Archive for November, 2014

Crowdfunding: Catbird Creamery & Unwined

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Two more restaurant industry crowdfunding campaigns are seeking support:

Bao Bao Review & Maine Cookbooks

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Portland Magazine has published a short review of Bao Bao,

On to the dumplings. Our first indulgence, Steamed Hake, Burdock ($8.08), is like nothing we’ve seen anywhere. “Thread-cut” dumpling wrappers are ribboned layers enveloping the tender fish. Happily devouring our six pieces, we accelerate into our next plate of dumplings: the absolutely essential Lamb, Black Bean, Chili, Peanut ($8.08).

and an article about Maine cookbooks.

Some of the great Maine cookbooks are out of print but hardly out of sight in a city and state with such a good used-book network of stores and used sections within stores. “Saltwater Seasonings is one of the very few that really catches the spirit of Maine,” says Don Lindgren, owner of Rabelais Books in Biddeford, probably the center of the universe for vintage and rare cookbooks.

Down East Review of Lolita

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Down East has reviewed Lolita.

An array of small plates, served with careful attention to flavor and texture. Local, seasonal ingredients used to maximum advantage. Well-balanced cocktails and a confident, savvy wine list. The sense that you’re the only diner who really matters in a small but bustling dining room. You could use all of these phrases to describe both Bar Lola — Guy and Stella Hernandez’s Munjoy Hill institution, which the couple closed in November 2013 after seven years — and Lolita, the intriguing new restaurant they’ve opened just a few doors down on Congress Street. But while both restaurants’ broad outlines are similar, Lolita feels quite new — as if your dear friend got a chic haircut, a killer pair of shoes, and a fascinating new career to discuss over drinks.

Boston Globe Profile of Slab

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

The Boston Globe has published an article about Slab.

On the Slab menu, Luna holds beer-braised meatballs, is used for caponata sandwiches, and is the utensil provided for scooping up orange- and saffron-scented Sicilian hummus. The kitchen also offers a rotation of “Sicilian street food” specials, including hearty slaw, fried cauliflower with pepperoncini and lemon aioli, Silician-style jerk chicken with grilled orange wedges, and rhubarb pork osso bucco.

Under Construction: Press Hotel

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Urban Eye has an update on the restaurant Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier are developing for the Press Hotel.

This we do know, Mark and Clark’s first Portland restaurant is an open kitchen, 65-seater with a bar. The entrance is directly across from City Hall. It won’t be an upscale Italian spot like M.C. Spiedo, which opened in Boston’s Seaport last Feb., or a seafood house like M.C. Perkins Cove, but “a combination of all of our experiences,” said Frasier. They will also be in charge of room service and stocking room mini bars with “cookies and things we love.”

Foodcoma’s Annual Pumpkin Beer Survey

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Joe Ricchio and friends have published their annual survey/review of Pumpkin beers, 26 in all.

Before I introduce this year’s judges, I feel the need to say that, over the years, as the pumpkin beer craze has grown, we’ve see our number of entries grow from six in 2009 all the way to almost thirty, only five years later. Along the way, we have all tasted lots of disgusting beer, but I feel like this time it was much harder to distinguish them from one another. It’s as if they all collectively decided to dial their flavors back and go for something more quaffable, perhaps in anticipation of the pumpkin spice backlash? I’m not sure, but it would appear that even the brewers are over it with their own pumpkin beers.

Under Construction: On the Vine Marketplace

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

According to the American Journal, On the Vine Marketplace  has bought Dunstan School in Scarborough with plans to turn the restaurant building into a grocery store. On the Vine has an existing store in Exeter NH.

[Co-owner Abel] Schultze said the On the Vine in Exeter employs about 50 people, including trained chefs and bakers, and about one-third of the staff will come to Maine in the spring to help get the Scarborough store up and running.

In addition, Schultze said that either he or Edwards would be on hand locally all week long because they want to “keep in direct touch with our customers.”

Update: for additional information read this article in the BDN.

US Bartendenders Guild, Portland Chapter

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Local bartender, Paul Russellusbg_logo, is heading up an effort to establish a Portland chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild. Russell and the local planning committee have achieved provisional status for the local chapter and will be holding a bar crawl on December 1st to reach out to and sign-up up local members.

According to the organizations website, the benefits of membership include meetings with fellow local bartenders, discounts on accreditation, networking, access to industry events run by the USBG and assistance signing-up for health insurance. The local chapter plans on running tastings, pop up competitions, educational events and presentations by vendors.

Maine Craft Distilling Tasting Room/Mixology Shop

Monday, November 24th, 2014


Maine Craft Distilling (website, twitter, facebook, instagram) has leased the historic Mallet Building on Mill Street in Freeport where they plan to open a tasting room and mixology shop.

Distiller Luke Davidson tells me the new two-story space will increase exposure and retail sales of their spirits and enable MCD to expand into selling cocktail accessories, glassware, shakers, mixers, bitters, books and, of course, MCD-emblazoned merchandise. Davidson also plans to use the Freeport location to host events including ” educational events,evenings of music, book authors and joint events with other area businesses (e.g. spirits and cheese pairings farm to table/flask catered events etc)”.

MCD hopes to open their Freeport store by early January.

This Week’s Events: Porchetta Feast, Oxbowzakaya, Thanksgiving, Coffee Smuggler

Monday, November 24th, 2014

lolita_porchettaTuesdayLolita is throwing their inaugural Pre-Thanksgiving Porchetta Feast, and Oxbowzakaya an annual Oxbow tap take-over/izakaya menu is scheduled for Pai Men Miyake.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the following restaurants are serving Thanksgiving Dinner:

Saturday — Coffee by Design is hosting a book launch party for Coffee Smuggler, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — author Josh Christie will be at Rising Tide for a book signing of his Handbook of Porters & Stouts.

Thanksgiving — Check out the PFM Thanksgiving Resource Guide for ideas on where to source ingredients for your meal at home.

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.

Reviews: Slab, Ebb & Flow

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Slab,

Skip breakfast and over-indulge in the flavorful Sicilian street food at this informal lunch-and-dinner restaurant. Named for the gargantuan servings of thick-crust pizza created by chef/owner Stephen Lanzalotta, Slab also offers delicious open-faced oven melts, braised meats and lasagnas. Make sure to ask your server about the day’s specials – and don’t skimp on dessert: The baci (chocolate) and ricciarelli (almond) cookies are extra rich and satisfying.

and Eating Portland Alive has posted a first look review of Ebb & Flow.

The za’atar-spiced pita was the perfect vessel for the cold eggplant salad. I was definitely still tearing away at the flatbread after the salad was long gone…The cauliflower soup took savory to another level with the inclusion of rock crab and chorizo. The server who delivered my lamb keftedakia declared it “the king of dishes.” I may have to try a few more items for comparison, but I’m a pretty happy camper with lamb meatballs especially with such a nice char on them.

Crowdfunding: Als Pals Pickles

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Westbrook-based Als Pals Pickles(twitter, facebook, instagram) has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter-clone site Indiegogo. Owner Al Arsenault is hoping to raise $5,000 to “better pickling equipment, promotion and building up a stock”.

I am passionate about making awesome pickles, I take pride in the quality of my product and I’ve really enjoyed all of the pickle lovers I have come across in my time as a pickler What your contribution will go towards is better equipment for maintaining a great quality pickle, this includes kitchen equipment such as knives, cutting boards, pickling pots and gloves and would allow me to buy my pickle jars in bulk. It also includes promotional equipment like banners, business cards, label paper, label printers, promo art and a tablet for mobile card transactions.

For more information or to contribute to the campaign visit the Als Pals page on Indigogo.

Portland Food Co-op

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

The Forecaster has published an article about the new Portland Food Co-op.

West End resident Jennifer Morrison works nearby on India Street, and said her first store visit came after months of anticipation.

“It’s beautiful,” she said, clutching a carton of almond milk and an orange. “I feel like I could do all my shopping here.”

Morrison said she tries to shop at locally owned markets, and was pleased to find a large selection of organic fruits and vegetables. Before leaving, she stopped at a table in the front of the store and signed on as a co-op member.

The co-op has a grand opening planned for December 10.

Reviews: Bao Bao & Timber

Friday, November 21st, 2014

pArts has reviewed Bao Bao,

Next up, my single order of dumplings (which come boiled, steamed or pan fried, I chose the last). Six beauties stuffed with a sausage ball of lamb, black bean, peanuts, and chilis, served with a homemade tomato relish/ketchup. I will likely order these every time I return. I was sorry I didn’t order the Hake dumplings which looked amazing . . . but I need something to look forward to next time.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Timber.

My verdict on Timber is to go there for happy hour. The mac and cheese is half price and there are some cheap drinks – all of which I loved. For the price, I can’t say I was pleased with the main courses. Our meal came to over $100 with tax and tip, so it wasn’t cheap and we didn’t get any steak which would have upped the price significantly.  Nonetheless, the restaurant has an allure under the right circumstances, but it’s not for an entire meal.

MCD x Sur Lie Collaboration

Friday, November 21st, 2014

mcdxsurlieMaine Craft Distilling and Sur Lie are c0-hosting a 2-step collaboration next week:

Monday – stop by the MCD distillery on Fox Street to taste some of the drinks Sur Lie bartenders come up with as they experiment with MCD’s spirits. 3 – 6 pm.

Wednesday – visit Sur Lie on Free Street for a Maine Craft Distilling bar takeover. Bartenders will be serving up the new drinks they developed as part of Monday’s experimentation at the distillery.