Maine Eats Exhibit

February 19th, 2018

A new exhibit called Maine Eats is set to open at the Maine Historical Society on Friday March 2nd.

From iconic lobsters, blueberries, potatoes, apples, and maple syrup, to local favorites like poutine, baked beans, red hot dogs, Italian sandwiches, and Whoopie Pies, Maine’s identity and economy are inextricably linked to food. Now, a food revolution is taking us back to our roots toward the traditional sources, preparation, and pleasures of eating food that have sustained Mainers for millennia.

Using historical and contemporary stories of individual people and communities, Maine Eats: The Food Revolution Starts Here, tells the Maine food story. Throughout the interactive exhibition, visitors are invited to engage their senses and to think deeply about the past, present and future of Maine’s relationship with food.

Alice Feiring to Visit Portland

February 19th, 2018

James Beard award-winning author and the ‘godmother’ of the natural wine world, Alice Feiring, will be at Maine & Loire on March 2nd 5:30pm for a reading/signing of her new book The Dirty Guide to Wine.

We are thrilled to announce that journalist and book author Alice Feiring will be here next month to read from and sign copies of her latest book, The Dirty Guide to Wine. An award-winning writer for magazines and newspapers, such as the New York Times, Alice was the sole voice in natural wine writing for almost a decade, and is called everything from “The Patty Smith” to the “Godmother” of the natural wine world. The Feiring Line, her indispensable blog-turned-newsletter is as much a lightning rod of inspiration as it is a valuable resource. Alice is also the author of the books Battle for Wine and Love, Living with Wine, Naked Wine and For the Love of Wine.

As part of the event Maine & Loire will also be pouring several Muscadets from Domaine de l’Ecu, imported by Paul Chartrand.

This Week’s Events: Marco Sara, Vessel & Vine, Food System Lecture, Whipple Apple Brandy, Fish People

February 19th, 2018

Tuesday – Italian winemaker Marco Sara and importer Matt Mollo will be at Maine & Loire for a wine tasting.

WednesdaySolo Italiano is holding a wine dinner with Italian winemaker Marco Sara, there will be wine tastings at Little Giant and the Old Port Wine Merchants.

ThursdayAmanda Beal from the Maine Farmland Trust will be giving a talk at Saint Joseph’s College entitled Envisioning and Building a Vibrant Food System in Maine and Beyond, there will be a spirits tasting at Bow Street Beverage, and a wine dinner at Petite Jacqueline.

FridayBlack Tie is holding a Graze dinner in Yarmouth, and there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont on Brighton.

SaturdayNikaline Iacono will be holding a Vessel & Vine cocktail pop-up at The Bearded Lady, Maine Craft Distilling is releasing their Whipple Tree Apple Brandy, Allagash is screening the movie Fish People, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayZen Chinese Bistro is holding a Chinese New Year dinner.

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: Bolster Snow, Chaval, Emilitsa, Petite Jacqueline, Tipo

February 18th, 2018

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Bolster Snow,

Everyone in the room laughed, then unsurprisingly went back to focusing on their meals, which are generally excellent and showcase Verdisco’s skill at building structured, balanced flavor profiles. Don’t miss the pork terrine, served with an egg yolk gnocchi that Verdisco unabashedly cribbed from Los Angeles chef Michael Voltaggio. Also, make sure you don’t skip bread or dessert, both of which are made by rising-star pastry chef Sarah Miller. In particular, if there’s an éclair on the menu, order it; Miller’s choux pastry is out of this world.

Down East has reviewed Chaval,

Similarly, Lopez, who scored a nod as a James Beard Award semifinalist last year for her pastry work at Piccolo, always thinks about how her desserts — even the incomparable Spanish sundae — square with the rest of a meal. Indeed, the sundae reflects flavors that show up across the menu. It’s a standout, but the whole dessert list (churros! chocolate mousse!) is a revelation. That’s the most remarkable thing about Chaval: any number of menu items could, at a lesser establishment, steal the show. Despite their individual brilliance, Lopez, Sansonetti, and McDonald have figured out how to create perfect harmony among every bite and sip, one exceptional taste after the next.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Petite Jacqueline,

For many diners, a meal at Petite Jacqueline will serve as their first foray into bistro-style French cuisine. To that extent, one could argue that the restaurant is right on-track and poised for years of continued success, providing a strong introduction to staple dishes despite some minor flaws in execution. There are certainly more creative takes on French food being cooked and served throughout town at similar price points, but sometimes you’ve just got to stick with the classics.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Tipo, and

I took a bite of the toast first and it was marvelous. It was made from fresh bread and crispy through and through; I found a satisfying crunch in every bite. I ate all the toast first, making room to dig into the egg. The chicken seed was cooked to medium and a smidge spicy. As eggs go, it was quite good. I finished that before moving on to the taters.

the Press Herald has reviewed Emilitsa.

A shining beacon of honest of fine dining in Portland’s Arts District, Emilitsa is perfectly suitable for celebrating an anniversary or similar milestone with a loved one. Thanks to a new bar program, it’s also an excellent option for anyone looking to duck away for a quick solo bite and a well-crafted cocktail or thoughtfully chosen glass pour of Greek wine.

2 Beer Releases: Imperial Stout, Oat IPA

February 17th, 2018

Mast Landing and Battery Steele are releasing Ice Cream Imperial Stout, a new collaboration between the two breweries. The beer is brewed with “[h]undreds of waffle cones in the mash, lactose and a bucket of sprinkles in the boil, then conditioned on vanilla beans.

Battery Steele also plans to release Onsight #3, which they describe as an “Oat IPA (6.5%) heavily hopped with Galaxy, Nelson and Rakau. Very soft, almost no bitterness and busting with notes of passion fruit, pineapple, mango and hints of pine”.

Under Construction: Elsmere in Deering

February 17th, 2018

MaineBiz interviewed Elsmere BBQ co-founders Adam Powers and Jeremy Rush about the second Elsmere they have under development on Stevens Ave in the former Siano’s.

“What attracted us is that the property is the same model as this place, where you’re nestled into a neighborhood,” said Powers. “It’s not tourist-reliant. To use a cliché, if someone goes there, everyone will know your name.”

Powers, Rush and their new business partner Nat Towl hope to open this new Elsmere in May.

2018 Beard Award Semifinalists

February 15th, 2018

The semi-final list of nominees for the 2018 James Beard Foundation awards were released today. There are 11 semifinalist nominees from Maine:

  • Best Chef: Northeast – Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House; Vien Dobui, Cong Tu Bot; Erin French, The Lost Kitchen; Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain; Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar
  • Outstanding Restaurant – Chase’s Daily
  • Outstanding Baker – Alison Pray, Standard Baking
  • Outstanding Chef – Sam Hayward, Fore Street
  • Outstanding Service – Back Bay Grill
  • 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 14th, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 7th in Chicago.

Related information:

Delivery Services

February 14th, 2018

The Press Herald has published an article about food delivery services operating in Portland.

As Portland has matured into a great food city, it’s also sprouted a variety of food delivery services so residents can get their pad thai, M&Ms, or local beer delivered right to their door.

Duckfat at Oxbow

February 14th, 2018

Duckfat has launched a weekly Thursday dinner series at Oxbow Brewing.

The main course for this week’s sold out dinner chicken pot pie. Stay tuned to the Duckfat Beergarden instagram account for more details.

Under Construction: Waypoint Provisions Co.

February 13th, 2018

A new on-the-water food delivery service called Waypoint Provisions (instagram) is set to launch in Casco Bay this May.

Under Construction: Vessel and Vine

February 12th, 2018

Nikaline Iacono is launching a new venture called Vessel and Vine (facebook, instagram) at 4 Pleasant Street in Brunswick.

The 1,500 square foot space will be home to a hybrid wine and beer retail store, vintage and new glassware and barware shop combined with a bar serving a beer, wine, cocktails and a compact menu of small plates (see below).

The drinks list will feature a rotating by the glass and bottle selection of wines from small producers with some natural wines in the mix. The bar will have 3 beers on tap, and serve a cocktail list featuring fortified and/or aromatized wines. Iacono plans to have a program for developing bitters and infusions for use in their cocktails and will be creating a house-made vermouth.

The Bearded Lady will be hosting Iacono on February 24th  where she’ll be serving a line-up of V&V cocktails.

I first met Nikaline back in 2008 when she was the bartender at the then newly launched Emilitsa, and am excited  to  see her vision for Vessel & Vine come together. She plans to open V&V in March.

Here’s a look at the draft menu created by chef Matt DeFio.

This Week’s Events: Cajun Challenge, Valentines, JBF Semifinalists, Flavors of Freeport, ProStart Invitational, Empanada Club

February 12th, 2018

Tuesday – the 23rd Annual Fat Tuesday Cajun Cookin’ Challenge is taking place.

Wednesday – it’s Valentines Day.

Thursday – The James Beard Foundation will release the long list of semi-final nominees for this year’s chef and restaurant awards – check back midday to see if your favorites made the cut . Highroller, Eaux and Lone Pine are teaming up on a Mardi Gras menu, and there will be a wine tasting at the new Bow Street on Forest Ave.

Friday – It’s the first day of the Flavors of Freeport, and there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont in the West End.

Saturday – The MRA is holding the Maine ProStart Invitational, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – The Bramhall is hosting the Empanada Club, and Foley’s is holding 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.

Stone Fort Distillery Open

February 11th, 2018

Stone Fort Distillery (facebook) opened for business yesterday. They’re located at 26 Pearl Street in Biddeford. Their first product is a vodka.

Black Cat Changes Hands

February 11th, 2018

Founders Jenny Siler and Keith James Dunlap have sold Black Cat Coffee to Ben Graffius and Mike Mwenedata from Rawanda Bean/White Cap Coffee.

Dear friends and neighbors, for 5 years you have graciously welcomed us into this community and your lives. Today we are saying goodbye. As some of you already know, our family has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis for some time now. Given the difficulties we are facing, we have made the decision to find new ownership for Black Cat Coffee.

Reviews: Rose Foods, Drifters Wife, Fore Street, Becky’s Diner

February 11th, 2018

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Rose Foods,

The best expressions of his intentions are the Harbor Master, a kelp, collards and egg sandwich, and the Monday Morning, filled with rich chopped chicken livers and chicken skin cracklings. The Health Salad, a zingy, dill-and-caraway-scented cole slaw made with cabbage, celery root and shaved fennel, is excellent, as is the classic bagel-and-smoked-fish spread for two, the Fisherman’s Feast. Order it with horseradish cream cheese and a pumpernickel bagel – it’s worth writing home about, especially since you never call and you never write.

The Blueberry Files has posted a first look at the new Drifters Wife,

The new Drifters Wife is like the big sibling to the old space, its elegant menu and unique wines set against a cooler, sophisticated backdrop. As anyone who has visited the restaurant before knows its price point is high, so it’s not for the faint of wallet. But the new space elevates the experience, with more of the same expert natural wine picks and delicious small plates.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Fore Street, and

When you walk into Fore Street, you are immediately greeted by the smell of wood smoke, but the smells, colors, flavors, and textures around you will continue to provoke your senses throughout. Even the sounds of the kitchen will add to the experience. For me, this time at Fore Street was even better than the last. The meal was outstanding from cocktail to cake and while the boldest flavors came at the end, the palate throughout the meal painted a beautiful picture one happy, little bite at a time.

The Bollard has reviewed Becky’s Diner.

The diner’s popularity isn’t rooted in some provincial, uncritical enthusiasm. Becky’s is good — a certain kind of good, a cheap and filling, homemade and unfussy kind of good. And it’s not just the food. It’s the florescent lights, the industrial-sized coffee maker, the red vinyl stools along the counter. It’s the service, which is friendly in a Maine sort of way — which is to say, when you ask your server how things are going, she replies, “It’s goin’!”