Place: Local 188
Time: 11:00 am, Sunday Morning, 9-23-07
With: Hubby and the neighbors: Jess and Matt
Where: Portland, Maine
Don’t you hate deciding where to go out to eat? It’s time consuming with just 2 people – let alone 4, with the bartering and the whining and the cajoling. Well, on Sunday last I found myself in the car with Hubby and our wondrous neighbors Jess and Matt, and I asked the eternal question – “Where are we going?” Silence fell. Suddenly, a voice from the back – Local 188! Yes! We all agreed, just happy to be going somewhere we hadn’t been a million times.
Local 188 used to be located a few hundred feet from where it is now – on Congress Street in Portland. I had never been inside the old location, but it seemed like any other trendy dark eatery in the city. It moved recently to a larger space, just across the street and down a few.
Parking is easy, for downtown – just pull down the scary side alley and there is a lot behind the restaurant. We ignored the “Don’t Park Here” signs. Whatev. It’s Sunday.
This place is Huge. It’s one large room, with drapey things and art painted directly on the walls: large black and grey and blue flowers. The lighting is small chandeliers over the tables, seemingly bought at the flea market. There are tables on one side, and then a section of lounge seating, then the bar area. The tables were nicely spread out, not crowded at all. It was a nice feel, if a bit like a set from RENT. I caught myself quiet-singing and striving to contain the desire to jump on the table and gesticulate all crazy bohemian… Musical Interlude!!!
“To hand-crafted beers made in local breweries
To yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese
To leather, to dildos, To curry Vindaloo
To Huevos Rancheros, and Maya Angelou”
Our waitress came over and introduced herself: “Hello, I’m murffle shushy hushbottom”. Seriously – girl needs to E-NUN-SEE-ATE. I felt like an old guy sitting next to my long suffering wife. “WHAT DID SHE SAY?! EH?” She was tall and willowy and pretty, in a distant Vaseline on the lens kind of way. Plus, she was very serious. When we ordered, I originally asked for steak and eggs, and she said that unfortunately, they were not serving steak and eggs today. I noted, however, that it was on the menu and therefore I wanted it. She didn’t get my (admittedly poor) joke and just reiterated that I could not have it. I don’t think she liked me very much. She was wearing clothing from the RENT line at Macy’s, I’m sure of it.
The menu is sparse and eclectic. I tried to find an online menu, but was directed to Local 188’s Myspace page that had little info on it. That said, it wasn’t a poor menu. I mean, if the Hub can find something to eat without complaining, the menu is working just fine.
I ended up ordering the goat cheese and spinach scramble with homefries. The eggs were nicely done – firm but not hard, with good spinach taste. It could have used a little more goat cheese. The potatoes were a zesty surprise – they used chili powder in the mix. They were cooked well, too. There is nothing I hate more (hyperbole!) than undercooked homefries.
The Hubster had the cheddar and canadian bacon scramble with homefries. His eggs were a little looser than mine – but he likes them that way. He did not like the chili powder in the homefries. About halfway through the meal he looked at me all upset face with the bad tasting and asked what was in the homefries? I explained that it was a daring culinary flourish to use chili powder, but he wasn’t having any of it. Ah well. The rest of us liked them.
Jess had Corned Beef Hash and 2 poached eggs. When I think of CBH, I think of the summer that my mom worked at a camp, and brought home surplus canned goods, like CBH. Canned government issued CBH is gross, to say the least. This, on the other hand, was delightful. Yummer. And, there was a mountain of CBH. Tons. You could barely see Jess’s face over her piled up plate. Hyperbole.
Matt had Hoo-ay-vose Ran-chair-ose. “It was spicy”, according to Matt. I could smell the spices from across the table, and they smelled hot. He’s a man of few words, but he had a little smile on his face, so I’ll assume it passed muster.
After brunch I went to the Restroom to go potty (as I frequently yell at my dog – Go potty! Go potty!). It was a relatively large room, and was clean. There was one urinal on the wall – love that. No urinal politics come into play where there is only one urinal. I was alone, and I’m pretty sure I might possibly have broken into song. Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes – Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear… I also MIGHT have been doing a little shuffle dance while I washed my hands. It was only on the way out the door that I realized that there was someone sitting in a stall. Ah, well. It’s potty and a show!
I would recommend Local 188, if you are young and hip, or older and hip. I guess if you’re hip. Or a hipster. Or a hippy. Or are hippy.
If you do go, say “hi” to Shushy for me.