Archive for September, 2010

Salt Exchange on Fox

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Charles Bryon, co-owner of The Salt Exchange, appeared on the Fox WGAN morning show to talk about his restaurant and promote the bourbon tasting that took place there last night.

Review of WhaddaPita

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of WhaddaPita.

Greek food — light, but with rich textures and flavors — lends itself well to the upscale-fast-food concept. The key of course is the quality of the pita, and Whaddapita makes good ones: warm and soft, with some good chew and flavor. They are wrapped around a dignified-sized pile of ingredients, rather than stuffed to bursting.

Review of Otto Pizza

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

From Away revisited Otto Pizza and has published a second review.

Make no mistake: Otto certainly knows their way around a pizza oven, and offers creative takes on classic pies. The question for next time will be whether the normally friendly staff will have any patience for requested (obnoxious?) customizations to their specialty pizzas. For next time, we’re getting a red pie, heavy sauce, well-done. If that doesn’t make them too grumpy, we may have a winner on our hands.

The Well Farm-to-Table

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Today’s Press Herald reports on the one-man farm-to-table restaurant in Cape Elizabeth. The Well is run by chef Jason William who’s resume includes time at Back Bay Grill, Bresca and Grace.

Williams is the culinary force behind The Well, the latest farm-to-table restaurant in southern Maine. But don’t look for the eatery in downtown Portland or any of our state’s trendy coastal villages. The Well is situated on Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, on the same patch of earth where most of the restaurant’s vegetables are grown.

The Well was also the subject of an article in The Cape Courier last week.

The chef of Cape’s newest restaurant doesn’t travel far to source his ingredients for the evening menu. “The Well” is located just yards from his produce supplier, Jordan’s Farm Market on Wells Road, and next to the fields from which his vegetables are picked. Fresh, locally raised foods are the essence of Jason Williams’ new eatery, where patrons can enjoy dinner right at the source, overlooking a field of flowers, or take it home to enjoy. “My menu varies from day to day, depending on what inspires me in the farm stand. I am what you’d do if you could live on a farm and cook all day.”

Otto Goes to Harvard

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Otto Pizza is in the process of starting up a second location in Harvard Square to serve their excellent pizza to a wider audience in Cambridge, Mass.

More on Norm’s & a Search for Falafel

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Tuesday’s Portland Daily Sun includes an update on the closing of Norm’s East End Grill,

“We’re not really closing, we’re moving,” Jabar explained in a telephone interview Monday, adding that the smoker from the Middle Street restaurant would be relocated to Norm’s Bar & Grill, 617 Congress St., and the menu expanded.

and columnist Margo Mallar’s unsuccessful search for Unlawful Falafel takes her to WhaddaPita,

I looked for the falafel cart again this week without success. Because it was Monday? or raining? or I got the address wrong? Some of my colleagues report a sighting at Tommy’s Park, so maybe I’ll try there.
Who knows. But my appetite was whetted for a pita sandwich so I decided to drop by Whaddapita, the new gyro shop on Forest Avenue. I’ve been there half a dozen times in the past month. The place is brightly painted with pictures of walking, smiling pita sandwiches on the wall. It’s really good, fast, affordable and very clean.

Thai-o-rama: Chiang Mai

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

For the 11th round of our survey/review of Thai restaurants in Portland we visited Chiang Mai. Until just a few months ago the restaurant had been located on Union Street but moved out and over to Washington Avenue to make room for Havana South. As you can read below our panel of food writers had very divergent experiences at Chiang Mai.

Appetite Portlandread the full review

Hard to put my finger on it. It’s not a tangible thing. But something about the food at Chiang Mai didn’t – well – fit together.

I guess the most apropos word for the experience is – erratic.

From Awayread the full review

I just had the best Tom Khar Kai of my life. And I want to tell you all about it. I shall paint you a word picture. Imagine it: a deep cup of light coconut creamy broth that reveals three or four adorable, plump and buoyed mushrooms, big pieces of white chicken, a few glistening onions, and red pepper flakes studding the soup. It is sweet, savory and spicy, hitting every note gracefully. This is comfort food, soup you want to bathe in, then take out to a nice dinner.

The Blueberry Filesread the full review

So I would return to Chiang Mai Two for lunch, specifically for the beef salad. I would order it with 2 stars of heat to get my blood moving. It seems to be the most (only?) vibrant dish coming out of the new kitchen on the block.

Where is Jenner’s Mindread the full review

the waiter, it ends up, is the owner and he was really excited to talk to us about the restaurant, local thai food, and even this blogging project. he gave us some coupons for 25% of an entire meal (but which are only good for less than a month) and tried to give me like 10 take out menus, i think to hand out to friends. i’m not gonna give you a menu but i do recommend that you check out chiang mai-two. i have accepted, after 10 or 11 thai restaurant reviews, that there is really very little variation in the vast majority of menus. so instead of judging on originality, i judge on quality. i thought this place was great when it came to taste and quality. in all honesty i think its gonna be our new go-to thai restaurant.

The Portland Phoenix and Portland Press Herald published the only other reviews of Chiang Mai a few months after the restaurant opened at its old location in May 2006.

There are just 2 Thai restaurants left for us before we finish up the series: Sengchai Thai, Siam Orchid. Where we should go next?

Portland Food Cooperative Gets a Home

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Today’s Press Herald includes a report about a donation to the Portland Food Cooperative.

The Portland Food Cooperative announced Monday that S. Donald Sussman, who leads Connecticut-based Paloma Partners, will donate a rent-free, five-year lease and $40,000 in cash to the nonprofit organization.

Under the agreement, the co-op will renovate a 4,700-square-foot warehouse at 60 Hampshire St. in Portland for use as a distribution point for its members/owners and eventually as a retail storefront.

Unwrapped Cranberry Island

Monday, September 27th, 2010

According to Edible Obsessions, the Food Network show Unwrapped will be filming tomorrow at Cranberry Island Kitchen.

Also there’s some hints that Bobby Flay may be coming to town.

Update: The Food Network has been spotted at Grace.

Open Creamery Day & Herring Fishery

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Today’s Press Herald includes an article on the 2010 Open Creamery Day taking place Sunday October 10,

“We’ll give out samples and people will get to see the farm and animals. There’s sheep and goats — we have little ones running around — and a guard llama. Coyotes got a lot of our sheep a few years ago, so we got her and haven’t had any problems since.”

Koons said it is important that people know where their food comes from and how it is produced. Open Creamery Day is a great way to teach people, she said.

Visit the Maine Cheese Guild website for more information on Open Creamery Day and a list of participating cheese makers.

The paper also includes a report on new efforts to manage the herring fishery.

Herring’s ecological importance is enormous, because it is a major food source for groundfish, marine mammals, tuna and other species. It also is the preferred bait for Maine’s 5,800 lobstermen — whose industry generates $300 million a year in sales and employs thousands of workers at processing plants, dealerships and restaurants.

This Week’s Events

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Wednesday Wine Wise is teaching a Pinot Noir class at The Wine Bar and The Salt Exchange is holding a Bourbon Tasting.

Friday — An Iraqi cooking class and meal is taking place at St Pious, the Urban Farm Fermentory is holding an open house, there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli, and the First Friday Art Walk is taking place which usually kicks the competition for a table at your favorite restaurant up a notch so make your reservations early.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen.

Sunday — Cultivating Community is holding their 4th Annual 20-Mile Meal.

Farmer’s Markets — the traditional series of Farmer’s Markets are taking place Monday (Monument Square), Wednesday (Monument Square) and Saturday (Deering Oaks Park). Cultivating Community is running their new series of markets Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at various locations around the city.

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.

John “Sonny” Severino, 80

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

John “Sonny” Severino, longtime co-owner of the Sportsman’s Grill, has passed away.

For nearly 50 years, he ran the former Sportsman’s Grill on Congress Street, a popular restaurant where people from all walks of life gathered to watch sports. It was the place to go after events at the Portland Expo Center, and before the annual Portland and Deering high school football game on Thanksgiving Day.

The Sportsman’s Grill operated 1952-1999 on Congress Street near the intersection with Gilman Street. John Severino operated the restaurant with his two brothers and for the last 13 years of its existence with his son Paul.

Norm’s East End Closing

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I’ve heard from a couple readers that Norm’s East End Grill is closing down. A call to the restaurant confirmed that this is their last night.

Review of Walter’s

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Portland Magazine has published a review of Walter’s.

We swing back to the Mediterranean with a flawless Milano linguine ($14/21), tossed in tangy lemon butter with tender shrimp, spinach, artichokes, tear-drop tomatoes, feta, olives, and capers. The perfectly seared gnocchi fungi ($9/19) is also an audience-pleaser, with an earthy cream sauce jumping with chanterelles, pine nuts, and fresh parsley.

Review of the Sicilian Slab

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

The Blueberry Files has written a review of the Sicilian  Slab pizza at Micucci’s.

Except for when I got home and sat down to take that first much-awaited bite of slab. Insert hyperbole here! Angels sang, trumpets played, rainbows squirted across the sky!