This Week’s Events: Oxbowzakya, Absinthe Tasting, Drifter’s Wife, Wild Beer Round-up, GMRI Lecture

January 18th, 2016


Tuesday — the monthly local foods networking breakfast is taking place, Flatbread is holding a benefit for the Wayside Food Program, the annual Oxbow tap takeover at Pai Men (Oxbowzakya) is taking place, the Portland Spirits Society is holding a women’s Absinthe tasting at Vena’s and The Honey Paw will be serving a collaboration dinner with Anju/The Wallingford.

WednesdayWoodford Food & Beverage is opening at 5pm.

Thursday — there will be a Two Roads beer tasting at the Bier Cellar , a wine tasting at C Salt, and a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, it’s the opening night of the Ice Bar, a lecture on Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail is taking place at GMRI, and The Great Lost Bear showcasing beer from Foolproof Brewing.

FridayMaine & Loire will be taking over the bar at Oxbow for the night to preview their new natural wine bar the Drifter’s Wife(instagram, website).

Saturday — Allagash is holding a Wild Beer Round-up (release of Helena, sales of Farm to Face, Cuvee d’industrial, Resurgam, Coolship Red, and Golden Brett), and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — Rosemont is kicking off their monthly Cabin Fever family-style dinner series.

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.

Review of Ramen Suzukiya

January 17th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Ramen Suzukiya.

Suzukiya is a tiny, family-owned Japanese noodle shop with enormously satisfying ramen bowls filled with house-made noodles, slices of pork or tofu, and fresh vegetables. The menu may be limited (you can order one of four noodle bowls and two accompanying mini-rice bowls) but the flavors are impressive and those noodles profoundly comforting…

Interview with Luci Benedict

January 16th, 2016

Great Beer Adventure has posted an audio interview with Luci Benedict. Professor Benedict teaches a class on fermentation at the University of Southern Maine.

Many of us first discovered beer; especially our love for drinking beer in college. But what if you could take a class about beer? Luci Benedict, a Chemistry Professor at the University of Southern Maine, does just that. Her students love the class on Fermentation and the science behind everyone’s beloved brews. We got out of the rain and met up with Luci at the Thirsty Pig in Portland where she told us more about the science of beer warming up over pints of Bissell Brothers Angels with Filthy Souls: an American Porter with maple syrup perfect for a rainy cold day.

6 Maine Winners at Good Food Awards

January 16th, 2016

Congratulations to the 6 Maine food producers won awards last night at the 2016 Good Food Awards ceremony:

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.

Woodford F&B to Open Wednesday

January 15th, 2016

Woodford Food & Beverage (facebook, twitter, instagram, website) has announced plans to open on Wednesday January 20th at 5pm.The 85-seat restaurant is located in the center of Woodfords Corner, 660 Forest Ave, at the location of the original Valle’s Steakhouse.

Chef Courtney Loreg with owners Birch Shambaugh and Fayth Preyer have had as their goal to create a “classic neighborhood eatery where you can count on having a reasonable, simple meal or, when you feel like it, something a bit more special”.

Here’s and advance look at the opening night menu (click to enlarge). There’s a daily rotating list of specials (I’m looking forward to Friday’s braised lamb shanks) along with a mix of classic neighborhood restaurant dishes like roast chicken,  strip steak, brussels sprouts, mussels and roast beet salad. The menu’s accompanied by a food friendly list of wine and beer and a short list of cocktails.



Woodford Food & Beverage will be open dinner 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays). They plan to start serving Sunday brunch (10-3) on January 31st.

Under Construction: Blue Phoenix Lounge

January 14th, 2016

Blue Phoenix Lounge has shifted gears and now plans to open their “‘contemporary and glamorous lounge’ with a ‘neighborhood mentality'” in the West End at 211 Danforth Street, in the space formerly occupied by Vespucci’s Market.

Business Insider: Tandem & Holy Donut

January 14th, 2016

Business Insider has posted a pair of video report on Tandem Coffee and The Holy Donut.

Interview with Piccolo & Chef Life Balance

January 14th, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with the owners of Piccolo, Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez,

Can you tell me a little bit about your background? What made you get into the restaurant business, and what made you stay?

Ilma Lopez: I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I studied to work in medicine, but was also drawn to the techniques and specifics of the kitchen and baking. The people and the ingredients (kept me in the business).

Damian Sansonetti: Growing up in a big Italian family in Pittsburgh, Penn., you are always around food and cooking. My father was in the business, but I never thought it would be a career path until when I was in my university chem and bio classes and all I was thinking about was food. (I love) the adrenaline rush of service and the way you get to connect to guests with the food and service. It’s awesome when you trigger a food memory or emotionally move people with what your team can do.

and an article on how two chefs are finding work/life balance once they became mothers.

The funny thing about work/life balance, though, is that for most people the balance is truly key. Too much work can be a bad thing, and so can too little. Now, separately, [Krista Kern] Desjarlais and [Lee] Farrington have turned to breakfast and lunch service, with occasional evening engagements on their own terms, as a way to equalize work and life.

New Deck for Amigo’s

January 13th, 2016


Amigo’s is proposing to build a raised deck above their outdoor seating area along Wharf Street.

Own a Piece of Oxbow

January 12th, 2016

The Press Herald reports that Oxbow Brewing is seeking to raise $850,000 in equity investment funds, presumably to expand their business.

Oxbow filed a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities form, signaling that it intends to solicit investments in exchange for shares in the company. The brewer indicated that it would accept amounts as little as $5,000 per investor, and that it expected the offering period to last more than a year.

The Abitare Project

January 12th, 2016

The Abitare Project(website, facebook, twitter, instagram) is putting together a series of performances for their 2016 calendar. Each will be a collaboration between project musicians Tracey Jasas-Hardel and Ben Noyes and a local chef, pairing food, wine and music into single experience. Chefs who are interested in participating in the series can get in touch with them at

This Week’s Events: Agricultural Trade Show, Fore River Launch, Brewpub Cup, Mockingfish, Good Food Awards, Duckfat Allagash Dinner

January 11th, 2016

foreriverMondayVena’s Fizz House is teaching a Mixology class.

Tuesday — it the opening day of the 75th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta.

WednesdayThe Thirty Pig is holding a launch party Fore River Brewing.

ThursdayFore River Brewing is opening their tasting room in South Portland, and The Great Lost Bear is hosting the 7th Annual Brewpub Cup.

Friday — Rising Tide is having a bottle release for Mockingfish. The Good  Food Awards Gala is taking place in San Francisco, 8 Maine food producers are in contention for an award.

Saturday — Rosemont is featuring Urban Farm Fermentory at their monthly Meet Your Maker event, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayDuckfat is holding an Allagash beer dinner, and Tiqa is teaching a cooking class.

oxbowkurosawaKurosawa‬ Film Series — Oxbow and the Mami food truck have kicked off a weekly Kurosawa‬ film series. It starts this week with a showing of Drunken Angel. Visit the Oxbow website for a full list of upcoming screenings.

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.

Velveteen Habit Beard House Dinner

January 10th, 2016

The Velveteen Habit is scheduled to serve a dinner at the James Beard House this spring on April 25th.

Under Construction: Portland Meatball Co.

January 8th, 2016

Planning is underway to convert 102 Exchange Street, currently the home of Pierre’s of Exchange Street, to  a restaurant. The 2,300 square foot space is slated to be the home of the Portland Meatball Company.

According to PMC’s trademark application, “all of our products/food/menu items are produced and sourced from local Maine farms and local Maine Businesses.”

Pizzaiolo Controversy Explored

January 8th, 2016

BDN columnist Chris Busby has examined in more depth the Facebook posts published by Pat Scally, owner of a new pizzeria under construction on Cumberland Ave.

I believe that, but I don’t believe Scally posted those memes by mistake. I think Scally is ignorant about politics (he admits as much) and insensitive to racist rhetoric (which he also concedes), but is not a hateful person or someone I would consider a racist.

That said, I believe James was right to bring those memes to the community’s attention, and people certainly have the right to criticize Scally for the posts and refuse to eat his pizza. But had this matter ended there on Facebook, Portland would be a more divided and dangerous place as a result. There’d be more hatred, less understanding, and no opportunity for an apology or forgiveness. If we’re going to keep the real racists at bay (and out of the White House), we’ll need to do more reaching out than flipping out.