Wine Dinners: Terry Theise, Italian Organics, Frank Cornelissen, La Spinetta (Updated)

October 20th, 2014

Several wine dinners have been announced:

  • A group of four Northern Italian organic winemakers—Elisabetta Foradori, Silvio Messana, Alessandra Bera, and Elena Pantaleoni—will be at Vinland for a dinner on October 29th.
  • Winemaker Giorgio Rivetti and Rosemont are teaming up on a wine dinner at O’Maine Studios featuring “rich, graceful, intense wines, from organically grown grapes, biodynamically farmed” from La Spinetta Winery in Piedmont and Tuscany. The dinner is on November 1st, tickets are $85 per person.
  • Winemaker Giorgio Rivetti will be at The Corner Room for a dinner featuring La Spinetta Winery in Piedmont on November 2nd.
  • Hugo’s is hosting James Beard award-winning author Terry Theise for a dinner on November 6th. Theise is the author of Reading Between the Wines. $165 per person.
  • Terry Theise will be joining Rosemont at the Mayo Street Arts Center on November 7th to lead a tasting of several “special, rare, and never-before-available-in-Maine grower-produced Champagnes” along with small plates provided by chef Brad Messier. $85 per person.
  • Frank Cornelissen, a leader in the in the natural wine movement, will be at Vinland for a dinner featuring his wines from his vineyard on Mount Etna on December 6th. Natural wine guru Zev Rovine and Ned Swain from Devenish Wines in Portland are co-hosting the event.

This Week’s Events: Harvest on the Harbor, Rising Tide, Indie Biz, Triple Nickel

October 20th, 2014

harvestonthebar_logoTuesdayKate McCarty will be speaking about her book Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine at the Maine Women Writers Collection, the monthly Local Foods Networking Breakfast is taking place.

Wednesday — the winners of the 7th Annual Indie Biz Awards are being announced, it’s the first day of Harvest on the Harbor, Black Tie is serving a farm dinner in New Gloucester, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — artist Sam Van Aken will be at Thompson’s Point for a kick-off of the Tree of 40 Fruit grove, tastings are taking place at the Public Market House and The Corner Store, Five Fifty-Five is throwing the Triple Nickel Bourbon & Bacon Bash, and Harvest on the Harbor continues.

Friday — it’s the third day of Harvest on the Harbor.

Saturday — Oxbow is holding The Goods from the Woods at their homebase in Newcastle, it’s the last day of Harvest on the Harbor, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market are taking place.

SundayRising Tide is throwing a party to celebrate their 4th Anniversary.

Pocket Brunch Tickets — after nearly a year and a half sabbatical the Pocket Brunch crew is back with a 6-course brunch in collaboration with Marshall Wharf, Novare Res and In’finiti. It’s scheduled for November 2nd. Tickets 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.

Gorgeous Gelato’s Liquor License Application

October 19th, 2014

Gorgeous Gelato(website, facebook, twitter) has applied for a liquor license. As they explain in their cover letter (page 77),

Espresso coffee and certain Gelato sundaes become really exquisite when some liquor is added. We would also love to serve our customers a very small selection of famous Italian liquors, such as: Lemoncello, Grappa and Sambuca.


October 19th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram features a check-in with chef/owner David Levi as his restaurant Vinland(website, facebook) approaches its 1-year anniversary.

It started slowly. Other restaurateurs had told him not to expect business to pick up until after the Fourth of July, but still, June dragged on. He shook up the menu with a new small plate theme – letting customers build a meal of any five plates for $60. He’d had good press in the Wall Street Journal in May. The cruise ships came in, but those passengers never seemed to make it up the hill. He decided to stay open on the 4th itself; other restaurants were closing, but if there were customers to be had, he resolved to take advantage. “It turned out to be a really big night for us,” he said. For the next couple of weeks, there would be sporadic bursts of business, huge nights on a Monday or Tuesday and then relative calm again. Then around the middle of the month, high season started in a big way. “Every night was a huge night until Labor Day,” Levi said.

First Look: Bao Bao

October 18th, 2014

Eating Portland Alive has published some photos and first impressions of Bao Bao. He’s also captured pictures of the menus.

Under Construction: Isa

October 18th, 2014

Isa, the new restaurant under construction at 79 Portland Street, has applied for a liquor license. Owner Suzie Saint Pierre is converting the former New World Kitchens building into a “40-seat bistro serving casual and affordable fare”.

Saint Pierre has 15 years of experience in the industry as a server, bartender and manager. She hopes to open Isa in December.




Under Construction: Tiqa

October 18th, 2014

Tiqa, the restaurant under construction in the new Marriott on Commercial Street, has applied for a liquor license. As we reported back in August, Tiqa will be serving Mediterranean cuisine. Owners Deen Haleem and Carol Mitchell have included a description of the menu (page 63) in the materials submitted for review.

In total Tiqa will be able to seat 276 people: 57 in the lounge/bar, 35 on the patio, a 15 at the chef’s bar, 58 in the dining room and 111 in the private dining room. Haleem and Mitchell hope to open Tiqa in early next year.


Under Construction: Unwined

October 18th, 2014

A new wine bar calling itself UnWINEd is under development at 569 Congress Street. They plan to serve “local and imported fine wines, artisan craft beers, appetizers and petite plates.”

Here’s the concept as described by owner Jared Lawrence Rice in his liquor license application cover letter,

As Portland’s first bar-less bar, unWINEd will spotlight a relaxed atmosphere, with calming acoustic music, leather couches and scattered tables and chairs. Our Goal is to provide Portland with a calm, relaxing environment where people can gather and unWINEd.

Here’s the draft menu:



Under Construction: Bao Bao

October 17th, 2014

baobao1Dedicated fans of chef Cara Stadler lined up on the sidewalk in the rain last night outside Bao Bao (facebook, twitter, instagram) for a table at the soft opening. Recipients of the email invitation were asked to “be prepared to show a copy of this email at the door” and to “please refrain from sharing this information with the press”.

A firm public opening date hasn’t been set yet.

Review of Caiola’s

October 17th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Caiola’s.

A luscious chocolate cream filled a buttery pastry tartlet, slathered with the peanut butter sauce and pretzel streusel.  The ice cream was rich and creamy, but I was expecting to find chunks of pretzel in it but didn’t.  I learned they were ground to a fine powder and blended into the frozen custard base. That, I realized, was the undefinable flavor that I couldn’t pin point and the final, special touch to one of the best dinners I’ve had in months.

O’Maine Media Kitchen

October 16th, 2014

The Business section in today’s Press Herald reports on O’Maine Studios and owner Rory Strunk’s current initiative to launch the O’Maine Media Kitchen.

Rory Strunk has built a successful outdoor sports-themed broadcast network, produced an Emmy award-winning television show and created content for such iconic brands as Absolut vodka. Now he wants to build a world-class kitchen studio in Portland that Maine’s food and beverage industry, restaurants and homegrown celebrity chefs could use to meet the growing demand for culinary-themed online video content.

For more information visit the O’Maine Media Kitchen Kickstarter page. Strunk has launched a crowdfunding campaing on Kickstarter to raise $65,000 for the project.

Interview with Kelly Nelson

October 16th, 2014

Shift Drinks has published a Q & A with Kelly Nelson from Piccolo.

Can you talk a bit about the relationship between a guest and someone who works in the front of the house?
…I have always seen it as a performance as I used to dance and act and my personality is distinct and strong. I found that over the years, I have come to be able to read what the customer wants. You gauge what is pleasurable for the diner and you can then provide whatever service you think would be best for them. Sometimes that means leaving them alone entirely. You give them their food, make sure everything is perfect, and you are a ghost. To the other extreme, you become part of the experience by performing and engaging them in discussion of food and drink. It becomes a full circle of experience between the human interaction and the pleasures of well-paired food and alcohol.

Review of Grace

October 16th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published a bar review of Grace.

I nibbled, crunched, and devoured every last crumb on my plate. Then I finished my drink. I wanted more, but by some miracle, I settled down and stopped ordering since I had somewhere else to be. My wife finished her sangria. We rejoiced. Even though we didn’t order much, everything we had was superb.

Interview with Pete McAleney

October 16th, 2014

The Press Herald has published a Q & A with Pete McAleney who recently sold his business New Meadows Lobster to DiMillo’s.

Q: Is seasonality a big problem?
You need lobsters in the summertime – that’s when people want them. You also have to realize you’ve got your business associates in Canada – notice how I said that – whose season will open up in a month right at the time our lobsters will be getting a firm hard shell. But it’s November and you don’t sell a lot of lobster in November. Then demand comes on strong in December and then it’s kaput. When you ship out at Christmastime, you have to worry about storms. We used to be big shippers to Belgium and France for the holidays – a lot of fishermen would help us pack the trucks and take them to Bangor (for shipping to Europe). But if there was snow, the flight would sit there and you would go crazy. You have to have a sense of humor in this business.

Under Construction: Portland Food Co-op

October 15th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about the Portland Food Co-op and the new retail store they have under construction on Congress Street.

A demo kitchen is being built for cooking and wellness classes. A 24-foot bulk wall dispensing grains, nuts and dried fruit anchors one zone. A full-scale cafe will offer grab and go breakfasts, soups, coffee and sandwiches. Locally grown produce, harvested meat and fish get top billing.

“The fundamental mission is to build the local food movement by having as many relationships with farmers and food producers as possible,” said Curran Apse. “We are shooting for in the hundreds.”

According to the article, the Co-op is hoping to have a “soft opening before Thanksgiving”.

Under Construction: Ramen Suzukiya

October 15th, 2014

Eater Maine has published an update on Ramen Suzukiya which is currently under construction at 229 Congress Street.

Seating will be limited and communal. Cory describes a cafe or coffee shop feel, with a long bar-like table in front of the large front windows, as well as a table or two along the side wall. Katsuaki thinks this will encourage customers to sit together, meet one another, and make friends.

According to the article the owners hope to open in December.

Casco Bay Organics Produce Delivery

October 15th, 2014

The American Journal has published an article about Casco Bay Organics, a Portland area produce delivery service.

Two years ago, when Jillian Hilton was in the midst of moving back to Maine from California, where there is an abundance of affordable organic produce that is easily accessible, she had what she called a “light-bulb moment.” 

“I was at a farmers market every single day, and I loved it,” said Hilton, 33. “I saw the opportunity and the necessity, really, to bring back to Maine the option of flexible and organic produce delivered right to your doorstep.”  

Visit the Casco Bay Organics website to learn more and to sign-up for the service.

PPH Food & Dining: Ballet Service, Wine’s Seasonality, Vegan Q&A

October 15th, 2014

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes:

Under Construction: Cannoli Joe’s

October 14th, 2014

joescanA new food truck called Cannoli Joe’s (website, facebook) is soon to debut on the Portland streets, according to a report from Eater Maine.

Under Construction: Dobra Tea

October 14th, 2014



Dobra Tea (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) is having their final inspections this week and they hope to open on Friday or Saturday.