Maine Cider & Salt Water Farm

October 29th, 2015

DEM1511-cover-435x580The November issue of Down East contains a feature on Maine’s burgeoning cider industry,

Buchanan, who just launched his hard cider operation this year, is one of more than a half-dozen Maine orchardists who’ve recently commited themselves to reviving the craft of brewing hard cider. The American colonists’ beverage of choice and a popular drink well into the mid-19th Century, is enjoying a renaissance in Maine on the heels of the state’s boom in craft beers…

and an intimate look at the challenges restaurant owner Annemarie Ahearn experienced as she launched the Salt Water Farm in Rockport.

Last year 170 new restaurants opened in Maine. Statistically, more than a quarter of them won’t make it through their first year. This is the story of one that did – restaurateur Annemarie Ahearn’s ambitious Salt Water Farm – and what it took to get there: bruised egos, broken friendships, and tough lessons about what Mainers want.

The articles aren’t yet available online but you can find copies of the magazine on your local newsstand.

Review of Five Fifty-Five

October 27th, 2015

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Five Fifty-Five.

Five Fifty-five isn’t cheap; our meal came to almost $130 before tip, but they definitely provide some solid fine dining in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Owners Steve and Michelle Corry have won numerous awards and also own another restaurant which I’ve previously reviewed and a new pastry joint, so they know what they are doing and our meal experience proved that. They have a great bar/lounge area that is pretty fun and also serve brunch on Sunday if you’re more prone to late morning and early afternoon restaurant visits. Whatever you prefer, Five Fifty-five is a must try if you want to enjoy some of the more angelic, finer tastes in Portland.

This Week’s Events: Hunter’s Bend, Local Brew TV, Hugo’s Halloween, Portland Beer Week, Flanagan’s Table

October 26th, 2015

localbrewtv5Tuesday — The Hunter’s Bend is holding a sold out 8-course mushroom dinner at The Honey Paw, and Liquid Riot is hosting a women’s whiskey tasting.

WednesdayThe Great Lost Bear will be screening the new episode of Local Brew TV, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — a Rising Tide Fall Harvest dinner is taking place at Frog and Turtle, and Coffee by Design is hosting a barista latte art competition.

SaturdayVena’s is holding a Halloween party and Hugo’s is holding their annual Halloween dinner, it’s the bottle release for Foudation’s Moveable Type, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – it’s the first day Portland Beer Week,  and Andrew Taylor and Michael Wiley are the featured chefs for a Flanagan’s Table dinner.

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.

Jeremy Bloom, Internet Farmer

October 25th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an article about Jeremy Bloom, Internet Farmer.

Jeremy Bloom is an Internet farmer. Presumably you don’t know what that means. We didn’t either, so we called him up to ask. It turns out he’s a very diversified “farmer,” with his finger in many pies, including software development, urban agriculture, teaching fermentation classes and marketing restaurants.

WholeMade Meal Shares

October 25th, 2015

Earlier this week, the Bangor Daily News reported on WholeMade Meal Shares, a meal delivery service in Portland.

They also know that most people don’t have time to cook those types of meals every day.

Enter WHOLEmade Meal Shares – homemade meal bundles made by the women and distributed for customer pick-up at the beginning of each week.

“We’re cooking for you,” Cimino said. “We’re taking over the food world and reclaiming people’s health. And we’re making it easy for them.”

Under Construction: Intervale Mercantile Co.

October 24th, 2015

Erik Desjarlais has leased 4 School Street in Freeport where he’ll be opening the Intervale Mercantile Co. later this year. This will be the first brick and mortar retail shop for the business since he launched in 2011.

The 900 square foot space will house the Weft & Warp/Intervale workshop and a retail shop for Erik’s knife rolls, aprons, leather products and his line of men’s grooming products. The shop will also feature knives from bladesmiths around the country, vintage chefs knives and tools as well as other products that fit with the overall concept.

For more information on Weft & Warp/Intervale check out their website and instagram page.

Lobster Chef of the Year: Matt Ginn of Evo

October 24th, 2015

Congratulations to chef Matt Ginn at Evo. Ginn won the Lobster competition yesterday at Harvest on the Harbor for his dish of Maine Lobster with Turkish Pasta and Local Beans.

For additional information, see these reports from the Bangor Daily News and the Press Herald.

Tour of the Maine Malt House

October 24th, 2015

If My Coaster Could Talk reported on his tour of the Maine Malt House in Mapleton Maine.

The Maine Malt House is a pretty impressive operation, these guys were selling their barley to malting companies out of state, they knew they had a great product and they figured out what made it great and how to process it themselves. With an ever increasing demand on malted barley they were able to keep a homegrown product close to home and in turn closer to Maine brewers. It was kind of a wild, beer geek moment to be standing on the malting floor drinking a Geaghan Brothers Hop Harvest that was brewed with grains that had been harvested just outside and malted right where I stood.

Heirloom Apple Tasting, Boda Interview, Notes from a Server

October 23rd, 2015

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes a report on the heirloom apple tasting that I put together with friends Sean Turley and Cecilia Ziko,

Anestes and Sean kicked off the tasting with a quick talk on what the tasting would look like, how the apples were selected and some anecdotal back stories. A beautiful grid of all 85 apples was displayed on a table, and tasting sheets were supplied. Imagine, these apples were a small sample of the many, many varieties growing throughout New England…

an interview with Boda’s manager Jeremy Sossei,

Lily O’Gara: How did you first get started in the restaurant industry, and what made you stay?
Jeremy Sossei: I started out doing cafe and coffee shop work in college about 14 years ago and transitioned into exclusively restaurant work about eight years ago. … My very first cafe job was procured mainly due to a need for gainful employment. However, I soon realized that I really not only enjoyed (it), but thrived in that environment. The fast-paced, near chaos becomes almost intoxicating. … And then the feeling of closing up after an especially busy shift is completely rewarding for me. That beer when you’re done is pretty great, too!

and observations by food writer and server Lily O’Gara on working in the restaurant business.

2. I’ve met the most amazing people, even during my short time in the business. Servers who are students, parents, spouses, college graduates, aspiring artists … in other words, people who amount to so much more than simply running food and bussing tables (things which are also important, of course). I’m learning to apply this understanding elsewhere, and I have a newfound respect for others who, like me, may not be working their dream jobs (yet!) but who are making it all work, and doing so with a smile.

Rob Tod’s 10 Beers

October 22nd, 2015

First We Feast has posted an interview with Rob Tod in which he talks about the 10 beers that have had the biggest impact on his career in the beer industry.

“I love the creative process, and I’ve always loved working with my hands. Before beer, I didn’t think there could be one profession that embodied both.”

From epiphanies with Scotch ales, to mishap that spawned one of Allagash’s most innovative brews, here Rob Tod details the 10 beers that shaped his career.

Harvard Report on Maine Food Industry

October 22nd, 2015

The Press Herald has published a report on the recently released Harvard study of the Maine food industry.

The grant-funded report, by the university’s Maine Food Cluster Project, is based on months of research that included a survey of more than 300 businesses. Its authors set out to answer the question: How can Maine grow its food industry to create jobs and generate economic growth in the state?

Download the report: Growing Maine’s Food Industry, Growing Maine

Bar Review of Portland Patisserie

October 22nd, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Portland Patisserie.

For an after-work glass of wine and a bite, Patisserie offers a great happy hour seven days a week from 4 to 8 p.m. With the purchase of either a cheese or charcuterie plate (or a combo cheese and charcuterie), all bottles and glasses of wine are half off (three whites, one rose, one red). A cheese plate with two cheeses is $8, add a cured meat or two, and you’re looking at $10 to $13. However, the servings are generous and the boards include two large heaps of raspberry and apricot jams, cornichons and a spoonful of Dijon mustard (with charcuterie). There’s no special on beer (yet), but beers include Funky Bow IPA, Shipyard and Allagash.

City Food Policy

October 21st, 2015

The Press Herald reports that candidates for mayor and city council will be asked to share their views on food policy at a pair of upcoming  forums.

To state the obvious, Portland is a food city. That doesn’t just mean it’s a fantastic place to go out to dinner, it means anyone who wants to be elected to the City Council or become mayor of Maine’s largest city better pay attention to the politics of food. Next week, candidates will be gathering for two food policy forums for the first time in the city’s history, and they should be prepared to discuss everything from food insecurity to raising goats within urban limits to whether chefs should be able to put moose on their menus.

Open Call for Beard Awards

October 20th, 2015

The James Beard Foundation has put out a public call for entries for the 2016 Awards.

Is a restaurant you know deserving of consideration from the Beard Foundation? Then fill out this online form and your submission will be considered as the Foundation is putting together the list of semi-final nominees due out in February. The deadline for submissions is December 31st.

In 2014, the Beard Foundations received more than 38,000 entries through this process.

James Beard’s 1964 Visit to Portland

October 20th, 2015

BeardDoyon4In November 1964 LBJ had just defeated Goldwater, the Sardine Law was front page news,  and famed chef and food writer James Beard visited Portland to lead a 4-day series of cooking demonstrations organized by the Portland Symphony Orchestra as a fundraising activity for their 1964-65 season.

Reporter Hazel Loveitt from the Press Herald along with “more than 200 women and two men” (Brunswick chef Pete Doyon and home cook Harry Dunbar) were on site for the first day of classes. Loveitt reported,

Beard’s heroic proportions belied his agility as he did a culinary ballet between the stove, oven and food preparation. When he added “about a half teaspoon” of vanilla to the filling he was making for apple flan the master chef dispensed the flavoring directly from the bottle to the cooking pan with the flair of a showman.

While using the slim handleless French rolling pin to roll the tart flan Beard explained that the pin was easier to guide than the more common rolling pin.

An earlier version of the article was certainly a product of the times. President Kennedy has delivered his famous challenge for a moon landing 2 years earlier, and the article referred to the rolling pin as a “slim space-aged model”.

beardbookletThe town was still in the afterglow of Beard’s visit several day later when the paper published a follow-on piece which concluded “All calories aside, we’ve been living in a gastronomical Shangri-La.”

Beard was assisted with the classes by Ruth Norman and they were held at the State Street Church. Their entire series of 5 classes went for $12 per person. Accounting for inflation that would be $91 in today’s dollars—a bargain in any decade.

A half century later few people in town remember Beard’s visit, but as luck would have it one of few artifacts of that week, a booklet from Beard’s classes (shown above), came into the possession of Rabelais Books, and owner Don Lindgren brought it to my attention. It contains 34 pages of recipes from the classes. They’re an interesting mix of French, Italian, American and Asian cooking such as Salad Nicoise, Shish Kebab, Rummed Crab Spread, Cannelloni, Crepes Duxelles, Barbecued Spareribs and Fried Rice.

Many thanks to PSO historian Hank Schmidtt and to the Symphony for their assistance in researching this article.




Under Construction: El Rayo on Free Street

October 19th, 2015

El Rayo will be reopening at 26 Free Street in the space currently occupied by Papier Gourmet, according to a report from the Press Herald.

“It’s a beautiful space,” [co-owner Tod] Dana said. “We will be applying to the city to build a deck off the back of it. That was something I was really excited about, to continue to have a an outdoor experience as part of the business. This space has a bright, sunny southern exposure off the back.”

Need to get caught-up on all the new places in development? Check out the our Under Construction list for the latest details.

Update: For more information on El Rayo’s move to Free Street see this report from the Bangor Daily News.

This Week’s Events: Eliot Coleman, Harvest on the Harbor, IndieBiz Awards, Old Port Bourbon, Ghoulship, Goods from the Woods, Fabulous Femmes

October 19th, 2015

oldportbourbonMonday — Maine author and farmer Eliot Coleman will be honored at the James Beard Leadership Awards, Sur Lie is holding an Allagash beer dinner, and Maine Craft Distilling will host a coopering exhibit by cooper Ed Lutjens.

Tuesday — the monthly Local Foods Networking Breakfast is taking place at Local Sprouts.

Wednesday — it’s the first day of Harvest on the Harbor, Rosemont is holding a wine tasting on Munjoy Hill, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — Devenish Wines teaching a Sicilian Natural Wine Seminar at Aurora Provisions, the IndieBiz Awards are taking place, the Bier Cellar is holding Hoof Hearted Brewing tasting, Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Two Roads, and C Salt is celebrating their 1-year anniversary.

FridayLiquid Riot is releasing their latest spirit: Old Port Bourbon.

Saturday — Maine Beer Company is having a bottle release for Dinner and Allagash is for Ghoulship, Oxbbow is holding the 5th Annual Goods from the Woods in Newcastle and Rosemont is holding a Grower Champagne event, Aaron Knoll—Gin:The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival—will be at Sweetgrass for a book signing at 2pm, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – there will be a pumpkin carving contest in Congress Square Park, chefs Ilma Lopez, Krista Kern Desjarlais, Melissa Kelly, Cara Stadler and Kim Rodgers a serving a sold out dinner at Flanagan’s Table as benefit for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, and it’s the last day of Harvest on the Harbor.

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.

More Anticipated at Thompson’s Point

October 19th, 2015

A number of food and drink busineses have already announced plans to locate at Thompson’s Point. Cellardoor is opening a 5,000 sq ft tasting room, Stroudwater Spirits is building a distillery, Jason Loring has plan to launch a seafood shack called The Point, and artist Sam Van Aken plans to install a grove of his grafted Trees of 40 Fruits.

Sharp-eyed watchers have noticed that the overall site plan on the Planning Board website also reserve space for 10,000 sq ft brewery and a 125 room hotel and restaurant.

Imbibe: The Maine Event

October 17th, 2015

imbibe2015ndImbibe magazine has published a feature article on Portland in the November/December issue of the magazine. The article addresses Portland evolving cocktail scene, distilleries and breweries as well as touches on coffee roasters, retail shops and restaurants.

Mentioned in the article are: Allagash, Austin Street, Bissell Brothers, Bunker, Central Provisions, Cold River, Eventide, Foundation, Geary’s, Gritty McDuff’s, Hunt & Alpine, Liquid Riot, Maine Maine Craft Distilling, Mead Works, New England Distilling, Novare Res, Rising Tide, Shipyard, Sur Lie, Tandem Coffee, The Bearded Lady, Three Dollar Deweys, Urban Farm Fermentory and Vena’s Fizz House.

Vena’s Fizz House has a small stack of the new issue on sale at their Fore Street store.

Under Construction: Vinbar

October 16th, 2015

A new wine bar called Vinbar is now under development at 3 Deering Ave in the space vacated by Tawakal Store in Bramhall Square.

co-owners Colleen Callahan, David Levi and Robert Swain intend to serve a line-up of natural wines accompanied by “food items that are thoughtfully made, and do so at an accessible price point.” They plan to serve breakfast and lunch and anticipate their customers will come from the surrounding neighborhood as well as Maine Med and staff from other nearby businesses.

The draft menu (page 63) supplied with Vinbar’s liquor license application includes items like buckwheat galettes, smoked fish pate as well as grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and fish chowder. They plan to be open 7 days a week.

David Levi is the chef/owner of Vinland.

Vinbar is the second natural wine bar project that’s been announced. Last month, Maine & Loire made public there plans to launch Drifter’s Wife on Wahington Ave.