New Experiences - Baharat
I once read that people who do things and go to places that they know they enjoy will, in the long run, be happier than those who are constantly trying new things and seeking new places. Now I do not recall where I read that, or if it's even statistically supported for that matter, but when I read it I 120% related.
I am that person who finds a 'favorite' restaurant, hotel, shop, coffee, shirt...and it becomes my go to "I am too tired to think" "I'm starving" "I want the outfit to just fit" place, food or thing that I know is tried and true. I find comfort in this because I know what to expect and I know that I am pretty much guaranteed a good experience. Which says a lot - especially when life gets crazy, and busy and unpredictable (which is most of the time lately).
My husband however is the complete opposite. He's "Mr. Lets Go Someplace New" - and he is always down for anything. Literally, this man would go anywhere, eat anything and do pretty much anything once. And then if he didn't like it he'd chalk it up to 'experience' - where as I would be pissed that I wasted my time and money on something I didn't enjoy.
Opposites atract right?
That and a patient husband who doesn't mind if our date nights when we aren't traveling are often on repeat...
So, now that you've got the back story you will understand where I am going when I say that not only did I try a new restaurant - I tried a new restaurant that serves a type of food I typically do not like (or should I say does not like me and upsets my uber sensitive stomach). And I have to admit the above theory, in this particular case mind you, was absolutely false because I loved every single sip, bite and piece of ambiance of the new spot we tried.
The place is called Baharat, a middle-eastern restaurant, located in the West Bayside neighborhood of Portland (a neighborhood that btw has quickly become uber hip with shops and restaurants popping up what seems like every month).
Funny enough, Baharat used to be a food truck and they would often park in front of our old condo up on the Eastern Promenade and it was perfect because just outside of our front door we would have a row of food trucks almost every weekend and the husband could get his "new food" needs met trying new food trucks each week and I could stick with my food truck staple I knew was good.
Quite honestly, the reason the restaurant even made it onto our agenda is because our friends invited us to dinner there and I didn't want to be the difficult one, so I agreed to go (fully expecting to be eating a grilled cheese or cereal later that night). However, as soon as we arrived all expectations went out the window.
The space alone had me sold; it's light & bright with floor to ceiling garage door style windows that roll up when the weather is nice, the colors are inviting and vibrant and the place was packed. We were able to snag some seats at the bar to wait for our friends and were nearly instantly greeted by their friendly bar staff and welcomed for our "first time" in. I quickly found a rose that looked delish and the husband found the Terra Incognita (a tequila cocktail) and after my first few sips (and smells from the kitchen) all fears/concerns/dislikes of new places disappeared.
Since our friends had been before they knew just what to order, and by that I mean just about everything on the starter menu including:
Hummus & Flatbread
Falafel Balls (these are life changing - you must try them)
For dinner I went with a safe choice of the Chicken Kebab Plate - and I have to say it was absolutely amazing. Just the perfect amount of spices and flavoring and the meat pretty much fell off the skewers. So much more than I could have expected and I certainly was not left hungry OR with a stomach ache later that night.
Honestly, the only thing I was left with was a desire to go back...which we have done, many times.
Does that surprise you given the intro information?
Seriously though, if you are traveling to Portland, ME or live in the area you MUST visit Baharat.
And if you go - I suggest getting there early and grabbing a seat at the bar, especially when the weather is nice and you can enjoy the sunshine and breeze coming through. It's a little slice of heaven.
xo - margaret