Archive for September, 2011

Under Construction: Crema

Monday, September 19th, 2011

According to a report from the Munjoy Hill News, Crema, an Italian coffee house and bakery, will be opening later this year on Commercial Street.

Crema will also sell other Italian products such as gelato, Italian sodas, pastries, cups and saucers. Cathy and John Walsh, owners of Arabica, are partners with Banister in this welcome business to the area. There will be seating for 40 – 50 people.

This Week’s Events: Local Food Networking, Common Ground Fair, Mycology Walk, Wine Dinners at Bresca, Figa, 20 Milk and The Well

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Tuesday — Local Sprouts is hosting a local food networking breakfast for “food organizers, advocates and producers of our community”. Twenty Milk Street is holding a wine dinner featuring beef from the Piedmont region of Italy. The 16th Annual Epicurean Auction is taking place.

WednesdayOld Port Wine Merchants is holding wine tastings, there will be a Greek wine dinner at Bresca, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the RealFood Project is teaching a cooking class, Browne Trading is holding a wine tasting, Havana South is restarting their monthly wine event with a tasting of unusual Italian varietals, the Great Lost Bear is featuring beer from Baxter Brewing at this week’s brewery showcase, and the South Portland Farmers Market is taking place in the afternoon.

Friday — it’s the 1st day of the MOFGA Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine, and Figa is holding a wine dinner. The Wayside Food Program will be holding a food drive all day at Whole Foods. Layne Witherell will be at Longfellow Books to read from his book Wine Maniacs and sign copies.

Saturday — Wine Wise is leading a Sparkling Wine Walk in the Old Port, it’s the 2nd day of the Common Ground Fair, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place. The Wayside Food Program will be holding a food drive all day at Whole Foods.

Sunday — the Urban Farm Fermentory is leading a Mycology Walk, there will be an outdoor wine dinner at The Well, and it’s the last day of the Common Ground Fair.

Wine Dinner Season — as you can see above, it seems like we’ve hit Wine Dinner Season. In addition to the dinners taking place this week at Bresca, Figa, Twenty Milk and The Well, I’ve also added a dinner later this month at Miyake and dinners in October at Bresca and the East Ender. Also Bar Lola will soon be posting their calendar of monthly wine dinners.

Cooking the Market — Stonewall Kitchen and Maine Foodie Tours are collaborating on an weekly cooking program I wanted to draw your attention to. Each Wednesday participants in the 10-person cooking class tour the Farmers Market for a guided shopping trip and then they return to Stonewall for a cooking class centered on their purchases. For more details and to reserve a spot call (207) 879-2409.

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.

First Reviews of Schulte & Herr

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Both Maine Belle and Appetite Portland have published reviews of Schulte & Herr, the new German restaurant on Cumberland Ave.

Maine Belle had this to say about her lunch,

We were not disappointed – it was the perfect amount of food to share. The beets were well cooked and warm. The cucumber salad provided a lighter side to the meal. But of course, the highlight of the meal was the spaetzle. Amazing.

and Appetite Portland writes that,

But it was my first breakfast at Schulte & Herr that moved me from fan to neighborhood regular. Melt-on-your-tongue house cured lox ($9) had me at first bite. Cured in salt, sugar and orange juice and edged with a thick fringe of fresh dill, it elicited a long breathy “oh my” that started in my brain and hissed from my mouth in a loving growl. Pile it on a forkful of crackly potato pancakes with a swab of the horseradish sauce, capers and slices of gherkin pickles and you’ve got yourself a mini tower of heaven.

Between these two very positive reviews and several enthusiastic comments online when they first opened it looks like Schulte & Herr is off to a very good start.

 

Review of Taco Escobarr

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

From Away has published a review of Taco Escobarr.

The food at Taco Escobarr is much, much better than the garish name and concept art would have you believe.  If you can push past the obnoxious cartoons, ignore the triple-pun forced into the name of the restaurant, keep the longhorns hanging above the open kitchen out of sight, ignore the jukebox playing Kings of Leon, and just order a basket of tacos, you will be happy with the results. It’s not “authentic,” but it almost doesn’t matter. Taco Escobarr is cranking out some delicious, inexpensive, mostly well-executed tacos, that show a real knowledge and appreciation of their source material, paired with fiery salsas and simple side dishes. There’s finally a real taqueria right smack in the Old Port, and I look forward to going back.

Plentiful Fish for Your Plate

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Today’s Press Herald reports on an effort by local restaurants and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to (re)kindle eating interest in fish species that are plentiful.

In the past year a group of chefs, restaurants and fishermen have been working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to put under-used fish species on consumers’ radars. The idea is not only to take the pressure off over-fished species, such as flounder and haddock, but also to open up new markets for Gulf of Maine fishermen.

New Blogs: Urban Jungle Honeybees & Mainely Eating

Friday, September 16th, 2011

A pair of new entries have been added to the PFM blog list:

Foley’s & Salt Exchange Cook on the Small Screen

Friday, September 16th, 2011

A pair of TV appearances by local bakers and chefs:

 

Expectations and Enjoyment

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Columnist Natalie Ladd at the Portland Daily Sun muses on the impact our own prior expectations have on our enjoyment when eating out.

This is certainly not the case in business as we expect things to meet or exceed our standards based upon experiences tucked away in our “frame of reference” file. In a restaurant for example, we may be disappointed in a perfectly delicious, beautifully prepared, half-pound, medium-rare burger served with a mountain of hand-cut fries for $17, as this price point may seem offensive and unwarranted. Even if the food meets or exceed the standards of quality tastiness, the overall end result becomes null and void by the number of zeros on the meal ticket. I witnessed this very incident while sitting at a bar of a well known, carnivorously-oriented hot spot just last week.

Reviews of Sonny’s & Petite Jacqueline

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Front Row Eats has published a review of a multi-course tasting menu at Sonny’s,

It turned out to be a very memorable meal from start to finish and Sonny’s truly became the highlight of our trip to Portland. Not only was the food superb, but it was some of the best service I have had in a LONG time too (and I go out to eat a lot!!!). Trust me when I say this…no matter where you are from, Sonny’s should officially be on your radar. I traveled 400 miles roundtrip from Providence to Portland and I would go back in a heartbeat. In my opinion, you can’t go to Portland without stopping by Sonny’s. Just tell them Front Row Eats sent ya!

and the Maine Magazine Blog has published a review of Petite Jaqueline.

My final course is the roasted chicken, served with baby carrots cooked in tarragon and a traditional pan sauce. Many cooks agree that you can judge the quality of a restaurant by the way it treats the bird, as it is a very simple yet often botched procedure. Tonight they have been quite successful, with perfectly crispy skin covering tender and juicy meat, floating in a pool of juices flavored with pan drippings and herbs.

Seasonal Fall Beers

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

The What Ales You column in today’s Press Herald talks about seasonal Fall beers.

Sebago’s Local Harvest Ale, one of my favorite beers from last year, came out last Friday, and I stopped by Sebago’s Portland brew pub after work to try it out.

This beer is brewed with two-row barley grown in Aroostook County and with hops grown at Irish Hill Farms in Monroe and at various local gardens.

New England Distilling Co.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Mainebiz has published a profile of Ned Wight and his new company New England Distilling.

Ned Wight comes from a long line of distillers. His forebears made whiskey for about 100 years in Maryland until the 1950s, when the Wight family distillery was finally sold. Now, more than half a century later, he’s returning to the family trade and opening a small craft distillery in Portland, hoping to profit from a reawakened thirst for artisanal spirits, or what is sometimes referred to as boutique booze.

Brunch Review of District

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Eat Here. Go There. has published a review of the brunch at District.

If you are looking for a solid brunch at great prices get in to District as soon as you can, before everyone in town finds out how good it is. I speculate that by this time next year we won’t be getting seated right away at 11 a.m. on a Saturday.

Apples, Restaurant Wine and a Vegan Marathoner

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

The Food & Wine section in today’s Press Herald includes several articles about the Fall apple season: a report on the 2011 harvest, a list of apple events across the state, a guide to finding 40+ different varieties, and an article about John Bunker and his quest for rare Maine apples,

For years, John Bunker has been traveling around Maine on “fruit explorations,” hunting down old trees in out-of-the-way orchards and abandoned farms that may have been bearing fruit for 100 years or more. He lectures around the state, always encouraging his audiences to bring in apples they’ve found in their old orchards so he can try to identify them and solve the mystery of where they originated.

Those lucky enough to have secured a share in Bunker’s rare apple CSA this year will be picking up 7 different apple varieties today: Charette, Garden Royal, Milton, September Ruby, St. Lawrence, Wealthy and Whitney Crab.

Also in today’s Food & Wine section is an article about wine service and wine lists at Portland restaurants,

Today, I’ll use reader comments in order to explore some challenges to the health of our little wine culture here in southern Maine.

My hope is that you’ll come away from the following remarks feeling that you’re not alone, and that your own curiosity and investment in wine will be most highly rewarded if you actively push your friends, restaurant servers and retailers to treat wine less as a passively traded commodity and more as a pathway to rich experience.

and an interview with a vegan who is running in the Maine Marathon.

Because she follows a vegan diet and is training to run the Oct. 2 Maine Marathon, Angela May Bell of Portland occasionally gets questions from concerned friends who worry she’s not getting enough protein. It turns out her whole foods, plant-based diet gives her plenty of protein, but comes up a bit short on the extra carbs long-distance runners need.

Photos: Taco Escobarr, Bam Bam, Plush

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Portland Daily Photo has posted some photos of the recently launched Taco Escobarr and Bam Bam Bakery, as well as Plush which is still under construction.

September Bollard: Review of Gingko Blue and Upgraded Italian Sandwiches

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

This month’s edition of The Bollard includes a review of Gingko Blue,

It seems like Gingko Blue is trying to be two things at once: an ultra lounge for trendy twentysomethings and a jazz club for older professionals. The short-seated, high-backed chairs in the lounge, the wavy ceiling sculpture and the metallic gingko tree make the interior look like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Miami Vice. I found the experience of drinking there rather vapid; more style than substance. If you miss Una, the upscale ultra lounge that formerly operated a block down the street, then Gingko Blue is the bar for you.

and advice on how to upgrade the traditional Maine Italian sandwich with bread from Standard, cold cuts from Micucci, veggies from the Farmers Market and pickles from Medeo in Westbrook.

While there’s nothing wrong with the ingredients of Italians from sandwich shops like Amato’s, Di Pietro’s and Anania’s — the junky-goodness being part of the appeal — there’s no reason for the home caterer or lunch prepper not to take it up a notch. This involves some culling ingredients from a variety of local purveyors.