In Maine we take diners for granted. Elsewhere, serious big city food snobs actually fawn over diner fare and its artery clogging fats.
Here, we value them by virtue of provenance—a reverence for the days when granny might have churned her butter or baked her beans generations ago in an old-fashioned kitchen, a reminiscence that goes a long way in fostering a diner’s reputation.
In its infinite wisdom the city of Portland has forbidden the sale of raw milk at the city's Wednesday and Saturday farmers' markets, even though raw milk has been a fixture at both markets for years.
This was a sudden ruling that occurred because of an accidental discovery. A local inspector reported back to the Health and Recreation Committee council members that raw milk was actually—in full daylight, no less—being offered for sale by the Portland farmers' market vendors who produce it.
At its core, Caiola’s is a neighborhood restaurant, but it’s also so much more than a convenient haunt for West Enders who have dined at this establishment regularly since it opened in 2005.
Maria’s, one of Portland’s longest-running restaurants, is something of an anomaly in today’s forward thinking restaurant world. Italian restaurants specializing in red sauce topped food are a dying breed. At Maria’s the torch still flares.
At a time when the city wasn’t such a food town, a place like Maria’s held ground. But for now if you’re looking for a totally novel experience, a step back to another culinary era, Maria’s will not disappoint. The only problem is the food isn’t that good. And I wonder if it ever was?
The hallmark of Mexican street food - the taqueria - has taken Greater Portland by storm. Before that the usual enchilada and burrito joints prevailed, serving watered down margaritas and Americanized Mexican fare as riveting as red sauce at a nondescript pizzeria.
Havana South has the provenance for perfection, but in a world where star chefs hold sway, lesser mortals beware.
Given the relationship to its parent restaurant in Bar Harbor where Havana has reigned supreme on Mt Desert Island for years, there were great expectations for the Portland branch along the Wharf Street restaurant strip to be a local wunderkind of Nuevo Latino cooking.
Slightly irreverent, decidedly innovative, Nosh Kitchen Bar is part of Portland's creative economy, successfully offering a lot of inspired cooking from the kitchen behind the high counters in back.
An eatery of many facets, it’s a great concept motivated by the deli world of New York noshing where one person’s snack (as in knish) is another’s forshpeis (appetizer).
I never met a lobster pound I didn’t like. That is, until recently.
After finding that Miller's, our first choice, was fogged in, my friends visiting from New York and I ended up at Waterman’s Beach Lobster in South Thomaston, based on the single criteria that it was sunny there.
The Good Table, in the heart of Cape Elizabeth, close enough to the beach to get some serious ocean breezes, has been such a popular neighborhood restaurant for years that it hardly seems worth extolling any more of its highly touted virtues.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look.
From start to finish every dish was a revelation of taste and culinary superlatives. I’m referring to a special dinner that I was invited to at the Kennebunk restaurant, 50 Local. The name implies that locally sourced foods are the focus of this dining establishment. And indeed they are. The farms and local suppliers are prominently posted on a blackboard in the dining room, and there’s barely a dish that isn’t based on local provender from an excellent roster of farms.