Archive for September, 2011

Review of Veranda Noodle Bar

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Mainely Eating has published a review of the Veranda Noodle Bar.

Located on 14 Veranda Street in Portland, ME, Veranda Noodle Bar is tucked out of the way next to a Beal’s Ice Cream, and across the street from Veranda Thai (owned by the same family). It doesn’t invest in flashy advertising, and it’s hard to spot from the main road. But, if you do happen to stumble upon this gem, you won’t be disappointed. Each time we’ve been in, the restaurant has been comfortably full of local regulars who order their favorites confidently, spending little time having to contemplate the menu.

Maine Beer Week

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Maine Restaurant Week and the Maine Brewers Guild are teaming up to organize Maine Beer Week. The details are still pretty sketchy but you can watch for more information. The event is scheduled to take place this Fall, November 10-17.

Review of District

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of District.

Does this hard-to-define approach work better for a television show than a restaurant? Sure, because watching TV is basically free and you can sit on your couch with your box of wine. You need to get to the restaurant and pay for the food, which heightens your level of scrutiny. That’s why Las Vegas is the best and District is pretty good. Was staying home to watch Las Vegas what you hoped you would be doing on a Friday night? Probably not. But once you did, you rarely regretted it. When you think upscale, District might not be the first place you think of. When you think pub, or cocktail bar, it won’t either. But if you end up at District, you won’t regret it.

Mushrooms, Mushrooms, Mushrooms

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Food photographer Stacey Cramp has posted an entry on her blog about mushroom foraging,

This isn’t to say that you should go about foraging without a care in the world. If you’re thinking about mushroom hunting get several books (I find it useful to consult a variety of guides as the information and pictures they provide vary), study specimens carefully before even thinking about eating them and seek someone with mushrooming experience to take you on a guided walk. As Marley says, “Nothing can boost confidence better than seeing a mushroom in the hands of a knowledgeable person.” Starting with one or two easy-to-identify varieties is a good idea and then, if you like, you can try to expand your list each year.

MPBN aired a news segment today that warns about the risks of eating wild mushrooms without adequate training to identify those that are safe to eat,

The damp weather in recent weeks has led to a bumper crop of wild mushrooms. They’re sprouting everywhere from remote woods to the side of soccer fields. And for recreational foragers the temptation to pick from the bounty is overwhelming. But Maine public health officials say amateur pickers are taking a serious risk.

and the Urban Farm Fermentory has posted some photos from their recent guided mushroom walk in Gorham.

Review of Granny’s Burritos

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

From Away has published a review of Granny’s Burritos.

Ordinarily, if you told me about a new burrito place that was completely divorced from the burden of any kind of South-of-the-border influence, I wouldn’t have high hopes. Granny’s, however, by virtue of their fresh flavors, contrasting textures and temperatures, and focus on wholesome ingredients, is a solid choice for a quick, workday lunch.

Will Raw Milk and Hard Cider be Sold at the Market?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

According to a report in the Bangor Daily News, the Portland City Council’s Health and Recreation Committee met earlier this week to consider a change to the Farmers Market ordinance to allow hard cider to be sold. While not on the agenda the discussion also considered whether to allow raw milk to be sold at the market.

On Tuesday, the committee was slated to discuss adding hard cider to the list of products that can be sold at the farmers market. The proposed change comes in part in response to the recent passage of a state law that allows permitted farm winery operations to sell certain alcoholic beverages at farmers markets statewide.

David Buchanan attended the meeting and told the committee he plans to team with Eli Cayer of Urban Farm Fermentory to sell hard ciders at the farmers market and he thinks the allowance of the alcoholic product could be a further boon for the market.

For additional commentary and reporting see articles from in the Portland Daily Sun and from The Golden Dish.

Wine Service and Choice, Theater Food & Infusions

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes advice on improving wine lists and wine service in Portland’s restaurants,

“The server who constantly points people to Chardonnay and Merlot,” Chase said, “might be a nice person. But being nice isn’t the only part of being a good server.” Amen, brother. I’d take a nice enough server who took genuine interest in her kitchen’s menu and wine list over a boatload of trying-too-hard “how’re we doings?” and “you guys” “you all set with thats?”

a report on the new healthy choices for snacks at Maine movie theaters,

You rarely find the words “movie theater” and “health food” in the same sentence, but this could change. As more Mainers seek out healthier fare and adopt alternative diets, cinemas around the state are responding with new menu offerings.

and an article about the current trend for bartenders to develop their own infusions.

Children and Restaurants

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Today’s Portland Daily Sun provides some advice on bringing children to restaurants.

Generally, if there is mac and cheese listed (the kind without lobster and truffles) or any variation of deep-fried Twinkies, the place tolerates toddlers and stoned college students. If you can’t pronounce the majority of the gilded menu, Open Table it someplace else.

Bresca Day

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

According to a report from The Forecaster, chef/owner Krista Kern Desjarlais will be adding lunch service at Bresca starting later in October.

Bresca Day will be European in style, open from late morning to mid-afternoon with fresh pastries, salads and local seasonal fare, she said Monday. Customers will be able to take the food to go or sit in with their children and friends. Coffee and espresso drinks will be provided by Matt’s Coffee of Pownal.

Kelp Farming

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The Forecaster has published an update on Ocean Approved and their kelp farming operation in Casco Bay.

Dobbins said the three varieties of kelp they grow are all native to Maine. They grow in the open ocean and filter nitrogen and phosphorus – often considered pollutants – out of the water.

The plants feed entirely on nutrients from the ocean and requiring no additional food. Dobbins said the final product has more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more fiber than brown rice.

Review of Caiola’s

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The Golden Dish has published a review of Caiola’s.

Having her own restaurant has allowed Harmon to cook as she pleases, igniting a culinary brigade of fire and light that has kept her in fine fettle ever since. Her food is big and bold — inspired comfort food that’s done with style and creativity.

This Week’s Events: 20 Mile Meal, Miyake Wine Dinner, Mushroom Workshop, El Bulli, Oktoberfest, Eco Appetito

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Tuesday — the Urban Farm Fermentory is holding a mushroom growing workshop.

Wednesday — Rosemont and Miyake are collaborating on an Austrian wine dinner, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the South Portland Farmers Market is taking place in the afternoon.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton, it’s the 1st day of the Oktoberfest at Novare Res, and the 1st showing of El Bulli: Cooking in Progress at the Museum of Art.

Saturday — it’s the last day of the Oktoberfest at Novare Res, and the 2nd showing of El Bulli: Cooking in Progress at the Museum of Art, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — Cultivating Community is hosting the 5th Annual 20 Mile Meal, the 4th Annual Eco Appetito at Cinque Terre and the last showing of El Bulli: Cooking in Progress is taking place at the Museum of Art.

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.

Fake Harding

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram reports on the recent social media impersonation of Harding Lee Smith on Facebook and Twitter.

When Portland chef Harding Lee Smith appeared to send a Twitter message to Zapoteca restaurant calling the eatery “disgusting,” “gross” and other things that can’t be printed here, the restaurant’s owners had reason to be puzzled.

And so did Smith.

Turns out, Smith wasn’t the one tweeting from the @HardingLeeSmith account or posting on a similar Facebook page set up under his name.

Miss Portland Diner

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Today’s Press Herald featured a front page story on the Miss Portland Diner.

In the three years since Tom Manning rescued and reopened the Miss Portland Diner, he has come to appreciate the many challenges of running a restaurant.

A change in the weather, good or bad, can draw a crowd to the old Worcester Lunch Car on Marginal Way or leave his staff with plenty of time to fill salt and pepper shakers. A spike in gas prices can drive up supply costs and make it tough to keep meatloaf and hash browns affordable.

Interview with John Myers on

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Bartender and cocktail historian, John Myers, was interviewed by Esquire magazine’s the Eat Like a Man blog.

My family owned a saloon outside of Chicago, like, the day after Prohibition, and they held it until about 1986. I just fell in love with watching the bartenders work. Even at ten years old, I said, “You know, that could not be a bad way to get through life.”