Archive for November, 2010

Winter Farmers Market

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Portland Daily Sun published a report today about the Winter Farmers Market.

Now, the dozen-plus vendors slated for the winter market are poised to move into the the former St. Dominic’s church, located at 34 Gray St. The building boasts a lower level that can accommodate up to 300 people, and the sanctuary is its own draw, with 60-foot cathedral ceilings and stained glass windows.

If permitting goes as planned, the Portland Winter Market will relaunch Jan. 8 and will continue every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 23, when the outdoor Portland Farmer’s Market returns.

Review of Little Seoul

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Portland Magazine has published a review of Little Seoul.

Exciting, perfectly located Little Seoul doesn’t just offer one kind of kimchi. To my way of thinking, that would be not-so-deep kimchi. Instead, they offer no fewer than six variations on the 3,000-year-old traditional Korean side dish–each an entirely different explosion to the senses. One of them, the fermented cucumber, is so sneaky, vinegary, and strangely cooling it’s the culinary equivalent of having your office chair spun around halfway by someone surprising you.

This Week’s Events: Cookie Swap, Shrimp Season, First Friday

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Wednesday — the Maine Shrimp Season begins today, both Grace (Organic Wines) and Wine Wise (Port) are holding wine education events.

ThursdayThe Great Lost Bear will showcase brews from all of the Smuttynose Brewing, and there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House.

Friday — the West End Deli is holding a wine tasting and the First Friday Art Walk is taking place which usually kicks the competition for a table at your favorite restaurant up a notch (more than half on OpenTable are already booked solid for the 7 pm time slot) so make your reservations early.

SaturdayLeRoux Kitchen is holding a wine tasting, the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — Rabelais is hosting theiri 3rd Annual Cookie Swap at the Quimby Colony, Joanne Chang, author of Flour, A Baker’s Collection of Spectacular Recipes will be on-hand for the swap.

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.

“the best growing year I have had for 30 years”

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The Maine Sunday Telegram interviewed farmers about the 2010 growing season.

“The sun made great crops. I have been doing this for 30 years and this is the best growing year I have had for 30 years,” said Dick Fowler, who raises 20 different crops on about 20 acres at Pleasant Hill Gardens in Scarborough.

Bar Review of Katahdin

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Portland Bar Guide has published a review of Katahdin.

So, you’ve had drink, relaxed and now the aroma of the open kitchen is beckoning you. Try the chilled oysters ($14) from the raw bar or go warm and enjoy the steamed mussels ($12.) How good does a salad with grilled asparagus, baked goat cheese and balsamic sound right now? For dinner, treat yourself to a grilled marinated hanger steak with a tomato corn salad ($22) or the roasted flounder ($20.)

Cupcake Comparsion

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Edible Obsessions, The Blueberry Files and Appetite Portland have co-produced a broad survey of cupcake bakers in the Portland area comparing cupcakes from Katie Made, Tulip’s Cupcakery, 158 Pickett Street Cafe, Scratch Baking, Two Fat Cats, Rosemont Market and Cakeface. OF the competition in the fruit cupcake category TBF wrote,

Tulip Cupcakery’s Pumpkin cupcake came in second, with a big pumpkin flavor in a dense, moist cake. The 158 Picket Street Cafe Apple Spice Brown Sugar with Cream Cheese frosting had a mild flavor and was more like a quick bread than a cupcake. It was not my favorite, but Scratch Bakery’s cupcake was a hard act to follow.

Review of Mikes

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Mike’s.

Two of the best sandwiches were the simplest. The big pile of tender corned beef on the “Fat Mike” tasted of pepper and other spices rather than just salt. The pastrami on the “I Barbarian” is wine-red, tender but not fatty, and more peppery still. Each sandwich came on a marble rye with a smear of fancy mustard.

Vegan Thanksgiving, Box Wine and Brett DeBlieck

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The Food & Dining section of today’s Press Herald includes advice on cooking a vegan Thanksgiving dinner.

In recent years, supermarkets have been flooded with processed vegan foods. And while faux meat products such as Tofurky and Celebration Roast can work in a pinch, you’ll satisfy more people at your table when you go the scratch-cooking route.

Also in today’s paper is a declaration by the Appel on Wine column that you can get good wine from a box and a Q+A with sous chef Brett DeBlieck.

Old Port Chowder Festival

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

According to a report in today Portland Daily Sun, Samuel’s took home the gold at the 1st Annual Old Port Chowder Festival, with Kamasouptra in silver and Fit to Eat in bronze.

“We found a couple of places to go eat that we wouldn’t have otherwise, it’s good for that,” said Bill Moore.

Ann MacLauchlin said that while Rivalries New England clam chowder was her favorite, her aesthetic sense was piqued by the presentation in Fit to Eat’s bread bowls. “It was very good,” she said.

Thai-o-rama Wrap-Up

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Thai-o-rama came to a close last week with a group dinner at and several reviews of Sengchai Thai on Forest Ave, the culmination of 10 months of eating and writing about the baker’s dozen of restaurants in Portland that serve Thai food. Hopefully you enjoyed reading as much as we did in putting it together.

There was a lot of activity in the Thai segment of Portland restaurants industry this past year. Boda opened (taking over the Bangkok Thai space), Thai Chef Buffet closed (to be replaced by Soju which is itself going to be replaced by Shanghai-Tokyo), Chaing Mai moved from Union Street (to make room for Havana South), and Nakornping Thai changed owners and names to become Sabieng.

So no doubt you’re wondering now with 13 meals and 54 reviews by 9 different food writers behind us where should you go to eat. Read what some of the project’s most active participants have to say on that score including their list of Best of’s:

Appetite Portlandread the full article

Best Pad Thai: Chiang Mai Two delivered the goods with nicely cooked noodles, succulent shrimp, snappy bean sprouts, a balanced peanut/tamarind sauce, and a juicy lime wedge. Runner-up: Veranda Thai Cuisine’s version was fragrant and peanutty with shiny, slurp-worthy noodles. Disclaimer: You must order Veranda’s Pad Thai at heat level 2 or higher or risk receiving a blanched pile of bland.

Edible Obsessionsread the full article

I wanted to follow the outline of a ‘Best of,’ but when I kept answering the questions there was only one restaurant that I felt was the best in any category you could designate…Boda

The Blueberry Filesread the full article

Best curry… Pom’s Thai Taste
Overall, I think Pom’s is the most consistent traditional Thai restaurant. There were some flops, and it is one of the more expensive Thai restaurants we visited, but it’s good.

Where is Jenner’s Mindread the full article

Best “I never expected to like it” dish: i have mixed feelings about crab rangoon and i usually just allow seth to order it. so i guess my ‘never expected to like it dish’ was the crab rangoon at chiang-mai two.

As for my part, I think Boda is ahead of the rest of the pack both in terms of the food (Miang Kum Som-oh!) and overall dining experience. That said, comparing Boda with the rest is an apples to oranges comparison, not because of qualitative difference but because while Boda is primarily a Thai small plate restaurant the other 12 are more in the standard Thai mode (pad thai-check, picture of the royal family-check, thai iced tea-check, etc). If what you’re looking for is a go to place for the standard Thai experience, then I think Veranda Thai, Chaing Mai and Saeng Thai House are your best options.

Still left unanswered is the question of why Portland has a Thai restaurant for approximately ever 5,000 men women and children who live here when other types of restaurants are missing or under-represented but that will have to wait for another day.

Many many thanks to Appetite Portland, Edible Obsessions, From Away, the Portland Daily Sun, Portland Eats, Portland Food Coma, Portland Food Heads, The Blueberry Files, Where is Jenner’s Mind for participating in the projects.

Beer at Trader Joe’s 2

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Brews & Books has published part 2 of his review of the beer for sale at Trader Joe’s.

Among the Trader Joe’s beers, the Black Toad is second only to the Stockyard Stout in terms of good reviews from beer drinkers. It’s with good reason, as the ale packs a lot of flavors into a one-dollar bottle. Like some of the other beers from Trader Joe’s, the Black Toad is a bit on the sweet end of things, putting it close to Newcastle in terms of English Brown Ales. Otherwise, the beer has much more going on than Newcastle

This Week’s Events: Thaksgiving, Otto, Scotch Tasting, Book Launch

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Tuesday — there will be a wine tasting at Leavitt & Sons in Falmouth.

Wednesday — the last Monument Square Farmers Market of the year is taking place (the Saturday market is planning to extend its calendar until the Winter Market opens), and there will be scotch tasting at The Salt Exchange.

Thursday — it’s Thanksgiving. See the visit the PFM Thanksgiving Resource Guide for a list of restaurants serving dinner on Thursday.

FridayOtto is scheduled to open its new location at 225 Congress Street.

Saturday — Rabelais is hosting a launch party for From The Land, Maine Farms at Work at the Quimby Colony, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Review of Sala Thai

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Sala Thai received 3 stars from the Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

A neighborhood standby, Sala Thai has been introducing Mainers to Thai dishes since 1989, and much of the menu seems as familiar as any other American comfort food.

More Food Press: Epicurious, National Geographic, Microcosm K

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Portland food continues to generate tourism dollars for the area and column inches for food writers from away. Here are three I learned about this week:

Epicurious published a 5 restaurant set of dining highlights: Hugo’s, Five Fifty-Five, Fore Street, Duckfat, Portland Lobster Company.

There are many reasons to visit Portland, Maine, such as picture-postcard ocean vistas and graceful 18th-century homes—but the main reason (pun intended) is the food. Called the “Foodiest Small Town in America” in 2009 by Bon Appétit—and, according to its Chamber of Commerce, second only to San Francisco in restaurants per capita—Portland has grown into one of the Northeast’s top dining spots. These five restaurants prove that big-city dining can be right at home miles away from a major metropolis.

National Geographic Traveler was here for Harvest on thee Harbor and put together a guide to eating well in Portland: Hugo’s, Miyake, Fore Street, Flatbread, Maine Beer Company, Merry Table, Bresca, Miccuci, Rabelais, Duckfat.

Lured from New York and other pricey cities by the relative cheap rents of the Old Port (the city’s revitalized waterfront), a small army of top-notch chefs have set up shop here. Combined with an already intense locavore scene–if it grows here, there’s a Mainer raising it–and a thriving food artisan community, from whoopie pie bakers to mead brewers, and you have all the makings of a gastronome utopia.

Maryland food blogger Microcosm K made Portland part of a road trip and wrote about visits to: Standard Baking, Silly’s, Lobster Shack, The Great Lost Bear, Miyake and Five Fifty-Five.

I want to start this post with a quote from Homer Simpson’s high school year book: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Yes, that was the primary theme for Day 7 of our road-trip–our first full day in Portland.

Review of Caiola’s

Friday, November 19th, 2010

From Away has published a review of Caiola’s.

Based on the recommendation of our server, Malcolm ordered scallops and I the chicken Marsala. Chicken Marsala, like veal Piccata or Communism, is just not something I ever would consider. It seems cold war-era boring, and better in theory. I was so very mistaken. Chicken Marsala is wonderful. It’s sweet and light and lovely.