If you live in Portland and are sick and tired of the Old Port, chances are, you’ve been to Thompson’s Point already. Hell, you’ve probably already done the Thompson’s Point bar crawl and not even known it. But I’m not going to lie, I really […]
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Living in Portland is a beautiful, beautiful thing. We’ve got breweries, James Beard award winning restaurants, and a knack for everything that people love most about our fair city: the local businesses. So when out of town friends come into town, it’s basically just a […]
I can almost remember it like it was yesterday. When I first heard about Maine Restaurant Week, I couldn’t believe it. Here was a whole week, dedicated to the restaurant scene in Maine. I first started this blog when I was a senior in college at USM, when I was looking for any and every excuse to go to Portland. My approach towards Restaurant Week has changed as the years have gone on. I originally used it as the ultimate excuse to eat out, and often went for lunch and dinner multiple days in a row, for the full week.
Now, I prefer the quality over quantity approach, and will often use it as a way to try unique specials that chefs are testing out at restaurants that I’ve had on my list to taste. Last year, I pared back, and only went to two restaurants for Restaurant Week. It was the first year that someone besides my boyfriend got to join me on the inevitable food journey, and my friends loved our amazing experience at Tempo Dulu.
This year? I haven’t quite decided where I’m going, but these seem like the standouts on this year’s list of participating restaurants. Some of these I’ve tried in previous years, some are restaurants I’ve wanted to try, and some are restaurants that have always provided delicious food and a great experience.
Winter in Maine sometimes makes me question why cold weather is acceptable. Like my hometown of Chicago, Maine is freezing during the winter. I’m never warm, multiple layers are a necessity, and it sometimes feels like I’d rather just hibernate til spring. But whether we […]
Well, welcome to another winter in Portland. We survived our first snowstorm of the season, and chances are, it’s icy, cold and slippery all around you. This kind of weather doesn’t exactly inspire me to cook, but it does make me crave soup. Lots and lots of soup. So if you’re cold and can’t muster the energy to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I’m here to help you out! Behold, my favorite soup spots to warm up with.
Ramen at Pai Men Miyake
Winter and soups just go hand in hand. First up: a hot bowl of ramen at Pai Men. Yes, I’m a bit partial to living in the West End. I love it! You know what I love even more: being just blocks away from a piping hot bowl of ramen at Pai Men pretty much any day of the week. On my last visit, I went outside the box and ordered their special, a kimchi beef ramen. It was spicy, it was hot, and oh yes, it hit the spot. Combined with some dank brussels sprouts, my friend and I were a little bit more prepared to step outside into the freezing cold. Pair with sake, and you’ll be good to go, no matter what time.
Clam Chowder at Gilbert’s Chowder House
I may be lactose intolerant, and you may be sick of hearing me talk about it, but I really love clam chowder. And in the winter, I’ll walk through the cold, snow, sleet, and ice if it means I get to indulge in a giant bread bowl that’s filled with steaming hot clam chowder at Gilbert’s Chowder House. It’s creamy and dreamy for chowder lovers, filled with potatoes, clams, and bacon. On a freezing December or February night in Portland, there’s so much to love about Gilbert’s.
Pho at Huong’s
If you’re looking for bowls of pho the size of your face, go check out Huong’s. When the temperature dips down below 30 degrees, I’m probably thinking about pho and where to get it, and this is one of my go to spots in the winter. Try it with beef, and you’ll have enough food in front of you for about 3 meals, for a very reasonable price. Don’t be fooled by their less than “ideal” location because Huong’s means business, and they intend to fill you up with some damn good pho in the process.
If you’re in Hallowell: The Liberal Cup for Beer Cheese Soup
I know that I must have some readers in places other than Portland, so if you’re in Hallowell or nearby, The Liberal Cup will occasionally sell a decadent, creamy beer cheese soup. This Halloween, my friends and I dressed up as the Mystery Gang from Scooby Doo, and before we went out for the downtown pub crawl, we had to fuel up! It just so happens that we all ordered a cup of the beer cheese soup, and then there was silence. You ever have one of those moments where everything just comes together? That’s what happened for us with this soup. Liberal Cup, if you’re reading this, please never stop making this soup, it’s pure perfection.
Pho from Bamboo Bistro
If you’re like me and you work in Westbrook and live in Portland, sometimes it can seem daunting to look for food options. Sometimes on Friday’s, my coworkers and I all get takeout from one place. Recently, we all decided to try the newly opened Bamboo Bistro, which replaced the much loved Siam Square. And yes, it was a cold day, so a beef combination pho it was for me, for only $9.99. As with most pho’s and noodle soups, there was more than enough food for one meal. You really get your money’s worth! What’s even better is the amount of ingredients I got. Yes, you have your typical sides: the cilantro, hoisin sauce, sriracha, jalapenos, sprouts, and Thai basil, but there was a nice proportion of the meat in the broth as well. There were 3 meatballs, and several different cuts of the beef, adding a very light flavor to the broth. Certainly a good choice to try if you’re cold on a winter day!
The Newcomer: Pho Company at The Public Market
Living in Portland, it’s inevitable that there are going to be openings all year long. Sometimes, that means it’s Magic of Christmas time and I’m between shows on one of the coldest and most miserable days in December. Moments like that make newly opened Pho Co. a lifesaver. Don’t be fooled by its small location, because this is pho to remember. So far, the Pho Ramen has warmed my soul with all the typical ingredients in pho bo (meatballs, shank, and filet), delicious pho broth, and ramen noodles. As a lover of pho, I always remember to try the broth minus any of the sauces and add ons that come with it, just to taste the true flavor. This broth has it: a rich, full bodied flavor with a hint of spiciness but a warmth that travels all the way into your bones. And that’s before adding the sriracha, hoisin sauce and standard toppings. If you’re a tea lover, artichoke tea is on the menu, and it’s naturally quite sweet, without some of the bitterness that can come with green tea. For the pho lovers, come try Pho Co.
I hope these pho’s, ramens, soups, and chowders keep you warm all winter! Let me know if I missed your favorites!
I don’t like to bring up politics, but it’s been an unavoidable topic after the election. How convenient that comfort food is available, and near by. Want to know what one of the ultimate comfort foods is? Meatballs! There’s just something about meatballs that makes […]
Fall is here! I love the changing leaves, hot apple ciders, and cold autumn nights that require bonfires and s’mores. But along with these great things, it’s also football season. Whether you’re a Pats fan or just a football lover, this is your time of year. For everyone else that gets dragged along to watch these games on Monday’s, Thursday’s and Sunday’s, there’s a really great excuse to drink beer and eat wings. If you’re going to watch sports in a bar or restaurant, you may as well enjoy what you’re eating! My fellow wings fans, this one’s for you.
Every summer, it seems like there is always one restaurant that I’m anticipating the most. For months, I’ve heard talk about a fried chicken shack coming to Thompson’s Point. Well, it’s finally open and worth the wait. Here’s what to expect from Big J’s Chicken […]