Under The Radar in Portland

Pizza Villa in Portland Maine

From Ted: As readers of this blog know, Susan and I are quite partial to Portland, Maine.  I have been fortunate enough lately to be getting photography work in this wonderful city and am here again working.

As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.  I am not going to turn into dull Jack, so last night I went to 2 places that were off the beaten path. For pizza and beer I went to Pizza Villa, and for margaritas and Mexican food I went to Tortilla Flat.  Neither of these places are in tourist areas, so you will have to ask how to find them.

The bar area at Pizza Villa

I met a friend of mine who works at Portland Magazine at his favorite pizza place, Pizza Villa. As a guy from one of the pizza capitols, NY/NJ metro area, I was a bit skeptical.  However, this local bar / pizza place is pretty darn good.  The pizzas are personal size (for a dinner) or great for 2 to share when having a couple of cold beers while sitting in the no frills, but full of character bar.  A constant wave of local neighborhood people were coming in. Many just prior to going to watch the Portland Sea Dogs (minor league) baseball game (the stadium is just around the corner) and others to see friends and watch one of the 3 TV’s.  My friend took care of ordering. We shared a sausage and pepperoni pizza.  I am not normally a fan of thick crust pizza, but this did pass the NY/NJ snob test.  The combination of the slightly sweet sauce, the spice of the sausage and pepperoni, and just the right amount of cheese made for a winning combination.

Sausage and pepperoni pizza

After finishing the pizza, and a cold pint of one of my favorite beers, Shipyard Export (brewed in Portland), my dining companion went to the Sea Dogs game and I went and met up with other friends to have margaritas and Mexican food at Tortilla Flat restaurant.

The bar area of Tortilla Flat

On our way to the restaurant, I was told that the margaritas were quite delicious.  I am not normally a big fan of margaritas but decided after reading through the margarita menu that I would follow the lead of my friends and have the traditional house margarita, on the rocks, no salt.  The margarita lived up to the fan fare.  Not only did I like it, I had an almost unprecedented second one with my meal of 3 soft tacos.

My only complaint, and it is not unique to this restaurant, is what they call Mexican food and what is called a taco.  Unfortunately most places that are called “Mexican” tend to be “Tex / Mex”.  I have learned to live with that, but for me, a real taco is the traditional fresh soft corn tortilla, warmed slightly and filled with meat of your choice and topped with a little white onion, a bit of pico de gallo  and some fresh squeezed lime.  So as far as “Mexican” goes this was not on target. As far as “Tex / Mex” goes, right on cue and well executed.  But more important than the food was the great company, the good laughs, and of course, a great margarita.

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One thought on “Under The Radar in Portland

  1. did you ever make it to Brian Boru?

    Also, Two Lights has a wonderful lobster shack.. as does South Freeport. if you get down to York Harbor, take the cliff walk. by the Reading Room. Waves crashing on the cliffs! Out there, far out- you can see Boon Island lighthouse.

    There have been many shipwrecks off those rocks!

    Hope you had a nice trip. wb

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