Go Here, Eat This: Pai Men Miyake

Most of my "Go Here, Eat This" posts focus on places in Boston. Today I'm going to encourage you to take a little trip. If you wanted to find genuine ramen, farm-fresh ingredients, locally raised, organic meats; if you wanted to discover the joy of true yakitori seared over binchotan coal; if you craved a new local oyster you're not going to find at your local Boston raw bar; you could take a trip to Japan.

Or, you could take a short road-trip North of Boston to Portland, Maine.

It is so worth the drive...Here's why...Pai Men Miyake.

Pai Men Miyake

It's a terrific local spot that features farm fresh produce and meats. As in THEIR farm. Really, how can you improve on that for sourcing?

See that fire on the stove on the right there? That's intentional. It's Binchotan coal. We'll get to that in a moment. First, we had to try the pork buns because the meat comes from pigs they raise. Besides, who doesn't want to start with pork buns?

I was delighted to find that two oysters were offered and one of them I'd not only never had, I'd never heard of. John's River Oysters are from the local river. Pemaquids we do see from time to time here. Housemade cocktails and mocktails were excellent as well. I also tried a local microbrew that was fine to accompany the yakitori.

Pai Men Miyake Pork Buns

Binchotan is a very special compressed "white" Japanese charcoal that burns extremely hot and evenly. It is precisely the type of coal one needs to produce proper Yakitori. Mad proper, yo. Too often some insipid chicken on a skewer slathered in teriyaki sauce passes for Yaktori. 'Tis an abomination, I tell you! Yakitori is perhaps the Japanese version of Nose-to-Tail whole beast cookery, taking many bits of different animals often the ones discarded and turning them into enticing little bites on skewers. I could make a meal of them.

  • Kawa - Crispy chicken skin - what's not to love.
  • Bonjiri - Chicken tail - the fat and crispy skin bonus bite.
  • Butabara - Pork belly - easy to love.
  • Motsu - Pork intestine - amazing, the slightest earthiness gives a hint of its origins but really appealing and yes, delicious.
  • Gyu tan - Beef tongue - tender in a way that the tongue in a deli sandwich hopes to be.

Pai Men Miyake - Yakitori

And finally, the noodles. This is the thing we came for. I had been whining about the lack of proper ramen in Boston. I'm excited we may finally be getting a ramen-ya in Porter Square (I know there's the food court inside the Porter Exchange, but I cannot queue up for an hour for ramen. Constitutionally incapable.)

The middle bowl is kake soba. Konbu and shiitake broth. The dark green is wakame, a sea vegetable and scallion. The broth was so umami-rich, I nearly asked to switch.

I ordered the house ramen pai tan ramen is a pork and chicken broth. That's a slice of their home grown pork belly, a soy-marinated egg that hovered in creamy deliciousness between poached and hard boiled. Crispy sheaf of nori. This dish took me straight back to Tokyo. Actually, for the second time. The yakitori had me recalling my trip to Japan maybe 15 years ago now. I ventured out one night on my own and ended up in an Izakaya style restaurant that specialized in yakitori. The only thing that would have made that night any better would have been to share it with someone.

Well, at least we now have each other, Doc. And, thanks to your sleuthiness, we have Pai Men Miyake. Can't wait to go back!



Pai men Miyake

188 State St, Portland, Maine Tel: 207-541-9204


Monday-Saturday 12pm-12am Sunday 12pm-10pm


BBQ Bonanza 2011 - Swordfish with Grilled Fennel and Tomatoes

Our BBQ Bonanza continues this week with a sustainable seafood lesson. If you have ever tried to figure out what makes a fish choice sustainable, you might have felt that choosing fish is anything but a walk on the beach. Our guest poster this week is the inimitable Amy McCoy, who was inspired by a much-needed tumble in the waves of Block Island.

photo by Denise Woodward,


I will never forget Amy's hilarious post three years ago about DIY Turkey in a Hole in the Ground. Since then, she's become a published cookbook author. Her Poor Girl Gourmet makes a perfect housewarming gift for your niece or nephew just setting up their own apartment. I incorporated her Chicken in Cider Gravy recipe in my Sustainable Meats Class. It always pleases.

Amy brings us a swordfish recipe inspired by local Block Island swordfish. Her sensible approach to sustainability is one that's near and dear to my heart. Here's a post with five tips for making Small Steps that Make a Difference.



Amy is the author of “Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget” (Andrews McMeel, 2010), and the blog Poor Girl Gourmet, where she shares budget-friendly recipes, tales (sometimes of woe) of raising chickens and turkeys, keeping bees, and particularly woeful this year, gardening (Blight! Chipmunks! Squash bugs!).

Amy was scheduled to speak about eating on a budget at the International Food Blogger Conference in New Orleans, LA on August 28 (curse you Irene!), and her recipes and writing have appeared in many newspapers across the country.


Block Island Swordfish with Fennel and Tomato

Guest post by Amy McCoy

Fish has been stressing me out for a few years now. And I say this without so much as a hint of hyperbole; such a worrier am I.

I want to eat fish, but I want to do the right thing. I don’t want the oceans depleted, and, quite honestly, pulling out a chart that delineates what’s okay to eat and what isn’t takes a little of the joy out of fish eating. And what I like most about food – the making and sharing of food – is the joy of it all.

So stressed I have been.

But then I read a few words of wisdom from fellow BBQ Bonanza contributor, Mark Scarbrough, that boiled down to this: calm down, make good choices, and enjoy yourself some fish, already, darn it.

So I stopped with the stress (sometimes it only takes one slap to snap me out of it). And decided to apply a trusted mantra to fish shopping: Buy local.

Fortunately, living in southeastern Massachusetts, local isn’t too far away – generally less than an hour by car, and sometimes, it’s an additional 13 miles by ferry. If a jaunt to Block Island is in order. Oh, which it was this past week. Which it was.

Block Island is a quaint, well-preserved Victorian-era village surrounded by rolling hills dotted with stonewalls and stunning golden cliffs rising up above its beaches. The water is colder than on the mainland (of course), and if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself smacked down to the sandy shore by a giant wave. It’s a lot easier to get smacked down and find the wave giant if you’re short. Not that this happened to me, um, two days ago, or anything.

It also happens to be quite the swordfish harvesting ground, with “BI Swordfish” signs posted at local fish markets - on the mainland as well as the island - causing glee at the mere sight (and angst-free glee at that, for it is local). And that’s all before you’ve laid eyes on the fish.

As it happens, harpoon and hand line swordfish are both “best choices” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide (okay, so I checked my chart – I admit it. There’s still some guilt, despite my best efforts at being effortless in fish shopping).

Back home with my Block Island swordfish, I decided to add homegrown fennel and tomatoes (it doesn’t get much more local than your own backyard – and it helps to keep the cost down, too), grill ‘em up, then add the grilled veggies to a pan of sautéed shallots with white wine, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano (which is also homegrown, and threatens to overrun our property, prolific as it is) for a rich, yet summery sauce.

Swordfish with Grilled Fennel and Tomatoes

Serves 4


  • 1 pound swordfish steak, approximately 1-inch thick
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed of fronds, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch wedges.
  • 4 medium tomatoes (approximately 2 pounds), sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


For the sauce:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper




  1. Be sure that your grill is clean, and has been lightly oiled. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  2. Toss the fennel and tomatoes in a medium mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush the swordfish all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fennel and tomatoes on the grill, and grill until they are lightly charred and the tomato skins are beginning to peel, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Remove the fennel and tomatoes from the grill. Using a fork or tongs, remove and discard the tomato skin.
  6. Before starting the swordfish on the grill – or simultaneously, if you are fortunate enough to have a side burner on your grill – start the sauce.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, and cook until it is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fennel, tomatoes and any accumulated juices, then add the crushed red pepper flakes and oregano. Next, pour in the wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Place the swordfish on the grill, flipping midway through the cooking time, and grill it until it is opaque and is easily cut with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  9. Remove the swordfish from the grill, then cut it into 4 more-or-less equal sized pieces. Place the swordfish pieces in the saucepan, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the swordfish forth, topped with sauce.


This dish goes well with grilled potatoes, and can also be served stew-style: I recommend toasting (on the grill, of course) a slice of country bread, rubbing the bread with garlic, then placing it into a bowl and topping with fish and sauce. No guilt there at all, I can assure you. Only glee.



Great News from Our Sponsors giving away another set of their terrific barbecue sauces (exclusively available for us); each winner will receive:

  • one bottle of Carolina sauce (for dressing pulled pork);
  • one bottle of pomegranate chili sauce (versatile sweet/sour/spicy);
  • and one bottle of jerk marinade (meat brine or stew base or ceviche base).


Comment on BBQ Bonanza August posts also enter you to win Fire it Up: 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything. (Even includes recipes for goat! Donuts, I kid you not, and scallops with grapefruit mojo. Really there ARE recipes for grilling everything!)



The good people at OXO have graciously added this Four Piece Grilling Set to our August Contest!


How to win one of these THREE prizes:

  1. Enter a comment in any August BBQ Bonanza post.
  2. Write your own post on the theme of Sustainability at the Grill and link back here. You'll get a second entry!
  3. Hit the Silk Road! Find the phony location of a Silk Road yurt, post the true and the false locations in your comment here, and gain another chance to win.
  4. Tweet, RT (#BBQBonanza), post to Facebook.


BBQ Bonanza 2011 - Salt block grilled Salmon with Basil Butter

Photo credit: Denise Woodward, Chez Us

BBQ Bonanza continues with this our fifth guest post. The theme this year, our second, is Sustainability at the Grill. I thought it would be fun to see what our guest posters would come up with -- I have not been disappointed. I began this year's kickoff post with this:

"You're standing at your barbecue grill with a package of hot dogs and you're wondering "why don't I do something more original?" Or maybe you're thinking about where the beef in your burgers came from..."

Our guest poster this week touches on our theme by sharing her awakening to issues of sustainability when she moved from Chilean Sea Bass to wild Alaskan Salmon, and discovered her connection to the issue. I share her desire to treat the planet, not as if we inherited it from the previous generation; but rather, as if we borrowed it from the next.

Later this year, I'll be hosting the 5th annual Teach a Man to Fish - sustainable seafood event anniversary with cooking classes for kids. My hope is to build the next generation of ocean stewards and conscious cooks.

Denise is half of the blogging couple, Chez Us "she cooks, he devours", that counts as half, right Lenny? Her stories are lovely and the photos, even better. The photo above which I nabbed for our bonanza badge was taken by Denise and you may have seen her winning entry in Saveur Magazine - gorgeous! Read on and you'll see why these folks became good friends - thoughtful, delicious, beautiful - what more can I say but thank you? And enjoy!

Salt block grilled Copper River Salmon with Basil Butter

Guest Post: Denise Woodward, Chez Us

Summer is the ultimate grilling season. It doesn't matter where you may live, or the culture you come from, summer and grilling go hand-in-hand. Every season I chuckle to myself as I light up the grill for our first cookout; why don't we take advantage and do it more often throughout the year? Besides the obvious that food just tastes really good when it comes off the grill, it is also social and inviting, not to mention, minimal clean-up. We are lucky living in the Bay Area as our seasons are mild and we can take advantage. But, we still don't. We save our sacred recipes for a few precious months and then we tuck them away until the next year. Maybe it is a comfort thing, or maybe some habits are just hard to break.

I was thrilled when our friend Jackie asked us to join her for BBQ Bonanza 2011 as we had a great time last year exploring Mastering The Grill last summer. When I said yes, I could not wait to see what delicious cookbook she was going to expose us too. Little did I know she would be asking us to write about a topic that is true to her heart: sustainability.

The first time I "really" realized that I needed to try to make a difference in my eating lifestyle was some 20 years ago when I approached my fishmonger to purchase some Chilean Sea Bass. I had been enjoying it weekly, even thought I was on a beer budget. As my eyes searched the case hungrily for it, I was told it was no longer available. I made a joke about the fisherman not being able to find it. He came back saying that was absolutely true. I walked home with a bag of pasta and thought long and deep (no pun intended there) about what was happening. How could this happen? How could we be so careless? Overfishing our oceans? It was criminal.

When I think about sustainability, common sense comes to mind. Kind of like ... you leave your house, you turn off the lights and shut the door; excessive behaviors will result in a diminishment of luxuries. Just like that Chilean sea bass.  I took advantage of eating something so delicious, every week, and soon it was not available to me. We try to eat sustainably in our home by asking questions, such as where our food is coming from? How did it come to us? Could we make a better choice? Also by eating seasonally. Do we really need bright red strawberries in the middle of February, when they have been put on a plane from Peru just to land on my table?

We try to do our part. We are only two people, a small speck actually, but we try. We have to, as we want the younger generations, such as our nieces, nephews and MEM to grow into fine adults who care; who have a planet to live on, a planet to grow their families on. If we don't try, who will?

We recently received a lovely package of gorgeous fresh caught Copper River Salmon. Granted it does have to board a flight to get to us; but, the fish is harvested sustainably. The salmon from the Copper River is special, it really doesn't taste like any salmon I have eaten. It is smooth, creamy and full of omega 3s. I tucked away a pound of the king salmon for a special occasion. I could not think of a better time to use it than now. One of my favorite ways to grill salmon is using a whole salmon. I stuff it full of fresh basil, lemon, red onion, butter and some white wine; then I grill it.

It is a delicious way to celebrate summer and the grilling season. Since I was not lucky enough to have a whole salmon, I made my recipe a bit differently this time. I seasoned the salmon with a little black pepper and then cooked it over hot coals, on top of a chunk of Himalayan Salt. The salt distributes heat evenly while lightly seasoning the fish. If you don't have a salt plate, grill the fish as you normally would.

Then, I made a compound butter using fresh basil, lemon zest, shallots and a little white wine. Right before taking the salmon off the grill, I put some of the compound butter on top. The slow heat that was left in the grill as well as the smoke wrapped around the salmon and butter, creating a very moist and flavorful piece of fish. Simple. Sustainable.

Recipe:  Grilled Salmon with Basil Butter


  • 1 pound of sustainably caught salmon
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 stick high quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine, optional
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. In a small mixing bowl mash the butter with a fork, until creamy.  Add the seasonings.  Stir to combine.
  2. Roll the butter into a log using parchment paper.  Put into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the grill to 350.  Lightly oil the salmon and season with pepper.
  4. Grill the fish until almost cooked.  5 minutes before removing from the grill, slice the butter into slices and evenly space on top of the salmon.
  5. Cover the grill with the lid and continue to cook for the last couple minutes.

Serve.  Eat.

BBQ BONANZA '11 is sponsored by:




Giveaway Rules:

We'll be giving away three Silk Road BBQ Sauce Trios. One trio will be given away in each month: July (congrats, Jenni!), August, and September.

Each winner will receive: one bottle of Carolina sauce (for dressing pulled pork); one bottle of pomegranate chili sauce (versatile sweet/sour/spicy); and one bottle of jerk marinade (meat brine or stew base or ceviche base).


Enter to win:

1. Add a comment on any of the BBQ Bonanza posts. I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner from that month's comments.

2. Add a post on your own blog - c'mon, you know you're grilling! - and link back to one of the BBQ Bonanza posts that inspired you. Let me know which one and you earn another shot. I'll link back, too!

3. Bonus entry: answer to this question and gain another entry in the drawing: Which of the sites on the Silk Road BBQ website is NOT a current, actual location of one of their yurts?


Second Sponsor for August:

For the month of August, we are thrilled to add a second sponsor: OXO! OXO joins the BBQ Bonanza family, graciously offering this groovy and practical four piece grilling tool set. Groovy and practical, isn't that their sweet spot?

These tools have long handles (safely keeping your arms away from the heat. They feature retractable hanging hooks, durable stainless steel tools with comfortable beech wood grips, and the silicone basting brush incorporates OXO’s patented design to prevent marinades from sliding off bristles. I can tell you from personal experience, once you've used an Oxo kitchen tool, nothing else compares. The other basting brushes in my house are lonely, pressed into service only when two separate things are being basted or when my Oxo brush is in the dishwasher. Tongs lock, too. They really think of everything.


Remember all you have to do to enter is drop a comment on any August BBQ Bonanza post, and extra entries can be yours, simply share the link love (see above).

We want to know what you're grilling and how you incorporate sustainability at the grill.

Now go on, fire it up!





Don't forget, BBQ & Grilling love this month also includes a chance to win:

Your comments on any BBQ Bonanza post in August enter you to win Fire it Up: 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything. Even includes recipes for goat!