So simple. So good. Made with your favorite pasta (use a premium pasta; it is well worth the modest additional cost!), a really good homemade or premium jar sauce, fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. This dish was made with Micucci’s pasta sauce, as well as other ingredients from their iconic landmark India St., Portland, Maine store.
Here’s the scoop: Portland Pie dough on a 500°F pizza stone. (Important: preheat the stone for one full hour to ensure it reaches full temperature.) Amato’s pizza sauce. Sliced mozzarella. And a heaping pile of sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and onions. Sprinkle to taste with red pepper flakes and oregano. All of these fresh ingredients are available at Hannaford (and other) food stores. It could be the best pizza you have ever made and eaten at home. It could be the best pizza you ever had ANYWHERE. Bakes with a crispy bottom, pillowy soft doughy crust in just 7 minutes. Enjoy!
Out on a photo shoot in the Old Port of Portland, Maine this noontime, I suggested that we stop in and try the newly-reopened Porthole Restaurant. Suffice it to say that the old issues are now solved and thus a moot point, and first impressions are that the new owner invested a lot in the rebuilding. It certainly won’t be confused, looks-wise, for anything but, well, The Porthole. And that is a good thing. With hundreds of thosands of people having seen this landmark establishment on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri, it stands on a fine reputation for quality food.
Their new chef has some substantial past background at some fine Portland restaurants and most recently, our friendly and enthusiastic server mentioned, at an out-of-state place that was “famous for gourmet burgers”.
Take a look at the Porthole burger ($8), above. That gourmet aspect is clear. And tasted as such. Yes, along with the onion rings ($1 upgrade over the fries [which looked darn good too!]) this is a gourmet burger worth seeking out…at a place perhaps more noted for its lobster rolls.
Liz had these fish tacos, in blue corn tortillas, on a wonderful blue plate. Reports are that these tacos were really, really good.
Here’s the iconic sign on Custom House Wharf that marks the spot. Take note, the outside of the establishment does not belie its interior nor the fine food. Only re-opened for two weeks, our server said they are still enjoying their “soft-opening” time to work out an elaborate new computer system…and that a grand-opening will likely be in a few weeks.
Most Amazing Pizza, Ever! Home or otherwise.
Rather on a whim, as Liz and I were driving home from a family event in Massachusetts today, I mentioned that pizza would be great for a nice Sunday evening meal. Approaching from the south as we were, stopping to eat in or to take out from Otto Pizza in Portland was not a practical option. But, stopping in at the Hannaford deli and picking up a Portland Pie Company pizza dough and some thick-sliced mozzarella was. Once home, a preheated stone, a 500° oven, and leftover meatballs in Liz’ pasta sauce (from the linguine and meatballs post of a couple days ago) came together very, very nicely. This has to be, hands-down, the best homemade pizza I have ever had, and, for that matter, maybe the best pizza I have had anywhere, ever. Wow. I added a sprinkle of oregano and red pepper flakes… and, well, I just had to share via this post. Liz H, you are an amazing cook. Here are a few more photos:
LINGUINE AND MEATBALLS, OUR ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD
In casual conversation earlier today, over breakfast, in fact, I mentioned to Liz that, silly as it sounds, perhaps my #1 best ever “comfort food” of all time would be linguine and meatballs and a robust but simple tomato sauce. So, just like that, and despite our cutting way back on pasta and other similar foods, she said she would make that for me for dinner. It met all my dreams and expectations… hands-down one of the best dinners, of many, ever….. Liz made homemade sauce using San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, garlic, onion. The meatballs were her blend of ground chuck and ground pork, from Whole Foods. The linguine is Montebello organic, imported from Italy.
Shown with shredded Parmesan cheese, despite our having purchased a chunk of Parmesan at Micucci’s in Portland earlier. We just plain forgot we had it. Good thing we have lots of leftover pasta noodles and the awesome sauce….
First, as a professional photographer, I feel compelled to mention, not that this is a bad photo in any way, because it is just fine, really, but I did take this with the best camera I had…which is, like I’ve mentioned here before, defined as THE CAMERA THAT YOU HAVE WITH YOU… in this case, my Samsung Galaxy S III phone….
And, this was my real breakfast on April 8, 2013, at Miss Portland Diner. Not a stylized shoot by any means. OK, all that said, what sets apart Miss Portland Diner?
Well, first of all, the good is plain and simply darn good. Which is expected, yes, and it is easy to say “no one should manage to serve a bad breakfast” but we all know that isn’t always the case. So, Miss Portland Diner clearly doesn’t have issues with that, certainly not for me.
A good breakfast, or a good dining experience at ANY time of the day, entails many factors; the quality, quantity, and taste of the food being but one of many elements. Here’s where Miss Portland Diner really excels in my mind, and makes it a “go-to” spot: This place is CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN… and it is very well-managed. Couple with those factors the aforementioned good food, fair prices, friendly and professional wait staff, the historic cozy parlor car and counter stools.. all make this maybe Maine’s best diner. I have it on my list to try out at lunch some day soon.
I’m being taught a lot about eating healthier, (thanks to Liz H!)… We embarked on The Whole 30 April 1, and while it is Liz’ second round through this great way to eat, it is my first. (Read more about The Whole 9 and The Whole 30 here..) Anyhow, this salad is about as good, AND about as healthy, as it can get.
Here’s the ingredients list that I used:
Olivia’s Garden Spring Mix salad greens
Orange and green peppers
Grilled chicken breast (WF*)
Crumbled nitrate-free bacon (WF*)
Dressing was a light drizzle of:
LeRoux Kithcen 18-Year Balsamic Vinegar and LeRoux Kitchen Extra Virgin Olive Oil.. available at LeRoux Kitchen in Portland, Maine.
Modify to suit your own dietary needs and tastes, but this is a salad to not forget!
*Whole Foods Market. Yes, some things (some times..but NOT always!) cost more here…like meats and produce and fish… but invariably they are fresher and, Liz and I feel, simply taste better, and are healthier.
Why cook tonight? Perk Pasta Kitchen’s Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is superb… call them and it’ll be waiting for you to take home tonight!
Commercial food photography for Perk Pasta Kitchen in North Dam Mill, Biddeford, Maine.