In'Finiti Fermentation & Distillation - Portland, ME

Today’s Test

 

QUESTION 1: In’Finiti is the name of something. What is it the name of?

ANSWER:  In’Finiti is  ____________.

 

Here's a hint!

 

A: The name of a failed Destiny’s Child copycat band.

 

B: The name of Shaq’s new line of extra-premium tequila.

 

C: The name of an X-Men character whose power is to stop time, yet still be able to move around while everyone else is completely still.

 

D: The name of a $15,000 foldable stove found in Hammacher Schlemmer Magazine.

 

E: The name of a South Korean man’s female World of Warcraft orc mage avatar.

 

F: The name of an EDM-themed couples resort in Mexico.

 

G: The name of a moneyed theoretical mathematician’s yacht.

 

H: The name of a gaming chair made by Mad Catz.

 

I: The name of the attractive young girl who’s about to work the pole on stage 3.

 

J: The name of a line of 110 Inch high-res TVs manufactured by Sanyo.

 

K: The name of a Maximum-Hold™ Hairspray for teens from the 90’s.

 

L: The most popular baby name in 2037.

 

M: The name of an enclave of arcane cultists whose rite of passage involves bathing in the Forever Pond in the secret bomb shelter beneath the Lincoln Memorial.

 

N: The name of 1960-70s bizarro music legend Frank Zappa’s pet rattlesnake.

 

O: The name of the newest Apple OS update.

 

P: The name of a tattoo magazine distributed to limited regions of south LA.

 

Q: The name given, by the author of an ersatz LOTR series, to a fictional, un-traversable bog.

 

R: The name of an exorbitantly expensive boutique shoe store in SoHo.

 

S: The name of the “top luxury” model of Sealy Posturepedic mattress.

 

T: The name of an herbal teashop’s intramural feather-bowling team.

 

U: The name of a frustratingly difficult space-themed pinball machine.

 

V: The name of a Hunger Games copycat book-turned-film in which the plucky, young female protagonist discovers that she is the last of a legendary race of immortals, hidden from the fascist government by step-parents who are killed in the film’s first act, causing the girl to go on the run, which culminates in her unearthing the fact that her parents, and all the other immortals for that matter, are still alive and simply held in captivity by said fascist government, wherein it becomes the subject of the next 2-4 movies for her to first release her immortal brethren and then, with the help of the huddled masses of beleaguered citizens, overthrow the fascist government, heralding a freer brave new world.

 

W: The name of a Jivamukti yoga center in Chatham, MA.

 

X: The name of a tri-yearly online journal boasting “mind-rending, unclassifiable and daring” poetry, that only released a single issue.

 

Y: The name of a glass-blowing studio that specializes in decorative Klein bottles.

 

Z: The name of a high school hip-hop dance team.

 

ZZ: The name of something else.

 

Did you guess it? 


ANSWER KEY:

 

If you chose ZZ, you’re correct! Surprisingly, In’Finiti is the name of a delightfully high-class Portland waterfront brewery, distillery, bar and restaurant. Though you would have been very close had you guessed A-Z.

 

 

FOOD: 

4.0 Stars

Good grub abounds. Match that with a substantial home-brewed beer selection (whose brewing tanks are visible behind the bar) and curated cocktails and you’ve got a heck of a place. From burgers to lobster mac to charcuterie plates, In’Finiti is solid. Very highly recommended.

PRICE:

 Night Out

Call it $$ expensive. Dinner, all told with appetizers for both and ample beer, will probably run $70-$80 for a couple.

AMBIENCE:

Labor of Love

You can tell a lot of thought went into the space. A barrel motif suffuses the place, giving it a designed yet comfortable feeling. Plus, seeing the mighty brewing machinery through a glass wall certainly gives you great confidence in the place’s ability to deliver fresh, appealing beverages.

SERVICE:

Portland-ish

Not to single out this place, but it falls neatly into a trend in Portland dining: spotty service. Some visits, the server is attentive and chipper, always hitting the timing just right. Other nights the server becomes a cryptozoological marvel, unseen but for a glimpse every third moon. At In’Finiti, it’s normally the former, but the latter has also occurred.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Eat

In’Finiti does almost everything right. It’s really the name that gets me most. While I’m sure there’s some well-thought-out and poignant explanation for it, I really can’t accept it. It is not the name of a tastefully excellent brewery/bar/grill. Maybe, with time, I’ll get past it. Being a lover of words, though, I can’t say with any confidence that I will.

 

The Fly Trap - Ferndale, MI

Our scene begins...


Bizz buzz yip! I am fly! Flip fly! TTYL! Hoo-Ha for flappy wing dings. YOLO! Can’t swat no no! Big old skin wavers miss! SMH! Fun and flap flap flap! Nibble zip yum! LOL! Woop woop wee!

 

He he he! You’re all so slow! The way my wings move IMHO I’m just too much of a hotshot for the noisy bigguns. I can dart in and eat from the smelly bin. Who cares what it is. I eat meats and cheese and eggs and the things on the floor and just about anything around. MmmmMmm! It’s all mine for the licking. Mine mine mine.

 

The giants make my life a pain. They shoo me out. They snap rags and clap their hands. I’m too quick for all that. Too sharp! They need to understand that I’m here to stay. And boy am I hungry! Scrambled eggs, taters, cheese, pesto and mmMmm! That’s the good stuff. Once they’re done with the food, it’s all mine. If they keep chucking it, I’ll keep licking it. Big old idiots.

 

I’m kinda becoming a food expert. Everything eventually goes in the trash, my banquet hall. There is one omelet that’s taken my fancy. It has a variety of plump and salty mushrooms covered in smoked gouda cheese. I mean it’s not like that’s all I’ve tried. It’s all so good. The salmon burger is always crisp and moist with hints of ginger. The huevos rancheros are smothered with beans and homemade salsa. Not to mention that every weekly special is an innovative surprise. But for some reason I keep going back to that savory mushroom-filled delight. Mmm!

 

I have a niggling feeling that my life is nothing but a search for the next meal. Truth be told, it hardly excites me anymore, gorging on food. Of late, I’ve found more peace in simply gazing from my perch, observing the fumblings below. Mind you, I’m still quite fast. I could flip under the lid of that stockpile of detritus any time I please. It’s not, however, what I live for anymore. I ponder on deeper things. Why am I different from these giants? Why am at odds with their world and their words? What is my true purpose here? I try to ignore my nature, to gorge endlessly leavings. Could I possibly rise above it? Only time can judge.


Red Chili Salmon Burger with Shaved Cucumber & Ginger Lime Aioli 


But what is this abode? Why here, was I given the breath of life? Am I the first fly to think this way? Or is it simply that we never speak, that no record of fly-knowledge is kept? Or, hope upon hope, luck upon luck, could it be – just possibly – that I am special? Surely, the abundance of food calls to mind a certain land of plenty – a garden, if you will – from which man was cast. Indeed, could this be a heaven? Repugnant though my mind and form was hewn to be by some almighty hand, could I not be divine still? Perhaps that I am aware of my grossness, therein lies my salvation. Yes, is not the essence of sainthood the realization of one's basest instinct and its subsequent denial? Were I to cultivate my asceticism, ignore the ravening hunger inside…  Would I then be worthy of this place?

 

After repeated machinations, mine beastly desires invariably wrested control; I gorged, therefore, I am not divine. In fact, I am the nadir to divinity’s zenith. Videlicet, I am pestilence; I pester; I am a pest. If this be heaven or below is inconsequence, A fly am I – unchangeable – nuisance to man and beast. Despite fervent, unyielding effort, I could not keep away from the detritus for which I yearned. What purpose is mine? Why must I exist as vexation incarnate to all below? Surely, this be injustice most pure; where was my choice? No hands for goodly toil. No strength with which to improve the land’s contours. Naught but the innate urge for the ravenous pilfering of sustenance. I am bereft of good. Made for selfish purpose sole. I reflect upon this and little else; my end draws nigh.

 

Tho’ my form withers, tho’ my mind congeals, winsome thoughts return. P’raps ‘tis the propinquity of oblivion that I espy pulchritude in this life’s décolletage. Mine disgusting nature, rendered immaterial – to me – by life’s diminishing embrace. Could it be? That only prostrate, looking up from ‘pon the soil, we ken beauty’s true visage? Is’t that all life, both gross and blithesome, assumes resplendence at the prospect of its departure? Or, hark, be it senility? I think not. I wish not. But sooth! To mine compound eye, the light appeareth more pure, the air sweeter, mine form gentler. Whate’er reason be’t for this beatific morph of disposition, ‘tis not my Gordian knot to slice. Simply, I will cherish't as time dwindles. My love and joy I freely proffer. Every bit I’ve stor’d in this ethereal span. I bid thee, whosoever thou art, a fairer passage to where, graciously, I go. Adieu, my sphere sublime. Adieu.

 

 

FOOD: 

5.0 Stars

This is a special diner. The lovechild of haute cuisine and good, old-fashioned grub. Homemade jams (raspberry lime a favorite of mine), garlic-smothered hash browns, perfectly seasoned and prepared omelets, a salmon burger that will crush your soul. Food-wise, this is as close to diner perfection as I’ve tasted. Just the freaking best.

PRICE: 

Pocket Clip

Reasonable beyond all measure. It’s hardly the most expensive diner in the area, but it is the best.

AMBIENCE:

Smoky Art House

Yes, it’s small. Yes, it’s seat yourself. Yes, it’s smoky. This is the Fly Trap. From the funky pictures on the walls to the humongous variety of salt & pepper shakers, there is an undeniable Fly Trapness about the place. Unique in the best possible way.

SERVICE:

Time tested

The same (great) waitresses were there when I started going and remained two years later. Read into that as far as you want.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Eat

When in Ferndale, do as the Ferndaleans do; go to the Fly Trap. Most days there will be lines; don’t fret. Just hang out for half an hour. It is worth it. It’s always worth it.

 

Ruski's Tavern - Portland, ME

F: So, Len goes outside for another smoke and he leaves me and Harry picking up the slack. We’re going slow since it’s just the two of us, but luckily Bill shows up and starts helping out.  So we’re working for a while and Bill asks where the heck Len is. I tell him, “smoke break.” Bill stops what he’s doing and looks at us and says, “Len don’t smoke!”

 

A: Ned!

N: Did you see what Denny’s wearing?

A: Hohoho Dee’s gonna be mad!

 

O: Oh just a huge guy. Humongous guy. This guy was a gorilla. And who should sit right down next to him but Hollis.

D: Oh Jesus.

O: Yeah. Hollis sits down right next this humongous guy and asks “What’s cooking?”

D: What does the other guy say?

O: …

D: What did the big guy say?

O: I’m trying to remember. Well darn! I forgot.

 

V: Dee, how long’s this place been here?

D: Since 1985.

B: So when are you gonna decorate? (raucous laughter)


B: Eggs and rye toast and sausages if ya please!

D: It’s what you have every day!

B: So…

D: So why don’t you just start saying, “the usual.”

B: Because I want eggs and rye toast and sausages!

 

Image ℅ The Portland 37 Club 

I would describe the decor as "wharf-chic"


H: You ever watch that show Hoarders?

K: Naw…

L: Please I’m eating...

H: Oh my gawd you have to. These people keep like everything they ever owned.

K: Everything?

H: Oh yeah like newspapers and receipts and food wrappers…

L: Hey! I’m eating!

H: and even some keep like bags of… bags of—

K: Bags of what? Tell me.

H: (Super-loud whisper) Bags of their own poop.

L: Aw c’mon!

 

D: Young lady, my son could drink before you were born (raucous laughter)

 

D: How’s the hash dear?

I: Great. Really good.

D: Anything else I can get you?

I: Yeah, actually. Do you have any honey? These biscuits would be great with some honey.

D: Oh sure. (Comes back in a minute with honey in a shot glass with a spoon in it) Here you go, dear.

 

T: Vin shows up and he’s got no shoes.

J: No shoes?

T: Yeah and we had to go to work.

J: Why didn’t he have shoes?

T: I don’t know. He left them somewhere. I don’t remember.

J: Well didn’t you ask?

T: No I didn’t, that’s not the point.

J: Well why he didn’t have shoes is what I want to know.

T: That’s not what’s funny Jerry. So we try to go to work—

J: Wait. What about the shoes?

T: He didn’t have any! I’m not even gonna tell the story.

J: I’m gonna go ask vin about his shoes.


 

Image ℅ Maine Today 

Morning beers are encouraged.



R: Hey he’s back again!

A: I never left!


P: Aw dude laste night… Me and Jimmy and Steve got all ripped up at Bubba’s.

J: Yeah man, pretty wild. Tell him about Steve.

P: I was about to! So Steve was dancing like an asshole and bam! Knocks this chick. Spills her drink all over. So her boyfriend comes over all mad pissed and started telling Steve, “pay for that. You pay for that drink.” Steve though, Steve is crushed on vodka redbulls so he says “hell no,” you know how he does with stretching out the hell super long.

S: Heeeeeellll no

P: Haha yeah, that.

J: Yeah so Paul goes after this guy out of nowhere—

P: Not out of nowhere. That dude pushed Steve.

J: No! The dude got bumped or something. I don't think he even pushed Steve.

S: I can’t remember.

P: He pushed Steve! He did! So, I get this douche in a headlock and then a group of his buddies comes up outta nowhere.

J: So we all scatter.

P: Just bolt.

J: Steve disappears though.

P: Right, so Steve is fucking gone and these guys chase me and Jim out onto Oxford Street. It’s like two in the morning and I’m still wearing an afro and Jimmy’s got his jean shorts on. The other dudes are dressed in like fake mustaches and mullets and shit. And we get like four steps out the door and we hear the dudes stop yelling behind us and we look and one of them ran into a cop! Coming out the door he just -- bam! -- slammed into a cop walking by. No shit. So we chuck into a side alley and run away. And Steve here, guess what Steve was doing.

S: I was dancing back at Bubba’s! I never stopped!

J: Hahahaha

P: Hahaha like a mad bitch.

J: Classic.

M: Hey guys.

J + S + P: Hey Mark.

M: So, I never heard from you guys last night you get up to anything good?

J: Nah.

S: Not really.

P: No.

 

 

FOOD: 

3.0 Stars

This is stick-to-your-ribs, greasy spoon, fork and knife-type bar food. The preceding statement was a compliment.

PRICE: 

Sidewalk Nickels

Not to say that it’s egregiously cheap, but Ruski’s serves up a full meal at an inexpensive (some would say “dive-like”) price.

AMBIENCE:

Portland Pirates Tailgate

You’re gonna meet some characters here. And if not meet, you’ll hear them. This is actually the most distinct aspect of Ruski’s. It is a local’s local joint. I almost feel bad for going there, as my hipster-y mustachioed countenance is like a foreign bug introduced to a delicate eco-system. As it stands, Ruski’s still has plenty of local flavor to experience, but the inevitable truth is that Ruski’s, as it stands, cannot last. As Portland becomes more popular (because it will) and the inevitable surface creep of gentrification continues and more people like me start frequenting, the people that make Ruski’s, Ruski’s will be forced to vacate to some other Ruski’s replacement. Let us simply hope that that replacement is nearby, and nearly as tasty.

SERVICE:

Doris

I don’t know if that’s her name, but there was an excellent lady who treated service as it should be treated. She was nice, prompt and took no bullshit. Excellence.

EAT OR SKIP:

 Eat

Eat now. Eat semi-often (if only because it is also sinfully greasy and your body is a temple). And enjoy listening to some true Mainer dialect.

Otto Pizza - Portland, ME

Moose Pond can hardly be considered a town. We still don’t have a theater and there’s not more than one road that’s paved and that road just runs for miles and miles of evergreens and rocky dirt until striking Laketown and that’s a small town too.

 

I love movies. My cousin gave me a cracked TV/VCR combo he found in a junkyard and now and then he sends me tapes. They’re always old ones that he’s already watched into oblivion; magnetic bolts riddle the screen and the tracking on the soundtrack is all warped so it sounds like whoever composed the score was drunk. The movies he sends are good though: Strangers on a Train, Harakiri, The Night of the Hunter, he even sent me Chinatown and that only came out seven years ago.

 

Living in Moose Pond is more about logs than anything else. Everybody here logs. There are about seventeen families all told and about three blood lines running through our town: the LaFoix, the Hughs and the Belloys. I’m a Belloy.

 

I'm only ten and I know I don’t want to log.

 

 Image ℅ Bangor Daily News

Cheese by the ice cream scoop

 

I want to make movies and in fact, I just made one with Henri LaFue, Norm Hugh and Pat Belloy my little brother. Last time he came into town my cousin gave me an old Super 8 and taught me how to focus it even though the focus was basically all busted, but how could I mind? My cousin lives out in the city in Caribou and his Dad gives him all sorts of stuff since they’re rich meaning they have a house that’s not a log cabin that also doesn’t have wheels.

 

I tried to remake Le Samourai, my favorite movie ever. It’s an Italian movie about a super-cool and calm hit man who’s hired to kill a nightclub owner. Unfortunately when the super-cool hit man goes to get paid for the hit the guys who hired him try to kill him and also the police are after him because a lot of people saw him in the club on the night of the murder. But he’s so super cool that he loses both. In the end he allows himself to get killed for a girl. Classic noir.

 

So we tried to remake it with my camera. We only had fifteen minutes of film and no way to edit the video so we just had to film it in order of the scenes and each one of those had to be pretty shortened. On the better side though I did get up the nerve to ask Meghynn Hughs – she’s the prettiest girl in my grade – to stand in as the lounge singing girl who the super-cool hit man eventually decides to die for and she said yes.

 

We only got her to do two scenes, the one where Jef (the super-cool hit man played by Henri) gets spotted by her in the night club. But since it started to rain and Henri had baseball practice we didn’t get much more than her looking surprised and Henri walking away in the rain. The second time we filmed with Meghynn though was way better since the movie needed to end with Henri almost killing her and then getting killed by Norm instead. Henri built a kiss into the scene and got Meghynn to kiss him, which was kind of a deviation from the plot, but I think it was probably OK since now Henri and Meghynn are going out. The majority of the movie ended up being Henri killing Pat and then running away from Norm who was wearing his dad’s deer-hunting hat since we didn’t have any police gear.

 

Everyone in town had heard about us filming the movie and a lot of hype got built up around it. People wanted to see it, so we set up a viewing. At first, I was kinda proud of having done it, but when it got closer to the time when I’d have to show it I started getting a little nervous. Actually really nervous.

 

The movie itself was dark because we filmed it in the woods after school and the plot had a lot of holes and most of the time you couldn’t really hear anything because of the buzz saws in the background and the crash of falling trees.

 

On the night of the showing Georges LaFoix – he’s the oldest LaFoix – nailed a big sheet to a couple trees in the clearing by Lark Lake. He ran a power cord out from a generator in the back of his Ford pickup and plugged in the clunky projector and the speakers from the town hall that belonged to his uncle. The thick tree cover obscured the bright moon and stars so luckily everyone could still see the projection. 

 

The whole town came out, including my cousin from out in Caribou with his Dad and sister too.

 

Image ℅ Stomp and Strum

Just pick it. Pick it good.


By that point, I know it was going to be a disaster. Nobody would understand the subtleties of how Jef the super-cool hitman was actually a noble and principled guy despite the fact that he killed for a living since Henri (as Jef) was mostly just a big goof, hamming it up for the camera whenever he could, skipping as he ran away from Norm (who was working on his weight), and kissing Meghynn with tongues. Plus they wouldn’t know that Norm was supposed to be a policeman because what policeman wears a deer hunting hat and has a black eye for no reason – he got it fighting with Phil Lafoix the day before we started filming. And then there was Pat who was supposed to be the dead club owner but you could see he was obviously just crying on the ground because Henri hit him hard with the prop gun (a stick) instead of shooting him.

 

It was going to be terrible.

 

When the opening credits rolled – we’d carved them into a tree with Henri’s knife – people started clapping even though nothing had happened yet.

 

As the movie went on they laughed and oohed and clapped the whole time. I kept swiveling my head from the screen to the crowd and even my cousin was smiling. The only tension came when Henri kissed Meghynn but even then it was just a lot of stern stares from the old people and nothing tangibly bad.  When the title card “Fin” came onto screen we got a standing ovation. And since I hadn’t been in the film but was kinda responsible for it Henri and Norm hoisted me up on their shoulders and the whole town of Moose Pond was clapping for the movie like it was the Godfather or something. I still knew it was bad but I felt proud anyway.

 

Once the crowd had dispersed and the sound of diesel engines had died away, my cousin came up to me and I thought he was going to give me an actual review of my movie, not just say something nice like most people had said. But even my cousin said that it had been an awesome movie. It wasn’t Le Samourai exactly, but it was still good in its own way.

 

I guess that’s what’s interesting about stuff. You can never say if it’s absolutely good or bad because of anything else. Sure, you can always compare stuff to other stuff and that’ll make you feel like you know which one is better. But there’s never really a way to compare absolutely, because everyone has a different opinion on what they like and what’s good, so it’s all preference in the end. It’s all just personal preference and that’s it.

 

 

FOOD: 

3.2 Stars

I like Otto. I have gone there often. The straight truth is that it does not hold even a birthday candle to NYC pizza, but that’s beside the point. Otto is not trying to be NYC pizza (at least I hope they’re not), they’re trying to be Otto. With interesting toppings – like ricotta mushroom, pulled pork, mashed potato-bacon-scallon – tons of options and a slice always at the ready, this is Portland’s top pizza joint. My only tangible gripe is that the crust can get a little too dry, a little too often. 

PRICE: 

Boutique

Three fifty a slice ain’t hay, but the slices are certainly wide and covered in fixings. I’ve never gotten a full pie but I’d surmise it would feel as worth the price as a slice.

AMBIENCE: 

Comfortable Nook

(Speaking for their 576 Congress St. location) Dark wood, just the right amount of light, semi-weird décor including a stuffed ape. It’s a great place to step in from the rain/snow and grab a beer/slice.

SERVICE:

Mamma Mia

Each server seems to have as much character as the joint itself. Great at what they do and seem to enjoy doing it. Definitely an excellent group.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Eat

Never take my word for anything. Go try it yourself. I’ve heard enough glowing reviews of Otto to think it was the best pizza place in the world. I have a different opinion but that’s simply me. It’s a fun place to have a leisurely drink and a bite that feels upscale but doesn’t cost a ton. Not my favorite pizza, but then again, who am I to judge?

 

Kushiya Benkay - Portland, ME

The food of Japan, in order for it to get right for the preparation of sushi, it will require a particularly strict conversion. Up-and-coming chef, he can help you put the wasabi for rice, fish, soy, delicious bite of whatever together. However, in order to create the experience of sushi, the pride of Japan, it requires artistry true.

 

As can be seen from me the budding sushi lover, I thought tasted all about the same sushi. Sushi itself was cold all the time a little. It was bricks rice, with are draped of the abundant fish. Wasabi and soy sauce mixture, the work of each, dunk and went down all the bits smoothly. Fish was excellent when fresh, but the sashimi of fresh taste for me there was no real knowing. It gives the smell of fish? Sushi right.  You would like, I was rewarded often. Same the sushi all.

 

Soon, however, scales fell from my eyes away.

  

I was fortunate enough to study in Japan. The essence of sushi, it was revealed to me there. The United States has not been should cool rice. To real sushi rice, to carry a taste of the entire small vinegar moist, piece the brink of falling apart, it is a little more than room temperature. It was not ambiguous rice to blanket of with fish. In addition, it the fish was to be sitting of the above, exactly slice. Soy sauce, did not mean that it is a birdbath for each. The sushi chef polish each part of the appropriate amount of soy sauce, wasabi. If sushi chef is true, it has happened so far.

 

Second, the chef, is the best sushi chef to give steamed perfect. As experience, the right sushi is of a meal in awe. Chef, patron saint of sea, cleric of land, he will make the best of his ability in you. It works so you function as a vessel to experience his skills only.

 

Raw materials is the price of entry simply, to good sushi yes. The fresh fish? The replicate is of nothing. Undeniably good is good wasabi. Is insult bad wasabi. Rice mirin is one in which taste is completely different from the other vinegar.

 

Key of Japan is the dedication of the chef and patience to delicious sushi of piece. To make sure that you shoo the rice steam always, it does not become sticky. Do they keep the rice at the optimum temperature is it? Uni (sea urchin), Unagi (eel), do sushi chef adhering to the tradition of eggs (egg) closely and be true to them?

 

If I was trying to get kicked in the flavor face and mouth [Yes].

 

Image ℅ Urban Spoon

Durn tasty bento box ya got there sushi san!


Tradition: It's the world of the sushi true. Every day very new combination of a new roll and a lot of flavor, will be displayed throughout the United States. Cream of cheese such as avocado tuna spicy things - all delicious, please but do not get me wrong -  they are opposed to Japanese sushi they are.

 

In Japan , you can not find the dragon roll . You will not to find a Philadelphia roll and tempura Ebi-roll. Such is like you find a fourth of July barbecue "lasagna and chicken finger hamburger.” No.

 

In Japan is a real sushi just tuna. There is your salmon. They will be on top of the rice. Cream cheese go to hell. Yet still the simple will be crushing your heart.

 

So, Kushiya Benkay exactly not the winner: fresh fish of off, hard cold rice, higher magnitude in the need for soy sauce. They fall into hole of all that above. However, fine just that. In other words, despite all it is showing the beauty of sushi. Bad sushi? Well, it is also a good sushi. Sushi, it is a good meal at the time of always.

 

So, if urgent, yes go to Kushiya Benkay. There are some average lunch or a very special decent food they. At least, inexpensive. You may go. However, the gods of Japan famous sushi, please do not expect a smile looking down your decision.

 

 

FOOD: 

2.9 Stars

Really, this is not a bad sushi place. Their fish is fresh (most often). They do pretty solid tempura, yakitori and more. The only unfortunate theme that runs throughout is that indelible touch of “American Sushi Restaurant.”  

PRICE:

Yasui

Not very expensive, which in most cases verifies certain assumptions about the quality. This is one of those cases.

AMBIENCE:

White Rice

Open seating that never seems to be completely full. I'd treat it more as a takeout sorta joint.  

SERVICE:

Eager to Please

While the servers are nice, the wait always seems to be a bit longer than necessary. If you're picking up, no prob whatsoever. But I've sat down a couple times with like 3 other people in the joint and had an hour long lunch.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Skip

There are just too many other options in Portland to say that you have to eat sushi at Kushiya Benkay. HOWEVER, their bento box lunches are absolutely worth trying out at least once; they feature an array of Japanese staples likes tempura, miso soup, sushi, gyoza and more -- enough to fill a sumo-sized belly.

Mr. Bagel - Portland, ME (Part 3)


“You again,” said Mr. Bagel. Guard C, raised his weapon and yelled “Silence! Halt!”

“Or what?” said Mr. Bagel, standing with his crusty chin jutting out.

 

“Or I’ll—“ and before Guard C got the last word out, Mr. Bagel yelled, “car command.” Subsequently, when the guard said “shoot,” Mr. Bagel’s Bentley obliged.

 

Mr. Bagel lunged into Itsa, knocking her back out the door. Bullets ricocheted about the room, riddling Guard C and puffing holes into the marble wall outside the door. After about ten seconds of continuous gunfire, the car ran out.

 

“I like your car,” said Itsa, inches away from Mr. Bagel’s golden-brown face. Mr. Bagel gave her a wink.

 

They wriggled into a standing position and ran for it. Behind the closed bars, they could see the blast doors slowly closing. They wouldn’t have long.

 

Mr. Bagel shouted the car’s doors open and they piled in, hands still cuffed behind their backs.

 

“I hope you can drive without hands,” said Itsa.

“When you gamble professionally,” said Mr. Bagel. “Hands rarely matter. Car, escape. NOW!”

 

The car dove down and two intense beams shot out of the headlights, searing the bars that blocked their way. Sparks and bubbles exploded from the bars, but little else seemed to be happening. Beyond the metal bars, the blast shield was nearly 75% closed. They had whatever time exists right before no time.

 

“This is taking too long,” said Itsa, panic creeping into her voice. “Do something!”

“Right,” said Mr. Bagel, a slight sheen of sweat visible on his bagel-y brow. “Hurry up car!”

The car paused for a moment in its underwater drilling. They heard its engine building to a fervent rev. Then, with spin-cycle speed it performed a series of rapid barrel rolls. Mr. Bagel and Itsa were tumbled inside. When it stopped spinning, a neat circle had been cut into the bars, just big enough for the car to fit.

 

“I lied,” said Itsa. “I don’t like your car.”

“Go!” Mr. Bagel yelled. Again, his Bentley complied.

 

Out in the open ocean, Itsa sighed. “What else can this do?” Mr. Bagel smiled at her.

 

“Car, handcuffs off, please.”

 

A pair of pliers appeared from out of the cushions of both seats and neatly clipped their cuffs. Itsa laughed.

 

Out of the side window, they could see the ballroom through the last sliver of the closing blast shields. Inside, the Guru was spluttering, trying to simultaneously tread water and bat away the starving squids that covered his body.

 

Both Itsa and Mr. Bagel broke into relieved laughter, a moment of joy which was soon cut short. A small shape squirted out of the closing blast doors. They could just barely make it out. A jittering blob hoving for the rift. Blinking red and blue. A squid.

 

“No!” they said in tandem.

 

Yessssss.


“Get that squid,” said Mr. Bagel.

“I’m sorry,” said the car. “Repeat.”

“Kill the squid!” said Mr. Bagel again, banging the steering wheel with his newly freed hands.

“I’m sorry,” said the car. “I don’t know this command.”

“Well thanks for jinxing it,” he said to Itsa, grabbing the wheel. With a heavy foot to the gas, the car leapt forward, pursuing the rapidly receding squid.

 

They were gaining on it, but slowly. The squid was nearly to the rift.

 

“Car,” said Mr. Bagel. “Ready torpedoes.”

“One torpedo remaining,” said the car. A reticle appeared in the center of the windshield. With labored precision Mr. Bagel brought the skittering squid into his crosshairs.

 

“Lock onto target,” said Mr. Bagel. The reticle began to blink red. The squid was only yards from the precipice.

 

“Obtaining lock,” said the car.

“Hurry,” said Mr. Bagel.

“Obtaining lock,” said the car again. The squid was nearly over the precipice.

“Just shoot!” said Itsa. “Shoot it now!”

“God damnit!” yelled Mr. Bagel, again banging the wheel.

“Obtaining lock,” said the car. Mr. Bagel head-butted the wheel.

“Shoot!” said Itsa.

“Obtaining lock.”

 “Stupid gadgets,” said Mr. Bagel. “Fire!”

 

A torpedo sizzled from the grille of the Bentley. It’s path gimbaled toward the squid. The two bodies came closer and closer, the missile gaining. At the very edge of the precipice the missile caught up. But with a flit, the squid dove down and the torpedo flew straight into the far wall of the rift, sending up an impotent puff of rock debris and crab.

 

“No!” said Itsa. “No!”

“It’s not over yet,” said Mr. Bagel. With gritted teeth he pinned the pedal to the floor, sending them hurtling over the edge of the crevasse.

 

The pressure in the rift was palpable. As it hurtled down, the car’s doors began to creak. Even with the bright headlights of the car, the squid was just barely visible.

 

“What are we going to do?” asked Itsa. She was pinned into her seat, her mouth a thin, grimacing line.

 

“We’re going to net it,” said Mr. Bagel, eyes slitted. “Car,” he said. “Prepare the net.”

Above the creaking they could hear a mechanical process take place beneath the car’s hood.

 

“Net prepared,” said the car. “Warning,” it added. “Pressure too high, return to lower depth.”

 

Mr. Bagel didn’t respond. The car sped deeper.

 

They were gaining on the squid inch by inch. The red blinking of its eyes kept it visible despite the bubbles rising from the fissure. Around them, darkness crept in. The car’s warning system bleated incessantly. Mr. Bagel’s knuckles were white as dough, gripping the wheel. With a jarring, metallic twang, the ceiling buckled, folding three inches down its center.

 

“Do it!” screamed Itsa. She had melded with the passenger’s seat, clutching the seat's cushion.

 

“Wait,” said Mr. Bagel. The doors of the Bentley began to buckle inward, the frame of the car audibly creaking. The reticle in the windshield became a red, blinking exclamation point. The squid inched closer. Mr. Bagel gritted his teeth and ground the pedal further into the Bentley’s floor. The ceiling buckled another five inches and the windows began to crack.

 

Itsa started screaming.

 

With a guttural yell, Mr. Bagel punched the steering wheel. “Fire!”

 

The net snaked out of the Bentley’s grill, unfolding like an exotic flower. It wound out and out, seeking the undulating squid. The car continued to crumple inwards.

 

With a snap, the line caught at its end and the net closed. In its tangles, the squid’s eyes blinked. Caught.

 

With a wrenching twist, Mr. Bagel turned the car around. The metal crinkled like tin foil as the Bentley flexed. Mr. Bagel was laughing and Itsa was half-crying, more mascara running down her cheeks.

 

As they began to rise, a muffled woomph caused them both to turn. The squid had detonated. There must have been some sort of trigger as it decreased in depth.

 

A ripple of sonic force rushed toward them.

 

“Ah crumbs” said Mr. Bagel, jamming the pedal again. The car bucked and shot for the surface. The blast shook the rift’s walls, causing rock to erupt all around them. Debris exploded from all sides, clouding the tumultuous water. Mr. Bagel dodged falling boulders as he careened surface-ward. Itsa was nearly transparent white, sucking air.

 

Mr. Bagel deftly sped the car around rock after rock, the doors puffing back outward as he did. In front of them, through the opaque cloud of the shattering fissure, the white and blue of the surface shimmered faintly. Behind, and around them roiled unmitigated chaos.

 

“Itsa,” said Mr. Bagel through gritted teeth.

“Yes,” said Itsa. She turned to Mr. Bagel with plaintive eyes.

“What is your last name?”

Around them, the rift continued to crumble apart, turning the water completely opaque; Mr. Bagel was steering blind. A rock bounced off the windshield, cracking it completely. Water began to puddle on the dash.

“My last name?” said Itsa. “It’s Lottacock.” The windshield became a lattice of fissures.

“Jackpot,” said Mr. Bagel, before the windshield shattered and water rushed in.

 

 

Morning news programs across the world commented on the miniature earthquakes. Lawn chairs and family portraits had been overturned the world over, nothing more. The squid’s detonation hadn’t been deep enough. It is unknown what happened to the Guru and his henchmen.

 

Above the water it was a calm clear morning. Chuckling, a seagull sat in the reddish, morning silence of the San Francisco bay. The breeze was light and the tang of fresh ocean suffused the air.

 

With a violent sploosh that sent the gull flying, Mr. Bagel’s car broke the surface. Inside, Mr. Bagel and Itsa were already locked in sweet, bagel-y passion. The lazy ding of a buoy sounded in the distance and boats slid through the crystal water. Just another day in the life of Mr. Bagel.



<--- Return to Part 2


FOOD: 

3.6 Stars

The bagels are fresh. The ingredients are standard: lots of cream cheese choices, eggs are good, breakfast meat is supermarket variety. Not what you want for a classy morning, but an incredibly strong hangover cure. They also have a burrito station to which I have not gone. Mr. Burrito? I don’t know the thought process behind it exactly, but I can’t comment.

PRICE:

 Brekky

Bagel sandwich and a coffee will run you a fiver. Bagels alone aren’t a whole lot. Price is very commensurate with the food delivered in both amount and taste.

AMBIENCE:

 Half-Chain

An interesting mix between chain store (it’s not) and local, artsy bagel joint (it is).

SERVICE:

 Quick Handoff

Most items aren’t “sit down” fare. You order, a young buck whips it up, you leave happy.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Eat

I do not propose that Mr. Bagel is groundbreaking in any way. But what they do, they do well. Certainly worthy of a mid-week, morning visit.

Mr. Bagel - Portland, ME (Part 2)


Mr. Bagel marveled at the base’s construction. As he was lead through its labyrinthine corridors he tried to make a mental map and failed. The lair was overwhelming. The walls were stark white marble splashed with fluorescent paint that glowed under the black lights of the hallway. The floors were wall-to-wall swirling shag carpet.

 

Mr. Bagel knew the owner as soon as he’d seen those tie dye suits. It was the Guru.

 

Expansive glass panels appeared now and then, revealing panoramic views of the ocean floor. Through one of the windows Mr. Bagel spotted a massive rift in the ocean floor, gently burping sulfuric fumes. Giant, spindly crabs scuttled around it like mendicants. Hell of a location, he thought.

 

Guard C held up a hand and the procession stopped. Mr. Bagel was hustled to the front and shoved into a wide-open room. The ceiling must have been at least fifty feet high. Marble statues, dressed as if for a 1960s-themed costume party, littered the floor. This room, as opposed to the hallways, was completely white, no psychedelic colors – apart from the statues’ attire. At the center of the room were two chairs.

 

One was occupied by a slight man with a thin, oily mustache and soul patch. His hair was cut short and balding. Over his tiny eyes rested purple-tinted John Lennon sunglasses. He wore an amused expression.

 

“Mr. Bagel,” said the Guru. His lisp transformed Mr. to "mithter" as he spoke. “You're not looking very fresh.”

 

Itsa sauntered up to the Guru, placing a kiss on his shining pate. She stood beside him, looking sexily into Mr. Bagel’s eyes.

 

“Guru,” said Mr. Bagel. Guard C raised his gun and slammed it into whatever is the bagel equivalent of a solar plexus.

 

“Do not blame Guard C for his roughness,” said the Guru. “Those were my orders. Come, sit.”

 

With a wave of his arm, the marble ceiling split down the center. The two giant slabs peeled back, revealing above them a tank of roiling creatures, darting against the falling orb of the moon. Their amorphous bodies glowed almost entirely a rich, bioluminescent blue, broken only by scores of tiny blinking red orbs, their eyes Mr. Bagel suspected.

 

The guards stripped Mr. Bagel to his boxer briefs, relieving him of his weapons -- even the remote to his car.

 

“Now that you are bereft of your annoying devices,” lisped the Guru. “I will begin. First, Mr. Bagel. Have a seat.”

 

Guard C shoved Mr. Bagel into the seat across from the Guru. Mr. Bagel winced.

 

“Second, those are squids. But they are not ordinary squids, as you most likely suspect. Each of them, and there are hundreds, is implanted with a sonic bomb. Perhaps you noticed the rift outside?”

 

With another wave of his arm, the right wall divided, revealing a monstrous window looking out upon the rift.  A tired smile appeared on the guru’s face.

 

“That is a fault line, Mr. Bagel: a division point in the tectonic plates that make up the crust of our planet. The doorway, if you will, to the center of the earth.”

 

Mr. Bagel covertly tested the strength of the cuffs. Their fluffy appearance belied an incredible strength. The guru wasn’t taking any chances. Luckily, neither was Mr. Bagel.

 

“You see, Mr. Bagel. I have trained my squids carefully through starvation and electroshock to do my bidding. The blue you see? I have suffused them with fluid, ultrahard polycarbons, which will allow them to reach depths beyond anything achieved by man.”

 

The Guru was really lacing into it. Mr. Bagel was bored. He’d heard this before, the glorious reveal of the plan. The appeal, by these stunted men, to be recognized as the geniuses they believed they were. The Guru continued.

 

“If a single squid is allowed out of that cage," he pointed upward. "It will dive deep into the continental divide," he pointed out the window.  "and pshhhhhh." He made an explosion motion with his hands to match the lisped explosion sound. "The shockwave is tuned to the resonant frequency of planet earth. Meaning, Mr. Bagel, our very planet will begin to vibrate so violently that every volcano, supervolcano, fissure vent, lava dome &c. &c. will explode simultaneously, covering the earth in magma.”

 

At this, Itsa’s eyes opened wide.

 

“You bastard!” she screamed. With another flick of the Guru's hand, guards seized and cuffed her. “You monster!”

 

“Apologies, Itsa,” said the Guru, still gazing into Mr. Bagels eyes. “But your family will not be spared.“

 

The guards produced a new chair and shoved Itsa into it. She struggled to get up and was quickly knocked back by Guard C’s hot-pink gun butt.

 

Everything bagel. Alpha and Omega.


“What do you want?” Mr. Bagel cut in. Guard C raised his gun to strike, but the Guru waved him off.

 

“What do I want?” said the Guru.

 

“Yes,” said Mr. Bagel. “Why tell me all this?”

 

“I want a fresh start,” said the Guru. “A clean slate.” The Guru stood and walked over to Mr. Bagel. He stroked his crusty dome as if he were a pet.

 

“Then why are you here? I hear you asking. It’s simple, really. I want you to be a part of it. You’re a vital piece in my new world. I will remake earth in the image of our glory days, Mr. Bagel, both yours and mine.”

 

“The ‘60s,” said Mr. Bagel. The Guru nodded.

 

“We, in this base,” said the Guru. “Are the only ones who are safe. Prepare for the celebration.” With a tittering laugh, the guru departed. The guards immediately set to work, pulling out party favors and beanbag chairs. One group began assembling a verisimilitude-lacking light-up dance floor.

 

Itsa had begun to cry. Mr. Bagel looked around nonchalantly, taking in the preparations and fiddling with his cuffs. When the guards had dispersed to a more manageable distance, Mr. Bagel spoke to Itsa.


“Itsa,” Mr Bagel whispered. She looked up, mascara blackening her smooth cheeks.

“How’s your singing voice?”

“What?” said Itsa.

“Your singing voice,” said Mr. Bagel. “how is it?”

“I was trained in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow,” she said sounding insulted. "I am the pride of Romania."

“Good,” said Mr. Bagel, nodding upward at the glass, behind which roiled the squids.  “Perhaps you can give a demonstration.”

 

Comprehension dawned on Itsa, and she smiled. Without hesitation she threw her head back and let out a high, pure note. The pitch wrenched the air, exploding from her throat as if from un-lubricated heavy machinery.

 

The giant windows began to hum. Henchmen stopped what they were doing and clawed at their ears. Her screaming pitch caromed off the walls and intensified with every second. It was deafening.

 

“Stop her,” the Guru yelled, barely audible over the keening pitch. Guard C sprinted from behind and covered Itsa’s mouth. The glass hummed for a second and then stopped. Everything was silent.

 

The Guru let out a snort. “A very nice effort, but—“

 

From above came a high crackle. Then another from beside them. In every window spider webs were blooming.

 

“Close the blast shields!” The Guru shouted, before the glass exploded inward.

 

Itsa and Mr. Bagel ran.

 

From above, a hail of squids flopped down upon the assembled masses. Water poured in from all sides. Mr. Bagel and Itsa dodged ravenous tentacles and beaks as they slogged for the door.

 

“Where?” said Itsa, panting as she ran.

“To the car!” said Mr. Bagel. He wriggled his hands. Damn those fluffy cuffs.

“But you don’t have the keys.”

“Baby, what century do you think this is?”

 

Mr. Bagel let Itsa lead. Water slowly rose around their feet making the shag even more treacherous.

 

Indeed, out the windows they could see the thick metal wall of the blast shields inexorably closing. Soon, the entire place would be encased in an impenetrable black lit shell. They wound through the hallways as the water continued to rise.

 

“Here,” Itsa said at last, turning through a doorway. Inside, was Mr. Bagel’s car. Unfortunately, standing before it, hot-pink AK-47 raised, was Guard C.

 

To Be Continued…


<--- Return to Part 1  Continue to Part 3 --->

Mr. Bagel - Portland, ME (Part 1)


It was obvious to Mr. Bagel that his tablemates wanted to kill him. In fact, he even knew them by name. There was Jiang “Fang” Leng, Britain’s most notorious left-handed assassin. Beside him was Vlad McFadd, a Russian-Irish master of medieval weaponry and serial roughneck. And on the end, trying hard not to pounce was Danrgus X, an assassin who had tried to change his name to “Dangerous X” at age 6, misspelled it and subsequently lost all the paperwork.

 

The game was blackjack and the stakes were high enough to bankrupt small island nations. Wind whistled across the table and buoys clanged far below. They were playing aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), biggest aircraft carrier in the fleet. It was an exclusive gala featuring dictators, warlords and drug kingpins the world over. The fact that they held it on an active, Nimitz class carrier was all the more a thumb at the nose of the man. Mr. Bagel had received an invitation three weeks earlier. From whom he did not know.

 

Mr. Bagel wrinkled his golden brown forehead in mock thought. The dealer’s upcard was jack, Mr. Bagel’s ace. In the center of the table rested a stack of chips, all Mr. Bagel had left. With a flick of his crusty hand, Mr. Bagel revealed his hole card: another ace.

 

“Split it,” said Mr. Bagel. Vlad McFadd leaned back in his chair and rearranged his matrioshka bagpipe. Mr. Bagel tapped the table. Hit.

 

The dealer dealt: ace again on the first ace and another ace to greet the second. Four aces now sat in front of Mr. Bagel, who allowed himself a smile. “Split them again,” he said.

 

A crowd of gawking generals, military medals spangling, began to gather. Danrgus X was sweating and fidgeting. He had his hand behind his back, most likely fingering his gun-chucks – a bullet firing pair of nun-chucks – his weapon of choice. Jiang Leng sat in silence, sucking his platinum teeth.

 

Four aces rested in front of Mr. Bagel. He paused and looked over at his tablemates. They were itching for an opening. The protuberance of Vlad McFadd’s claymore was easily visible through his red-and-white flannel. Were it not for the wind, the creaking of the massive vessel and the murmur crowd, you could have heard a pin drop.

 

A lady parted the crowd, silencing their muttering. Knockout. She had blueblack hair and emerald eyes. The curvature of her tight dress-clad body was reminiscent of a perfect sine wave.

 

“May I join,” she asked. Her accent was thick, Romanian if he wasn’t mistaken. She allowed the sheer fabric of her dress to whisper over the back of Mr. Bagel’s chair.

“Sorry miss,” the dealer said. “We’re mid hand.”

“I’ll just watch then,” she said, leaning back to take in the full figure of Mr. Bagel in his custom suit.

 

“Split them again. Then hit,” said Mr. Bagel, producing a cigarillo from his chest pocket. He tapped it lightly on the table as the dealer placed four more aces on top of the four aces he already had.

 

The sexy foreign lady produced a gold lighter for Mr. Bagel, a diamond monogram twinkled on the side: IL. Mr. Bagel cocked a poppy-seed eyebrow.

 

“It seems I’ve hit the jackpot,” he said, looking into her eyes as she lit his cigarillo.

“That's a good hand,” she said, nodding to the eight aces in front of Mr. Bagel. She slipped the lighter down the top of her blouse.

“I wasn’t talking about the hand.”

 

*puts sunglasses on* Yeaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!


Danrgus X leapt for Mr. Bagel first, gun-chucks firing as they whirled. With languid speed, Mr. Bagel leaned back and delivered a curt chop to X’s poorly-tattooed neck. The lanky hulk went sprawling, unconscious. The other two assassins stood, weapons now at the ready. The generals scattered like pigeons.

 

“You might want to duck,” said Mr. Bagel.  Diving to the ground, he clicked his right cuff link. With a whisper, darts shot from the aces on the table, peppering Vlad McFadd and Jiang Leng. Both crumpled to the deck, snoring violently.

 

“Nice trick,” said the lady.

“I never show all my cards,” said Mr. Bagel, clicking his other cufflink.

 

A gunmetal Bentley exploded from the water beside the boat and landed neatly next to them.

 

“I’d ask you to join, if I knew your name,” said Mr. Bagel, opening the passenger door. By now, the deck was in a commotion. Vlad McFadd was regaining consciousness and the extremely politically powerful guests were crowding for the gangplank, yelping.

“I’m Itsa,” she said.

“Just Eetsa?” said Mr. Bagel.

“Yes, but with an I, not an E. And just Itsa for now.”

“Playing it close to the chest,” said Mr. Bagel, eyes scanning her ample construction.

“Whose chest,” she said.

 

In the car, Itsa playfully pulled the fabric of her top closed and put on her seatbelt. Mr. Bagel tisk-tisked and depressed a single key on the steering wheel. With a belch of nitrous the car sped off the tanker, diving into the deep.

 

“What do you do?” said Mr. Bagel, turning to Itsa.

“I am a soprano at the Bolshoy.”

“Opera then,” said Mr. Bagel. “Impressive.”

“My turn,” said Itsa. “Where are we going?”  

“I thought you knew,” said Mr. Bagel, pulling out a Walther PPK. He pointed it at her and cocked his bagel head. “You are, after all, the enemy.”

 

Itsa smiled.

“Oh, and how did you guess?” She turned to face him and her dress parted, revealing acres of cleavage.

“It’s not enough to count cards. You have to be able to read a poker face,” said Mr. Bagel.

She laughed and told him the coordinates to the lair. Mr. Bagel punched them in and the submarine car sped off.

 

They drove up the ramp of the docking bay. The car filled with the smell of chlorine, damp air and patchouli. Light from the water rippled off the walls. Before they could get out, a prison-like gate slammed shut across the underwater entrance.

 

“Warm welcome,” said Mr. Bagel.

“My guru does not take chances,” she said.

 

Guards streamed in from the doorway, fluorescent automatic weapons at the ready. They wore a tie-dye shirt and bell-bottom combo. On their heads were white pillbox hats, each with a bright blue letter on it.

 

“I take it he can’t have more than 26 of you at a time?” said Mr. Bagel, stepping out of the car.

 

“Silence!” shouted Guard C. “Follow.” They put fluffy pink handcuffs on Mr. Bagel.

“None for the lady?” said Mr. Bagel. Guard C yelled silence again and slammed his gun butt into Mr. Bagel’s doughy jaw.  He stayed silent after that.

 

 

Continue to Part 2...

The Downtown Lounge (DTL) - Portland, Maine

 

So tell me bro-lets in training, why the fuck are we packed into a booth in this dark-ass bar with just a shit ton of alcohol in front of us?

 

Don’t know? Drink.

 

It’s because bros: you don’t know fuck-all about the universe. The cosmological cunting constant, the red-ass shift, cosmic cock-gobbling background radiation, this shit is what’s real, bros.  And right now I am going to blow the fucking diarrhea out of your minds. But, before we get to atoms, fucking chug that Sam Adams.

 

Now!

 

Alright, the fucking atom: in the nucleus you have protons – positively charged particles like a lax bro – and neutrons – neutral particles like a burnout stoner. And fucking tear-assing around the nucleus you have goddamn electrons – negatively charged particles like the chick whose roommate you bang.  So here’s the straight truth: we don’t know fuck-all about what happens IN an atom. Everything that’s fucking going down outside the atom? We have that shit on lock.

 

Inside? Fucking who knows; it’s like a microscopically tiny-ass clit, unknowable by fucking man.

 

But we learned a sick-ass truth recently, something that happens with the fucking electrons and we don’t know exactly how or why. You listening? You better be able to repeat this verbatim, pledges, or it’s fucking elephant walks all weekend.

 

So some longdick physicist named Lawrence Kraus just wrote about this new reaction, similar to one spotted by the O.G. of wheelchair-bound brainpower S. Hawking. What Kraus said was that in an atom, two particles can appear out of nothing. No shit, gentlemen. Straight truth. First, you have a normal-ass atom, then bam, an extra electron and a positron.

 

What’s a positron? Great fucking question pledge, drink for it.

 

So, every particle has an antiparticle. An antiparticle has equal and opposite motherfucking mass and charge to its bro-particle. So, in this case, the electron is negative and the positron is positive. And the cunt-proof key is that (in the vast majority of cases) when a particle and antiparticle rub each other’s tits, they disappear. As soon as they collide, poof! Gone like my virginity at age 13.

 

So imagine this wacky shit: you have an electron buzzing around the nucleus of an atom, and all of a cocksucking sudden, ANOTHER electron and a positron pop up next to it. Out of dick-licking nowhere, two particles that, seconds ago, did not fucking even exist. I’m goddamn serious, this new particle and antiparticle pair are like Kappa Nu skeeves, rolling up on a freshmen chick out of fucking nowhere.

 

Bros, don’t fret for the conservations of energy though, because the two particles have equal and opposite mass. And if you fucking don’t know what conservation of energy is, look up Isaac Newton in any shitty physics book and start jerkin’ your gerkin.

 

But, and even fucking crazier, this cocksucking pair exists for such a small amount of time, it’s like they were never even fucking there! They appear from nothing, touch, and fucking bam – back to nothing. The universe doesn’t notice! Shit’s quantum fast (and pardon me if I’m paraphrasing I’m not a dick-ramming quantum physicist and plus fuck you). It’s like a bro giving a cop the finger to his face, but it happens so fast the cop doesn’t notice. So like, no bro goes to jail, nothing un-sweet happens, but the fact remains that the law got fucking owned.


Condiments. Indeed.

Image C/O Portland Daily Photo by Corey Templeton 


Why does that fucking matter? You ask. Drink for even making me say that. Chug like your mom chugs dick.

 

How did Hawking find this shit out? Black holes, bro. So, black holes just suck shit up, right? First, that’s such an easy mom joke I’m not even gonna fucking broach it. Two, shut your fucking herpes mouths because it turns out black holes don’t just suck everything in existence (like your mom) they also shoot out electromagnetic radiation. Yeah, players: black holes bukake the universe with thick-ass radiation.

 

So how the fuck does that work?

  

Remember those positrons and electrons? Well there’s this titty-twisting line of no return in every black hole called the event horizon. It’s like the front door to Phi Omega A.K.A. Gnargoyle Manor: a sweet lax bro puts a big toe past that doorjamb, and those gnar-ass birds will make certain he never gets out. Once you pass the Event Horizon that’s fucking it, you’re sucked into the black hole.

 

So, what happens is, remember those electrons and positrons appearing out of fucking fuck-all? That mamma-jamma happens right on the edge of black holes. And sometimes, a pair will pop into existence in just the perfect fucking spot where one particle is on the event horizon and the other isn’t. So instead of the pair of particles just touching again and disappearing, the antiparticle actually gets sucked into the black hole. Shoop bay-oop, cocksuckers.

 

And what that means is that the particle/antiparticle pair splits like Baloney Pony’s shitty parents at his fifth birthday party and the electron shoots out into space. And since that means the black hole is effectively absorbing antimatter and shooting out energy, it’s actually shrinking. Meaning no sweet-ass energy is lost or destroyed – conservation of fucking energy again. What that means, cum-gaps, is particles that shouldn't even exist are constantly being shot out of fucking black holes in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Isn’t that some brain-melting bullshit?

 

And again, you think there’s no point to me telling you this shit? Drink again bitches. Because mini-bros, this is where it gets ass-cock crazy.

 

So do your infantile peenees remember that titty-licking baus, Einstein? E=mc fuck your dad? Well, one thing E-Bro talked about was relativity. What does that mean? It means if you’re drunk and rimming a gross-ass chick, you might not think it’s disgusting. But if you weren’t drunk and doing the same butt-work to a busted flap you’d be thinking ew and fuck and shit. Meaning: reality is relative. So, what state you’re in/where you are/your velocity/so many other fucking things will change your perception. And perception is reality. 


Fucking relativity. Works for time and space too, cocksuckers.

 

So, and here’s where some fucking conjecture from yours truly comes into play. We’re saying there was a big bang, right? A big sploogy bang where something comes from nothing. Well, what the fuck else is an electron/positron pair appearing from nothing but another big motherfucking bang? Albeit on a smaller scale, but what is scale but a factor of perception you fucking brownie stabbers?

 

So isn’t it fucking possible… tit-cocking totally possible, that our universe could actually exist deep inside the nucleus of a randomly generated particle whose equal and opposite antiparticle got sucked into a black hole? Isn’t that a fucking possibility?

 

You’re goddamn right it is. Bring out the chicken wings.

 

I have never seen this man at DTL.

Image C/O Downtown Lounge


 

Why are we eating diggity-delicious chicken wings, dick-horns? Because fuck particles, fuck antiparticles and fuck the origin of everything. You eat those goddamn wings like you love them. Why? Why?! Because even if all that universe shit I just straight school-house rocked you in is true, those sweet-ass wings are the only thing in the entire universe that matters right now. That's straight truth.

 

 

FOOD: 

3.2 Stars

It may not look like it, but Downtown Lounge has some tasty bar grub. Suffice it to say it’s fine content housed in a rough exterior.

PRICE: 

Dive Time

Cheap beers and sub $10 burgers. Fine grub.

AMBIENCE: 

Urban Rustic Alleyway

Booths with high backs and a distinct lack of TVs make for great, if close, conversation.

SERVICE: 

Round and Round

If your drink is nearly empty, you’ll have company.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Eat

While it’s not the pinnacle of bars in Portland, DTL is a fantastic go-to for a couple beers and some quality snacks.

 

Giordano's Take Out - Oak Bluffs, MA



Forsooth! What doth mine nose detect?

Ambrosia sweet, wafting ‘pon the aether,

Ah yes, I know what toothsome treat I descry.

‘Tis Giordano’s sumptuous fingers of the chicken.

 

Chicken fingers? scoff thee. A sniveling toddlers delight!

Surely ‘tis jest, chortle thee, polishing thy watch-face. 

I jest not! And, I implore you, judge not!

This tender be an off’ring from ‘bove the firmament!

 

And so from the gay counter-maid ‘tis order’d:

no fry’d potat (thankee), no sweet’d carbon quaff (quite so)

Simply the phalanges of a fowl, prepar’d in oil most hot!

Be Pavlov near? No?! Then, why doth mine mouth water so?

 

Woe to thee who chooseth ye popcorn’d chicken,

A dry demon-bird cloak’d in a bread of lies,

Nor catsup nor ‘tard a salve for its betrayal,

Mark me well, trust not the chicken Judas!

 

Oh how scores grovel before thy bar of clam, milord Giordano.

Ye waiting, once warbled Mr. Petty, is thy hardest part.

With steely mind and girded – yet outspoken – belly, I abide,

Poultry absolution is nigh.

 

Hark! The numerals of mine order have been sung.

Order 201! Order 201! Surely this be heav’n’s refrain!

Naught but Michael’s flaming blade couldst halt my ‘proach,

A-waving mine receipt like a fishmonger his cod.

 

Of accoutrements, I ask for but two:

Catsup, a tool no less essential than ye fork,

Honey’d Mustard, thy flavors a harmony sweeter than Mozart.

Bird in hand, I slip, lizard-like, ‘neath the shade of yonder porch.

 

Huzzah! The moment of import arrive’d at last,

Tenderly, ‘nto both sauces I dip thy steaming husk, oh chick’n.

(Yon order of thy dipping matters not!)

Hand a-tremble I raise thee dress’d, to mine maw.

 

And bite…

 

I couldst swear ‘twere G-d’s voice translat’d threw tongue-buds.

His lexicon crisp, His meaning sweet, salt His punctuation.

And through’t all, the comforting tone of fowl most succulent.

In His holy, clucking thrall am I stricken.

 

Lost, then! ‘side the chronosphere I float in chicken-time.

Mine corpus finds agency its own, chick’n bourn to mouth by reflex ‘lone

Eyes roving, I spy tourists a-flitting, carriages rumbling past scenery most-fine.

In such a moment, do I find peace ‘mongst life’s headlong rush.

 

Mine purpose: clear! Mine intent: pure!

Simply I and mine chick’n treat; simul in aeternum!

But what is this? Yon chick’n boon is exhaust’d! Consume’d!

An epiphany, which from mine reverie jolts to find belly fill’d,

 

Whole once more.

 

‘Tis a gift to man, this chicken’s finger of Giordano’s.

A wonder ‘pon which better men have wax’d.

I implore, should thy path e’er spirit thee to the Vineyard of Martha,

Miss not yon delicacy! Miss not!


For ‘pon thy bed of final repose,

regret be th’ mightiest emote of all!

 

FOOD: 

4.5 Stars

Giordano’s (the take-out window/Clam Bar, not the actual restaurant) serves up a mean fried clam, pizza, and more. In fact, their pizza – by the slice or pie – is some of my favorite on the island; if only for nostalgic reasons. But nothing compares to their chicken fingers. Seriously, you think I’m joking. After testing my hypothesis for nearly 27 years, these are, without question, the best chicken fingers on the planet.

PRICE:

 Island cheap

The fried clams can definitely run steep, but everything else is well within reason.

AMBIENCE: 

Take-out area

Giordano’s remodeled its take-out area about three years ago. It’s still a take-out area.

SERVICE:

Tourist ready

Lots of tourist traffic thanks to its convenient location at the bottom of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. They’re used to lines, so the wait is never a deal-breaker.

EAT OR SKIP: 

Eat

If you yearn for chicken finger perfection, make a pilgrimage.