Monday January 13, 2014 | 08:01 AM

That irreverent hot spot, Nosh, was where I went this Saturday for a light lunch. But it was almost three in the afternoon and dinner wasn’t far off so I tried to get something that filled me up enough without going overboard.  That admittedly is hard to do at this flavor palace known for its huge portions.

Great space and big food define Nosh Kitchen Bar

Spicey red hots at Nosh

I settled on the house-made hot dogs with Nosh’s cheez-whiz spread and homemade pickled relish.  I figured it would be just one dog on a roll.  It turned out to be two hot reds as large as kielbasas, slathered with the house-made cheez whiz, mustard and relish.  They were delicious but too much food.

The next day I went to Marcy’s (47 Oak St.) for Sunday brunch for some good home-style cooking, I discovered that it had been closed for the week and wouldn’t open until today.  Then it occurred to me to try LFK (188A State St.) instead.  When I got there it was fairly full but found a seat at the bar. 

Marcy's Diner, as pictured last summer

I haven’t been there much since they first opened in the spring of 2012. But it still feels like a time capsule transported from the bohemia of Kerouac and Ginsberg days.  And the room looks it too with its  patina of architectural grit. With  tats, beards and skin heads on most of the male patrons, LFK still stands out as perfect Portland nonconformity. 

John Welliver of LFK holding court (Spring 2012)

Brunch offerings are brief but appetizing. Menu items included LFK benedict with the usual elements of poached eggs and Canadian bacon; tofu scramble with potatoes and toast and Rosemont Scala French toast made with the great bread from that bakery.

What caught my eye was Mama School’s house-brined hash with curried vegetables, potatoes and toast. "Mama" is Ryan School, one of the chefs there.  I tried to find out how he got the moniker of mama but no explanation was forthcoming.

After only one bite, this was a momentous moment of the best hash ever!  The house curing of the beef resulted in an exceedingly flavorful corned beef, and it must have been boiled just right because it had great tenderness without being soppy.  It’s made into hash by being torn up into large chunks and cooked on the flat top with loads of onions, red peppers and potatoes.  The menu says that the vegetables are curried, though I didn’t detect that seasoning nuance one bit. But there’s a fine hint of garlic and a smidgen of heat from cayenne. The eggs were perfectly poached and the grilled Texas style toast was delicious. 

LFK's hash and eggs, the best in Portland!

Be warned though that unless you specify the small portion ($9) you’ll get the large one ($16), which is way too much food to eat at one sitting.  Besides, the bartender-waiter—taciturn to a fault-- should have asked my preference. 


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John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.

In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.

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