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Four Stars For Merry Table; Taco Escobarr Panned (Again)

The Merry Table
The Merry Table
Photo: Somewhere There Is Jeannie blog

It's a trend that begs the question: might Shonna Milliken Humphrey be playing it fast and loose with the four stars? The Merry Table in the Old Port is the fifth eatery in a row of reviews by Humphrey to merit an "Excellent" on The Portland Press Herald's star scale, preceded by Ribollita, J's Oyster Bar, Buck's Naked BBQ and Local 188. Not that these aren't noteworthy restaurants, but ... "The Merry Table tops the list of Portland's charming restaurant experiences," she proclaims in yesterday's review.

With yellow walls, eclectic framed art, exposed wooden beams and wide wood floors, the space is cozy and welcoming. The tables, rough-hewn and set with festive red plates and single tulips, are meant for lingering over.
Her only complaint about the under-the-radar creperie on Wharf Street (the "most Paris-invoking" street in the city, says Humphrey) are the limited selection of French wines and that the cassoulet was sold out.
A creperie, however, must focus on the crepes ... the winners were Provencale ($13.95) with its option of shrimp or scallop, house spinach pesto and tomato folded into an expertly shaped, light and springy crepe with melted Swiss cheese. The large portion of scallops was a nice surprise, none overcooked in the slightest, and the spinach pesto added just the right amount of zip to the experience.
Eventide Oyster Co. is in the spotlight (and a video) in Emily Burnham's weekly Foodie Files column for the Bangor Daily News.
Most nights, a mixed crowd of tourists and hip young Portlanders sip cocktails such as a celery gimlet or gulp down oyster shooters, ice cold liquor with an oyster in it, to a soundtrack of smooth '70s and '80s rock.

An attempt at a late lunch on a snow day leaves Kate McCarty of The Blueberry Files blog few choices. She winds up at Taco Escobarr, which she has previously panned, at least twice, and decides to try its revamped menu. The third (or whatever) time is not a charm. The chips and chorizo on El Jefe Nachos Montana "were good ... But please, leave off the pale/greenish tomatoes. I then unearthed a huge pile of congealed, orange cheese in the middle which might sound good to some, but I was bewildered."

Between the loud, neon environment, and the unsettling feeling that I'm looking at someone being sexually assaulted on the campy movie posters in the women's room, and the lackluster remade menu, this is one place I'll continue to pass over.
Inspired by chef Sam Hayward's recommendation in the book, Where Chef's Eat, the Map & Menu bloggers journey to Boynton-McKay Food Co. in Camden for breakfast.The experience brings up warm and fuzzy childhood memories for Michael.
Maybe it's the century of history as Camden's pharmacy, evident in the original shelving stocked with vintage bottles and tools, the spontaneous conversations between neighbors at the booths and window seats, or the inherent trust in remembering what you ordered as you checkout at the counter, but every part of Boynton-McKay felt wonderfully welcoming and familiar, even though it was just our first trip.
But thanks to the food, including the "absolutely amazing homemade doughnuts," cited by Hayward, it won't be their last.

· Hail Merry Table, Full Of Crepes, European And Yummy [PPH]
· Hip Vibe On The Half Shell At Portland's Eventide Oyster Co. [BDN]
· New Taco Escobarr Menu Review [TBF]
· Boynton-McKay Food Co. [M&M]

Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle Street, , ME 04101 (207) 774-8538 Visit Website