Favorite Dishes & How to Order Wine

February 22nd, 2017

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article by Big Tree Hospitality wine manager, Brian Flewelling on how to order wine when dining out,

Even with a good sommelier, you are not totally absolved of responsibility: What you have to do is make a decision. It’s not the one you may think, namely what wine do I order? Rather, you have to decide what kind of wine experience you want and then you have to trust the sommelier to help you to have it.

and a set of dining recommendations from local chefs.

So with Maine Restaurant Week just a week away, we revisit a favorite topic, asking local chefs about their most memorable meals over the past year. Chefs, like the rest of us, often flock to the buzzy new places, which may be why many of them are talking about Tipo, Chris Gould’s latest – it opened six weeks ago. And perhaps it was inevitable that at least one chef would mention the beef salad from Thanh Thanh 2 on Forest Avenue in Portland. If one dish could be proclaimed Portland chefs’ favorite, this would probably be it. As Josh Berry, executive chef at Union put it, “Nothing fancy about this salad. It’s just awesome!”

USM Food Studies Program

February 22nd, 2017

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about the USM Food Studies program.

“If we’re thinking about the food system as not just the food on our plate but what goes into the food on our plate, we have all sorts of questions that we need to ask,” said Kristin Reynolds, visiting professor of food studies at USM. “The strength of this interdisciplinary approach enables us to really look deeply into the whole of the system rather than taking just one part.”

This Week’s Events: J. Lohr, Marshall Wharf, Bali High

February 20th, 2017

Tuesday – Sea Glass is holding a J. Lohr wine dinner.

Wednesday – there will be an Italian wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants.

Thursday – there will be a wine tasting at the Public Market House.

Saturday – Novare Res will be hosting a Marshall Wharf tap takeover, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – High Roller Lobster will be holding Bali High, a tiki bar takeover at Rhum.

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.

Reviews: Izakaya Minato, Other Side Deli, Sichuan Kitchen

February 19th, 2017

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

My takeaway is that Izakaya Minato a great hangout spot that’s different enough to feel casually hip, while the food is a good mix of the familiar and novel.

the Press Herald has reviewed the Other Side Deli,

That same attention to detail was evident in the gyro itself. The lamb was tender and slightly sweet. The cucumbers were prodigious and added heft and substance. The yogurt provided a nice cool complement.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Sichuan Kitchen.

I’d definitely give Sichuan Kitchen another shot. The first one was pretty successful. I might pass on the poached fish unless they cut back on the peppercorns, but otherwise their food is well thought out and somewhat unique to the area. The atmosphere is relatively bland, but the food isn’t. In the end, it was more than good enough for me to plan a return visit.

LB Kitchen Now Open

February 17th, 2017

LB Kitchen (instagram, facebook) is now open at 249 Congress Street. The breakfast and lunch cafe is the creation of Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind, and is located in the former Figa space.

Taco Trio Reopened

February 17th, 2017

Urban Eye reports that Taco Trio has reopened in South Portland.

“We appreciate all the support from customers and people we didn’t even know. They offered their help,” he added. “The people of South Portland and Portland have been very supportive and are excited we are reopened.”

Under Construction: Lazzari

February 16th, 2017

Restauranteur Tom Barr has submitted a liquor license application for Lazzari, a new Italian restaurant he has under development at 618 Congress Street, the former location of Mesa Verde. The space has been completely renovated and the kitchen now includes a wood-fired pizza oven.

Barr has submitted a draft menu (pages 156-157) with the application. Here’s a section of it:

Under Construction: Cheevitdee

February 16th, 2017

Cheevitdee has submitted a liquor license application to the City Council. Cheevitdee is a Thai restaurant and is under construction at 363 Fore Street at the corner of Fore and Market Streets.

The materials submitted by owners Nuttaya Suriyayanyong and Darit Chandpen include a draft menu:

Under Construction: Mami

February 16th, 2017

Austin Miller and Hannah Tamaki have applied for a liquor license for their new brick and mortar restaurant Mami. Miller and Tamaki have operated Mami Food Truck since June 2015 and this restaurant represents the next step forward for there business.

Mami restaurant will be located at 339 Fore Street in the former Mainely Wraps space. They hope to open this Spring.

Here’s a look at the draft menu for the restaurant:

Under Construction: Yobo

February 16th, 2017

A 35-seat Korean restaurant called Yobo under construction at 23 Forest Ave in the space formerly occupied by BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe has applied for a liquor license.

Owners Sunny Chung and Kim Lully plan to create an atmosphere that is “intimate and casual, with all the comforts of dining with good friends.” They formerly operated a farm to table restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire called Sunny’s Table. They hope to open Yobo in the April/May time frame.

here’s a look at a draft menu:

MRA Chef of the Year: Josh Berry

February 16th, 2017

Chef Josh Berry from Union has been named the 2017 Chef of the Year by the Maine Restaurant Association. Berry will be honored at a banquet on March 28th, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

2017 Beard Award Semifinalists

February 15th, 2017

The semi-final list of nominees for the 2017 James Beard Foundation awards were released today. There are 12 semifinalist nominees from Maine:

  • Best New Restaurant – Drifters Wife
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide; Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar; Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain; and Brian Hill, Francine Bistro
  • Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional – Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Outstanding Restaurant – Fore Street, and Chase’s Daily in Belfast
  • Outstanding Bar Program – Portland Hunt and Alpine Club
  • Outstanding Baker – Alison Pray, Standard Baking
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef – Ilma Lopez, Piccolo
  • Rising Star of the Year – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan

The final list of nominees will be released on March 15th, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 1st in Chicago.

Related information:

Writing a Wine List & Local Market Resurgence

February 15th, 2017

Today’s Press Herald includes the second installment in a series by Stella Hernandez on managing a wine list at Lolita,

Putting together our wine list for Lolita was the closest I’ve come to understanding what writers do. It’s less mechanical than you’d think. You have to choose your story line, craft that story, and then there’s the continual editing process. When I gave my first draft to a friend to review, I felt as if I were handing off my first novel. I had handed over something very personal.

and an article about the resurgence of local markets in Portland.

Now the Portland area is experiencing another little growth spurt. In December, Andrew and Briana Volk, owners of the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, opened Little Giant, an upscale market in Portland’s West End that will complement the restaurant they plan to open next door. Just a couple of weeks ago, Pete Sueltenfuss opened a second Otherside location in the West End. And Joe Fournier, who worked at Rosemont for six years before becoming a partner in The Farm Stand, plans to open his own neighborhood grocery, A&C, on Washington Avenue sometime next week.

Beard House Dinners by Chefs Ginn & Berry

February 15th, 2017

Chefs Matt Ginn from Evo and Josh Berry from Union are scheduled to cook dinners at the James Beard House in NYC next month. The menus for both dinners are online and reservations being taken via OpenTable:

Trattoria Fanny Now Open

February 14th, 2017

Trattoria Fanny, David Levi’s new restaurant in Bramhall Square, has opened, according to a report from the Press Herald.

The restaurant’s chef is Siddharta Rumma, whose family had a restaurant in Italy. Rumma has also worked at The Corner Room in Portland, and he helped open Eataly Boston.

Here’s a link to the menu on Facebook.