Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

You Dine, We Donate

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Hugo’s, Eventide and The Honey Paw are partnering with the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital program You Dine, We Donate to raise $10,000 during the month of December.

5% of each check at the three restaurants will be donated to the hospital. Arlin Smith, Mike Smith, and Andrew Taylor, owners of Big Tree Hospitality Group, “will contribute a minimum of $10,000”.

Restaurant co-owners Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith and Mike Wiley feel strongly about partnering about You Dine. We Donate. because they know how important the BBCH is to their local community. Taylor says, “My oldest son was a patient at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital as an infant and the warmth and incredible care meant so much to my wife and I during a difficult time. This is such a great opportunity for us to give back.”

Co-owner Smith says the partnership was a no-brainer. “We have children. Our employees have children. We feel good about supporting such an important institution in our community.” As a non-profit hospital, the BBCH relies on community support to provide world-class healthcare to all children, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.

Hunters for the Hungry

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The Times Union has published an article about the state’s Hunters for the Hungry program, which provides a way for hunters to donate to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries.

It’s a cool fall morning outside a red brick warehouse in Maine’s largest city, and Don Morrison is facing a tall order. It’s time to turn 40 pounds of moose and deer meat into enough shepherd’s pie to feed 200 people by sundown.

Morrison, manager of the Portland anti-hunger group Wayside Food Programs, is happy to do it, in part, because of the source of the meat. Tonight’s dinner was acquired through Hunters for the Hungry, a state-run program that allows hunters to donate their game. It has grown exponentially in recent years.

For more information, visit this page on the state’s website.

Why Not Wild Game?

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram explores why it isn’t legal to sell wild game.

…All these local foods are fair game for the innovative local chef who relishes the concept of terroir – the French term for the distinct flavors of the environment foods grows in…But not local wild game, which can’t be sold commercially in the United States. It was regulated out of the retail market so long ago that even some food professionals don’t know why they’re not allowed to serve it.

Food & Wine/Bon Appétit

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Retiring Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin named a dinner at The Lost Kitchen this summer as one of her Favorite Meals of 2015.

The new issue of Bon Appétit calls out Maine & Loire as an exemplar of what a good wine shop should be, “a small, focused shop with a staff who has probably tasted most of what they’re selling and who genuinely want you to find something great—in your budget.”

Turkeys Plentiful

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

The Press Herald reports that turkeys remain plentiful this year.

Despite concerns about a shortage and soaring prices, Maine’s larger grocery stores say that avian influenza did not affect their turkey supplies or retail prices.

Urban Sugar Kickstarter

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Urban Sugar Donuts has launched a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign. Owner Kevin Sandes plans to use the funds to complete to “properly outfit” the new Urban Sugar store at Sugar Loaf, and to pay for new equipment and repairs to the USC food truck “Miss Rosie” so it can be back on the streets of Portland.

Maine Cider & Salt Water Farm

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

DEM1511-cover-435x580The November issue of Down East contains a feature on Maine’s burgeoning cider industry,

Buchanan, who just launched his hard cider operation this year, is one of more than a half-dozen Maine orchardists who’ve recently commited themselves to reviving the craft of brewing hard cider. The American colonists’ beverage of choice and a popular drink well into the mid-19th Century, is enjoying a renaissance in Maine on the heels of the state’s boom in craft beers…

and an intimate look at the challenges restaurant owner Annemarie Ahearn experienced as she launched the Salt Water Farm in Rockport.

Last year 170 new restaurants opened in Maine. Statistically, more than a quarter of them won’t make it through their first year. This is the story of one that did – restaurateur Annemarie Ahearn’s ambitious Salt Water Farm – and what it took to get there: bruised egos, broken friendships, and tough lessons about what Mainers want.

The articles aren’t yet available online but you can find copies of the magazine on your local newsstand.

Harvard Report on Maine Food Industry

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

The Press Herald has published a report on the recently released Harvard study of the Maine food industry.

The grant-funded report, by the university’s Maine Food Cluster Project, is based on months of research that included a survey of more than 300 businesses. Its authors set out to answer the question: How can Maine grow its food industry to create jobs and generate economic growth in the state?

Download the report: Growing Maine’s Food Industry, Growing Maine

City Food Policy

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

The Press Herald reports that candidates for mayor and city council will be asked to share their views on food policy at a pair of upcoming  forums.

To state the obvious, Portland is a food city. That doesn’t just mean it’s a fantastic place to go out to dinner, it means anyone who wants to be elected to the City Council or become mayor of Maine’s largest city better pay attention to the politics of food. Next week, candidates will be gathering for two food policy forums for the first time in the city’s history, and they should be prepared to discuss everything from food insecurity to raising goats within urban limits to whether chefs should be able to put moose on their menus.

Open Call for Beard Awards

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

The James Beard Foundation has put out a public call for entries for the 2016 Awards.

Is a restaurant you know deserving of consideration from the Beard Foundation? Then fill out this online form and your submission will be considered as the Foundation is putting together the list of semi-final nominees due out in February. The deadline for submissions is December 31st.

In 2014, the Beard Foundations received more than 38,000 entries through this process.

Maine (Kitchen) Tool Library

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Press Herald food editor Peggy Grodinsky tries out borrowing kitchen equipment from the Maine Tool Library.

The library offers kitchen tools, alongside saws and bolt cutters, which means you may not need to own that Vitamix.

Boston Globe: Small Plates in Portland

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Former Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Nancy Heiser, has written an article about Portland’s small plate restaurant trend for The Boston Globe.

Small plates have taken hold as a culinary craze in many cities, but in Portland, arguably New England’s small city most revered for food, they are hot, and we’re not talking temperature. Several restaurants that have opened to some acclaim are offering only small plates, and most are doing so in small spaces too. Don’t come expecting full-blown entrées with trimmings.

But you will eat well. Very well.

Central Provisions, Lolita, Sur Lie and Bao Bao are all featured.

Mirabelle Delayed

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The Press Herald reports Mirabelle House is delayed pending a zoning appeal.

The ruling by code enforcement office Justin Browns means that the house’s owner, Marc Christensen and his business partners, must delay the beginning of cooking class slated to begin Oct. 10, until the town’s zoning board of appeals meets later that month to consider his application for permits to operate. Brown also ruled out other potential uses for the elegant home, barring the use of the property for weddings, as a production studio, or as a general event venue for corporate retreats or parties, uses that the business’s website had mentioned as possible options.

Empty Pockets

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Both the Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News report claims by staff from the short-lived Pockets eatery in the Old Port that they were unpaid by their former employer.

Employees of a sandwich shop that opened and closed in the Portland’s Old Port this summer say they were never paid for their work.

Pockets, which sold sandwiches 24 hours a day, opened on the corner of Fore and Market streets around the beginning of July and closed last week.

Vinland: Link Between Yelp Ads and Reviews

Monday, September 14th, 2015

The Press Herald has a report on Vinland chef/owner David Levi’s complaint that Yelp manipulated his restaurant’s reviews on the site when he declined to advertise.

A Portland restaurant owner says Yelp has manipulated reviews of his restaurant after he declined to buy ads, an accusation the online recommendation site has faced before and vigorously denies, saying reviews are ranked by a computer algorithm.

Vinland owner David Levi said he was prompted to speak out Monday after he noticed that Yelp’s local community manager, Steff Deschenes, downgraded her personal review of his restaurant from four stars to three stars a year after posting the review. But Deschenes said she made the change months ago, after reflecting on her experience at Vinland.

Maine’s Chef Shortage

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

There’s a front page report in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram on the serious shortage of qualified cooks to work in the state’s restaurants.

[Troy] Mains, whose kitchen must turn out 150 lunches and 200 dinners a day but is currently four cooks short, said he has interviewed people just out of culinary school who can’t cut an onion or bone a chicken.

“There’s a decline in cooks, not just the amount but the quality,” Mains said. “When I was up and coming in the restaurant business, I can remember a stack of 50 resumes in a folder of people who wanted to work, and now if I hire four cooks, one works out.”

Porthole Interview & Cheap Eats Guide

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an interview with the head chef and owner of The Porthole,

LO: Can you tell me a little bit about the menu?
LC: I’d say that breakfast and lunch is basically “dinerific” sort of food, like high-end sort of diner. We have lobster pancakes … you know, it’s a nicer sort of breakfast for a cheaper price. (For dinner) we use fresh, local seafood. I buy my seafood from Harbor Fish, and we buy our lobsters here on the wharf so it’s very convenient and fresh. They’re in the ocean hours before you’re eating them.

and their annual student guide to cheap eats.

It’s no secret that college students are usually scraping by financially; just look online at the poor college student memes and Tumblr posts and you’ll get the idea. Higher education is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should sit in your dorm room and eat Ramen every night. With the budget-friendly dining options below, you can afford to hit the town and still have enough money to do laundry.

Mirabelle House (Updated)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has a report on Mirabelle House Culinary Vacations, a house in Falmouth that is home to a “full immersion into the Portland foodie and culinary scene”.

Daylong and evening classes are expected to attract local participants from Maine and New England. Though bookings have not yet begun, the concept is designed for “people who have a solid foundation in cooking already and want to go to the next level and have a one on one experience with the chefs,” Howland said, adding that kids classes will be added if there is a demand.

Update: The Portland Phoenix has also published an article about the culinary retreat.


Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

An article on Eater Maine earlier this week brought attention to an online advertisement for a “thriving restaurant” in the 04102 area code. Due to the location and building description rumors had begun to spread online and off that Caiola’s was for sale or possibly was going to close.

I talked this morning with Caiola’s co-owner Lisa Vacarro and she cleared up that there are no plans to close the restaurant. However, they are open to selling the restaurant/building and are cautiously considering the possibilities. A couple of local restaurateurs have expressed interest but there’s no firm plans at this time.

Food & Wine: Cara Stadler, Oxbow Brewing

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

fandwsept2015In the September issue of Food & Wine you’ll find:

  • A step-by-step dumpling tutorial produced in collaboration with chef Cara Stadler from Bao Bao Dumpling House and Tao Yuan. (page 95)
  • Oxbow’s newish Portland tasting room gets a plug in an article about artisanal American brewers. (page 40)