Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Interview with Damian Sansonetti

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Damian Sansonetti, co-owner/chef of Piccolo.

CP: Why did you and Ilma move to Portland?
DS: We knew NYC wasn’t going to be for us in the long run even though we accomplished so much while there. We wanted a family and our own place. We traveled to other cities and couldn’t find a place we both felt good in, and then our friend Rod Mitchell who owns Browne Trading in Portland, kept asking me to visit Maine. So we did, and the first night we hit up four places to eat and found ourselves coming back four more times in six months and fell in love with the place and the people.

Sansonetti and his wife Ilma Lopez will be the featured chefs for a dinner at the Beard House in New York City this weekend.

Draft Top 25: Mockingfish & Beer II

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

draftmaptop25Two Maine beers are on Draft magazine’s list of the Top 25 Beers of the Year:

  • Mockingfish from Rising Tide “The tequila barrel’s earthy, agave character zips in at the finish to punctuate the tart lightly lemony sip. Unlike other tequila barrel-aged beers we’ve tasted, the spirit doesn’t contribute any alcohol prickle here, allowing the gose’s wispy salinity to bubble in the center of the sip like a breeze of ocean are.”
  • Beer II from Maine Beer Co. “The session IPA can be just as wonderfully flavorful as its high-octane cousin, and Beer II is proof. The flavorful turns of juicy grapefruit, fresh pine, grass, sweet tangerine and fennel are stunningly complex: just a touch of bready malt holds it together before a quick whip of bitterness pulls it to a pleasant conclusion.”

Rising Tide plans to have a new batch of the tequila barrel-aged available next year.

Tempo Dulu

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News  has published a profile of Tempo Dulu, the new restaurant located in the Danforth Inn.

It begins with the bread basket, or lack thereof. Instead of rolls and butter, pastel lobster rice crackers — think shrimp crackers but with lobster flavor — with nutty hot sauce arrive on the white-clothed table to coax your taste buds into a new rhythm, the lively sway of Portland’s new restaurant Tempo Dulu.

Portland’s UNESCO Creative Cities Application

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

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.

Pickle Forks

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

exhibitThe 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.

Review of Muthah Truckah

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

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.

Interview with Standard Baking Co.

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

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.

First Look: East Ender

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

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. 

Foodcoma’s Annual Pumpkin Beer Survey

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

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.

Pocket Brunch Game Dinner

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

pbffPocket Brunch and Family Feast along the Maine Brewers Guild and Down East are teaming up to serve a Game Dinner on November 8. Tickets are now on sale.

First Look: Bao Bao

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Eating Portland Alive has published some photos and first impressions of Bao Bao. He’s also captured pictures of the menus.

Interview with Pete McAleney

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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?
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.

Dinner at the Beard House: Piccolo and Opus Ten

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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.

Farm Produce Distribution Challenges

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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.

New Owner of Haven’s Candies

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


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.

Under Construction: Huong’s Vietnamese & Ramen Suzukiya

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

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.

Profile of Lolita

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

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.

Under Construction: Tandem Bakery

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014


Tandem Coffee held a friends and family preview party last night at their new location on Congress Street in the West End. The new Tandem Bakery will open to the public this week.

Dobra Tea Moving

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

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.

Family Feast at The Well

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Family Feast on The Farm

Family Feast will be serving an Indonesian prix fixe dinner at The Well on Monday June 30.

They’re still planning the details but so far this what the menu looks like:

  • Crab and head cheese bao with hackelback caviar
  • Chilled cucumber nasturtium soup with coconut and smoked mussels, black lime vinaigrette
  • Large format beef tongue salad  “Garggouillou” with farm veg, pickled, raw, fermented, shoots and flowers with a cumin lime honey vin, rhubarb mustard, peanuts, beef tongue, black sesame miso puree, sesame bagel croutons, yogurt, farm greens
  • Whole duck egg ravioli over a ragu of duck hearts and gizzards, liver, peas, chocolate mint, tofu
  • Baba guling, balinese pork presenation
    -smoked shoulder in a yellow curry with squid and clams, eggpant, zuchini
    -charred blood and pork sausage wheel with chili glaze over seared bitter greens
    -rolled stuffed roasted belly with aromatic rice and wok fried broccoli raab in oyster sauce and garlic
    -fried bits, ears, skin, intestine with herbs and shallots in nuoc chom
  • Dessert will be stone fruit buckle with whipped farm cream, and then small corn cookie and ice cream sandwiches with jackfruit and tamarind

Tickets are $100 per person. Sign-up online at Eventbrite.