Tag Archives: crab

District in Portland—A Good Call for Great Brunch

14 Sep

Oy vey! I must say, it’s been a long three weeks. I have been traveling pretty much nonstop and then my parents came into town for a visit. It’s been killing me that I haven’t had time to post this review until now, but something just had to give. I mean you guys deserve the skinny on the District’s phat brunch.

I went to meet my friend Laura (of Fore Front Fashion fame) to borrow some clothes for my upcoming vacation and grab mimosas and brunch. We strolled down to Caiola’s, but those jokers are closed on Saturdays for brunch. We did some quick improvising and I called to make sure District would be open before heading down to their Danforth St. location. Thankfully they were! We dragged ourselves there teetering on the brink of starvation.

It was 11:00 a.m. and we were seated right away. The place wasn’t too packed and I was starting to wonder if people even knew they were open for brunch. The ambiance is bright, but definitely had a pub like feel with a visible bar and wood high top tables. I must say upon first glance around I wasn’t really expecting too much. We ordered two mimosas to start before deliberating over the menu choices.

Their menu is adequate, with something to satisfy practically anyone.

District Restaurant Portland Maine

District Brunch Menu

Laura jumped on the Ricotta Pancakes bandwagon.

Ricotta Pancakes District Portland Maine

Ricotta Pancakes with a side of Mimosa

This turned out to be an excellent choice on her part. The sweetness from the real maple syrup (?!?!) added to the creaminess of the ricotta. That lady is a pancake junkie so trust her when she says it was down right “delish.”

I, on the other hand, was intrigued by the Maine Crab Benedict with broccoli rabe and spicy lemon hollandaise.

Maine Crab Benedict, District, Portland Maine

Maine Crab Benedict

I was completely blown away by how great all these flavors paired together! The crab cake was unlike any I have had in Maine, it wasn’t fried to a crisp and filled with breading—it seemed to be 100% crab meat. Add that to the broccoli rabe, drizzle on the lemon hollandaise and dig in! The flavors just melted in my mouth. It was total brunch euphoria.

If you are looking for a solid brunch at great prices get in to District as soon as you can, before everyone in town finds out how good it is. I speculate that by this time next year we won’t be getting seated right away at 11 a.m. on a Saturday.

District on Urbanspoon

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Fresh Catch at the Front Room

1 May

Spring has sprung in Maine, so that means that the husband and I have been getting out even more than usual. We started the weekend off right with a trip to Harding Lee Smith’s Front Room Restaurant. We’ve eaten here before and really enjoyed it. We went in with fish on our minds and luckily we found their specials to be surprisingly fresh catch oriented.

To celebrate the weekend we decided to start with some cocktails. I got my usual, THANK GOD IT’S THE WEEKEND drink– a Cold River Vodka Martini, Extra Dirty. If you aren’t from Maine, or even if you are and haven’t tasted it, I think Cold River Vodka is the very best Vodka on the market. The fact that it’s incredible AND locally sourced makes it even more special. It’s incredibly smooth and gluten-free for those who have allergies or sensitivities.

Mark went for a Manhattan, perfect. His usual pick of poison. He has become increasingly obsessed with finding where in Portland serves the “perfect” Manhattan…and I think he was very pleased with the one they serve up at the Front Room.

After getting our cocktails we decided to treat ourselves to the crab dip appetizer. I am a huge fan of crab, and Mark always swears he likes it better than lobster (is he insane? Yes, I believe he is). It was a tasty creation served with toasted focaccia for dipping. It was runnier than other crab dips I have had with just a touch of spice. It had large chunks of deliciously fresh crab meat. I general, it was a solid dish and I would rate it as about a I would say it was about a 7.5/10. It wasn’t creamy like others I have had, but the mild spice addition was welcome and really brought out the natural essence of the crab meat. We ate it all in about 4 minutes.

Crab Dip

Crab Dip

After that we were ready for our main course selections. We both decided to order something from their nightly special menu. I opted for the Whole Grilled Trout with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Brussel Sprouts.

Whole Grilled Trout Entree

Whole Grilled Trout Entree

This dish was exceptional. It was undoubted a 10/10! Cooked to complete perfection and the accompaniments were complementary, not in the least bit overpowering. The trout was grilled with just a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and it was exactly as it should have been. Overall, a perfect fresh catch dish.

Mark had never had Sea Bass before and decided to give it a try. I had initially wanted to order that when he was toying with the idea of getting scallops, but he decided to give it a try, hence I ordered the trout. We both made the right choice, so I couldn’t complain.

Grilled Sea Bass

When his entrée came, it was grilled to perfection. He felt it was a 9/10. The lemon pepper flavoring on top wasn’t the least bit salty or overpowering. It was subtle lemon flavor with just the right amount of pepper. He absolutely loved it. The parmesan risotto was a nice complement. There wasn’t a strand of rice left on Mark’s plate at the end. We were both about to explode when our waiter came to see if we had room for some homemade Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. I wished I had saved some, but alas…there is always next time!

Overall, The Front Room is a very good deal for the quality of food. They don’t accept reservations so there can be a wait on the weekends, but just get a drink. A bonus if you get there between 4-6 on Friday–Happy Hour! They have $2 glasses of house wine and a number of other beer and cocktail specials. Both of our entrées were $19. Their daily special list could be a menu in and of itself, and makes me wonder why they even have a traditional menu at all. We will be back again this summer for sure, and can’t wait to give it a whirl at brunch!

Front Room & Bar on Urbanspoon

Traditional Lump Crab Cakes

21 Feb

I told you about our adorable friends coming over for a dinner party, right? Well, before the cupcakes we had a delicious dinner of roasted asparagus, mushroom risotto and some amazing crab cakes. This is a tried and true traditional crab cake recipe so it’s no frills really, but it’s amazing and consistent every time. I never fry my crab cakes, I find that the oven and broiler do the trick. So, next time you are craving some no cracking involved crab recipes, REACH FOR THESE!

One pound lump crab meat

2 eggs

4 tbsp mayo

1 1/2 tsp of OLD BAY (you know I’m obsessed with this stuff!)

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

2 tbsp fresh parsley (any variety, I like Italian)

1 tsp lemon juice (fresh is best.)

1 heaping tsp dijon mustard

4 green onions (white parts only chopped)

1/3 cup crushed breadcrumbs or crackers

Preheat oven to 425º. Put crab in a separate bowl. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Once mixed pour over crab meat and gently mix with a wooden spoon (you do not want to break up the lumps of crabmeat!). Once blended start patting out the cakes (I find this makes about 6 good sized cakes). Place in an oiled or sprayed baking dish and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Before baking let the cakes stand for about 20 minutes a room temperature. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn your broiler on for 2-3 minutes at 400º to brown the cakes at the end. Remove from oven and serve! VIOLA! Perfect crab cakes. Adjust Old Bay seasoning to taste, you know I want more! I sprinkle some on top right when it comes out of the oven. I am an addict. I need to buy stock in Old Bay…

Lump crab cakes, mushroom risotto, and roasted white and green asparagus

Fancy some homemade Tarter Sauce?

3 tbsp mayo

1 1/2 tbsp sweet relish

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Mix. Eat. Enjoy. It really is that easy…I never know why people buy this stuff? Add some dill if your heart desires that. It’s splendid as well.

Ben and Laura are amused and obviously loving Eat Here's cooking. Success.

Maryland She Crab Soup

13 Feb

Good day friends,

I figured I better give you the recipe to my latest seafood recipe endeavor. I must admit, living in Maine has done wonders for my seafood cooking skills. I would rank myself above that jerk who runs Street and Co. (I boycott that place based on several unsavory experiences from friends and my own personal hero, Anthony Bourdain. If you consider yourself a foodie in any shape or form and you aren’t familiar with my dark and brooding secret crush assume a spot in front of the television and tune to the Travel Channel immediately. I am in L.O.V.E. He’s basically everything I wish I could be. He’s a curmudgeon of genius proportion.)

Ok, now on to the recipe!

You will need

16 oz. lump crab meat (don’t get the claw meat unless you are a complete cheapskate in which case it will work, but you will pull shell after shell from your mouth instead of just enjoying the soup)

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped (for color)

1 celery stalk, chopped (for flavor)

2 tablespoons butter

16 oz heavy cream

1 cup Milk (skim works, but whole is divine)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Cooking Sherry

1 heaping tablespoon Old Bay seasoning (if you don’t like Old Bay, I don’t like you.)

Salt to taste

First, add butter to a medium sized sauce pan over medium-high heat. Put in the onions, carrot, celery and saute for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix flour and 1/2 cup of heavy cream to until smooth, this will become the thickening agent for the soup. Once the veggies have sweat it out add the thickening agent and the rest of the heavy cream and milk. Give it a good stir. It should thicken right before your eyes! (Note: If it’s too thick keep adding milk until you reach your desired consistency, but you want this soup to be THICK!) Now add the crab meat. Turn the heat to medium-low. Watch like a hawk. Do not let this boil it will taste like curdled milk, disgusting. Add Old Bay at this point, stir. Like I said, if you don’t like Old Bay, I hate you. Add the cooking sherry night before serving, you don’t want the alcohol to cook off. No cooking sherry? Add beer, but it won’t be as decadent. Now get a big loaf of french bread for dipping. Taste it, make sure it’s hot and deliciously spiced up with Old Bay. Put in bowls, add more Old Bay on top (can’t get enough) and add fresh chopped parsley if desired.

Chow down! Oh, and don’t forget the wine. Charles Shaw (two buck chuck) Pinot Grigio is perfect with seafood. I always have a bottle or three on hand.

And don’t forget to work out! This soup is calorie laden, some cardio will help you avoid that butt gut look. Buon Appetito Eat Here. Go There. fans!

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