As a person that enjoys culinary adventures yet mostly still eats like an 8 year old, I found Tiqa to be quite intriguing. Typically I don’t venture outside of culturally-familiar cuisine, mostly due to my fear of eating other species’ reproductive bits. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy good Indian food, or an Italian from time to time. Fortunately for me, the majority of our lunch venue votes come from grass-fed juicing vegan-ese with dietary restrictions and a keen eye for good local fare. We’ve had pretty good luck thus far and Tiqa was no exception.
Tiqa is located on Commercial Street and is attached to the Courtyard Marriott. When I learned of the location, I assumed this would be a buffet where we would have the pleasure of dining side-by-side with world travelers and fishing boat tour enthusiasts. I was overwhelmed with the the idea of rubbing elbows with some of the world’s finest explorers while shoveling ladle after ladle of mint yogurt onto a plate full of falafel. To my surprise, it was really “restarauntesque”. They even had a bar and real cooks with authentic Mediterranean mustaches. The decor was moderately tasteful, the big glass doors and windows added lots of natural lighting… and the view… my god… the view of the Portland Fish Exchange… you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
We began as we always had, ordering $900 worth of drinks before everyone was seated. The beer menu, was robust and full of decent options, as it should be in the land of lobster and lighthouse paintings. I even tried a chick drink… thinking I’d leave with less bloat and a stronger will to sit through “Hot Pursuit” starring Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara. I’m pleased to report that I did indeed watch this film that night, yet I had the same urge to rip off my penis and bleed out midway through. The drink’s name was Limonana, and consisted of Stoli blueberry vodka, pomegranate lemonade and pomegranate seeds. Yummers. The drink itself was well crafted and quite tasty. The addition of pomegranate seeds and then a straw to drink it with was frustrating. My endlessly clever boss managed to prevent me from hulking out on my drink by demonstrating that the straw may be raised one inch from the bottom of the glass. I followed his lead, and then downed the rest of the seeds and ice in one big crunchy bite. I still have seed bits in my teeth, but this may be due to me using a soft bristle toothbrush. Overall, though, I did enjoy the drink. My next 3 drinks were beer. If I remember correctly, Dogfish Head Ancient Ale. The waitress did her best to explain what “Ancient Ale” meant. What I surmised from our chat was that it is loosely based on what our ancestors drank back in Mesopotamia, where we became erect. It was a bit sweet, but good enough to have 2 more. I might have tried something else as well, but it doesn’t matter.
We ordered some of the “First Course” items from the menu to be used as appetizers. I can’t recall what was ordered from both ends of the table, but I did manage to get my hands on some of the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. For a vegetable that usually sucks really hard, they did this one right. It had somewhat of a smoked sesame flavor to it that made me forget all about the fact that it was the beet’s crappy green cousin. I really enjoyed this “First Course” and would probably eat a whole plate of them with my eyes closed. I got to try one of the Falafel balls, and it was exceptional (as long as you’re not expecting a meatball flavor to come out of it). The second bite, I drowned in the Cucumber Tahini, and was able to separate my bottom jaw from the top to swallow.
Tiqa’s crafty menu authors even took the time to inform the public as to what a “Chicken Shawarma” dish consisted of. To my delight, there were no obscure species of animals or parts we typically don’t eat listed in any of their menu offerings. Staying with tradition, and similar to the real Thai food enthusiast that I am (Chicken Pad Thai…always), I went with the more familiar Chicken Shawarma. According to the menu, Chicken Shawarma consists of Chicken Kefta, Tahini, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Yogurt and Mint. I says… “Sure why not. I like all of that stuff!”. To be perfectly clear, “all of that stuff” excludes Kefta, because I still don’t know what that means, but at this point, I don’t need to know if I have consumed chickens anus or the like. At the time, I was trying to avoid bread and carbohydrates in solidarity with my wife who’s trying to lose weight… or at least that’s how she paints wanting me to eat things I despise. When my meal arrived, I was a bit surprised by the fact that it was a wrap. Nowhere on that menu did it say wrap. Was this the elusive Kefta, or was that the part that made it Shawarma? I just don’t know folks. By the time I had received my meal, I had already had 3 drinks, which is a metric F-ton of carbohydrates. I have to mention, that 3 drinks prior to having my meal delivered is not necessarily a reflection of poor service, but a compliment to the waitress that could keep up with my rate of consumption.
All in all, I enjoyed Chicken Kefta, and the pairing of all the ingredients together. The inclusion of several of the food items gave it a really refreshing, cooling sensation all over my mouth parts. Regardless of what Kefta might be, I’m giving it an “A”, because I would eat it again, and nearly 5 days later, still nothing strange has happened in the bathroom.
Most-Favorited Dish: Mezze Plate
Honorable Mention: Chicken Merguez (Chicken Sausage)
About 80% of Page One employees would enthusiastically return to Tiqa.
Words Used by Our Team to Describe the Experience:
Address: 327 Commercial St., Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Monday-Wednesday – 11:0am-11:00pm
Thursday-Saturday – 11:00am-1:00am
Sunday – 10:00am-11:00pm