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La Puerta Negra - Montpelier, VT

Oh yes please go! I'm trying to get a group of coworkers together to go for lunch soon. :)

about 23 hours ago
Morganna in Northern New England

La Puerta Negra - Montpelier, VT

We went back for the correct night on Wednesday with my husband's business acquaintances. He got three lengua tacos, rice, and beans. I got three tacos al pastor, rice, and beans. Each was $17. One small complaint, you can't mix up the tacos. If you get three tacos, they have to all be the same sort. A little odd but ok. So we shared tacos across plates. :)

We've had some really outstanding lengua tacos at various places over the years, so there's a pretty high bar to meet for them. These were close but the meat wasn't as highly flavored. It was perfectly tender and had a great mouth feel and was tasty. It just didn't quite meet that high mark from the small place in Florida we ate once. :) The toppings were lovely and fresh and went well with the meat. I think there was fresh jalapeno on top 'cos there was a bit of heat.

The al pastor were -brilliant-. The pork they used was... just... so ... good. Slightly crispy with a smokey grilled taste and whatever they used for rub, I want some. They were topped with slightly sweet grilled onions and grilled pineapple. My husband didn't care for the addition of pineapple, didn't feel the pork needed it, though he is fond of grilled pineapple (he's not as fond of fruit-meat dishes as I am). I liked it a lot and thoroughly enjoyed my tacos. The guacamole on top was delightful and I think next time I go, I'll order some with chips as a side.

The beans were a little al dente, but had a good rich flavor. I kept our leftovers and used them the next night to make my "Mexican bulgogi" for dinner. The rice was very nice. Sort of a foil for all the other flavors going on. They topped the sides with a small dollop of crema, which is nice.

One of the guys had chicken mole, and I can't remember what the other one had. The chicken mole looked good and he said it was really tasty. I don't know how authentic it is, but I'm fine with the quality of the two meals we've had here so far. :)

about 23 hours ago
Morganna in Northern New England

La Puerta Negra - Montpelier, VT

We were supposed to meet up with a business associate of my husband's for dinner and I chose the new restaurant La Puerta Negra in Montpelier 'cos NEW! :) We had the wrong week, and so he wasn't there (SCORE, I get another meal here next week), but we ate there anyway. :) http://www.rbirestaurantgroup.com/men...

We'd arrived around ten minutes early and got seated at a four-top. Then we waited until about 40 minutes after our guest was supposed to arrive to give him a call and that's when we discovered our mistake. The staff were really nice about us hanging out for so long without ordering anything. Though it was a Wednesday night at 6 so they weren't all that busy at the time. By the time we left (around 7:45ish I want to say) they had someone waiting for a table, but not a big line and they hadn't been waiting long.

The atmosphere is just pleasant. Feels almost like a speakeasy, with nooks and crannies. It's not a huge place. They do have a patio outside and air conditioning inside (normally I don't care, but Wednesday night was hot). There's also a bar folks can sit at.

The total bill was $48 (before tip/tax). That didn't include any drinks (we just had water). So that's more than we typically pay for dinners but we had large plates and expensive app. We shared alpaca lettuce wraps as an appetizer. I had the twice fried carnitas and he had the chilaquiles. So much yum!

The alpaca was a tiny bit dry but that was handled admirably by the crema. The flavor of the alpaca was wonderful. The carnitas were large chunks of pork that had been fried. I was worried they'd be dry but they weren't dry. They were tender and tasty. I don't think it really needed the drizzle of honey that the plate had been given, but it played well with the other flavors. There were four or five large pork chunks, so along with the refried beans and the corn tossed around, this was a very generous portion.

My husband has a sort of platonic ideal for chilaquiles in his mind from a diner we'd eaten at in San Diego, so every version of it he has gets compared to that. This version was more "high end" restaurant style. It came with a "three hour egg" which is an egg they've cooked at a low temperature for a literal three hours. I had a bit of a taste and I can see how the texture was different than one might get from poached or fried eggs. Don't know how significant it was in the dish because there's so much going on in it anyway. I loved the rojo sauce, and it was served over midnight black beans. The taste I had was good and my husband seemed to enjoy it, though he'd still prefer the diner version if he had a choice. :

)

We are going back next week to meet with the business associate, and I'm considering getting lengua tacos on this go. The menu on the website is a little bit different than what you get when you arrive, but many of the items are the same. :)

Really, go. Please please keep this place operating. :)

Aug 21, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

family friendly in Burlington

Skinny Pancake, too. :)

Aug 21, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Best sticky buns and cinnamon buns in Maine

Oh nice! thanks. :)

Aug 17, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Best sticky buns and cinnamon buns in Maine

Where is this?

Aug 14, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

What's open in Burlington on a Sunday night?

I just saw this as well, Skinny Pancake also has some good vegetarian options. Not sure of their hours.

Aug 11, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Help Needed...Portland and area for 5 days

I had a fun time poking around the DeLorme visitor center in Yarmouth. :) They have a nice shop and a huge globe. http://delorme.com/mapstore/default.aspx

The LLBean flagship stores in Freeport are also loads of fun. Since you'll be flying back it might not be so dangerous to you to go there. It's always dangerous for me since I can bring the stuff home in my car. ;

)

There are some lovely sail boat tours you can take all along the coast, I recommend just getting out on a sail boat and enjoying the afternoon or morning. :) Those often are very near to lobster shacks, as well. ;) Most of the specific ones I've gone on are near Wells/Ogunquit, but I'm sure there's plenty closer to Portland you could look into.

Aug 04, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Gloucester and Ogunquit - recommendations please

Are Stonewall Kitchen's products actually local? As in made in Maine?

Jul 15, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Restaurant at Edson Hill - Stowe - any recent reviews?

We ate there for our anniversary dinner several years ago (I want to say four years ago?). The atmosphere is very nice. It's a comfortable, welcoming space. The staff were warm but not intrusive. The food was good though I am not sure it was worth the price we paid. Still, looking at their menu today it looks like they've updated things significantly.

I'm afraid that's the most recent info I have.

Jul 14, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Go to Roam

NH, it's tucked into the fourth sentence. :)

Jul 12, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Portland trip report June 15-18, 2015

What a fantastic report! Thanks for all the pics as well. :)

Jul 11, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Vermont trip report

Well I can certain appreciate biases like that. :) Since they're the only cider donuts I get (and I don't really like them in cinnamon sugar) they're fab to me. :)

I'm just so glad you had a good time!

Jul 10, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Vermont trip report

Awww about the donuts, were they fresh? They're really so much better in the fall. I'm sorry they didn't wow you!

Still and all, this is a great report and thanks so much for taking the time to write it up! :)

Jul 08, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Burlington, VT suggestions for father's day weekend

Nice! Thanks!

Jul 07, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Burlington, VT suggestions for father's day weekend

Have you done a review of the Bistro, Davmar? If not, tell us what you liked about it please? :)

Jul 07, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Best Lobster in Northern New England

My favorite lobster roll is hot with the lobster is just tossed with some butter and served on a toasted hot dog bun. Cold lobster rolls made with mayo (and sometimes celery) are fine, and I like them, they're just not my favorite. For just plain ripping a lobster apart and eating it, I prefer dunking it in butter, and that's it.

In all of the cases above, the single most important factor in how good any of those items actually taste is in how recently the lobster has come from the ocean. The longer it sat in the tank, no matter how fresh it is (in terms of how recently it was killed), the more the flavor degrades. I would rather have an overcooked, slightly rubbery lobster that was brought in on the boat two hours ago than a perfectly cooked and tender lobster that's been sitting in a tank for a day or two.

Because that's the most important thing to me, the location of the lobster provider, rather than the specific preparation, is the determining factor for my favorite lobster places.

All of my favorites, all over Maine and NH, are shacks that sit right where the lobster boats come in, and that get their lobsters fresh off the boats and start serving them immediately. If they're doing that, then what I consider minor offenses (too much mayo, overcooked) as irrelevant. To me they're not worth fussing over.

So, sure, I suppose if there's a lobster shack right on a harbor that knows how not to over boil the lobster, then that would have an edge over the others in my book, but not enough of one to make it worth driving extra distance for (especially if that extra distance involves driving on Route 1 in Maine during the high season, which is, if I remember correctly, one of the circles of hell). :)

So when folks ask me for the best lobster in Maine or NH, I tell them to look for shacks boiling lobsters right at a harbor where they get the lobsters off the boats that day. Chances are good anywhere they are staying will have a place like that nearby.

Jul 06, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

The Dinnerhorn in Portsmouth: an appreciation

We'll have to make a stop next we're in the area. :)

Jul 05, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Where to eat in Portsmouth, NH?

Just to be really specific here, it's only eight minutes closer, and that depends on where in Portsmouth you're starting from. So the difference is negligible.

Jul 02, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Where to eat in Portsmouth, NH?

There's nothing wrong with lobster in NH. If you're hoping for lobster, try Rye Harbor Lobster Pound. :)

Jun 30, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

A Vegetarian Celebrates in Manchester, VT

Welcome to Vermont! I'm afraid I'm not very familiar with that part of the state. I'm sure that some others will chime in with their suggestions soon, though. I just wanted to welcome you to the state and our chow group. :)

Jun 30, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Have some non fish eaters coming to York Maine.

The few times I've been in York it has seemed a little, errr. sysco distributory. I'm sure there's got to be at least one good place to eat there but I am not sure where it is. There was one place I remember hearing about but I think it closed.

There's a good pizza place in Ogunquit, Pizza Napoli. We like it just fine. :) Also, my husband doesn't like any fish at all, so yeah, finding decent non-seafood is a challenge. http://pizzanapoliogunquit.com/

Jun 30, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Burlington, Vermont

Well, one place pops to mind. There aren't any restaurants that focus solely on local fish, though. I imagine because it's hard to find a reliable, consistent source.

But this place has a local perch sandwich:
http://bleuvt.com/menu/

You can get fried perch at The Wayside in Berlin, but that's only in the winter when there's ice fishing. I know a few places that do sushi will buy fish from local fishermen, but I don't think those fish make it onto the menu, the staff eat them. :)

Jun 29, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Where to eat in Portsmouth, NH?

We really thoroughly enjoy Vida Cantina. :)

Jun 29, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Burlington, Vermont

I'm not sure I understand this line:

"We are now starting to hesitate if this is a nice enough town for a one night stop."

Burlington is a beautiful small city. There is a lot to explore, and there's a lot of really good food up there. I think you're going to wish you were spending more time there. :)

Can you narrow in a bit on what sorts of things you like to eat, and what sort of price point you're considering? There are so many options to sort through. :)

Since you have such a small window, it's hard to pick what's going to give you the experience you're hoping for. Are you looking for quirky Vermont, or elegant Vermont, or some mix of those? Are you meat eaters or do you prefer vegetarian? Would you like local fish? How many meals will you be having? Will you have a car, and what part of town are you staying in? :)

Jun 22, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Where is the Best Lobster in Ogunquit Maine plus other must eat places?

Just another side of this, I didn't much care for Ogunquit Lobster Pound. The lobster is just fine, but everything else.. I found it overpriced for what you got. They had awful (not just mediocre but actively not-good) non-seafood options (so if you have someone who doesn't eat seafood, you're going to pay through the nose for a bland/overcooked something).

I really like Billy's Chowder House in Wells (it's not a far drive from Ogunquit). It has good non-seafood options, and the setting and atmosphere are way better than Ogunquit Lobster Pound.

I wouldn't put as much weight into Trip Advisor or Yelp (or with a HUGE grain of salt). I find the reviewers in both places tend to have weird expectations. Someone actually complained about the quality of the hot dogs at a freekin' creemee stand, for cry sakes.

If you're looking for good lobster, you want fresh, preferably off the boat that day. Most of the lobster pounds in the area you're going to get exactly that. I wouldn't worry over much about the trip advisor or yelp reviews unless someone says they actually got a BAD lobster, or that it wasn't actually fresh.

Jun 19, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Food adventure trip to Maine coast

There's a lot of discussion of places to eat in Portland on this board. I also seem to recall something recent about Deer Isle, I think. I'll see if I can find some links for you.

Here's a couple fairly recent threads about Deer Isle:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9847...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9913...

The threads about Portland would be far too many to post. If you can narrow down the sorts of food you like and a price points, it would help us make good recommendations.

Jun 14, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Buy lobster from fishermen in Maine

This is pretty much what nearly every lobster shack/pound in every harbor in Maine (and NH) does. :) The ones right in the harbors, they buy off the boats that come in, they cook 'em up, then sell 'em to you. :) Rye Harbor Lobster Pound is -right there- where the boats come in. They get loads of great reviews. I STILL haven't gotten there, though. They were closed when we went the Tuesday after Memorial day. :) We're going back to the coast a few more times this summer, so I'll have another chance.

Looking to rent a private home for a 100-150 people wedding. Northern New England.

There are some wonderful wedding venues in the Vermont State Park system. Lake Champlain is gorgeous, too. You could check that out.

May 31, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England

Seeking food adventure in VT (not Burlington)

Just note about the website. There are several very nice website hosting services out there that have a lot of very handy tools for creating a more slick and professional look for a restaurant website. They aren't even that expensive. You can't really judge a restaurant by the look and feel of its website any more.

Frankly, I consider it a serious plus that they -have- a website. I'm getting so I don't want to go to places that don't. I don't care if it's a slapped together thing that was built back in geocities days, just HAVE it (with a menu, even just a sample, if you change it regularly) so I have an IDEA of what could be in the offing.

May 31, 2015
Morganna in Northern New England