Archive for March, 2009

The 4-pack Explained

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Avery Yale Kamila at The Maine Switch has researched the drivers behind the increasing prevalence of beer 4-packs.

While I push a cart around the grocery store stocking up on things like organic kale and whole oat groats, my husband spends the bulk of his supermarket time contemplating the contents of the beer cooler. These sessions always end with the selection of new beverages to try and often some interesting observations. For instance, he recently remarked about the growing number of local craft brewers selling beer in four-packs.

Which got me thinking: Why four-packs? And why now? So I went straight to the experts to find out what is behind this growing trend.

Under Construction: Luna Rossa

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


Here’s a look  at the building site for Luna Rossa, a new Italian restaurant under construction on Middle Street in the old Pavillion space. According to to liquor license application filed with the city, Ryan Byther, one of the former owners of Prost will be the manager and part owner of Luna Rossa. Seating is planned for both the first and second floors of the building. Luna Rossa’s menu is on display in a window at 188 Middle Street.

This Week’s Events

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The Portland Symphony’s Wine Dinner and Auction take place tonight. There are two cooking classes scheduled this week: Piatto per Tutti on Monday and Black Tie Bistro on Wednesday. Food & Wine magazine is scheduled to announce the 2009 list of  Best New Chefs on Wednesday; Hugo’s Rob Evans was on the list in 2004 and 555’s Steve Corry in 2007. MOFGA is teaching a class on organic gardening Wednesday night in Cape Elizabeth. Wine tastings are on tap at the West End Deli on Friday and at Leroux Kitchen on Saturday. Novare Res is holding a vertical tasting of Ola Dubh 12, 16 and 30 on Thursday, while The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beeers from Boston Beer Co. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Under Construction: Pearl

Sunday, March 29th, 2009


Here’s a look  at the building site (above) for Pearl, a new bar under construction on Fore Street. It is in the location formerly occupied by Onyx – and before that by Liquid Blue. Floor plans (below) show a bar on the left, dance floor in the center and a stage in the back.


Press Herald Readership Poll Results

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

The results of the Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Readers’ Poll are out. Fore Street got the nod for Best Restaurant ahead of DiMillo’s—thankfully Olive Garden didn’t make the cut this year. But national chains McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts beat out local favorites Becky’s and Coffee by Design in the Cheap Eats and Coffee categories. See the article for the full set of results.

Benkay Review

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Benkay received 3½ stars from the Taste & Tell column in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

A tuna maki roll was part of my companion’s regular sushi dinner, with two pieces of blue fin tuna, one piece of albacore tuna, and a roll set vertically to hold tiny orange eggs of flying fish roe, all crunching between the teeth with a satisfying sound. A small shrimp had been spread across its chewy sticky rice with a secret depth charge of wasabi hidden underneath.

Portland Food Co-op

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Yesterday’s Portland Daily Sun published a trio of articles on local food, locavorism and the market factors that resulted in the close of the Whole Grocer and the birth of the Portland Food Co-op. According to the Sun, “Last month’s purchase [by the Co-op] from the Crown of Maine, the statewide distributor of organic Maine goods and products, exceeded the amount purchased by Whole Foods.”

Olive Cafe Review

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Olive Cafe received 3 stars from the Eat & Run column in today’s Press Herald.

I tried the chicken shawarma sandwich ($8.50), which was marinated grilled chicken topped with garlic sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickles in a wrap. The chicken was so lightly spiced I couldn’t really distinguish any flavors. It was the light, creamy garlic sauce that made this sandwich worthwhile, boosting it a level or two above a ho-hum chicken wrap. I would order it again.

Flatbread Review

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Type A Diversions has reviewed Flatbread.

Whenever anyone asks me where my favorite pizza place is in Portland, I always say Flatbread. Some don’t count Flatbread’s wood-fired, clay oven, all-natural pizza as “real pizza” because it’s not dripping with grease – but that’s exactly what I like about their pies.

Eric Simeon at Grace

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Eric Simeon has been hired as to be the Chef at Grace. Simeon has worked at several high profile restaurants in New York and Philadelphia. The reference online to the “globe-trotting menu of smartly designed small plates” he served up at Park Blue might provide a hint at what we’ll see on the menu at Grace.

Portland Food Coma

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

A new food blog called Portland Food Coma has started up. The most recent post lists ten things to eat in Portland when you have “no time or patience for being disappointed“.

What’s your top ten list?

Chug a Mug Coffee Roasters

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

chug-a-mugAt the former Freaky Bean location on Main Street in Westbrook a new business is under construction. Chug-a-Mug Coffee Roasters is taking over the space that had been home to the Freaky Bean’s roastery. They hope to be open “very soon”.

Washington Post Visits Munjoy Hill

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Here’s an article from the Travel section of this weekend’s Washington Post that slipped online a little early. Post writer Christina Talcott sings the praises of the “vibrant, eclectic” Munjoy Hill neighborhood and promises “while there’s snow still on the ground there, Munjoy Hill’s density of sights, shops and dining spots offers plenty of opportunities to pop in someplace warm. ” The article highlights some of the foodie spots on the Hill including: North Star, Hilltop Coffee Shop, Rosemont, The Front Room, Duckfat, Colucci’s and Homegrown Herb & Tea.

JBF Nominees

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The list of nominees for this year’s James Beard Foundation awards has been released:

  • Fore Street was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant
  • Rob Evans from Hugo’s was nominated in the Best Chef Northeast category
  • Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier from Arrows in Ogunquit were also nominated in the Best Chef Northeast category

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 4 in Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

This Week’s Events

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The James Beard Foundation is scheduled to announce the final list of 2009 nominees today; several Portland restaurants are semi-finalists. Bar Lola and the Foreside Tavern are both hosting wine dinners this week. Rosemont, Leavitt and Sons, Browne Trading, Kitchen and Cork and Scarborough Wine Outlet are all holding wine tastings. On Thursday, The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beers from Rogue Brewing. Friday night, ILAP is holding the 5th Annual Celesoiree. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.