Under Construction: Tandem West

August 6th, 2014

The Forecaster interviewed the owners of Tandem Coffee about the launch of their upcoming West End bakery/coffee shop.

The owners of Tandem Coffee Roasters, which opened two years ago, are preparing a new bakery and cafe at 742 Congress St. It is expected to open this month.

Beer Camp Video

August 6th, 2014

The Knack Factory has posted a short video on last week’s Sierra Nevada Beer Camp.

Jay Villani & Salvage BBQ

August 5th, 2014

The August issue of Maine includes a profile of Jay Villani,

Villani’s decision to return to the kitchen at Local 188 comes after an extended absence, a time he spent opening and maintaining the operations of his other two successful Portland outposts, Sonny’s and Salvage BBQ. Though nearing 50 (which, as he tells me, is like “300 in chef years”) he has grown as a cook, learning new methods and old tricks, and discovering a new appreciation for the art of plating dishes. He has also grown wiser, learning one of the most important lessons in the restaurant world: how to delegate responsibility when necessary.

Barbecue Rankings was recently in town and paid a visit to Salvage.

I greatly enjoyed my visit.  These guys are doing things right and Salvage BBQ comes with my stamp of approval.

Reviews: Blue Rooster, Slab

August 4th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Slab,

With our food finished, we talked about how great it was. I was shocked. I thought Slab would be a run-of-the-mill pizza place with nothing to offer me. It turns out that the original Sicilian slab is insanely popular for a very good reason – it’s made by the Italian God of pizza. The band was fun, the outdoor area was nice, and the indoor area is great too. Without a doubt, this place will be a go-to year round for a lot of people.

and Chubby Werewolf has reviewed the Joe Ricchio designed hot dog at Blue Rooster.

Although the Happy Ending dog’s pedigree is distinctly Asian, biting into this hearty and satisfying sandwich with its grilled ingredients brought to mind the experience of eating a stadium sausage topped with peppers and onions, the type you’d find outside Fenway Park or Wrigley Field.

Beer This Week

August 4th, 2014

A new information service called Beer This Week (website, twitter) launched last Wednesday. The weekly email newsletter includes details on beer events, bottle releases, tap takeovers, and a complete list of beers on tap at local breweries.

If the first issue is anything to go by this is something local hop heads will definitely want to sign-up for.

This Week’s Events: Flanagan’s Table, Caviar Dinner, Tapas Dinner, Backyard Locavore Day

August 4th, 2014

Monday — the crew from Salvage BBQ will be serving a meal at Flanagan’s Table.

WednesdayBlack Tie is holding a farm dinner in New Gloucester, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

ThursdayChebeague Island Inn will be holding a 5-course caviar dinner with special guest Robert Gardner, from the American Caviar Company.

FridayBiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe is serving a tapas dinner.

Saturday — it’s the 6th Annual Backyard Locavore Day, 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.

Review: Slab vs Micucci’s

August 3rd, 2014

The Bollard has published a review comparing the slabs at Slab and Micucci’s.

Which brings us to the slab itself. Brushed with sauce and topped with a scattering of shredded provolone and mozzarella, its simplicity is its beauty. The hand slab at Slab ($6) is a thick pillow of dough that weighs a full pound. Compared to the slabs at Micucci’s these days, Slab’s dough is ever so slightly tangier and lighter, with the bouncy chew that makes this crust such a delight. It also spends a little longer in the oven, emerging with a perfectly crisp crust and bubblier, deliciously browned cheese.

That said, Micucci’s continues to pull off an accomplished rendition of Lanzalotta’s classic. The slab here ($4.50) is a little heavier on the sauce, which also tastes a tad sweeter than the sauce at Slab…

Under Construction: Bramhall, Sur Lie

August 2nd, 2014

Liquor license approval for two new venues are on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the City Council:

  • Owner Mike Fraser is opening Bramhall, a 46-seat “old school speakeasy with American comfort food” at 769 Congress Street in the old Bramhall Pub space. Guy Streiburger has been hired as a bar manager. Both Fraser and his wife are longtime employees at Fore Street. A the full draft menu was included in the council info packet (page 38) here’s an excerpt:bramhall_menuFraser tells me they are making good progress on the renovations (see floor plan). According to paperwork filed with the city, they hope to open Bramhall in September. Bramhall, along with Tandem West and the opening of Salvage BBQ and Tawakal Halal last year are starting to develop the post-Longfellow Congress Street commercial life.
  • Sur Lie is also up for review. Chef Emil Rivera has produced a draft menu (page 55) for the tapas-style restaurant under construction at 11-13 Free Street. Here’s an excerpt,surlie_menu
    According to the cover letter, Sur Lie hopes open in late August. Here’s a floor plan of the space.surlie_floorplan

Reviews: Annapurna’s, Bayside, India Bazaar, Lolita

August 2nd, 2014

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Annapurna’s Thali and India Bazaar,

These two Indian spots are both unique in Portland and appealing in their own way. The many paths to greatness is perhaps India’s deepest lesson. As Krishna told Arjuna in the Gita: “if you be something still, be the Himalaya; if you be a cow, be the cow of wonder.” Here in Maine, if you will be chaos, be India Bazaar; if you will be calm, be Annapurna.

Eating Portland Alive has reviewed Lolita,

Overall, I was very pleased with my meal at Lolita and I’m looking forward to another visit. Lolita offers an attractive space, warm attentive service, and solid food. I will make good on this promise of returning and not allow opportunity be squandered as I had done with Bar Lola!

and Drink Up & Get Happy has reviewed Bayside Bowl.

Bayside Bowl has always been a great spot to hang out with friends.  They’ve got a great bar, tasty food, and if bowling isn’t your thing, often host live music in the restaurant area.  When we heard they were adding a happy hour to their summer schedule we were very excited.  When we learned what it entailed, we knew we just had to check it out.

Foley’s Bakery Sold (Again)

August 1st, 2014

The Press Herald reports that Ed and Molly Foley have sold their bakery to longtime friend and colleague Andrea Swanson.

So instead of dropping their aprons and walking away, the Foleys are doing their best to reassure customers that nothing will change at Foley’s Bakery. Swanson is an old friend who worked with Ed Foley 20 years ago at the legendary Port Bakehouse on Saint John Street, and she knows all of his recipes “inside and out.”

The Foley’s had founded their bakery in the late 90′s and sold it once before in 2002 to spend time with their children.

Review of The Well

August 1st, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed The Well in Cape Elizabeth.

While new restaurants are popping up everywhere around Portland, one unique place leads the pack.  It’s not new. Instead it’s firmly established as a seasonal restaurant — and very special.

It manages to be farm-table without undue self-aggrandizement. The menu relies on local fresh food, though not strictly organic.  And the preparation of each dish epitomizes simplicity.

Top Ten for July 2014

August 1st, 2014

The 10 eateries looked up most often on Portland Food Map in July were:

  1. Slab (3)
  2. Blue Rooster (5)
  3. El Rayo (>50)
  4. Timber (1)
  5. Lolita (7)
  6. Vinland (>50)
  7. Thurston’s (6)
  8. Street & Co. (38)
  9. Fishermen’s Grill (>50)
  10. Central Provisions (4)

The numbers in parentheses indicates their rank last month.

Video Interview: George Parr

July 31st, 2014

The first episode of a new video series from the Portland Trading Company features an interview with fishmonger George Parr.

Great East Butcher Co & SoPo Farmers’ Market

July 31st, 2014

The Forecaster reports that 3 former Meat House employees have taken over the defunct company’s former location in Scarborough and are launching the Great East Butcher Co.

Great East is hoping for a mid-August opening for its second store, at 450 Payne Road. The first opened in early July in Stratham, New Hampshire. Both are former locations of The Meat House, a choice Chad Parent said was made based on relationships Moulton already had with landlords.

This week’s paper also includes an article about the South Portland Farmers’ Market.

The outdoor market, held Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at City Hall, has unofficially attracted at least 100 customers a week – a small pool for the market’s 10 or 12 vendors. 

But its advocates, including market manager Caitlin Jordan of Alewife’s Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth, remain optimistic about the market’s slow and steady growth.

Bar Review of Timber

July 31st, 2014

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Timber.

A new steakhouse is in town and the name is Timber. Just two months old, Timber is a popular place for a house-crafted cocktail, bar snacks or a fancy angus beef entrée. Happy hour Monday to Friday will be the best deal, and the patio is a nice alternative to the swanky bar.

Photos of Standard Baking

July 30th, 2014

The Angela Adams blog has published a very nice set of photos of Standard Baking Company.

Standard Baking Company is one of the gems of Portland, Maine. The European style bakery transports you to the old country with it’s rustic interior and beautifully handcrafted baked goods. The breads are the best around, sticky buns are unrivaled and molasses cookies are addicting. I love walking in and watching big trays of fresh dough going into the ovens— or even better, coming out and onto the shelves for our consumption. In warmer months, I recommend going early, grabbing a coffee and sitting outside next to their beautiful planters, enjoying a tasty pastry fresh out of the oven while you watch the waterfront hustle and bustle.

Under Construction: Sur Lie

July 30th, 2014

emilSur Lie is a new bar and restaurant under construction at 11-13 Free Street. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Emil Riverva, the chef who’s slated to lead the kitchen to learn more about his background and what he has planned for the menu.

Rivera moved to Maine after scouting trips to the state this past fall and winter. He’s come to Portland from the DC where he worked for several years as part of the ThinkFoodGroup—a family of 15 restaurants founded by chef/restaurateur Jose Andres.

Rivera tells me he’s excited by the design for the restaurant and looking forward to working in the new kitchen. He’s well on his way to developing a menu that will serve as a starting point for when they open. While it is a tapas-style restaurant Rivera is drawing on a wide range of influences for the menu. He’s especially interested to get a read on customer reactions once they open to further tune the menu. The menu will include some larger plates intended for sharing in addition to the broader range of small plate options.

While construction is under way he’s had the chance to get out and explore the Portland restaurant scene. Pai Men, Eventide, Central Provisions, Hunt & Alpine have been some of the high points so far. In between moving to Maine and helping to launch the restaurant he’s finding the time to plan a wedding, he’s getting married in late August.

Co-owners Antonio Alviar and Krista Cole are combining the spaces formerly occupied by Roost juice bar and Compositions into a single 70-seat restaurant and bar. Their hoping to open sometime in late summer/early fall.


Yahoo Food on Portland

July 30th, 2014

Yahoo Food checked in with Portland Phoenix food writers Brian Duff and Kate McCarty for their recommendations on where to eat and drink in Portland.

Bite into Maine, Central Provisions, Duckfat, Eventide, Salvage BBQ, Small Axe, Standard Baking, Tandem Coffee, The Maine Brew Bus, and The Well all made the cut.

Buffalo Eats: Portland

July 29th, 2014

Buffalo Eats visited Maine last week and published an article on their eating adventures in Portland.

For a city that only has a population of ~60K (200K in the greater area), they have an an incredible selection of restaurants. Most of which pride themselves on sourcing from local vendors, something that we absolutely love. We spent three days in Portland and this is where we ate…

Check out the post for their thoughts on: Bite into Maine, Central Provisions, Duckfat, Fore Street, Hella Good Tacos, Slab, Standard Baking, The Holy Donut and The Lobster Shack.

Zest Magazine

July 29th, 2014

ZEST MAINEA new magazine, Zest, has been under development in Maine for the last few months, and the first issue is now out.

With this quarterly magazine, we invite you to fish and forage, eat and drink, cultivate and discover as we do. With recipes from your favorite chefs and barkeeps, insightful long-form nonfiction, intriguing profiles and destinations—and the occasional how-to—we mean to keep it fresh and fun; a place for everyone who loves Maine to come and be inspired through the seasons.

The first issue includes:

  • Profiles of and recipes from some of Maine’s top chefs
  • Cocktail improvisations on a theme from bartenders at Hunt & Alpine, Eventide and Central Provisions
  • A profile of Rabelais Books in Biddeford
  • An article about Bresca and the Honey Bee
  • A narrative on smelting in Maine

Zest is being published by Nancy Gordon, who was the founder Maine Home and Design, and edited by Michael S. Sanders, author of Fresh from Maine, From Here You Can’t See Paris, and numerous other books and articles.

I picked up my copy at Longfellow Books. You can find Zest across the state at select culinary stores, bookstores and restaurants.