Category Archives: Booze

What I prefer to drink.

A Wonderful Winter Warm-Up at The Honey Paw

There is nothing like the food from warmer climates to cut through the chill on a winter day in Maine, and there is no other local restaurant with such a wide range of foods inspired by some very hot places as the The Honey Paw.
We started with lemon and ginger hot toddies, a thoroughly delicious way to warm up with just the right bite of ginger and the nice addition of cloves.

Hot Toddies

Hot Toddies

We followed this up with the beautiful and rich lobster tartine, a well-deserved menu standard,and an appetizer special courtesy of the chef of smoked mackerel mousse,egg, and beets on a large hash brown. So very good! The mackerel was salty and smooth- just perfect. Add in the beets and the potato,and it all came together in just the right mélange of crunchy,creamy,tangy that says happy happy to me!

Lobster Tartine

Lobster Tartine

Smoked mackerel mousse w beets,egg,on a hash brown.

Smoked mackerel mousse w beets,egg,on a hash brown.


We followed this up with a Beef Rendang so tender and rich, served with beautiful turmeric pickles and perfectly made rice. You’d be hard pressed to find a dish with more comfort, unless it was the chicken pho with matzah balls. OMG!!! This soup has everything I love about pho and matzah ball soup: tangy, rich,bright full of flavor! Wow!!

I have to eat here again soon, and I definitely can’t wait for Chef Duffly’s upcoming dinner at Flanagan’s Table January 31st!
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Chicken Pho

Chicken Pho

Rhum Brings Tiki To Portland!

Now under construction on Cross Street, Rhum will be a refined take on Tiki with a distinctly Portland, Maine flavor. Elegant, modern translations of classic Tiki dishes will be bolstered with an impressive raw bar featuring local seafood. The cocktail program will feature Tiki standbys as well as contemporary counterparts, and a large format program for team tippling.
The kitchen and bar programs will be overseen by Frank W. Anderson and Rebecca Ambrosi. Most recently working together as The Hunter’s Bend, an underground supper club and catering company, Frank and Rebecca bring years of experience from restaurants like Animal and Son of a Gun in Los Angeles and the kitchens of Thomas Keller and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Rhum will create a subterranean escape that welcomes guests, encourages them to revel in groups, and presents a series of elegant surprises throughout each visit.
Opening this winter, Rhum is the first restaurant project by Fifth Food Group: Jason Loring, owner of Nosh and Slab; Mike Fraser, owner of Bramhall Pub; Nat Towl, builder and designer.
I can’t wait to try this!

Tempo Dulu: Exploring The Splendors of The Far East

Entering the newly renovated Danforth Inn to dine at Tempo Dulu is a magical experience. The noise from nearby State Street fades away, and then suddenly you’re someplace else. It’s like being swept away to a private club filled with  expats gathered together  in some distant eastern land. This is particularly true of the lounge area, which owner Oscar Verest says was inspired by the Weyang club in the Shanghai Hermes.

Décor aside, we had heard and read many good things about bartender Trevin Hutchins and made sure to leave time for a stop at the bar. I am so glad we did! The Jakarta made with: bourbon, amaro, sweet vermouth, and absinthe could have been merely enjoyable. Instead, due to a beautiful bit of theatre and food science, it was amazing! Trevin takes the extra step of applying fire to a substantial pile of Five Spice, which he then covers with a glass, putting out the fire and collecting the delicious smoke. The cocktail is poured into the smoke which somehow remains in place, creating a smoky, sweet, bourbon masterpiece. My cocktail was so good it inspired me to take my first video ever!

Having established that Tempo Dulu is a sanctuary designed to soothe and nourish the senses, we moved on to one of several small elegant dining rooms to begin our feasting.  For our dining pleasure we chose to go with Chef Lawrence Klang’s  tasting menu, a seemingly endless array of intense full-flavored dishes( menus). Overseen by Maître d’ Elizabeth Tozek, the service throughout our 3 hour experience was truly exceptional.  Having consumed two bottles of water and one exceptional Maine wine (Cellar Door), my wife noted that service was so discreet that our glasses stayed full seemingly without any intervention.

Then there is the food! The wonderful  food: foie gras, lamb, lobster, halibut, squid, and more in one meal!  I could go on at length about the richness of the flavors (So rich!), the incredible textures and scents(OMG!), but I  would need to write a book to do any  justice to the 13 plus dishes we sampled. Instead I will say that I absolutely loved, loved my meal and left very happy, happy! Furthermore, despite its relatively high prices, I believe Temp Dulu to be a fantastic value!

A few photos from our evening out:

Quail Egg as an amuse.

Quail Egg as an amuse.

Green papa soup, lemongrass, tomato confit

Green papa soup, lemongrass, tomato confit

Rijsttafel: multiple dishes served family style as a third course(not counting amuses).

Rijsttafel: multiple dishes served family style as a third course(not counting amuses).

 

 

Trio of Indonesian desserts

Trio of Indonesian desserts

Boda “Very Thai” Kitchen + Bar

Boda, located on Congress Street, is the place I choose more than any other when I can’t face the prospect of my own cooking. The reasons for this go-to designation are plentiful: fantastic unpretentious food, some of the best staff on the planet, a large diverse menu that is divided equally between small plates and traditional larger offerings, and they even have parking. Even better, they are everyday-affordable and make my favorite mai tai!

While Boda offers plenty of delicious dishes large enough to share, when I dine there I almost always focus on the Thai street food that they serve tapas style. You really can’t go wrong ordering anything cooked on a stick whether it’s: shrimp, pork belly, shitakes, tofu, beef or Portobello. They are all served with yummy dipping sauces, and so good that I have a hard time not ordering them all! I love everything they make, but my absolute favorites have to be the: fried quail eggs served in a cast iron skillet (Savory Good!!), crispy fried squid (sweet and crunchy),fried sticky rice (crunchy carb joy!). And the mai tai (of course!).

Quail Eggs

Quail Eggs

Rice Ball

Rice Ball

Crispy Squid

Crispy Squid

Mai Tai

Mai Tai