Writing a Wine List & Local Market Resurgence

February 15th, 2017

Today’s Press Herald includes the second installment in a series by Stella Hernandez on managing a wine list at Lolita,

Putting together our wine list for Lolita was the closest I’ve come to understanding what writers do. It’s less mechanical than you’d think. You have to choose your story line, craft that story, and then there’s the continual editing process. When I gave my first draft to a friend to review, I felt as if I were handing off my first novel. I had handed over something very personal.

and an article about the resurgence of local markets in Portland.

Now the Portland area is experiencing another little growth spurt. In December, Andrew and Briana Volk, owners of the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, opened Little Giant, an upscale market in Portland’s West End that will complement the restaurant they plan to open next door. Just a couple of weeks ago, Pete Sueltenfuss opened a second Otherside location in the West End. And Joe Fournier, who worked at Rosemont for six years before becoming a partner in The Farm Stand, plans to open his own neighborhood grocery, A&C, on Washington Avenue sometime next week.

Beard House Dinners by Chefs Ginn & Berry

February 15th, 2017

Chefs Matt Ginn from Evo and Josh Berry from Union are scheduled to cook dinners at the James Beard House in NYC next month. The menus for both dinners are online and reservations being taken via OpenTable:

Trattoria Fanny Now Open

February 14th, 2017

Trattoria Fanny, David Levi’s new restaurant in Bramhall Square, has opened, according to a report from the Press Herald.

The restaurant’s chef is Siddharta Rumma, whose family had a restaurant in Italy. Rumma has also worked at The Corner Room in Portland, and he helped open Eataly Boston.

Here’s a link to the menu on Facebook.

Barista Competition: Milo DeGoosh

February 13th, 2017

Bard Coffee barista, Milo DeGoosh, was successful at the Qualifying Competition in Austin this weekend and has earned a coveted spot at the U.S. Barista Competition taking place in Seattle, April 21-23.

This Week’s Events: Beard Semifinalists, Valentine’s Day, Edible Landscapes, Hardshore Distilling

February 13th, 2017

Tuesday – It’s Valentine’s Day, and there will be a lecture on Edible Landscapes at the Maine Historical Society.

Wednesday – the James Beard Foundation is scheduled to release this year’s awards semifinalists, we’ll be posting the full list of nominees as soon as they’re announced; Drifters Wife is celebrating their 1-year anniversary.

Thursday – the Portland Spirits Society is holding a women’s only tasting event at Hardshore Distilling.

FridayRosemont is holding a wine tasting at their Munjoy Hill location, and it’s the first day of Flavors of Freeport.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – there will be a Haley Henry pop-up at Little Giant.

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: Schulte & Herr, Izakaya Minato, Bearded Lady, Salty Sally’s, Elsemere

February 12th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Schulte & Herr,

Schulte & Herr, a cozy German restaurant in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood, knows a thing or two about defying expectations. Since opening in 2011, it remains steadfastly without a liquor license. Co-owners Steffi Davin and her husband, chef Brian Davin, instead seem (for the moment, at least) content to pin their success on homey atmosphere and the remarkable quality of their food. Everything pivots around traditional German favorites, from unexpectedly crisp and light pork schnitzel to hearty sauerbraten…

the Press Herald has reviewed Izakaya Minato and The Bearded Lady,

Not Izakaya Minato. And it’s no surprise. You couldn’t come up with a concept that would appeal more to Portlanders right now. Izakaya is a Japanese portmanteau that translates to “stay sake shop,” meaning a place you can buy sake and also drink it. It’s evolved into the Japanese version of a gastropub and, yes, it’s mostly about the food – shareable smallish plates, including salads, soup, sashimi and some hot stuff.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Salty Sally’s and Elsemere.

The food was good – not fine dining, but high quality, well executed, and mildly inventive. The casual, relaxed atmosphere seemed amply suited for drinks, a meal, or both.

Maria’s Ristorante

February 11th, 2017

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about Maria’s on Cumberland Ave.

In restaurant-rich Portland, what’s immediately noticeable about Maria’s Restaurant is what isn’t there. The now-familiar buzz that newish city bistros radiate. The staccato of cocktail shakers, or eclectic soundtracks piped from hidden speakers.

Fyood Kitchen Kickstarter Success

February 10th, 2017

Fyood Kitchen has succeeded in meeting their $16.1k goal on Kickstarter with time to spare.

Fyood Kitchen operates a “cooking competition that challenges teams to transform mystery ingredients into creative dishes without recipes” at Fork Food Lab.

Stella Hernandez on Wine Hospitality

February 9th, 2017

Lolita co-owner Stella Hernandez has written the first of a 2-part series for the Press Herald about her approach to hospitality and wine.

As I head into the 11th year of owning my own restaurant (and more before that as a server), creating wine lists and serving wine to countless people, I’m starting to get more comfortable with the idea of being a sommelier. But on my own terms.

Under Construction: Cafe Crepe

February 9th, 2017

The Press Herald reports that Cafe Crepe is taking over the Public Market House space vacated by K. Hortons.

Lauren Brinkmann, owner of Café Crêpe in the Freeport Public Market, said she has considered opening a second location in the Public Market House three times, but she had hoped for a first-floor space. When the K. Horton’s spot opened up, she said, she jumped on it.

Under Construction: Conley Leases 428 Forest Ave

February 7th, 2017

Chad Conley, co-owner of Palace Diner, has leased the former Brea Lu Cafe space at 428 Forest Ave where he plans to open a new restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. This new venture will serve a different menu from Palace Diner.

The building was the scene of a fire a year ago that displaced Brea Lu and other residents. It’s in the early stages of construction right now, and Conley hopes to open the restaurant this summer.

New Owners for Howie’s

February 7th, 2017

MaineBiz has published an article about the new owners of Howie’s Pub.

Joseph Hardy and Adam Moore, under the name Highlife LLC, bought the neighborhood Howie’s Pub, at 501 Washington Ave. in the East Deering neighborhood, from long-time owner Howie Chadbourne for $320,000, in a deal that closed Jan. 10.

This Week’s Events: Just Eat It, Bourbon Tasting, Sausuga Release

February 6th, 2017

Tuesday – there will be a screening of Just Eat It at the Maine Historical Society as part of the New England Foodscapes Series.

WednesdayStroudwater is hosting an event with food from Nosh and the Marshmallow Cart at their distillery on Thompson’s Point.

Friday – Oxbow is holding a bottle release for Sausuga, there will be a bourbon tasting at Tiqa, a Winter Graze dinner is taking place in Yarmouth, and Rosemont is holding a wine tasting at their store on Brighton.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market  is taking place, as is a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen.

Sunday – The PSO is hosting the next edition of Symphony & Spirits at Sonny’s.

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: Portland Meatball Co, Izakaya Minato, Big Fin Poke

February 5th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Portland Meatball Company,

The salads, like nearly everything I ate at Portland Meatball Company, seemed to have been rushed out of the kitchen, unexamined and, more importantly, untasted. Yet rather than focus on badly needed quality control for the restaurant’s few remaining customers, the kitchen staff wandered distractedly in and out of the desolate dining room throughout both of my visits, until inevitably declaring the restaurant closed more than an hour early.

The golden Dish has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

When we arrived two local restaurateurs I know were leaving and both recommended the pork belly. Spot on. What came out was a hearty bowl of braised pork belly ( buta no kakuni) stewed in mirin and soy—a pan-regional stew of this texturally unctuous meat: sweet, fatty, tender.

and both The Blueberry Files and Peter Peter Portland Eater have reviewed Big Fin Poké.

I often complain about going to Westbrook, not for any particular reason other than Portland-centrism and that I always manage to get lost whenever I attempt to navigate to or through our neighboring city to the west. But add Big Fin Poké to the small, but growing, list of things I’ll happily (ok, begrudgingly) travel to Westbrook for.

Under Construction: A & C Grocery

February 3rd, 2017

Urban Eye has posted an update on the A & C Grocery under construction on Washington Ave.

After nine years in the grocery business — he worked at Rosemont Market and was a founding partner at The Farm Stand in South Portland — he is ready to go out on his own with A & C Grocery. “I’ve been thinking about this concept for years,” said Fournier, who plans to open in two and a half weeks.

A & C Grocery (website, facebook), a “neighborhood one-stop grocery shop” is under construction at 131 Washington Ave.