A Call to Raise

February 12th, 2009

Tracy Allen from the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine has called for raising the minimum wage for tipped workers in a guest editorial that appeared in today’s Press Herald.

Despite the fact that they make up such a huge portion of the workforce, many restaurant workers are paid the tipped minimum wage, which is less than the overall minimum wage.

Federally, that means tipped workers are paid just $2.13 per hour plus tips.

The tipped minimum wage has been frozen at just $2.13 per hour since 1991 — that’s 18 years! With the passing of each year, tipped workers effectively earn less and less, and many struggle to make ends meet.

La Bodega Latina

February 11th, 2009

The Portland Phoenix tries to decode culinary secret behind the bollos de yuca from La Bodega Latina.

Now that I know this thing is basically a meat-filled doughnut, I get why that Saturday my five-year-old daughter gobbled up nearly the whole thing before I intercepted the last bite. The crispy, golden outside gives way to a soft, steamy layer of deliciousness (a little bit more chewy than fried potato) and inside, magically seasoned ground beef.

The article’s author, Lindsay Sterling, has launched her own blog, Inside Immigrant Kitchens, where you can find some additional photos and a recipe for bollos de yuca.

Alcohol Sting Operation

February 10th, 2009

According to a report in today’s Portland Daily Sun, several local business were caught up in a sting operation for selling alcohol to underage customers.

Lt. Michael Sauschuck said three summons were issued Jan. 23 and six more were issued on Jan. 24 during a compliance check that used a civilian decoy “between the ages of 18 and 20” who attempted to purchase alcohol without identification. Sauschuck said the 31 locations chosen for the sting were randomly-generated and part of an “ongoing operation” by the department to curb sales to minors.

Colucci’s, Vespucci’s and La Bodega Latina were among those “cited by Portland Police for underage alcohol sales”.

The Farmer’s Table

February 10th, 2009

Portland Psst! is reporting that a new restaurant called The Farmer’s Table is slated for 205 Commercial Street at the old Mims location.

Fore Street

February 10th, 2009

Travels with Hilary has reviewed the bar food at Fore Street.

It’s easy to make a meal out of the apps here, especially if starting with the wood oven roasted wild Maine mussels. Oh my! These are a must. A hefty bowl of plump mussels hailing Gurnet Strait, Brunswick, served in a rich garlic almond butter, accompanied by crusty bread and a soup spoon. I savored, I dunked and dredged, I slurped (quietly, very quietly). If it had been socially acceptable, I would have licked the bowl.


February 9th, 2009

Maine Home + Design has published a profile of Emilitsa and the pair of brother, John and Denos Regas, that run it.

Emilitsa is their affectionate diminutive for Emily Regas, their mother. “When we opened, we finally realized what a gift our parents gave us,” says Denos of their childhood. “We wanted to recreate the kind of food we grew up with.” Which means, of course, using the finest ingredients and importing as much as possible directly from Greece. “We’re first generation,” explains John. “Our recipes are true to traditional Greek cooking; they haven’t been adulterated.”

This Week’s Events

February 9th, 2009

There are three cooking classes scheduled this week: Stephen Lazolatta is holding his weekly Piatto per Tutti class tonight, on Wednesday night Cheryl Lewis is teaching a Mexican Cooking class at the Stonewall Cooking School, and on Friday Paciarino is teaching a class.  On Tuesday the Maine Street Marketplace initiative is meeting at USM.  Thursday night The Great Lost Bear is showcasing the beer from the Marshall Wharf Brew Pub.  There are  two wine tastings scheduled this week: at RSVP on Wednesday, and Scarborough Wine Outlet on Saturday. Cinque Terre is hosting a wine dinner Wednesday night and several restaurants including Five Fifty-Five and Evangeline are offering special Valentine’s Day dinners on Saturday.  For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Maine Street Marketplace

February 9th, 2009

There’s an article in today’s Press Herald about the goals of Maine Street Marketplace initiative that’s meeting this week at USM.

Maine farmers, fishermen and others are working to create a new delivery system to connect customers with locally produced food and agricultural products.

The idea is to set up an online grocery store that would take customer orders for the wide range of produce, fish, meat, poultry, dairy and other agricultural products produced around the state. A warehousing and distribution system would be part of the venture, which may also include a retail store and commercial kitchen for food processing.

February Bollard

February 6th, 2009

200902bollardThe February issue of The Bollard includes another installment in the Land of Forgotten Cocktails series by mixologist John Myers, a survey of Portland hotel bars (Port of Call, Top of the East, Eve’s at the Garden, Great American Grill, Armory Lounge) and a review of Steve and Renee’s Diner.

It seems the traditional diner is a dying breed. The temptation to go upscale with lobster benedict, caramelized onion frittata, and almond-encrusted brioche pain perdu must have a powerful appeal, given the prices they can command. To be fair, I readily admit a fondness for a snooty brunch now and then. But when a straight-up, no-frills diner breakfast is in order, there’s nowhere better in Portland than Steve & Renee’s.

Bar Lola Beer Dinner

February 6th, 2009

A Good Beer Blog has reviewed a recent beer dinner at Bar Lola.

Beer and food? Absolutely!! I was full but not uncomfortably so. I discovered a couple beers and a cider that I would buy again as well as some recipes that I would love to copy. It was another fantastic evening at the ever creative and friendly Bar Lola. (via Portland Psst!)

The Frog and Turtle

February 6th, 2009

1:00 a.m. Curfew has reviewed The Frog and Turtle.

The wine list is full of the average reds and whites – some you can only purchase by the bottle. I had a glass of petite syrah for $7 and my companion had a $6 white. Normally, I would have ordered a whiskey, but there’s something about the atmosphere that screams out wine.

Farms in Maine

February 6th, 2009

The total number of farms in Maine increased 13% from 2002 to 2007 and the number of organic farms increased 139% over same time period, according to an article in today’s Press Herald.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest five-year census this week, showing that the number of farms in Maine increased by 13 percent, to 8,136, from 2002 to 2007, compared with a 4 percent increase nationwide. The average size of a Maine farm declined 13 percent, to 166 acres, during the same period.

Fajita Grill

February 6th, 2009

New2Maine.com has reviewed Fajita Grill.

The meals were fine, but did not really stand out for either of us. The tequila overload probably didn’t help that any. I finished my meal and was comfortably full; Amber had to take home about half of hers. Surprisingly, she still had room for dessert, so an order of sopapillas … and concluded that it, like the rest of the food, was adequate but unremarkable.

Novare Res Bier Cafe

February 5th, 2009

The Maine Switch has reviewed Novare Res Bier Cafe.

I know it’s impossible to survive on beer alone, which is why I’m so grateful the food served at Novare Res Bier Café lives up to the high standards set by the drinks.

Also in this week’s Switch is an article about the Maine Mead Works.

Cheap Eats

February 4th, 2009

There’s an article in today’s Press Herald providing advice on how to eat more frugally. For another viewpoint check out this post by Accidental Vegetables published after last week’s newspaper article on a similar theme.