Archive for March, 2010

This Week’s Events

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Monday — the 10 days of Maine Restaurant Week continues Monday through Wednesday. Also on Monday, Stephen Lanzalotta is teaching a Piatto per Tutti cooking class.

Tuesday — legendary editor Judith Jones will deliver the 2010 Bernard A. Osher Lecture at the Museum of Art.

Wednesday Winemaker Lucio Mastroberardino will be at Old Port Wine Merchants for a tasting of Terradora wines (see Chow Maine for more on Mastroberardino and his visit to Portland), RSVP is holding a wine tasting, and Slow Food Portland is holding the annual Slow Food Writers Night with readings by prominent food writers and food by chef Lee Farrington of Figa.

Thursday — there’s a Terradora wine dinner taking place at the Sea Glass Restaurant, and chef Sam Hayward is giving a talk on sustainable seafood as part of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Sea State 5.0 lecture series.

Saturday — the indoor Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place, and there will be a Terradora wine tasting at Rosemont Market on Brighton.

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.

Portland Barista to Compete at NERBC

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Bard Coffee barista Justin McEdward will be in Boston later this month to compete in the North East Regional Barista Competition (NERBC) against other coffee professionals from across New York and New England.

According to Bard co-owner (and World Barista Championship judge) Bob  Garver, competitors need to produce an espresso shot, a cappuccino and a specialty drink of their own design for each of the four sensory judges in a 15 minute time frame. In addition to being judged on quality of their drinks, the competitors will be evaluated on efficiency and other technical issues with which they are produced. (See the official rules for more details)

Winning at the NERBC will entitle McEdward to represent the North East at the national competition later this year. Justin tells me that his motivation in entering the competition is not just to represent himself and Bard Coffee, but to bring attention to Portland’s growing coffee culture.

NERBC is taking place March 19-21 in Somerville, MA.

Review of Saigon

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Saigon has received 4 stars from the weekly Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

The Vietnamese staff and owners of Saigon offer a wonderful sampling of good soups, fish and meat dishes with flavors straight from Southeast Asia.

Interview with Karl Okerholm

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

The Portland Daily Sun has published an interview with Karl Okerholm, kitchen manager at El Rayo Taqueria.

What Portland is missing: A tapas bar, similar to the Bar of Chocolate but focused on tapas and desserts, no entrees. We need more affordable places and fewer high-end restaurants.

Photos of The Back Bay Grill

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

PortlandTown has continued his photographic tour of Maine Restaurant Week with a visit to The Back Bay Grill.

Photo Credit: Michael Barriault

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