Monday, May 24, 2010

Ten Things to Eat in Portland 2010

Last year I published a list of my go-to foods in Portland when I had no patience to be disappointed. Here is the revised version, which I would like to say is for 2010 but is more reflective of this particular week and is subject to change. You’ll notice that several of the restaurants are the same from the 2009 list, I’ve just moved on to different items. You also may think that I have no idea what I’m talking about, which I’m comfortable with, which is why i've included this picture of myself to boost my credibility. As Billy Dee Williams says, this list "Works Every Time."

1. Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy, Gumbo, and a Macaroon – Po’ Boys & Pickles (1124 Forest Ave. 207-518-9735)

This is probably my new favorite lunch spot in the Portland area, which is why I had to list an entire meal there rather than just one thing. They really get it right, down to the Crystal brand hot sauce, Abita beer, and Zapps potato chips. After the shrimp sandwich I’d recommend trying the others in this order: Pulled pork, muffaletta, fried oyster, the Reggie (meatloaf), cheeseburger, and the Debris (roast beef). The Gumbo is the best around and the accompanying biscuit is damn near perfect. Also, get a fucking Macaroon – trust me.

2. Rock Shrimp Appetizer – Kon Asian Bistro (1140 Brighton Ave. 207-874-0000)

Tempura fried shrimp doused in a spicy mayo sauce that I could probably eat damn near every day. Sure, Kon has several shortcomings on the menu, but these never disappoint, along with the Peking duck wrappers.

3. BBQ Beef Banh Mi Sandwich – Kim’s Sandwich Cafe (261 St. John’s St. 207-774-7165)

These simply can’t be beat, especially for 2.75. I know this is old news to many, but just in case you haven’t tried them….

4. Caramelized Pork with Lemongrass – Thanh Thanh 2 (782 Forest Ave. 207-828-1114)
Though I enjoy the Pho more at Saigon, Thanh Thanh still has a few items that can’t be beat, such as this dish along with the rare beef salad and fresh spring rolls.

5. Beef Pho – Saigon (795 Forest Ave. 207-874-6666)

I love the aromatic broth, the sawtooth herb, the sate paste, the meatballs, the noodles, and the fact that they open, and serve beer, at 9:00 a.m. The crispy dumplings with ginger and scallion make a great starter as well.

6. Chili-Cheese Dog – Rosie’s (330 Fore St. 207-772-5656)

Both Rosie’s and Ruski’s have kick-ass hot dogs, and when you add Rosie’s chili you’ve got a perfect (nap-inducing) hangover helper.

7. Maine Hamayaki – Miyake (129 Spring St. 207-871-9170)

Quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Lobster, crab, and scallop over sushi rice, covered with kewpie mayonnaise, broiled, and then topped with eel sauce, sansho pepper, and truffle oil. If you’ve never tried this, you’re fucking crazy.

8. Lamb with Ceylonese Korma Sauce – Haggarty’s (849 Forest Ave. 207-761-8222)

Nothing better than a night at home, getting this delivered with an order of garlic naan, slugging three bottles of cheap red wine, and watching Rocky III and IV consecutively.

9. Menudo – Tu Casa (70 Washington Ave. 207-828-4971)

Sunday morning got several times more exciting the day I found out about this tripey deliciousness. Like I said, only on Sundays and get there early, it goes fast. The good news is that if you do miss it, you can still order the Enchiladas Salvadorenas with tongue.

10. The Sicilian Slab – Miccuci’s (45 India St. 207-775-1854)

I love Stephen Lanzalotta’s breads, so when you mix his baking with a tomato sauce that reminds me of the one my grandmother used to make, I’m happy. While you're there, pick up some Luna bread to make ridiculous burgers at home.


  1. I want to hug your list...

  2. Yay for Abita! The blackened fish is no slouch either...

  3. You hang a lot on outer Forest Ave. That is how I know that you are keepin it real. Something about those $3 ice cold drafts at Po Boys and Pickles makes me want to go in there for a solo day drunk followed by a little trip to the Morrill's Corner Pub. Now we're talkin.

  4. Kon Asian Bistro? Really, Joe, really? I'm giving you a pass since the other 9 pick up the slack. 'Tis a (mostly) fantastic list, nonetheless! Had the pho beef special at Saigon this past Wednesday on that rainy day too! By the way, loving tags #3 and #4. It's all good for the soul...what were you talking about?

  5. I too was a non-believer in the power of KAB until I ate there with Joe. His enthusiasm is contagious (other things too probably).

  6. Melissa, why so judgy about KON? Is the location/decor not cool enough? Have you even been?

  7. Hey man, love your blog! Gonna check these places out when I visit my grandparent's at their place in Casco Bay this Fall.

  8. This list is perfect. I aim to eat my way through it this summer.

  9. Thanks Everyone,

    Yeah, enjoy eating through the list and don't hesitate to tell me I'm crazy if you think anything doesn't belong!

  10. What dish are you referring to as the Peking Duck Wrappers? I asked about this during my most recent visit to Kon and was told there was no such dish. The waitress said that they only thing she could think of along those lines was the mini Beijing duck but that she did not recommend it, as most people dislike it to the point of being unable to finish it.

  11. I think it is the Beijing duck, and who knows what the waitress was thinking.... They've been great every time I've had them but like I said - the rock shrimp is the star here....

  12. Thanks for the reply. I did get the rock shrimp on my last visit as well, and I believe the recipe has changed. When we ordered it during our last visit there (Oscar night, earlier this year) it had some kind of a spicy sauce coating on it. During the most recent visit, it was deep-friend, Tempura style, and came with a dipping sauce. Both were good, but I think we enjoyed the previous iteration of the recipe a little more.

  13. I've looked at this post I don't know how many times and finally have figured out how come.

    The human beer bottle.

    Cracks me up.