The food was really good and came to about 180 nuggets after tip. That included six drinks and 6 plates. It wasn’t inexpensive, but EVO came through, providing us with serious, quality food. Portland now has another Mediterranean place that will pump you full of awesome vittles with a great atmosphere and excellent service. It’s getting tougher by the day to choose where eat, but I think that’s a good problem to have.
The Press Herald has posted a report on The Hop Yard, a Maine-based hop farm that’s helping making Maine beer a bit more local.
In a few weeks, all the hops surrounding us will be harvested and used by Maine and New Hampshire breweries. Allagash, Sebago, Rising Tide, Austin Street and Tributary brewing companies all plan on brewing beers with hops grown by the Hop Yard.
Though the hop industry in Maine is far from being able to supply Maine brewers with all their hops, Keating is optimistic that The Hop Yard will continue to grow in scale and other farmers will follow their model, helping Maine become a thriving producer of hops.
LO: Can you tell me a little bit about the menu? JC: We inherited a brunch menu. As I said, he’d [Roger Bintliff] been winning “Best Brunch” quite often. We largely stayed with that same theme. We just tried to refine it a little bit, change it up about 15-20 percent every year … bring in some new items, lose some items. We’ve downsized the menu a bit so we could focus more on specials. The Louisiana Bayou Benedict (grilled andouille sausage, homemade corncakes, two poached eggs and spicy Cajun hollandaise sauce) was a special that we created for a benefit for Hurricane Katrina. It became a menu item directly after that because it was just so popular. It’s one of our biggest sellers. … We’re very well known for our corned beef hash. We created a special last summer, which was a cinnamon bun pancake, and that’s taken off unbelievably.
John Myers, the Paw’s bar director, is deft at making unique craft cocktails that will quickly become your new favorite drink. Head to the Paw for imported, rare beers from Japan, Germany, Belgium and France. Local beers will be available, but the focus here is not on local beer. Expect a crowd every night, great service, superb food and drink.
The bulk of the menu, of course, is made up of sandwiches, wraps and pizzas, many of which feature meats that are barbecued on site, in a smoker in the parking lot. The sandwiches, wraps, burgers, dogs and assorted entrees start at $7.99, with add-ons like bacon or cheese costing extra. The restaurant recently started offering combo deals for $9.99 that includes fries or slaw and a free drink with the entree.
Sometimes in Maine, great fried chicken and biscuits can be a little hard to find. Palace Diner has its delicious-but-infrequent Fried Chicken Fridays, while Tandem Bakery has its amazing loaded biscuits for breakfast, but as a good southern boy at heart, every now and then I just find myself hankering for a few pieces of fried chicken and a homemade buttermilk biscuit. Thankfully, Figgy’s has stepped in to fill that void in my stomach, and boy do they do it with style.
Paul Trusiani (article, obituary) passed away Saturday at the age of 81. Trusiani founded Paul’s Food Center on Congress Street in 1975.
In his early years, Trusiani worked for Hannaford Brothers Co. as a buyer, retail counselor and head of procurement. He went on to work as vice president and general manager of Martin’s Foods before deciding to establish his own company, Paul’s Food Center. He operated the business with his former wife, Annamarie Ross Trusiani. The partners have 12 to 15 full and part-time employees.
Their son, Jim Trusiani, said the family has no plans to sell or close the business.
“The family’s intent is to continue to run the store the way Dad did,” his son said.
Little Jamaica is also adding a second food cart to their fleet which will be located in Old Orchard Beach. In addition to presumably serving food, the owner plans to use the truck as the “mother ship on the move keeping carts supplied”.
New crowds are trekking to hidden places across the state, such as Bigelow Hill in Skowhegan, where chocolate chili stout is paired with wood-fired pizza, and to Marsh Island Brewing Co., which is located in an Orono auto repair shop where wheels are aligned and Downrigger IPA is brewed and bottled under the same roof.
Breweries in Maine are revving up so fast and furiously that Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, is having a hard time keeping up with marketing material.
The Bollard has published a breakfast review of the Blue Rooster.
The Blue Rooster is an excellent example of Portland’s reasonably priced, yet topshelf, eateries. With its menu of creative sandwiches that change seasonally, baconwrapped hot dogs and handmade tater tots, this tiny Old Port outpost has been my favorite local sandwich shop since it opened in 2013. Now that they’re also serving breakfast I can finally put that love into words and share it here in The Bollard.
It might be easy to let a bar in a city full of them close without much acknowledgement, shrugging and muttering something like, “Oh well, guess that’s how business goes these days.” But Mama’s was not just a bar. This place had a significant impact on its rapidly changing neighborhood, on the landscape of craft beer on the peninsula, and on the community that gathered around its taps. And the CrowBar isn’t simply going out of business. Its closure is the culmination of a long and tangled legal battle between Henley and the building’s owners — which is a particularly painful way for a well-loved establishment to meet its demise.
A new Chinese restaurant named Pia Shang Sichuan Kitchen is now under construction in the former Anna’s Used Furniture & Collectibles at 612 Congress Street opposite the State Theater. Owners Qi Shen and Qiong Fang Tan have applied for a full liquor license. Pia Shang will occupy 2 floors of the building with the kitchen and a second dining room on the 2nd floor.
The draft menu (page 51) supplied with the liquor license application includes items such as Pork in Lychee Sauce with Crispy Rice, and Boiled Fish Slices in Fiery Sauce.
A new African restaurant called Chez Okapi is under construction at 249 Saint John Street in the space formerly occupied by Taqueria Tequila. Owner Raphael Kabata has applied for a full liquor license.
The Veranda Group has applied for a liquor license for the new restaurant they have under construction on Commercial Street. The Veranda Noodle House will be located in the former Salt Exchange space. Owner Hai Pham plans to serve a mixed menu off Thai and Vietnamese dishes. You can see a draft menu on pages 29-33 of the City Council materials for Wednesday’s meeting.
[Troy] Mains, whose kitchen must turn out 150 lunches and 200 dinners a day but is currently four cooks short, said he has interviewed people just out of culinary school who can’t cut an onion or bone a chicken.
“There’s a decline in cooks, not just the amount but the quality,” Mains said. “When I was up and coming in the restaurant business, I can remember a stack of 50 resumes in a folder of people who wanted to work, and now if I hire four cooks, one works out.”
Joe Ricchio has written an article for Dispatch magazine (page 40) listing the 20 or so restaurants he misses the most from the late 90s and early part of this century.
Mentioned in the article are Fresh Market Pasta, Mazza, Bandol, Haggarty’s, Go-Go Burger, Una, Perfetto, Village Cafe, Hu Shang, Carbur’s, Michaela’s, Ladle, Bodega Latina, G’Vanni’s, Portland Public Market, The Roma, Aubergine, Honey’s, Crab Louie, and Ruby’s Choice.
That era overlaps with when I first moved to the city, so many happy food memories….
The new issue of Dispatch also contains an interview with Alice Van de Water, bartender at Rosie’s (page 44).
The Press Herald has published a bar review of Tempo Dulu.
The Tempo Dulu bar experience will totally wow you. The cocktails are one-of-kind inspirations intended to pair with the Southeast Asian cuisine, using spices, flavors and techniques rarely used elsewhere in Portland. Housed in the Danforth Inn, Tempo Dulu will be a special-occasion place for most, and perhaps a weekly favorite for deep-pocketed patrons.
The longtime Dogfish Cafe space at the corner of Congress and Saint John Streets is now under development as a new restaurant called 953 Congress Street.
Dogfish Cafe had been sold to a couple of employees sometime in 2014 and in early 2015 they renamed the restaurant “Union Station Publyk House”. It’s not clear whether this is a new venture entirely or just a redesign and rebranding.