Value-priced Eating in Portland

March 7th, 2015

BDN blogger Zack Barowitz has put together a list of some of his favorite value-prived eats in Portland.

When eating out, value may be considered a combination of price, tastiness, and portion size. In other words, a hearty but somewhat “meh” meal for $5 would rate much higher than a slightly  better, but paltry, “eh” meal for $50. This helps level the bar and allows for comparisons between fine-dining and fast food and everything in between.

Under Construction: Full Belly Deli, Old Port Lobster Shack

March 7th, 2015

Full Belly Deli(facebook) owner David Rosen has announced that he’ll be re-opening the business this Spring. There’s no official word on the location but some folks have suggested it will be in the Old Port.

Today’s Press Herald provides a detailed back story on the Old Port Lobster Shack and its owner Russell Deutsch. The California-based business is constructing its 4th restaurant at 425 Fore Street. This will be the first OPLS in Maine.

It dawned on him that a lot of the graduates of New England schools worked in the San Francisco Bay area, including Silicon Valley, and were probably lobster starved. So he wrote a business plan and got in touch with his old contacts from the exporting business. He opened his first lobster shack in Redwood City, in a strip mall next to a Super Cuts. It struggled at first; then three or four months in, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a review. “The next day we had 250 people in line at my door,” he said, “and it hasn’t settled down since.”

Under Construction: East Ender

March 6th, 2015

eastenderKarl Deuben and Bill Leavy had a packed house last night at the East Ender(website, facebook, twitter, opentable) for their friends and family party.

The restaurant is scheduled to open on Monday, March 9th at 11:30 am.

See Maine a la Carte for some photos from last night’s gathering.

Mothers and Thieves at Vinland

March 6th, 2015

mothersandthievesVinland will be kicking off their Tuesday night pop-up series later this month. On March 31st former Vinland sous chef Ryan Quigley along along with Tavis Potter will be the featured chefs preparing a meal as part of their Mothers and Thieves pop-up series.

Pulling inspiration from world travels, modern art, and curiosity, our dinners are based upon classic techniques, but accented by wild presentations, bright and exotic ingredients, and unusual flavor pairings. With hopes to inspire and spark creative thoughts and conversation, the dinners will be presented to our guest in a classic family table setting.

Tickets are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets.

Interview with Shannon Bard

March 5th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Shannon Bard, chef of Zapoteca.

Q: But why in Maine?
I knew there was a need for traditional Mexican cuisine. I take traditional dishes and I modernize them and make them my own, using as many local ingredients as possible. People have their preconceived idea of what Mexican is, but they’ve had border Mexican (cuisine). A huge majority hasn’t had interior Mexican cuisine. That was the biggest challenge – people having ideas of what Mexican food should be. I could bring up traditional produce and fish from (Mexico), but it would cost a lot more money and I want to focus on local products as much as possible.

IACP Nominations

March 5th, 2015

Press Herald reporter Meredith Goad has been nominated for a 2015 IACP food writing award in the Personal Essay/Memoir category for an article entitled Forged with an Iron Will about her great-great grandmother’s cast iron skillets.

Flock & Vine

March 4th, 2015

Flock & Vine have moved their wine and bicycle repair shop from Cape Elizabeth to 64 E Street in South Portland’s Knightsville neighborhood.

Review of The King’s Head

March 4th, 2015

The Bollard has published a brunch review of The King’s Head.

Although relatively new, The King’s Head has found solid footing among the brewpubs and gastro-bistros of the Old Port. We won’t rush back for brunch — at this price point, there are better options in town — but I look forward to returning to sample appetizers and more beers from their impressive tap list. I’ll probably visit later in the day, when I can enjoy a few pints free of guilt.

Late Night on Wharf Street

March 4th, 2015

The March issue of The Bollard includes a feature article about Bonfire and on the history and changing nature of The Wild End of Wharf Street.

Under Construction: Nova Coffee

March 3rd, 2015

Nova Coffee is under construction at the corner of Brackett and Pine Streets They’ll be located in the same building (West End Place) as the new Rosemont Market. Nova plans to serve Tandem Coffee.

This Week’s Events: The Maine Dish, Food Swap, Forge Release, Signature Event

March 2nd, 2015

Maine Restaurant Week — MRW began Sunday and runs through March 14. See for details on participating restaurants.

Tuesday — The grand re-opening is still a couple weeks off but on Tuesday Vena’s is partnering with Sunrise Guides to raise money for Portland Trails; Vena’s will be debuting some of their new drinks.

WednesdayBlack Tie is teaching a cooking class.

Thursday — it’s the first night of The Maine Dish, the March Food Swap is taking place at the Urban Farm Fermentory, Tod Mott from the Tributary Brewing Company will be at the Great Lost Bear and there will be a wine tasting at the Munjoy Hill Rosemont and a Mayflower Brewing tasting at the Bier Cellar.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli.

SaturdayFoundation Brewing is releasing Forge their Russian Imperial Stout (2 bottle limit), and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — the MRW Signature Event cocktail competition 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.

Under Construction: Old Port Slice Bar, The Sinful Kitchen

March 1st, 2015

The City Council meets Monday, and among other items on the agenda are consideration and approval of liquor licenses applications for:

  • The Old Port Slice Bar is taking over the space at 420 Fore Street formerly occupied by Joe’s NY Pizza. A draft menu (page 69) was submitted along with the application.
  • The Sinful Kitchen(facebook, website), as previously reported, will be located at 906 Brighton Ave in the building formerly occupied by La Familia. Chef David Mallari will be serving brunch Wednesday through Sunday. The draft menu (pages 84-85) is a mix of traditional brunch items along with food that will make gluten-free eaters and paleo dieters happy.

Also on the agenda is a California-based company called the Old Port Lobster Shack which has leased 425 Fore Street. The company has existing locations in Portola Valley, Redwood City and San Jose. According to their cover letter, their eateries are “seafood restaurants specializing in lobster prepared in various ways that are commonly found in Maine lobster shacks.”

Top Ten for February 2015

March 1st, 2015

The 10 places readers checked out most often on Portland Food Map in February were:

  1. Bramhall (>50)
  2. Liquid Riot (-)
  3. Sur Lie (1)
  4. Congress Squared (8)
  5. Howie’s Pub (>50)
  6. Tiqa (3)
  7. Ebb & Flow (4)
  8. Bao Bao (2)
  9. Hugo’s (36)
  10. The Cheese Iron (>50)

The numbers in parentheses indicates their rank last month.

Maine ♥ Allen’s Coffee Brandy

March 1st, 2015

allensPunch has published an article about Allen’s Coffee Brandy.

To call the stuff a cultural phenomenon in Maine is an understatement. Statistically, one in eight bottles of alcohol purchased in Maine is Allen’s. The top-selling spirit in the state is the Allen’s 1.75-liter bottle, and its sales dwarf those of the number-two contender, Orloff Vodka. Overall, the coffee brandy occupies four out of the ten top-selling SKUs in the state, with popularity decreasing by the size of the bottle. On YouTube, you’ll find songs detailing nicknames for the product: The Champagne of Maine, Bitch Whiskey, the Trailer Park Toddy.

Review of Blue Spoon

March 1st, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Blue Spoon.

Blue Spoon is a relaxed, neighborhood restaurant with a Mediterranean slant. Start with a mezze plate piled with cheeses, terrines and a selection of chef David Iovino’s pickled vegetables. If you crave comfort, ask about the braising pot – a seasonal ragu of slow-cooked meats served with house-made pasta. Or try the chicken under a brick: It’s crispy, juicy and accompanied by irresistible gruyere fritters. Just make sure to leave room for dessert. Blue Spoon may bill itself as a Maine bistro, but the coconut caramel flan is pure, unadulterated Cuban delight.


February 28th, 2015

The March issue of Down East includes an article about Vinland.

As an intellectual exercise — is it possible to build a fine-dining restaurant in northern New England on local ingredients only? — Vinland succeeds wildly. But it remains to be seen whether Levi’s experiment can attract large numbers of diners in Portland, where options for a $200 dinner for two with a local emphasis (if not a manifesto) isn’t hard to come by. “I stand by it 100 percent,” Levi says confidently. “Some people love it; some people don’t. But I know it comes from a good place, and that’s what matters.”

Breakfast Cook-off Results

February 28th, 2015

Vignola/Cinque Terre took first place at yesterday’s Incredible Breakfast Cook-off competition.

The buzz at the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off Friday was all about the Portland restaurant’s savory smoked brisket hash patties with scrambled eggs and pea shoots, Italian cheese fonduta and salsa verde. This was their first time at the cook-off, and they took home first place.

Four time winner The Good Table came in second and Sea Dog Brewing took third place.


February 27th, 2015

The March issue of Maine magazine includes an article about Lolita.

It is impossible to deny the sensory delight that one experiences upon first stepping through the doors of Lolita Vinoteca and Asador on Munjoy Hill. Warm, pungent aromas of clams and garlic roasting in the wood oven, which is constantly tended to by diligent cooks, are prevalent even amidst the din of patrons stationed up and down the long zinc bar on a busy night. Much of the menu is inspired by the ancient spice routes of Venice, successfully marrying flavors from the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Middle East, resulting in dishes like burrata with lemon zest and Aleppo chili oil on toast,or cured Spanish sardines augmented with harissa.

Bayside American Cafe

February 27th, 2015

Portland Street breakfast restaurant Bintliff’s American Cafe is changing its  name to Bayside American Cafe. The current owners, Joe and Diane Catoggio, purchased the restaurant from Roger Bintliff in 2003. According to the press release,

The name change will be rolled out in the coming months. While the Catoggios are excited to embrace the cafe’s new identity, the message to their customers is clear: the name is the only thing changing. The menu, style and staff that diners have come to know and love will remain the same.

DiMillo’s Fundraiser for Adam Sousa

February 27th, 2015

This past Sunday falling ice totaled bartender Adam Sousa’s car which was parked on Exchange Street. Sousa’s insurance doesn’t cover falling ice and so friends have set-up a page to help raise money for Sousa to replace his car.

The local chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild is holding a fundraiser this Sunday at DiMillo’s, 3-5 pm. A portion of the sales from the drink specials will go toward the the campaign.