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Memsahib's Profile

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Vivre--Santa Fe

funny - I'm here looking for something new in SF since my last visit and just read about Vivre's fragrance-free policy (never knew Nostrani had it) and am overjoyed! I can't count how many times a potentially great dinner has been compromised by overly-perfumed or cologned neighboring diners.

Apr 08, 2013
Memsahib in Southwest

Sefa Mediterranean Grill - Delray Beach

Recently had an excellent 'dinner' at Sera...we started with several appetizers and then realized we didn't have room for entrees. Everything was delicious and freshly prepared, topped off with great service. My favorites were the Borek rolls which were crispy and hot, stuffed grape leaves made from scratch (not like those oily ones from a can that so many Greek restaurants serve) and the light and non-greasy falafel. Above all, the unique seasonings were what really set this food apart from other 'Mediterranean' restaurants. We were startled when the music was suddenly turned up and a belly dancer twirled out among the tables. However the beautiful young woman danced with dignity and class and it felt much more like cultural enrichment rather than the usual quasi-burlesque show you get at some places.

Mt. Desert Island - what's new?

Thanks - I'm so glad to hear Eden is back!

Aug 04, 2011
Memsahib in Northern New England

Mt. Desert Island - what's new?

Hi, we moved from MDI to the Brunswick area a year ago, and will be cruising back up in a few weeks to visit. Would like to hear about anywhere new and good...also opinions on Ten Tables at the Bass Harbor Cottage if you've been.

Jul 29, 2011
Memsahib in Northern New England

Driving from Portland to Mid coast and back July 4th weekend- looking for outdoor dining

We ran down to Portland today on our boat and decided to have lunch at the Porthole. Last outdoor table had just been taken (by 12:30), so we sat inside, which quickly filled up too. Waited 15-20 minutes to give our order and then almost an hour for our food. One of us was served about eight minutes before the rest. No one let us know there would be a delay. A couple tables had several shrieking children who also amused themselves by pounding on the old upright piano in the corner while parents looked on indulgently. Not a relaxing meal. We thought we loved this place and then realized we'd never been here in the summer. It usually is great - in the 'off season.'

Porthole Restaurant
20 Custom, House Wharf Portland, ME

Jul 07, 2011
Memsahib in Northern New England

Kunya Siam - New Thai restaurant in Atlantic Highlands

We ate at Kunya Siam last night for the first time and can't believe we didn't come here sooner. Since moving here from the city it's been difficult to find good Thai. Have tried Siam Garden in the Galleria in Red Bank several times only to be disappointed over and over; Far East Taste in Eatontown is just OK; tried Thai Chilies when they first opened and didn't feel it was worth returning. We've been eating Thai for over 20 years and the bar was set high early on. This is the real thing, fresh ingredients, no gloppy peanut or sick-sweet chili sauces out of bottles. We asked for very spicy and got perfect heat that accentuated the food but didn't incinerate the taste buds. Tom Kha Gai soup had just the right sweet and sour balance. Som Tum  salad was crisp julienned shreds of green papaya and carrot, lettuce and herbs with classic spicy, garlicky chili lime dressing/sauce. Chicken pieces were nice and tender and vegetables had some crunch in the the red curry dish. Pad Thai - one of the best we've ever had, with noodles cooked perfectly, not glued together, fresh herbs and a little mound of crushed peanuts on the side of the plate and a nice zing of tamarind in the sauce. I liked the fact that the menu is fairly small, but would love to see fresh spring rolls and Larb Gai on the menu. Also, minor and picky, but I just don't see the point of battery votives. Wouldn't real candles be less expensive anyway?The entire staff was very nice and the interior feels intimate and inviting. Definitely plan to become regulars here.

Apr 11, 2011
Memsahib in New Jersey

Updated recommendations for eating in Piedmont in October

We'll also be there in October (4th visit to this area) so I've been reviewing posts from 2009. They include a lot of good recommendations - two of our perennial favorites are da Gemma in Rodino and Trattoria della Posta in Monforte d’Alba. Another place we're fond of but not mentioned is Trattoria La Coccinella in Serravalle d'Alba. The food is equally good, and the brothers who run it are warm and welcoming. You may want to consider going for lunch as all are probably at least an hour away from your hotel. Although GPS can be a help it's still a little stressful winding your way through unfamiliar rural darkness (Garmin sent our friends on a zany 'shortcut' through narrow dirt vineyard roads). A bit closer to home is La Contea in Neive, with excellent Piemontese dishes, and outdoor seating on nice days or an elegant fireplace-warmed dining room on not-so-nice ones. Finally, this might not be very Chow-ish but I highly recommend visiting either a weekly market or various shops in the morning to gather together a picnic feast. Scenic roadside spots abound in this region and some of our most memorable meals have taken place in such locations.

Jul 30, 2010
Memsahib in Italy

Maine (Portland, Wiscasset, Camden, Bar Harbor) Advice Sought

Both Fore Street and Street & Co. take walk-ins, in fact 1/3 of all seatings are set aside for that. Best way is to stop in as soon as they open, get your name on the list and you'll be given an idea of when a table will be ready. We've never failed to get seated at either establishment this way. Fore Street seems to fill every bar chair with diners. The Porthole is great, right on the working waterfront. Even if you don't eat there, be sure to pop into Harbor Fish in the red building across the alley, just to gaze at the beautiful bounty of fresh seafood.

I've been to Havana in Bar Harbor many, many times since it opened, in all seasons, and despite the name would never consider it a 'Cuban' restaurant. Some, but by no means all dishes are prepared with a Latin influence (ranging from Central to South America). It is hands down the best restaurant on MDI and the surrounding area, heavy on local food sources, innovative and unique, with very good service. Red Sky in Southwest Harbor is not far behind in food quality, atmosphere and service. Jordan Pond House shouldn't be missed; call ahead for a reservation, which isn't strictly a reservation but it will get you in ahead of walk-ins. Ask for patio seating if you want to drink wine/beer with your meal - alcohol is not permitted at the picnic tables on the lawn. The food is very decent, the popovers are to die for, and the hike around the "Pond" invigorating and beautiful. Red Bird is a lovely restaurant for both lunch and dinner and the food excellent. Love sitting at a candlelit outside table in the evening. Another idea if you're staying in NE Harbor is the Islesford Dock restaurant on Little Cranberry. Although the food can be inconsistent, it's a wonderful setting and your kids will enjoy it. A ferry runs from the town dock several times a day.

Fore Street
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

Street & Co
33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101

Red Sky
14 Clark Point Rd, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679

Islesford Dock Restaurant
Islesford Isl, Cranberry Isles, ME 04625

Jul 24, 2010
Memsahib in Northern New England

One Day (and Night!) in Portland, Maine

You're right, there are many good places in Portland, but since you are thinking seafood:

Susan's Fish & Chips for lunch (still mourning the loss of Scales)

For dinner, Street & Company, which consistently serves up fresh, fresh seafood prepared in both simple and creative ways. Also excellent salad/vegetable dishes, recently had a perfect panzanella, and a plate of interesting local summer vegs and aioli with our meal.

anyone been to artisan kitchen in lebanon central jersey?

We drive out to PA on I-78 to visit my son at college occasionally and were looking for a decent place to stop for dinner. Thanks to Chowhound contributors, we found Artisan Kitchen and have eaten there a few times in recent months. If we lived a little closer this would be a destination restaurant. Yes, it's located in a very weird strip mall, but the food is creative and delicious, and the service excellent. Plus it's nice to enjoy our own wine with someone else's cooking.

Nov 05, 2008
Memsahib in New Jersey

A trip to Bar Harbor

If you haven't looked back to postings from early summer, go to Nothing much has changed on the island since then. I've just returned and have this to add to comments of June 16th:

Havana still has my vote as best restaurant on MDI.

Red Bird on Sea Street in Northeast Harbor is a year-old, very pretty spot with both indoor and outdoor tables. The food is good, not exceptional. I heard that Bassa Cocina de Tapéo behind the maritime museum there is also good but haven't tried it myself. Mainely Delights in Bass Harbor across from the Swans ferry is closed for the season. XYZ is open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Reservations a must as it has a very strong local following. (Have no idea what a previous poster meant about people being dressed up there, it is definitely casual.) I still think Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard is the best but perhaps not quite worth standing in the long, long line during high season. Anyone visiting now should not experience much of a wait, if any. Good produce etc, at farmers' markets - NE on Thursdays, SW on Fridays, BH on Saturdays.

best places to dine in Portland, ME?

Fore Street, Street & Co., Five Fifty-Five. Too bad Scales is gone.

need recs for acadia np (maine)

From a 15-year MDI summer resident...

Bar Harbor - Havana is the best. Ben & Bill's for ice cream. Morning Glory bakery. Breakfast at 2 Cats. No to Miguel's. Lampoc good, fun to watch bocce players from outside seating area. For lunch, love the outdoor grass terrace at Bar Harbor Inn with its yellow umbrellas. Food is excellent, using lots of local produce, seafood, etc. Great view of the harbor, heads above the other tourist-trap waterfront joints.

Bar Harbor's Sunday farmers market good option for dinner groceries or picnic fare.

Burning Tree in Hull's Cove one of best on MDI.

Jordan Pond House - don't agree with other poster. It's a must-do, always take my guests there. Popovers to die for. Decent wines, beer. Make reservations, ask for outdoor patio or screened terrace.

Northeast Harbor - Docksider was always very good, haven't been in awhile. Like the Asticou Inn for Old Maine ambiance. Avoid Matta Cena if it's still there, had a couple of OK lunches but horrendous dinner.

Abel's is in a pretty setting but outrageously overpriced and not so good.

Southwest Harbor - XYZ (for states of Xalapa, Yucatán, and Zacatecas) is a must if you like authentic Mexican - the real thing, with margaritas from scratch. Owners spend winters in Mexico and bring back many ingredients .Festive, hip atmosphere. Call for res and directions, hard to find.

West Side Grill - excellent food at breakfast, luch, dinner. On Dysart's Great Harbor Marina access road (Apple Lane) next to the West Marine store. Fab views of harbor.

Sips cafe - casual, breakfast lunch & dinner. Mediterranean meze platter is great.

Red Sky - bit more upscale than those above in SWH. Dinner. Food consistently good.

Little Cranberry Island - for a nice island experience take the ferry from SWH over there for lunch or dinner. Great views - reserve and ask for seating on deck or windows. Food and service uneven but can be very good.

Bass Harbor - best sunset viewing (except Cadillac Mtn.) is at Maine-ly Delights across from Swans Island ferry dock. Basically a seafood shack, has its share of fried dishes but lobster and crab are very fresh and tasty.Non-seafood options. Dough-boys famous. BYOB. Most tables have a view plus there's a deck.

Best lobster pound - Thurston's in Bernard overlooking Bass Harbor (almost a completely working harbor). Have tried them all and this wins hands-down. You'll watch boats unloading lobsters from your perch on two screened decks. No reservations. Long wait in high season at peak hours. Beer and wine avail. Order before you stake out a table.

Ellsworth - just after leaving Ellsworth on the road to MDI is Bankok, adjacent to Colonial Inn motel. Very good Thai food. Cleonice (mediterranean fare) also good.

Please consider using the Island Explorer to get around MDI. It's convenient and cuts down on traffic congestion. Also, nothing's really a bargain - the season is short and businesses have a very limited period to make money. Final word of warning - avoid Bar Harbor when cruise ships are in port - it gets unpleasantly crowded.

Jun 16, 2007
Memsahib in Northern New England