Archive for September, 2016

Sleek Machine Distro

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Thursday’s Press Herald includes a report on Sleek Machine Distro, a new beer distributor set up to distribute Bissell Brothers beer.

It might not look like much, but Schlesinger’s tiny company represents change in Maine’s craft beer industry. While there has been explosive growth in breweries – the state counts at least 84 – there wasn’t any change in how locally crafted beer was distributed until Schlesinger and the Sleek Machine hit the streets.

Under Construction: LB Kitchen

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

LB Kitchen (instagram) has applied for a liquor license. The restaurant is located at 249 Congress Street in the space formerly occupied by Figa.

Owners Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind plan to be open Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4pm serving breakfast and lunch. They hope to open in early November.

Here’s a look at part of the draft menu (pages 47-49) supplied with the license application (click to enlarge):


Dutch’s Liquor License

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Dutch’s has applied for a liquor license. Owners Ian and Lucy Dutch opened the breakfast and lunch cafe close to 2 years ago. In May they were featured in a Bon Appétit article about Portland,

At Dutch’s, they bake their own pastries, biscuits, and breads, then use them to create indulgent, hangover-killing sandwiches. Go for the fried chicken one, which melds crunchy thigh meat with a flaky biscuit and peppery Southern sausage gravy. And don’t skip the hash browns—cubed and fried to crispy perfection—best enjoyed at a retro table with kitschy Maine murals behind you. Now you’re in Vacationland.

The Dutchs plan to serve beer, wine and “a few popular brunch drinks”.

Food Production Designation

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The Commerce department has renewed the Portland areas designation as a Manufacturing Communities for Food Production. Greater Portland is just one of 24 manufacturing communities of any type in the nation.

Here’s a link to the full press release.

Bourdain Interviews

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Today’s Press Herald includes an interview with Maine native and Bourdain cinematographer Zach Zamboni about growing up in Maine and his life on the road with Anthony Bourdain.

They may be buddies, but Zamboni is nothing like Bourdain’s no-holds-barred public persona. Soft-spoken and thoughtful, Zamboni often speaks in imagery that evokes the landscape, whether he is describing the rolling hills and deep forests of Maine or talking about how when you eat an oyster, you’re tasting the tides. He credits his rural childhood in Maine with helping to prepare him for the life he leads now.

and an interview with Bourdain.

Q: Our culture is so engaged with food now – almost to the point of fetishizing what’s on the plate. Is there any turning back? Or is this fascination with food a good thing?

A: We are more educated about what we’re eating and where it comes from and who’s making it than ever before. I think as silly as it is and as excessive and fetishistic, it signals a real cultural shift where we actually care about what we’re eating and who’s cooking, and this is good. I imagine that at some point we will shift to a more emotional response to food without taking pictures of it. We’re sort of catching up with France and Italy. On balance, however ridiculous it is at times and lampoonable, I’m happy with it.

Bourdain will be in Portland on October 9th for a show at the civic center.

Gold for Blue Current

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Blue Current has been awarded a gold medal at the London Sake Challenge for their Junmai Ginjo sake.

This Week’s Events: Food Systems, Food Lab, Dessert Pop-up, Kermit Lynch, The Coffee Man, Cantillon Zwanze

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Monday — there will be a lecture at the Public Library on Arctic Ocean Food Systems.

TuesdayFork Food Lab is holding their Grand Opening, and pastry chef Brant Dadaleares is serving a dessert pop-up at The Honey Paw.

Wednesday — there will be a Kermit Lynch wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

ThursdayArabica is hosting a screening of The Coffee Man at their cafe on Commercial Street, and a colloquium is taking place at Bowdoin to “explore a whole system approach to increased food production in Maine and to examine the connections between economic growth potential in the food sector, good natural resource stewardship, and the overall health of our communities.”

FridayCellardoor is holding an event called VinFest at Thompson’s Point.

Saturday —  Novare is once again the location for the relase of this year’s Cantillon Zwanze, Rosemont is holding their annual Harvest in the Hood, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayRising Tide is throwing a party to celebrate their 6th Anniversary, and Cellardoor is running a second event, Pairing at the Point.

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.

Under Construction: Eighteen Twenty Wines

Sunday, September 25th, 2016


A behind the scenes look at the future production space and tasting room for Eighteen Twenty Wines (website, facebook, instagram) in East Bayside.

Eighteen Twenty produces rhubarb wines and is working with Maine farms to scale up supply.

Reviews: The Corner Room, King of the Roll, Dutch’s, Binga’s Stadium, Sapporo

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Corner Room,

I imagine it’s possible to create a road map to help diners navigate The Corner Room’s extensive menu and weather its inexplicably off-putting service stumbles – problems that made us feel as stressed out as our servers on a Saturday, then practically disappeared when we returned on a Tuesday. But I don’t need to. Squint your eyes just a little, and you’ll see the outlines of a fantastic Italian-American joint that serves great simple food: pizzas, seasonal pasta and a first-rate Caesar. Just ignore half (two-thirds, really) of the unnecessarily complicated menu and pray that you’re not in the dining room on a busy night.

The Bollard has reviewed Dutch’s,

OK, let’s pause for a moment and talk about those hash browns. Pillowy soft on the inside, perfectly crisped and seasoned on the outside, these cube-shaped hash browns were the best breakfast potatoes I have ever eaten. Seriously, I would gladly eat them every single day for the rest of my life.

The Bollard has reviewed Binga’s Stadium,

Though I’d been daydreaming about pastrami, and Binga’s offers their own house-smoked pastrami and Swiss sandwich ($8.99), I opted instead for the Jewish Texan ($8.99), partly because the odd name made me momentarily wonder, Is that offensive? It’s not, and neither was the sandwich: house-smoked brisket in a brioche bun, topped with slaw, Swiss and Thousand Island dressing. The brisket was tasty, and overall I’d declare the sandwich decent, though nothing to write home to your bubbe in Houston about. I would’ve preferred a chewy marbled rye to the soft brioche bun.

the Press Herald has reviewed King of the Roll,

It’s nice to know, just as duck gravy poutine hasn’t eradicated the french fry or brown butter lobster rolls made null the mayonnaise kind, a regular old sushi restaurant still has its place in Portland. In benefit-cost ratio, its lunch menu is hard to beat. The options are abundant, all under $14 and many under $8.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater reviewed Sapporo.

Sapporo has been around for a while and there seem to be a steady stream of patrons rolling in. I think they could improve a few minor items, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. I felt they had a solid menu, good food, and a pleasant atmosphere. Go grab some rolls or a teriyaki of some kind and report back.

Speckled Ax Medals at Golden Bean

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Speckled Ax took home 3 bronze medals from the Golden Bean coffee roasting conference for their natural Hambela, Corduroy espresso blend, and classic Bird Dog espresso.

FT Review of Drifters Wife

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

The Financial Times has reviewed Drifters Wife.

High-ceilinged and spare, it’s the most European restaurant in scale and approach that I’ve seen in the US, with just 20 seats at tables and eight at the bar. You have the reassuring feeling that the proprietors are not only working but also quietly surveying every detail. The wine shop is now confined to the rear half of the room, yet filled with more bottles than ever. All the wines are from organic, hand-harvested grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts. It’s the best shop in Maine.

Under Construction: Yes Brewing

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

yesbrrewingA new brewery called Yes Brewing (facebook, instagram) is under development in Westbrook. Owner John Bigelow plans to start off using a “1 barrel wort/8barrel ferment system”.

The American Journal reports,

Yes Brewing, owned by John Bigelow of Portland, is looking to operate the new brewery at 609 Main St., Unit 2, which is behind Mister Bagel. City Planner Jennie Franceschi said the unit is roughly 2,400 square feet.

The Planning Board will host a public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and could vote to approve the project that night. If approved, it would mark the second new craft beer tasting room downtown since early 2015, when Mast Landing Brewing Co. opened at 920 Main St. Since that time, Mast Landing has become a popular destination in the city.

Under Construction: Portersfield Cider

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

imageOwner David Buchanan reports making good progress on the Portersfield Cider (facebook) tasting room in Pownal and expects to open this winter.

Gelato Fiasco Open Kitchen

Friday, September 23rd, 2016


Gelato Fiasco is launching their Open Kitchen concept today (noon – 8pm) at the Fork Food Lab.

They plan to use the space to “experiment with new flavors and ideas” and to teach gelato making classes. They encourage gelato fans to stop by a try out one of the new flavors their testing.

Fork Food Lab is located at 72 Parris Street. They’ll be holding a grand opening this Tuesday at 6pm.

El Rayo Now Open

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016


The new El Rayo Taqueria located at 26 Free Street is now open. They’ll initially be open for breakfast and lunch, adding dinner service later.