Archive for January, 2012

East End Cupcake Wars

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The Press Herald has published a report on East End Cupcakes and their appearance in the latest episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. The show aired Sunday night and the theme for this week’s competition was to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the I Love Lucy show.

Zoidis, owner of East End Cupcakes in the Old Port, didn’t win the show’s $10,000 prize, but she did come away with some clever Lucy-inspired cupcake ideas.

A cupcake she created in the first round of the competition was an homage to the “Vitameatavegemin” episode, in which Lucy is hired to do a TV commercial for a health tonic that makes her tipsy.

This Week’s Events: Cooking Class, Pai Men Wine Dinner, Coffee Cupping, Bakery Pop-up

Monday, January 30th, 2012

TuesdayChef David Levi is teaching a cooking class. The class will teach how to “create and craft delicious and nourishing dishes using exclusively organic, local, and sometimes wild ingredients.”

WednesdayPai Men Miyake and Rosemont are co-hosting a wine dinner featuring Hillinger wines from Austria, and David Levi is holding a second (sold out) session of his cooking class.

Thursday — The Great Lost Bear is featuring Gritty’s at their weekly brewery showcase, and Rosemont is holding a wine tasting.

FridayCoffee by Design is holding a pair of coffee cuppings, and there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli.

Saturday — a Bakery Pop-up Shop is taking place at Akari, sales at the pop-up shop will benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank. There will be a wine tasting LeRoux Kitchen, Wine Wise is leading a Cabernet wine walk in the Old Port, and the Winter Farmers Market is being held.

SundayLa Vie en Rose is on the schedule for movie night at Petite Jacqueline, and Maine food historian Sandy Oliver will be speaking at the Freeport Historical Society about the history of chocolate in American cooking.

Valentine’s Day — memories of New Year’s Eve are just fading and it’s already time to start making plans for Valentine’s Day. Here are the first few V Day options I’ve heard of. Post a comment with info for others that I should add to the list.

  • Bar Lola, $45, 5-course dinner with optional wine pairings
  • Bresca, 5-course Paris 2066 Dinner, $65 per person, $100 per person with wine pairings
  • Cinque Terre, 5-course on February 13 and 14, $59.95
  • Peaks Island Gastro Society, $100 6-course prix fixe with wine pairings on Saturday February 11
  • Petite Jacqueline, $65 4-course dinner with optional wine pairings
  • The Salt Exchange has posted their Valentine’s Day menu
  • Vignola, 4-course, $39.95

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.

East End Cupcakes in Cupcake Wars

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

East End Cupcakes appeared in tonight’s episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. According to a press release,

Tasked to commemorate the 60th anniversary of “I Love Lucy” through confection, Zoidis along with childhood best friend, Shana Treger, started Round 1 with a“Vitameatavegemin” cupcake, that captured the judges attention. Squeezing through to the finals despite running out of time in Round 2, they were tasked with baking and decorating 1,000 cupcakes with flavors from the previous rounds in under 2 hours. Even though viewers agree that their display and decorations were the sweetest, East End Cupcakes finished as the runner up. “We were so honored to be chosen for the show and really put our heart and soul into it. When the final judgement was made, I felt like screaming ‘Waaaahhhhh’ in homage of the fabulous Lucille Ball.” Said Zoidis jokingly.

Review of 158 Pickett Street Cafe

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Eat Here. Go There. has published a review of 158 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland.

Now, I am certainly not saying I would never eat here again, but this first impression wasn’t stellar. I have heard that their bagels and lox are awesome, as well as their omelets, so maybe I would go back and try one of those sometime?…Sorry Pickett Street. We wanted to love you, but you just wouldn’t let us.

Under Construction: Roost Juice Bar

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Roost is the name of a new juice bar under construction on Free Street. According to their website they plan on opening this Spring and will sell:

  • Juices
  • Smoothies
  • Raw, Gluten-free, Vegan Menu
  • Allergy-free Options
  • Organic, Bio-dynamic Wines
  • Library of Health Wellness Books
  • Hand-crafted Gifts

Review of Espo’s

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Espo’s Trattoria received 3½ stars from the review in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

Espo’s Trattoria offers a traditional expectation of Italian favorites in a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere.  Portions are enormous, pricing is fair, and the wine list shows a native food pairing intelligence. Try the marsala sauce over spinach.

Bard TNT in the BDN

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

The Bangor Daily News has published a report on Bard’s monthly barista TNT latte art competition.

Once a month or so, they come. Some rookies, some veterans. All seeking the four weeks of bragging rights in the Portland coffee community that come from a Thursday Night Throwdown title.

On the final Thursday of most months, Bard Coffee hosts a raucous playoff style competition to see who can whip up the best art in a head of latte foam.

Bard has also posted a set of photos from the January competition.

First Review of El Rayo Cantina

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Chubby Werewolf has published a review of the El Rayo Cantina.

All and all, the Cantina at El Ray delivered on just about every level for me. The price was reasonable, the service exceptional and the food outstanding. I had arrived feeling rather skeptical about the prospect of a cheeseburger served at an establishment specializing in Mexican cuisine, but departed  having enjoyed one of the better burgers in recent memory. I’ll return again soon, and the only question will be whether my Slow Burn is accompanied by another outstanding burger or one of the restaurant’s many other tempting offerings.

China Taste & Pizza by the Slice

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of China Taste.

But first it’s worth trying China Taste’s very good appetizers. The scallion pancake sizzles loud enough coming out of the oil that the whole waiting area looks up. It has a great crispy-chewy exterior with an underlayer of soft dough and ample scallion. You dip it into a terrific spicy-sour soy-based sauce. A splash of the same sauce perfected a bite of the house egg roll. The crisp exterior is surprisingly light, and the inside has that slight pinkish hue from the spices mixed into the ground pork. The chopped veggies inside still have a sweet crunch.

Also in this week’s Phoenix is a survey slice bars in Portland.

What’s New at Allagash

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Today’s What Ales You Column in the Press Herald reports on Allagash’s new products and a recent expansion in brewing capacity.

The bunker was designed so two more of the tanks can be added when business warrants, Perkins said. As of now, Allagash brews about 25,000 gallons — about 800 barrels — of beer a week.

Allagash also will be adding a new bottling line this year. Its bottling system handles both its 12-ounce bottles and 750-milliliter cork and cage bottles. The 375-milliliter (12.7 ounce) bottles used for the limited-release beers sold only at the brewery are bottled by hand.

The article also reports that both the new batch of Coolship Resurgam and the new honey beer Saison Mihm are both due out soon.

Best Brunch: Five Fifty-Five

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Travel and Leisure has included Five Fifty-Five in their list of America’s Best Bruches.

Executive chef (and 2007 Food & Wine Best New Chef winner) Steve Corry serves up everything from nostalgia-inducing homemade “Fig Newton” bars to the more traditional hearty steak and eggs, and even an Asian-inspired burger topped with kimchi.

Reviews of Mike’s, Asylum, Silly’s with a Twist, Maine’s Pantry

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Instant Portland has published a review of Maine’s Pantry,

All in all, Maine’s Pantry pleasantly surprised me. I was, honestly, expecting something of a tourist trap, but they are far from that. Instead, owner Elena Morrow-Spitzer is clearly passionate about supporting local food and local businesses, and has done a tremendous job gathering the best of Maine’s bounty and showcasing it on the shelves of this tiny shop. Even if you are local — actually, particularly if you’re a local – I encourage you to stop in and get introduced, as I did, to something new and delicous made right in your own back yard.

From Away has published a sandwich review of Mike’s,

…The result, though, is satisfying:  A moderately-priced, pleasantly musty-flavored sandwich, heavy with quality meats and cheese, as well as some inventive twists on Portland’s signature sandwich. It’s enough for a hearty meal, and enough to make me anxious to try Mike’s other offerings.

and the Press Herald has published a review of lunch at Asylum,

Was this a gourmet odyssey of a lunch? In two words: Not really. But will I go back? Another two words: You bet.

and a bar review of Silly’s with a Twist.

One of their early creations, Shelley told me, is dubbed a Blushing Beauty. The idea of mixing Absolut Vodka with Izze Sparkling Grapefruit sounded delightful, so I ordered the drink. It is aptly named, because the sparkling fruit juice is the color of rosy cheeks — the same hue my face takes on when I drink. And the nice twist is that the drink is served with the whole bottle of Izze, so you can add more to the vodka or order more vodka to add to the juice. Can you guess which addition I chose?

Raw Milk and Hard Cider at the Market

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The Forecaster has published an update on the effort to allow the sale of raw milk and hard cider at the Farmers Market.

Customers at the city’s farmers markets may soon be able to buy unpasteurized local milk, hard cider, beer and wine to go with their fresh vegetables, meats and baked goods.

City Councilors John Anton and Cheryl Leeman are sponsoring an amendment to the city’s rules that would allow licensed market vendors to add fermented beverages, raw milk and raw milk products, such as cheese, to their wares.

MB’s Sweets

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes a profile of MB’s Sweets, a South Portland gluten-free bakery.

Mary Beth Goldman of MB’s Sweets is quietly, persistently and actively infiltrating area restaurants, retail outlets and coffee shops with products that are deceivingly healthier than their white flour and hydrogenated-frosted counterparts. All the rage, or not, Goldman says, “Gluten-free sweets don’t have to be dry, gross and recall a childhood memory of choking on a graham cracker. Most people associate gluten-free with crumbly, gritty and crunchy — but that just isn’t the case.”

In Portland, MB’s Sweets products are available at Morning in Paris Cafe on Exchange Street.


Schulte & Herr to Start Dinner

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Schulte & Herr has announced that they’ll begin regularly serving dinner starting February 1st. They plan on continuing to serve lunch but will be scaling back breakfast to Saturday and Sunday.