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.
Things were starting to feel a lot like the film Groundhog Day around here. Wake up. It’s cold, there’s piles of snow, a little sun, a few clouds. Wake up. It’s cold, piles of snow, a little sun, a few clouds….
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.
This afternoon, a bitterly cold mid-February day, the sun was so bright reflecting off the snow through my south-facing windows that my kitchen looked like a movie set. The light was surreal, the kind of intense brightness that lets you know that spring, while not necessarily close, might not be all that far away either.
I’m not sure what it was about that light that made me feel like baking. My first thought was to take a walk, but when I looked at the thermometer and it registered 15 degrees above zero, I decided baking was a very good second option.
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.
Becky’s, that iconic breakfast, lunch and dinner counter nestled on Portland’s so-called working waterfront, still packs a punch when a hamburger deluxe platter or dish of bacon and eggs beckon. I ambled in the other day for breakfast. The special that morning was bacon and eggs for $5.95. I’m not sure why this menu mainstay would be called a special, but what the heck. They had to put something on the board.
To the food purist, tampering with a classic is sacrilege.
Portland’s reign in the high art of fine dining rests on a firm, highly regarded reputation indeed; but it may have hit a plateau for a while even as our local chefs keep garnering national acclaim consistently.
And that’s OK with me because sometimes I don’t want to be wowed by the latest chef du jour. Instead I’m after a plain and simple meal out--good food, good ambiance--all at a moderate price. It’s a segment that’s been lacking in Portland until recently.