Under Construction: Vinbar

October 16th, 2015

A new wine bar called Vinbar is now under development at 3 Deering Ave in the space vacated by Tawakal Store in Bramhall Square.

co-owners Colleen Callahan, David Levi and Robert Swain intend to serve a line-up of natural wines accompanied by “food items that are thoughtfully made, and do so at an accessible price point.” They plan to serve breakfast and lunch and anticipate their customers will come from the surrounding neighborhood as well as Maine Med and staff from other nearby businesses.

The draft menu (page 63) supplied with Vinbar’s liquor license application includes items like buckwheat galettes, smoked fish pate as well as grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and fish chowder. They plan to be open 7 days a week.

David Levi is the chef/owner of Vinland.

Vinbar is the second natural wine bar project that’s been announced. Last month, Maine & Loire made public there plans to launch Drifter’s Wife on Wahington Ave.

Imbibe’s Guide to Portland

October 16th, 2015

New England Distilling owner Ned Wight has partnered with Imbibe magazine put together this guide of Where to Eat and Drink in Portland Maine.

Bard Coffee, Standard Baking, Lolita, Vena’s Fizz House, Eventide, Hunt & Alpine, Boda, Sur Lie and Central Provisions are all part of what Wight would call a perfect day in Portland.

Wild Beers in America

October 16th, 2015

Food Republic has published an article on the origins on wild-fermented beers in the US. The article relays details on a seminal trip in 2006 by the owners of 5 American breweries to Cantillon in Belgium: Allagash, Dogfish Head, Russian River, Avery and The Lost Abbey.

[Russian River Brewing owner Vinnie] Cilurzo wasn’t the only brewer inspired on that voyage. In 2008, Allagash Brewing of Portland, Maine, became the first to utilize a coolship, a large pan used for open-air “wild” fermentation. As Allagash brewmaster Jason Perkins recalls, shortly after the trip, “[owner] Rob Todd came in, and basically said, ‘Fuck it, let’s build a coolship. And let’s do it right.’” The brewery had been emulating old-world Belgian brewing techniques for decades, but had never taken on an experiment like this.

Reviews: Mi Sen & Little Tap House

October 16th, 2015

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Mi Sen,

Eating out on a Monday and Tuesday night in Portland can cause a bit of head scratching – so many restaurants are closed on these weeknights, especially as we head into relatively slower seasons. Fortunately, Mi Sen Noodle Bar is open on these early weekdays, causing me to land there twice recently for some great noodle dishes. You should head there any night of the week (except Sunday, they’re closed) when you’re in the mood for some filling, inexpensive, and delicious Thai food.

and The Golden Dish has reviewed Little Tap House.

Little Tap House has grown into a full-fledged neighborhood meeting place that serves not only craft cocktails and local brews but a decently satisfying menu of creative pub grub. The night we were there earlier this week the place was literally packed to the rafters. It had great vibes and atmosphere as a thriving popular pub.

Rouge Tomate Pop-Up

October 15th, 2015

Chef Andy Bennett and Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier from Michelin-starred New York restaurant Rouge Tomate will be holding a pop-up dinner at Vinland on October 29th. Tickets for the 5-course dinner are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

The dinner is part of Vinland’s ongoing pop-up series.

Review of Rosen’s Deli

October 15th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a review of Rosen’s Deli.

With meats piled as high as the Chrysler building on rye bread, you’re forced to take tiny bites around the edges, or pick it apart bit by bit until you whittle it down to manageable size. This is partly why some of their larger sandwiches are more expensive, ranging from $10.99 all the way up to $15.99 for chopped liver, tongue, corned beef and Swiss cheese. (Maybe that last one comes with a side of health insurance?) It’s also why fans from all over the country went apoplectic when the previous incarnation of the Jewish deli closed in January.

Maine (Kitchen) Tool Library

October 14th, 2015

Press Herald food editor Peggy Grodinsky tries out borrowing kitchen equipment from the Maine Tool Library.

The library offers kitchen tools, alongside saws and bolt cutters, which means you may not need to own that Vitamix.

2nd Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting (Updated)

October 13th, 2015

IMG_0862The 2nd Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting took place yesterday. 85 different varieties of apples sourced from about a dozen orchards in Maine and New Hampshire were part of the event that I helped organize along with friends Sean Turley and Cecilia Ziko.

A few of my favorites were Ashmead’s Kernel, Esopus Spitzenburg, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Frostbite, Sundance, Ribston Pipppin, Pitmason Pineapple and Red Astrachan.

Nearly all of the apples were purchased in a single day on Saturday within a  few hours drive of Portland. It’s encouraging to realize that so many great heirloom varieties are out there if we just take a bit more time to explore.

For those of you without cars, Rosemont Market is the best in-town source of unusual apple varieties. There’s also a rare apple CSA that is run each fall called Out on a Limb run by Maine’s preeminent  apple expert John Bunker.

Update: Here’s a complete list of the apple varieties we had on-hand for the tasting. It includes information of which orchards we bought them from, and interesting details on their origin and apple genealogy.

Boston Globe: Small Plates in Portland

October 12th, 2015

Former Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Nancy Heiser, has written an article about Portland’s small plate restaurant trend for The Boston Globe.

Small plates have taken hold as a culinary craze in many cities, but in Portland, arguably New England’s small city most revered for food, they are hot, and we’re not talking temperature. Several restaurants that have opened to some acclaim are offering only small plates, and most are doing so in small spaces too. Don’t come expecting full-blown entrées with trimmings.

But you will eat well. Very well.

Central Provisions, Lolita, Sur Lie and Bao Bao are all featured.

This Week’s Events: Gneiss, Maine Wine, Filipino Dinner, Harvest in the Hood, Pumpkin Carving, Flanagan’s

October 12th, 2015

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — Slab is holding a Gneiss Brewing tap takeover.

Friday — a Maine wine event is taking place at the Custom House, and The Sinful Kitchen is serving a Filipino Feast.

Saturday —Rosemont is hold Harvest in the Hood at their store on Brighton, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday –The Thirsty Pig’s 4th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest is taking place, and Masa Miyake is the featured chef at a Flanagan’s Table dinner.

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.

South Portland Food Cupboard

October 12th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has posted a report on the work of the South Portland Food Cupboard.

On Thursday mornings, when the doors of the South Portland Food Cupboard swing open, low-income families can’t believe their eyes.

“The produce is so absolutely beautiful that our clients just cry,” said director Sybil Riemensnider, who receives the weekly bounty from Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth. “These are things they can’t afford.”

Under Construction: LB Kitchen (Updated)

October 11th, 2015

2015-10-11_18-43-31Lee Farrington is planning to renovate 249 Congress Street, the home of her former restaurant Figa, where she and her wife plan to open a new restaurant called LB Kitchen(instagram). They hope to open LB Kitchen sometime early next year.

The restaurant is billed as “a modern cafe”, but specific details on concept, menu, etc are at present still tbd. It’s great to hear that Farrington will be running another restaurant and that the former Figa location is going back into productive use.


Hunter’s Bend x Honey Paw

October 11th, 2015

The Hunter’s Bend and The Honey Paw are collaborating on a mushroom dinner later this month. The dinner will feature “eight courses of fantastic vegetarian food highlighting locally foraged, cultivated and imported mushrooms”.

The Hunter’s Bend is a super club/catering operation run by Frank Anderson & Rebecca Ambrosi who are both part of the team launching Jason Loring’s tiki bar, Rhum.

Ticket for the mushroom dinner are on sale on Eventbrite.

Under Construction: Foulmouthed Brewing

October 9th, 2015

The Forecaster has published an article about Foulmouthed Brewing(twitter, instagram) which is under development in South Portland.

A Portland couple unveiled plans this week for the first brewery in Knightville, and only the second in the city. 

Pending approval from the Planning Board, which is scheduled to hold its first hearing on the proposal Tuesday, Oct. 13, Craig and Julia Dilger’s Foulmouthed Brewing will open in a building that was once an auto garage at the corner of Ocean and A streets. 

The Drink Exchange Opens Today

October 9th, 2015

The Drink Exchange(facebook) is scheduled to open today. It’s located at 43 Wharf Street in the space formerly occupied by The Merry Table. Owner Tanner Herget also runs 51 Wharf, Dusk and Bonfire—all on Wharf Street.

Maine’s Craft Beer Industry

October 8th, 2015

The Business section in today’s Press Herald features a report titled “Maine’s craft beer boom shows no sign of going flat“.

When it opens, Fore River will be the newest player in Maine’s exploding and intensely local craft beer scene. As of 2014, the state had the sixth-most breweries per capita in the nation, according to the Brewers Association, a national group. In 2013 and 2014, nine new breweries and brewpubs opened in greater Portland alone. There are currently 52 breweries in the state, but that number is set to jump even higher in 2016, and existing breweries are expanding.

The article includes details on Fore River Brewing(twitter, facebook, instagram) which is opening later this year in South Portland.

Maine Malt House

October 8th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has published an article on the Maine Malt House, which supplies malted Maine grown grains to brewers in the state.

Aroostook County is not home to the bustling craft breweries that have sprouted up across Maine, New England and other parts of the country. A brewery and pub that opened in Presque Isle in 2004, Slopes Northern Maine Restaurant and Brewing Company, closed for lack of business not long afterward. But, 10 years later, the Buck brothers are not trying to sell beer locally; they want to produce and sell malts across the state through an integrated farm and malthouse business.

Review of Lincolns

October 8th, 2015

Urban Eye has reviewed Lincolns.

Open on Market Street since the spring, the subteranean watering hole unites Portland’s service industry folks, international tech workers and post collegiates from Orono, who gather in close quarters to knock back five dollar drinks like it was 1989.

Chefs After Dark

October 7th, 2015

Today’s Press Herald features an article about the Chefs After Dark monthly gatherings among chefs in Southern Maine and New Hampshire for social networking and good natured competition.

The format of the monthly get-togethers mimics The Food Network’s “Chopped,” where chefs, two in this case versus the reality show’s four, who are well-matched in experience and cooking styles, are pitted against each other and several mystery ingredients. Local suppliers donate the often exotic ingredients, such as chicken feet, curry leaves and bitter cucumber (December 2014 when Franke and Vargas squared off); or cod roe sack, sunflower buds and lamb sweetbreads (August 2015); or blue Hubbard squash, local apples and tripe (late last month).

Beard House Dinners: Piccolo and Hunt & Alpine

October 7th, 2015

The menus are now up and ticket are on sale for two dinners at the Jame Beard House in New York being headlined by Portland talent: