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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Po' Boys & Pickles-Portland Maine

Who doesn't love a good sandwich ? Satisfying and filling a sandwich is the ultimate comfort food. And one of the Kings of sandwiches is the New Orleans Po' Boy. On 1124 Forest Avenue in Portland Maine there is small joint that strives to give you this taste of the Bayou, and its called (of course) Po'Boys and Pickles.

Simone and I went to Po' Boys and Pickles after we had an afternoon of rock wall climbing and we had built a pretty good appetite. This sandwich shop did not let us down. At Po'Boys the service is part counter and part waited table service.  When you walk in you walk up to the counter, check the menu board and give them your order. You then find your seat and they find you when the food is ready.

There are many sandwich options, all of them unique with toppings. All sandwiches come with sliced pickles on the side. The pickles are made in house and are delicious (this coming from me who doesn't normally enjoy them). Have them on there own, or as my wife did, stuff them into the sandwich. There also many options for sides to go with your sandwich. Fries, Rings, Slaw, Fried Pickles, etc..

For our orders, Simone decided on the Dirty Bird ( because she like the way the name rolled off her tongue)
and I went with the Reggie Loaf ( because I like Reggie?) We also choose to have a side of Gravy Fries and also some house made Praline Crusted Bacon (hell yea). In reverse order, the sandwiches arrived first, then the fries and then the bacon. I figured this must be what its like being in the French Quarters of New Orleans. The sandwiches were large and stuffed full.

Simone's Dirty Bird had seasoned roasted chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato with pickled garlic mayo. There was more perfectly crisp Bacon in this sandwich then on most truckers breakfast plates which was fine because it tasted so good. The roasted chicken was also moist and the garlic mayo was actually very mild and added to the sandwich instead of overpowering it.

The Reggie Loaf consisted of two 1/2 inch slices of house meatloaf, topped with gravy, french fries, lettuce, tomato and Horseradish mayo. The meatloaf was moist and perfectly seasoned, the fries were still crispy in the sandwich even when drizzled with the gravy, and the Horseradish mayo had just enough kick but was not overpowering. Again, another great Sandwich. The bread roll on both our sandwiches was also surprisingly light and airy on the inside and nice and crusty on the outside. A sandwich is only as good as the bread its served on and this bread was perfect to soak up all the juices from the sandwiches

On the side, our Gravy Fries were crispy ( at least at the top of the bowl) and the gravy flavorful. We finished off the entire bowl.

The Praline Bacon ( which I also suggest adding to your sandwich) was decadently sweet with half melted crumbles of brown sugar coating it. Some peaces could have been crispier but that didn't stop me from finishing it all. Amazingly, we finished our entire meal but left no room for dessert. Maybe next time. Po' Boys and Pickles was a great find, and a very satisfying and filling meal.  4 Stars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Byrnes Irish Pub-Brunswick, ME

Bynres Irish Pub is located at 16 Station Street in Brunswick, Maine (there is also another Location in Bath, ME). My GPS didn't actually recognize the street so if you happen to have the same mentally retarded GPS, then just follow the signs to the train station which is off from Maine Street and that's were you can find Bynres. 

The wife and I arrived at about 6:30 on a Monday night and there were only about 4 couples and some folks at the bar. This concerned me, usually at this time of night a place should be packed full and also being located 2 minutes from a local college I would expect it to be busier. However the place was very clean and we were waited on within a few minutes of seating ourselves. Bynres is decorated with an obvious Irish and local sports teams theme and its fun to sit back and take a look at the memorabilia on the walls while chugging your beer.

We started our meal with a creation called Cashelmole from the appetizer menu. Half Guacamole, Half Salsa and Laced with huge hunks of Cashel Bleu Cheese, this was served with perfectly crispy toasted Pita Bread wedges. The dip started with the flavor of a creamy cool avocado and cheese but finishes with a fiery hotness that hits you in the back of the throat. It is great, and we finished the entire bowl.  It is also offered on almost all the sandwiches for a small added charge.

As we finished our appetizer the meal arrived right on time. Simone had ordered the Americanized Shepherds Pie. I ordered a Karls Irish Pastrami Burger, one of the house specialties. The restaurant gives the option of also upgrading your sandwich with a pretzel bun so I went ahead and did that also.

My burger was excellent. Cooked perfectly medium well, it was juicy yet still dead.  The burger sat on top of a bed of cool Cole slaw and was topped with a generous portion of flavorful grilled pastrami and melted Swiss which was then drizzled with Thousand Island Dressing.  Half Reuben, half burger and completely good.

Simones Shepherds Pie was unfortunately a disappointment. The menu says ground beef and pork simmered in Guinness Onion Gravy which sounds excellent but we both found this to be very bland. The gravy tasted like water and the mashed potatoes that topped of the pie also tasted like they had been blended in the same water. After adding lots of salt and pepper the dish was a bit better but still sub par for an Irish Pub that should specialize in dishes such as this. So overall, regarding the food I will refer to the timeless recording artist Meatloaf (which is also one of my favorite foods), "Don't be sad cause two out of three ain't bad".  Two very good dishes, one below average equals out to 3.5 stars for me.  We will probably be back but not for the Shepard's Pie.