Mirabelle House (Updated)

September 2nd, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has a report on Mirabelle House Culinary Vacations, a house in Falmouth that is home to a “full immersion into the Portland foodie and culinary scene”.

Daylong and evening classes are expected to attract local participants from Maine and New England. Though bookings have not yet begun, the concept is designed for “people who have a solid foundation in cooking already and want to go to the next level and have a one on one experience with the chefs,” Howland said, adding that kids classes will be added if there is a demand.

Update: The Portland Phoenix has also published an article about the culinary retreat.

Kramer Cookery Collection Goes to Bowdoin (Updated)

September 1st, 2015

Rabelais Books and Bowdoin College announced today the acquisition by the college of The Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery—more than 700 titles spanning from the Colonial Era to the 1960s.

Rabelais is very pleased to have placed the cookbook collection of Clifford Apgar with the Bowdoin College Library. The placement was made possible through a donation to the College by Esta Kramer, and to honor that generosity the college has named it The Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery. For the first time, there is an important resource for the history of American cookery in the State of Maine. It’s only fitting that a state with such a long history of food production, and with an exciting current dining scene, should also have the materials for students and scholars.

According to the release from Rabelais, the collection,

…contains more than seven hundred culinary titles, from the Colonial Era through 1900, but a selection of important works from 1900 until 1960 – the year of the publication of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking – is also integrated. Beyond cooking, the collection illuminates the development of American culture, encompassing American social movements and historical events.

Update: The Press Herald has published a front-page article on the Kramer Collection.

Top 10 for August 2015

September 1st, 2015

The 10 restaurants PFM readers looked up most often last month were:

  1. Terlingua (4)
  2. Crooners & Cocktails (7)
  3. The Honey Paw (2)
  4. Boone’s (41)
  5. Isa (5)
  6. Tempo Dulu (1)
  7. Old Port Sea Grill (>50)
  8. Evo (3)
  9. Ebb & Flow (6)
  10. Central Provisions (25)

The numbers in parentheses indicates their rank last month.

El Rayo in Portland (Updated)

September 1st, 2015

Today’s Press Herald has a report on plans for a five-story building planned for the corner of High and York Streets—the current location of El Rayo.

The one-level structure that currently houses El Rayo, a traditional Mexican cantina, and the adjacent building that once housed the El Rayo Cantina will be torn down to make way for the new development, according to Veroneau.

“We don’t know at this point but certainly if El Rayo wants to be part of the project we’d love to have them,” Veroneau said.

El Rayo’s owners did not respond to several attempts to reach them Monday.

According to Facebook post on Sunday by Eat Maine, El Rayo is “closing for good at the end of September“.

Update: El Rayo has put out a press release confirming that they’ll be closing their York Street location at the end of September and will be holding a “Farewell Fiesta” on September 26th and 27th.

2nd Update: the Bangor Daily News has published an article about the transition of this space as well.

This Week’s Events: Filipino Dinner, Bissell Reciprocal, Flea Bites

August 31st, 2015

Monday — chefs Yana Gilbuena from the Salo Series and Dave Mallari from The Sinful Kitchen are collaborating on a Filipino pop-up dinner.

Tuesday — The Otherside Delicatessen is holding a wine tasting.

Wednesday — it’s the release day for Bissell Brothers Reciprocal, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Friday — the summer’s last Flea Bites food truck gathering in West Bayside is taking place as is a wine tasting at the West End Deli.

Saturday — the Hunt & Alpine Club is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary, 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.

Missing Maine Mussels

August 30th, 2015

Today’s Sunday Telegram explores the significant population decline of wild Maine mussels.

Scientists and environmentalists are working to find out why the once plentiful ‘people’s seafood’ has practically vanished from our rocky shores.

2 Star Review of the Old Port Sea Grill

August 30th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Old Port Sea Grill.

The Old Port Grill has at least three things going for it: a prime location in the shadow of the U.S. Custom House, a fine fish sandwich at lunchtime, and that delicious salmon spread at dinner. But walk into this seafood restaurant with high hopes of a great meal and you’re likely to head home with a sinking feeling.

Reviews: Terlingua, Central Provisions, Piccolo

August 29th, 2015

Portland Magazine has reviewed Terlingua,

Though not specifically a barbecue joint, (Terlingua bills itself as “boutique barbecue”), the house-smoked meats–daily preparations listed on a board at the bar–offer some mighty fine fare along those lines. Crossed off a second after we order, our St. Louis ribs appear, perfectly blackened on big bones ($14/$21). With these tender beasts are savory sauces (spicy vinegar and sweet-and-smoky), slices of ripe watermelon, a tangy mixture of house-pickled vegetables, and grilled pita bread.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Central Provisions,

Ending with a hot dish of seared wild black bass a la plancha, a festive and generous dish of white fish seared fast and furiously to retain moistness and flakiness.  Spread alongside was the sweet-sour fig agrodolce and batons of king oyster mushrooms, all of which was so right.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Piccolo.

Their small but unique menu gave us a different take on Italian. Their cozy restaurant is a little tight, but definitely well placed. Their service staff was prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable. Add this one to your list when you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, when you feel like every day is exactly the same, and you want to branch out and feel alive in the superunknown.

Under Construction: Veranda Thai

August 28th, 2015

The Press Herald reports that the owners of Veranda Thai have leased the former Salt Exchange space on Commercial Street.

It’s unclear whether the owners of Veranda Thai and Veranda Noodle Bar, located across the street from each other on Portland’s Veranda Street, are opening a third restaurant also named Veranda Thai, or just moving the Veranda Thai at 9 Veranda St. to a new location.

Ocho Burrito Now Open

August 27th, 2015

ochoburritoOcho Burrito (website, twitter, instagram) is now open for business. Ocho is owned by Mike Keon and Anthony Allen who also run Otto Pizza. There were 4 options on the menu from yesterday’s test run: Braised Beef, Moroccan Chicken, Curried Cauliflower and The Classic.

Ocho is located at 654 Congress Street, adjacent to Blue.

Reviews: Isa and Ebb & Flow

August 27th, 2015

Maine a la Carte has  reviewed Isa,

Entrees at Isa range from $15-22. My friend had the monkfish succotash and I had the pork chop with braised kale and green lentils, both $22 entrees. The pork chop was incredibly juicy and tender – one of the best I’ve had.

and the Press Herald has published a bar review of Ebb & Flow.

Ebb & Flow is a dazzling Mediterranean-inspired restaurant & bar in Portland’s Old Port. The bar area can easily seat about 50 people, not including standing room, and the bar itself is designed with plenty of room for patrons to enjoy a full meal, or a few drinks.


August 26th, 2015

An article on Eater Maine earlier this week brought attention to an online advertisement for a “thriving restaurant” in the 04102 area code. Due to the location and building description rumors had begun to spread online and off that Caiola’s was for sale or possibly was going to close.

I talked this morning with Caiola’s co-owner Lisa Vacarro and she cleared up that there are no plans to close the restaurant. However, they are open to selling the restaurant/building and are cautiously considering the possibilities. A couple of local restaurateurs have expressed interest but there’s no firm plans at this time.

211 Danforth

August 26th, 2015

The former Vespucci’s space at 211 Danforth has been under construction for sometime. It was slated to become a new restaurant named Blackbird. Owner Keith Hickman has decided to shelve the Blackbird project and will instead be leasing 211 Danforth out.

There are a number of chefs and food retail entrepreneurs currently searching for space for their projects so it has the potential to  find a new occupant rather quickly.

Tempo Dulu

August 26th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News  has published a profile of Tempo Dulu, the new restaurant located in the Danforth Inn.

It begins with the bread basket, or lack thereof. Instead of rolls and butter, pastel lobster rice crackers — think shrimp crackers but with lobster flavor — with nutty hot sauce arrive on the white-clothed table to coax your taste buds into a new rhythm, the lively sway of Portland’s new restaurant Tempo Dulu.

This Week’s Events: Seaweed Festival, Sinskey Vineyards Dinner, Brett Camp, Grand Slam Dinner

August 24th, 2015

MondayBaxter Brewing is holding their Grand Slam beer dinner at Hadlock Field.

Tuesday — Rising Tide is hosting a Summer Block Party in East Bayside.

WednesdayBlack Tie is serving a farm dinner in New Gloucester, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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

Saturday — the 2nd Annual Maine Seaweed Festival and dinner is taking place in South Portland, Rosemont is collaborating with Robert Sinskey Vineyards on a wine dinner on Great Diamond Island, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayBrett Camp is taking place at Austin Street Brewery.

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.

Down East: Tempo Dulu, Island Eats

August 23rd, 2015

sept2015downeastThe September issue of Down East includes:

  • A review of Tempo Dulu, “The main course of the tasting menu is presented family style, and the dishes – delicate banana-leaf steamed halibut, the smokey wok-chared squid, deeply spiced and sweet Beef Rendang Padang and exquisite medallions of Sumatra lamb in a complex curry – quickly cover the surface of the table-top food warmer.”
  • A guide to island eats on Peaks, Chebeague and Great Diamond island.

Food & Wine: Cara Stadler, Oxbow Brewing

August 22nd, 2015

fandwsept2015In the September issue of Food & Wine you’ll find:

  • A step-by-step dumpling tutorial produced in collaboration with chef Cara Stadler from Bao Bao Dumpling House and Tao Yuan. (page 95)
  • Oxbow’s newish Portland tasting room gets a plug in an article about artisanal American brewers. (page 40)

Filipino Pop-up Dinner

August 22nd, 2015

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on Filipino chef Yana Gilbuena and the pop-up dinner she’s holding later this month in collaboration with Dave Mallari, chef/owner of The Sinful Kitchen.


Indie Biz Awards: Nominations

August 21st, 2015

Nominations for this year’s Buy Local Indie Biz Awards are now open. You can submit the names of local businesses in any or all of the 9 categories:

  • Portland Icon
  • Best New Business
  • Creative Crusader
  • Environmental Hero
  • Portland’s Best Kept Secret
  • Flavor of Portland
  • Out of Sight, Not out of Mind
  • Portland Beacon
  • Best Neighborhood

Nominations will close on September 2nd and after the final voting takes place the winners will be announced in late October.

Interview with Rob Tod

August 21st, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Rob Tod, owner of Allagash.

Q: What attracted you to beer brewing?
It combined everything I loved. It had a bit of science, biology and chemical reactions and it had a big creative component with recipe-writing and a mechanical component with pipes and wiring and valves. It wrapped up everything I loved in one nice package and on top of it all, it was beer.