Monday, May 2, 2016

Guerrero Maya Mexican Restaurant, South Portland, Maine

Restaurant Review

Beautiful interior of Guerrero Maya
iPhone photo by Don T.
We had driven past Guerrero Maya several times since they opened last fall. But, finally it was time to eat Mexican and I thought Guerrero Maya Mexican Restaurant was worth a try. Wow! It was beautiful inside and the service was fantastic.

We arrived for lunch and were immediately greeted and escorted to a booth. The chips and salsa came quickly. We ordered two glasses of water with lemon and took a look at the menu. It showed a full Mexican style fare. We were there for lunch, so my wife ordered the lunch chimichanga with shredded beef and I ordered Fajita Nacho with chicken.

Luncheon Chimichanga
iPhone photo by Don T.
There were only a few other customers, so, as I expected, the food arrived quite quickly. My nachos looked magnificent and my wife’s chimi’ looked great. The quantity of food was what I’ve grown to expect from a Mexican restaurant. The service was excellent. Someone came by with water regularly. The wait staff delivered a second bowl of salsa, without being asked, just as we were finishing our first bowl of salsa. Later, about the time our existing bowl was at about 1/3 of the initial amount, the wait staff asked if we would like more chips. We didn't, but it was nice that he asked.

My wife said that the Chimi’ was good, meaty and not fatty. However, she indicated there wasn’t any noticeable spice to it and it didn’t appear to have any vegetables within the meat mixture. Certainly, it could use more spice, but she enjoyed it; the beans and rice were superb.

Fahita Nachos
iPhone photo by Don T.
My fajita nachos looked magnificent, but the cook sautéed the vegetables in a pan with lots of oil and dumped the mixture on top allowing a significant amount of oil to pour on as well. As a result, the bottom chips were soggy, but the good news is I was able to eat the chips above the oil line. That said, the nachos were superb. There was lots of meat and real cheese (not cheese sauce). The portions of sour cream and guacamole were substantial.

Mini Sopapilla Dissert
iPhone photo by Don T.
We were surprised when the waiter stopped by with a complimentary mini-dessert – a sopapilla with whipped cream and strawberry sauce. Delicious and very well appreciated. I loved it and I thought it was a great finish to an excellent meal.

Rating: 4.6

Ambiance: 4 (Clean and open, good for conversations.)
Food: 4 (Except for the oil, it would have been a 5.)
Service: 5 (Staff was friendly and extremely attentive.)
Price: 5 (Lunch was under $10 each, not including drinks)
Value: 5 (For lunch I don’t know of many places better.)

The service was impeccable. In fact, it was probably the best service I’ve ever had at a restaurant the didn’t have tablecloths. Overall the food was excellent. We will definitely return to Guerrero Maya in the future. I think we have found a new favorite Mexican restaurant in South Portland.


Guerrero Maya Mexican Restaurant 
449 Westbrook Street
South Portland, ME 04106

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Buffalo Wild Wings - South Portland, Maine

We had a Buffalo Wild Wings (B-Dubs) near where we lived in Smyrna, GA. We were saddened when it closed. When I'd travel I'd often stop by a Buffalo Wild Wings in whatever town I saw them.  I always enjoyed their food. We had noticed one on Western Ave. in South Portland as we drove by and often said to my wife that we needed to stop by sometime. Well, we finally did and am I glad.

We ordered our typical "waters with lemon" and then decided upon
Leinenkugel's Snowdrift Vanilla Porter and an Angry Orchard both on tap.  It was my first time with the Vanilla Porter and I found it extremely good. For a dark beer, it tasted very light and had a smoothness unsurpassed by most other dark porters. My wife tasted it and liked it as well. She, who isn't a beer drinker, said that the Leinenkugel's Snowdrift Vanilla Porter could make her a beer drinker. She liked it that much.

 My wife ordered a small order of (10) wings (all flats). One nice feature at B-Dubs you can order half of the wings one way and the other half a different way.  My wife ordered half Teriyaki and half Medium (hot). She found both to be excellent. The veggie's were also excellent.

I ordered the (boneless) Appetizer Sampler, everything in it was very good, especially the Boneless Wings that I ordered Spicy Garlic. The onion rings and the mozzarella sticks were tasty and NOT greasy. The accompanying sauces were okay. The Southwestern Ranch for the onion rings was very good, the marinara for the mozzarella sticks was also very good.  The sour cream for the nachos tasted was a little thin. It tasted like they added some milk to the sour cream to thin it out a bit. I didn't care for it, but I could see that it was probably better for dipping chips into than a thicker version would be. Also, the sour cream didn't have the tanginess I prefer.  The nachos had a nice amount of chili -- enough, but not too much -- and I really liked the fresh sliced jalapeños.  If they used regular shredded cheese and not a queso cheese sauce, I think they would have been outstanding.

The food, atmosphere and service were the best I've had at a "pub food" in quite a while. I'm looking forward to stopping by again at Buffalo Wild Wings in South Portland, Maine.


Ambiance: 4 (What you'd expect at a sports bar.)
Food: 4 (Everything was excellent for what it was.)
Service: 4(Wait staff was friendly and reasonably attentive.)
Price: 4 (Dinner averaged $12.50 per person plus drinks which were nicely priced.)
Value: 4 (Very good food at a very good price. We will definitely return.)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bailey’s Seafood Restaurant

I love good seafood. So, I was really excited to go to Baileys Seafood Restaurant on Pine Point Road in Scarborough. What a letdown. Bailey’s is one of the quintessential Main seafood places where you order at a window, wait for your number to be called and pick up the food and take it to your table. It was off-hours and off-season, so there wasn’t any line. I was a bit taken back by the prices. It was quite a bit more expensive than other restaurants of the same ilk in the area, for example, the Haddock dinner at Bailey’s is $4 more than at Ken’s and $3 more than at the Clambake (both are also along Pine Point Road in Scarborough). I thought, “Well if it is rally good, it’s okay.”

My wife and I ordered onion rings as an appetizer, then I ordered the Haddock dinner and my wife ordered the baked stuffed scallops. The dinners had an option for baked potato, something the other restaurants in the area don’t have, so I opted for that. We were told the scallops would take about 20 minutes and we replied that was okay. We wanted to order a couple drinks but were told the upstairs bar was closed. We could, however, order beer or wine; so, we ordered a couple wines.

The wines were mini-bottles - a good label at a reasonable price. A few minutes later, they called our number to let us know the onion rings were ready. They were awful – really greasy – I mean, puddle-at-the-bottom-of-the-box, greasy. We ate some from the top, but the one on the bottom, laying in the grease, couldn’t be salvaged. A few minutes later, she called our number again and I picked up our dinners.

It was very disheartening. The haddock had a weird breading that didn’t bind with the fish and the two pieces fit on the plate without any problem. The baked potato was just that. No oil or salt on the skin, which would have been nice. The coleslaw was very good, but the fish was among the worst I’ve ever had. The breading was not particularly good and the fish inside was dry and way overcooked. The scallops my wife received were even worse. They were rubbery pucks of sandy, gritty, scallops. The "stuffing" for the scallops were soggy Ritz crackers and her order of fries was as expected, bland frozen fries. Overall, the scallops were not what I’d expect for $22 take-away.

We ordered a couple more wines, ‘cause enough wine can make most anything taste better.

Service was okay. The order taker was pleasant and was quick to get extra sour cream and butter when we requested it.


  • Ambiance: 2
  • Food: 2 (Everything except the coleslaw was below expectations.
  • Service: 2 (Order taker was friendly but no table service.)
  • Price: 2 (Dinner averaged $20 per person for take-a-way w/o drinks)
  • Value: 1 (High price, bad food – We will not return.)

I can’t imagine ever going back to Bailey’s Seafood Restaurant. There are just too many other options in the area.

[I’m sorry I didn’t have my camera with and couldn’t take photos of the food.]

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Simple Simon's

I love breakfast. I grew up knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I also love finding new places to have breakfast. I had seen Simple Simon's on as I drove by several times and figured I’d try them.

This is a local, mom & pop type of restaurant. It was open seating with the grill and the counter in sight of all the tables. There was mostly a senior crowd late on the Friday morning we visited.

We arrived and were told to seat ourselves

Photo of Simple Simon's 2 eggs (over hard), toast, ham, home fries, with an extra side of bacon by Don Taylor
Simple Simon's
2 eggs (over hard), toast, ham, home fries,
with an extra side of bacon.

After a few minutes the waitress came, we ordered coffee and began looking at the menu. Pretty simple fare; eggs, pancakes, omelets, breakfast meats, and home fries. The omelettes looked interesting, plain eggs with toast and you add whatever you want for fillings at sixty cents per ingredient. My wife and I both decided on a number two: 2 eggs any style, home fries, toast, and breakfast meat. She ordered the bacon and I ordered the ham. I also ordered a side
of bacon which I shared with my wife, cause you can’t ever have enough bacon. 

Photo of Simple Simon's 2 eggs (over hard), toast, ham, & home fries by Don Taylor
Simple Simon's
2 eggs (over easy), rye toast, bacon & home fries
The breakfast arrived quickly. My over-hard eggs were cooked in a pan that was a little too hot, so the bottoms and the tops had an undesirable crust. They don’t use a bacon press, so the bacon was curled, but it was crispy as we asked for. The ham was kind of thin and limp. I think they waved the toast at the butter, 'cause there wasn't much butter there. Luckily, they had a nice assortment of jelly on the table, which made up for it. The home fries were very good. I noticed later that you could get home fries with onions as a side item. If I had noticed before I ordered, I’d have had them add onions to it. My wife’s over easy eggs were a bit well done. The yokes weren’t totally hard, but less than half of the yoke was runny, clearly overcooked. She had ordered the rye toast and instead of getting two pieces of toast, she received one piece cut in half. I thought it was poor form, especially when I received two pieces of the regular toast.

Simple Simon's was okay. It just doesn’t stand out. Many places in Scarborough and South Portland serve breakfasts that are better, so we probably won’t be back.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: The Bean Coffee and Wine Cafe

Photo of The Bean Coffee and Wine Cafe by Don Taylor
The Bean Coffee and Wine Cafe
Andover, Minnesota
E corner of Hanson & Crosstown Bullivards
I was visiting a friend in Ham Lake, Minnesota, and he suggested eating at “The Bean” a cafe in Andover. It is a strip mall restaurant in a fairly new complex. With a name like, "The Bean," I figured it focused on coffee, which it does, but, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that they sold wine and beer. 

Photo of the Grilled Tuna Melt with kettle Chips by Don Taylor
Grilled Tuna Melt with kettle Chips
The Bean Coffee and Wine Cafe

I don’t drink a lot of beer anymore and the explosion of craft beers has me at a disadvantage in that I don’t know a lot of the new craft beers. I spoke with our server, Amber, about the beers. She was extremely helpful, asking about my preferences and tastes. Finally, we agreed on Tree Shaker by O’Dell which is an Imperial Peach IPA. It wasn't nearly as peachy as I thought it might be which was good.  It a very good beer and Amber was very helpful.

My friend and I then ordered. I was undecided between two options. When my friend ordered one of them, I then chose the other. He selected the Grilled Tuna Melt -- Tuna salad, American cheese, and tomatoes served open face with a fork. He chose kettle chips as his side. I selected the “The Rodeo,” which is a pulled pork sandwich, pulled pork on a layer of Mac and Cheese. I added the pasta salad as my side. I know my wife wouldn’t approve, but she’s several states away....

Food arrived at in a reasonable time. My friend’s Tuna Melt looked awesome. Beautiful and plenty of food. My Rodeo also looked very good. I tasted my friend’s sandwich -- Excellent tasting. The tomato was a little overcooked to my taste but overall it was one of the best tuna melt sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. My sandwich was also very good. The Mac and Cheese was very good, cooked neither al dente nor overcooked. It had a good amount of pork that was seasoned nicely. It was good, but I wish I had ordered the Tuna Melt. My pasta salad was very good. I’m not sure what type of pasta was used, I asked Amber about it and she didn’t know. I was disappointed that she didn’t go and ask the cook what was used but she was very busy. The salad had lots of veggies in it and a lot of crunch. It was different than most pasta salads and I enjoyed it.

Photo of "The Rodeo" - a pulled pork with Mac & Cheese sandwich with side of pasta salad by Don Taylor
"The Rodeo" - Pulled pork with Mac & Cheese with pasta salad

The Bean Coffee and Wine Cafe was formerly “The State of Bean Coffeehouse” and moved to its current location about three years ago. I would definitely return and I consider it a favorite in the Andover, Minnesota, area.


Ambiance: 4 (Clean and open, good for conversations.)
Food: 4 (Every item was cooked perfectly.)
Service: 4 (Server was friendly and attentive.)
Price: 4 (Lunch items were $7.95 & $8.95)
Value: 4 (Definitely on my places to return to list.)

Highly recommended.

The Bean Coffee and Wine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Restaurant Review – Pine Point Grille, Scarborough, ME

I am “not from around here” and have never lived in a place before where establishments close for the winter. I understand it intellectually, but just haven’t gotten into the mind-set to know that my favorite places to eat in the summer and early fall will be closed for the winter and won’t open until spring. Last summer and fall we went to the Pine Point Grille several times and truly loved the food, particularly their pork entree, so we were very excited to learn that they were opening on March 19th. We couldn’t get there the first couple of weekends they were open but were able to go a couple weeks later.

We arrived shortly after opening and they were already fairly busy. Maybe about half the tables were already taken.  In the summer they seat many people in their outside area, but March in Maine – everyone was inside and trying to be as far away from the door as possible. The Pine Point Grill is a nice upscale restaurant. It is probably one of the nicest places I know of that doesn’t have cloth tablecloths. That is okay, the tables are nice and in good repair.

Fish & Chips
Pine Point Grille
(Sorry, the photo is slightly out of focus)
We ordered a couple drinks (they have a full bar), water with lemon, and took our time looking at their new menu. We were a little disappointed that they didn’t have any of the pork dishes that had last fall, but they had several new and exciting offerings.

I almost ordered a burger. I’ve had it before and it was very good. With my waitresses’ reminder that I “can get a burger any time,” I decided on the Fish and Chips. A nice piece of haddock, batter dipped in a tempura batter. They make their own tartar sauce that has a dusting of yuzu powder. Yuzu is Chinese fruit with lots of citrus flavor. I suspected that the powder would concentrate the citrus taste to make a freshness not often found.

My wife decided on the Grilled Skirt Steak. It comes on a bed of Swiss chard topped with a blue cheese mousse. Along with it is a side of potato gratin.

The food took a little longer than I expected, but not too bad. They were really busy and by the time our order arrived there were people waiting for tables. Busy-Busy. However, while we waited we received a bit of their bread sticks. Very good and they kept us at bay while we waited for the main courses.

The presentation of the fish & chips was very nice – a nice big piece of fish on a bed of fries. The lemon tarter in a nice little triangular bowl along side the fries. The fish tasted was excellent. The tempura batter was very good and the fish was cooked perfectly. The fries were a bit greasier than I expected; they were good though. The tarter sauce with the Yuzu was awesome. Probably the best tarter sauce I’ve ever had. Really good.

Skirt Steak with Potato Gratin & Blue Cheese Mousse
Pine Point Grille
My wife’s skirt steak also looked awesome. On the rare side of medium rare, just as she asked for. The skirt steak was a very good cut. She had no bits of gristle or fat that couldn’t be eaten. In a little taste she gave me, I thought it was a little tough. I realize it was skirt steak and not filet mignon but I thought it could have been better. My wife didn't agree with me. The Swiss chard was a bit bland; a spark of lemon or zest would have touched it up and brightened the flavors. It did hold the meat up nicely making the food taller. The gratin was amazing.  Every slice of potato was perfect. The taste was subtle and the overall presentation was finely put together. It was much better than the ham-fisted efforts my wife has with the same dish at home.  

We didn’t have dessert this trip. However, from past visits we know they have little bite-sized mini desserts that are extremely good. Just a couple bites, but really good.


Pine Point Grill on Urbanspoon
Ambiance: 4 (Clean and open, good for conversations.)
Food: 4 (Every item was cooked perfectly.) 
Service: 5 (Server was friendly and attentive.)
Price: 3 (Dinners were about $22.50 each, not including drinks)
Value: 4 (I don’t know of any places nicer or more civilized in the Scarborough – Pine Point area.)

Yes, we’ll be back whenever we are wanting an extremely good meal in the local area.

The Pine Point Grille is located at 240 Pine Point Road, in Scarborough, which is next to the Blue Point Congregational Church. Because their hours vary though the year be sure to check out their website or their Facebook page to confirm they are open when you want to go.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dogfish Bar and Grille - Portland, ME

Restaurant Review – Dogfish Bar and Grille – 128 Free St., Portland, ME

We were recently at an event at the Cross Insurance Arena.  After the event, we thought we’d do a late lunch at a restaurant nearby.  The weather was miserable, snow blowing sideways, so we wanted somewhere close.  We decided on the Dogfish Bar and Grille on Free Street about a block away.  When we arrived, there were no other patrons at the restaurant; the weather clearly was keeping folks away.

We were met by an attractive hostess who brought us to a table well away from the door, which when opened blasted the inside with cold wind. Because our walk there was so miserable, we ordered a couple hot toddies to warm our spirits along with our usual “water with lemon.”

Photo of Bar Area at Dogfish Bar and Grille by Don Taylor | CC BY CA
Bar area - Dogfish Bar and Grill
Portland, ME
The bar area looked very nice and well kept.  A dozen things on tap, a couple televisions, clean looking and inviting.

The drinks arrived just as we decided what to order.  My wife decided on a half rack of the St. Louis style pork ribs.  They come with coleslaw and chips.  When the server confirmed that the nachos were layered with cheese in between the layers, I decided to go with them.  I asked and our server, John, suggested the chili.  By the way, the hot toddies were just what we needed.

BBQ Ribs at Dogfish Bar and Grille by Don Taylor | CC BY CA
BBQ glazed pork ribs with coleslaw & chips
Dogfish Bar & Grill, Portland, ME
The ribs were tender, not over sauced, and quite good.  The coleslaw was tasty, not overly sauced, savory, not sweet – Very good also.  The chips tasted like Cape Cod kettle chips.  They were as expected.  We both wished they had options other than chips.  Possibly oven browned potatoes or mashed potatoes would have been a better compliment to the BBQ glazed ribs. 

The nachos were rainbow tortilla chips with lot on top.  It looked very good.  I’m not sure I like the way the salsa bowl was placed on the top of the chips. It mashed the top down and detracted from the presentation. The salsa was quite bland and uninspiring. The jalapenos were the pickled canned variety and not fresh.  There was some cheese between the layers, but only a dusting and nothing else between the layers.  There wasn’t a lot of chili, but enough, I suppose.  The nachos were fine, but not inspiring.

Nachos with Chili at Dogfish Bar and Grille by Don Taylor | CC BY CA
Nachos with chili and salsa bowl on top.
Dogfish Bar & Grill, Portland, ME


  • Ambiance: 4 (Clean and open, good for conversations.)
  • Food: 3 (Every item was okay, but nothing was outstanding.) 
  • Service: 4 (Server was friendly and attentive.)
  • Price: 4 (Lunch was under $12 each, not including drinks)
  • Value: 4 (For lunch I don’t know of many places nicer, more civilized, with better prices.)


The Dogfish Bar and Grille was fine.  However, there are probably 20 restaurants within a block and a half of the Cross Insurance Arena.  We’ll try some of the others before we return, but Dogfish Bar and Grille is still on our "okay to eat at" places in downtown Portland.  If you haven't eaten there, give it a try.
Dogfish Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon