Archive for July, 2012

Under Construction: Roost House of Juice

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Aided by a successful Kickstarter campaign that netted $8,740 in financing, Roost House of Juice is making progress towards an opening day sometime in August at 11 Free Street.

In the meantime you can wet your appetite by checking out the menu on their website. The menu is broken down into categories for cups, plates and wines. The site also has a list of the farms and distributors they’ll be working with.

A Halifax Perspective on Maine Dining

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Nadine Fownes, food writer for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, visited Portland and has written about her dining experiences around the city. J’s Oyster Bar, Crema, East End Cupcakes, Two Fat Cats, Standard, Gritty’s, Shipyard, Sebago, Duckfat, Gorgeous Gelato, Five Fifty-Five, Fore Street and Emilitsa are all mentioned.

The list that follows is just a small taste of places to see and eat around Portland, and it is by no means complete. The Old Port is easily walkable, so leave your car at the hotel and slip on a comfortable pair of deck shoes. Oh, and — how to put this delicately? — shorts, skirts or trousers with loose-fitting waistbands are advisable.

Grace’s Whole Beast Feast

Monday, July 30th, 2012

A number of food writers, myself included, were at Grace on Friday night at the invitation of restaurant owner Anne Verrill to experience the restaurant’s new Whole Beast Feast tasting menu prepared by chef Pete Sultenfuss. Also participating in the lambcentric meal were Phillip and Lisa Webster from North Star Sheep Farm where the lamb for our meal was raised.

Edible Obsession and Meredith Goad from the Press Herald have now published their reports on the meal. For me the most memorable parts of the meal were the lamb tartare in the first course, and later on the fresh corn polenta and tempura-fried milkweed pods.

Edible Obsessions

The amuse brought over by the Chef to start the evening was a lamb tartare, The raw lamb was blended with a smokey and spicy harissa paste, sesame seeds and cucumber. The flavor was much more assertive, both because of the harissa and inherent flavor of protein, than your average tartare and I appreciated the spice the harissa lent to the dish.  The flatbread, served to the side, added salt to the main component purposefully and the combination made for a delightful start to the evening.

Maine a la Carte

Next came smoked lamb shoulder served in an individual cast iron pan with the house rigatoni, Castelventrano olives, sungold tomatoes and a touch of ouzo. The dish was topped with a creamy goat’s milk ricotta. This course was paired with a Teira zinfandel.

Pocket Brunch #1

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Along with 29 others lucky enough to buy a ticket before they sold out, I went yesterday to the kick-off of Pocket Brunch. The excellent 5-course meal by Josh Potocki and Joel Beauchamp and guest chef Rocco Salvatore Talarico consisted of:

  • Chilled corn soup/melon dots/basil ice/crispy serano
  • Broadturn tomato/sheep’s milk ricotta salata/basil/mint/fried lemon panko
  • Pork belly/black pepper custard/quail yolk/potato/turnip radish salw/toast
  • Buttermilk fried frogs legs/lavendar lemon jelly/parsley shooter/garlic chips
  • long pepper rosettes/walnut panna cotta/black and sweet caramel jellies/Korean chili sauce

Coffee was from a new Portland-based nano-roastery, Temperance Coffee Roasters which has the tagline “Coffee Roasted with Fear and Conviction”.

The next Pocket Brunch on the calendar is scheduled for September 2 when the guest chefs will be Aki and Alex from the highly regarded blog Ideas in Food. Tickets are available online.

This Week’s Events: Growler Nite, French Whites, Twilight Dinner, Bourbon Tasting, CRUX Pop-up

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Tuesday — stop by Bunker Brewing on Anderson Street for Growler Nite to sample some of their beers and pick-up a growler to go.

Wednesday — French whites are the focus of a Wine Wise walk in the Old Port, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — Cultivating Community’s fifth Twilight Dinner of the summer is taking place at their farm in Cape Elizabeth (tickets available online).

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli and a bourbon tasting at The Salt Exchange. Restaurants will be especially busy due to First Friday Art Walk so the smart move is to make your reservations now.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, CRUX is scheduled to hold a pop-up dinner, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

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.

MSN Re:discovered

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Hot Suppa, Micucci’s, Novare Res, The Lobster Shack, Silly’s, Homegrown Herb & Tea, Saltwater Grille, Two Fat Cats and Miyake were all on the agenda when the the Re:Discover series visited Portland. Sarah Richards from Homegrown and Tolef Olson from Ocean Approved were two of the four local hosts for the show.

Strong Blueberry Crop

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Today’s Press Herald reports on this year’s blueberry harvest.

Maine’s wild blueberry growers are expecting their biggest crop in more than a decade.

This year’s crop is projected to come in between 90 million to 95 million pounds, with the monthlong harvest kicking into gear the first week of August. If the yield reaches 90 million pounds, it would be the largest harvest since 2000, when production reached a record 110 million pounds.

Review of Walter’s

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Life on Food has published a review of Walter’s.

I had the twin filets of beef.  Everything about this meal was good. The steak was nice and tender.  The taquitos were filled with cheesy, hot peppery greatness. It melted in your mouth.

Review of Minami

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Minami Japanese Grill.

Sushi purists, stop reading.  Japanese cuisine experts too. In fact, any person who self-identifies as a foodie might consider avoiding this essay entirely. My words will be upsetting, and I prefer to get ahead of the criticism. Minami is not for you. For the more flexible palate, read on.

For another point of view read the Chubby Werewolf review of Minami.

Top Hat Coffee Co.

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

On my way to Grace for a Whole Beast Feast tasting dinner (watch the local food press for more details) I spotted the Top Hat Coffee Company cart in Monument Square. As it turns out Friday was their first day in operation. They serve cold brew iced coffee, pour overs using beans from Bard and Others, Thai Ice Tea, and more.

VIA Campaign for All-American Toast

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

According to a recent press release VIA, the Portland-based marketing agency, has kicked-off a Facebook campaign to identify an all-American toast.

Realizing that there is no country-specific toast option for U.S. revelers – in the manner of Proust, Salud, Cheers (British), Slainte, Le Chaim and others – VIA decided to do something about this problem just in time for the summer Olympics, where there will hopefully be numerous opportunities for both cheering and ‘cheers’-ing. To accomplish this goal, VIA has selected 10 options to be the new ‘Toast of America’ and created a Facebook app to allow people to vote for their favorite, or make a suggestion for another one.

Drought’s Impact on Food Prices

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

There’s a front page article in today’s Press Herald exploring how the drought in the rest of the country will be impacting food prices at restaurants and markets here in Maine.

But Tom Barr, one of the owners of Nosh Kitchen Bar and Taco Escobarr in Portland, noted that food prices have already been fluctuating a lot over the past couple of years, for a variety of reasons. He and his partners monitor rising prices, and just charge what they need to in order for the restaurants to survive.

“Basically the philosophy we take is you have to achieve certain margins to keep working,” Barr said, “and as long as we keep putting out quality (food), people keep coming.”

And in the Op/Ed section is a funny (and fictional) piece about the creative economy,

“Do you know that Portland has a higher chefs-to-accountants ratio than any other U.S. city with a population under 160,000? Do you know that 42 percent of the lobstermen who tie up at the docks are also taking Web design classes at SMCC? Do you know –” she started to tremble — “do you know that the Kokomo Tribune said our food carts were second only to Singapore’s and Berlin’s? No, you don’t, do you?!”

Reviews of Becky’s and Duckfat

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The author of Bitches Who Brunch was recently in town for a wedding but found time to also sample the food (and milkshakes) at Becky’s,

But it was that blessed milkshake, served in an ice-cold metal tumbler, that was the crème de la crème of Becky’s. Topped with a hefty dollop of whipped cream, my chocolate shake was thick and creamy and absolute perfection.

and Duckfat.

But, the milkshakes. Oh, the milkshakes! They were amazing and available in all sorts of ingenious flavors that you would never think to be delicious in a shake. Like honey and cardamon. Or grapefruit and ginger. Or Tahitian vanilla bean crème anglaise and gelato. The shakes and sodas are made in house at Duckfat.

Flores Restaurant

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Flores Restaurant is now operating out of the space adjacent to La Bodega Latina on Congress Street. They serve Salvadoran food. I first noticed them this week but I’m not sure exactly when they opened.

Delicious Musings Visits Eventide

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Maine-based blog Delicious Musings has posted some details from her recent visit to Eventide.