My final stop in Portland last week was Empire Chinese Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant right downtown, that calls itself “Portland’s first deluxe Chinese Restaurant.” They specialize in dim sum, and also do great renditions of traditional Chinese soul food — but with a strong preference for cooking with the bounty of Maine’s local produce and seafood.
After teaching two cooking classes at Stonewall Kitchen’s Cooking School last week, I drove up to Portland for three days and two nights of, bascially, eating.
I kind of fell in love with Portland, and its progressive, rugged, Nordic feel, cool summer weather, beautiful harbor and island views, and packed, pedestrian-friendly urban scene brimming with amazing restaurants, both high and low.
There’s all kinds of eating in Portland, but I especially sought out Maine seafood, and beautiful local produce which was at its peak.
Mussels are so popular in France and Belgium — especially paired with French fries — that there are chain restaurants devoted to the combination, which they call moules frites over there. Whether you like having french fries or torn pieces of crusty bread with your mussels, try this classic moules marinieres recipe. It yields a flavorful, briny broth that’s at least as good as the mussels themselves.