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.

surlie

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.

Profile of Caiola’s

July 29th, 2014

Eat Maine has profiled Caiola’s.

Much of Caiola’s success can be attributed to Harmon, who approaches cooking with an almost fanatical devotion. She is constantly applying new technique from a myriad of different cultures. She goes to extraordinary lengths to thoroughly understand every element of a dish and immerses herself not only in preparation but also the history of a recipe to a point where I am reminded of well-known American cookbook author Paula Wolfert. This is evident in Harmon’s scallop and lobster rossejat with toasted vermicelli and basil crema, a classic that takes roots in Catalonia and pays homage to Rome.

Fictional Hot Dogs

July 28th, 2014

Chubby Werewolf has posted his list of 6 people he’d like to see design a Blue Rooster specialty hot dog.

With the Blue Rooster Chef Series an undeniable culinary success—and perhaps preoccupied with the notion of building many a fantasy football roster in the weeks to come—I found myself wondering, “What if they do this again next year? Who should participate?”

With that said, here are five (completely fictional, non-existent) hot dogs that I’d like to see the next time around…

Level 1 Sommelier Training Class

July 28th, 2014

The Court of Master Sommeliers will be holding the Introductory Sommelier training class and exam in Portland this October. This course is a required step to becoming a Certified Sommelier, and the first class along the way to full certification as a Master Sommelier. It’s targeted towards restaurant industry staff wishing to develop their wine expertise and wine enthusiasts.

The 2-day $525 class will be taking place October 6-7 at the Portland Harbor Hotel.

Visit www.mastersommeliers.org for:

This Week’s Events: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, Flea Bites, Eat Street

July 28th, 2014

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

ThursdayMainely Burgers will be featured on an episode of the Food TV Network show Eat Street, Sebago is holding a Beer Camp Block Party, and there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House.

Friday — the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp is taking place at Thompson’s Point, a group of food trucks will be at the Flea For All for Flea Bites, and the West End Deli is holding a wine tasting.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, 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.

5 Stars for Vinland

July 27th, 2014

Vinland has received 5 stars from today’s review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Vinland takes farm-to-table another step to use only ingredients grown or produced in Maine. Chef David Levi pulls it off with creativity and inspired dishes, but no lack of flavor. He uses yogurt whey in place of citrus, lardo and ghee instead of olive oil, and honey and maple syrup for sugar, in a small-plates menu that is entirely gluten free. All of the dishes are flavorful and familiar, from lobster and halibut to pork, steak, chicken and pork belly. The location is bright and welcoming, and the clientele is healthy and enthusiastic. Try creative cocktails and griddled cornbread and beet chips at the bar, or call ahead for an eight-course tasting menu orchestrated by Levi for $90, or five courses for $60. And don’t forget to try the homemade ice cream.

Review of Street & Co.

July 27th, 2014

Diningsense has reviewed Street & Co.

As long as the appetizers and main dishes continue to operate in different directions, it will be hard to see how much Street is capable of accomplishing. I think it tries to offer simple, rustic cuisine (these descriptors are referenced on the website, at least) and I respect this, but simplicity doesn’t preclude creativity and this is where the main plates disappointed. After a two-year hiatus, I’m glad to have returned to Street and Company, but the apparent struggle to construct a coherent plate of fish makes me wonder whether their skills have grown coarser than before.

Food & Wine Editor in Portland

July 26th, 2014

Dana Cowin, Editor of Food & Wine, was is in Portland Friday and Saturday, posting photos and commentary on Instagram of the places she visited. She stopped by:

See this post for information on where she visited in 2012.