Under Construction: Hardshore Distilling Co.

October 18th, 2016

Hardshore Distilling Co. has announced they’ll be opening on Thursday October 27th.

The gin is ready and so are we! Our tasting room at 53 Washington Avenue opens Thursday, Oct. 27th at 3 PM. Come have a cocktail and snag a bottle of our inaugural batch of Original Gin.

Invite a Chef to Dinner

October 18th, 2016

The Portland Phoenix checked in with six chefs about how often they get invited over for dinner and what  happens when they are.

DT:  That is very often the case.  A typical exchange would be like this:  the husband says, “You should come over for dinner . . . when I told my wife I invited you for dinner she asked if I was crazy, he’s a chef . . . I can’t cook for him . . .”  Then the conversation changes to talking about where do you like to go out for dinner.  I tell them I really am easy to please and not to worry, but I rarely end up getting the invitation. It feels awesome to be invited for dinner.  I joke with people that it’s so nice to have someone else cook and that if they were heating up spaghetti O’s, I would be just fine.

This Week’s Events: Rob Tod, Food Business Conference, Librandi Dinner, Harvest on the Harbor, Latte Art Competition

October 17th, 2016

TuesdayMechanics Hall is holding an open house for event planners, Roustabout is serving a Harvest Moon Dinner, and Allagash founder Rob Tod will be speaking at One Longfellow.

Wednesday — the Maine Food Means Business conference is taking place in Freeport, special guest Paolo Librandi will be at Piccolo for a 5-course Librandi Calabrian wine dinner, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — it’s the first day of Harvest on the Harbor, Coffee by Design is hosting a barista latte art competition at their Diamond Street cafe, 19 Gneiss beers will be on tap at Slab, there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, and the Portland Farmers’ Market and The Bearded Lady are collaborating on the Agricultural Gems Pop-up.

Saturday — David’s Opus Ten is kicking off a Saturday Supper prix fixe dinner series, Ned Swain from Devenish Wines is teaching a Tuscan Sangiovese wine seminar at Rossobianco, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — it’s the last day of Harvest on the Harbor.

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: Saltwater Grille, Vientiane, Terra Cotta, Rosie’s

October 16th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has  reviewed the Saltwater Grille in South Portland,

The mismatch in quality between the food and the setting is stark, but you can see flashes of genuine potential when you taste the tweaks McGuirk has managed to slip in, like a sharp and mustardy malt aioli that accompanies an otherwise one-note calamari dish. Or a crisp, crunchy, turmeric-flavored Guinness-and-panko breading on the fried haddock – the only good component of the shore dinner. Best of all is his take on seafood pappardelle, with plenty of lobster and a sauce that infuses every noodle with savory chorizo flavor. Saltwater Grille has all the pieces in place to make it the kind of restaurant where, even on a gray evening with fog obscuring the view, both locals and tourists would be happy to eat. But to get there and join the ranks of the region’s better restaurants, it needs to give itself permission to change.

the Press Herald has reviewed Vientiane

When I went for lunch on a recent weekday I got an order of pad see ew ($8.59). It was a flat noodle stir fry dish with scrambled egg, chicken, broccoli, mushroom and bok choy in a sweet Thai soy sauce. The portion was just about big enough for two lunches, though I ate more than half at my first sitting. The noodles were wide and thick, almost like mini lasagna noodles. The sauce was not too sweet and let the flavor of the broccoli and bok choy shine through. It was a nice change from pad Thai, though I love a good pad Thai.

and the Terra Cotta Pasta Company in South Portland,

If calories and nutrition weren’t a consideration, I could probably eat one of these every single day. In fact, my love for this sandwich is so powerful, it’s rare I try anything else from the Terra Cotta menu, but I can tell you that the Sicilian-style slab pizza ($3.50 per slab) is pure magic, as is the Stromboli ($7.99, there’s a daily meat and vegetable offering). If you order the Stromboli, you can either hang out and chat for the 15 or so minutes it takes to heat up or bring it home and warm it there. Either way, you win.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Rosie’s.

Rosie’s offers something you can only find at dive bars – an atmosphere where anything goes as long as you’re not causing a problem; where the food is always good, occasionally very good, and rarely great; and where you can get served with hardly any green in your pockets. I drink there more than I eat there, but when I do either, I always leave happy and feeling like I got more than I paid for. It’s a place where just about anybody can go and have the same experience.

Under Construction: Blue Lobster Urban Winery

October 15th, 2016

We first heard word of a new business called Blue Lobster Urban Winery back in 2012 when owners Chris Gamble and Karen Rasmussen applied for a liquor license for 61 India Street. That space would later be turned in to Foodworks and news of Blue Lobster went quiet. At the time Gamble gave an interview to the Press Herald explaining that “his business plan calls for grapes to be imported from California vineyards to his winery in Portland, where they will be de-stemmed, crushed and fermented before the wine is put into oak barrels to age.”

Then in January 2014 I heard that the project was back on track and the owners were hoping to open later that year.

Some projects take longer than others and that’s clearly the case with BLUW, but they have been issued a wine producer and blender license from the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and have leased space in East Bayside so hopefully we’ll seem them in business in the coming year.

Sugarbird→Tandem Truck

October 14th, 2016

Tandem Coffee has bought the Sugarbird Coffee food truck. Tandem owners Will and Kathleen Pratt plan to rebrand the truck and use it for extending Tandem’s reach at events and for catering. Baker Briana Holt may develop some special baked goods that are available only on the truck.

Sugarbird Coffee’s founder Justin DeWalt has taken a new position as the director of wine sales at Chartrand Imports in Rockland.

Portland Meatball Co. Opening Today

October 13th, 2016


The Portland Meatball Co. is scheduled to open today. The restaurant is located 104 Exchange Street in the space formerly occupied by Pierre’s on Exchange. PMC is run by Noah Talmatch who also owns Timber steakhouse.

The menu includes a variety of salads, sandwiches, soups, pizza as well as a design your own pasta and meatball dish option.

Under Construction: 123 Washington Ave

October 13th, 2016

The Bangor Daily News reports that Maine Craft Distilling and Island Creek Oysters may be moving into the Creighton & Sons building at 123 Washington Ave.

On Tuesday, commercial real estate developer Jed Harris, who has had the Creighton & Sons, Inc. building at 123 Washington Ave. under contract since August, announced two tenants have signed a letter of intent to move in: Maine Craft Distilling and Island Creek Oysters. There is a third space that is being eyed by a local restaurateur.

Santo “Sam” DiPietro, 81

October 12th, 2016

Santo “Sam” DiPietro passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. He founded DiPietro’s Market in South Portland in 1972. Read more about DiPietro in this article and the obituary.

In 1972, Sam and Helen, along with their children, embarked on a new business venture opening DiPietro’s Market in South Portland — even today a landmark on Cottage Road. Soon after, Sam worked to co-found The Boys and Girls Club in South Portland, which was among Sam’s proudest achievements. Ever civic-minded, this was Sam’s opportunity to provide for South Portland the same opportunities he experienced as a boy.

Signature Dishes & Maine Almond Milk

October 12th, 2016

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald talks with chefs about those dishes on the menu that are so popular that they take on a life of their own and can’t be removed from the menu.

Does Bruce Springsteen ever get sick of singing “Born to Run?” Does Michael Phelps ever tire of swimming the butterfly? How many times have fans asked Robert De Niro, “You talkin’ to me?” Chefs also have their greatest hits, in the form of dishes their customers just can’t say goodbye to. Chefs are a creative bunch, and it may pain them to serve an unchallenging dish they could make with their eyes closed. But sometimes they have to because the public clamors for it.

and an article about the options for Maine made plant-based milks.

Mainers like me who drink plant-based milks now have three locally made options. Two startup almond milk makers have set up shop in Portland, and the state’s Rockport-based tofu maker is relaunching its bottled soy milk. Another such enterprise, from Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy, has been suspended, but the company has expressed interest in getting back into the market.

Restaurants Against the Minimum Wage Increase

October 12th, 2016

The Bangor Daily News has published a list of Maine restaurants that have donated money to the campaign to defeat Question #4 which would raise the minimum wage, including the hourly rate for tipped employees.


Under Construction: Jager (Updated)

October 11th, 2016

jager_logoA new German pub called Jager (instagram, twitter, facebook) is under development, and is slated for a 1,000 sq ft space at 1 Wharf Street.

Update: City records seem to indicate Jager will be located at 41 Wharf Street.

This Week’s Events: Meat Hook, Natural Wine Dinner, Cru Night, Winery Guild, Harvest Dinner

October 10th, 2016


Monday — Brooklyn-based butcher shop The Meat Hook is holding a pop-up dinner at Oxbow in collaboration with Drifters Wife, and the Hunt & Alpine Club is hosting a Clement ‘Ti Punch happy hour.

TuesdayRossobianco is hosting an Italian natural wine dinner, and Sea Glass is holding a Cellardoor wine dinner.

Wednesday — The Cooperative Extension is teaching a class on Cooking for Crowds, Solo Italiano is participating in Cru Night, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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

Saturday — the Maine Winery Guild is holding a pair of events featuring wines from 13 producers, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayUnion restaurant is serving a Harvest Dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Farm.

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: Drifters, Rhum, Schulte & Herr, Big J’s, Red Sea

October 9th, 2016

The Press Herald has reviewed Big J’s,

I’ll just come right out and say it: Big J’s Chicken Shack on Thompson’s Point is one of the best casual spots to open in Portland in a long time.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Drifters Wife,

Jackson prepares much more modestly-priced fare tantamount to an artist’s easel of ingredients meant to tease and please with unusual combinations. Again consider the aforementioned radicchio salad, splayed on a bed of Jacob’s cattle beans—a true Maine bean—and its bold splash of  bacon vinaigrette that’s made with the rendered fat emulsified into Jackson’s homemade apple cider vinegar. Topped with a boiled egg, it’s a godly good plate of radicchio like you’ve rarely had elsewhere.

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Rhum,

Walking into Rhum is like being transported into a vibrant, tropical fantasy. The large bar has ample seating. There are bright colors and grass accents a plenty. There are tables for groups and cozy rounded booths for larger parties. Lighting is a bit dim, but that only adds to the island feel of entering a shady, cool place as a respite from the sun.

The Bollard has reviewed Schulte & Herr,

Case in point: the schweineschnitzel ($18), a tender pork loin pounded thin and breaded. The earthy brown gravy adds complexity — flavors of meaty mushroom and red wine — but doesn’t weigh the dish down. In a portion of accompanying gratin, the potatoes were thin and perfectly cooked, laced with cream. The dish is robust, autumnal and hearty, but not overly rich or heavy.

Portland Magazine has reviewed Red Sea, and The 207 Foodie has posted a run down on a few options for wings in Portland.

Interview with Peter Bissell

October 8th, 2016

Great Beer Adventure has published an interview with Peter Bissell, co-founder of Bissell Brothers.

Peter and his brother Noah have come a long since first opening Bissell Brothers at 1 Industrial Way. They’ve relocated to Thompson’s Point and…But locations aren’t all that have changed for Peter and his brother. Their relationship had to evolve and be reshaped during the 2 year process of getting their brewery up and running. Peter goes in depth on what it takes to handle the stresses of opening a brewery while learning to accept a new concept of his brother and a new concept of himself as well.