Portland Wine Week Highlights

Portland Wine Week (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) kicks off today and the organizers and Portland restaurants have put together a really great schedule of events. It would be nearly impossible to go to every one of the 50+ wine dinners, signature events, tasting and seminars but you could have a lot of fun giving it a try.

I’ve looked over the full schedule and here are some of the highlights:

  • Opening Night Events – the Grand Wine Tasting at the Custom House, and Grand Cru Lounge at the Cumberland Club
  • Blind Tasting Seminar – taught by Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe
  • Tasting Contest at MJs – test your skill at blind tasting and identifying
  • Wine Passport – 25+ restaurant around town will have wine specials on the menu, get your passport stamped at least 10 to enter a drawing for a special dinner at the 2019 PWW
  • Tasting Seminar with Michael MadrigaleFood & Wine Sommelier of the Year, Michael Madrigale, will be leading a tasting on Expensive Wines and Their Designer Imposters
  • Women in Wine Panel – explores the growing leadership of women in the wine industry
  • Natural Wine Panel Discussion – moderated by Joe Appel, and including panelists Ned Swain, Alice Feiring and others
  • Wine Dinners – there are 12 different wine dinners taking place during PWW
  • Wild Beer/Wild Wine – “Set to a sound track of David Bowie, Tim from Oxbow and Ned Swain from Devenish will serve a flight of beers and wines, all fermented with wild yeasts, and discuss how much overlap there actually is between these fizzy, ambient, yeast-wild beverages.”
  • A Billecart-Salmon champagne brunch at Lolita
  • A grower champagne and caviar event at Central Provisions
  • Wine List Talk/Tasting/Exhibit –Maine-based rare book dealer and culinary historian by Don Lingren from Rabelais Books has put together an exhibit of wine lists from the past two centuries. He will be giving a talk on ‘what historical wine lists tell us about how wine marketing and wine drinking has changed over the decades”. Drifters will be pairing the talk with some wines “updated versions of historical wine list favorites”.
  • Closing Gala – a 5-course dinner with pairings prepared by some of Maine’s top chefs: Bowman Brown from Elda, Ilma Lopez from Chaval/Piccolo, Emil Rivera from Sur Lie, Courtney Loreg from Woodford F&B, Fred Eliot from Scales. Accompanied by “High-flying ‘cirque’ aerial performances”.

You can check out the full schedule online and also download this handy printable pocket guide to Portland Wine Week.

Events: Portland Wine Week, Allagash Street Fair

Monday – this is the first day of Portland Wine Week – 50+  tastings, wine dinners, classes, kicked off by a tasting events on Monday at the Cumberland Club and the Custom House, and capped of by a 5-course gala prepared by chefs Bowman Brown from Elda, Ilma Lopez from Chaval, Courtney Loreg from Woodford F&B, Fred Eliot from Scales and Emil Rivera from Sur Lie. The Maine Farmlands Trust will be celebrating the release of the 5th issue of Maine Farms.

Tuesday9 Portland Wine Week events are taking place.

Wednesday8 Portland Wine Week events are taking place, as is the Monument Square Farmers’ Market.

Thursday6 Portland Wine Week events are taking place, and The Great Lost Bear is holding an Allagash Street Fair Showcase.

Friday4 Portland Wine Week events are taking place, and there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont on Congress Street.

Saturday10 Portland Wine Week events are taking place, and Allagash is holding their annual Street Fair, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday7 Portland Wine Week events are taking place, and Scattaloni Bakery is teaching a baking class.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Under Construction: Simply Vegan by Silly’s

Silly’s owner Colleen Kelley has a new cafe and market under development called Simply Vegan by Silly’s which will serve and sell for takeout Silly’s vegan foods, sauces, meals and baked goods.
The 9-seat counter service establishment will be located at 68 Washington Ave in the space formerly occupied by Centro Latino. Kelley hopes to open in July.
Silly’s itself is coming up on it’s 30th anniversary this July 15th, and during the Summer has deck, patio and now a beer garden out behind the restaurant at 40 Washington Ave.

Reviews: Eaux

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Eaux.

“Shrimp & City Grits” is a cheffed-up version of the iconic southern dish, complete with a semi-runny soft egg on top. These grits are the real deal, though, and while the shrimp could’ve used a bit more seasoning on this particular occasion, they paired beautifully with everything else happening on the plate to form a cohesive whole.

Lifting the Curse

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram takes a look at a few challenging restaurant spaces and the factors that have contributed to their high turnover over the years.

A closer examination of what’s happened in some of the high-turnover restaurant spaces in the Old Port – the heart of Portland’s huge restaurant scene – show that, although each space and each occupant has its own story, challenges like size, location and rising rents played into the succession of relatively short stays. For those that have broken the pattern, it’s taken a special ingredient.

Survey of Newest Crop of Food Trucks

In lieu of a restaurant review, the Maine Sunday Telegram has published a survey of some of newest food trucks/carts with recommendations on what to order when you go.

But what about the newcomers? Over the past several weeks, I visited eight rookie carts and trucks, all in their first or second season. From spruce-tip-flavored ice cream to Cambodian sandwiches, their creative, sometimes zany offerings showcase how kitchens on wheels can expand and enhance the diversity of Portland’s dining options.

Flea Bites in Congress Square

The first Flea Bites of the season is taking place today at Congress Square Park, 11am – 3pm.

Mobile food vendors Mr. Tuna, Eighty 8 Donut Cafe, Pizza by Fire, Hakka Me, Little Bee Honey Ice Cream, and El Rodeo will all be participating.

Fleabites food truck/cart events are planned Monthly through October on July 15th, August 19th, September 16th and October 21st.

Under Construction: 371

New owners are taking over the longtime bar Forest Gardens at 371 Forest Ave, and renaming it 371.

Lindsay and Tyler Holden write in their cover letter that the name change was a request from the building owner, but despite the new name they

plan is to keep the tradition, camaraderie and familiarity the current patrons have come to know and love since 1936 the same as it currently exists. With the retirement of the current owner we feel privileged to take on this task.