Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eating Past The Brink

Hello all! Well another weekend has come and gone, my gastronomical wanderings have found me at yet another set of restaurants and this time, my eating got the best of me. This past Sunday I was stricken with what I believe to be food poisoning. (Cue dramatic music and thunder sequence!!!)

Now don’t be alarmed, I did survive, just barely. So please, in lieu of flowers, make a donation in my honor to the Porcelain Foundation, a non-profit helping those suffering from food-born maladies. I’m serious. (For context, I could have changed my name to Linda Blair, it was that bad)

Now, I do not want to call out any restaurant unnecessarily, but later in this program I may have to throw said establishment under the bus. Regardless, I had an enjoyable weekend up until this point and here it is, listed below. Enjoy! (Only keep a bucket near you, just in case.)

So Friday night, I traveled the two hours up to Bangor, “Bangaah” to you Mainers out there, and found my wayward stomach at Luna, Bar and Grill, http://www.lunabarandgrill.net/. A nicer spot in Bangor, Luna Bar and Grill has the kind of fare standard for that kind of upscale bistro bar. Laden with spinach cheese dip, fried calamari, and an assortment of burgers, salads, grilled proteins and such, the menu is slightly unremarkable. The quality of the food is there though and if you plan out what you order, you won’t be disappointed. I had a very good Caesar Salad, and the evenings special Fettuccini Alfredo with roasted veggies and chicken, which was pretty good too, although the portion was massive and kinda grossed me out. My friend had the “All American Burger” which they said was pretty good, and started with the Thai-Style Red Curry Steamed Mussels, which were wicked tasty, yessah!

With exposed brick and a viewable kitchen with a large copper range hood, the space is large and pretty neat. Most of the tables are bar height, at least in the room I was in, so if you don’t enjoy sitting very high up, ask for their traditional seating options too. Besides the copper range, the space is sort of nondescript which can be a good thing, because a d├ęcor shouldn’t take away from the food.

So, to sum up? If you are in Bangor and want a civilized but slightly traditional meal, go to Luna, the rolls are hot, the Caesar good, and the waitstaff are really friendly. This might be the best strength of the restaurant, how efficient and kind the staff are, service with a smile is the only way to go, and they get it right!

So fork time… This is a 3 Fork spot, because of the quality of food is there, but maybe not the most original. It however is a good meal in a sea of Central Maine white noise. You’ll enjoy it here, and that’s for certain.

So, on to Saturday shall we?

Saturday I was asked to the Maine state ballet’s Nutcracker performance at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, and the evening was awesome. The dancers were amazing, and Tchaikovsky is my all time favorite composer. So it’s a holiday tradition I can’t miss. If you have a chance to go, take it! You’ll be very impressed. Before the performance, I visited the Maine College of Art Holiday Sale to see what current and past MECA students had for purchase. The sale was beautiful, and I love supporting local artists and students. I bought a beautiful plate from artist Liz Proffetty, and her website is http://lizproffetty.com/. Her work is stunning, so you should check her out!

 Here is a shot of MECA's window for the Holiday Sale. It looked amazing!

Then I went to Nosh Kitchen Bar, http://www.noshkitchenbar.com, but be warned that this is the point in the program kids where I may have gotten sick. I have eaten at Nosh before and have always loved what I’ve gotten, and this time was no exception. I must put in a disclaimer here as well and state that this IS a good restaurant and the possibility of you getting sick, I’m sure, is slim. But still please exercise some caution. You have been warned.

I started with a side salad, simply trimmed with a few carrots, pickles and onion, with a thick balsamic dressing. Then I had the “Big Tuna” sandwich and it was one of the best I have ever had. My friend got a steak and cheese and the “bacon brushed fries.” Which were really good, like delish! This is what makes this adventure so sad. I really would have liked not to see this same meal again in the morning. Yep, I said it.

The space is also interesting. A former nightclub called The White Heart, Nosh's kitchen is more like a hot salad station where it’s cooked and raw foods are prepared. It has a long bar that runs the entire length of the space, and the other half of the restaurant there is a long banquette with single tables and chairs facing it. It’s a pretty cool space and the menu matches. If you visit their website, their mission statement is for creating an “urban-style eatery with a casual, neighboorhood environment,” and it totally is, as the overall effect is gourmet pub food and in a laidback, cool space.
  
This is a good restaurant, and I would give it a 4 Fork actually. Again, I may have just made a bad choice in getting tuna. But in servitude to you, the reader, I must chronicle the results of dining out, be those results good, bad (or maybe Exorcist like) The question is will I be back? Not sure, ask me in a few months.

So what can be summed up from this adventure? I made it out of my porcelain prison alive, a few pounds lighter, and all the wiser. But I had fun eating it, so it was only half a loss (that makes sense right?)

Words for the day? Most definitely…

It’s the holiday season, and from The Nutcracker, to Holiday parties, to dinners out, you will be seeing, doing and consuming a lot. Just do make sure you think before you eat. That’s it, ho ho ho ya’ll, eat drink and be merry! And, give someone the Exorcist as a gift. The recipient may personally understand its meaning one day. Cheers!

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