So good I wanted to come back.... but didn't on my recent trip
I know New York have been invaded by gelato shops the last few years, but Beals is one place that proves that you don't need the intense flavor of gelato to make a very good treat. On the day of my visit, there are about 15 flavors available. While my friends got the coffee flavored ice cream, I went with the caramel cream ripple since I do like caramel.
For a small sugar cone, they do give you an ample portion. Maybe the cone is just small, but the scoop that they gave me was about 3x the size of the cone. You definitely get your money's worth. As for taste, it is just so creamy w/ nice hints of caramel. Nothing as intense as a caramel gelato, but its refreshing to have a dessert that doesn't require you to drink a bottle of water after you're done (yeah, that's how heavy gelato is for you folks that never had it).
It was nice to eat at one of the many seats in the shop, although there are plenty more standing room than seats as this place does get really crowded at times. And although I like the cleanliness of ice cream in a cup, it was just so much more satisfying to eat it on a cone. Beals sugar cones are excellent, nice and crunchy and I really want to get another one after the last bite.
Too bad I didn't... as I thought I would come back before leaving Maine. But nope, having too much lobsters on my itinerary dashed that idea. But I will definitely come back the next time I'm in Portland.
Its worth the wait... and probably the best restaurant on Wharf St
I hope you don't twist an ankle getting here. But that's Wharf St for you. A mini street between Fore St and Commercial St, it reminds me of the back alleys in Boston where they dumped the trash. But here, it is a street for restaurants and nightlife. In fact, this is probably the only street in Portland for any night life activity after 10 PM.
We came here earlier in the day to make a reservation, but was told they are fully booked for the night. They do save a 1/3 of the restaurant for walk ins. So we got here at 7:30 PM and were told that a party of 3 would have to wait til 9 PM for dinner. 9??? Wow, that's late to have dinner, even for me. But that's the price we pay for wanting good food.
So we sat around in their waiting area. I think they do serve some food in this area as I saw two girls that were just sitting on bench seats by the window were having desserts and a glass of wine. This place has a rustic feel, with wood panel on every part of the restaurant. I'm not big fan of rustic decor but they somehow pull it off in this restaurant.
So after nearly 2 hours (the people at table that we were waiting for were not exactly rushing to leave), we finally sat down. Here's what we ordered:
1/2 a dozen raw clams (3 different variety) - Good, but I had better in clam house which offers more variety
Mussels - Served in garlic, wine wine, and butter, they were delicious, but each were a bit small. I'm guessing they were fresh caught that's why they were so small (instead of being overfed like farm raised ones).
Lobster Diavolo - The “pièce de résistance”. This is absolutely what did it for me. A huge (probably 2 pounds minimum) lobster split and laid on top of a bed of seafood and pasta. We shared it among the three of us and barely finished it. I love the mix of flavors from the clams, mussels, and huge calamari. I would order this again and again....
Linguine w/ clams - This is the first time I seen a linguine w/ clams dish where the clams are still in their shells. The flavor is there, but even though they cover every inch of pasta w/ clams, there's still not enough clams for me since the shells of each clam are pretty big.
After all that, we had no room for dessert. We actually needed a break to finish the Lobster Diavolo. The waiter was attentive although by the time we were done, there was only 1 other table that was left in the restaurant so he wasn't all that busy. I would definitely come back as the price was reasonable and the food was good. I probably want to make a reservation the next time I am here so I don't have to wait this long.
This is our first stop in Maine. Actually, we were suppose to go to a Thai restaurant on Fore St but it closed down. This was the second choice. There are couple of tables outside but the humid air around us made it feel like I would die from over-perspiration, so we hopped in.
The decor is not very impressive. It had a feel of a diner, with a bar on the left side, and a few tables hidden by the column on the right side. The whole place is cover in yellow. You know what they say about yellow, right? You don't? Okay, I will tell you. Yellow walls drive people crazy.
Anyway, enough about the decor. I will probably drive you mad too if I keep talking about the decor and not the food.
French Onion Soup - I tried this. Very heavy, but quite delicious. It is covered with a layer of cheese that is melted on the bottom but a nice crisp top from being in the oven.
Provenchal crepe - savory crepe with shrimps, pesto, and tomatoes. I did not like this. The shrimps were cut down the center as halves and there were about 6 halves in the crepe. But the shrimp had no flavor. I guess I'm just use to shrimps being flavored (cajun, garlic, pepper, etc.). The whole crepe lacked flavor.The tossed salad on the side was actually pretty good.
Samon - Crepe filled w/ cheese and topped with cured salmon - I tried this. It was pretty good. Wish I got this instead.
So the hit and miss food already earned it a 3 stars in my mind. But to top it off, the service is horrible. Not that they treated us badly, just that there's one waitress/hostess/bartender/cashier for the whole time we were there (around 1:30 PM). We waited over 10 minutes for our water and menu and then another 30 - 40 minutes for our food. The table next to us were waiting for the bill for so long that they just got up and paid the bill at the bar.
There's too many good restaurants in Portland to waste your time here, unless you crave crepes. In that case, prepare to wait.
I still remember, probably at least 5 years ago, before all the celebrities chefs, there was Nobu. Although this place isn't Nobu, it still carries that namesake. And when you hear that name, at least back then, you expect great things.
Well, what can you expect these days? Better than average mediocrity.
While the decor is still decent looking, it almost looked bland. Maybe it was the light yellow wood panel that covers the entire restaurant, or the lack of any other eye catching decor beside the long, elongated chandelier lights. We sat by the window, elevated enough that you don't quite see the sidewalk outside and the simple, white curtains hides the diners from the peering eyes of passersby.
As this is still RW, I of course have to take advantage of their RW menu. But they are smart to include their RW menu on their main menu. Other restaurants give you a separate menu so you don't even know what else the restaurant serve. It also give them the opportunity to entice you, like Nobu Next Door did.
Here's what I ordered:
Heirloom Tomato Cerviches - I have to look up the definition of cerviches, but I thought it means some type of fish. Well, there's no fish in this dish, only various types of tomatoes. But I did like the tangy yuzu citrus taste.
Assorted sushi & sashimi - Salmon, Tuna, Hamachi, clam, red snapper, mackerel, Shrimp, and a tuna roll. The portion was decent, but the quality is average. The various types of fish looks almost a bit dry. While its a lot better than those unlimited sushi places, its several classes below Ushiwakamaru or Sushi Yasuda.
Bento box of chocolate souffle and green tea ice cream - The green tea flavor ice cream was quite light. I didn't noticed it until the last few bites. The chocolate souffle is always good, but again, didn't wow me.
I'm not against coming back, but I don't know any reason to. The only thing that wowed me was their service, like a well-oiled machine, where my glass of water was never less than 1/2 full (if they didn't invent this standard, they certainly live up to it). I probably have to go to the real thing (the not next door) one of these days.
I heard good stuff about this place, although I guess I'm not the biggest tapas fan as its really not about getting your money's worth, but trying little bit of this, a little of that. No wonder why Shakira is so fit... oh wait, she's Colombian, not Spanish.
We had a total of 7 in our group, and we sat in the basement of the restaurant. There's not much to the decor as candlelight is your best source of light. The place was relatively empty on a Tuesday night when we sat down (7 PM), although it eventually filled up by the time we were heading out (~9 PM).
Here's what we ordered:
Padrones - lightly fried spicy green peppers. Just enough kick to dare you to try another.
D'Embotits - slices of sausages and Serrano ham. Besides the Serrano ham, which I love, the rest were like eating pepperoni. Meh.
Soft Shell Crab - Yum Yum Y... Wha? No more?
Patatas Bravas - Potatoes with garlic and spicy sauce - I liked it, and I'm more meat than a "potatoes" guy.
3 cheese platter - meh, I guess I'm not a cheese person, unless its Mac & Cheese.
Fideua Negra - Short noodles in Squid Ink - Squid ink is full of flavor, and I don't think I had short noodles of this kind before. The noodles is about an inch long each. One of my faves.
Bacalla - Cod - It was okay, not memorable
Botifara - How do you share 2 sausages w/ 7 people? You cut it up til it looks like ground meat. It would have been nice if they cut it for us before it arrived to the table.
Coca D'Anec - Duck on cocoa bread - Another quick to disappear dish, well, the duck anyway, so tender. We couldn't figured out what the bread in the low light. It looked like spinach, until we put it in our mouths.
We also had a bottle of Shiraz, total came out to $255 after tax and tip. While a little pricey, the insulting thing to this place is that 1/2 of my friends ended up going to 8th Ave in Brooklyn to have some good old-fashion, cheap, Chinese food for probably $20. I guess if we tried to stuff ourselves here, the bill would be closer to $350.
PS2 Completed: 10/15/04
-Learned to use WinHIIP
-Installed PS2 Reality Media Player with network support
-Networked PS2 to Computer
-Installed Memory Card Exploit
-Added Maxtor 120GB HD
-Install Tivo Web Plus
-Obtain static IP to use Tivo Web Plus away from home
-Accessible w/ Tivo Web
-Networked to PC
-Installed Sleeper's ISO
-Added WD 120GB HD
Linux Ongoing 10/27/2004:
-Installed Xandros using Dual Booting with Win XP
-Ran Knoppix from CD
-Brought 14" LCD Monitor (ProView) for use w/ Linux box
-Install Xbox Media Center
-Install Gentoox or Woody Linux
-Install Executor modchip
-Purchase Executor modchip