Archive for January, 2010

Review of The Picnic Basket

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of The Picnic Basket.

So I was glad to try the Picnic Basket in the dead of winter, when there is no reason not to settle in at one of the eclectic set of tables in the cozy second room. The room has a wall of wine and lots of artisanal jars of this or that jam or mustard. It has a very Stonewall-Kitcheny look. There are twigs clinging to the track lighting.

PBJ in the Press

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Portland Daily Sun has published a profile of Peanut Butter and Jelly Time, the PB&J sandwich shop and breakfast cereal purveyor located on the second floor of the Public Market House.

The combination of Borealis multi-grain bread, cashew butter and raspberry preserves is the most popular sandwich at Peanut Butter Jelly Time, but everybody has their favorite.

Steve Miner, owner of Peanut Butter Jelly Time, reported logging his 500th customer in only three weeks of operating on the second floor of the Market House in Monument Square.

Press Herald: Chef Kaldrovich, Gus’ Gluten Free, Fox Urine

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes profiles of chef Mitchell Kaldrovich from the Sea Glass Restaurant

“I met the real cooks (in Maine), I have to say,” Kaldrovich said in a thick accent that carries traces of Spanish and French, the other two languages he speaks. “Working for hotels in California and Florida, I just met French chefs doing fancy stuff. But there was not a soul cook. Here, there are soul cooks.

and of Pam Wellin from Gus’ Gluten Free Baking Co.

As a busy mom of three boys, Pam Wellin admits she’s doesn’t devote much time to promoting her business. She started Gus’ Gluten Free Baking Co. three years ago in her Falmouth Foreside kitchen as a way to provide her youngest son Gus, who’s now 17 and has had celiac disease his whole life, with treats that don’t contain gluten.

There’s also a Bill Nemitz column on the strange fox urine incident that took place Sunday at a protest by ROC-ME outside The Front Room.

We can only assume that when Portland’s fledgling Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine holds its first “summit” next month, it will be high on the agenda: “Fox Urine: The Untold Story.”

It happened Sunday night outside The Front Room on Munjoy Hill, where protestors from so-called ROC-ME gathered for the second time in as many months to demonstrate against owner and chef Harding Lee Smith.

Food Article in Tuesday’s Sun

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Tuesday’s Portland Daily Sun includes some observations on customer service at Portland restaurants.

But for all of the accolades and buzz about the food itself, a restaurant’s bottom line and longevity are dependent on consistently good service. With so many excellent food choices in Portland, it’s the service that is a key differentiater.

This Week’s Events

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Last week’s famine of food events has turned into a 13 item feast this week:

Tuesday B. Nektar Meadery is at Novare Res for a tasting, Churchill Catered Events is teaching an Italian cooking class, wine dinners are taking place at Bar Lola and Walter’s.

Wednesday — Black Tie Bistro is teaching a cooking class and Black Cherry Provisions is providing a class on wine and food pairings for Indian cuisine, spicy foods, bloomy cheese and smoked meats.

Thursday Kitchen and Cork is holding a wine tasting and there will be a wine dinner at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth.

Friday BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe is holding a wine dinner.

Saturday — Wolf Neck Farm is hosting an apple preservation workshop, Vignola’s 4th Annual Beer & Cheese Tasting is taking place, pick-up for the Port Clyde Fresh Catch Maine shrimp CSF is at El Rayo in the afternoon and the 3rd performance of the Dual Site psychogeographic dinner theater is Saturday night.

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.

More Meal Deals

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Here’s a few additional meal deals I’ve come across since last week’s post:

  • Pepperclub – in celebration of their 21st anniversary, Pepperclub has a 4 course for $21 special
  • G & R Dimillo’s – two pasta dishes for the price of one from a selection of 4 options, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • J’s Oyster Bar – any 2 pasta or seafood dishes for $25
  • Borealis Breads – in celebration of National Pie Day on the 23rd, Borealis is offering 10% off all apple, blueberry, chocolate mouse and chicken pot pies ordered by the 20th.

Blue Review

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Appetite Portland gives two thumbs up to the baked goods at Blue.

Well, Therese has baked her way into my heart. Not with fancy pastries or complicated desserts, but with bakery traditions made with care.

At Thanksgiving her pumpkin pie was more spice than sweet and topped with luscious homemade whipped cream. Christmas brought a plump and flavorful gingerbread — part chewy, part crumbly and all good.

DL Geary & Maine Beer Company

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Beer Blogger Josh Christie is writing a series of articles on Hop Press about beer in Maine. His first piece profiles D.L. Geary Brewing and the Maine Beer Company.

Today, I’ll introduce you to two craft breweries here in my hometown of Portland.  There’s a lot of history and potential in these two breweries – DL Geary Brewing is the oldest craft brewery in the state at about 24 years old, and Maine Beer Company is the newest.  I’ll start filling in the rest of the chronology next week.

Under Construction: Otto, Urban, Season’s, Figa, Katahdin

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Here’s a round-up of the latest Under Construction news:

  • Otto Pizza – Otto has plans to expand into the Good Earth Furniture space so they can have a bar and table seating for 24 (36 in total).
  • Urban General Store – according to a post from Original Portland, Urban General Store is replacing Urban Hardware on Congress. They plan on selling “beer, wine, sandwiches, groceries, coffee”.
  • Season’s Grille is taking over the space formerly occupied by Verrillo’s on Riverside Street.
  • A new post from the Munjoy Hill News includes a few details about the menu at Figa.
  • Katahdin has published a few photos of the construction site for their new place on Forest Ave.

Unreviewed but not Forgotten

Friday, January 15th, 2010

There are so many publications and blogs writing Portland area restaurant reviews you might think it’s all been covered already but it’s not so. The Unreviewed List has shrunk a lot since I first put it up from around 100 in 2007 to to half that size where it’s remained for the last few months.

A restaurant reviewer once told me that the list is the 7th circle of hell for reviewers but I think there are still some good stories to be found: both new restaurants that haven’t been written up yet (both Po’Boys and French Press Eatery came off the list this week) and ones that have been around for a while. Here’s a few:

Review of The French Press Eatery

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The Portland Press Herald has published a 4 star endorsement of The French Press Eatery.

Hey, Westbrook.

Listen up: What’s the matter with you?

We stopped by the (relatively) new French Press Eatery early one weekday morning, and except for the guy on his way out the door with a takeout bag, there were no other customers there. If this place were in the Old Port, there would be a long line of folks grabbing an 8 a.m. coffee, a breakfast sandwich or one of the downright decadent house-made doughnuts…The food at the French Press Eatery is good and worth supporting.

Under Construction: Nosh Kitchen Bar

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The Portland Daily Sun published a report on Nosh Kitchen Bar, the lounge/delicatessen that’s slated to open in the old White Heart spot on Congress Street.

The “urban-style eatery” will combine casual dining and drinks.

“It’s a bar, it’s a lounge, it’s kind of a mix between an old-school New York delicatessen and a new school sandwich shop during the day, and at night we go in the direction more of small-portion antipasta type (meals),” said [co-owner Jason] Loring.

Check out Original Portland for a photo of the interior and Nosh’s website for some additional details.

2 Reviews of Po’Boys & Pickles

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The Blueberry Files and Edible Obsessions met up at Po’Boys & Pickles and have published a pair of reviews of the New Orleans-style sandwich shop.

Here’s an excerpt from Edible Obsessions,

But, getting back to the here and now and the Po’ boy at hand. From the first bite of the Oyster Po’ Boy($6.95 for the regular or ‘shortie,’ as it’s called in Louisiana) I knew this is what I had missed out on. Packed with fat, spicy fried oysters, dressed with roasted red pepper mayo, lettuce and tomato, this was a perfect sandwich. I don’t believe it was served on the traditional Leidenheimer bread, instead this seemed more like Italian, but it didn’t matter.

Additionally, PortlandTown has published a set of photos from Po’Boys & Pickles.

IIK: Chinese Pot Stickers

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Lindsey Sterling has published another ethnic cooking adventures on her blog Inside Immigrant Kitchens. This time she’s cooking Chinese pot stickers with ingredients picked up on a trip to Haknuman Meanchey.

People are carrying bags of rice as big as couch cushions on their shoulders. We all do a good job of pretending that there’s no difference between those present and me, a third-generation Caucasian-American, born in Wisconsin, accustomed to buying rice in a sac the size of an aerobics weight.

Local Food Online

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

MPBN talked with the creators of Maine Food Trader and soon to be launched Farm Fresh Maine about how their websites can connect people with locally grown food.

Farmfresh for ME, she says, will be targeting consumers in the Bangor area, as well as in Downeast Maine. “I know that a lot of the consumers we’ve talked to can’t get to the farmers’ market during the hours that it’s open, or want to see what’s available online in the comfort of their own home, so I think that interest has grown.”