Portland, Maine by Josh Christie

by David on November 18, 2010 · 2 comments

Josh Christie publishes the blog Brews and Books.

Breakfast: Wake N’ Bakery. The gimmick behind the Wake N’ Bakery – it’s a cafe AND a blown glass shop! – makes for a good name, but it wouldn’t matter if the place sucked. Luckily, the Wake n’ Bake is an exceptionally good bakery and they can blow some gorgeous glass. Meals tend to be on the hearty end of things, with huge omelettes, bulky burritos, massive wraps and big breakfast sandwiches making up the menu. Add to that a coffee bar and a nice bar bar for some hair of the dog, and you’ve got a killer breakfast joint.

Lunch: Peanut Butter Jelly Time. If you want an inexpensive lunch that has you covered in the comfort food department, PBJT is the place to beat. The sandwich stand just off Monument Square serves up sandwiches for just a couple of bucks, and offers options out the wazoo. On top of peanut butter (crunchy and smooth) and almost a dozen different jellies, PBJT has tons of different breads and other toppings like Fluff, bananas and cinnamon sugar. Not up for a sandwich? Three words: Cold. Cereal. Bar.

Dinner: Silly’s. There’s not another restaurant in the world quite like Silly’s. If Roald Dahl ever designed a diner, it would be something like this – funky stuff all over the walls, quirky staff, and an out-of-this-world menu. A maple, pecan, molasses, chocolate and blueberry shake? You got it. Coleslaw, fried tofu, tomatoes, pickles, vegan bbq sauce in a wrap? Boom, it’s called the “Bio Diesel.” A PeppaKalaSpinaVeganDocious pizza? I don’t know what’s in it, but you can get one. Double-bonus-awesome points to Silly’s vegan and vegetarian menu, which means the menu has plenty in store for you no matter your diet.

Lagniappe: Novare Res Bier Cafe. The first three places on this list are way down on the low end of the cost spectrum – Novare Res is what you’ve been saving your money for. 25 taps, 2 hand-pumps and over 300 bottled beers to choose from. If you’re looking for beer nirvana, you’ve found it. Add to this some seriously awesome events, and Novare is one of the truly can’t miss bars of Portland’s bustling Old Port.

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Gainesville, Florida by Lauren Groff

by David on November 17, 2010 · 0 comments

Lauren Groff is the author of the novel The Monsters of Templeton and the short story collection Delicate Edible Birds.

Breakfast: Karol and Bill’s. Gainesville has a paucity of good breakfast places, so I’m a little afraid to recommend Karol and Bill’s. For one, the place is tiny, and if word gets out that the cheapest and quickest breakfast in town is here, I won’t be able to get a seat on Saturday morning. For another, though I try to eat as cleanly as possible, Karol and Bill’s is little more than a standard diner, with suspect eggs and a thin varnish of grease on everything. ( I’m not knocking diners: my grandmother spent her entire working life as a night-shift waitress in a diner and raised four boys on truckers’ tips, so I have a fierce attachment to them and would rather spend my money there than in pallid chains like the Flying Biscuit). It has no website, it isn’t open for Sunday brunch, it’s in an unpromising strip mall on NE 16th Avenue and 2nd Street, and is officially called “The Plaza.” But the chocolate chip pancakes will put you into a happiness-coma, the biscuits are astounding, and if you get Karol started on a political discussion, you’ll be laughing until you cry.

Lunch: Satchel’s encapsulates all the best things about Gainesville: it is relaxed, fun-loving, ad-hoc, and has a strong social conscience. It’s just as much as an experience as it is a restaurant. The main building seems made of salvaged tidbits glue-gunned together, and there are side buildings that boast a junk shop, shitake mushroom growing sheds, beer hall with live music, a playground for the kids, and a bocci pit. The pizza is by far the best in town, with a buttered crust and beautiful ingredients, and all of the workers are paid a living wage. I chose to highlight it for lunch because there’s always a wait for dinner, and there’s a lunch special that includes the Satchel’s salad and a slice of pizza for a little more than six dollars. Get a bon-bon (in most of the country, they’re called buckeyes) for dessert.

Dinner: Civilization is another socially-conscious place, a co-operatively owned restaurant (if you sense a hobby-horse here, you’re right) in a beautiful converted warehouse. They try to use locally produced food as much as possible, and I’ve never gone wrong with their specials or desserts. The Portabella Stroganoff is so decadent I order it nearly every time, and my husband, a happy omnivore, swears by the Pollo a la Brasa, chicken grilled in a soy-lime sauce.

Lagniappe: I worked in a Belgian-style brewery for a summer (Brewery Ommegang, just outside of Cooperstown, NY) and since then I have loved unusual beer more than anyone would consider healthy. Stubbie’s is a dimly-lit, grad-student overrun, cartoonish vision of a Munich biergarten with a beer selection that fills me with a kind of frantic delight. It also has food–the Belgian fries with curried ketchup are a revelation–but most of the food leans heavily toward the sausage-and-sauerkraut, and there’s very little for vegetarians like me. I find I don’t really care: who goes to a beer hall to eat, after all?

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Austin, Texas by Austin & Meghan Kleon

November 16, 2010

Austin Kleon is a writer and artist, his book Newspaper Blackout was published earlier this year. Meghan Kleon is a PhD student at The University of Texas. Austin Kleon designed the logo for 3 Squares. Breakfast: Mi Madre’s. Best breakfast tacos in town. Excellent salsa. We like the #0 (eggs, bacon, potato, cheese) and #8 […]

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Birmingham, Alabama by David Gutowski

November 15, 2010

David Gutowski publishes the music and literature blog Largehearted Boy. Breakfast: Crestline Bagels. I am not much of a morning person, but when I do go out for breakfast I head to Crestline Bagels in Mountain Brook for the best bagels in town (and always carry a bag filled with their jalapeno bagels home for […]

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