As an intern for MCC (Maine Center for Creativity) I had the privilege to participate in Startup Weekend, Portland Maine as the social media organizer. This translates to: livetweeting, for 3 days. This also meant I was exposed to some great Portland food staples!
Friday evening started out with some Otto Pizza with at least 20 boxes of pizza for all of the hungry participants, judges, speakers, and organizers who made Portland’s first Startup Weekend a success!
This foray into Otto Pizza is only my second, but I already have a few favorites. The most popular (and unusual) kind is the mashed potato pizza, but there’s something about it that just works somehow. Our choices ranged from Spicy Pepperoni, Margherita, to classic Cheese and Eggplant just to shake it up a little bit. The Eggplant is pictured above, but you can see that I couldn’t resist biting into it (a few times) before finally photographing it! As a girl from Chicago, I am quite partial to my deep dish pizza, but Otto Pizza is pretty damn good! My favorite in Portland so far, making this transition a little bit easier on my taste buds!
Saturday afternoon, wraps were brought in, pretty tasty and helped keep the brain storming going for the teams. However, it’s Saturday evening that stands out for me: Thai food brought in from Mekhong Thai!
I tried a little bit of everything: some red curry with fresh vegetables, pad thai, and delicious dumplings. Everything was fresh and incredible! Flavors were great, the pad thai was honestly some of the best that I’ve ever had. Mekhong Thai is definitely going to be a place I visit in person in the near future, for a sit down meal.
Sunday morning and afternoon was all The Holy Donut, with some great donuts (of course!) for breakfast and unbelievably flaky puff pastries for lunch!
Vegan Cinnamon Sugar donut anyone?
And the grand finale: Italian food from Willow’s Pizza: Lasagna and every kind of parmesan you can think of: chicken, eggplant, it was a grand display!
Having never tried Willow’s before, I was hopeful that this huge quantity of food would be tasty. And tasty it was! Homey, Italian goodness, cheesy and tomato sauce laden, along with some meatballs. Known for their pizza, Willow’s is a great spot to add to my list of places I will visit again.
There was no shortage of great food this weekend, making Startup Weekend even greater. Food for the brain and great flavors helped too!
For a foodie, Restaurant Week is the best week of the year. I am so honored I was able to participate this year, because the offerings were just incredible. If only I had a never ending wallet that was always full….
My first stop for Restaurant Week was at Petite Jacqueline, in the Arts District. There are few things I think anybody could say that are remotely negative about this amazing French bistro. The atmosphere, ambiance, and mood all fit the fantastic quality of food that is served here. This is what art in food is all about: a creative and innovative menu that is still simple while remaining sophisticated for the palette.
Of course, going for dinner during the event, the restaurant offered a special Prix Fixe meal, at $33 per person, for three courses. Although all of the selections sounded off the charts, I ultimately decided to go with:
First Course: Simple Green Salad with Herbs
Second Course: Gnocchi topped with seasonal vegetables
Third Course: Chocolate Pot de Cremé
My boyfriend went a very similar route except he got the Roasted Chicken and mashed potatoes. Needless to say, he was impressed that the chef was able to make an old classic even better. Tender and flavorful doesn’t even begin to explain this chicken. I had a bite, which then turned into two, and then a little of the potatoes, which were basically out of this world. I understood very quickly why this is a James Beard nominated restaurant.
Taking a bite of my gnocchi, I was immediately impressed as well. Never before, (including when I was abroad in Italy) have I ever seen gnocchi that was so large! Size, in this case, didn’t matter, since each piece ended up being more flavorful than the last. Nothing overpowering, just simple food and large taste. A perfect entree for the evening.
The cremé de la cremé of the evening, ironically, was the Chocolate Pot de Cremé, a perfect blend of rich and creamy, with a touch of sweet and salty from the small pinch of sea salt. It was, in a word, lovely.
My experience at Petite Jacqueline was superb, and any other foodie or French bistro lover will agree as well. Do try it, for you won’t regret it!
Last weekend, I finally got the opportunity to try a Portland staple for dinner: Bull Feeney’s on a Saturday night. Our original plan was The Blue Spoon but 4 people and no reservation just wasn’t happening. So, Bull Feeney’s was our decided back up. And now I can see what all the hype is about.
After experiencing the amazingness that is Kuma’s Corner, I have been reluctant, to say the least, to try another burger. However. With a Lamb Burger on the menu, and goat cheese being the preferred cheese to accompany this burger, I had to try it. And wow, was it amazing and good and tasty and there were just so many emotions and feelings going through my mind as I took my first juicy, succulent bite. The next bite was even better, as I got the flavor of the goat cheese married to the smooth lamb flavor of the patty. God, what a meal!
Other honorable mentions: my boyfriend got the lamb stew, which was quite the stew and then some. Tender, and perfect to scoop up the remaining “juice” remaining at the bottom with a piece of soft bread. It may be the next thing I try when I go back inevitably.
Now onto my favorite: dessert! Oh the dessert was magnificent, and simple. Sometimes simple is the best way to go, especially on a kind of rainy night where there’s a bit of a chill in the air (what is with Maine and all the rain this season? Feels like we’re living in Seattle) Creme Brulee is the answer. No bells and whistles, just hardened top of the custard, topped with powdered sugar and sliced strawberries. Mhhhhhmmmmm. It was everything a Creme Brulee should be. Sweet, but not cloyingly so. Delicate but not watery. Rich but not overpowering. Magnificent!
I don’t think I need to tell many people to go seek out Bull Feeney’s because it is such a Portland staple, but I’m glad that I can say I’ve finally experienced it. Great atmosphere, combined with great company and even better food makes this place a real winner in my book!
If you’re not already aware, Maine Restaurant Week started today and goes until the 10th. This is a great opportunity to try new places and maybe find some new favorites! I am eager to participate as much as I can for restaurants in Portland, and will be putting out some new reviews soon! Check out their website here to see a list of the restaurants who are participating this year!
As a foodie, I consider it my duty to hit almost every restaurant physically possible in the Portland area. Even if it’s a Mexican restaurant. No hard feelings, but Mexican has never been my thing. However, Mesa Verde did just the trick on a rainy night back in Mid-January. On the night I came in, all I wanted was a strong drink and a hot meal in my stomach to counteract looking and feeling like a very wet and drenched cat.
In the end, I decided on ordering a very strong drink, consisting of Fresca and Tequila (delicious by the way!) and Enchiladas with Pulled Pork in them, with sides of beans, rice, and sour cream. My severe hunger was instantly quenched when these heavenly enchiladas arrived at my table! When I saw pulled pork as an option on the menu, I knew then and there that this was going to be really freaking good! (see https://847foodie.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/the-bbq-pit-in-highland-park-il/ The BBQ Pit review that I did over the summer) The pulled pork was so tender, and the sides were amazing. I’m sure the enchiladas would have been just as good, don’t get me wrong, but I loved that there were so many flavors and textures exploding in my mouth at once! Everything around me blurred, leaving me and the enchilada face to face with each other alone. So you’ve got the tender pulled pork meat, combined with a dollop of sour cream, slightly creamy, to offset the spicy flavor of the beans and the enchilada. Hello, dinner!
You think it can’t get any better than that, right? Wrong!
Here’s the prize of the evening: their from scratch flan. Topped with whipped cream. All mine. All delicious. The perfect thing after my on fire enchilada was quickly consumed, since I needed something to cool me down. Smooth custard, moist and sweet. Simple and amazing. I’ll come back to Mesa Verde, simply for the flan. Again and again.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.