Food (40)

Sichuan Kitchen and the Cult of Authenticity

Was it a Chinese proverb that said there is “no true art without a strong dose of banality … nothing is less endurable than the uniformity of the exceptional?" Perhaps it was Cioran.   Either way, it’s an insight that is confirmed at the new Sichuan Kitchen on Congress Street, where they don’t try to dazzle you with anything except the food on your plate. The space is simple. There is no art on the pale…

My Top Five Dishes from Portland Restaurants

With over 300 restaurants in this little city of ours, there is no shortage of mouthwatering, memorable dishes. But despite our many choices and the respect I have for chefs, I don’t usually rush to restaurant openings. Even if it’s a chef I know and food I love, I wait. Because I prefer to allow a chef to work out the kinks in her or his menu. I think some people rush to new restaurants…

Mami Restaurant Opens, Offering Quick, Affordable and Delicious Japanese Street Food

Austin Miller always loved to cook, but it wasn’t until he met his partner Hana that he found a cuisine he wanted to stick with. Hana’s family is Japanese, and she schooled Austin early on to some staples of that country’s diverse street food. “She was the catalyst. We were both working restaurants. We were at the Eastender, and when that sold we were both in a weird ‘what do we do now’ phase?” Hana…

Stories Through Food: An LB Kitchen Love Story

I’m a sucker for a good love story. I get all weepy when I’m alone with a novel and love wins out over evil. I watch young couples embrace at the cinema and imagine a lifetime love affair that has only just begun. When I see an elderly man tenderly kissing his wife of 60 years, my faith in humankind is restored. And when I stumble upon a love affair unexpectedly, I can’t help but…

Unexpected lessons from Japan at Izakaya Minato

Can we still learn new things from Japan? Time could be running out – what with a White House eagerly awaiting the Event-that-will-change-political-narratives and justify a defense-heavy budget. An escalation of tensions with North Korea could do the trick, with Tokyo (and Seoul) bearing most of the risk if missiles fly and armies move.   But we have already squeezed Japan for so much knowledge: The once-challenging bright and clean flavors of sushi are now…

Keeping Mainers in Maine at the Fyood Kitchen

Fortunately for us, more and more food entrepreneurs are choosing Maine to start up their companies.   Maddie Purcell is the owner of Fyood Kitchen, an "Iron Chef-meets-Paint Nite for foodies" in Portland, Maine.   Although some would hesitate to involve themselves in this type of competition, one of biggest surprises for Maddie has been the level of competence she is seeing in the kitchen.   “Most people are better cooks than they think they…

Newly opened Mini Mogadishu offers authentic Somali cuisine

Somalis in the greater Portland area can get a taste of home at Mini Mogadishu, the new Forest Avenue restaurant that opened Saturday. It’s owned and operated by Nimo and Halimo Mohamud, spiritual sisters and pioneers in an ethnic fare usually served up by men. Al Huda, Fez Mediterranean, and Asmara offer Somali and the somewhat similar Eritrean food, as do several other markets dotted in between, but the tendency is that some can turn…

Melty, earthy, crunchy: Portland's Mexican cuisine is getting weird

By now we have learned that climate change (soon to accelerate) announces itself not with a steady warming but rather with a spate of weird weather events. As President Trump turns up the heat on Mexican immigrants and culture, we can expect analogously spasmodic developments. The signs are already emerging right here in Portland in the Mexican food scene. Just the last few months has seen El Rayo change locations, temporary closings for Ocho Burrito…

Classic fall rituals abound, including Pumpkinhead

As an early adopter of fall in North America, Maine has been busy with longstanding change-of-season rituals as varied as digging out stored ski gear, going to that same apple-picking orchard or closing camps and cottages; saying goodbyes to the Florida-bound neighbors without noting that 20-below keeps the riffraff out, and we shift not only fashion but food (bring on the root veggies!) and drink – those summer suds must finally give way to the…

Fall window for a favorite Mexican dish

On a recent Thursday I was delighted to find gorgeous poblano peppers at Andrew’s Farm stand at the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market. Shining with earthly energy, they reminded me something that a Mexican chef once taught me: September through November is the best time of year to cook chiles en nogada. It’s a Mexican classic: deep fried poblano chili peppers stuffed with pork, thyme, apple, and plantains, and topped with walnut cream sauce, fresh parsley, and…
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