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The City of Portland is submitting an application to UNESCO to be recognized for its culinary creativity as part of the UN’s Creative Cities program. If successful, Portland would become the 9th city in the world to be included in the Gastronomy category.
The Creative Cities Network aims to strengthen the creation, production, distribution, and enjoyment of cultural goods and services at the local level. It promotes creative expression and enhances participation in cultural life as well as integrates cultural and creative industries into local development plans.
The application deadline is in July and we should know by mid-December if it was successful.
The Press Herald has published an article on the pickle fork exhibit at The Bearded Lady.
And we can thank Portland resident and metalsmith Maria Wolff for “Piercing the Pickle,” a small, surprising group show of quite beautiful pickle forks on display through June 21 at The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box, on Congress Street. She curated the show, which includes her own work and that of 10 other local metalsmiths, many of them graduates of the Maine College of Art.
The Press Herald has reviewed The Muthah Truckah.
First, my teeth sank into the slices of griddle-fried ciabatta bread. Then came the layers of bacon jam (bacon literally pulverized into jam), bright orange BBQ potato chips with ridges, turkey, cheddar cheese, pickles and BBQ aioli. There were some pretty strong flavors in there, yet no single one shone above the rest.
It was crispy, buttery, chewy, crunchy, tangy, sour and creamy, all at the same time. It was like a blockbuster Broadway musical, dancing in my mouth.
The Honey Paw menu is organized into 5 unnamed, numerically designated sections: 001 – 005. Here are a few items that caught my interest:
- 001: Assorted Pickles
- 002: Lobster Tartine with cilantro emulsion, radish and hijiki
- 003: Saffron Gnocchi Sardi with duck bolognese, eggplant-raisin agrodolce and parmessan; Buckwheat Noodles with dried mackerel, cured egg yolk, paddlefish roe and hazelnut
- 004: Fried Whole Black Bass with pineapple fried rice, lap cheong and coconut salsa verde
- 005: Soft Serve Ice Cream with carmelized honey, honeycomb and magic shell
Behind the scenes there’s a large new kitchen that extends nearly the full length of the building behind Hugo’s, Eventide and The Honey Paw.
Chris Busby reports that the new Full Belly Deli will be located in the Old Port at the corner of Fore and Market Streets.
Speaking of delis, Portlanders were stunned when Full Belly Deli abruptly closed its location on outer Brighton Avenue this winter. Now comes word that Full Belly’s mile-high pastrami sandwiches and other indulgences will reappear at the corner of Market and Fore streets, in a space most recently occupied by a failed link in the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt chain, according to landlord Joe Soley, who has an avowed taste for tongue. Soley also said the deli may apply for a license to serve beer and wine.
The Press Herald has published an interview with Alison Pray and Matt James, co-owners of Standard Baking Company.
Q: I run into bakers and pastry chefs all the time with Standard Baking on their resume. Is mentoring important to you?
PRAY: Mentoring is huge. That is the beauty of baking and bread especially. You can’t learn it from a book. You have to learn by having your hands in the dough. And you have to learn from master bakers, or just bakers better than you. Watching what they do, trying to duplicate their movements, watching as they make adjustments to the dough. You learn from every batch that you make. It’s a constant work in progress to try to make good bread consistently.
Update: MPBN has also posted a profile of Alison Pray and Matt James.
The Blueberry Files has published a first look report from the East Ender.
We sampled a few of the bar snacks – fried vegetables in a Bagna Cauda sauce ($8) and the chicken liver croquettes topped with pickled onion jam ($9). They were both outstanding. The happy hour menu (served 3:30-5:30 Monday through Sunday) also had a selection of cheeses, mussels, a BLT, and the infamous cold-smoked burger. It’s back! Hooray! If at any point, you can’t find me between 3:30 and 5:30, I’ll be at East Ender, taking a burger and $2 Miller High Lifes to the head.
Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy are planning to re-open the East Ender on March 9. The restaurant has been undergoing some renovations including new signage by Will Sears and seating by Pistol Pete. Small Axe fans will be happy to learn that the burger safely made the transition to the East Ender menu. The Pastrami Salmon Tartine (house made pastrami salmon open faced sandwich on SouthSide Rye with radish, pickled onion, mustard seed, creme fraiche) sounds particularly delicious.
Joe Ricchio and friends have published their annual survey/review of Pumpkin beers, 26 in all.
Before I introduce this year’s judges, I feel the need to say that, over the years, as the pumpkin beer craze has grown, we’ve see our number of entries grow from six in 2009 all the way to almost thirty, only five years later. Along the way, we have all tasted lots of disgusting beer, but I feel like this time it was much harder to distinguish them from one another. It’s as if they all collectively decided to dial their flavors back and go for something more quaffable, perhaps in anticipation of the pumpkin spice backlash? I’m not sure, but it would appear that even the brewers are over it with their own pumpkin beers.
Eating Portland Alive has published some photos and first impressions of Bao Bao. He’s also captured pictures of the menus.
The Press Herald has published a Q & A with Pete McAleney who recently sold his business New Meadows Lobster to DiMillo’s.
Q: Is seasonality a big problem?
A: You need lobsters in the summertime – that’s when people want them. You also have to realize you’ve got your business associates in Canada – notice how I said that – whose season will open up in a month right at the time our lobsters will be getting a firm hard shell. But it’s November and you don’t sell a lot of lobster in November. Then demand comes on strong in December and then it’s kaput. When you ship out at Christmastime, you have to worry about storms. We used to be big shippers to Belgium and France for the holidays – a lot of fishermen would help us pack the trucks and take them to Bangor (for shipping to Europe). But if there was snow, the flight would sit there and you would go crazy. You have to have a sense of humor in this business.
Chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez from Piccolo will be heading down to NYC in early November to prepare a meal at the James Beard House in the West Village.
At Portland, Maine’s intimate Piccolo, chef Damian Sansonetti and wife/partner Ilma Jeil Lopez pay homage to the rustic, soul-satisfying cuisine of Central and Southern Italy with great care and passion. For this Beard House dinner, the former Bar Boulud chef de cuisine will return to his roots with a tantalizing menu inspired by the rich flavors of Italy’s Calabria and Abruzzo regions.
You can see a detailed menu with pairings and make reservations on the JBF site.
As previously reported chef David Turin from Opus Ten is also scheduled to prepare a meal at the James Beard House. His dinner is taking place later this month on October 21st. More details on the meal are now available. You can see a detailed menu with pairings and make reservations on the JBF site.
The new issue of Mainebiz includes a feature article on the challenges farmers and local food stores face in selling and distributing local produce.
Constant negotiating with buyers and other farmers is a way of life in Maine’s fragmented food distribution system, especially for small farmers and purveyors of specialty items like jams and honey. Those small operations practically define the local food and farm-to-table movements that sparked consumer interest in where food comes from and how it is grown or produced.
But that curiosity hasn’t helped broaden Maine’s food distribution system for the small producers to any significant degree, says Spear. The result: many small operations sell only within Maine or at most a day’s delivery drive, thus limiting their market.
Haven’s Candies has a new owner. According to reports from MaineBiz, the Bangor Daily News and the Press Herald, Freeport businesswoman Erin Collins has bought the company from Andy Charles who has run the company since 2001.
Haven’s was founded in 1915 by Herbert Haven. The first store was located at 500 Forest Ave.
Two new restaurants have submitted their liquor license applications with the city:
- Ramen Suzukiya is a new noodle house under construction in the newly renovated store front at 229 Congress Street. According to their cover letter, father and son owners Katsuaki and Cory Suzuki plan to serve “fresh homemade ramen noodles using a variety of flour[s] from grain mills in Maine and New England” and that they eventually hope to “cultivate many of the vegetables we will use in my restaurant.”The Suzukis hope to open the restaurant in October. The draft menu (page 68) includes several ramen dishes (shown below) as well as gyoza and rice bowls.
- Huong’s Vietnamese Restaurant is under construction at 267 Saint John Street in the space formerly occupied by Vietnam Restaurant. Owner Huong Thi Thu Le hopes to open the restaurant later this month serving “authentic Vietnamese food”. Here’s the salad and pho sections of the menu. The full draft menu is on page 47 of the materials for Monday night’s City Council meeting.
For information on all the restaurants under development see the Portland Food Map under construction list.
Eat Maine has published an article about Lolita.
Other dishes go for all-out comfort—the harissa-spiked lamb meatballs are baked in a skillet with tomato sauce, Aleppo chili, hearty croutons, and a single egg then topped with yogurt that with the addition of ghee becomes more decadent and aromatic. “You can eat this morning, noon, and night,” Guy says.
Dobra Tea (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) has announced plans to move to 89 Exchange Street. They’ll be closing their current Middle Street location on August 24 and expect to open on Exchange Street in late September or early October.
For the past several years 89 Exchange Street has been the home of the Aucocisco Gallery.