Archive for February, 2012

Reuters Profile of Grace

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The Reuters news service has produced a profile of Grace.

Every element of the design shows a keen eye for detail. Napkin rings are made from spare parts harvested from the original pipe organ. The dramatic architectural feature over the bar echoes two trefoil stained glass windows. Even the knives mimic tall, spear-shaped windows.

Chef Peter Sueltenfuss presides over the large open kitchen located in the church’s former altar. There, he produces an eclectic blend of modern American cooking that leans heavily on Maine seafood and locally-raised produce.

Maine Food Producers Alliance

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a feature article on the Maine Food Producers Alliance.

The alliance holds workshops that teach up-and-coming stovetop businesses all the practical things they need to know, from picking out the best packaging to the do’s and don’ts of approaching major retailers. The group includes businesses of all sizes, from Stonewall Kitchen – whose owners started out selling their products at local farmers markets – to smaller ventures such as the Perfect Peanut Brittle Co. in Saco.

For more information on the MFPA visit their website.

Farm to Table in Nat Geo Traveler

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Cinque Terre and Vignola have been featured in a National Geographic Traveler article on farm to table restaurants.

 Co-owner and chef Lee Skawinski selects varietals for the farm discovered on trips to Italy, and the kitchen crew helps harvest everything from tomatoes to 3,000 heads of garlic per season. Cinque Terre crafts traditional, multicourse meals inspired by the cuisine of Liguria in northwest Italy. Expect comforting dishes such as zuppa di pesce (fish soup) with potato and fennel, and ravioli with kale and braised lamb. Vignola is its breezy little sister, serving tavern fare: Terrines of Maine rabbit are a specialty. To catch a breeze yourself, take a stroll by the ocean across the street from the restaurants.

Under Construction: Union Bagel Co.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

A group of 5 “seasoned and passionate artisan bakers” are launching a new bagel bakery in Portland called the Union Bagel Company. Their stated goal is “to bring traditional bagels to Portland, and to create a successful enterprise that is both supportive of and dependent upon a strong regional economy.”

They’ve launched a website, set-up a Facebook page and are now raising $7500 in start-up funds on KickStarter. If you’ve wanted to see the Portland bagelverse continue to expand then you might want to visit their fundraising page, watch the video and consider helping them out with a donation.

Maine Culinary Podcast: Zapoteca

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

For this week’s episode, the Maine Culinary Podcast has published an interview with Tom and Shannon Bard from Zapoteca.


This Week’s Events: MRW and an action packed week of events

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Wednesday — to kick-off Maine Restaurant Week the organizers have planned a cocktail and pastry competition at the Portland Harbor Hotel. Also taking place that night are a 4-course rabbit and Austrian wine dinner at Grace, a kimchi workshop at the Urban Farm Fermentory, and Pilot Beer Night at Sebago Brewing.

Thursday — the opening day of Maine Restaurant Week which runs March 1-10; see the MRW’s website for a full list of participating restaurants. As part of MRW the culinary team from Cinque Terre and Vignola will be offering a multi-course tasting menu at the Danforth Inn. Also on Thursday, The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Redhook Brewery.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli and a bourbon tasting at The Salt Exchange, and the tasting menu at the Danforth Inn will be available for a second night. First Friday Art Walk is taking place and MRW week continues so restaurants will be packed so be sure to make your reservations soon.

Saturday — the Peaks Island Gastro Society is holding their March Dinner (6 courses including Pinot Noir braised Montana Antelope and a Terrine of Maine Goose & Oregon Truffles), there will be a sake tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, Wine Wise is holding a wine walk in the Old Port, it’s the final night of the tasting menu at the Danforth Inn, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center.

Sunday — Maine Restaurant Week continues.

All Month — Starting on Thursday and running throughout the month of March, Grace, Miyake, Pai Men Miyake and the Foreside Tavern in Falmouth will make a donation to fight hunger in Maine for every 3- or 7-course meal you order. “The idea that there are children in our state the are hungry is simply unacceptable to us. When we learned that each dollar raised connects a child with ten meals we knew we could make an impact right here in our own community.” said Anne Verrill, owner of Grace & The Foreside Tavern.

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.

2012 Food Issues: Maine & Down East

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

The annual food issues of Maine and Down East magazines came out this week.

The March issue of Maine magazine includes:

  • Joe Ricchio’s take on the state’s 6 best cookies (personally I’d add the sea salt chocolate chip at Aurora Provisions)
  • An article on healthy eating
  • A profile of forager Evan Strusinski
  • A “cross-section of Maine’s most interesting chefs [and] the foods they really care about”
  • Interviews with restaurant managers at 555, Francine Bistro and Zapoteca
  • An article about Maine Maple Sunday
  • A profile of Jarrod Spangler who works as a butcher at Rosemont
  • A great cover photo of Steffi and Brian Davin, owners of Schulte & Herr

and in Down East you’ll find:

  • An extensive guide to cheap eats across the state
  • An article about Maine Maple Sunday with tasting notes from a dozen sugar houses
  • An article about Moxie
  • An article about the Maine eel fishery

Neither magazine has published their articles online yet (hint hint!) but the magazines should be available at your favorite local bookstore.

Review of Blue Spoon

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

The Golden Dish has published a review of Blue Spoon.

For a main course I chose what’s known as chicken under a brick and my partner had the seafood stew. My last encounter with this preparation occurred recently at the uninspiring Macaroni Grill. Needless to say the two interpretations are worlds apart. Blue Spoon’s take reveals beautifully seasoned and extremely moist white and dark meat served over a mass of seared Brussels sprouts with addictively delicious caramelized fingerlings. But the real prize is the resounding bacon and mustard sauce that elevates this dish to a higher realm indeed.

Interview with Kate Squib

Friday, February 24th, 2012

SheWired has published an interview with Kate Squib. (via Edible Obsessions)

What’s your philosophy on food?
Like I said, I grew up in a large family where food was the center of everything. It kept our family close. Food brings people together, so why not make everything — from its preparation to its consumption — an enjoyable experience for everyone to share? And don’t let anyone ever tell you not to play with your food. That’s the best part! Play with your food. Learn what it’s capable of, and what you’re capable of.

Review of Harmon’s Lunch

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Joe Ricchio has written a review of Harmon’s Lunch for Maine magazine’s blog.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that very few things satisfy the soul like a great burger, and Harmon’s Lunch has stood the test of time by consistently offering one of Maine’s best.

Who needs Happy Meal toys, anyway?

Food Truck Call to Action

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Bring Food Trucks to Portland Facebook page is making the case for broadening the membership of the Food Truck Task Force.

This Task Force may be highly problematic; the members are almost all representative of interest groups who gain by maintaining the status quo. Contacting Councilor Ed Suslovic ( and suggesting other stakeholders (food bloggers, Buy Local, et al) be included would be helpful. Otherwise, the task force is likely to implement only a very limited vision of what food trucks might be in Portland and make it very difficult for a viable food truck operation to survive…

Review of Marcy’s

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

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

The sausage at Marcy’s is a step up from the typical chewy diner links — you get something fatter, more tender, and less bluntly salty. The new owners have also upgraded the bacon, which is thicker and has a better mouthfeel. “Homefries” are really hashbrowns of the simple shredded potato variety — a big pile whose brief time on the grill imparts every possible potato texture — from soft and tender to hard and crisp. French toast is simply and nicely done, with a flavor more eggy than sweet. Either the French toast or big fluffy pancakes can be included with your egg breakfast to create a huge meal for less than seven bucks.

Food Carts in Parks & Teaching Preservation

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Today’s Press Herald reports on the opportunity for food carts to operate in city parks this Summer,

The city will accept bids through Tuesday. Dumais said there’s no minimum bid, although a $100 deposit is required. A license for a push cart costs $295 and the application fee is $35.

“We’re hopeful that someone will find a good spot and make a go of it,” Dumais said.

The openings are in Deering Oaks, Lincoln Park, Harbor View Park, Back Cove Trail, the Western Promenade and the Kiwanis Pool.

and an article on school kids learning about food preservation.

Children learned how pickling developed as a method of food preservation long before modern refrigeration, and how it still plays a role in keeping foods edible and tasty.

Kate McCarty, one of the master food preservers, explained how ship captains often served pickled foods, which are high in vitamin C, in part to keep passengers and crews from getting scurvy and dying on long trips across the Atlantic.

Double Your Money

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

This week’s Forecaster includes a report on a Cultivating Community program that doubles the purchasing power of shoppers at the farmers market who use food stamps.

Washington was confused, until Czifrik explained that the market doubles the amount of any Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) spending up to $20. Hence, the pile of tokens that filled the plastic sandwich bag in Washington’s hands.

Under Construction: Matt’s Wood Roasted

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Portland Daily Sun has published an interview with the owner of Matt’s Wood Roasted Coffee about the coffee shop he’s opening on Congress Street,

“We’ll be doing some interesting stuff with coffee, some different ways of brewing it. We have an interesting espresso machine,” he said.

“There will be a coffee lab in the back of this space, with a sample roaster, I’ll be doing some sample roasting on site,” Bolinder said.

and an article about the number of coffee shops in Portland.

Yet some worry that, like a second pot of coffee brewed from old grounds, the market may be weakening. Are customers facing too many choices without adequate demand?

“I’ve got seven on my block, and they never used to be here,” complained one proprietor about the sudden emergence of coffee shops in a small stretch of downtown Portland. “So everybody wants to be in the coffee business.”