Archive for December, 2015

Reviews: Tomaso’s Canteen & Pat’s Cafe

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Tomaso’s Canteen,

Sangillo’s closing was a loss for the community, and Tomaso’s definitely doesn’t replace it. But in some ways that’s great. You’ll still find the affordable drinks and “beer and shot” menu, but now the space is verging on gastropub territory, with its amazing food, specialty drinks and relaxed vibe. The location is hole-in-the-wall enough to feel like a secret, but it’s right off Middle Street.

and Pat’s Meat Market & Groceria Cafe.

I also tried the chicken vegetable soup ($4.95), with shredded chunks of chicken and a rich, bright yellow stock that I found later was made at the market. It had mushrooms, carrots and pieces of turnip. It was very hot, making it a good traveling soup. So next time I want a soup to go, I’ll get some at Pat’s and I’ll be confident it will stay warm. Some of the other soups on the rotating list include beef and bean chili, cream of asparagus, curry chicken and rice, and clam and haddock chowder.

The Changing Face of Washington Ave

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

The Press Herald has published a report on the fast pace of business development on Washington Ave.

In just the past year, two new restaurants have opened, as well as a beer tasting room and a wine shop. Other projects are in the works: a wine bar, a distillery, a wholesale honey production facility, and a cafe and chocolatier. Still in the rumor mill: a new juice bar and another restaurant.

Under Construction: Hardshore Distilling Co.

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Press Herald food writer Meredith Goad has written a round-up of some the more interesting new restaurants expected to open in 2016. In the mix was a brief mention of a new distillery slated for Washington Ave called Hardshore Distilling Company.

Another new distillery, Hardshore Distilling Co., is slated for Washington Avenue – they’ll be making gin to start…

Founder Jordan Milne filed for a trademark and set-up an Instagram account earlier this year.

Under Construction: Woodford Food & Beverage

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has published an update on Woodford Food & Beverage (facebook, twitter, instagram, website).

When this 85-seat American brasserie opens in early January, “comfort food to fit the stark mid-century vibe” will be in session.

“We want this to be a go-to place. Like Caiola’s or the Blue Spoon,” said Preyer, of beloved joints in Portland’s West End and Munjoy Hill. “A place where you can come in and order a burger or come to celebrate. Daring, yet simple, for a reasonable value.”

Woodford F&B hopes to open in January.

Review of Bayou Kitchen

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Run for Breakfast has reviewed Bayou Kitchen.

The regular menu has many delicious options for both breakfast and lunch (Bayou serves breakfast and lunch only) and every one I have had has been fantastic.  From prior visits I recommend trying the Veggie Homie Plate (home fries smothered with veggies and cheese), the Breakfast Sandwich (traditional style, but for a real treat, order is with the Andouille sausage), or El Rancho Verde omelet (a medley of Cajun and southwest flavor).  If you are in the mood, Bayou Kitchen’s French Toast and pancakes are large and perfectly cooked. 

Chef Summit 2016

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

chefsummit2016O’Maine Studios along with a group of Maine food industry professional is organizing a Chef Summit which will take place on January 29-30 at Sunday River.

The agenda features a day of “panel presentations on strategies to grow and prosper our food and beverage industry” for industry staff on January 29th.

On Saturday January 30th the Chef Summit will  open to the general public:

  • Meet the Farmer — sample products from local farmers and food producer
  • Chef Chat — a chance to meet and speak with chefs and other industry professionals
  • Chef Summit Tasting Event — chefs from Hugo’s/Eventide/The Honey Paw, Cafe Miranda, Evo, David’s KPT, The Library and the Prostart Culinary Team.

More details on the food industry program will be released early next year. Tickets for the tasting event will go on sale soon.

Under Construction: Scales

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Uban Eye has posted an update on Scales.

Fans of old Boston institutions like Durgin Park are sure to be hooked. Pot roast, brown bread, corn bread, Parker House rolls, even oyster crackers will all be made in house. Street, a Brookline, MA native, wants to restore the “peasant style,” anything goes, community dining he grew up with at rowdy places like Durgin Park. “It’s an American brasserie,” said Street, with a “19th, 20th century Boston Seaport,” vibe.

Urban Eye reports that the owners hope to open Scales in February.

Best Beer City: Portland

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Confirming what those of us who live already knew, SmartAsset has declared Portland the Best City for Beer Drinkers.

The nation’s top beer city is Portland, Maine. The city is home to 17 microbreweries, one for every 4,000 residents – the highest per capita microbrewery rate of any U.S. city. Perhaps the most well-known of Portland’s breweries is Allagash Brewing Company, which reintroduced Belgian style brews to America in the mid-90s.

SmartAsset based the rankings on the number and per capita ratio of breweries, bars and brewpubs, the average Yelp scores for the breweries, and the average price for a pint of domestic beer.

SMCC Culinary Program

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has published an article on the SMCC Culinary Arts program.

It’s finals week at Southern Maine Community College, and students in the culinary arts kitchen are busy fricasseeing fresh rabbit harvested from Unity.

In the dining room, members of the public dig into a multicourse lunch, draining bowls of honey crisp apple and vidalia sweet onion soup. The impressive menu indicates that cider from Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner and apples from Cornish combine forces for the powerful dish.

Brunch Review of Roustabout

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The Golden Dish has posted a brunch review of Roustabout.

What you will get is a carefully thought out menu.  Don’t look, then, for other typical dishes like sausage gravy over biscuits or cracklings of bacon rashers with eggs over easy. This is, after all, brunch, the combination of morning and noontime leisurely dining where a little bit of this and that suffice.

Top 5 Cocktails: Tempo Dulu Jakarta

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Star Chefs has highlighted Tempo Dulu bartender Trevin Hutchins’s drink the Jakarta as one of their Top 5 Cocktails of 2015.

The Purple House to Serve Ogawa Coffee

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The Purple House will serve Ogawa Coffee when the North Yarmouth wood-fired bakery and cafe opens early next year. Chef/owner Krista Kern Desjarlais tells me she “loved the richness of the roasts without bitterness or acid” and that both the dark and lighter roasts “remained balanced with citrus and hibiscus notes brightening the flavor without acid on the finish” that make for “really beautiful and delicious” coffees.

Desjarlais is currently looking for a barista to join her staff and participate in the training with Ogawa prior to opening The Purple House.

Ogawa Coffee was founded in Kyoto in 1952, and now operates nearly 40 coffee shops across Japan, and as of earlier this year, one in Boston as well. 2010 World Barista Latte Art champion Haruna Murayama “oversees the  menu development and barista training for Ogawa”.

Over the last few years with the opening of Bard, Speckled Ax and Tandem, Mainers have seen a diversification of the choices we have for coffee. The selection of Ogawa for The Purple House adds another great option to the mix. I had the chance to visit Ogawa’s cafe in Boston last month and am looking forward to having a local destination to get a cup of their coffee.

This Week’s Events: New Year’s Eve

Monday, December 28th, 2015

New Year’s Eve

  • Abilene – serving a prix fixe dinner
  • Artemisia Cafe – 4-course, $75.
  • Back Bay Grill – 4-course dinner, $105.
  • BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe – 3-course, $55.
  • Boone’s – 5-course dinner, $85.
  • Central Provisions14-course tasting menu, $220 per couple (including tax and gratuity) with optional pairings $55 per person.
  • Crooners & Cocktails – 7-course dinner paired with a split of Moët champagne for $85 per person.
  • East Ender – snack buffet and glass of sparkling wine, $25.
  • Evo – 5-course dinner in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot, $75 per person with optional wine pairings.
  • Five Fifty-Five – 4-course, $85, with optional wine pairings.
  • Honey Paw/Eventide – passed apps and champagne toast, $53.74.
  • Isa – 3-course dinner, $45.
  • King’s Head – 4-course and glass of prosecco, $30.
  • Lolita – over-the-top tapas party including 30 of the most popular items from their 2015 menus
  • MK Kitchen – 4-course dinner, $75.
  • Pepperell Mill – party in the Biddeford, $20 per person.
  • Petite Jacqueline – 3-course tasting menu with champagne, $75.
  • Piccolo – 9-course dinner and glass of prosecco, $115.
  • Sur Lie – tasting menu, $75.
  • Tempo Dulu – 8-course dinner with cocktail and champagne toast, $195.
  • Terlingua – 5-course and glass of bubbly, $75.
  • Tiqa – 4-course dinner, $55.
  • Twenty Milk Street – a la carte menu.
  • Union – 5-course dinner, $99.
  • Vinland – 5-course dinner and sparkling wine toast, $108.
  • Grace, Ebb & Flow and several other restaurants will also be open serving their regular menu.

Friday — the Blue Spoon is serving an Italian New Year’s Day dinner.

Saturday — the Winter 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.

Review of El Rayo

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed El Rayo.

Standard menu items are more reliable than the specials here, so stick with familiar favorites like fried plantains served with a piquant chipotle mayonnaise. (That mayo is so good, it’s reason enough to order the appetizer.) Then dig into a bowl of guacamole with one of El Rayo’s thin, lightly salted tortilla chips: The guac is fresh, brightened with key lime juice, and pleasantly peppery, and you’ll plow through the crispy chips in no time. You can move on to empanadas and burritos served with rice and beans, or a quesadilla crisped on the griddle, but the tacos at El Rayo (it is a “taqueria” after all) stand out. Don’t miss the barbecued pulled pork taco served with cole slaw, crumbly cotija cheese and a red onion escabeche: It’s a meaty, sticky, messy winner.

Under Construction: BRGR Bar

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

Restaurateur Phelps Craig (linkedin) has leased the first floor of the old Margarita’s at 11 Brown Street where she plans to open the Portland location of BRGR Bar (instagram, website, facebook).

Choose from one of their house specialty burgers or get creative with the build your own option. The menu also features some “adult” alcoholic milkshake options like the Apple Pie a la Mode made with house infused apple cinnamon bourbon.

Craig opened Brazo in 2007 which she sold to Friendly Toast owner Eric Goodwin earlier this year. The original BRGR Bar in Portsmouth is located at 34 Portwalk Place directly across the street from the Portsmouth branch of Green Elephant.