ice Cream. In the end, we passed on sweets, paying the bill and moving on for the evening back into the cold from whence we came.

There’s more to the East Ender than just food. It has a warm vibe that is comfortable, calm, and inviting. The dishes are relatively simple and on occasion might be missing a little something, but mostly, they’re a success. And while you could have part of a dish that isn’t quite your cup of tea, it’s highly unlikely you’ll walk out disappointed. I would encourage you to pay them a visit and try a healthy sampling of the menu to get the full experience.

East Ender
47 Middle St.
207-879-7669
janet@eastenderportland.com

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 and peterpeterportlandeater on Instagram. You can also find over 50 articles archived at pppe.bangordailynews.com.

Peter Peter Portland Eater’s Eating Portland, ME Awards 2018

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Well, well, well. Portland, you sure made the news this year and it’s been a long time coming. After being named America’s Foodiest Small Town in 2009, Bon Appetit decides you’re their 2018 City of the Year. But I’ve been saying you’re the best all along. Of course, I was right, and I’ll also take credit for being ahead of the curve. Don’t let it go to your head. Just keep forging ahead with the best food and drink available and keep making everyone in town – local or visitor – happy and fed.

That Bon Appetit story certainly made it tough to get into nearly a couple dozen Portland restaurants without a pretty long wait, but fortunately, those were just the tip of the iceberg lettuce, because Portland’s list of outstanding establishments is not only long, but ever-changing. And while most of my reviews were from the first three-quarters of the year, I was fortunate to hit a bunch of new openings and also make it back to plenty of my favorites.

So what else went down with the food scene this year in Portland? There were a lot more openings (as usual) of restaurants, bars, breweries, etc. and some unfortunate closings of excellent eateries too, but I suppose there’s always something to take the place of those when that happens. This town continues to be a moving, growing, thriving, vital city, leading the way with its scenery, attitude, and now officially-recognized, world-renowned food.

Yes, you did good, Portland. So let’s get to it and discuss the best places I ate this year. These decisions are never easy, because I was fortunate to eat so much good food, but that’s sort of the fun of it all. Here are the places that truly made an unforgettable impression on me for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s the entire meal or experience, sometimes it’s just a single dish, but regardless, all these establishments are worthy of a mention from me and a visit from you. I already know I’ll be returning soon.

Restaurant of the Year – Elda, 140 Main St., Biddeford

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/05/05/remarkable-biddeford-eatery-succeeds-with-quality-in-every-detail/

With all the excellent food I eat, choosing the best can be nearly impossible. I mean, how do you choose between two – or 10 – excellent meals? With Elda, there were two differentiators. First, and of lesser importance, was the interior decor. It was so calm, inviting, and just straight-up beautiful, I felt like I was in the right place as soon as I stepped in the door. More importantly was the creativity of the food.

Elda doesn’t just serve seafood, they create flavorful, exciting culinary art that keeps you wondering what every dish will look like, smell like, and of course, taste like. They’re so creative and fun, in fact, that I’m certain there are those with sensitive palates that wouldn’t take a chance eating there. Elda, fortunately, is around for the rest of us.

Mussels with juniper, crab with egg yolk and carrots, roasted chicken with fennel and dandelion, and a dessert of cheeses made up a meal which always had me basking in the sunlight of a glorious dish or questioning what I thought I knew about flavors. Even my drink fit that mold. Add in the attention to every last detail, and my Elda experience was one to remember.

My only compliant about this magical restaurant is that it’s in the heart of the quickly developing Biddeford food scene and not right next door to my house, because I would love to eat there more, trying new plates frequently as the menu changes based on what’s available every day. Nonetheless, I hope Elda keeps doing exactly what they are doing now, because it’s working like a charm.

Honorable Mention – Eaux, 90 Exchange St.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/09/29/run-to-this-new-orleans-style-restaurant-right-now/

What can I say about Eaux?, Let’s start with the fact that their food is absolutely delicious. My meal there began with the stunning Fried Butter Beans with their salty sweet honey coating and their earth-shattering crunch. Then came the squash with almonds and carmelized whey, which created an outstanding, balanced dish of multi-layered vegetable goodness. But it was the Chicken and Waffles that knocked the last of my socks off.

With ultra-crispy, boneless chicken and cane syrup with fried sage, apples, and pickled fresnos thrown in for good measure, the bird and waffles was just astoundingly good. The cane syrup was intensely sweet, but limited to create a perfect play. The heat was there, but only enough to create a nice rebound. It all worked together like a finely tuned machine.

With Eaux, I’ll likely have to order two main courses in the future, because I’ll certainly want to try new dishes, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to not order the chicken and waffles. I look forward to that though, because I’m absolutely convinced that everything on the menu is excellent. If you happen to see me there in the new year with two entrees in front of me, please try not to judge.

Best Ethnic Food – Yobo, 23 Forest Ave.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/12/29/if-korean-food-gets-you-going-then-go-here/

I just went to Yobo for the first time and I’ll most definitely be back, because I had quite an outstanding meal. With their menu full of kimchi and gochujang (among other Korean specialties), I found it hard to choose the right items, but after eating them, I’m pretty sure I did. They transformed rice, chicken, and vegetables – all separate plates – into an incredibly flavorful meal.

Yobo does spicy perfectly in that it doesn’t overdo the heat and also incorporates it with mounds of flavor. If you like Asian cuisine like I do and haven’t yet added Korean to your wheelhouse, Yobo is the perfect place to do that. It will be one of the locations I send people to repeatedly as I don’t feel their name recognition is quite where it should be to match the quality of their food.

Honorable Mention – Benkay, 16 Middle St.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/02/03/sushi-restaurant-moves-up-to-the-next-level-with-new-space/

Benkay moved to a new space early in the year and it really works well. With a beautiful interior and easy to read fish and bar specials boards, everything just feels streamlined and clean. It’s definitely worth a visit if you liked the old version, because this one is better in every way. Try the create-you-own-dinner for $25 or just pick and choose what you want from their extensive menu.

Best New Restaurant – Lio, 3 Spring St.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/07/21/lio-has-the-feel-food-and-fun-but-at-a-cost/

Yeah, I thought Lio was a bit pricey, but it was also very, very good. The beautiful space, interesting menu, and well-executed food made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A free app plate was provided with my excellent drink because we were there early (between 5-6) and that got us off to a good start, but things only got better from there. Both my Potato Chips and Caviar and my Napa Cabbage Salad were top of the line appetizers.

The Seared Scallop entree was done so well that I could taste virtually every ingredient. The cake I had for dessert was a work of art. It turned out to be an outstanding meal with every item a winner. So despite my one concern, Lio was good enough to be my favorite new restaurant this year and I can’t wait to eat there again.

Best Upscale Restaurant – Fore Street, 288 Fore St.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/02/10/high-end-fare-elegance-delivered-by-award-winning-eatery/

There’s nothing I can’t say about Fore Street that hasn’t already been said. They change the menu every day, you can watch the food being cooked in the open kitchen, and it’s always great. I recommend it for special occassions, because my budget doesn’t necessarily allow for that type of a meal all the time, but it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to impress someone.

While you can’t go wrong with anything there, I like an interesting cocktail or a glass of my favorite wine, then one of their charming salads or the mussels which are always on the menu. I generally prefer a seafood or chicken – watch it turn on the spit – dish because they’ve always turned out perfectly along with a side of whatever potatoes look good. Then I finish with a great dessert for the total Fore Street experience.

Best Eats on the Cheap – Bob’s Clam Hut, 111 Cumberland Ave.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/08/25/sure-its-in-the-name-but-seriously-these-clams-are-awesome/

I might be stretching on “cheap” here a bit, but I did find Bob’s Clam Hut to be a good value and was really impressed with their food – namely the clams. Those aren’t the lowest cost items by any means either, so you can eat there for less than I did and they’ve got an extensive menu for whatever seafood or casual food you’re feeling that day.

Bob’s has been a staple of Kittery tourism since 1956 and its nice to finally have them here now. I greatly enjoyed the outdoor patio since it was summer and I recommend eating there, weather-permitting. You really can’t lose regardless of where you eat their food though, because even if you’re a local, it will make you feel like a tourist who’s just found a really great spot to enjoy the regional delicacy.

Best Appetizer – Central Provisions, 414 Fore St.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/03/03/all-the-food-at-this-spectacular-eatery-is-fit-for-a-king/

Central Provisions is a restaurant that could be considered the best in Portland on any given day of the week. I’ve said more than once that their use of seasoning on the whole might be the best I’ve ever laid my pouty lips upon. They transform mundane items into world beaters and create masterpieces that have flavors which are quite often exceptionally deep and layered.

I’ve debated before if fries are even an app, but for the purposes of this, Central Provisions’ CP Frites with korean chili spice and served with garlic aioli are the best. I could hardly believe how good the carnival cup of fried potatos were the first time I’ve had them. Now I order them pretty much every time I’m there. Go and taste for yourself.

Honorable Mention – Izakay Minato, 54 Washington Ave.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/01/20/its-hard-to-stop-eating-at-this-spectacular-japanese-restaurant/

Izakaya Minato’s – my 2017 ROTY – brilliance shines through in every dish and drink they serve, but I didn’t make enough of the app I had there earlier in the year. Their special of Fried Smelts with spicy sauce were simply perfect. The somewhat brittle, crisp fish was excellence of execution and the spicy dipping sauce to accompany it was just as great. If you like smelts and they have them while you’re there, I implore you to order them. They are to die for.

Best Place to Grab a Drink/Beer/Wine and Chill Out – Emilitsa, 543 Congress St.

https://peterpeterportlandeater.com/2018/01/30/check-out-these-pictures-of-the-new-bar-menu-at-emilitsa/

Emilitsa is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire state. It’s nearly flawless in every way. And starting in early 2018, they debuted a bar menu which I had the great honor of trying in advance of it’s official unveiling. So with that, I can’t see any reason not to go sit at the bar and just start ordering apps and drinks. To be fair though, it’s hard for me to imagine a better way to enjoy Emilitsa than getting a table of your own and eating a full meal there. Maybe do both…in the same week…just to see which you like better?

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 and peterpeterportlandeater on Instagram. You can also find over 50 articles archived at pppe.bangordailynews.com.

If Korean food gets you going then go here

There aren’t many types of cuisine available in the Portland area that I haven’t tried, but I hadn’t fully immersed myself in Korean food until recently. Fortunately, I found Yobo, opened about 18 months ago but seemingly overlooked. That might be because it’s right around the corner from Empire, sitting on Forest Ave. on a walking turn off of Congress St. that not many people take before eating.

The lettering on the front window had the words “Yobo Wine & Chow”, and upon entering and following the instructions to shut the inside door behind us and seat ourselves, we took a look at the wine list, which I now expected to be ample. It was, with a number of offerings of both glasses and bottles from a variety of countries. Also available were four local beers and a Japanese option. I passed on a drink, but my wife went with a glass of the Steininger Gruner Kamptal ($11) from Austria.

Because I’m not overly familiar with Korean food, I looked at the menu with a particularly open mind and discerning eye. I was happy to see recurring themes of kimchi and gochujang, both of which I undoubtedly need more of in my life. The menu was divided into small and medium dishes with wine pairing suggestions. Beef, pork, chicken, and tofu were all available and while the menu clearly kept to the theme, I felt there was a strong selection of plates without being overwhelming.

I ordered the Spicy Fried Tteok Bokki – rice cake, kimchi, gochujang, bacon crumbs ($9) and KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) – boneless spicy local chicken ($12). I also added a side of the Banchan (Korean Veggies) ($5). She went with the Fried Tofu in Ginger, Scallion, Soy Dressing – peanuts, sesame, greens ($11) and doubled my KFC.

My rice cakes were more like sticks – think short mozzarella sticks. They were covered in gochujang and kimchi, topped with bacon and sesame seeds, and garnished for an attractive presentation. My impression of the first bite was that they were particularly chewy, but the kimchi and gochujang added a tolerable heat and bold flavor.

While I enjoyed the addition of bacon crumbs to my dish, they weren’t even necessary. The Tteok Bokki was so tremendously flavorful, that I could have lived without the pork. That’s not a complaint, I just felt that the dish was so wonderfully seasoned, it could have stopped earlier and been every bit as good. With its texture, spice, and sizable portion, I was pleasantly surprised at the outset of my meal.

Her fried tofu dish reminded me of a scallion pancake, though maybe a bit thicker. The accompanying dressing was similar to a lighter dumpling sauce – both sweet and salty. With floating sesame seeds and scallions, it had perfect balance. It was an item I would order for myself next time and would be perfect for the vegans in your life.

Chicken is the meat I order most commonly, and I’m always up for a new preparation of it. The crispy, breaded KFC was piled high on my plate with beautiful aromas emanating from it. The boneless bird was covered in plenty of gochujang and I was thoroughly smitten. The meaty pieces had a little sweet flavor as an aside to the predominant taste of the chili paste which continued to light up my taste buds in the best possible way. The dish was an absolute standout and my wife agreed.

I ate my veggies last as a sort of bizarro dessert. There were six offerings – fish cakes, daikon, perilla leaves, spinach, pickles, and black beans. While each had a different preparation, I found three particularly tasty, enjoying the spicy daikon and housemade pickles, and especially the candied black beans which did taste like little candies indeed. The fish cakes were strange to me, though I think it was mostly because I was eating vegetables and the fish threw me. I found the leaves and spinach mostly neutral, but noted that the spinach seemed pleasantly fresh even though the taste was mild.

Had I been hungry, I would have been delighted to order more. The food was outstanding, and I can hardly wait to return. I couldn’t help but notice that it was slow the entire time we were there, but it’s a mistake not giving yourself the opportunity to try Yobo. If you like spicy, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Fear not however, as the spice, while obviously present and strong, stops short of painful in favor of good, old fashioned flavor…and lots of it. Yobo will make your bellies full and your taste buds sing.

23 Forest Ave.
207-536-0986

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 and peterpeterportlandeater on Instagram. You can also find over 50 articles archived at pppe.bangordailynews.com.

Solid consistency proves a winning formula for warm bistro

I hadn’t been to Isa in far too long, but the comfortable bistro called my name recently. Looking to return for an update, we skipped past Bubba’s and Back Bay Grill, entering from the cold to be seated rather quickly. There was a small crowd, though we were there early. The bar had a bit of a bustle going on and we took a look at the drink list to see how we could take part.

The waitress informed us of the happy hour specials which were going on for another ten minutes. I don’t often choose wine, but the $5 Italian red – Sangiovese Blend, Scarpetta “Frico Rosso” – sounded promising. Mrs. Portlandeater went with the Rose, Gobelsberg “Cistercien” from Austria. Then we focused on the proper pairing.

My wine was light and fruity with a softness rarely found in a red wine – a really outstanding value at 5 bucks. I wasn’t sure that seafood was the perfect fit for it, but I figured the Seared White Fish (haddock) – cauliflower, NorthSpore mushrooms, sherry – looked tasty and with both an outstanding wine and fine dinner, it would surely work well enough. I also added a side of Brussels Sprouts and Squash – goat cheese, spicy pepitas, balsamic. She started with a Classic Caesar – spicy croutons, white anchovies (hold the anchovies) – and went for the Eggplant Lasagna – housemade pasta, ricotta, tarragon.

We nibbled on some housemade foccacia and oil and sipped wine until her Caesar came. It was just what you would expect, wonderfully fresh and potent with a fair portion of parmesan on top – nothing out of the ordinary but a fine showing. We sipped our wines while she ate the salad and then waited for our main courses as the restaurant started to pick up somewhat.

Our food took a bit longer than usual to come out, so I didn’t have to worry how the wine paired as all I had left was an empty glass. A nice, thick piece of haddock sat atop some flat cauliflower and mushrooms on my plate. The veggie side had colorful cubes of squash, the sprouts, and drops of cheese and pepitas throughout. Her lasagna was adorned a pile of ricotta on top.

With the first bite of haddock, I new I had made the right choice. The fish was perfectly cooked with a light brown layer on the outside and a flakey inside. The sherry sauce was light and smooth which was a stellar compliment to the haddock. The mushrooms also added plenty of flavor since they were thoroughly saturated with sauce. The cauliflower was almost a full side in itself, feeling a bit cauliflower steak, but not quite as substantial.

When I finally took a bite of the squash and sprouts, they won me over immediately. Sure, they were sweet and benefited from the balsamic reduction, but I’ve never had a dish that was so transformed by goat cheese. Not normally among my favorites, the cheese took the other ingredients and blended them well, creating somewhat of a sweet, creamy whip you might imagine as a light dessert. No, it wasn’t as sweet as dessert, but it brought about those feelings. And the nutty pepitas didn’t hurt.

As we finished our main courses, we considered one last chapter. Even though Tres Leches Cake – a favorite of my wife’s – was on the menu, we eventually decided to pass. Alas, we were too full to consume any more. Our total came to around $75 after tax and tip. We made our way out into the winter weather again, ready to move on with our night.

Isa has a number of qualities that make it special. They’re incredibly consistent with the food and drink, the menu has plenty on it for all tastes, and the warm, casual atmosphere is brilliantly comfortable. You can be sure when you go, you’ll find a good meal, but most of the time it will be much better than that, often even great. Head to Isa if you haven’t been and definitely consider making it one of your regular stops, because it’s really that good.

79 Portland St.
207-808-8533
info@isaportlandme.com

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 and peterpeterportlandeater on Instagram. You can also find over 50 articles archived at pppe.bangordailynews.com.

Scarborough needs options and this new one delivers

Opened in July, Dunstan Tap and Table sits alongside Route 1, nestled between not much of anything. Scarborough isn’t exactly known for their vast food and beverage options, so it was a welcome addition to the area. As I’m sure many patrons of the new pub have done, Mrs. Portlandeater and I went to catch a movie at Cinemagic and then stopped by DT&T down the street for dinner, planning to meet a friend there.

Designed by Maine’s premier interior designer Tyler Karu, the notes of obvious thoughtful decor were present immediately. The curved bar and pendant lights which followed it, hanging ceiling decor, and panels loosely separating the bar and dining areas all stood out. As I soaked it in, we were told that we would need to wait just a minute while they cleaned off a high top in the bar section for us if that was okay. It was.

There was a reasonable selection of beer, wine, and liquor, with a separate menu for drafts. I wasn’t planning on ordering a drink, but one of the signature cocktails looked to be right up my alley. It was The Margaretta – house infused El Jimidor Blanco Jalapeno Tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, jalapeno garnish, rocks. I supposed it was the perfect “almost Marguarita”, adding some of my favorite drink ingredients to one of the most popular drinks in existence. She ordered a Citizen Cider Unified Press.

Our friend arrived as the drinks did and she ordered a duplicate of mine. My drink (sans salted rim) was spicy as intended, but had many shades of taste. With just the right amount of sour citrus, flavorful heat, and a modicum of sweetness, it not only hit the spot, but performed well against some of the best drinks I’ve had recently. The only question I had was what to do with that bright green jalapeno slice sitting on the rim.

Moving on to food, I spied the categories on the menu including Starters, Soups & Salads, Burgers, Handhelds, and Fork & Knife. I wasn’t predisposed to ordering any one item, but the waitress suggested one of the burgers, a chicken sandwich, and pasta and meatballs as some that people were loving, while insisting that nothing was bad. She also noted that the restaurant makes the vast majority of their ingredients right there, including hot sauce, dressings, and the like.

We finally decided and started with Pickled Deviled Eggs – farm eggs, beets, smoked paprika. I went for the recommended Bacon Mac Burger – bacon and ground beef blend, American cheese, 1000 island, lettuce, pickles, onions – the restaurant’s take on a Big Mac. My wife ordered the Fish and Chips – beer battered haddock, fries, tartar sauce, fines herbs – and our friend, the Chicken Tacos – shredded chicken, 3 flour tortillas, chipotle mayo, heirloom tomato pico de gallo, pickled onions, cotija, cilantro.

The eggs came out pretty quickly. They were purple-ish from the beets with some yolk underneath and decorative greenery on top. I grabbed one, eating an entire half egg in one bite. It was mostly traditional, though the yolk wasn’t quite as potent as I was used to. The mustard and pickle flavors were slightly muted, but it was still a solid app and a worthwhile starter that got me excited for the rest of the meal.

My burger came with chips and was stacked tall with a skewer to keep it mostly upright. It looked much more appealing than the sham it was trying to imitate. Served on a board with chips, it was ready to be smooshed by my hands and shoveled into my mouth. I did just that. There was more than enough meat, bread, and cheese. My only concern was that I felt the 1000 island to be a little light, but this was a serious burger nonetheless.

Her fish and chips came with three sticks of haddock. The tacos also came by three and with tater chips . Unfortunately, the size of my meal left me unable to sample those, but there weren’t any complaints. I force fed myself the last few bites. When I was done, I was covered in burger residue and made my way to the restroom. The design in there was oddly nice and, of note, the sink water drained through the characters “DT&T” as opposed to a bunch of holes (taking pictures in bathrooms is weird, so I can’t show you that).

All in all, Dunstan Tap and Table was a winner, though I never did eat that jalapeno garnish. Our meal came to about $75 prior to tip which included a second cider. I liked the food and drink and the design and atmosphere were great. The menu included all the standards with a few extras that probably wouldn’t be found at most pubs. The service was very attentive and friendly. It all worked well together. Next time I’ll be sure to try that house-made hot sauce. If you’re in Scarborough for a spell, check it out.

6 Stewart Dr, Scarborough
207-219-8024
info@dunstantapandtable.com

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Harvest on the Harbor’s Hair of the Dog event made for a bloody good morning

I was lucky to receive complimentary tickets to Harvest on the Harbor’s Saturday morning event entitled “Hair of the Dog”. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the promise of Bloody Mary’s and Roasted Pork Breakfast Tacos sounded enticing enough. When we entered the tents at 100 West Commmercial St., there was alot going on. We were handed two tokens which could be put in boxes to indicate our favorite bloody. At the end of the event, the one with the most tokens was the winner.

The sounds of New Orleans style jazz filled the air in the near corner of the tent. In the middle of the room were long tables of food. The far end along the back side was lined with beverages, mostly bloodys. Upon closer inspection, the food tables were dedicated to tacos. The line started with Pig Kahuna roasted pig and cilantro eggs (jackfruit could be substituted for pork) inside two soft taco shells. From there, the self-serve additions seemed endless. There were cheeses, salsas, jalapeno peppers, scallions, lime, hot sauces, baked beans, fruit salad, and cole slaw.

Once I loaded up a taco with just about every possible item, I walked over to see what was available for drinking. There were half a dozen vodka/tomato options, Shipyard was serving some TeaBrew, and there were some water and Eli’s available. Bloody Mary’s were served by The Porthole, Sea Dog, Miss Portland, Coppersmith Tavern, Ass Over Teakettle, and Flatbread.

I started with a drink from Coppersmith Tavern, followed by one from Sea Dog, and then a smokehouse version from Ass Over Teakettle who offered three different versions with their own mixes. The Coppersmith one was a spicy with the best garnish of meatballs and cheese wrapped in cherry pepper. The Sea Dog Mary was quite run-of-the-mill, though i didn’t dislike it. The Ass Over Teakettle was smokey as intended. All certainly had their merits, but the Coppersmith Tavern garnish set it apart.

Three drinks was enough for a Saturday morning and we had to move on to other doings before the winner was announced. We left happy and full. Hair of the Dog was an excellent event. If you enjoy Bloody Mary’s and roasted pork, be sure to go next year. Between the food, drink, music, and crowd, it was quite a way to get the day started. Hair of the Dog was well run and lots of fun. I can’t wait to check out other events next year.

Stay hungry.

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