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Top Maine Food Writers on Restaurant Standbys of 2013

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, food writers, reviewers and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Top Newcomers. All will be answered by the time we crack the bubbly on New Year's Eve. Responses are listed in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.

Pai Men Miyake received multiple standby mentions. [Photo]

Q: What was your restaurant standby this year?

Meredith Goad, Press Herald food writer and columnist, Maine a la Carte blogger:

If by standby you mean a place I go to a lot, I guess it would have to be Po Boys & Pickles. I stop there a lot when I've been working late because it's on the way home, and it's my alternative to bad fast food. I grab a fried shrimp po boy and some fried onions or sweet potato fries - or maybe a bowl of gumbo - and go home to watch "Nashville." :-)

John Golden, Maine Sunday Telegram restaurant critic, Golden Dish blogger:

Boda and Caiola's

Rachel Forrest, Seacoast Online food writer and restaurant critic:

This year, as last year, my restaurant standby is The Black Birch in Kittery. They recently celebrated their second anniversary and continue to make everyone who comes in feel comfortable and a part of the neighborhood. When I look around the dining room, I'm always pleased at the "make up" of the guests--the demographic. Seniors, hipsters, senior hipsters, working stiffs, fancypants folks--everyone sits together and enjoys, everyone meets someone new and talks to each other. Of course, the beer list is stellar and always changing, the food simple and finely crafted. It's really my perfect restaurant. I could go every night for deviled eggs and brick chicken.

Claire Jeffers, Press Herald Bar Guide writer:

There's no way I can choose just one. Scratch Baking Co., Pai Men Miyake, Roost House of Juice and Schulte & Herr

Nancy Heiser, food and travel writer, former Maine Sunday Telegram restaurant critic:

I look forward to having a standby, as 2013 was still mostly a review year for me. I expect to drop in at Tao-Yuan on a more regular basis. Also, somehow I missed Schutty's seafood truck in West Bath this summer. I look forward to reconnecting. Kamasouptra, too, for soup in winter.

Kathy Gunst, author of 14 cookbooks (most recently, Notes from a Maine Kitchen), "resident chef" for NPR's award-winning show, Here and Now:

Black Birch in Kittery. It's become my neighborhood go-to. There's a sense of community here that one doesn't find in most restaurants--communal tables where you talk to neighbors and make new friends, amazing cocktails (the bar may just be the best seat in the house), and an eclectic menu of small plates that always seems to hit the spot. Not to mention the most amazing deviled eggs EVAH!

Susan Axelrod, Press Herald/Maine Today online content producer, Maine a la Carte blogger, former Eater Maine editor:

East Ender, although I hate to say it for fear it will get as busy as its more-famous neighbors. While there's almost always a wait at Eventide or Duckfat, I can reliably get seated in the dining room or at the bar right away, the reasonably priced menu has a wide selection of small and large plates (a favorite combo is the smoked trout fritters followed by their excellent Caesar salad) and on Wednesdays, every bottle of wine on the list is half-price.

Michael Cain and Meredith Perdue, Map & Menu bloggers:

Michael: The menu at Pai Men Miyake never fails to hit the spot, whether I'm looking for savory, warming, filling, or creative. Pair it with an top-notch beer menu, and I'm sold.

Meredith: While I only had a chance to visit The Well at Jordan's Farm three times this season when it was open, the meals I had were easily three of the most memorable dinners of the year. If only it stayed open all year long!

Lard of Avon, Eater Maine top commenter, Midcoast dining advocate:

I am about to divulge the best kept dining secret in the Midcoast - Best Thai in Damariscotta. Family run business. Lots of love. I am always so happy when I eat there. Many say it rivals & surpasses any in or around Portland. And it's a fantastic value as well.

· All Coverage of Year in Eater 2013 [~EMAINE~]