Under Construction: Nova Coffee

March 3rd, 2015

Nova Coffee is under construction at the corner of Brackett and Pine Streets They’ll be located in the same building (West End Place) as the new Rosemont Market. Nova plans to serve Tandem Coffee.

This Week’s Events: The Maine Dish, Food Swap, Forge Release, Signature Event

March 2nd, 2015

Maine Restaurant Week — MRW began Sunday and runs through March 14. See mainerestaurantweek.com for details on participating restaurants.

Tuesday — The grand re-opening is still a couple weeks off but on Tuesday Vena’s is partnering with Sunrise Guides to raise money for Portland Trails; Vena’s will be debuting some of their new drinks.

WednesdayBlack Tie is teaching a cooking class.

Thursday — it’s the first night of The Maine Dish, the March Food Swap is taking place at the Urban Farm Fermentory, Tod Mott from the Tributary Brewing Company will be at the Great Lost Bear and there will be a wine tasting at the Munjoy Hill Rosemont and a Mayflower Brewing tasting at the Bier Cellar.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli.

SaturdayFoundation Brewing is releasing Forge their Russian Imperial Stout (2 bottle limit), and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — the MRW Signature Event cocktail competition is taking place.

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: Old Port Slice Bar, The Sinful Kitchen

March 1st, 2015

The City Council meets Monday, and among other items on the agenda are consideration and approval of liquor licenses applications for:

  • The Old Port Slice Bar is taking over the space at 420 Fore Street formerly occupied by Joe’s NY Pizza. A draft menu (page 69) was submitted along with the application.
  • The Sinful Kitchen(facebook, website), as previously reported, will be located at 906 Brighton Ave in the building formerly occupied by La Familia. Chef David Mallari will be serving brunch Wednesday through Sunday. The draft menu (pages 84-85) is a mix of traditional brunch items along with food that will make gluten-free eaters and paleo dieters happy.

Also on the agenda is a California-based company called the Old Port Lobster Shack which has leased 425 Fore Street. The company has existing locations in Portola Valley, Redwood City and San Jose. According to their cover letter, their eateries are “seafood restaurants specializing in lobster prepared in various ways that are commonly found in Maine lobster shacks.”

Top Ten for February 2015

March 1st, 2015

The 10 places readers checked out most often on Portland Food Map in February were:

  1. Bramhall (>50)
  2. Liquid Riot (-)
  3. Sur Lie (1)
  4. Congress Squared (8)
  5. Howie’s Pub (>50)
  6. Tiqa (3)
  7. Ebb & Flow (4)
  8. Bao Bao (2)
  9. Hugo’s (36)
  10. The Cheese Iron (>50)

The numbers in parentheses indicates their rank last month.

Maine ♥ Allen’s Coffee Brandy

March 1st, 2015

allensPunch has published an article about Allen’s Coffee Brandy.

To call the stuff a cultural phenomenon in Maine is an understatement. Statistically, one in eight bottles of alcohol purchased in Maine is Allen’s. The top-selling spirit in the state is the Allen’s 1.75-liter bottle, and its sales dwarf those of the number-two contender, Orloff Vodka. Overall, the coffee brandy occupies four out of the ten top-selling SKUs in the state, with popularity decreasing by the size of the bottle. On YouTube, you’ll find songs detailing nicknames for the product: The Champagne of Maine, Bitch Whiskey, the Trailer Park Toddy.

Review of Blue Spoon

March 1st, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Blue Spoon.

Blue Spoon is a relaxed, neighborhood restaurant with a Mediterranean slant. Start with a mezze plate piled with cheeses, terrines and a selection of chef David Iovino’s pickled vegetables. If you crave comfort, ask about the braising pot – a seasonal ragu of slow-cooked meats served with house-made pasta. Or try the chicken under a brick: It’s crispy, juicy and accompanied by irresistible gruyere fritters. Just make sure to leave room for dessert. Blue Spoon may bill itself as a Maine bistro, but the coconut caramel flan is pure, unadulterated Cuban delight.

Vinland

February 28th, 2015

The March issue of Down East includes an article about Vinland.

As an intellectual exercise — is it possible to build a fine-dining restaurant in northern New England on local ingredients only? — Vinland succeeds wildly. But it remains to be seen whether Levi’s experiment can attract large numbers of diners in Portland, where options for a $200 dinner for two with a local emphasis (if not a manifesto) isn’t hard to come by. “I stand by it 100 percent,” Levi says confidently. “Some people love it; some people don’t. But I know it comes from a good place, and that’s what matters.”

Breakfast Cook-off Results

February 28th, 2015

Vignola/Cinque Terre took first place at yesterday’s Incredible Breakfast Cook-off competition.

The buzz at the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off Friday was all about the Portland restaurant’s savory smoked brisket hash patties with scrambled eggs and pea shoots, Italian cheese fonduta and salsa verde. This was their first time at the cook-off, and they took home first place.

Four time winner The Good Table came in second and Sea Dog Brewing took third place.

Lolita

February 27th, 2015

The March issue of Maine magazine includes an article about Lolita.

It is impossible to deny the sensory delight that one experiences upon first stepping through the doors of Lolita Vinoteca and Asador on Munjoy Hill. Warm, pungent aromas of clams and garlic roasting in the wood oven, which is constantly tended to by diligent cooks, are prevalent even amidst the din of patrons stationed up and down the long zinc bar on a busy night. Much of the menu is inspired by the ancient spice routes of Venice, successfully marrying flavors from the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Middle East, resulting in dishes like burrata with lemon zest and Aleppo chili oil on toast,or cured Spanish sardines augmented with harissa.

Bayside American Cafe

February 27th, 2015

Portland Street breakfast restaurant Bintliff’s American Cafe is changing its  name to Bayside American Cafe. The current owners, Joe and Diane Catoggio, purchased the restaurant from Roger Bintliff in 2003. According to the press release,

The name change will be rolled out in the coming months. While the Catoggios are excited to embrace the cafe’s new identity, the message to their customers is clear: the name is the only thing changing. The menu, style and staff that diners have come to know and love will remain the same.

DiMillo’s Fundraiser for Adam Sousa

February 27th, 2015

This past Sunday falling ice totaled bartender Adam Sousa’s car which was parked on Exchange Street. Sousa’s insurance doesn’t cover falling ice and so friends have set-up a gofund.me page to help raise money for Sousa to replace his car.

The local chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild is holding a fundraiser this Sunday at DiMillo’s, 3-5 pm. A portion of the sales from the drink specials will go toward the the gofund.me campaign.

Under Construction: East Ender

February 26th, 2015

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Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy are planning to re-open the East Ender on March  9. The restaurant has been undergoing some renovations including new signage by Will Sears and seating by Pistol Pete. Small Axe fans will be happy to learn that the burger safely made the transition to the East Ender menu. The Pastrami Salmon Tartine (house made pastrami salmon open faced sandwich on SouthSide Rye with radish, pickled onion, mustard seed, creme fraiche) sounds particularly delicious.

Under Construction: Portland Patisserie

February 26th, 2015

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Steve and Michelle Corry have released some additional information about Portland Patisserie(facebook), the new cafe and bakery they have under construction at 46 Market Street.

The focus will be on the traditional Patisserie theme-with beautiful displays of whimsical pastries, pies, cakes, desserts, breakfast pastries, etc.  Although there will be a constant rotation of sweets such as crème brulee, chocolate mousse, cookies and brownies, as well as sweet crepes with peaches and vanilla cream or Nutella and banana served hot right out of the pan, additionally, there will be some limited fresh baked breads and in the theme of a true “Grand Café,” there will be full lunch and lighter dinner fare such as an array of savory crepes, salads, and sandwiches: Think duck confit, caramelized onion, and figs wrapped in a warm crepe or imagine an avocado and shrimp salad on house baked croissant- just a sample of some of the savary fare that will be offered.

Catherine Côté-Eliot who has worked at Financier in NYC and at Standard Baking will be pastry chef. The Corry’s hope to open Portland Patisserie in May. A sample menu was supplied with the press release.

Reviews: Sur Lie & Otherside Deli

February 26th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a review of the Otherside Deli,

I ignored my longing for breakfast when I saw the sandwich board and chose instead the pork schnitzel, a boneless, breaded pork cutlet paired with a tangy egg-and-caper relish, topped with mustard and served on a bulky roll. The pork was tender, the bread incredibly fresh, and the egg satisfied my craving for early-morning fare.

and a bar review of Sur Lie.

Babcock’s definition of a cocktail menu is a mix of pre-prohibition knowledge infused with a quirky modern-day palate. He whips up two or three drinks at once, and can talk you through your food choices as he goes – “start with one or two plates, and then order more from there,” he’ll say. He’ll offer tastes of whiskeys you’ve never heard of and tell you all about the distilling process for each. In other words, Babcock is the real deal. His Grey Ghost cocktail was recently featured on the happy hour menu (4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday) for $8 (usually $10). Dickel white whiskey is combined with house made apple and pear syrup, angostura bitters and pink peppercorn. This drink will hook you from the first sweet sip – savor it.

Maine’s Craft Distillers

February 25th, 2015

The March issue of Maine magazine includes a feature on the state’s growing craft spirits industry.

The forerunner of the temperance movement is now home to some of the most exciting names in craft distilling. With source ingredients from the humble potato to the wild blueberry, these forward-thinking companies are bringing locally grown products off the farm and into your flask.

The Maine Dish Food Theater

February 25th, 2015

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about a set of 12 short food related plays being staged during Maine Restaurant Week by the Snowlion Repertory Company.

The idea for “The Maine Dish” began with Margit Ahlin and Al D’Andrea, co-founders of Snowlion Repertory Company in Portland. They have an in-house playwriting group, and suggested food as a theme for the playwrights. They were invited to write a short play about food; that was the sole restriction.

The result is a menu of wildly diverse plays featuring 17 actors, a dozen playwrights and four directors. There are comedies, dramas and a musical. Some are set in restaurants, others in the kitchen.

For more information visit www.snowlionrep.org. Tickets are $18 and are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets.

Under Construction: Crooners & Cocktails

February 24th, 2015

An “upscale supper club & lounge celebrating the favorites of a classic era” called Crooners & Cocktails(facebook) is under construction at 90 Exchange Street, according to Eater Maine.

Review of Hugo’s

February 24th, 2015

Our Man on the Ground has reviewed Hugo’s.

Golden raspberries with a chocolate bark are the main ingredients of the next desert which includes a dollop of raspberry sorbet, tiny floral leaves and a smattering of crumble.  Both are displayed on the plate beautifully and tasted as good as they looked.

The imagination that goes into each individual portion of food is truly impressive. I would go to Hugo’s Restaurant again and again.

This Week’s Events: Beer I, Incredible Breakfast Cook-off, Maine Restaurant Week, My Father’s Garden

February 23rd, 2015

Wednesday — Maine Beer Company is releasing Beer I.

Thursday — the Public Market House is holding a beer and cheese tasting.

Friday — Maine Restaurant Week is holding the Incredible Breakfast Cook-off.

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

Sunday — it’s the first day of Maine Restaurant Week; check the MRW website for menus and pricing at all participating restaurants. MRW is holding the Chef-Am Bowling Tournament, and there will be a screening of My Father’s Garden at MECA.

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.

Review of Otto Pizza

February 22nd, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Otto.

The vibe is casual and the crust memorable at Otto Pizza on Cottage Road in South Portland. Embrace your inner glutton and order the 16-inch Pulled Pork & Mango: It’s sweet and spicy and ample enough to satisfy two or more. Craving classic comfort food? Try the Meatloaf and Mashed Potato, a filling take on a family favorite – minus the ketchup. Otto does offer cannoli for dessert, but it’s the pies that shine here. Consider skipping the sweets and saving room for an extra 12-inch pizza instead.