Reviews: Lolita, Saltbox, Sur Lie, Drifter’s, LFK, Petite Jacqueline

July 9th, 2016

The Bollard has reviewed Saltbox Cafe,

We spread out on a nearby picnic table to eat. I’d chose the Crab Cake Croissant ($8.95), a rich and well-seasoned homemade crab cake served, on this particular day, with extra-sharp cheddar and ginger-hollandaise sauce on a split-and-grilled croissant. I added a farm egg and fresh, peppery greens ($1.20) for what turned out to be a near-perfect breakfast sandwich.

and Lolita.

I had the torchio pasta with ‘nduja sausage ($16), a soft Italian sausage with a sharp spiciness that would have been overly aggressive had it not been toned down by the creamy sauce. This is one of Lolita’s most popular dishes, for good reason. My husband had the Marmitako ($16), a Basque fishermen’s stew. Other than more hunks of bread to soak up the rich fish stock, this dish lacked nothing. The thick chunks of red tuna, roughly chopped potatoes and pile of briny mussels made for a satisfying meal.

The Press Herald has reviewed LFK,

LFK is a casual neighborhood bar in Longfellow Square that offers craft beers and cocktails, appetizers and mains, and an eclectic mix of writerly relics, such as typewriters, vintage books and poems etched in glass. Paying ode to the space’s former tenant, Cunningham Books, LFK lures a creative crowd that likes reading at the bar, talking about their love of pork belly or both. Drinks are strong, beer is cold.

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed happy hour at Sur Lie,

Overall happy hour at Sur Lie was great! Good drinks served up by friendly and attentive bartenders paired with tasty food will always win us over. The prices might keep it out of the regular rotation but when we want a bit of a treat we will definitely be back. The sweet pea hummus alone would pull us back in! Seriously, get it.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed the new Petite Jacqueline,

At $100 bucks before tip, I was certainly pleased with Petite Jacqueline. I always am. They really make food the right way – fresh, with hearty portions, intense flavors, and no overcomplication. The service is excellent and the new atmosphere is a little more modern. While not quite as cozy as the last iteration, it’s less cramped and there’s definitely something to be said for that. The menu hasn’t changed much, if at all, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the foods always been top notch and interesting.

and a review in the Portland Phoenix of the Drifter’s Wife elicited a response from BDN food writer Kathleen Pierce.

Draft 100: Novare Res

July 7th, 2016

Draft magazine has recognized Novare Res in their annual list of the 100 Best Beer Bars in the nation.

The 33 draft lines give diverse attention to hoppy American gems from Night Shift and Sierra Nevada, German classics like Einbecker Pils and Kultbücher Monchshof Schwarzbier, plus Belgian darlings and “best of” Maine breweries. You could also go for the 500-deep bottle list, or the seasonal proprietary beer brewed by Liquid Riot…

Maine’s Best Lobster Rolls

July 7th, 2016

The Portland area captured 3 of the 20 top slots on The Daily Meal list of Maine’s Best Lobster Roll: Fishermen’s Grill, J’s Oyster Bar and Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster.

In order to assemble our list of the best lobster rolls in Maine, we consulted with several native authorities on the subject, as well as major publications and other trusted lists. While everyone who lives in Maine has their favorite lobster roll place, we believe that the spots on our list really stand apart from the pack.

First Review of Foulmouthed

July 6th, 2016

The Blueberry Files has published a review of Foulmouthed Brewing.

I loved the crowd-pleasing variety of styles, and in particular, enjoyed the Golden Bullet and the Malcontent. The Dark & Foamy was really interesting too, since most ginger beers I’ve encountered are very light. This one had a nice backbone that stood up to the spice of the ginger. 

For more info on Foulmouthed see their website, and accounts on facebook, twitter, instagram

Interview with Sean Sullivan

July 5th, 2016

Great Beer Adventure has posted a podcast interview with Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

We invited Sean Sullivan of the Maine Brewers’ Guild on to chat Maine beer with us. We have learned a lot in a year and can’t wait to see what the next year brings for us and for the Maine beer scene.

This Week’s Events: Allagash Street Fair, Filipino Dinner, Sam Calagione, Fried Chicken Friday

July 4th, 2016

Monday — it’s the 4th of July. Head to the Eastern Promenade to listen to the Portland Symphony and see the fireworks.

Tuesday — Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione will be at Novare Res to celebrate his brewery’s 21st anniversary.

Wednesday — Eve’s at the Garden is kicking of a weekly summer craft beer event, this week’s event is with Austin Street Brewing, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Foundation Brewing.

FridayPalace Diner will hold a Fried Chicken Friday at Oxbow, and The Sinful Kitchen is serving a 4-course Filipino dinner.

Saturday —the Allagash Street Fair is taking place, LeRoux is holding a wine tasting, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market will be in Deering Oaks.

Sunday — the weekly Crofters & Artisan Market is taking place.

Allagash Grand Cru — Allagash is holding a 3 hour Grand Cru tour of their brewery on July 25th.

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.


Reviews: Red Sea, Oxbow, Milly’s Skillet

July 3rd, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Red Sea,

At Red Sea, a tiny restaurant on Washington Avenue in Portland, chef Akbret Batha and general manager Yemane Tsegai serve traditional Eritrean and Ethiopian dishes, all prepared from scratch. While the dining room itself, sporting vivid lemon-yellow paint, plastic tablecloth covers and posters, feels a bit like a travel agency, the food is generally terrific. Start with an order of the crisp, crunchy beef sambusas – if you opt for the vegetarian version, the lentil sambusas, ask for them with a little extra of chef Batha’s dynamite berbere spice mix. Nearly all the stews at Red Sea are good, most especially the cabbage, potato and carrot alicha, the spicy and complex Eritrean-style haddock, the red-lentil tsebhi birsen and the tomato-based okra stew.

the Press Herald has reviewed Milly’s Skillet,

Milly’s Skillet is certainly helping with that. The egg rolls were deep fried but not greasy, crisp on the outside with tender chunks of chicken and corn within. They tasted like having a forkful of really good fried chicken, with corn, and the honey mustard dipping sauce added just the right amount of tang. They were hot out of the fryer when I got them, and stayed warm during lunch.

and the Oxbow tasting room.

Oxbow’s Blending & Bottling tasting room in Portland is about more than beer. The expansive space, where wine, whiskey, and even non-Oxbow beers are served, is a veritable bar with up some 40 seats, plenty of standing room, and frequent music, art and design events.

Caiola’s Sale Completed

July 2nd, 2016


Caiola’s co-founders Abby Harmon and Lisa Vaccaro completed the sale of their restaurant Thursday night to chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez, co-owners of Piccolo.

Harmon and Vaccaro opened Caiola’s nearly 11 years ago, in that time it’s become a well-loved West End destination. They’re immediate plans after the sale call for some much deserved time off.

Lopez and Sansonetti don’t plan to make any dramatic changes to Caiola’s in the near term. The restaurant will be closed Sunday though Tuesday to provide the staff with time off over the holiday weekend and re-opening on Wednesday.

As a West End resident, I  am very happy to have Damian and Ilma running restaurant in my neighborhood, and look forward to seeing how they evolve it over the coming years.

230 Commercial Street

July 2nd, 2016


New construction is in the planning stages for the Portland waterfront. The phased 44,000 sq ft project includes 25,000 sq ft of mixed retail and restaurant fronting Commercial Street. Part of the project would replace the building currently occupied by Sapporo.

Update: The Press Herald has published an article about this project.

Restaurant Work

July 2nd, 2016

This week’s issue of the Portland Phoenix includes an article on the challenges of restaurant work and the strategies owners use to find good team members,

Anyone that’s even spent a modicum of time working in the local restaurant industry, knows that it’s hard, sweaty, anxiety inducing work. It’s partly the reason why, despite Portland’s high density of four- and five-star restaurants (Portland’s got 395 eateries that brought in about 326 million dollars in revenue last year) and stellar foodie reputation, there’s a shortage of experienced, enthusiastic line cooks.

and an article about eateries in/near parks.

Public parks and food don’t always mix. Food carts and trucks can face special permitting issues, and predictability of traffic doesn’t always justify a food cart or truck near a public space. But the entry of TIQA Cafe & Bakery into the Castle in Deering Oaks Park — now open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk — could challenge this narrative.

Under Construction: The Portland Meatball Co.

July 1st, 2016

The Portland Meatball Company, under construction in the former Pierre’s retail space on Exchange street, has applied for a liquor license. In his cover letter, owner Noah Talmatch describes PMC as a “full service lunch and dinner restaurant and bar, serving exceptional homemade pastas, sandwiches, soup and of course, exotic meatballs & pizza…decorated in a warm, New England style farmhouse decor”

The 3-page draft menu (page 64) includes meatball options like duck with goat cheese and cranberries, lamb merguez with harissa sauce, and smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers.


Noah Talmatch also owns Timber, which is located immediately adjacent to PMC’s construction site.

Under Construction: 66S Fusion

July 1st, 2016

A new Asian fusion restaurant called 66S Fusion is under development at 425 Fore Street in the vacant retail space next to Gelato Fiasco. Westbrook resident and owner Jie Ming Liang describes 66S as a “Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) that will be serving Asian Fusion food with a menu consisting of Sushi, Teppanyaki Grill, Ramen Noodles and an Asian Meat Bun.” You can see a draft menu (page 101) in the material supplied by Liang with 66S’s liquor license application.


Under Construction: Bramhall

July 1st, 2016

Bramhall plans to build an 984 sq ft outdoor deck in the parking plot of their building at 769 Congress Street.

Top 50 Diners: Palace Diner

July 1st, 2016

The breakfast specialists at Extra Crispy have included Palace Diner in their list of America’s Best Diners,

…The hash brown potatoes are whole red potatoes that have been blanched, then crushed, then fried so that the skin is crispy and the interior is creamy. The locally-sourced eggs are rich and have yolks the color of saffron. Perfectly crispy strips of thick cut applewood bacon are so long that they snake around your plate (but the Taylor ham is what you really want). The toast is made from bread from local bakeries instead of packaged brands, and they serve it correctly by not stacking the pieces on top of each other so that they steam and get all soggy…

Sala Thai to Close

June 30th, 2016

The Press Herald reports that Sala Thai is scheduled to close July 16th.

According to a letter to customers posted on the doors and at the bar by owner Jiraporn Thanop, the landlord has sold the building at 1363 Washington Ave., which is near the corner of Washington and Allen avenues. The restaurant’s last day of business will be July 16.