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Italian escape

The best of Milan in Portland
One of my earliest culinary memories is of my father bringing home a tin of hard, crisp, almondy Italian cookies. As my sisters and I ate, my father dimmed the lights and put a match to the thin paper wrappers. They began to float like enchanted lanterns. I thought these Italians must be magical.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  July 15, 2009

taco list

A beam of light

El Rayo lets the ingredients shine
We live in an era in which we are grateful when people get the big things right, even if the details are off. Too often these days we find the opposite: well-titled books with little insight, an economy that "grows" but produces nothing of actual value, clever people who lack the deeper qualities of character.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  July 08, 2009

eve list

Outdoor bites

Eve's at the Garden's lovely new happy-hour menu
Nothing democratizes like nature. Rousseau thought all primitives were equal until the moment someone thought to build a hut and move indoors. Nowadays people who would never enjoy similar books, films, or music nonetheless appreciate the beauty of the outdoors in much the same way.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  June 17, 2009

primo list

Ahead of the curve

Rockland's Primo finds the future in past traditions
Popular tastes wax, wane, and wander about, but over the long run people most appreciate those things that are timelessly simple, elegant, and right: Roger Federer's backhand, German-expressionist art, cotton, and the summer here in Maine.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  June 10, 2009

gro list

In the raw

Exploring GRO Café's uncooked cuisine
The new GRO Café offers a vegan menu on which (almost) nothing has been heated beyond 112 degrees. This is supposed to preserve something raw-foodists call "living enzymes," which they imagine to be important to our health. Technically that is nonsense.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  May 20, 2009

tried true list

Tried and true

Where to go for the ultimate summertime burgers
The greasy, informal meals of summer lead to lots of uncouth mouth-cramming and finger-licking. It is best not to look. For this reason, many purveyors of the quintessential summertime burger are set up for shoulder-to-shoulder eating.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  May 13, 2009


Somali equality

Barava's appetizer basket is a glorious find
In trading up for the romantic notoriety of piracy from the ignored tragedy of famine and civil war, Somalis have pulled off the PR coup of the millennium.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  April 22, 2009


Simpler, but not too much

The Farmer's Table brings comforting cuisine to Commercial Street
In taking over the space recently occupied by Mim's, one of Portland's prissiest restaurants, the owners of the Farmer's Table were wise to choose a name designed to set customers at ease.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  April 15, 2009


Growing pains

Stick with the beer at the Run of the Mill brewpub
I hardly need to remind you of the dangers of expanding liberalism. While conservatives will screw you if they can, liberals will track you down to stick it to you.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  March 25, 2009


Really remarkable

Indulge in the truffles at Dean's Sweets
Dean's Sweets, with its Americana name and its modest storefront, does not prepare you for the sophisticated chocolates you find there.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  March 18, 2009


Review: Happy Teriyaki

Japanese and Chinese cuisines take second place at Happy Teriyaki
There is little that is hard about Happy Teriyaki, which is Korean-owned despite the Japanese name and the Japanese-style cute bear logo in the window.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  February 25, 2009


How to do prix-fixe

In anticipation of Restaurant Week, we find a great model
In anticipation of Restaurant Week, we find a great model
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  February 18, 2009


A good kind of corny

Loco Pollo gets tamales right
To have been stuck with corn was the great curse of this continent.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  January 28, 2009


Olive Café

Thin but strong
Solid tastes at Olive Café
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  January 21, 2009


Stimulants galore

Arabica offers a bright spot for a dark year
The next 12 months will offer obsession with stimulus and stimulation.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  December 31, 2008


Eating like tourists

Are Portland restaurants captive to visitors' dollars?
This year Portland's restaurant "scene" seemed to nudge its way into the consciousness of the national food media
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  December 23, 2008


Waterfront hangout

Andy's Old Port Pub has a comfy feel
It's a bar whose dinner menu seems to reflect the simple idea that when you have a pleasant place to hang out, drink, and socialize, people get hungry.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  December 03, 2008


Luxurious loneliness

Thanksgiving's is just like home after the holiday
There are the moments when the solitary life is unbearable, but Thanksgiving is not one of them. No matter how distant you have grown from family or friends, you find a home to arrive at with a dish in hand.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  November 26, 2008


Timing is everything

Experimenting pays off at Solo Bistro
Solo Bistro is a good place to sit out the suspense of this passing of the torch.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  November 05, 2008


Sweet genius

The Vietnamese bánh mì — created to please
While the charms of Kim’s are ineffable, we can explain why the occupied Vietnamese invented such a delicious sandwich.
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  October 29, 2008


Classic retro

The Back Bay Grill offers stability
Opened 20 years ago on an odd bayside corner, the Back Bay Grill looks seasoned rather than old.  
By: BRIAN DUFF  |  October 09, 2008

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