Reviews: Cong Tu Bot, El Corazon, Rose Foods, Bayou Kitchen

November 12th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Cong Tu Bot,

Yet even as it makes culinary references to its peers, Cong Tu Bot manages to produce something wholly original. Take the pho ga ($13), a chicken-based soup bowl teeming with flat, fettuccine-like rice noodles and irregular shreds of tender chicken meat. Dobui and Zohn intentionally construct their version of this classic using techniques borrowed from Japanese ramen shops…It is both delicate and decadent – and phenomenally good.

The Bollard has reviewed El Corazon,

I ordered chilaquiles ($10.95), a once favorite dish I hadn’t eaten since leaving California. Piled onto a bed of crisp tortilla chips were two scrambled eggs simmered in a mild red sauce (a green sauce is also an option), topped with crumbly queso fresco and Mexican crema, and served with sides of beans and homefries. For an extra $1.50 the chef added a generous portion of chorizo on top. I had a few minor quibbles — using chips, rather than tortilla strips, made the dish messy and difficult to eat, and a hefty dose of hot sauce was necessary to provide sufficient heat — but otherwise it was very good.

the Portland Press Herald has reviewed Rose Foods, and

The Uncle Leo was a hit. The bagel was crispy outside, soft and chewy inside… The frittata was perfectly round, obviously cooked in a mold, but had just the right amount of lox in it, so the flavors were well balanced – especially with the schmear of herbed cream cheese as a finishing touch. I would order this again…

the Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Bayou Kitchens.

Quick, easy, tasty, and reasonably priced, Bayou Kitchen hits all the marks. They make simple food including cajun favorites that consistently satisfy and also offer items that shock and amaze – particularly those specials – which might just throw a wrench into your usual brunch order.

Under Construction: Ice It Bakery

November 11th, 2017

Yarmouth’s Ice It Bakery (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) will be opening a second location at 502 Stevens Ave, reports the Press Herald.

Alan Fried, who owns Ice It! Bakery in Yarmouth with his wife, Sharon Kuhrt, said the new location at 502 Stevens Ave. will feature everything sold at the Yarmouth bakery – pastries, cupcakes, custom cakes – but it will also be a coffee shop with full espresso bar service. Fried and Kuhrt plan to emphasize more prominently their savory hand pies at the Portland bakery, and they’ll add some breakfast sandwiches and light lunch items to the menu.

See the Portland Food Map Under Construction page for a complete list of new food businesses in various stages of development.

Under Construction: Forage Market

November 10th, 2017

Forage Market (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has leased space at 123 Washington Ave where they plan to open a Portland branch of their popular Lewiston bakery and cafe.

Owner Allen Smith is excited to open on Washington Ave because as he explains, “it feels like a place we can be part of a neighborhood and get to know our customers by name. And we love the camaraderie of the amazing group of food entrepreneurs already on the street.”

Forage is perhaps best know for the bagels which Saveur tipped for the best in the country. In addition, Smith and his team lead by Portland store manager Laura Posiak also plans to serve breakfast sandwiches and hand-made pastries in the morning and European-style market sandwiches along with soups and salads for lunch.

Smith has ordered a wood-fired masonry oven from Spain which is expected to arrive in the Spring and hopes to open Forage “as soon as the mortar is dry”.

Hardshore Distilling Co.

November 10th, 2017

MaineBiz has published a profile of the Hardshore Distilling Company, a gin distillery located on Washington Ave.

[Owner Jordan] Milne starts with juniper, the basis for all gin, and infuses it with rosemary and mint. It’s distilled three times, the third to soak in the botanicals. Each batch is quality tested so it’s identical to the one before it. In the year he’s been selling it, he’s had success convincing local stores, supermarket chains and bars and restaurants to stock it.

Good Food Awards: 3 Maine Finalists

November 9th, 2017

Congratulations to the 3 Maine food producers that have earned a place as Finalists for the 2018 Good Food Award:

The winners in all categories will be announced at the GFA awards ceremony and gala on January 19, 2018 in San Francisco.

Here’s some background on the Good Food Awards program,

The Good Food Awards were created to redefine ‘good food’ as being tasty, authentic and responsible. We aim to set criteria for entry that are realistic and inclusive of food and drink producers who have demonstrated a commitment to be part of building a tasty, authentic and responsible food system, going far above and beyond the status quo for their industry, while not making them so strict that eligible participants are limited to a small handful of products.

Food System Innovation Challenge

November 9th, 2017

Saint Joseph’s College is holding the 2017 Food System Innovation Challenge this Sunday, 11 – 2.

Six companies and six colleges will be presenting their solutions to ” produce bold solutions to some of the challenges Maine faces in its food production systems.”

Mike Fraser

November 9th, 2017

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about Mike Fraser.

His first position in Portland was at Cinque Terre on Wharf Street. There, he met Guy Streitburger, the current General Manager of The Roma Cafe, and Jason Loring, another Portland restaurateur. The three have remained close friends. Mike served and bartended at Fore Street for nine years. Four or five years into his Fore Street tenure, Mike decided it might soon be time to open his own place. His first foray into ownership was Bramhall, a successful bar and lounge on Congress Street. When Mike and Jason first looked at the Roma, they were considering the space for a private club. They spoke to the Quimbys who owned the space; at that time, they envisioned it for some other use. In the meantime, Mike helped finance the Rhum Tiki Bar and Big J’s Fried Chicken at Thompson’s Point — ventures which proved to be immensely popular.

Eventide on Eater List of 38 Essentials for 2017

November 8th, 2017

Bill Addison has included Eventide on Eater’s 2017 list of America’s 38 Essential Restaurants.

Under Construction: Quill Books & Beverage

November 8th, 2017

A bookstore/coffee shop/bar called Quill Books & Beverage (facebook, instagram) is under construction in Westbrook. Owners Matthew Irving and Allison Krzanowski have leased space at One Westbrook Common.

Irving has worked for several years as a bartender at Lolita in Portland and Krzanowski is a weaver. At Quill they’ll be serving cocktails as well as bagels, baked goods, yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, and sandwiches and salads for lunch, as well as a line-up of toasts, cheeses and charcuterie for small snacks.

Quill plans to stock a “diverse selection of carefully curated gently used books, including many recent titles” and will host “author and poetry readings, book clubs, and a weekly board game night”.

First Look: Bite Into Maine

November 8th, 2017

Peter Peter Portland Eater has posted a first look at the new Bite Into Maine cafe in Scarborough.

For me, lobster only in the summer isn’t quite enough. That seems to be the feeling Bite Into Maine’s Sarah Sutton is looking to tap into as she opens Bite Into Maine Commissary at 185 US Rte. 1 in Scarborough tomorrow. The new counter service eatery with a dozen seats will be serving their very popular food truck rolls year round in addition to adding some novel items to the menu.

Vegan Thanksgiving

November 8th, 2017

The Press Herald reports that both Sea Glass and Union are offering plant-based options on their Thanksgiving menus.

Many hotels in Maine serve special Thanksgiving meals, but in the past vegan offerings have been limited to side dishes. While a few hotels offer vegetarian entrees on Thanksgiving, the addition of vegan ones to at least two hotel menus is a milestone in Maine’s ongoing embrace of plant-based cuisine.

See our Thanksgiving Resource Guide for a growing list of local restaurants open on Thanksgiving.

Bite Into Maine Opens Tuesday

November 6th, 2017

Bite Into Maine (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) will be opening their new 12-seat brick and mortar kitchen/cafe at 185 Route 1 in Scarborough on Wednesday Tuesday.

The space will serve both and as a prep area to keep their two food trucks amply supplied throughout the summer months and a destination where Bite Into Maine fans can go all year round to get their lobster roll fix to eat in to take out.

Hours are 11 – 4 on Sunday, closed Mondays and 11 – 6 the rest of the week.

Update: Bite Into Maine shifted their opening day to Tuesday.

This Week’s Events: Portland Beer Week, SMCC, Goodfire Brewing, Tuna Debunked

November 6th, 2017

MondayPortland Beer Week continues through Sunday. Visit the PBW site for the full schedule and see the our Beer Week highlights list.

WednesdayHugo’s is holding a beer dinner with Allagash, the SMCC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs are holding A Light on the Point, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – The Thirsty Pig is hosting the Goodfire Brewing launch party, DiMillo’s is holding benefit dinner for Full Plates Full Potential, and there will be a lectures at GMRI entitled Tuna, Debunked: Myths and Misconceptions.

Friday – there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont in the West End.

Saturday – there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market 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.

Thanksgiving Resource Guide

November 6th, 2017

Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. I’m assembling a list of Thanksgiving dinners and local resources for home cooks and related events.

Here’s what’s surfaced so far. I’ll be expanding the list over the next few weeks:

  • Eat Out
    • BlueFin is serving a buffet, $49 per person, ages 6-12 $25 and children under 6 are free.
    • Bolster Snow is serving a 3-course dinner for $60 per person, 11 – 3.
    • Congress Squared, 3-course.
    • Five Fifty-Five, 4-course dinner for $88 per person, there’s also a 3-course children’s dinner for $35 per person, 12:20-8:30.
    • Harraseeket Inn is serving their Thanksgiving Grand Buffet.
    • Saltwater Grille is serving a Thanksgiving buffet 11:30 – 5, $55 per person, $20 for children 12 and under.
    • Sea Glass is serving their Thanksgiving Grand Buffet, $66 per adult, $24 per child, 12-7.
    • Tempo Dulu, 5 courses, $85 per person with optional wine and cocktail pairings for $55 or $59, 1 – 7.
    • Timber, 4-course dinner, $49 per person, 12 – 8.
    • Twenty Milk Street is serving a Thanksgiving dinner, 12 – 7.
    • Union is serving a 3-course meal for $55 per person with a children’s menu for $16.
    • Zackery’s is serving a Thanksgiving buffet, $32 per adult, $28 for seniors, children under 10 pay their age, 11 – 2.
  • Community Dinner
    • The Wayside Food Programs will hold a community dinner on Thanksgiving at the Portland Club, 11:30 – 1.
  • Eat at Home
  • Make a Donation

MCD Sunday Roast

November 5th, 2017

Maine Craft Distilling is kicking-off their weekly Sunday Roast series today. $30 gets you “a salad ,a drink, a full roast dinner and a simple desert”.

MCD’s chef is Evan Richardson who’s been running the Eaux food cart this summer serving food from his home town, New Orleans.