The Golden Dish Blog Archive 2011
Whatever crimes of culinary misdemeanors that I may have formerly laid on poor unsuspecting Otto Pizza, I felt it deserved a return, if you will, to the scene of the crime. After all, Otto’s seems to have such an avid following of pizza purists in Portland that perhaps I inadvertently failed to find its charms.
In some ways Norm’s on Congress Street in Portland is the perfect hangout to find highly seasoned fare from an eclectic bar menu. Whether it’s grilled lamb and feta with onions and tomatoes served over greens or big burgers, nicely charred and gutsy, the flavors inspire and are easy to take.
Leave it to apocryphal trendsetters to have made bar dining the fashionable practice that it is today--raising the bar, if you will, on fine dining with a difference.
Maine Maple Sunday was a good enough reason to drive up to the Goranson Farm on Merrymeeting Bay in Dresden for this wonderful farm’s maple day festivities. I like maple syrup well enough, and I have untapped jars of it at home, which I occasionally use in a pie or baked bean recipe.
Every time I go to Street and Co. I immediately ask myself why I don’t go more often. The food is so good under the direction of chef Riley Shyrock, a Fore Street disciple who’s created a compelling seafood menu that is the most creative in the city.
Chef Masa Miyake weaves his mastery of Asian fusion beyond the realm of typical Japanese cookery in Portland, imparting flavors that are at once provocative yet essential. His Pai Men Miyake, a sake and noodle bar newly established on Longfellow Square, is a stunning example.
Roast chicken for $17? Classic boeuf bourguignon for $18 and Steak Frites for $20? This is part of the menu at the newly opened Petite Jacqueline on Longfellow Square in Portland, the only French bistro in the city. Just look out of the large plate-glass windows overlooking the square and after a glass or two of wine you might imagine you’re in a Left Bank arrondissement in Paris.
I won’t be returning to Otto’s Pizza anytime soon, unless I really cared about the prevailing hype and happenstance that has made it the Portland darling of the thin crust crowd.
I had no inkling that Boda was anything but yet another Thai restaurant to arrive in Portland, a city already awash in mediocre Asian eateries. There were some earlier reviews that I read but none opened the door wide enough to reveal what was happening inside this very authentic Thai kitchen.
Maine’s very effective marketing campaign to Buy Local must certainly have encouraged an evolving reliance for local foods. So it was only a matter of time before the fruits of summer spawned an impressive network of indoor winter farmer’s markets that have become highly attended affairs.