Page 27

GO The Portland Press Herald/ Thursday, September 20, 3E28 &5=jBVS>]`bZO\R>`Saa6S`OZRBVc`aROgAS^bS[PS`  2012 


People love The Snug because it feels like home G\fgc\cfm\K_\Jel^Y\ZXlj\`k]\\cjc`b\_fd\ By EMMA BOUTHILLETTE #Z&.."#065)*--&55&


rom what I've heard over the years, SPNXIBU*WFIFBSEPWFSUIFZFBST  QFPQMFFJUIFSMPWFPSIBUF5IF4OVH people either love or hate The Snug. Located on the corner of Washington -PDBUFEPOUIFDPSOFSPG8BTIJOHUPO BOE$POHSFTTBCPVUIBMGXBZVQ.VOKPZ and Congress about halfway up Munjoy Hill in Portland, it's become a neighbor)JMMJO1PSUMBOE JUTCFDPNFBOFJHICPS IPPECBSGPS&BTU&OEFST5IPTFXIPMPWF hood bar for East Enders. Those who love it do because it feels like home. For those JUEPCFDBVTFJUGFFMTMJLFIPNF'PSUIPTF XIPEPOU *HVFTTUIFZKVTUEPOUVOEFS who don't, I guess they just don't understand the charm of this little bar. TUBOEUIFDIBSNPGUIJTMJUUMFCBS When I was a student at the Salt Insti8IFO*XBTBTUVEFOUBUUIF4BMU*OTUJ tute for Documentary Studies in fall 2007, UVUFGPS%PDVNFOUBSZ4UVEJFTJOGBMM  a number of my classmates called The BOVNCFSPGNZDMBTTNBUFTDBMMFE5IF Snug home after long days of writing, 4OVHIPNFBGUFSMPOHEBZTPGXSJUJOH  developing and printing photos or editing EFWFMPQJOHBOEQSJOUJOHQIPUPTPSFEJUJOH audio. I never had the chance to join them BVEJP*OFWFSIBEUIFDIBODFUPKPJOUIFN then, nor had I thought about checking out UIFO OPSIBE*UIPVHIUBCPVUDIFDLJOHPVU The Snug since. 5IF4OVHTJODF That changed when I met a friend there 5IBUDIBOHFEXIFO*NFUBGSJFOEUIFSF on a recent Saturday night for drinks and POBSFDFOU4BUVSEBZOJHIUGPSESJOLTBOE catching up with each other. DBUDIJOHVQXJUIFBDIPUIFS The nice thing about The Snug is that 5IFOJDFUIJOHBCPVU5IF4OVHJTUIBU if you live on the East End, it's within JGZPVMJWFPOUIF&BTU&OE JUTXJUIJO walking distance. If you don't, it's easier to XBMLJOHEJTUBODF*GZPVEPOU JUTFBTJFSUP find parking than at some place in the Old mOEQBSLJOHUIBOBUTPNFQMBDFJOUIF0ME Port. I pulled into a spot just out front and 1PSU*QVMMFEJOUPBTQPUKVTUPVUGSPOUBOE bellied up to the bar with my friend. CFMMJFEVQUPUIFCBSXJUINZGSJFOE The taps are front and center so you 5IFUBQTBSFGSPOUBOEDFOUFSTPZPV have no question about what is available IBWFOPRVFTUJPOBCPVUXIBUJTBWBJMBCMF for your brew pleasure. My friend ordered GPSZPVSCSFXQMFBTVSF.ZGSJFOEPSEFSFE the TurboDog beer brewed in Louisiana UIF5VSCP%PHCFFSCSFXFEJO-PVJTJBOB - a pint will run you $4. Disappointed to oBQJOUXJMMSVOZPV%JTBQQPJOUFEUP see they didn't have Pumpkinhead or TFFUIFZEJEOUIBWF1VNQLJOIFBEPS another pumpkin-esque brew, I decided to BOPUIFSQVNQLJOFTRVFCSFX *EFDJEFEUP go for Crown Royale and ginger ale. That HPGPS$SPXO3PZBMFBOEHJOHFSBMF5IBU was a stiff drink for $6.50. XBTBTUJGGESJOLGPS There's no formal drink menu at The 5IFSFTOPGPSNBMESJOLNFOVBU5IF Snug. It seems that beer is the beverage of 4OVH*UTFFNTUIBUCFFSJTUIFCFWFSBHFPG choice for most patrons. However, there's DIPJDFGPSNPTUQBUSPOT)PXFWFS UIFSFT a fully stocked bar, and the bartenders are BGVMMZTUPDLFECBS BOEUIFCBSUFOEFSTBSF willing to make whatever you'd like. XJMMJOHUPNBLFXIBUFWFSZPVEMJLF A group of college buddies, now in their "HSPVQPGDPMMFHFCVEEJFT OPXJOUIFJS mid-30s, took over the corner of the bar NJET UPPLPWFSUIFDPSOFSPGUIFCBS next to us. We noticed one of them leave OFYUUPVT8FOPUJDFEPOFPGUIFNMFBWF and return a few minutes later with a pizza BOESFUVSOBGFXNJOVUFTMBUFSXJUIBQJ[[B box from Otto's next door. This made my CPYGSPN0UUPTOFYUEPPS5IJTNBEFNZ friend hungry. She asked to try one of the GSJFOEIVOHSZ4IFBTLFEUPUSZPOFPGUIF bar's $3 "big hot pretzels" advertised on CBSTiCJHIPUQSFU[FMTwBEWFSUJTFEPO a chalkboard behind the bar. Sadly, there BDIBMLCPBSECFIJOEUIFCBS4BEMZ UIFSF were none available at the time. XFSFOPOFBWBJMBCMFBUUIFUJNF "You can go get a slice next door if i:PVDBOHPHFUBTMJDFOFYUEPPSJG you want," the bartender said, adding ZPVXBOU wUIFCBSUFOEFSTBJE BEEJOH they have no problem if people do that UIFZIBWFOPQSPCMFNJGQFPQMFEPUIBU


Continued from Page E27 :fek`el\[]ifd>OUS3 % turn off people who aren't used to it or UVSOPGGQFPQMFXIPBSFOUVTFEUPJUPS don't like it. EPOUMJLFJU I also tried the spinach dal and a very *BMTPUSJFEUIFTQJOBDIEBMBOEBWFSZ good egg curry in a tomato gravy. The HPPEFHHDVSSZJOBUPNBUPHSBWZ5IF fourth vegetarian dish was Sambhar, GPVSUIWFHFUBSJBOEJTIXBT4BNCIBS  a spiced lentil dish with onions and BTQJDFEMFOUJMEJTIXJUIPOJPOTBOE tomatoes. UPNBUPFT The three meat dishes were butter 5IFUISFFNFBUEJTIFTXFSFCVUUFS chicken, Kadai chicken (seasoned with DIJDLFO ,BEBJDIJDLFO TFBTPOFEXJUI the house masala and served with UIFIPVTFNBTBMBBOETFSWFEXJUI onions, bell pepper and tomatoes) and POJPOT CFMMQFQQFSBOEUPNBUPFT BOE chicken legs that had been cooked in DIJDLFOMFHTUIBUIBECFFODPPLFEJO the tandoori oven. UIFUBOEPPSJPWFO

Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer 1O`Z2EOZaVAbOTT>V]b]U`O^VS`

Ashley Hanamann, Bryan McLeod and Ethan Jud, all of Portland, chat over beers at The Snug. /aVZSg6O\O[O\\0`gO\;Q:S]RO\R3bVO\8cROZZ]T>]`bZO\RQVOb]dS`PSS`aObBVSA\cU

THE SNUG K?<JEL> WHERE: 223 Congress St., Portland E63@3( !1]\U`SaaAb>]`bZO\R PHONE: 772-6839 >6=<3(%% $&!' WEBSITE: E30A7B3(bVSa\cU^cPQ][ HOURS: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (give or 6=C@A(#^[b]O[UWdS]` take) daily bOYSROWZg PARKING: On street >/@97<5(=\ab`SSb HAPPY HOUR: 5 to 7 p.m. daily, with 6/>>G6=C@(#b]%^[ROWZgeWbV $3 drafts and $4 well drinks !R`OTbaO\R"eSZZR`W\Ya SCENE: Small neighborhood bar A13<3(A[OZZ\SWUVP]`V]]RPO` without the hassle of Old Port eWbV]cbbVSVOaaZS]T=ZR>]`b nightlife. \WUVbZWTS

For condiments, the buffet featured 'PSDPOEJNFOUT UIFCVGGFUGFBUVSFE two chutneys, tamarind and coconut, UXPDIVUOFZT UBNBSJOEBOEDPDPOVU  and a cooling raita (a yogurt-based BOEBDPPMJOHSBJUB BZPHVSUCBTFE condiment/side dish that pairs well with DPOEJNFOUTJEFEJTIUIBUQBJSTXFMMXJUI spicier dishes). I only tried the coconut TQJDJFSEJTIFT *POMZUSJFEUIFDPDPOVU chutney, but I could have eaten it with a DIVUOFZ CVU*DPVMEIBWFFBUFOJUXJUIB spoon, it was so good. (And I did.) TQPPO JUXBTTPHPPE "OE*EJE

The house brings each table its own 5IFIPVTFCSJOHTFBDIUBCMFJUTPXO basket full of hot naan, and I have to CBTLFUGVMMPGIPUOBBO BOE*IBWFUP say that this simple bread was one of TBZUIBUUIJTTJNQMFCSFBEXBTPOFPG my favorite things about the meal. It NZGBWPSJUFUIJOHTBCPVUUIFNFBM*U was hot and fresh, and long after I was XBTIPUBOEGSFTI BOEMPOHBGUFS*XBT done with the buffet food, I sat at my EPOFXJUIUIFCVGGFUGPPE *TBUBUNZ table and kept compulsively eating the UBCMFBOELFQUDPNQVMTJWFMZFBUJOHUIF bread. It was perfect. There was also CSFBE*UXBTQFSGFDU5IFSFXBTBMTP bread of sorts on the buffet - a tangy CSFBEPGTPSUTPOUIFCVGGFUoBUBOHZ pakora fritter made with chickpea flour, QBLPSBGSJUUFSNBEFXJUIDIJDLQFBGMPVS 

throughout the night. UISPVHIPVUUIFOJHIU For people who didn't instantly fall in 'PSQFPQMFXIPEJEOUJOTUBOUMZGBMMJO love with The Snug, it may be because MPWFXJUI5IF4OVH JUNBZCFCFDBVTF they don't know how to embrace snarky UIFZEPOULOPXIPXUPFNCSBDFTOBSLZ humor. Between the bathroom doors at IVNPS#FUXFFOUIFCBUISPPNEPPSTBU the back of the bar, a sign reads, "Only UIFCBDLPGUIFCBS BTJHOSFBET i0OMZ ONE person at a time in the restroom. 0/&QFSTPOBUBUJNFJOUIFSFTUSPPN ANYONE caught violating this policy will "/:0/&DBVHIUWJPMBUJOHUIJTQPMJDZXJMM be barred from The Snug indefinitely," CFCBSSFEGSPN5IF4OVHJOEFmOJUFMZ w followed in small print by, "Don't make GPMMPXFEJOTNBMMQSJOUCZ i%POUNBLF Michelle open a can of whoop-(butt)." .JDIFMMFPQFOBDBOPGXIPPQ CVUU w I didn't get to meet Michelle the night I *EJEOUHFUUPNFFU.JDIFMMFUIFOJHIU* was there, but she seems to be The Snug's XBTUIFSF CVUTIFTFFNTUPCF5IF4OVHT legendary bartender. She was also probMFHFOEBSZCBSUFOEFS4IFXBTBMTPQSPC ably the bartender responsible for putting BCMZUIFCBSUFOEFSSFTQPOTJCMFGPSQVUUJOH

up the snarky sign telling folks not to ask VQUIFTOBSLZTJHOUFMMJOHGPMLTOPUUPBTL her to turn on, change or turn up the small IFSUPUVSOPO DIBOHFPSUVSOVQUIFTNBMM television behind the bar, because she UFMFWJTJPOCFIJOEUIFCBS CFDBVTFTIF likely wouldn't do it. MJLFMZXPVMEOUEPJU Hitting up The Snug in groups is great, )JUUJOHVQ5IF4OVHJOHSPVQTJTHSFBU  because there are cozy booths lining the CFDBVTFUIFSFBSFDP[ZCPPUITMJOJOHUIF wall opposite the bar that will encase your XBMMPQQPTJUFUIFCBSUIBUXJMMFODBTFZPVS party. QBSUZ And despite the witty signs, old photos "OEEFTQJUFUIFXJUUZTJHOT PMEQIPUPT of the owner's family hung throughout the PGUIFPXOFSTGBNJMZIVOHUISPVHIPVUUIF bar can help you see The Snug has family CBSDBOIFMQZPVTFF5IF4OVHIBTGBNJMZ values. WBMVFT

spinach and onions, fluffy like a thick TQJOBDIBOEPOJPOT GMVGGZMJLFBUIJDL white pancake. It was good, but not in XIJUFQBODBLF*UXBTHPPE CVUOPUJO the same league as that hot naan. UIFTBNFMFBHVFBTUIBUIPUOBBO For dessert, the buffet had a mango 'PSEFTTFSU UIFCVGGFUIBEBNBOHP fruit custard that was so thin I'm not GSVJUDVTUBSEUIBUXBTTPUIJO*NOPU sure why it's called custard. The other TVSFXIZJUTDBMMFEDVTUBSE5IFPUIFS dessert was the one I went for - my EFTTFSUXBTUIFPOF*XFOUGPSoNZ favorite Indian dessert, kheer, which is GBWPSJUF*OEJBOEFTTFSU LIFFS XIJDIJT a rice pudding made with whole milk, BSJDFQVEEJOHNBEFXJUIXIPMFNJML  rice, cardamom, sugar, nuts and raisins. SJDF DBSEBNPN TVHBS OVUTBOESBJTJOT This was disappointing for a couple 5IJTXBTEJTBQQPJOUJOHGPSBDPVQMF of reasons. One is just personal prefPGSFBTPOT0OFJTKVTUQFSTPOBMQSFG erence. The kheer was made with FSFODF5IFLIFFSXBTNBEFXJUI vermicelli, which is not unusual but WFSNJDFMMJ XIJDIJTOPUVOVTVBMCVU not what I'm used to. I prefer short- or OPUXIBU*NVTFEUP*QSFGFSTIPSUPS medium-grain rice so the grain doesn't NFEJVNHSBJOSJDFTPUIFHSBJOEPFTOU overwhelm the rest of the dish. PWFSXIFMNUIFSFTUPGUIFEJTI

The other reasons for my disappoint5IFPUIFSSFBTPOTGPSNZEJTBQQPJOU ment probably have to do with the fact NFOUQSPCBCMZIBWFUPEPXJUIUIFGBDU that this was a buffet. The Taj kheer UIBUUIJTXBTBCVGGFU5IF5BKLIFFS had plenty (too much) vermicelli, but I IBEQMFOUZ UPPNVDI WFSNJDFMMJ CVU* really had to dig around to find any nuts SFBMMZIBEUPEJHBSPVOEUPGJOEBOZOVUT (they used cashews, but you can also UIFZVTFEDBTIFXT CVUZPVDBOBMTP use almonds), and I don't think I found VTFBMNPOET BOE*EPOUUIJOL*GPVOE a single raisin. Maybe they were all BTJOHMFSBJTJO.BZCFUIFZXFSFBMM taken by earlier visitors to the buffet. UBLFOCZFBSMJFSWJTJUPSTUPUIFCVGGFU Taj has a fridge filled with Indian beer 5BKIBTBGSJEHFGJMMFEXJUI*OEJBOCFFS and colas, including the ubiquitous BOEDPMBT JODMVEJOHUIFVCJRVJUPVT (in India) Thumbs Up. They also sell JO*OEJB 5IVNCT6Q5IFZBMTPTFMM house-made mango lassis from the IPVTFNBEFNBOHPMBTTJTGSPNUIF fridge for about $3. GSJEHFGPSBCPVU

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in 3[[O0]cbVWZZSbbSWaOT`SSZO\QSe`WbS`eV]ZWdSaW\ Biddeford. 0WRRST]`R

The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for BVSabOTT]T5=O\]\g[]caZgaO[^ZSa[SOZaT]` about $10. OP]cb

GO Portland Press Herald, Sept. 20, 2012  
GO Portland Press Herald, Sept. 20, 2012  

GO Portland Press Herald, Sept. 20, 2012