Archive for March, 2011

Sectors, 18/21, Liquor at a Profit

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Senator Olympia Snow penned a Maine Voices article for today’s Press Herald about progress in the management of Maine fisheries.

When the New England Fisheries Management Council charted a new course in 2009 that gave fishermen more tools to better manage their stocks, I looked no further than Maine’s own industry for critical input in the development and evaluation of national fisheries policies going forward. Two years later, I am pleased to report that preliminary data is promising.

and the Portland Daily Sun wrote about two alcohol related proposals before the Maine Legislature.

One proposal, LD 901, would bar individuals under the age of 21 from being in Class A lounges licensed to sell alcohol, even if alcohol is not being served during an all-ages event. Another, LD 902, would require establishments to sell liquor at a profit — targeting events like 25 cent beer nights which some say encourage irresponsible drinking habits.

Asian Round-up

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Live Work Portland has pulled together an overview of some of the upcoming and recent changes to the Asian food scene in Portland.

There’s always a lot going on in the restaurant scene in Portland, but this spring a few news items combined with some developments since the fall all add up to a significant upgrade in our Asian food infrastructure. When people from away think about Maine, Asian food is not what first comes to mind, yet Portland has a considerable South East Asian population and a sizable Korean community as well.

In addition, I’d add that Shanghai Tokyo opened on Congress Street in February and that two additional Asian restaurants are under construction: China Taste on Washington Ave and Top Thai on Saint John Street.

Ricetta’s Closing in SoPo

Friday, March 25th, 2011

According to a report from the Press Herald, Ricetta’s will be closing their pizzeria in South Portland.

The Western Avenue location’s last day of operation is Sunday. The company cited the rising cost of fuel and operating costs and shrinking revenues in the restaurant industry as factors. The company’s Falmouth location remains open.

Review’s of Kim’s Sandwich & Cafe

Friday, March 25th, 2011

From Away has published a review of Kim’s Sandwich & Cafe.

Kim’s is the kind of hidden treasure of a shop that you really want to love, from its small, unassuming storefront with its handpainted signage, to its strikingly friendly staff. They are serving up several different types of perfectly respectable banh mi, and strong, caffeine-spiked cups of iced coffee, for next to no money; most sandwiches clock in at under $3.00 . The meats were delicious, and the pickled vegetables were lively and crisp. The bread was my banh mi’s downfall…

Burger Review of Dogfish Cafe

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Chubby Werewolf has published a review of The Dogfish Cafe.

So how did the burger stack up? Overall, pretty well. I found it to be a teensy bit overcooked (I ordered mine cooked medium), but not to the point of being dry. The beef had a nice consistency, though I felt that—in terms of the flavor—it struggled to stand out amidst all of the toppings.

Whoopie Pie Compromise and World’s Biggest W Pie Construction

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

According to a report from Maine Things Considered, the Maine House voted 107-34 to approve a compromise that would designate the whoopie Pie as the Maine State Treat and blueberry pie as the Maine State Dessert.

What started out as a fairly benign piece of legislation designating the whoopie pie as the state dessert, has whipped up an interstate dispute between Maine and Pennsylvania, and served up a dollop of national publicity. Although the bill has since been amended in committee to change the whoopie pie’s title to “state treat,” rather than state dessert, lawmakers representing the interests of the blueberry industry took to the floor of the House today in an effort to carve out their own share of the pie.

Wicked Whoopies will be at the Maine Mall this Saturday to assemble what they hope will be the World’s Biggest Whoopie Pie (take note Pennsylvania). They’ll be selling off slices of the 750-800 lb behemoth for $1 a slice and using the proceeds to send whoopie pies to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. (via Maine magazine)

Review of Pai Men Miyake

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Pai Men Miyake.

But at his new spot he has embraced mayonnaise, infused with a variety of spices, which pops up all over the menu — on the pork buns, under salt cod fritters, with fried flounder. The mustardy version served with the fritters also had a sharp capery bite. It was terrific with the light, moist, almost gooey balls of fried salt cod. With the flounder a sweeter mayo, and a greasier fry, obscured some interesting flavors of mushroom sauce and garnish.

Review of Street & Company

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Golden Dish has published a review of Street & Company.

My main course of oven baked whole branzino, which was filleted at the table, was served over a cilantro sauce that was at once provocative yet fresh. Branzino, a European sea bass, is a wonderful delicate fish and the restaurant cooked it perfectly.

Maine Farming & Looking Past the Pancake

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

An article in the Food & Dining section of today’s Press Herald looks past the pancake at cocktail and other drink ideas that incorporate maple syrup,

We usually run stories on how the season is going and share ideas for what you can do with all that springtime sweetness besides pour it over pancakes and ice cream. This year, inspired by a maple latte from Arabica, I decided to take a look at maple drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

and the Natural Foodie column exams how Maine’s growing network of small farms creates a better food system for the state.

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine is home to 8,100 farms, and more than 90 percent of them are classified as small operations. Maine is also ahead of the curve in the organic farming movement, with the number of certified farms doubling between 2006 and 2008, the latest years for which the USDA’s figures are available.

Jet Set Maine

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Jason Oliver Nixon, author of Delta’s Jet Set blog, was in Maine for a visit this weekend,

We kicked off the weekend at a spirited brunch with L.L.Bean’s superstar public relations guru Mary Rose MacKinnon and her husband, James, at Portland’s Local 188. (Try the Caribbean-style hash with a potent Bloody Mary). Then we hit P-town’s cobblestone byways: Don’t miss Rogues Gallery and Portland Dry Goods for exceptional menswear. I am crazy about the kitchenware and gourmet delicacies at LeRoux Kitchen and Browne Trading Company.

Review of Hugo’s

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Vin et Grub has published a review of Hugo’s.

Our 4th course, was beautiful and intricate.  Referred to as the Suckling Pig Three Ways, we were presented with a large plate, with a piece of compressed shoulder, homemade thai sausage, and pig foot atop a long wonton noodle.  A curry froth, curried peanuts, and sweet potato medallions rendered this the most impressive dish of the evening.  The noodle (i love them) was soft and satiating and delicate.  The curry froth was light and pure, and it added an enriching effect on all of the proteins on the plate…

Under Construction: Barbecue & Plush West End

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

A pair of updates for the Under Construction List:

  • The new restaurant under construction at the Corner of High & Spring Streets in Katahdin’s old location is slated to be called Plush West End. The start of a website for the business can be found at www.plushwestend.com.
  • Planning for a new barbecue vendor on the 2nd floor of the Public Market House is now under way.

Review of Joe’s NY Pizza

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

From Away has published a review of Joe’s New York Pizza.

Though the pizza being slung out the door at Joe’s certainly can’t compare to what you’d find at Flatbread or Otto’s, it’s simply not trying to compete on that level. This isn’t organic arugula and free-range chicken served on a gluten-free crust; it’s hard-working, cheap, fast, workaday pizza, for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money or time to go from “empty-stomach” to “stomach full of pizza.” In that regard, we find Joe’s New York Pizza to be a solid choice for a midday slice.

JBF Awards: Krista Kern Desjarlais is Finalist

Monday, March 21st, 2011

The James Beard Foundation announced the final list of nominees for this years awards at an event in the other Portland today. Krista Kern Desjarlais, chef/owner Bresca is a nominee in the Best Chef Northeast category (see page 8). She’s up against 5 other chefs from Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The winners of the 2011 JBF awards will be announced on May9 in New York City.

Update: the Press Herald interviewed Desjarlais this afternoon for an article about the nomination,

“I don’t even know what to say yet, I guess,” Desjarlais commented by phone on her way to Boothbay. “I don’t know, it’s awesome. It’s a great group of people to be nominated with. There’s not a whole lot of women that got nominated throughout the country, so I feel like that’s great, too.”

Maine at Work: Sugarhouse

Monday, March 21st, 2011

For the new installment of Maine at Work, Press Herald reporter Ray Routhier writes about working at a sugarhouse in Newfield, Maine.

As Debra fired up a large oil-powered evaporator (the boiler, in common sugarhouse parlance), her husband began to explain all its parts and how it works in much more detail than I can relate. Basically, the giant stainless-steel contraption had sap flowing first into a preheating area, then into a “flue pan” area, then into the finishing area before it is ready for packaging.

Maine Maple Sunday is taking place this coming weekend. It’s a chance to visit a sugarhouse in your area and see how they turn maple sap into maple syrup.

John Palanza, 89

Monday, March 21st, 2011

South Portland baker and business owner John Palanza passed away last week. Palanza owned the Uncle Andy’s Bakery in South Portland for 45 years, from 1951 to 1996.

In the late 1940s, Mr. Palanza was hired by Fred Nanney, the original owner of Uncle Andy’s, to run the doughnut shop. In 1951, Mr. Palanza acquired Uncle Andy’s, growing it from a doughnut shop to a full-service bakery.

For more than 40 years, he produced breads, cakes, pies, doughnuts and assorted pastries for hundreds of loyal customers, many of whom would wait in line outside the bakery on busy weekend mornings and on holidays. The police department assigned a traffic cop to direct traffic past the shop during its busy times.

Under Construction: Top Thai

Monday, March 21st, 2011


A new Thai restaurant called Top Thai is under construction on Saint John Street. Top Thai is taking over the Saeng Thai House location at 267 Saint John. As far as I know, the Saeng Thai on Congress remains open. You can see a draft menu (page 85) for the restaurant in the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting.

This Week’s Events: JBF Nominee’s, Wine Dinners & Events, Flavors of Freeport, Maine Maple Sunday

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Monday — The final nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards will be announced today. 8 Maine-based semi-finalists were announced back in February. A wine charity event to benefit the Cancer Community Center is taking place at Grace and BiBo’s is hosting a wine dinner.

TuesdayBlue is holding their monthly wine and cheese event and The Salt Exchange is serving a 6-course Italian wine dinner.

Wednesday — the 6th Annual Dine Around the World is taking place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

ThursdayAurora Provisions is holding a wine tasting.

Friday — the 7th Annual Celesoiree is being held at The Portland Company on Fore Street, and it’s the opening day of the Flavors of Freeport food festival.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center, Wine Wise is teaching a class on Big Red wines at The Wine Bar, and the Flavors of Freeport festival continues. Whicked Whoopies will be assembling the World’s Biggest Whoopie Pie at the Maine Mall and in the afternoon there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont Market on Congress Street.

SundayMaine Maple Sunday is taking place at sugar houses all throughout the state, and it is the last day of Flavors of Freeport.

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.

Gifford’s Ice Cream

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram included a profiles of the company and the Gifford family.

Roughly 30 years ago, Randall Gifford left the fate of his Skowhegan dairy in the hands of two of his sons, Roger and John.

They had a choice to make: Continue the dairy business, or sell their father’s company and switch to making ice cream.

It was a big decision — at the time, Gifford’s dairy was one of the largest in Maine.

Food History: 1925

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

A pair of vintage photos of Chinese immigrant waiters taking an “Americanization Class” have recently been added to the Maine Memory Network website. The men all worked at either the Empire and the Oriental in Portland. The Empire stood on the corner of Forest Ave and Congress Street where Empire Dine and Dance is today. The Oriental was located at 28 Monument Square in the spot that now houses the Public Market House.