East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

Hearing that Small Axe truck would be closing in favor of a brick and mortar location last year was a bittersweet moment for Meredith and myself. In their first year, a Saturday morning coffee from Tandem, breakfast at Small Axe, and a trip to the farmer’s market had become our norm, and in their second year, anytime we found ourselves remotely near Congress Square Park, you could guarantee we’d be stopping by. Their shrimp & grits and fried chicken biscuits at the Portland Flea-for-All was one of our favorite meals of 2013, and it seemed as though their breakfast and rice bowls could simply do no wrong. What would happen when they closed? Would the new restaurant deviate from the tried & true offerings that garnered - and deservednational attention?

It turns out that all of our worrying was for naught because now that we’ve tried Karl Deuben & Bill Leavy’s reincarnation of the East Ender on our favorite block of Middle Street (read: one of the most delicious blocks in all of Portland), we realized that it’s not the truck that made the meal, but the chefs behind the grill.

Meredith and I are minimalists at heart, so the clean, open, light-filled interior of the new East Ender is a welcome sight. We stopped by for lunch this week and were happy to see familiar favorites like the cold smoked burger and the rice bowl, alongside new additions like the BLT and the fried chicken sandwich. On this trip, one of what will surely be many, Meredith ordered her beloved rice bowl with bok choy and potatoes and I went with the suggestion of our waitress – the BLT. Adding a little flavor and lair, my BLT was made with two thick pieces of pork belly in lieu of bacon, and finished with avocado and a miso mayo. I’ve been heralding the BLT at Blue Spoon as my favorite in town for years, but this one definitely gives it a run for its money. Ignoring our full stomachs, we even rallied and ordered the roasted pineapple hand pies with coconut sorbet – a delightful combination of tropical flavors not typically found in Maine.

In retrospect, we realize our lamenting over Small Axe’s closing was a little ill-founded, and now that we’ve fallen for their new menu, we couldn’t be more excited to taste what Karl & Bill cook up next at the East Ender.

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

Food, , , Permalink

Central-Provisions-Brunch

A few weeks ago, Meredith and I found ourselves needing a good excuse to leave the house and do some last minute Christmas shopping, so we did what all food-loving Portlanders should and decided to make a brunch date out of it. We already have a number of go-to brunch spots in town, but given that every other experience we’ve had at Central Provisions – from drinks through dessert – has been outstanding, we thought we’d see if the same held true for my own favorite meal of the day, the coveted breakfast-lunch tweener spot. To be honest, it wasn’t even a contest. Warm and gooey skillet cornbread, crispy and savory scrapple, and a ham and cheese slider that absolutely blew my mind helped make our meal one of the best brunches I can remember, moving Central Provisions right to the top of our favorite Portland brunches, alongside Piccolo and a handful of others. Now, it’s only a matter of finding another flimsy excuse to return soon…

Central Provisions

Ham-Slider-Central-Provisions

Skillet-Corn-Bread-Central-Provisions

Food, , , Permalink

Petite Jacqueline Happy Hour

Before we officially welcome fall, we just couldn’t let summer go by without one last nod to our love for rosé season with our second Drinks with Orvis post.

During one of the warmest weeks this summer, we cut out of work a little early to go enjoy a drink on one of our favorite outdoor patios in Portland – Petite Jacqueline. We love taking Orvis along to meals in Longfellow Square – he’s happy as can be people watching in the square… that is until our food comes and he starts begging.

As it turns out, hot temperatures don’t stand a chance against a carafe of rosé and a tasty cheese plate on a shaded patio in the summer, and the fact that Orvis was there alongside us made the afternoon even better!

Tell us, where do you like to drink/eat with your pup? We’d love suggestions for any city!

Petite Jacqueline Portland Maine

Drinks with Orvis

Petite Jacqueline Maine

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

Dog Friendly, Drink, , , Permalink

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

There are few things that Meredith and I love more than a delicious cocktail and our best buddy, Orvis. So naturally, now that our favorite bar in town, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, has added a little bit of outdoor seating on Market Street, it only makes sense to take Orvis along for our happy hour treats! On our most recent visit, we tried the pretzels and a couple open-faced sandwiches in addition to our normal deviled egg noshing order, and combined with a few tasty cocktails (and a bowl of water for Orvis), spent a perfect afternoon soaking up summer in the Old Port.

And if you missed it last week, it’s worth nothing that Bon Appetit selected Hunt + Alpine as one of their top five new bars in the country, complete with a photo of Meredith’s in the September issue. We clearly couldn’t agree with this assessment anymore!

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

Dog Friendly, Drink, , , , Permalink

Richard Estes at Portland Museum of Art

In a town of Portland’s size, it’s rare to have an art museum that is as well curated as the Portland Museum of Art. We find ourselves continually impressed with both the exhibitions and the events the museum sponsors. In the last month alone, we’ve been wowed by the photorealist paintings of Richard Estes and even had the chance to hear Alex Katz speak in person.

Coming off the heels of last night’s fantastic midsummer party with the museum’s Contemporaries group, we thought we’d share another PMA summer highlight – Third Thursdays. We attended last month’s Third Thursday garden party and took advantage of the museum’s extended hours by roaming the galleries, which we essentially had to ourselves. Tonight’s festivities will feature bluegrass music by Darlin’ Corey and a lecture by director, Mark Bessire, on the role of the museum in the 21st century.

If you’re looking for a slight change of pace from your typical Thursday evenings, or haven’t had the opportunity to visit the museum and see its newest collections, we highly recommend that you take advantage of tonight’s event and keep an eye open for the upcoming Third Thursdays this summer!

Third Thursdays at the Portland Museum of Art

Portland Museum of Art

Portland Maine Museum of Art

Life, , , Permalink

k colette

It seems like we’ve been popping in and out of k colette for beautiful gifts for others (and ourselves) since the day they appeared on Commercial Street, so when the opportunity arose to drop by before they opened one morning, take some photographs, and meet the team behind one of our favorite shops in Portland, we couldn’t resist.

Located in an old molasses storage space on Portland’s waterfront, the spansive exposed brick and beam storefront is something to behold even before you begin to take note of the incredible selection of artwork, textiles, and home decor items that have been carefully selected and displayed throughout the shop. Inside their doors, you’ll find some of our very favorite brands and designers, both from Maine and away – Coral and Tusk, John Robshaw, Brahms MountSea Bags, Salt Furniture Co., and many more – every product with a “story tag” describing the artisan, the item, the process, and the location. These story tags are in part what help define the unique taste and selection of k colette. Their commitment to goods and artisans with a history of passion and craftsmanship is perfectly exhibited in their thoughtful selection.

On top of their brick and mortar storefront, k colette also has a fantastic online presence. Almost the entire selection of the shop is available through their online store, and their blog, The Revue, features visits to the homes and studios of a growing number of the artisans whose products they carry – reiterating their commitment to the stories behind the products they carry. As consumers, we love to see an emphasis placed on the well-designed, carefully selected, and thoughtfully produced, and the selection at k colette perfectly typifies this idea.

k colette

k colette john robshaw

k colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

kantha portland maine

k colette

k colette

rebecca-atwood-at-k-colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

k colette

 

Travel, , , Permalink

Mercury Inn

Meredith and I often get emails and comments from Map & Menu readers asking for help in planning their own Portland adventures. While we love that people are finding and using the site for the exact reason we created it – to be a tried and true travel resource – we’ve only had a few first-hand accommodation experiences in our hometown of Portland – all from before we moved to Maine, and long before Map & Menu. Thus, when we saw one of our favorite branding agencies in town share some of the recent work they’d done for a new Portland inn, we quickly searched for more information and reached out to its owners to setup a visit.

The Mercury Inn has many of the things that typically draw us to the places we stay on our travels – creative taste, a clean aesthetic, cozy accommodations, and great branding. During our tour of the property, we had the chance to speak to the co-owners, Tim and Jake, about their experience in running, then renovating the previous inn at the State Street location, and their passion for the food and service industries that led them toward owning a bed and breakfast. After managing what was formerly the Wild Iris Inn for part of the season prior to re-opening as the Mercury Inn, Tim and Jake began to renovate according to the experiences they had gleaned from patrons, the property, and the sustainable vision they had brought with them. The design of the interior came from Tim’s sister’s firm, Landing Design & Development and has a clean, contemporary feel that meshes perfectly with the branding done by Might & Main. Details like the custom Sea Bags pillows, roman numeral door lettering, and large-printed shower curtains add fun accents and give the space plenty of its own personality. On top of being within walking distance to some of our favorite restaurants in Portland’s West End and on Congress Street, Tim and Jake use their culinary experience to provide homemade breakfasts to visitors, which we’re looking forward to trying at some future date.

We’re thrilled to add the aptly-named Mercury Inn (Mercury was the Roman patron god of travelers) to our list of places to stay in Portland. We’re sure that given it’s design and comfort it’ll be the perfect fit for many Map & Menu readers in the future.

Mercury Inn Portland ME

Mercury Inn Photos

Mercury Inn Guest Rooms

Mercury Inn Portland

Mercury Inn Maine Rooms

Mercury Inn Bathroom  Mercury Inn Details  Mercury Inn Maine

Mercury Inn ME Photos

Mercury Inn Design  Mercury Inn portland Maine

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

Places to Stay, Travel, , Permalink

Central Provisions Scallops

March’s “spring forward” daylight saving time has become a celebration for Meredith and I in recent years. After a full winter of lunch posts and dimly-lit dinners, all at once the light returns to our suppertime, and it’s Map & Menu business as usual. In the days leading up to daylight saving time, we anxiously sift through our dining choices and make a reservation for a (still somewhat early) dinner date that we know will taste exquisite and look spectacular. This year, there was hardly a question of where that reservation would be – Portland’s Central Provisions.

Central Provisions is one of the latest in a stocked season of great openings in Portland. Piccolo, Hunt + Alpine, and Miyake Diner have already deservedly garnered rave reviews and national recognition, but after a couple of meals at Central Provisions, there is no doubt in our minds that they belong near the top of the list of Portland’s best restaurants and bars. Owners Chris and Paige Gould have done an exceptional job with both the space and the menu, and bar manager Patrick McDonald and wine director Chris Peterman have put together an amazing selection of drinks to boot. In fact, this is the one thing that stands out to Meredith and I about our experiences at Central Provisions more than anything else – how equally fantastic each part of our meals have been. The space gives credence to the historic nature of the building, the drinks – whether beer, wine, or spirit – are well chosen and deliciously crafted, and the food is simply outstanding. Try the farm fresh bread and butter, the yellowfin tuna crudo that’s a delight to both taste and see, the savory suckling pig, the perfectly seared scallops, the brussels sprouts, the croquette, the spicy fried Maine potatoes, the beet salad, the shrimp a la plancha… it’s not an exaggeration to say that you should try everything on the menu, you absolutely won’t be disappointed. Typically, when describing a restaurant’s drink menu, I use a colloquialism like “wash it all down with…”, but at Central Provision, this simply doesn’t do the libations justice. Whether it’s a cocktail from their house menu or their prohibition-era list (Meredith is obsessed with the Fancy Gin Cocktail), a pint of their great selection of beers (like the in-demand Bissell Brothers Substance IPA), or a glass of wine from their wine list, we wager you’ll be as enthusiastic about the drinks as you are the eats.

From literal top to bottom (the dining room is on the Fore Street-facing second floor, while the bar is on the Wharf Street-facing first) Central Provisions provides one of the best dining experiences in Portland, and we simply couldn’t be happier to see the city’s selection continue to grow and improve – we’re going to need those extra hours of daylight just to keep up.

Central Provisions Bar

Central Provisions ME

Fancy Gin Cocktail Central Provisions

Central Provisions Portland

Central Provisions Bread & Butter

Central Provisions Portland Maine

Central Provisions Fried Potatoes

Central Provisions Tuna

Central Provisions Brussels Sprouts

Central Provisions Croquette

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu and Central Provisions.

Drink, Food, , Permalink

More & Co

This Is Love. The motto of More & Co.’s current collection rang especially true to me when I walked through the door. It’s plain to see that this is a special collection for the partners of this Portland-based creative studio – the goods they’ve personally fallen in love with since opening their storefront last year, the products in which they wholeheartedly believe and want to share with their loved ones… except they’re sharing it with anyone and everyone who drops into the shop. It does kind of feel as though you’ve walked into a friend’s home (your friend with the very best taste, that is), with the expectation that there is a remarkable story behind each item you see.

The handmade polka dot mug from which I’m currently drinking, the bright Jenny Pennywood textiles, the Maine-made ANK Ceramics, and the colorful Grimms wooden block sets – all fit perfectly together and convey that sense of happy, minimal, creative style that Michael and I have come to appreciate and admire from More & Co, having followed their blog and watched their branding projects for years.

You can always take a peek at the collection online, but if you have the time, I highly recommend stopping by the shop to see these objects in person – This Is Love is available through the end of May.

Mast Brothers Chocolate at More & Co

More & Co Portland Maine

More and Co Portland ME

More and Co Maine

More & Co Portland

This is Love More & Co

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

Life, , Permalink
Brunch at Piccolo
Zeppoli with chocolate sauce and pastry-wrapped roasted pear

Meredith and I don’t consider ourselves food critics or traditional reviewers in any way. Map & Menu was started simply to share the places to eat, things to do, and places to visit we’ve come to love from our home in Portland and elsewhere among our travels. We share them in hopes that other people will find them approachable and useful for their own inspiration and travels. In that vein of writing about inspiring and delicious places, we thought we’d share some photos of brunch at Portland’s Piccolo – it’s quickly becoming one of our new favorites, and should probably be one of yours too.

We’ve posted about dinner at Piccolo already (oh, that Wine and Cheese dessert!), but this time we wanted to share another awesome facet of this fantastic restaurant – its Sunday brunch. Twice now, we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy brunch at Piccolo, both times with good friends (obviously one of the best ways to enjoy any brunch), and both times we’ve been blown away by our meals and experiences. Although the menu changes slightly, between the eight of us we’ve tried a large portion of it, and I haven’t heard a single word of anything but praise for the dishes. Whether it be the decadent Italian Toast, the savory Modesto, or the scrumptious Zeppoli (which you should just go ahead and start with every time you visit) – the Sunday brunch at Piccolo is definitely one of the best in town, and is almost guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

Piccolo Maine Brunch
Italian toast

Piccolo Brunch

Zeppoli at Piccolo Maine
Zeppoli

Piccolo Maine Brunch

Piccolo Maine Brunch Photos
Pasticcio
Piccolo Brunch Modesto
Modesto

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

Food, , , Permalink