I’m already hopelessly devoted to The Crooked Mile on Milk Street in Portland and so when I heard they had opened a second location on Brighton Avenue, going there was essentially like renewing my vows. Though I wondered, would the service be as friendly and speedy? Would the food be as good?
The answer to both questions was a resounding yes. But let me start with a fresh love note about a certain sandwich. I’ve been a rabid fan of the Jersey Joe Italian for almost five years. If I could only eat one sandwich for the rest of my life, this would be it. The Jersey Joe is ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, oil, vinegar and oregano. Bread options are baguette, marble rye, 12-grain, honey oat and gluten-free. Or you can get your sandwich on a wheat, white or spinach wrap. Have I ever ordered it on anything other than the baguette? Fuhgettaboutit. Because why mess with perfection? I’ve never remembered to ask them who their baguette supplier is, but I hope they never break up.
However on this day, when I ventured out to the Brighton Avenue locale, I had to go in a different direction. A health kick is in full swing and although I wanted a Jersey Joe I decided a better option was the Cobb salad. The Crooked Mile Cobb is grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, bacon, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, guacamole, mixed greens and ranch dressing. My only modifications were no tomatoes and dressing on the side. I got it to go and picnicked at my desk. My first step was to distribute the container of guacamole evenly and then I drizzled the ranch dressing very sparingly and dug in.
Everything was fresh and tasty. Bacon, eggs and chicken are always a winning combination. My only regret was not ordering a cup of soup from the specials board. The day’s soups were vegan veggie lentil, vegetarian creamy tomato and chicken orzo. I say this because they all sound delicious and also because the salad on its own was not enough food for this hungry camper. It could have used another ounce or two of chicken. Though I did chomp down on the apple right away and that certainly helped. Getting back to specials, the grilled cheese and cup of soup is always available for $6.95 (add $1 for bacon).
I also convinced a colleague to try a sandwich. She opted for the fresh mozzarella sandwich on baguette (of course!) which came with tomato, pesto and greens then topped with basil, balsamic vinaigrette, oregano and red onion. The amount of cheese was commended. “Sometimes sandwich shops get a little skimpy with fresh mozzarella cheese but not this one. Every bite included a solid layer of cheese.” She also mentioned that the mixed greens were much appreciated as was the layer of pesto spread. Safe to say, she enjoyed this sandwich and told me later that she devoured it in a jiffy.
Every sandwich at The Crooked Mile is available in salad form and both options come with either a bag of chips or an apple. They’re all $7.50 and that’s a very good deal these days. On previous visits to the Old Port locale I’ve tried the Chicken Bleu (grilled chicken, bleu cheese crumbles, walnuts, red onions and greens with balsamic vinaigrette) and my beet-eating friends have raved about the Beetnik (beets, grilled chicken, roasted almond slivers and red onion with arugula and red wine vinaigrette).
WHERE: 428 Brighton Ave., Portland. 773-8708, thecrookedmilecafe.com
HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sundays.
WAIT: Less than five minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: NO