This Week’s Events: Bitter’s Workshop, GFA Tasting, Lobster Dinner, American Sommelier Series

January 4th, 2016

TuesdayVena’s Fizz House will be teaching a bitter’s workshop.

ThursdayRising Tide is hosting a Good Food Awards tasting event, Evo is serving a 5-course lobster dinner, and the American Sommelier discovery series kick’s off with a program on sparkling wine.

SaturdayLeRoux Kitchen is holding a wine tasting, Rosemont is holding their monthly pizza night, and the Winter 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.

Under Construction: Ocho & Otto

January 3rd, 2016

Portland Magazine reports that Otto Pizza owners Michael Keon and Anthony Allen have also leased 190 State Street and plan to move Ocho Burrito into to the former Petite Jacqueline space.

…marketing manager, Eric Shepherd, confirms that OCHO…will move into Petite’s vacated space on State Street. “We realized the concept behind OCHO is probably bigger than the space it’s in now. We’d like to provide a lot more interesting ingredients, with plenty of space to eat, and a bar.”

In addition, Allen and Keon will be opening a new Otto Pizza at 250 Read Street and are working on Hero, a sandwich shop under construction at 30 City Center in the old Soaklology location.

Review of Roustabout

January 2nd, 2016

Portland magazine has reviewed Roustabout.

Fritto Misto ($13), billed as an appetizer, is a heaping plate full of goodness. Octopus, calamari, mussels, and veggies are fried to golden brown in a light batter and accompanied by smoked-pepper aioli with just the right kick.

The current issue of Portland also includes their annual look at ahead at some of the coming year’s restaurant openings and food events.

Year In Review: Best New Restaurant, Trends, Most Popular Articles and Restaurants, Obituaries

January 1st, 2016


I’ve scanned through the records for the past year and here’s my summary of the key events and trends. Perhaps I’ve just gotten acclimated to the pace, but 2015 seemed a touch less fast paced than 2014 0r 2013 had been.

  • Best New Restaurant – The Honey Paw is a shear pleasure to dine at. The excellent food crafted by a chefs who are clearly passionate about what they do, warm hospitality provided by the friendly professional staff and high energy beautiful space make it easy to select The Honey Paw as the best new restaurant of 2015.
  • Breweries/Distilleries – The brewing and distilling industries are a growing and vital part of the Portland area food community.  The city is home to 13 breweries, 3 distilleries. More are on their way. Fore River Brewing, Mast Landing Brewing, Gruit, Foulmouthed Brewing, Second Pint Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing are all under development as are Hardshore Distilling, Stroudwater Spirits and a tasting room for the Mid-coast’s Cellardoor Winery. Insert your favorite Neal Dow rolling in his grave reference here as it’s joyously well justified.
  • Washington Ave – The little in-town stretch of Washington Ave had been a bit of a backwater for many years. All that changed in 2015. Oxbow, Maine & Loire, Terlingua, Roustabout all opened. A Lively Palate, the Drifter’s Wife, a honey production facility and Hardshore Distillery are under construction and other projects are in earlier stages of development. Nearby on Congress Street Lee Farrington is opening LB Kitchen and down the hill in East Bayside I expect we’ll see continued businesses development including Lone Pine Brewing and perhaps a restaurant on the first floor of the new building on the corner of Anderson and Fox.
  • The Suburbs – restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs aren’t limiting their horizons to the Portland peninsula. As good locations in town become more scarce and their rental rates go up there’s been a renewed interest in the outer neighborhoods of Portland and the suburbs:
    • Mitchell Kaldrovitch opened MK Kitchen in Gorham
    • In Westbrook Catbird Creamery reopened, Northspore and Rosen’s moved in and Mast Landing Brewing is under development
    • Custom Deluxe, Biscuit & Co, Round Turn Distilling and Portland Pie joined the Palace Diner, Elements and Rabelais Books in Biddeford.
    • Fore River Brewing and Foulmouthed Brewing choose to locate in South Portland.
    • Scarborough has provided a home for El Rayo, Casco Bay Butter and On the Vine Market.
    • The development of Thompson Point has resulted in a flurry of announcements including a tasting room for Cellardoor, Stroudwater Spirits, The Point, The Rink and at least 2 more new businesses are expected to announce plans for Thompson’s Point in 2016.
    • I think the upcoming opening of Woodford Food & Beverage is just the first of many new restaurants we’ll see open on that stretch of outer Forest Ave in the next few years.
  • woodfordsUpcoming in 2016 – The pace of new restaurant and bar projects looks likely to continue in 2016 unabated. 30+ new ventures are already being tracked on the PFM Under Construction list and I’m aware of several other ventures in earlier stages of development. The ones I’m most looking forward to in 2016 are:
    • The Purple House – Krista Kern Desjarlais’ wood-fired bakery and cafe in North Yarmouth.
    • Scales – Sam Hayward and Dana Street’s new waterfront 145-seat “American brasserie”.
    • Rhum – a tiki bar being launched by Jason Loring and Michael Fraser with the strong team of chef Frank Anderson, front of house manager Rebecca Ambrosi and bar manager Sam Babcock.
    • Drifter’s Wife – the new natural wine bar being constructed by Maine & Loire in the front half of their retail space on Washington Ave.
    • Woodford F&B – a neighborhood restaurant under development in Woodford Square.

Notable Events of 2015

Top 10 Articles

  1. Other Side Delicatessen – first word on Pete Sultenfuss’ plans to open the Other Side Delicatessen (January 5)
  2. Woodfords F&B – details on Woodford menu and floor plan (July 17)
  3. Taco Trio in Riverton – first word on Taco Trio’s plans to open a 2nd location (June 8)
  4. The Honey Paw – opening of Honey Paw (April 15)
  5. Roustabout – first word on Roustabout (May 15)
  6. Snowmageddon – the PFM round-up of eateries open during Snowmageddon (January 17)
  7. Maine & Loire – opening announcement for Maine & Loire (January 5)
  8. Rosen’s in Westbrook – initial report on Rosen’s Deli plans to open in Westbrook (April 13)
  9. Chez Okapi – announcement that Congolese restaurant Chez Okapi is open (October 5)
  10. Petite Jacqueline – report that Petite Jacqueline is moving (July 25)

Top 25 Restaurants

  1. Isa (-)
  2. The Honey Paw (-)
  3. Terlingua (-)
  4. Sur Lie (21)
  5. Tiqa (-)
  6. Bao Bao Dumpling House (8)
  7. East Ender (18)
  8. Union (-)
  9. Evo (-)
  10. Ebb & Flow (37)
  11. Abilene (-)
  12. Tempo Dulu (-)
  13. The Treehouse (-)
  14. Central Provisions (1)
  15. Five Fifty-Five (17)
  16. Empire Chinese Kitchen (5)
  17. Piccolo (14)
  18. Lolita (6)
  19. Outliers Eatery (7)
  20. Petite Jacqueline (22)
  21. Back Bay Grill (10)
  22. ArtemisiaCafe (42)
  23. Walter’s (35)
  24. Figgy’s (-)
  25. Caiola’s (11)

The numbers in parentheses indicate their rank last year. The order of the list is determined by the number of times these restaurants were looked up on PFM during the year.


For some other perspectives on the past year see The Golden Dish, Eater Maine, Portland Phoenix and Peter Peter Portland Eater.

Here are links to the Portland Food Map year in review reports for 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Reviews: Tomaso’s Canteen & Pat’s Cafe

December 31st, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Tomaso’s Canteen,

Sangillo’s closing was a loss for the community, and Tomaso’s definitely doesn’t replace it. But in some ways that’s great. You’ll still find the affordable drinks and “beer and shot” menu, but now the space is verging on gastropub territory, with its amazing food, specialty drinks and relaxed vibe. The location is hole-in-the-wall enough to feel like a secret, but it’s right off Middle Street.

and Pat’s Meat Market & Groceria Cafe.

I also tried the chicken vegetable soup ($4.95), with shredded chunks of chicken and a rich, bright yellow stock that I found later was made at the market. It had mushrooms, carrots and pieces of turnip. It was very hot, making it a good traveling soup. So next time I want a soup to go, I’ll get some at Pat’s and I’ll be confident it will stay warm. Some of the other soups on the rotating list include beef and bean chili, cream of asparagus, curry chicken and rice, and clam and haddock chowder.

The Changing Face of Washington Ave

December 31st, 2015

The Press Herald has published a report on the fast pace of business development on Washington Ave.

In just the past year, two new restaurants have opened, as well as a beer tasting room and a wine shop. Other projects are in the works: a wine bar, a distillery, a wholesale honey production facility, and a cafe and chocolatier. Still in the rumor mill: a new juice bar and another restaurant.

Under Construction: Hardshore Distilling Co.

December 30th, 2015

Press Herald food writer Meredith Goad has written a round-up of some the more interesting new restaurants expected to open in 2016. In the mix was a brief mention of a new distillery slated for Washington Ave called Hardshore Distilling Company.

Another new distillery, Hardshore Distilling Co., is slated for Washington Avenue – they’ll be making gin to start…

Founder Jordan Milne filed for a trademark and set-up an Instagram account earlier this year.

Under Construction: Woodford Food & Beverage

December 30th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has published an update on Woodford Food & Beverage (facebook, twitter, instagram, website).

When this 85-seat American brasserie opens in early January, “comfort food to fit the stark mid-century vibe” will be in session.

“We want this to be a go-to place. Like Caiola’s or the Blue Spoon,” said Preyer, of beloved joints in Portland’s West End and Munjoy Hill. “A place where you can come in and order a burger or come to celebrate. Daring, yet simple, for a reasonable value.”

Woodford F&B hopes to open in January.

Review of Bayou Kitchen

December 30th, 2015

Run for Breakfast has reviewed Bayou Kitchen.

The regular menu has many delicious options for both breakfast and lunch (Bayou serves breakfast and lunch only) and every one I have had has been fantastic.  From prior visits I recommend trying the Veggie Homie Plate (home fries smothered with veggies and cheese), the Breakfast Sandwich (traditional style, but for a real treat, order is with the Andouille sausage), or El Rancho Verde omelet (a medley of Cajun and southwest flavor).  If you are in the mood, Bayou Kitchen’s French Toast and pancakes are large and perfectly cooked. 

Chef Summit 2016

December 29th, 2015

chefsummit2016O’Maine Studios along with a group of Maine food industry professional is organizing a Chef Summit which will take place on January 29-30 at Sunday River.

The agenda features a day of “panel presentations on strategies to grow and prosper our food and beverage industry” for industry staff on January 29th.

On Saturday January 30th the Chef Summit will  open to the general public:

  • Meet the Farmer — sample products from local farmers and food producer
  • Chef Chat — a chance to meet and speak with chefs and other industry professionals
  • Chef Summit Tasting Event — chefs from Hugo’s/Eventide/The Honey Paw, Cafe Miranda, Evo, David’s KPT, The Library and the Prostart Culinary Team.

More details on the food industry program will be released early next year. Tickets for the tasting event will go on sale soon.

Under Construction: Scales

December 29th, 2015

Uban Eye has posted an update on Scales.

Fans of old Boston institutions like Durgin Park are sure to be hooked. Pot roast, brown bread, corn bread, Parker House rolls, even oyster crackers will all be made in house. Street, a Brookline, MA native, wants to restore the “peasant style,” anything goes, community dining he grew up with at rowdy places like Durgin Park. “It’s an American brasserie,” said Street, with a “19th, 20th century Boston Seaport,” vibe.

Urban Eye reports that the owners hope to open Scales in February.

Best Beer City: Portland

December 29th, 2015

Confirming what those of us who live already knew, SmartAsset has declared Portland the Best City for Beer Drinkers.

The nation’s top beer city is Portland, Maine. The city is home to 17 microbreweries, one for every 4,000 residents – the highest per capita microbrewery rate of any U.S. city. Perhaps the most well-known of Portland’s breweries is Allagash Brewing Company, which reintroduced Belgian style brews to America in the mid-90s.

SmartAsset based the rankings on the number and per capita ratio of breweries, bars and brewpubs, the average Yelp scores for the breweries, and the average price for a pint of domestic beer.

SMCC Culinary Program

December 29th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has published an article on the SMCC Culinary Arts program.

It’s finals week at Southern Maine Community College, and students in the culinary arts kitchen are busy fricasseeing fresh rabbit harvested from Unity.

In the dining room, members of the public dig into a multicourse lunch, draining bowls of honey crisp apple and vidalia sweet onion soup. The impressive menu indicates that cider from Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner and apples from Cornish combine forces for the powerful dish.

Brunch Review of Roustabout

December 29th, 2015

The Golden Dish has posted a brunch review of Roustabout.

What you will get is a carefully thought out menu.  Don’t look, then, for other typical dishes like sausage gravy over biscuits or cracklings of bacon rashers with eggs over easy. This is, after all, brunch, the combination of morning and noontime leisurely dining where a little bit of this and that suffice.

Top 5 Cocktails: Tempo Dulu Jakarta

December 28th, 2015

Star Chefs has highlighted Tempo Dulu bartender Trevin Hutchins’s drink the Jakarta as one of their Top 5 Cocktails of 2015.