other places i went to in portland. the worst of these places was “quite good”, so use that as a guideline.
DINNER: tempo dulu (tempodulu.restaurant) - located on the first floor of an old victorian inn. fancy southeast asian, incorporating a slew of different countries. the amuse was a strawberry and (pineapple?) shot with sriracha-like lining on it. i ordered the rijsttafel (tasting menu) $85 which is located on their website.
i believe my tasting menu was slightly different - i had the lobster spring roll and wagyu beef which were delicious. the main grouping all came out at once; i remember the chicken (yellow) curry was smooth and not overpowering, the beef cheeks were delicious, and unfortunately i’m not a big fan of squid, so i couldn’t finish that part of it. the sauce it was in was quite good. they also served a few other small tastings in between, and had shrimp chips in place of bread, with a sambal and (thick, hot) peanut sauce as dipping sauces.
i had two drinks - the wayang and a snow cone which was constructed like a soft italian ice, and a spoon to eat / drink it. came with a little bit of caviar on top. they also had an asian street cart (which would have been for cooking sates) in one of the eating rooms.
i should have written down what i was eating, i know i’ve forgotten my first course and a bunch of the in-between ones. excellent dishes and lots of food.
DINNER: miyake (miyakerestaurants.com). chose the 4 course tasting for $55, no problem getting a seat at the sushi bar as one person on a regular weeknight. i got the hamayaki (lobster, crap and scallop over sushi rice with truffle oil and spicy kewpie, in a shell), black cod marinated in miso, grilled duck breast, and a ‘lobster roll’ - sushi rice with a wrap, kewpie mayo, lobster meat and tobiko. the hamayaki was an incredible dish that i’m watering for as i type this, and the warm rice + lobster was a perfect match with the cooler mayo. the other two dishes weren’t insanely awesome, just really really good. the server said something about “good choices” and i asked if there was anything else she would have recommended, i’d be open to change…she said “not at all, you picked the ones i’d recommend”.
DINNER: central provisions (central-provisions.com). almost went for lunch, but realized a weeknight at 5pm would be no problem getting a seat. 20 minutes later would have been a problem.
it reminds me a lot of momofuku ssam in nyc, so i hadn’t been primed to go, but i didn’t want a long sit-down kind of place, but did want to get good food. i got a special (swordfish?) belly, which was skewered…the bread and butter (you can read elsewhere how it’s done, but the egg gets changed so it’s runny and similar to butter), and o-toro crudo. no complaints, but i don’t know if i’d want to go if i had to wait a long time to get in.
LUNCH: fishermen’s grill (http://www.fishermensgrill.com/). located up on forest a couple miles before the breweries on industrial, and right before rsvp beverages. i got a 5 oz “mini” lobster roll (21.95 i think?) and a pint of seared scallops (22.95 i think?). the lobster roll was overflowing and would easily have filled a much larger bun, but not a ton of mayonnaise, which i liked. the “pint” of scallops was 5 jumbo scallops that were perfectly prepared and flavorful; not sure of current scallop price, it seemed a little high for the kind of place it was. however, lots of little complaints.
was there just past opening of 12:00, people on line, and a sign which said something like “we may not open right on time because we’re a small operation”. ok, i get that. however, one of the people who showed up 20 minutes later from the side was bringing in lettuce, paper plates, etc. not fish. and there were several other people there.
plus, my original order was “1/2 pint of seared scallops” from their blackboard, where i was told that the smallest i could order was a pint because they were jumbo scallops. fine. i then said “mini lobster roll, thai style” (there were three options for sizing on the blackboard, and underneath it were the different ways you could have the lobster roll - dry, thai, and a few other ways) and was told that he wasn’t preparing thai for the mini, so i’d have to order the next size up. i said no, i’ll get the mini size done traditional.
so the food was quite good, but little nitpicks that irritated me.
LUNCH: eventide (eventideoysterco.com). i don’t like oysters. you have to go before noon to get a seat, even for one at the window. it’s a little pricey. but i love eventide. the doughey bun wouldn’t work as well without the lobster bun and butter being absorbed by it. crudo (i had snapper) was delicious with side garments. even had a buttermilk chicken bun that was good, and i’ve eaten here several times before with happiness at every bite. their popularity is well deserved.
LUNCH: honey paw (thehoneypaw.com). haven’t had laksa in years. wanted to try honey paw, didn’t want to eat a lot. the lobster laksa had a nice kick to it - not ped-ped “thai really spicy”, for example - but something that worked well. the lobster/clam taste was a little overpowered by the laksa, so i
LUNCH: bob’s clam hut (bobsclamhut.com) , kittery. i stop there on the way home to get food for the ride. in this case, i got the jumbo lobster roll (23.99) and a crab roll (17.99). lobster roll was quite good if either 1) you’re coming from south/west to get to kittery or 2) not comparing it to the better portland-area ones. actually, you can’t compare directly, since bob’s had butter rather than mayo, but it tasted real good and had enough lobster - i think a little less than fishermen’s grill “mini” but not too much less.
the crab roll i was less impressed with. it was a small amount of crab on a bun, and i believe had lettuce on there as well, which made the actual meat seem a lot smaller. i wound up taking the lettuce off as well as some of the extra lobster and put it on the small bun. crab tasted ok, just wasn’t impressed with how it was put together / amount / price.
i stopped there on opening at 11am, no line. i’ve been by that area later in the day, and there’s always a decent size line, so go early if you want.
figgy’s (figgystakeoutandcatering.com/) been there before, wanted to get some non-seafood. i’ve had their ay ay ron before (fried chicken breast with slaw, potatoes, gravy on a biscuit) and it was good again - in fact, while i was there, i think 7 other people placed orders, and 5 were for that. and it was good. but their korean style wings (sweet and spicy) were amazing. different than the bon chon chain but the wings were perfectly coated with sauces - not too much or little - and cooked the right way. i also know that you can microwave leftovers the next day and still have them taste delicious.
duckfat (duckfat.com). again, wanted some non-seafood. i’ve had the double cooked fries at other places, these are just as good. got the crab panini special and poutine, just so good (maybe not so good FOR you). had one of the housemade sodas, so wonderful to drink. always hard to get a seat here, but i got it to go, walked around for 10 minutes, and the pager went off.
BREAD: before bob’s clam hut opened, i stopped up the road at when pigs fly (sendbread.com) for some bread to take home. we can get most of the varieties local to me, but their apple/cinnamon isn’t in my area, and is one of my favorites. got that (sliced up there as well) and went on my way.
SALT: the salt cellar (salt-cellar.com) has a store in portland (as well as portsmouth) and i get a couple varieties there. truffle works well with lots of dishes, and i’m partial to the ghost pepper in small doses. i tried the new ghost variety, and that was way too much of a kick for me; i only wish they had crackers or unsalted pretzels to use between salt samples. but it’s a nice little place.
thanks for the suggestions coming in. i skipped a few places i’ve enjoyed in the past (hugo’s because i didn’t want another long meal, vinland, vena’s for non alcoholic drinks) but heartily recommend those to others. i also didn’t get a chance to try blue rooster and some other places because i don’t want to eat if i’m already full and can’t enjoy what i’m eating. but that’s a food and drink report back from portland…