Under Construction: Figa

Today’s Portland Daily Sun has a report on what’s delaying the launch of chef Lee Farrington’s new restaurant Figa.

At issue is this: although Farrington owns her space at 249 Congress, her water is piped through an adjacent building owned by Alice Dunn. For the previous owner of 249 Congress, a hair salon, Dunn installed a “sub-meter” in the basement that kept track of how much water the salon consumed…Dunn says she’s unwilling to allow Farrington access to water line because she’s worried that higher water usage from the restaurant could create water-pressure issues for her other tenants, who share the water line.

Bella Cheesecakes

There’s a profile of Bella Cheese Cakes in the Food & Dining section in of today’s Press Herald. Bella’s cheesecakes can be found in Portland at Simply Scandinavian Foods and the Good Eats Boutique and he’ll be debuting a new flavor next weekend at the Chocolate Lover’s Fling.

But other cheesecakes in his repertoire go beyond the standard flavors. Dominicus has a talent for taking the original idea of a food or favorite drink and transforming it into a cheesecake.

If you harbor fond memories of eating a cold orange creamsicle on a hot summer day, Dominicus has an orange creamsicle cheesecake with vanilla wafer crust and whipped cream topping that will whisk you back to your childhood.

NYT: Backyard Farms in Central Maine

The New York Times has published an article about Backyard Farms, a Maine-based hydroponic tomato farm in Madison that operates a 42-acre greenhouse.

When it was built three years ago, the company’s first 24-acre greenhouse in Madison was already the largest building in Maine. This second connected greenhouse, completed last year, brought the total area under glass to some 42 acres, or roughly the size of 32 football fields. Even in the depths of winter, a million tomatoes ripen indoors to harvest each week, snipped from their vines by workers in T-shirts and shorts.

Heiwa Tofu Interview

Cornucopasetic has published an interview with Jeff Wolovitz, founder of Heiwa Tofu, a Maine brand that is sold in several Portland area stores and restaurants.

Where do you get your soy beans? Are these the same beans that Lalibela Farm is using to make their tempeh?
Bob Reisner in Skowhegan. I’d like to diversify. I’ve talked to Henry Perkins about growing this coming year. Also, Donnie Webb in Pittson. Donnie cleaned Bob’s beans for me this year and would like to try growing soybeans for me. They are all great folks…I use a lot. At least 20,000 pounds this year. That takes roughly ten to twenty acres of land and will make 35,000 pounds of tofu!

Profile of Bogusha and Her Deli

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes a profile of Bogusha Pawlazyk and her Polish deli on Stevens Ave.

This past week Bogusha Pawlazyk and Andrzej Rzycki  of Bogusha’s Polish Restaurant and Deli on Stevens Avenue have been busy with preparations for the inevitable torrent of customers in search of culinary holiday authenticity. There are pastries from the European Bakery in Worcester: makowiec (poppy seed cake), orzechowiec (walnut cake), cream cakes, and various cheese cakes. Of course there is Easter babka, which celebrates the return of eggs to the diet after the Lenten restrictions in a sweet cake made with more than a dozen eggs yolks.

Thai-o-rama: Pom’s Thai Taste

For the fourth round of the Thai-o-rama (Round 1, Round 2, Round 3) collaborative food writing project, the group tackled Pom’s Thai Taste. There are three locations (2 in SoPo and 1 in the city), but we decided to focus our attention on the one on Congress Street.

Appetite Portland decided to forgo her usual Pom’s order of five flavor noodle soup with crispy duck (“not the best soup in the world, but it’s dependable, hearty, filling and affordable”) to branch out into new horizons on the menu. She writes that the Steamed Butterflies dumplings were a “sticky and overly sweet mess”. However, the Pad Thai was “quite tasty” once lime “begged” from the waitress balanced out the sweetness. Read the Full Review

Edible Obsessions points out that the “Thailand meets Ikea” interior design for the dining room “is bright and cheery without the feeling of being campy or gaudy,” and that “the food also falls into the line of pretty simple and straightforward.” It sounds like the Krah-Tong Thong appetizer, Pad Khee-Mao and desserts were the high point of her meal with the bland Pad Thai being the most notable exception. Read the Full Review

Portland Eats rates Pom’s as “good, solid, Thai food” but that the menu of 694 items (he counted) is too long and that “as good as the food at Pom’s is, it would be even better if the menu was more focused, truly highlighting a small handful of specialties.”. Read the Full Review

Portland Food Heads tried the Paad-Khee-Mao “I’ve always loved drunken noodles, and these were very good; in fact, one of the better plates I’ve ever had.” However on a return trip for some take-out was disappointed by a plate of Crab Pad Thai. Read the Full Review

The Blueberry Files handed this review over to a guest post by her roommate. They both “appreciated the complete lack of kitsch” in the restaurant decor, which enabled them to “focus entirely on the food. Which was, on balance, pretty good.” They enjoyed the $1 sushi but the meal went off course with the “odd consistency” of the non-traditional Crispy Pad Thai. Their Fried coconut ice cream “was a great way to end the evening”.Read the Full Review

Where is Jenner’s Mind rates Pom’s as “some of the best thai food in portland”. The dumplings were “bland” but the Crispy Duck got rave reviews (“i’m drooling just writing about it”). Read the Full Review

My take on Pom’s is that it offers a solid choice for Thai in the city. Like Edible Obsessions and Portland Food Heads, I don’t think Pad Thai isn’t their strong suit. It’s clear from this set of reviews (and the ones linked below) that there’s plenty on the menu to enjoy but that the service still has some room to grow. From the comments of The Blueberry Files and Edible Obsessions as well as my own experience, skipping dessert would be a mistake.

For more on Pom’s Thai Taste also check out these earlier reviews by:

Thai-o-rama: Pom's Thai Taste

For the fourth round of the Thai-o-rama (Round 1, Round 2, Round 3) collaborative food writing project, the group tackled Pom’s Thai Taste. There are three locations (2 in SoPo and 1 in the city), but we decided to focus our attention on the one on Congress Street.
Appetite Portland decided to forgo her usual Pom’s order of five flavor noodle soup with crispy duck (“not the best soup in the world, but it’s dependable, hearty, filling and affordable”) to branch out into new horizons on the menu. She writes that the Steamed Butterflies dumplings were a “sticky and overly sweet mess”. However, the Pad Thai was “quite tasty” once lime “begged” from the waitress balanced out the sweetness. Read the Full Review
Edible Obsessions points out that the “Thailand meets Ikea” interior design for the dining room “is bright and cheery without the feeling of being campy or gaudy,” and that “the food also falls into the line of pretty simple and straightforward.” It sounds like the Krah-Tong Thong appetizer, Pad Khee-Mao and desserts were the high point of her meal with the bland Pad Thai being the most notable exception. Read the Full Review
Portland Eats rates Pom’s as “good, solid, Thai food” but that the menu of 694 items (he counted) is too long and that “as good as the food at Pom’s is, it would be even better if the menu was more focused, truly highlighting a small handful of specialties.”. Read the Full Review
Portland Food Heads tried the Paad-Khee-Mao “I’ve always loved drunken noodles, and these were very good; in fact, one of the better plates I’ve ever had.” However on a return trip for some take-out was disappointed by a plate of Crab Pad Thai. Read the Full Review
The Blueberry Files handed this review over to a guest post by her roommate. They both “appreciated the complete lack of kitsch” in the restaurant decor, which enabled them to “focus entirely on the food. Which was, on balance, pretty good.” They enjoyed the $1 sushi but the meal went off course with the “odd consistency” of the non-traditional Crispy Pad Thai. Their Fried coconut ice cream “was a great way to end the evening”.Read the Full Review
Where is Jenner’s Mind rates Pom’s as “some of the best thai food in portland”. The dumplings were “bland” but the Crispy Duck got rave reviews (“i’m drooling just writing about it”). Read the Full Review
My take on Pom’s is that it offers a solid choice for Thai in the city. Like Edible Obsessions and Portland Food Heads, I don’t think Pad Thai isn’t their strong suit. It’s clear from this set of reviews (and the ones linked below) that there’s plenty on the menu to enjoy but that the service still has some room to grow. From the comments of The Blueberry Files and Edible Obsessions as well as my own experience, skipping dessert would be a mistake.
For more on Pom’s Thai Taste also check out these earlier reviews by:

This Week's Events

Monday Bar Lola, BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe and Cinque Terre are all holding wine dinners tonight and Ri-Ra is hosting a wine event featuring “25 different wineries, taste over 100 different wines” to benefit the Cancer Community Center; Stephen Lanzalotta is teaching a Piatto per Tutti cooking class.
Tuesday — Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh is opening their “unique and explanatory” Seder dinner to the public as part of the National Jewish Outreach Program.
Wednesday — a “bourbon guru” will be at The Salt Exchange for a Jim Beam tasting.
Friday — the West End Deli is holding a wine tasting, also First Friday Art Walk is taking place and the restaurants will be busy so make your reservations soon.
Saturday — the indoor Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place, Leroux Kitchen is holding a wine tasting.
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.

This Week’s Events

Monday Bar Lola, BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe and Cinque Terre are all holding wine dinners tonight and Ri-Ra is hosting a wine event featuring “25 different wineries, taste over 100 different wines” to benefit the Cancer Community Center; Stephen Lanzalotta is teaching a Piatto per Tutti cooking class.

Tuesday — Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh is opening their “unique and explanatory” Seder dinner to the public as part of the National Jewish Outreach Program.

Wednesday — a “bourbon guru” will be at The Salt Exchange for a Jim Beam tasting.

Friday — the West End Deli is holding a wine tasting, also First Friday Art Walk is taking place and the restaurants will be busy so make your reservations soon.

Saturday — the indoor Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place, Leroux Kitchen is holding a wine tasting.

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.