Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

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)

Indie Biz Awards: Nominations

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Nominations for this year’s Buy Local Indie Biz Awards are now open. You can submit the names of local businesses in any or all of the 9 categories:

  • Portland Icon
  • Best New Business
  • Creative Crusader
  • Environmental Hero
  • Portland’s Best Kept Secret
  • Flavor of Portland
  • Out of Sight, Not out of Mind
  • Portland Beacon
  • Best Neighborhood

Nominations will close on September 2nd and after the final voting takes place the winners will be announced in late October.

418 Pound Chocolate Lobster

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

To celebrate their 100-year anniversary, Haven’s has created a 418 pound solid chocolate lobster.

The folks at Haven’s unveiled such a lobster, named Shelby, at their Westbrook factory Wednesday. The confectionery crustacean, measuring more than 7½ feet long, was created in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for “largest chocolate sculpture.”

Milly’s Skillet Moving in September

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

The Forecaster reports that Peaks Island food truck Milly’s Skillet will be moving to Falmouth in September.

[Owner Molly] Ritzo said the Falmouth truck, which will set up at 226 Gray Road, will offer more of a farm-to-table menu, with breakfast items, soups, salads and sandwiches.

“I want to be the morning stop for people,” Ritzo said, adding she will also have prepared meals for customers to take home.

The Two Portlands

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

goodhousekeepingThe August issue of Good Housekeeping includes a “snackdown” comparing a short list of venues in Portland, Maine with Portland, Oregon.

  • Bite into Maine | Tasty N Sons
  • Duckfat | Beast
  • Central Provisions | Paley’s Place
  • Hunt & Alpine | The Bent Brick

Maine Winners at ACS Cheese Competition

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Maine cheesemakers took home 10 awards from this year’s American Cheese Society competition, reports the Maine Cheese Guild.

From among 267 companies submitting 1,779 entries seven Maine cheese makers won ten awards including four 1st place ribbons, four 2nd place, and two 3rd place ribbons.

You can see the complete list of winners on the competition website.

The Well TV (Updated)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

extravirginA camera crew from the Cooking Channel was onsite at The Well yesterday filming for a show called Extra Virgin. The epsiode which includes The Well is expected to air in January.

Update: On Wednesday the Extra Virgin camera crew was filming at Portland Lobster Company. The Press Herald has posted an article with further info, as does Eater Maine.

F&W Editor in Portland

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Dana Cowin, Editor of Food & Wine, was is in Portland over the weekend, posting photos and commentary onliine of the places she visited:

Telling Room Reviews

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The Press Herald has posted a set of reviews written by kids who participated in The Telling Room summer camp program.

Cassandra Albano and Andrew Miller wrote about The Honey Paw, and Ella Briman and Elinore Kosak wrote about Rosemont Market.

Fifteen students set out across Portland this month visiting art venues, a food market and a popular new restaurant to offer their critiques and hone their skills as writers and reviewers through a summer camp program with The Telling Room.

Tipping and Minimum Wage Change

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

An article in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram looks out how a change in minimum wage could impact consumer tipping behavior.

Fears among waitstaff in Portland over the effects of a minimum wage hike may be misplaced. Consider the psychology of why people tip and it’s likely their generosity won’t change at all.

190 State St

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

190StateIf you’ve taken a look at the commercial real estate listings on Craigslist recently you might have been surprised to spot 190 State Street, the home of Petite Jacqueline, among the spaces available. I checked in with co-owner Michelle Corry who explained that due a rise in rent and interest in expanding the restaurant, they’ve begun looking for a new space. No change in their location is anticipated until 2016.

58% Culinary Tourism

Friday, July 24th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a report on culinary tourism in Maine.

Culinary tourism already appears to be strong in Maine, according to a 2014 Maine Office of Tourism study conducted by DPA, a digital research firm in Kennebunk. According to the report, 58 percent of the tourists who came to Maine last year and stayed overnight identified culinary or beverage interests as their reason for coming. Overall, there were 17.3 million overnight visitors in 2014 versus 16.6 million in 2013.

Italian Ramen & Restaurant Vegan Options

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about Papa’s Juicy Noodles, a packaged noodle dish prepared by the family that opened the first Italian restaurant in Portland,

Enter Papa’s Juicy Noodles, which may never be able to compete with those high-end restaurant selections but will satisfy a nostalgic craving for instant ramen without all the sodium and other bad stuff. Papa’s, produced right here in Maine, can’t be called ramen, actually. Think of it as an Italian version of ramen noodles.

and advice on dining out and eating a plant-based diet.

Yet savvy diners like Woodman know this doesn’t mean a vegan meal is out of the question. As Woodman said, you should always call, “because in my experience they want to bring you in and please you, especially if you are coming with several other people. Chefs can really showcase their skills when preparing a superb vegan dish. It’s one thing to make an excellent meat or seafood dish, but quite another to prepare an excellent vegan entrée.”