What inspires your menu, and do you have any personal favorites from over the years?
Chris: Again, I am lucky to have inherited an amazing menu. But the old saying is true: “if it ain’t broke, dont fix it.” In five years we have only added 2 menu items., and none of the other menu items have been removed. Ohno has very loyal customers and it seems as though every person has a sandwich they can identify with. So, the weekly specials is what gives us a change to get creative and make something different. Most of those are born by what we feel like eating that week or items that have been really successful in the past. The #1 is as close as what we have to a “signature sandwich.” My personal favorite is pretty simple #4 which consists of salmon which is super fresh and smoked right here in town at Browne Trading.
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What inspires your menu, and do you have any personal favorites from over the years?
The Bangor Daily News has published an interview with chef Shannon Bard from Zapoteca.
The chef-owner at Zapoteca in Portland is starting the year off on a high note. She will cook at the James Beard House in New York City at the end of January, will compete on a new Food Network show in February and is working on a cookbook. In the fall, the Kennebunk resident plans to open her third restaurant — Spanish spot Toroso in Portland — with her husband, Tom Bard. Not bad for a woman who didn’t go pro until she turned 40.
You’ve talked about plans to open a brick and mortar establishment. How is that progressing?
BL: We’ve been getting a lot of interest from folks who would like to help us out. We’re always looking for properties. We haven’t found one yet, but we will. It’s an ongoing search.
KD: We’re looking to create a neighborhood feel in a restaurant. We’re looking in the Deering area, in town as well. But we want it to be a neighborhood spot with a nice bar and have it be focused on comfort, food served in a comfortable environment.
The Halverson’s Humble, which is a chocolate pie, started with a bet. Thirty-year-old Briana Warner, owner of Maine Pie Line in the East Bayside neighborhood here, had lost a wager to her then-colleague Adam Halverson while the two were serving as diplomats for the US Department of State in Guinea. As retribution, he challenged her to make him a “humble pie.”
Today’s Press Herald features an article about the new restaurant Vinland, and chef/owner David Levi’s dedication to local ingredients.
“For me, (this) is not coming from a puritanical mindset,” he said. “To me, it is about creating a beautiful and interesting form within which to work, which happens to also maximize our local support to farmers and fishermen and foragers, to cheese makers and artisans.”
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a report on food insecurity among Maine’s senior citizens.
Across Maine, there’s an increasing number of people like Jim and Nancy Pike of Alfred, seniors whose declining health and limited finances have put them among the so-called ‘food insecure.’ ‘They are the hidden hungry … and they don’t want anybody to know.’
For more information on hunger and Maine or if you want to make a donation, visit the Good Shepherd Food Bank website.
For today’s edition of the Press Herald, columnist Meredith Goad handed out Easy-Bake Ovens to the pastry chefs at Hugo’s, Five Fifty-Five and Fore Street. Chefs Kim Rodgers, Addie Davis and Brant Dadaleares were challenged to create a great dessert using the purple toy from Hasbro instead of their usual professional grade equipment.
“That’s perfect for custard,” Dadaleares said. So the chef made six custards, topped them with some turbinado sugar and torched them. (It took 15 to 20 minutes for each custard to bake.) He chose the three best, and layered them with vanilla rice pudding, caramelized Rice Krispies, candied pecans, port-poached pears and cherries. He topped his Easy-Bake napoleon with sweetened whipped cream.
Dadaleares also made a persimmon pudding with the oven. It worked, he said, “but I liked the flavor combinations of this (the napoleon) a little bit more.”
Today’s Food & Wine section also includes a column by local wine expert Joe Appel on Champagne and sparkling wine.
If you want to drink a truly expressive nonvintage Champagne, one to make your eyes widen and your heart race, you need to work for it. And it will cost you (though not much more than generic big-house Champagne will). Some of the best available in Maine are Gimmonet, Egly-Ouriet, Aubry, Beaudoin, Vilmart & Cie, and Maillart.
MPBN has aired an interview with Eric Horne and Valy Steverlynk about their Flying Points oyster farm in Freeport.
Eric Horne and his wife, Valy Steverlynk (above), fire up their skiff and motor down the Royal River away from the Yarmouth marina and out into Casco Bay. It’s a cold December morning and theirs is the only boat on the water.
They’re on their way to check an oyster bed they’ve been leasing for more than 10 years. After a bone-chilling five-minute trip, they arrive at the site, where they hope to collect about 500 oysters.
Working Waterfront has published a report that explores the possible causes of the collapse of the Maine shrimp fishery.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission did not close this fishery simply because the population was low, but more because we don’t seem to have enough baby shrimp to build a future upon. It was determined by managers that to give this stock the best chance for recovery we needed to leave all the shrimp now in the water in the hope that they spawn and produce abundant offspring.
Richard Foss passed away earlier this month at the age of 96. Foss worked for 63 years at Schlotterbeck & Foss, a Portland specialty foods company founded by his grandfather Charles Foss and Augustus Schlotterbeck in 1866.
Mr. Foss joined the family business in 1940 after graduating from Harvard University. He started in sales and worked his way up the ranks to become president of the company.
The company was co-founded by his grandfather Charles S. Foss in 1866 as a prescription apothecary shop. It later evolved into patented medicines and flavoring extracts, which Foss sold to dairy farmers to make ice cream. Over time, S&F developed specialty food items, such as sauces, marinades, salad dressings, and ice cream syrups and toppings.
Portland Daily Sun columnist Natalie Ladd share her Best and Worst Tips of 2013 in today’s paper,
4) I was delighted when a customer left me a $25 Visa gift card. I was not so delighted when I tried checking out at CVS with fun stuff I didn’t need, and was told the card had a zero balance on it. The line was long and I was embarrassed, so I paid cash.
Also in today’s Sun is an article about Steve & Renee’s Diner.
The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about a book of poetry by Russell Libby the deceased former director of MOFGA entitled What You Should Know: A Field Guide to Three Sisters Farm,
The poems are about the future of Libby’s land at Three Sisters Farm in Mount Vernon, and the role his family will play in taking care of that land. The underlying theme is mortality. The last in the collection, “Things You Should Know,” begins with the lines: “If I could, I would walk with you long enough that you, too, might find your way about without a map or guide, but I am certain it will take a while to share what I have learned these past three decades, and the time to start is now.”
and columnist Joe Appel shares a wish list for changes he’d like to see in wine consumers, servers and producers,
Hold feet to fire. You ask your grocer where the broccoli came from; you ask your clothier the age of the Bangladeshi child who knit your socks. Wine is a consumable, and ought to be held to the same standards we apply to other aspects of our lives.
The Forecaster has a report on Jung Hur, an artist and the chef/owner of Spread.
Artists exhibiting in restaurants, cafes and bars are fairly common in Maine, but the Jung Hur show at Spread is an exceptional marriage of fine art and fine dining in a setting that is itself largely created by Jung, including the bar, the pillows and the chandelier.
According to the article, Spread will offer “a four-course prix fixe dinner as the culinary manifestation of “Balance: The Paintings & Cuisine of Jung Hur”” from today through February 2nd.
Mr. Chasse had dreamed of operating The Worcester Lunch Car Company No. 818 since he was a boy growing up in Portland. His father was a well-known sausage maker and the two would drive past the diner often. He bought Miss Portland Diner around 1980 and served breakfast and lunch seven days a week to a loyal following.
The Press Herald has published an article about a Kentucky man who’s traveling the country handing out $500 tips in memory of his brother.
An organization was founded, Aaron’s Last Wish, and about $50,000 was raised to keep the tips flowing. Collins said his goal is to leave at least one $500 tip in every state in the country by the end of January, and he still has about 10 Eastern states to go.
Update: Also see this article from the Bangor Daily News.
The Portsmouth Herald has published an interview with chef Shannon Bard.
Bard grew up in Oklahoma on the Texas border. She and her family sat together and enjoyed large meals prepared by her grandmother and mother. She joined them in the kitchen and spent hours making vibrantly flavored meals prepared from scratch. Meanwhile, her father and grandfather, both small farmers, imparted lessons on seasonal produce and the hard work and dedication farmers put into each and every crop.
“My grandmother had a Mexican restaurant before I was even born and I met my husband in San Diego, where there was a lot of Mexican food. It was my passion,” Bard says.
Today’s paper includes a Q&A with Nancy Jo Polito on the book she recently published about her father Armand Polito.
Armando Polito sailed to the United States in 1920, when he was 10 years old, with his mother and siblings. His father, Giovanni Polito, had been in America for eight years, successfully running the Napoli restaurants in Maine.
The Bangor Daily News has published an article about Sergio Ramos, the certified tequila sommelier and managing partner at Zapoteca.
The beverage formerly inspiring the cry “let’s do shots” is now a top-shelf contender. In a corner restaurant in Portland, one man is doing his part to bring tequila to its richly deserved prominence.
“I’m a defender of the spirit,” said Sergio Ramos, who notes he is one of only four tequila sommeliers in the country.
The Beer Babe has posted an article about the passing of Karen Kay Geary, co-founder of D.L. Geary Brewing.
Notably, Karen was the first female brewery owner in Maine, and among the first in New England and the U.S., after prohibition. Author and beer historian Tom Acitelli commented that, “To be a woman involved in craft beer in the early/mid-1980s was to be in rare company; it was, like the larger brewing industry, very much a man’s world on both the consumer and business sides.” I, for one, would like to thank her for being a pioneer in the early days and paving the way for those that came after her in craft beer. I hope you will join me in raising a toast in Karen’s honor.
Update: For more information see the article in Wednesday’s Press Herald.
Chad Conley, head chef at Gather, and business partner Greg Mitchell have leased the Palace Diner (website, facebook, twitter) on Franklin Street in Biddeford with plans to relaunch the business this Spring. The pair plan to maintain a traditional diner menu for breakfast and lunch. In the evening they’ll be launching a dinner service with more creative fare, and have submitted an application for liquor license. During warmer weather they’ll have outdoor seating.
Conley is a Portland native who in addition to Gather has cooked at Hugo’s and Jean-Georges in NYC. He worked for Eliot Coleman at Four Season Farm in Harborside and helped launch Miyake Farms in Freeport. He and Mitchell met when they were both working Four Season Farm.
The new Palace Diner joins a growing community of food businesses in Biddeford. the former mill town is home to Rabelais which moved their in 2011, Elements coffee shop/bookstore, Royal Rose cocktail syrup (a Brooklyn transplant), Cobblestones (formerly located on Monument Square), newly launched Banded Horn Brewing and the production facilities for Vervacious. The low rent and steadily growing downtown community are making it an appealing place to launch a business. A number of other Portland chefs have recently considered opening in Biddeford. Conley and Mitchell’s may become an example for other chefs looking to launch their own restaurant.
These photos are from a friends and family breakfast Conly and Mitchell held yesterday to celebrate their new business.
Gather is now in the process of recruiting a new head chef.