Archive for February, 2013

Food Law Colloquium Report

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The Portland Phoenix has published a report on last weekend’s food law colloquium.

Do front-yard gardens and backyard chicken coops, as leading symbols of our thriving food movement, deserve First Amendment protection, much as black armbands did during the Vietnam War? Does a focus on “food miles” distract from the urgent need to reduce the greenhouse gases agriculture emits as we strive to feed a world population of 9 billion by 2050? Should the government mandate vegetable consumption — just as New York City and others have enacted bans on Big Gulps and trans fats?

Bar Review of Blue Spoon

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Today’s Press Herald includes a bar review of Blue Spoon,

If you have the chance and get there at the right time, I would highly suggest trying this bar for brunch. The steak and eggs plate I ordered was absolutely delicious, as was Melissa’s eggs benedict.

If Blue Spoon is busy whenever you’re able to drop in, be patient. It’s worth the wait.

and the latest installment of the What Ales You column.

Under Construction: David’s & The Porthole

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Chef David Turin tells me he’s working to launch a Kennebunk location of David’s and a David’s Opus Ten. He hopes to have the new restaurants open sometime in May. That will make for a total of five David’s restaurants in three cities.

According to an article in today’s Press Herald, The Porthole is under new management and is scheduled to re-open this spring.

Ken McGowan, whose family owns Custom House Wharf, said he will own and manage the Porthole Restaurant and Pub.

“It will be run to every inch of the health code,” McGowan said Tuesday. “I’m not skimping on anything.”

Maine Made Sake & Food Pronunciation Guide

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a feature article on Blue Current, a sake brewery under development in Maine.

Ford and Sygowski plan to open a sake microbrewery this spring, right here in Maine.

The two friends already brew for their personal consumption in the garage at Ford’s home in Kittery Point. That’s where the commercial operation, called Blue Current Brewery, will begin once they have all their local, state and federal permits in hand. They hope to be open for business by April or May, and will eventually move the brewery out of Ford’s house.

The Press Herald sister site Maine Today has published a food word pronunciation guide in time for Maine Restaurant Week. I had the pleasure of being the official voice for the recordings.

Diners don’t generally mispronounce “chicken” or “BLT,” which means we’ve gotten along just fine at area pubs and sandwich shops. But our small city’s super-exploding food scene has some phonetic implications: We’re not quite sure how to pronounce this stuff.

Deciding Where to Eat

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The Blueberry Files has written about the restaurant inspection list published by the Press Herald and the minimal impact it has on where she decides to eat out.

But truthfully, it’s probably not going to change my dining habits all that much. I’m going to continue to believe that the pride many Portland chefs take in their work will translate to clean kitchens where it really matters.

Interview with Erik Desjarlais

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Bourbon. Portland. Beer. Politics. has published an interview with former chef Erik Desjarlais about his business Weft & Warp Seamster. Desjarlais has also launched a line of lotion and beard soap.

How have they been received?
Great. Some of my customers are Top Chef guys. The James Beard list just came out and it was cool to see that most of my customers were on that list, a lot of high profile folks. I think they also like the fact that I used to be a chef so I know what is needed. I am not just cutting these things from patterns. If the chef has a particular need, I can do it.

The North Point

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

In the City has posted an article about The North Point which opened its doors to the public last week.

“It fills a niche we didn’t think was being fully filled,” Dan said during happy hour on Friday as customers began steadily streaming in. The brothers see it as an “adult” lounge without a single TV, where there’s music and conversation in a warm, cozy, homey space.

According to Noah, one customer described The North Point this way: “It’s like getting into a really nice glass of scotch – it’s envelopes you, it gives you a hug and it makes you feel warm.”

Meet Kris Horton and Sarah Richards

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Maine Today has published an interview with Sarah Richards, the owner of Homegrown Herb & Tea,

What lesson have you learned?
My biggest lesson that my teashop has taught me is that you can do anything you want to do in life. You know, I worked for someone else my whole life. I was a waitress then a bartender, and then I became a Spanish teacher. And all that time, as much of a free spirit as I am, I felt very obligated to a system. Having broken away from that system has been the most marvelous thing I’ve ever done. It’s just awesome.

and Dispatch has published an interview with Kris Horton owner of the cheese shop in the Public Market House.

Kris describes The Public Market House as “constantly in a state of flux.” A business will get their start in the Public Market, leaning on other vendors for support, sharing costs and gaining strength in numbers. Eventually, the business will outgrow the space and be strong enough to branch out on their own, allowing the opportunity for a new small business to take their place. It’s a ongoing cycle, and it seems to work very well.

Wine Wise Profile

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Maine Today has published a profile of Wine Wise.

Erica [Archer] leads regular Wine Wise events – including Wine Walks through the Old Port, wine dinners, and First Friday session at The Wine Bar during Portland’s monthly Art Walk. There’s even a Wine Wise cruise in Casco Bay during the fall when the weather’s accommodating (something about being surrounded by ocean makes everything taste even better). Each event has specific theme, be it reds and whites of Bordeaux, perfect wines for summer, sparkling wines, Spanish reds, or great value wines for under $15.

Best Food Towns: Portland #4

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

GoLocalProv has produced a list of the New England’s 25 Best Food Towns, Portland weighs in at #4.

Talk about a food town. There is no city of its size that contains so much independent cooking and notable dining than this beautiful city just two hours from Boston. Walking the streets of Portland’s Old Port district is like walking any street in New York City’s West Village or Soho, and without the attitude and high prices. Portland is a food-lover’s pure pleasure, and its Top 5 standing in New England is proof…You’ll need more than a week.

Review of Saigon

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Edible Obsessions has published a review of Saigon.

But, the surprise of the meal, though was an appetizer special of steamed rice pancake, ground pork, pork skin, onions, pickled daikon and carrot, basil, lettuce, cucumber and fish sauce. It looked like a deconstructed Banh Mi, minus the baguette and mayonnaise…

Under Construction: Local 188 Bakery & Boone’s

Monday, February 25th, 2013

188Bakery_space

Two of Portland’s best known restaurateurs continue to extend their reach in the city:

  • Jay Villani launched Local 188 in 1999, opened Sonny’s 2010, and has a barbeque restaurant under construction at 915 Congress Street called Salvage BBQ & Smokehouse. He’s now leased 742 Congress Street and is turning the space into a bakery he hopes to open sometime this summer. The space was most recently the Bubble Room Laundrymat.
  • Harding Smith’s newest restaurant under development on Custom House Wharf is going in a location that for 107+ years was the home of Boone’s Restaurant. According to an ad in the March issue of Maine magazine, he’s naming it Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room.

For more details on all the new food businesses under development see the Under Construction List.

New Blog: Feeding Me

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A new blog called Feeding Me launched late last month. It’s a project by Henry Leiter to “explore the independent, entrepreneurial spirit of Maine by interviewing local food purveyors and artisans”.

So far Leiter has interviewed:

This Week’s Events: Latte Art Competition, Incredible Breakfast Cook-off, Maine Restaurant Week, MOFGA Event

Monday, February 25th, 2013

WednesdayThe Merry Table is serving a 5-course French wine dinner.

Thursday — Bard is hosting the monthly latte art barista competition, Grace is restarting their wine education program, there will be a mead and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, and the Great Lost Bear will be featuring beers from Victory Brewing.

Friday — the Incredible Breakfast Cook-off is taking place, Wine Wise is teaching a class on Port, there will be wine tastings at the West End Deli and Rosemont, and a Gritty’s tap takeover at Taco Escobarr. It’s the first day of Maine Restaurant Week and concurrently Grace is raising money to fight hunger in Maine by donating $1 for every 3-course $30 meal ordered March 1-8.

Saturday — there will be wine tastings at Browne Trading and LeRoux Kitchen, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — MOFGA’s Meet Your Farmers and Fishermen event is taking place at Woodfoord Church, and Two Fat Cats is teaching a baking class.

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.

Review of J’s Oyster Bar

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of J’s Oyster Bar.

Remember that J’s is a joint. Entrees are ample and tasty, and diners won’t leave hungry, but it’s not fine dining. It’s a sleeves rolled up, slurp some oysters with basic horseradish and shoot the (expletive deleted) over a few beers locale. Placemats are paper, and house rules are clearly stated on cards at each table.

And that’s part of J’s charm.