23 March 2008

bibo’s madd apple cafe

dining date: 03.23.08
bibo’s madd apple cafe on forest near congress
web: bibos madd apple cafe
pricing category:
definately reasonable considering the options and quality
guest critic:
overall grade:
the lowdown:
- excellent service without much wait for the food.
- extensive menu of regular options, plus a whole sheet of specials, it was easter though...
- even though we didn’t have a reservation, we only had to wait 15 minutes for a table, not bad for a brunch-lovin’ holiday like easter.
- great atmosphere, cool artwork, this place is cooler than a split-level ranch.
the food

the benny girl
- vegetable benedict, homies, side of bacon, a third of a belgian waffle with whipped nutella and raspberry/mango compote, and tea
- grade: A
"sandwiched between a new thai restaurant and an art gallery, you might pass right by bibo’s madd apple cafe if you’re not looking for it. do not make this mistake. you would miss out on a fabulous culinary experience -- whether it’s morning or night. i was a little worried that there wouldn’t be any tables available -- it being the second biggest brunch-going holiday of the year and all (after st. patty’s day) -- and that we’d spend the whole morning going from one place to another, constantly being told that there was a 75 minute wait and we’d never get to eat. but bibo’s came through and told us that we could wait for a table that should be free in about 15 minutes. resisting the urge to stand at the window and stare in at the couple whose departure we were eagerly awaiting, we decided to instead stare through the windows of the gallery next door and enjoy the sunshine. 15 minutes later (almost to the second) we were seated in a cute little window seat. i was very impressed with the plethora of options on the menu and thought it was great that they give you the two-sided wine and drink list in the morning. (must be for all those people who are celebrating the end of their 6 week long, lent-induced sobriety). true to form, i went with one of the benedict options. not really wanting to spend a ton of dough, i sadly bypassed the benedict special that came with crab, bacon, avocado, and veggies, and went for the vegetable benedict with spinach and tomato. but then i got a side of bacon that i broke into little pieces to put on the benedict -- you know, the poor man’s version of the daily special, sans the avo crab. the benedict was really good with a practically perfect hollandaise. the spinach was a little much though. fortunately i could tell that it was made with fresh, not frozen, leaves...but it was a little too overcooked and mushy. i think that you should always put raw spinach on a benedict, since the heat of the eggs will wilt the leaves just the right amount. anyway...the bacon was plentiful (which was a nice treat) although a little dry. i loved the homies. you can read my compadres reviews for more deets on the taters...no need for unnecessary repetition. okay, get ready for the best thing you’ve ever vicariously tasted via review-reading. the waffle of the day. as you all know, i almost always favor the savor, but the one big exception to that rule for me is nutella. love the stuff so much. so when i saw that the waffle came with whipped nutella and a raspberry/mango compote (not to be confused with compost, which would not go well with nutella), i almost wet myself in excitement. fortunately, the dessert did not disappoint in the slightest, and was most certainly the highlight of the meal. splitting it three ways provided just enough of the tasty, decadent treat. and i have to say that the combination of flavors was brilliant -- the hazelnut chocolate, combined with the sweet, yet tangy, compote was amazing. oh, and the tea was good. i had to put the tea bag in the pot myself, but hey, at least there was a pot. this was a really great dining experience from the first bite to the last. all in all, way better than eating cadberry cream eggs for breakfast...hands down."

the usual
- spinach, tomato and goat cheese frittata, homefries, toast, waffle, coffee
- grade: A

"prior to today, i’d only eaten at bibo’s once, and that was dinner so it doesn’t count. (it was delicious though by the way). after settling into our spacious table by the window, i perused the extensive menu and was shocked to find myself unable to choose between all of the glorious options. i’m even willing to forgive them for not including ’the usual’ as it’s own option because the rest of the possibilities were just so imaginatively wonderful. plus, it’s easter, so i decided to kick it up a notch, you know, for jesus. i went with the frittata, despite a previous incident that wild toast had with this particular breakfast item (think scabby). the food arrived in good time, not too fast or slow, and in the meantime, i was rewarded with frequent refills on tasty coffee. my frittata was great, spinach and tomatoes nestled throughout, with a generous glob of goat cheese waiting happily on top. the homefries were a mix of sweet and russet-like potatoes. this isn’t usually my favorite in that sweet potatoes always get mushy before regular potatoes and contaminate the rest of the batch with their sweet smushyness. not the case with bibo’s, the sweetie’s held their own with the heartier variety and even managed to crisp a little on the edges. i think they may have been oven roasted, but regardless, they were flavorful and enjoyable. the toast was fantastic, one large slab of peasant-like bread with crispy crust. it even arrived with a charming little divided dish containing butter and jam. a-dorable. unfortunately, it didn’t come with ketchup and there was none on the table...always a bummer. once we asked for ketchup it came in a little dish, forcing me to control my intake and leave some for my fellow reviewers. not my favorite. but regardless, this wasn’t enough to lower bibo’s stellar performance in my book. oh, and i didn’t even mention the fantastic waffle that we split for dessert which i would have to say was one of the most delicious i’ve tasted. the raspberry/mango compote was not too sweet and added a lovely tang, and the nutella added a touch of something...oh i don’t know...perfect. all in all a great meal, and a nice experience. with a great intown location but an off-the-beaten-path feel, bibo’s is the perfect alternative to many of portland’s better-known establishments. don’t miss it."
wild toast- traditional benedict, homefries, coffee
-grade: A
"while i didn’t search my house for easter eggs, or have an easter basket filled with fun stuff, i did enjoy a great meal on this fine sunny easter morning. going to bibo’s, without a reservation, we lucked out on this holy of days by getting a table in the window after a short wait outside in the sun. with a deep tan and smile on my face, i enjoyed the coffee and the brunch options. ordering a traditional benedict i was at first a little off-put because it seemed like my plate was missing something as i only got homefries with my benny. three-quarters of the way through my meal however, i decided that the amount of food was in fact perfect. perhaps a piece of bok choy or a radish would have been a nice addition to the presentation, but really my meal was quite good. the homies, which i believe were baked, were quite good with diced pieces of red pepper twinkling through the mix of sweet and white potatoes. the benedict was great, excellent hollandaise and perfectly poached eggs created the blessed runny seas for the shoals of my soul. and then there was tony’s across the street where you can get hair extensions, dreadlocks and a perm. you’ve gotta love the options, i mean if wasn’t already rocking a little bit of a fro i could totally dig hair extensions, especially right after humming around a great meal at bibo’s. so anyway, we also got the special waffle that was pretty awesome, with an amazing mango/raspberry compote which was definately more food than i needed, but it’s a holiday right? what would jesus do? look around for the easter bunny? or eat a lot of awesome food? you tell me. enough said. bibo’s brunch was totally an easter miracle."


Anonymous said...

I can't say that I'm sad you folks are gone. Stay far, far away from each other. Probably had to move away due to layoffs, (if you had jobs at all), those day jobs just not cutting it. Not getting paid for your reviews, big surprise. Your collective I.Q.s are evident in your reviews. I mean could you be any more off base on Portland's landmark diner. I'm sure you objectively write with the consumer in mind . . . or with a bit of a vendetta. Your disdain for Becky's Diner is comical. Could your jealousy of one of he most successful restaurants in Portland be any more transparent. I'm not sure what (other than jealousy) your personal agenda is, but to be taken seriously as "critics" you need to write with some kind of respect for the restaurants you review. I'm sure that as a loyal customer of Becky's I speak for the hundreds of thousands of customers they serve each year along with the thousands of regulars who visit every week. Not to mention Gourmet Magazine, the Portland Phoenix, Rachel Ray, and countless others with much more cred and smarts than yourselves. Becky's Diner has been and will always be the premier diner in Portland. May your toast always be burnt breakfast club. Long Live Becky's Diner.

The Benny Girl said...

I'm not sure why "Anonymous" chose our Bibo's posting to leave a comment about our review of Becky's diner...but in the interest of cohesiveness, this is where I'll now respond to his/her comment.

In general, I don't feel the need to defend ourselves against the type of comment that was left here. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion, right? However, since our integrity and objectivity is being questioned in this comment, I will respond in order to defend that.

Dear Anonymous: I want to be very clear with you that we neither have a personal agenda or vendetta, nor are we jealous of Becky's Diner (what reason would we have to be jealous? We don't own a diner or restaurant!) Just to clarify, I -- The Benny Girl -- was born and raised in Portland, Maine. Over the years, I went to Becky's Diner several times and enjoyed it every time. In fact, you could even say that I was a fan. (To prove this point, I could tell you a rather comical story involving my high school graduation party and a late-night mass pilgrimage to Becky's Diner.) However, something changed over the years: the prices increased, the food quality decreased, the service went downhill...and most importantly, I discovered how many other (better) breakfast spots there were in Portland. Ones that will actually give a bottomless cup of coffee, as all diners should.

As for my TBC compadres... They grew up a little north of here, and therefore were not introduced to Becky's until they moved here a few years ago. They had each eaten there a couple of times before we came together as a reviewing trio, and were disappointed every time.

Just so everyone out there knows that we don't have biases and we are objective reviewers, we want you all to know that we went to Becky's that morning with a squeaky clean slate, hoping to be proven wrong. We wanted to have an experience that was far superior than the last few times we had been there. And mostly, we wanted to understand why Becky's has the reputation that it does. But as you read in our review, that definitely didn't happen. And in case you still question our objectivity, just read the review of our guest critic mamamimosa and the comments that other strangers left to corroborate our opinions.

You are correct in your assessment that Becky's is very popular amongst locals, tourists and celebrities alike. However, I maintain that while they may be the most well-known and well-advertised, they certainly do not have the best breakfast. But whatever -- let the tourists eat there if they want to...that'll just leave more space for us locals at the other breakfast spots!

Anonymous said...

becky's sucks...you're an idiot, anonymous commenter, and even though it was a year ago you left that comment, i had to tell you.

Anonymous said...

We just came across your blog. You need to travel just a little south on Rt 1 to Biddeford find Cole Road. This is were you will find Cole Road Cafe. Bring cash they don't take cards. You will be amazed!!The food is fun and awesome!! Have fun.