Archive for March, 2010

Incredible Breakfast Cook-off

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth was the winner of yesterday’s Incredible Breakfast Cook-off competition held yesterday at Sea Dog Brewing. The winning dish was a Creme Brulee French Toast. Here’s a description from Mignardise,

A hearty French bread, soaked over night with eggs, heavy cream, brown sugar, Grand Marnier and other diet-busting ingredients, then baked to form that signature brulee crust. With fruit on top, just to make you feel like you might be eating something healthy. Amaaaaazing.

For additional reporting check out the article in today’s Press Herald and video of the competition from WCSH.

Interview with Declan McGough

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Friday’s Portland Daily Sun included an interview with Declan McGough, the sous chef at Blue Spoon,

What’s missing from the Portland restaurant scene: My dad works on the waterfront and I know how much seafood comes across so I’m surprised that there aren’t more exclusively seafood restaurants, like cevicherias.

and a look at some of late night dining options in the city.

Review of Hugo’s

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Dine in Portland has published a review of Hugo’s.

Hugo’s proudly displays the James Beard Foundation Best Chef award for a reason – their technical execution of dishes is profoundly immaculate.  No fussiness,  no gimmicks, just a work of art on every plate.

Yordprom Coffee Co. Now Open

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Yordprom Coffee Company is now open for business. The new coffee house and Internet cafe is located on the corner of Walker and Congress Streets in the West End.

Interviews with Pete Sueltenfuss & Nicholas Nappi

Friday, March 5th, 2010

The Portland Daily Sun has continued its restaurant worker interview series. Wednesday’s paper included an interview with Pete Sueltenfuss, a line cook at Fore Street,

What’s missing from the Portland restaurant scene: Late-night dining. This town rolls up its sidewalks at 11. There’s a need and desire to have a place that serves until 1. There are lots of restaurant folks in this town and there’s nowhere to eat when we get out of work.

and Thursday paper included an interview with Nicholas Nappi, the Chef de Cuisine at Local 188,

What’s missing from the Portland restaurant scene: Chinese food that hasn’t been Americanized. We joke that Portland ought to put a moratorium on Thai restaurants until we got one good dim sum place.

Update on Figa

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Figa’s Facebook page reports that the water line issues that have held up their opening thus far will be solved in April when a new water main will be installed. In the mean time, you can check out their website to peruse the menu and plan your first meal.


Friday, March 5th, 2010

First Friday Art Walk and Maine Restaurant Week overlap tonight bringing the culinary and visual art together in one evening. An exhibit at the 37-A Gallery on Wharf Street by artist William Pope. L involves a similar intersection of food and art with a show that includes “sculptures made of painted vegetables, wall pieces composed of  empty sardine cans”.

Steve & Renee’s, El Rayo and Viet Bangkok Cuisine

Friday, March 5th, 2010

The Portland Daily Sun has published a triple review with breakfast at Steve and Renee’s and a Maine Restaurant week lunch at El Rayo,

I’m pleased to report that the lunch was quite good but the promised price of 15.10 is incorrect. The El Rayo folks are offering three lunch courses for 10.10-appetizer, taco and dessert. Way to over-deliver! The mushroom fundido was good, not surprising given the chef’s dedication to fresh ingredients, but the fish taco forced me to open that closed little mind of mine. The fresh cabbage salad was out of this world and the chipotle added the perfect kick, no added hot sauce was required.

as well as columnist Margo Mallar’s contribution to the set of reviews published earlier this week of Viet Bangkok Cuisine.

The Thai Basil was awful. The flavors were off, the texture of the chicken seemed that it had been frozen and thawed more than once. The vegetables were limp, the color olive drab, something you’d find in an army surplus store rather than a farmer’s market or produce section…It must be mentioned that the Massaman Tofu was good but the flavor was identical to that which I make with canned stuff. All in all, Viet Bangkok is a place to be skipped. There are too many better alternatives in Portland to frequent a place that goes by the numbers.

A Pair of Small Plate Reviews: David’s 388 & Bar Lola

Friday, March 5th, 2010

About Town has published a Maine Restaurant Week review of David’s 388 in South Portland,

The real champion dish, though, was the apple tart dessert. It arrived warm and melty; a puff pastry crust lined with thinly sliced apples, with that cinnamon-ginger ice cream melting on top. Delicious, gooey, and happily spiced, it was a special ending to a solid meal.

and Dine in Portland has published a review of Bar Lola,

For starters, I have to say Bar Lola’s staff impressed me.   When a waiter said “Welcome back” I was stunned.  When the hostess said “Nice to see you again”, I was flabbergasted.  I ate a single meal many months ago;  I am not sure how they remembered. It certainly made me feel welcome and set the mood for the remainder of the meal.

Photos of El Rayo and The Front Room

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

As part of his project to photographically document Maine Restaurant Week, PortlandTown has published a set of photos of El Rayo and The Front Room.

Photo Credit: Michael Barriault

Review of Silly’s

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The Blueberry Files has published a review of Silly’s.

The best part about this place is that it accomidates all types of eaters. Vegetarian? (C. had some fine looking falafel!) Vegan? Huge carnivore? Fried food lover? Gluten free? Check. You really can’t go wrong with Silly’s. Am I being a little over the top? Maybe, but you’ll have to check it out for yourself, and I hope you have a great experience, because I really love it there.

Review of Mousse Cafe and Bakeshop

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Mousse Cafe & Bakeshop received 4 stars from the Eat & Run review in today’s Press Herald.

One of my companions ordered a half chicken salad sandwich on wheat bread with a cup of fish chowder ($5.99). The chicken salad sandwich looked so good that I went back to the cafe earlier this week to try it. I’m very particular about chicken salad — it’s so easy for the mayo to overwhelm it — but it was great.

Winter Points in the Phoenix

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about my favorite Maine oysters, Winter Points.

Hennessey’s dad and uncle started farming and harvesting oysters in the mid-’90s as a way to help pay the taxes, and, what started as a side business has become a full-time career for Hennessey and his cousin and business partner, Ryan Curran.

Rowan Jacobson, author of A Geography of Oysters, describes Winter Points as “four-inch oysters filled with brine and brothy umami richness. So rich and firm, with a hint of sweetness on the finish” and quotes chef Daniel Boulud who called them “the Burgundy of Oysters”.

Bagel Bake-off Redux

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Appetite Portland has published the results of a bagel bake-off comparing the Everything and Sea Salt bagels from 158 Pickett Street Cafe and from Scratch Baking.

The Verdict: Scratch by a nose. But, just barely. Both establishments make truly fab bagels. And, If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that bagel preferences are extremely subjective – and very, VERY personal.

Back in 2008, Type A Diversions published the results of her own comparative tasting of the sesame, poppy seed and plain bagels from Scratch and Mister Bagel.

To accompany smoked salmon, capers, tomatoes and red onion, I would opt for Mr. Bagel’s bagels, as they would not compete with the flavors of the other ingredients. They are also a bit less chewy than Scratch’s bagels, making it easier to bite off a piece piled with fixings. For all other occasions, I’d stick with Scratch for a crisper, more flavorful bagel.

An Interview with Erik Desjarlais

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Find Eat Drink has published an interview with Erik Desjarlais, chef/owner of Evangeline.

What is your least favorite new culinary trend and why?
I dislike the fact that there are culinary trends. Food is food. I don’t think food is fashion. Fashion goes out of style, food shouldn’t. Nose to Tail cooking is not a trend. It has been going on for centuries. But since it is now mainstream to eat offal, it is a trend. I guess I’m thankful that it has become mainstream because I love to cook with offal. In 2003, very few would even consider eating pig tails, head cheese, blood sausage, tongue or brain. Or even pork belly! I was scoffed at for having them on my menu. People would come storming in to my restaurant screaming at me for having offal and extremities, saying “Who would eat brains????” My only answer was, “Well, probably your great grandmother.”

Bar Review of The Corner Room

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Portland Bar Guide has published a review of The Corner Room.

Instead, our swift server delivers hot hard cheese encrusted house focaccia with a pitcher of a lightly hued olive oil. Dizzy with joy, I realize I should’ve opted for something from the many splendored, all-Italian all-handpicked wine list (Gabbiano Chianti, Toscano for example, for $6.50 a glass) instead of the knee jerk local draft (Geary’s Winter, $5).

MRW Photos from David’s & Green Elephant

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

PortlandTown has published a set of Maine Restaurant Week photos taken last night at David’s and Green Elephant.

Photo Credit: Michael Barriault

Opinionated, Round 2

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Back in February Opinionated  About Dining published their list of the top 30 restaurants in United States and top 15 in New England. They’ve now released an extended New England list which also recognizes: Paciarino, Back Bay Grill, Five Fifty-Five, Street & Co., Caiola’s, Bar Lola, and Local 188. (via a post on Edible Obsessions)

Beer 30, Bar Lola Interviews and Food Snobs

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes an interview with Josh Peck and Sue Taylor, the sous chef and pastry chef at Bar Lola. Here’s Peck’s response to the question What’s missing from the Portland restaurant scene?

A butcher shop similar to the one Barbara Lynch has in Boston where you can get rillade, pate and various salamis. We could also use a good raw bar that showcases the 15 to 20 types of oysters that you can get here in Maine.

In her weekly Locavore column Margo Mallar answers the question “what do you do if you’re a third shifter and beer thirty comes at 7 in the morning?

It’s a funny co-existence, sort of like the shift change in the old Warner Brother cartoons. It seems a little odd to be drinking so early. But with an inverted circadian rhythm it’s not early at all … it only seems that way to those who get up with the bread, the bagels and the muffins freshly made by people they never see unless they start their day with a little breakfast at Ruski ‘s.

And columnist Bob Higgins admits to being a very bad restaurant customer and his own brand of food snob.

Thai-o-rama: Viet Bangkok Cuisine

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Viet Bangkok Cuisine was the focus of this second round of the Thai-o-rama collaborative food writing project. Looking across all reviews for the restaurant, the Pho is the dish nearly everyone agrees is one of VBC’s strengths. Earlier reviews in 2007 by Accidental Vegetables and the Maine Sunday Telegram also complimented the Thai entrees but that wasn’t the experience this time around.

Appetite Portland details two reasons to visit the Viet Bangkok Cuisine, “1. The authentic Pho, 2. The trippy, giant lobster mounted to the wall.” In her review she writes of her non-Pho dining “As for the rest of our meal? Mixed results.”

Edible Obsessions had an “odd and highly disappointing” meal and reports she “Probably won’t be heading back.”

The Blueberry Files went with a group of friends including blogger Strawberries in Paris. She writes that the appetizers were “good, but nothing to write home about” but it sounds like the Pho was the standout dish of the night “There were thin slices of beef, skinny rice noodles, thinly sliced onions, and floaty green onions. Deeeelicious.” with other entrees suffering from an “odd sweetness”.

Where is Jenner’s Mind describes VBC as “small clean restaurant with all the requisite kitschy south east asian decor”. She echoes The Blueberry Files assessment that their were “some weird elements” that cropped up in their dinner but sums up with “you may get some surprises in your dishes, but overall i think it will be enjoyable.”

Portland Daily Sun had this to say “The vegetables were limp, the color olive drab, something you’d find in an army surplus store rather than a farmer’s market or produce section…It must be mentioned that the Massaman Tofu was good but the flavor was identical to that which I make with canned stuff. All in all, Viet Bangkok is a place to be skipped. There are too many better alternatives in Portland to frequent a place that goes by the numbers.”