Under Construction: 409 Cumberland Ave

September 29th, 2014

409-Cumberland-updated

Plans for the new building currently under construction at 409 Cumberland Avenue include a rooftop greenhouse for growing vegetables and a teaching kitchen where residents can learn about turning produce into healthy meals. The greenhouse and kitchen are part of a collaboration between Avesta and Cultivating Community.

This Week’s Events: Vinland Flanagan’s Table, Cowspiracy, Flea Bites

September 29th, 2014

fleabitesMonday — David Levi from Vinland is the featured chef at this month’s Maine Farmland Trust dinner at Flanagan’s Table, and Rob Tod will be at Old Port Spirits for an Allagash beer tasting.

Wednesday — Black Tie is serving a farm dinner in New Gloucester, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the Signature Chef’s Auction is being hosted at DiMillo’s, and there will be screening of Cowspiracy at Cinemagic.

Friday — a group of food trucks will be in Bayside at the Portland Flea-for-All for Flea Bites, and there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli.

SaturdayLeRoux Kitchen is holding a wine tasting, The Farm Stand is having a grand opening, 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 Fore Street

September 28th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Fore Street.

[Fore Street] remains Maine’s signature five-star restaurant. The ever-changing menu reflects top-notch foraging and sourcing from farms around the state and beyond, with favorites from the wood-grilled oven and turnspit including mussels, quail, black bass and pork belly, as well as fine salads, house-made pastas, unique desserts and well-paired wine list.

An Editor’s Note indicates that this was interim reviewer Melissa Coleman’s last review and that the sunday review will “go on a short hiatus and return with a new critic soon”.

Interview with Kathleen Pratt

September 28th, 2014

Knack Factory has published an interview with Kathleen Pratt, co-owner of Tandem.

What I find fascinating about Tandem is that—outside of the coffee, which is great—you have sort have built a micro-culture around this place. I heard about Tandem before I even knew about your coffee. It was a place to go, to be. Was it a conscious decision to develop that?
We definitely had an environment that we wanted to create. In opening a cafe, I remember sitting down and asking, “What is it that we want to make here?” We want people to feel like they are stepping into our home, to create an intimate setting where people can meet each other. The whole reason I was drawn to coffee in the first place was my first cafe job. There, I had found a sense of community. But this place took on its own thing completely.

Bar Reviews: Timber & Buck’s

September 28th, 2014

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Timber,

Timber has a great happy hour and can’t wait to go back and try more of the menu. We  look forward to taking advantage of the specials to explore their wine list further as well! As fall approaches, they do have a beautifully decorated interior to sip those wines in as well.

and Future Fun Stuff has reviewed Buck’s Naked BBQ.

The consensus on Buck’s is that it has a damn good Happy Hour. It lasts a long time, the drinks deals are good (so good you might want to get several drinks and get nekkid…. woohoo!), and you can get a mountain of fried food for cheap.

Rob Evans: Maine’s Best Bites

September 27th, 2014

Chef Rob Evans has assembled a list of his favorite local eateries for Serious Eats.

On his list are Boda, Eventide, Gorgeous Gelato, Green Elephant, Hunt and Alpine, Otto, Oxbow, Pai Men, Piccolo, Portland Lobster Company, Rosemont, Thanh Thanh,  The Lobster Shack, Tandem and Tu Casa.

Opening Soon: Sur Lie

September 27th, 2014

surlieSur Lie (facebook) is in the process of holding a some friends and family services prior to opening to the public “early next week”. I was fortunate enough to get invited to the dinner last night.

The main part of chef Emil Rivera’s small plate menu (here’s a photo of the one from last night) is divided into three categories: Crisp, Pleasant and Bold along with some cheeses, charcuterie and other smaller starters. Rivera moved to Maine from DC where he worked for several years as part of the ThinkFoodGroup—a family of 15 restaurants founded by chef/restaurateur Jose Andres.

My menu recommendation: when you go be sure not to miss the Creamed Corn with Pork Belly.

Sur Lie is located at 11 Free Street.

Review of Yosaku

September 26th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Yosaku.

Ultimately, I can recommend Yosaku because of the genre it’s as good as we get in Portland.  The service is attentive, the wait staff is knowledgeable and the traditional choices well prepared.  The décor is pleasant and if my honest thoughts about this kind of cooking in general will make followers shake their heads, take it from whence it comes.   In the end, one should stick to what one knows!

Brewery Tasting Rooms

September 26th, 2014

The Brew Babe writes about the recent history of brewery tasting rooms and her top 5 reasons for visiting them.

2. Information straight from the source: Do you think an employee at Hannaford is going to crack open a beer and give me a taste to see if I like it before I bring home a six pack? Do you think that guy at the sketchy 7-11 (you know the one I’m talking about) knows what kinds of hops are in a beer?

Under Construction: Bao Bao Dumpling House

September 25th, 2014

Urban Eye has posted an update on Bao Bao Dumpling House.

The delay of Bao Bao Dumpling House on Spring Street has perplexed more than fans of Portland’s revolving food scene. Owner Cecile Stadler, touring her new building, formerly West End Deli, on Wednesday, was miffed that the process has taken so long.

Bar Reviews: Sonny’s & Old Port Sea Grill

September 25th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Sonny’s,

…The drinks were great and the fries were excellent except for the lack of crisp. In truth, I haven’t been there for dinner in a while as I’ve never been super impressed with their food, but Sonny’s has had some menu changes and it does look better. Maybe I’ll try it again in the future. For now, they get two thumbs up on their drinks.

and the Press Herald has reviewed the Old Port Sea Grill.

But if you can look beyond the somewhat characterless decor, past the blue hue of the tank’s chemical-treated water, and crack open a menu, you’ll likely discover a proper eatery, in line with Portland’s creative and culinary flair.

Now Open: Dean’s Sweets & Golden Lotus

September 24th, 2014

deanssweets

Dean’s Sweets is opening their new larger Fore Street location today. They’ll be having a “tastings of their signature truffles and caramels, hot chocolate and chocolate bars”. Dean’s new store is located at 475 Fore Street, they plan to open at 10 am.

goldenlotusGolden Lotus had their grand opening yesterday. Chef/owner Joe Tang has 30 years of restaurant experience, mostly in NH. For several years he was part of the staff at Wok Inn and most recently he worked at Empire Chinese Kitchen. Golden Lotus is located at 511 Congress Street.

Under Construction: Portland Co-op

September 24th, 2014

There’s an article on the new Portland Co-op in the Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald.

Here’s the latest: All of the refrigeration, heating and cooling systems are in place. Floors have been polished. Soon interior painting will begin. Within the next two weeks, shelving, fixtures and checkout counters will begin arriving and workers will start building out the interior of the store at 290 Congress St. in Portland.

But Gadsby declines to reveal a target opening date, sticking to the script that it will be sometime in “mid-fall.”

Arcadia National Bar

September 24th, 2014

The USM Free Press has published an article about Arcadia National Bar.

On a Monday night the place was packed with people all of whom said that they grew up playing with games Arcadia offered. According to Matt Grassi, a 24 year old Portland local, Arcadia is unlike any bar in Portland and it was inevitable for a place like it to spring up in town. For Grassi, the unique atmosphere lends itself to two things: a good variety of games and a bar free from awkward social expectations.

Farm Produce Distribution Challenges

September 23rd, 2014

The new issue of Mainebiz includes a feature article on the challenges farmers and local food stores face in selling and distributing local produce.

Constant negotiating with buyers and other farmers is a way of life in Maine’s fragmented food distribution system, especially for small farmers and purveyors of specialty items like jams and honey. Those small operations practically define the local food and farm-to-table movements that sparked consumer interest in where food comes from and how it is grown or produced.

But that curiosity hasn’t helped broaden Maine’s food distribution system for the small producers to any significant degree, says Spear. The result: many small operations sell only within Maine or at most a day’s delivery drive, thus limiting their market.

Huong’s Now Open

September 22nd, 2014

huongs_logoHuong’s Vietnamese Restaurant (facebook) opened over the weekend. Huong’s is located at 267 Saint John Street in the space that, for a short time, had been the home of Vietnam Restaurant.

There’s no indication whether this Huong’s is connected to the restaurant with a similar name that used to be located on Cumberland Ave.

This Week’s Events: Rowan Jacobsen, Allagash Dinner, Winter Hill Dinner

September 22nd, 2014

applesMonday — James Beard award-wining author Rowan Jacobsen will be speaking at Space Gallery tonight about his new book Apples of Uncommon Character. Jacobsen is also the Author of A Geography of Oysters and a very influential book on honey bee colony collapse disorder entitled Fruitless Fall. Fellow author and heirloom apple enthusiast David Buchanan will be leading an apple tasting as part of the event. Rabelais Books will be at Space selling copies of Jacobsen’s new book. 6pm, 538 Congress Street, admission is free.

Tuesday — The Well is serving an Allagash Beer Dinner.

Wednesday — the grand opening of the Geary’s tasting room is taking place,  as is the Monument Square Farmers Market.

Thursday — there will be a beer and cheese tasting at the Public Market House and a wine tasting at The Corner Store.

Friday —author Kate McCarty will be speaking about her book on the Portland food scene at the Portland Public Library at noon.

Saturday — Rosemont is holding Harvest in the Hood on Commercial Street, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

SundayFamily Feast is holding their Hams & Clams “Indonesian style New England shellfish boil” at Slab, and Rosemont is serving a dinner at Winter Hill Farm in Freeport.

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.

Road to the 38: Eventide, Fore Street, Slab, Vinland

September 22nd, 2014

Eater’s national roving restaurant critic, Bill Addison, was in Maine back in August sampling his way across the state. He’s just published an article with his impressions of Eventide, Fore Street, Slab, Vinland as well as Five Island Lobster Company in Georgetown.

Blue Current Sake

September 21st, 2014

Blue Current Brewing (website, facebook, twitter) is Maine-based sake brewer under development in Kittery. Owner Dan Ford has made good progress (watch video for details) and is turning to Kickstarter for the additional funds needed to fully launch the business. So far the campaign has raised one third of the $33,000 goal.

For more information and to contribute to the campaign visit the Blue Current Kickstarter page.

The Jewel Box is Now Open

September 20th, 2014

nanlThe Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box (website, twitter, instagram) had a public soft opening last night which they announced earlier in the day to their Kickstarter supporters. The cocktail bar is owned by Nathaniel Meiklejohn (shown right) who has worked at a number of Portland area establishments and was part of the team that ran the successful Pocket Brunch series.

The menu is a compact (hand typed) list of 5 cocktails and one beer that was brewed for the bar in collaboration with In’finiti.

The Jewel Box is located at 644 Congress Street near Longfellow Square. The space and very comfortable curved bar was built out by North by East.