Friday, February 18, 2011

The Long and Foodie Road, Part II

Chello readers! Sorry about my absence, I’m apparently a lousy Blogger or I would have a new post a bit more frequently than every month. This is a problem and I am addressing it. Due to a large combo pack of factors, namely an onslaught of job interviews, limited funds (damn you economy) and life in general disarray, I’ve neglected the very responsibility that improves my mood 99.9% of the time, clinically proven. But I’m reunited and it feels so good. (Love that tune..)

So I have been to a couple pretty good restaurants in the past few weeks, but haven’t had the time or energy to isolate them into reviews. However, I though today’s post could be a “short List,” where I will give quick reviews to several places I’ve recently been to and enjoyed. This way I can give you the info and I don’t feel guilty for withholding material of such vital importance. Sweet, right?

My gastronomical wanderings have led me to the wonderful towns Biddeford and Portland, ME and to two very different restaurants. To begin, we’ll start in lovely Biddeford Maine and Cancun Mexican Restaurant.

 Cancun Mexican Restaurant
11 Adams Street
Biddeford, ME 04005-2562
(207) 294-9111

The Novice Fork gives this place
A close 4 Forks for a swift, friendly staff,
Very authentic Mexican food,
fun cantina atmosphere

Its funny but I always seem to long for spicy, savory Mexican food when the weather is at its coldest in Maine. Most assuredly I want to displace the feeling of freezing my butt off, but I also have a strong bias to the flavors of Mexican cuisine, this time Cancun Mexican Restaurant. Can you think of anything more satisfying than a hot fajita or tacos smothered in salsa and ranchero sauce when its 10 degrees out? No, no you can’t.

When my party was seated 5 seconds after walking in the small and rustic restaurant, we were then automatically treated to delicious chips and salsa, per usual. Much like Hacienda Del Patron from weeks past, the salsa here is so good you can drink it. I might even say the condiment is a touch better at Cancun than that illustrious Lewiston establishment (Hacienda) can offer and I’ll stand by this claim.

On to the meal, I ordered the combo steak and chicken fajitas, which was hot, perfectly cooked and full of flavor. My friends got burritos and tacos, receptively and I didn’t have to taste each to know they were superb, but I did. Only in the name of research of course. The atmosphere is very casual and the staff super friendly, with our waiter calling us amigos all night. (I thought that was fun.)

All and all, the meal was cheap, $10 for my combo fajita with all the Mexican trimmings of guacamole, sour cream, cheese, refried beans, lettuce and rice, and a beer. What more can you ask for? So if you find yourself in Biddeford, possibly for a winter stroll along the sea or visiting the courthouse right next door to Cancun, (hopefully for only on a misdemeanor), do stop in and grab something to eat. This place is wicked good and that says it all. 4 Forks it is.

Next up we have the Public Market House in Portland’s Monument Square.

Public Market House
28 Monument Square
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 228-2056
The Novice Fork gives this hip, downtown market
4 Forks for its great, natural food selection,
Ample seating in a relaxed atmosphere,
and great people watching

The exterior of the market, from

While describing this public market, I can’t help but think back longingly at the original Portland Public Market, once located behind the Portland Public Library. (RIP) However, the reincarnation in Monument Square, while smaller, has a fun uniqueness all its own. And it hasn’t yet closed because of the seriously lacking foot traffic that plagued the old location (total bonus.)

With a wine shop, artisan cheese shop and Big Sky Breads selling sandwiches and bread on the first floor, it could be easy to miss the second floor, where Kamasouptra, Peanut butter Jelly Time (seriously?) and Pie in the Sky Pizza dwell.

If you make the effort to climb the stairs, or take the elevator because you’re lazy, you’ll be rewarded with Kamasouptra, a spot that just so happens to make some of the best chili I’ve ever had. It’s amazing.  With an ever-changing soup and chili selection and fresh whole-wheat rolls, eating here provides a simple and hearty lunch on a cold winter’s day. (How cozy)  Each time I go I must have the delicious smoked pork and black bean chili, which is perfectly sweet, spicy and savory, need I say more?

But which ever option you choose, be it soup, pizza or a hunk of cheddar from downstairs, do grab one of the mismatched chairs on the second floor and enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Portland cool. The people watching is unparalleled here, with hip art kids, locals, and everyone in between mix, mingle and revel in eating and enjoying the best of Portland. This place is authentically Maine and once you go here you’ll understand what that means.

There you have it folks, two places I strongly suggest you check out. I hope you enjoy!

So… it’s that time… words for the day? Yes ma’am!

As the weeks go by, you may notice the temperature increasing, the several feet of oppressive snow beginning to melt, and finally people don’t look like they want to kill you. These are good things, so embrace the early promises of spring and get out of the house. (The groundhog did it and so can you).  And if a dinner out is involved, then all the better. So enjoy these fledgling days of spring, open a window and breathe deep. Later!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

News Flash

*!!!News Flash!!!*
Well, we have done it everyone! Our little Dog and Pony show has officially reached over 1,000 views! I cannot believe this. When I started this blog, it was out of necessity when unemployed and without a creative outlet. Now it has become something much more. I feel like a proud father watching his son ride on two wheels for the first time (Cue hallmark music sequence here). Thank you very much readers and food enthusiasts for making us a part of the big leagues. A new post will be coming very soon, so stay tuned. This is only the beginning, and you were a part of it. Way to go!

-The Novice Fork