"Let me back up." That's the pivot point three paragraphs in to Shonna Milliken Humphrey's review of Local 188 for The Portland Press Herald — where she stops musing about what is and isn't available at the bar and gets down to the business of what's behind the awarded four stars.
At Local 188, "farm to table" dictates almost every aspect, but rather than "hipper than thou," owner-chef Jay Villani and general manager Garry Bowcott offer the neighborhood a sweet, cozy place to relax and feel good about the food consumed.John Golden of PPH's The Golden Dish blog likes to muse too. And throw in a little wacky word play, like this gem from his recent post on grazing at Eventide and Fore Street.
But for naught it's grazer's heaven because you can peregrinate through its highly stylized menu, throwing darts where they may land on such disparate nibbles as a halibut crudo salad to their East-West version of the inimitable lobster roll.
For breakfast, Sea Dog Brewing may be the only alternative to the chains near the Maine Mail in South Portland, but it's not much better, according to the Edible Obsessions blog, which asks the perfectly reasonable question: "Why is there not a diner out there?" Everything at Sea Dog disappoints, especially the "specialty" corned beef hash:
The corned beef was a unseasoned pile of dried cubes, the only moisture coming from the oil it was heated with. There was no crust from being heated on the grill ... There was no flavor ... my sourdough (toast) was, not surprisingly, lacking in sour. It was, however, slathered in a good half stick of butter, which does wonders for my shiny coat.She did not order the Colt .45 40 oz. in a paper bag - yes, it's on the menu - but Jillian Bedell of the From Away blog revels in her solo lunch at Cafe Miranda in Rockland, appreciating the "whimsy and humor" and wondering, "Cute, but is any of it good." The hot dogs sure are:
Salty, snappy, smoky. Crunchy, Crackling, Crisp. And, oh yeah. Friggin' awesome. The traditional hot dog bun is, by all accounts, the very worst kind of bread. Hot dog buns are to bread what Taylor Swift is to human beings. Squinty, white, insipid. Does the job satisfactorily, but honestly? Who cares. Focaccia, on the other hand, is outstanding, nuanced, and complex. As it turns out, what a hot dog NEEDS is focaccia.Those Travelin' Mainers sure get around. Their latest travels take them to 76 Pleasant Street in Norway, where they find:
... everything you could ask of a dining experience, from tasty and creative food to friendly and attentive service. When all of that comes with very reasonable prices, you've got a restaurant that will become a favorite of many -- including us.
· 188 A Sweet, Cozy Place Offering A Superb Dining Experience [PPH]
· Grazing At Portland's Finest [TGD]
· Breakfast at Sea Dog Brewing [EO]
· Table For One At Cafe Miranda [FA]
· 76 Pleasant Street Is More Than Pleasant [TM]