4th Annual Maine Beer Madness

March 7th, 2017

Round 1 of the Maine Beer Madness tournament has kicked-off.

It’s finally here, the true Big Dance: the 4th Annual Maine Madness Beer Tournament, where 64 Maine beers compete for glory in a month-long bracketed tournament voted on by the public.

This year’s field of competitors is the best we’ve seen, and it’s all thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in making Maine’s beer scene world-class.

Cast your vote in round 1.

Under Construction: Uncle Billy’s Bar-B-Que

March 6th, 2017

“Famous Chef and colorful character” Jonny St. Laurent has announced plans to reopen Uncle Billy’s Bar-B-Que (facebook, twitter). Details on timing and location are still TBD.

Saint Laurent last operated a restaurant in Portland called Uncle Billy’s Resto-bar at 653 Congress Street in the space currently occupied by Kushiya Benkay. Uncle Billy’s closed in 2007. He also had run restaurants in South Portland, Portland and Yarmouth in the past.

For more background on Saint Laurent and the history of his restaurants see this 2015 article in the Press Herald.

Saint Laurent is the co-author of the book Uncle Billy’s Downeast Barbeque Book.

This Week’s Events: Maine Restaurant Week, Amanda Beal, Elvis Dinner, Spirit Quest

March 6th, 2017

MondayMaine Restaurant Week continues.

TuesdayAmanda Beal is giving a talk entitled Visions for the Future of Maine and New England, and there will be a wine tasting at the Other Side Deli on Veranda Street.

WednesdayGrace is serving an Elvis Wedding themed dinner.

Thursday – there will be a Two Roads tasting at the Bier Cellar and a Jameson tasting at the Public Market House.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place, and there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen.

Sunday – the MRW Spirit Quest event is taking place.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Under Construction: Joe’s Super Variety

March 6th, 2017

Joe’s Super Variety, aka Joe’s Smoke Shop, is planning to open in their new building this April.

Reviews: Petite Jacqueline, Boda, Woodford F&B, Bramhall, Bonobo

March 5th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Petite Jacqueline,

Despite a few seasoning hiccups in dishes like the deviled eggs, escargots and beef bourguignon, Petite Jacqueline offers several strong versions of bistro classics. Best among these are dishes like gorgeously seared steak frites and an extraordinary arctic char served with a brown butter-and-toasted almond sauce.

the West End News has published a review of Boda,

In conclusion, Boda possesses in creativity and delicious cuisine what it takes to be successful, and I suspect they’ll be around for an extended stay.

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Bramhall,

Bramhall has an excellent selection of beers, wines, and spirits so you are sure to find something to please your palate if you aren’t enthused by the happy hour specials. I was tempted off the list by the Four-Five-Six cocktail. It is a mix of Johnnie Walker Black, spiced vanilla honey, Raygun orange bitters and hops bitters. It was easily one of the top cocktails that I have ever had!

The Golden Dish has reviewed Woodford F&B,

Besides the restaurant’s high energy (translate: a noisy room but not in a bad way), the food by chef Courtney Loreg is exceedingly good–very competently prepared classic dishes.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Bonobo.

One of the aspects of Bonobo’s pizza that makes it special is the wood fire. From the slight pleasant odor in the restaurant, to the mild flavor it adds to the pizza, to the way it cooks evenly and to the right degree, I like what it creates.

2017 Phoenix Readership Poll

March 3rd, 2017

The Portland Phoenix has kicked-off their 2017 Best 100 of Portland readership poll. The Phoenix has revised their process for voting, reducing the number of categories and combining the formerly two-stage voting process into a single ballot. Cast your vote today!

There are dozens of food and drink categories ranging from bagels and barbecue to wine lists and wings. Portland Food Map is listed as a nominee in the Best Blog category in the City Life section.

For more information on the Best 100 of Portland visit the overview/FAQ page.

Hutchins to Join Rhum

March 3rd, 2017

Award winning bartender Trevin Hutchins is joining the team at Rhum as a partner and director of their beverage program. Hutchin’s new cocktail menu, as well as a new food menu, is going to be unveiled at a press event next week.

Hutchins cocktails have been featured in Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Down East, and the New York Times. His drink the Jakarta was selected as one of the top 5 cocktails of 2015 by Star Chefs.

Zagat Eating Guide to Portland

March 2nd, 2017

Zagat has published an eating guide to Portland.

At this point, it’s no secret that Portland, Maine, is one of the hottest food cities in the country, never mind New England. It’s also well represented (once again) on the latest list of James Beard Award semi-finalists. But for this latest list of travel-worthy spots, we focused on a mix of revered stalwarts, lauded newcomers and lesser-known gems. There are many more we could have included — apologies to still-awesome staples like Duckfat and Miyake — but these are the old and new favorites that are perking our palate right now.

Highlighted in the article are: Central Provisions, Drifters Wife, Elsemere BBQ, Evo Kitchen + Bar, Fore Street, Grace, Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, The Holy Donut, The Honey Paw, Vinland.

Rosen’s Deli Closed

March 2nd, 2017

The Forecaster confirmed yesterday that Rosen’s Deli has closed.

Rosen’s Deli, the only Jewish-style deli in greater Portland, has closed…“Lots of factors contributed to our decision to close Rosen’s Deli,” Arren Rosen said in a Facebook message Tuesday morning. “We are thankful to all the great people we’ve met over the years and will miss our supportive community very much.”

Under Construction: Lio

March 1st, 2017

Cara Stadler has announced the hire of two key personnel to the staff at Lio (instagram, facebook), the new wine-focused restaurant she has under development on Spring Street.

  • Ian Driscoll – has been hired as Stadler’s Co-Chef. Driscoll has worked at Duckfat, Hugo’s and Eventide and helped open Central Provisions where he eventually held the position of Chef de Cuisine.
  • Patrick McDonald – has been hired as the Bar Director at Lio. He’s worked at a number of Portland venues including Gingko Blue and Central Provisions where he was the Bar Manager.

Jager Now Open

March 1st, 2017

Jager (website, instagram, twitter, facebook) is now open. The Bavarian pub and beer bar is located at 41 Wharf Street in the space formerly occupied by Ollo.

Jager is owned by Justin O’Connor and chef Paul Kirschbaum.

Opening Today: Vieux Port Creole, A & C Grocery

February 28th, 2017

Two new businesses open today:

  • Vieux Port Creole – A Movable  Feast at 431 Congress Street has launched a Cajun and Creole lunch cafe, open 11 – 2:30 Monday through Friday
  • A & C Grocery – Rosemont alum and co-founder of The Farm Stand is launching his new neighborhood market today at 131 Washington Ave, 9 – 7 Monday through Saturday

Farmers’ Market Stalwarts

February 28th, 2017

Today’s Press Herald reports on two Farmers’ Market stalwarts that continue to serve customers in Monument Square throughout the winter months.

The Wednesday edition of the Portland Farmers Market, which draws more than two dozen farmers downtown every week, officially ended in November, but Piper shows up throughout the winter to sell his meats, honey and prepared foods. It’s not a big money-maker. Piper, 73, says it’s mostly enjoyment that brings him out. He needs to get away from his Buckfield farm and socialize.

The Purple House

February 28th, 2017

Urban Eye has posted an article about The Purple House and its owner Krista Kern Desjarlais.

On Sunday, Desjarlais, the chef/owner behind Portland’s top-tier and long gone Bresca restaurant, stood at the hearth removing thick slices of pizza as customers seated at the community table inches away nodded at each other in silent ecstasy.

WMPG Cajun Cookin’ Challenge

February 28th, 2017

The annual Cajun Cookin’ Challenge is taking place today at WMPG, noon – 3 pm.

Competitors include: Great Lost Bear, USM Dining, Po’ Boys & Pickles, Gritty’s, Abilene, Whole Foods, Bayside American Café, Silly’s.