Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Food Gift & Alternative Diet Buying Guides

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a food-oriented gift buying guide,

When it comes to shopping local for the holidays, especially when you’re on the hunt for food-related gifts, those of us who live in Maine are luckier than a hungry elf trapped in a gingerbread factory.

and some recommendations on where to source gluten-free or vegan prepared foods for the holidays.

If you’re looking for prepared Christmas food that is gluten-free or vegan or meets other dietary needs, you’re in luck. It’s never been easier to find these eats in Greater Portland. But for the people running the food businesses, it can be hard to keep up with demand.

Holiday Oyster Advice & the Winter Farmers Market

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

This week’s Portland Phoenix provides advice on making oysters part of your holiday party,

To successfully shuck your own oysters, you’ll need an oyster knife ($10), available at the seafood market where you purchase your oysters. Above all, be careful. Shucking oysters is supposed to add to a holiday party, not interrupt it with an emergency-room visit. Wash your oysters well to remove the grit on the shells. Use the tip of the oyster knife to pry open the two shells of the oyster at the hinge using leverage, not brute strength. Watch a few videos online to get the basics, and practice your technique until you’re shucking with ease.

and an article about the new East Bayside location for the winter farmers market.

This winter, the Portland Farmers’ Market will be in a new location in a neighborhood known for its food and beverage businesses. It won’t be the first time the farmers’ market has moved to complement the growth of an area. In 1990, the Wednesday market moved from Federal Street to Monument Square to counteract the loss of the Porteous department store (where the Maine College of Art is now). It makes sense now that the winter farmers’ market is moving to East Bayside, Portland’s most up-and-coming neighborhood.

Both articles are by Blueberry Files author Kate McCarty.

Update: for additional reporting on the winter market see this article in the Bangor Daily News.

Holiday Cheese Advice

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The Press Herald has tapped Vince Maniaci, co-owner of The Cheese Iron, and Shannon Tallman from Whole Foods, for their expert holiday cheese buying advice.

Cheese has become a much more popular addition to the holiday table, but standing in front of a cheese counter these days is like standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store – so many choices, the head starts to spin.

Jay Villani @ 188

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Chef/owner Jay Villani is back running the kitchen at his first restaurant, Local 188.

With the return to Local 188′s kitchen, Jay’s introduced a new menu. It’s a great menu of hot and cold tapas, raciones, salads and entrees. For longtime customers, you’ll feel like you’re reading a menu from back in Local’s old space, across the street.

Fire at Boone’s

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

There was a fire at Boone’s early Wednesday morning that resulted in some damage, but the restaurant expects to re-open on Saturday.

“Firefighters on the scene eventually discovered the source of the smoke in the facade surrounding the chimney and fireplace.” he said.

“Unfortunately, we had to completely remove the facade to the fireplace to extinguish the fire,” he said. “The good news is this fire could have been much worse had it not been for the functioning fire alarm system. It worked exactly as it should have.”

Press Herald Hiring a Food Editor

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The Press Herald has opened a new position for a Food Editor to “direct its coverage of food – and specifically of the farm-to-table movement, which is becoming a major part of Maine’s culture”.

According to the help wanted ad on,

Our newspaper is preparing to launch a major initiative in 2014 centered on the farm-to-table movement, and we need a dynamite editor to lead it all. This is a fantastic, unique opportunity for the right candidate. You will oversee the weekly Food section as well as a brand-new Sunday section.

Maine Calling: Farm-to-Table

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

This week’s Farm-to-Table episode of Maine Calling with Jennifer Rooks is now online at MPBN. Chef Sam Hayward, author Kathy Gunst and food policy expert Amanda Beal joined Rooks for the show.

Mi Sen & Comment Cards

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The Portland Daily Sun has published a profile of Mi Sen,

Mi Sen, one might say, serves food fit for a king. The Thai restaurant opened last July at 630 Congress St. Benjaporn “Ben” Chandpen is from Bangkok, Thailand, and has cooked for the royal family there. She moved to Maine in 1997 with her husband, Chu Chandpen, and their sons, Darit and David.

and the Sun has published part 2 of their series on restaurant comment cards.

Finest Kind Tea in National Competition

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

finestkind_logo Portland-based Finest Kind Tea (website, facebook, twitter) is one of 15 new food companies from across the country that have been selected to participate in the 2013 Next Big Food Thing competition.

The winner will receive $10,000 and their products will be sold through the online grocer Fresh Direct. Competitors are being judged on the their product idea as well as the amount of crowdfunding they raise in the next 28 days and how they interact with public throughout the competition.

Finest Kind is trying to raise $20,000 to

expand our business and develop a new organic, 100% GMO-free & ethically sourced flavor as part of our commitment to natural products and sourcing the best ingredients from around the world. The money we raise will help us fund the process for tracing our tea from field to bottle using established, internationally accredited certifiers.

Owner Jay Lombard launched the company earlier this year with two tea concentrate flavors (blueberry white tea, black tea and lemonade) and is developing new flavors for launch in 2014. You can find Finest Kind Tea on the shelves at Whole Foods.

You can learn more about Finest Kind Tea and make a pledge to help them reach their goal on the RocketHub crowdfunding site.

State Liquor Contract

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

MPBN and the Press Herald report that four companies have submitted bids for the state’s liquor contract.

When the 2 p.m. deadline arrived and the bidder’s identities were revealed, four contenders emerged: All Maine Spirits LLC and Pine State Trading, both out of Augusta, CD&M Communications of Portland and Dirigo Spirit Company LLC of Cumberland.

Commenting on Comment Card

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

In today’s Portland Daily Sun, columnist Natalie Ladd confesses to her short criminal career and shares her perspective on restaurant comment cards.

There are many things fundamentally wrong with the concept of comment cards in a restaurant. They arrive with your tab, neatly tucked into a black book we call a “check minder,” which is hand delivered (and most likely collected) by the server you’re supposed to be evaluating.

Tour of Tours & a Halloween Taste Tour

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 has assembled a tour of Portland food tours: Maine Beer Tours, Wine Wise, Maine Foodie Tours, The Brew Bus and Portland Taste Tours,

A food and drink tour of Portland may seem like something designed just for visitors, but if you want to learn about this city’s new restaurants, food producers, breweries and distilleries — or want a distinctive experience you might not get on your own — don’t turn your nose up at letting a guide lead the way.

and The 207 Foodie has shared her experience on the Halloween tour run by Portland Taste Tours.

I recommend anybody who A. Loves food, B. Wants to try new food, C. Enjoys a good tour and D. Wants to explore the Portland food scene to check out a Portland Taste Tour. Trust me, this is something you will not regret.

Golden Hired as Restaurant Critic for Sunday Telegram

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

The Maine Sunday Telegram has drafted John Golden to serves as the newspaper’s weekly restaurant critic spot.

Many years later my perusal of Maine dining – which I will now bring to you in this space, every Sunday – is altogether a different kettle of fish. It’s more about the food – the quality of what you’re eating and where it came from, important factors that make such an otherwise pompous social pecking order seem all the more superficial.

The thrill of it all still excites me today. Of course I have my favorite dining spots, and others that I avoid. As a critic I won’t sugar-coat the experience just to play nice. I will tell it like it is – to report on the good, bad or indifferent experience.

An Insiders Look at Tip Pooling

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Portland Daily Sun columnist Natalie Ladd provides a behind the scenes look at the practice of tip pooling at restaurants.

3) One upside to pooling (which conversely is the downside as well) is you never know who’s going to be in your audience. Rotating tables and even reservations are always the luck of the draw. I can have a great night where my section is full of drinkers and overeaters, while my colleagues have the water (with lemon, please) and appetizer people. My experience is that it all comes out as a wash. In other words, the next shift it’ll be my turn to randomly wait on the entree-splitters and decaf drinkers.

Gingko Blue Now Serving Food

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Maine a la Carte has published a report on the new food menu at Gingko Blue.

Food Co-op Launches Membership Campaign

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The Portland Food Co-op has launched a campaign to recruit  1,000 new members. Recruiting new members is seen by the Co-op as an essential first step to eventually launching a retail store front. The Co-op has received a $330,000 loan from the Cooperative Fund of New England to help launch the new store.

Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Kate McCarty, author of The Blueberry Files, is working on a book about the Portland food scene entitled Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine.

The book is published by The History Press and due out June of 2014. In 40,000 words, I’ll tell the history of the Portland food scene and highlight some of its interesting players. I’ve been interviewing farmers, fisherman, chefs… all of whom bring something different and interesting to our vibrant food scene.

Mike Roylos and the Buttler

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Mike Roylos, owner of the Spartan Grill, was in today’s Press Herald in connection with his invention of the Buttler, a device to collect cigarette butts outside his restaurant in Monument Square.

Roylos’ invention, which he calls the Sidewalk Buttler, is a tubular container, painted to look like a mustachioed butler in a bow tie and bowler hat. It’s capped on both ends, strapped by metal to a utility pole, and has a circular hole where the butler’s mouth would be. Smokers deposit their spent cigarette butts there.

Harvest on the Harbor & Portland’s Wine Culture

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an overview of Harvest on the Harbor (HotH website) and some observations on how it could be improved,

Once again, there’s much to love about this year’s Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival.

There’s also a little to be annoyed about, and some things that make you go hmmmm.

So, before I dive into the delicious details, here’s what I think they get right this year, and areas I think could be improved upon in the future…

and in his column this week Joe Appel calls for Portland to take a step forward in its appreciation, knowledge and love of wine.

There are two plausible reasons for this passivity: chefs, servers and critics don’t know anything, and/or they don’t care. The new program being offered in Portland by American Sommelier, a New York-based wine-education institute that hosts seminars and course series, is a terrific step toward addressing the former problem. The latter challenge has a more complicated but not insurmountable set of solutions, and more on that below.

Food Truck Ordinance Update

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The Portland Daily Sun, Bangor Daily News, The Forecaster and Press Herald report that, at last night’s meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to revise the city’s food truck ordinance.

The amendments to the ordinances related to food trucks — which were passed unanimously — will allow trucks to be parked with 65 feet of each other but not an open restaurant; restructure the permitting process and fee; increase the size limits on trucks; and ease the time restrictions for trucks set up in metered parking spaces, giving them an extra two hours. [PDS]