Don't pass by

Gogo is a hidden gem
By BRIAN DUFF  |  October 25, 2006

The coming midterm elections hang on the decisions of that growing group of citizens who struggle to survive on stagnating wages, and aspire to the credentials that are the key to jobs in the better paying sectors of the economy. They, not suburban moms, are the swing voters in this country, and our fate is in their hands. Nowhere do those short on cash but rich in hopes come together quite so often as community college. So it helps us all when a place that offers good cheap food opens near a JC. If these people are going to decide our future wisely, they are going to need to be properly fed. Luckily Gogo, a new spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, has opened a few blocks from SMCC just in time to do its part for the future of our nation.

Gogo is so effectively tucked away on a leafy corner of Preble Street in South Portland that you might need three credits of cartography to find it. It’s worth the effort. What you discover is a bright, quirky, friendly spot that serves wholesome and affordable food. It’s a lot bigger inside than you would think when you drive up. You order at the counter and grab a seat around the corner in the sunny front corridor, the colorful dining room, or the quaint collections of tables outside around back.

They serve breakfast all day, which is perfect for the part-time college student keeping odd hours. I tried eggs with a corned beef brisket hash. The eggs were good, but the hash was terrific — mostly meat with big, tender, stringy pieces of brisket browned with onions and diced potato. I also liked the breakfast pie, sort of a quiche without crust. The Italian version, with cheese and big pieces of sausage and mushroom, was better than the Cajun, which was a little bready thanks to the cornmeal. The coffee was nice and strong and seemed refillable. With the good light up front it’s a great place to study.

But Gogo’s appeal should not be limited to SMCC students. It’s a good place to stop on the way to a lighthouse, for lawyers headed back to Cape Elizabeth, or for surfers coming back to town from Higgins Beach or Doc Brown’s. You can eat there for dinner but they close at seven, so we grabbed some food to go and ate while we watched America's Next Top Model. The “circus freak-show” themed photo shoot Tyra had arranged called for the girls to dress in colorful fabrics that called to mind Gogo’s bright décor of yellow, teal, and pink.

The burrito was as long and thin as Michelle — the gawky, awkward twin who photographs so strikingly. It had been grilled to give the tortilla a nice crunch, and was pretty good, though I would have liked a little more pork to compete with the rice and stewed tomatoes — and to fill it out into something closer to Anchal’s healthy, curvy, athletic physique. It was not the tender, shredded pork you often get in burritos, but something chewier.

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