2nd Annual Rum Riots

March 17th, 2015

rumriots_logoThe schedule for the 2nd Annual Rum Riots(facebook, twitter, instagram, website) is starting to take shape. This year’s program includes:

The mission of Rum Riots is to “celebrate cocktails, bars and bartenders”. It’s scheduled to take place May 30 – June 1.

Under Construction: PHAC x Piccolo Collaboration

March 16th, 2015

The owners of the Hunt + Alpine Club and Piccolo are in the early stages of collaborating on a new restaurant. Damian Sansonetti, Briana and Andrew Volk and Ilma Lopez plan to launch the new venue sometime in 2016 which they’ll operate in addition to continuing to run their current establishments. Details on concept and location are not yet public.

WSJ: Dynamic Food Cities

March 16th, 2015

The Wall Street Journal published an article about the rise of the culinary scenes America’s smaller cities. It mentions Portland in passing,

And then there’s this: These are places where chefs can make a difference. The most dynamic food cities in the country right now are the two Portlands (Ore. and Maine), Nashville, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., Houston and Philadelphia. All took off in the past decade thanks to the arrival of a few gifted chefs who pioneered a new dining scene.

This Week’s Events: PSO Wine Dinner, Maine Maple Sunday, Beer & Cheese Tasting, BiBo’s

March 16th, 2015

MondayFlock & Vine is holding a wine tasting at their new location in Knightsville.

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

Wednesday — the 14th Annual Portland Symphony wine dinner is taking place; the 5-course dinner features dishes prepared by Central Provisions, Lolita, Hugo’s, Fore Street, and the Haraseeket.

ThursdayThe Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Banded Horn.

FridayBiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe is holding a wine dinner, and there will be a rose tasting at The Farm Stand, as well as a wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton of wines from Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia.

Saturday — Vignola is holding their 8th Annual Beer and Cheese Tasting, RSVP is blind tasting 6 red wines, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — it’s Maine Maple Sunday, Flock & Vine is holding a wine seminar, and Rosemont is hosting a Bean Supper.

Chocolate Lovers Fling — tickets for the Chocolate Lovers Fling are now on sale.

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 Gilbert’s

March 15th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Gilbert’s Chowder House.

Gilbert’s is a no-nonsense chowder house set in a sea of upscale businesses on Commercial Street. Play to the kitchen’s strengths and order a cup of house-made clam or corn chowder; both are rich, peppery and full of flavor. Skip the specials on the blackboard and try a fried haddock sandwich from the standard menu instead: the coating is light and crunchy, and the fish it encases is juicy and steaming hot. Sandwiches come with chips, but you’ll want to order a side of French fries, which are among the best in town.

Under Construction: Portland Mash Tun, MC Union, Crooners & Cocktails

March 14th, 2015

The City Council meets Monday and among the other things on the agenda are liquor licenses for:

  • Portland Mash Tun, a small scale brew pub under construction at 29 Wharf Street. Owner Rick Binet is planning a 54-seat bar that serves house made beer as well as small selection of wines and spirits and a food menu of burgers and other pub food (page 63).  Binet is also a co-owner of The King’s Head Pub. He hopes to open Portland Mash Tun in May.
  • M.C. Union the 70+ seat restaurant and bar operated by chefs by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier under construction in The Press Hotel(web, facebook, instagram). The draft menu (page 86) includes a raw bar selection, appetizers like “Khmer chicken wings with cool cucumber noodle salad and caraway black pepper dipping sauce” and entrees  such as chicken under a brick and MC lobster mac and cheese. The hotel is expected to open this Spring.
  • Crooners & Cocktails(facebook, twitter), a “moderately priced 39 seat supper club offering a wide array of classic American cuisine, wines and classic cocktails.” C&C is under construction at 90 Exchange in the space most recently occupied by Thai 9. Full draft menus for lunch and dinner are on pages 107-108.

Mama’s Crow Bar

March 13th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an article about Mama’s  Crow Bar and the efforts of their landlord to evict the popular East End bar.

Henley finds herself locked in a legal battle with the building’s owners, who she says are trying to evict her. This week she received an eviction notice saying she failed to pay the March rent. Her attorney, John McVeigh, said the owners failed to come and collect the rent check as they have each month over the past two years.

“Why they’ve decided to try this end run when all they have to do is wait six months and they’ll be done with it anyway, I can’t explain,” McVeigh said.

First Look at East Ender

March 13th, 2015

The Golden Dish has posted a first look review of the new East Ender.

At my next lunch I had to have the burger, made famous at Small Axe, a thick patty of local beef cold smoked and charred on the grill just right.  This version did not disappoint.  Though at $14 it’s pricey.   It comes lobbed with a shield of melted Stilton and a scrim of caramelized onions–mahogany-hued sweet onions slowly sautéed in balsamic and a touch of red wine.  The burger is accompanied by excellent batter-dipped onion rings.

Under Construction: Full Belly Deli

March 12th, 2015

Chris Busby reports that the new Full Belly Deli will be located in the Old Port at the corner of Fore and Market Streets.

Speaking of delis, Portlanders were stunned when Full Belly Deli abruptly closed its location on outer Brighton Avenue this winter. Now comes word that Full Belly’s mile-high pastrami sandwiches and other indulgences will reappear at the corner of Market and Fore streets, in a space most recently occupied by a failed link in the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt chain, according to landlord Joe Soley, who has an avowed taste for tongue. Soley also said the deli may apply for a license to serve beer and wine.

Interview with Standard Baking Co.

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.

New Blog: A Women’s Guide to Butchering

March 11th, 2015

Kathleen Lomen, a former vegetarian current staff member at The Farm Stand, has launched A Women’s Guide to Butchering, a blog on her chosen career path as a butcher.

I needed to find a way to BE the butcher and own my space. And it’s not just me. I’ve seen the women coming out of the wood work giving a go at breaking into this field and that’s who this website is for. Part anecdotal and part instructional, i want this to be a place for people to see a woman at work and also one who is still in her early beginnings of becoming a seasoned butcher.

Scott Tyree

March 11th, 2015

Congratulations to Scott Tyree who recently passed the Theory Exam as part of his efforts to complete his certification as a Master Sommelier. Of the 120 Advanced Sommeliers who took the exam a scant 20 passed this very demanding exam.

Tyree and the others will be in Aspen this May for the final step in the process, the blind tasting and services tests. For the blind tasting candidates will need to successfully identify the “grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintages” of 6 different wines within 25 minutes.

There are currently 140 Master Sommeliers in all of North America.

Under Construction: LemonCycle

March 11th, 2015

A Cape Elizabeth high school sophmore named Nat Jordan has launched a $2,500 Kickstarter campaign to help fund lemonade food cart called LemonCycle(twitter, facebook).

LemonCycle will operate out of a modified cargo tricycle-based this summer on the streets of Portland.

LemonCycle blends two of my favorite summertime passions together; biking and lemonade. More importantly, it provides the people of Portland, Maine, with an eco-friendly, refreshing way to cool off during the sweltering months of June, July and August.

What we are is a lemonade cart on the frame of a cargo tricycle. Cargo tricyles are an up-and-coming form of delivery, food vending and everyday travel.

First Look: East Ender

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. 

2015 Phoenix Best of Portland Poll

March 10th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has kicked-off their 2015 Best of Portland readership poll. The Phoenix readership poll is a 2 step process:

  • Step 1 which just started, we nominate entries that are an especially strong candidates in any or all of the categories
  • Step 2, later this month the Phoenix will publish a ballot summarizing the top nominees from each category for us all to vote on

There are a plethora of food and drink categories (Food Truck, Chef, Brunch Location, New Restaurant, Bakery, etc) to make nominations in there’s even one for Best Food Blog/Column.

Bar of Chocolate Cafe Review

March 10th, 2015

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed the Bar of Chocolate Cafe.

We showed up at Bar of Chocolate around 4:30 on a Friday evening. It was very quiet but we were soon joined by more patrons as the evening wore on. We decided to sample some of the martini offerings. It’s not often that I can resist a good espresso martini and the one at Bar of Chocolate stands out among some of the best.  It’s not overly creamy but smooth and delicious all the same.

Maine Craft Distilling Crowdfunding Campaign

March 9th, 2015

Maine Craft Distilling has kicked off a $20,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. They plan to use the funds to “outfit the kitchen and install the plumbing” for the 2nd floor of the building that houses their Freeport tasting room.

The Mallet Building is a 2 story, brick building located in downtown Freeport, Maine. The first floor of the building has already been outfitted as a tasting room but we will be expanding to the second floor to provide more local craft spirits, more local craft beer and also small plates from our small “Pop-Up” kitchen. We envision a full Maine Craft experience with local foods, music and of course….beverage. We plan on creating a kitchen where various Maine culinary establishments can expand and share their passion of food from food truck vendors, taquerias, to area chefs and beyond.  We want to make a place where Maine chefs can come and combine their passion with ours and those of local area brewers (which we will have on tap), local area vintner products and other local craft distillers. 

This Week’s Events: Ms Pac Man, Black Truffle, Pozole Night, Joshua Bernstein, Coffee Pairing Event

March 9th, 2015

Maine Restaurant Week — MRW runs through March 14. See mainerestaurantweek.com for details on participating restaurants.

Monday — the East Ender opens at 11:30 am.

Tuesday — the 2nd Annual Brewers Ms Pac Man Tournament is taking place at Salvage BBQ.

Wednesday — Piccolo is holding their 2nd Annual Black Winter Truffle Dinner, Sam Richman from Salt Water Farm will be holding a pozole night at Tandem Bakery (pozole, various communal garnishes, “something sweet from Briana”), Vena’s will be holding a final trial run prior to their re-opening, and Black Tie is teaching a cooking class.

ThursdayGrace will be holding a Community Family Dinner to raise money for MOFGA, Ebb & Flow and Rising Tide will be collaborating on a beer dinner, there will be a beer and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, and The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Maine Beer Company.

Friday — Rosemont is holding a Cider event at Think Tank on Congress Street.

SaturdayVena’s is holding their grand re-opening, Joshua Bernstein will be at Rising Tide for a book signing and at Salvage BBQ for an event with Banded Horn, Bissell Bros, Foundation and Austin Street, there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayRosemont and Rising Tide are collaborating on a beer dinner, and the MRW Great Coffee Pairing event is taking place at CBD Diamond Street.

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 The Grill Room

March 8th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Grill Room.

The Grill Room is a noisy, popular, casual steakhouse on one of the prettiest streets in the Old Port. The menu isn’t particularly innovative, but servings are large and the traditional fare is so filling you may want to loosen your belt a notch. Start with fried clams – small, sweet whole bellies served with a bright tartar sauce. Then try steak or fish from the wood-fired grill. (The salmon is downright delicious.) And make sure to ask about apple fritters for dessert. No one likes a leaden fritter, and The Grill Room’s are light, crunchy and irresistible with a spoonful of the cider syrup offered alongside.

Tempo Dulu Pop-Up Dinner (Updated)

March 8th, 2015

Urban Eye has posted a report from Thursday’s Tempo Dulu pop-up.

But it was the diver scallop with beet jalapeño pineapple gastrique augmented with dollops of fermented soybean and seaweed from Malaysia that elicited the most swoons. The plump and sweet scallop reminded me of a perfectly executed souffle. Ethereal. Effortless. Impossible to pull off at home. And with Klang headed to town, why would you want to?

Though Portland would seem to have reached restaurant overload in 2015, there is always room for a well-executed, elevated dining experience. The time is right for Tempo Dulu. Tick tock!

Updated: Both The Golden Dish and the Portland Phoenix have also posted a reports on Tempo Dulu and the dinner.