Reviews: Chaval, Cheevitdee, Linda Kate, Cong Tu Bot

November 5th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Chaval,

Chaval, Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti’s new French-and-Spanish-inspired restaurant, is a delight. Sansonetti, the savory chef, has built a menu of rock-solid versions of Gallic and Iberian classics, like pa amb tomaquet (tomato bread), yieldingly tender duck confit on Puy lentils ($24) and some of the best pork terrine in North America. On the sweet side, Lopez, who this year was a James Beard Award semifinalist, serves her famous churros with chocolate sauce and sugar ($8), as well as more fanciful desserts like Bee’s Knees, a bombe Alaska made with lemon curd, soft meringue and Barr Hill gin-soaked vanilla cake.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Cheevitdee,

Cheevitdee’s menu isn’t for everyone, but it’s also not reserved solely for health-conscious diners looking for a night out on the town — this is not “diet Thai.” What it is has yet to be fully clarified or realized, but with bright flavors and an approachable atmosphere, this is a restaurant that may well come into its own over time.

Down East has reviewed Cong Tu Bot, and

Cong Tu Bot takes that traditional street fare and gives each dish a unique spin. The bún chá, one of four noodle offerings on the menu, is a perfect example: Dobui takes the Hanoi specialty of cold rice noodles and grilled pork and augments it with ground pork patties, smoky bacon, burnt caramel, and rich, earthy mushroom powder, seasoning it with fish sauce, garlic, shallots, and sugar. Charred bits from the patties enhance the thin but intense broth, which is finished with a dab of schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and served with a side of cucumber, shiso leaf, mint, and lettuce.

the Portland Press Herald has reviewed Linda Kate.

The roll was brioche and evenly browned, the meat piled high and dressed lightly in a citrus basil mayonnaise, with a dusting of minced fresh herbs on top, maybe parsley, possibly basil. Whatever it was, it didn’t interfere with the delicate flavor of the meat. This was a better lobster roll than I’ve had in some famed Portland restaurants. I didn’t love the shaved lettuce below the meat; it teamed up with the crumb of the brioche to seem slightly dry. This is a personal preference, though. In my kitchen, I’d never put lettuce on a lobster roll. Also, my own jury is out on brioche as a cradle for lobster; sometimes I think it sounds better on paper than it tastes.

Female Beer Brewers

November 5th, 2017

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram has an article about the small but growing number of female beer brewers in Maine.

The state’s thriving beer industry mirrors national trends in which female brewers are a distinct minority. But as more women develop a taste for the product, the boys’ club door has been swinging open.

The article indicate that Shonee Strickland will be the head brewer at Brickyard Hollow Brewing Company when it opens in Yarmouth.

Under Construction: Stars and Stripes Brewing

November 4th, 2017

A new brewery called Stars and Stripes Brewing Co. (website, facebook, instagram) is under development in the Portland area. Owner Brad Nadeau is a retired Marine. He plans to donate a percentage of proceeds to veteran related organizations and families.

Nadeau plans to open sometime this Winter.

Under Construction: Sagamore Hill Lounge

November 3rd, 2017

Sagamore Hill Lounge, a new “high-end cocktail with outdoor, seasonal, sidewalk seating,” is under construction in the lobby of the Lafayette Building at the corner of Congress and Park Streets.

Owners Ryan Deskins and Michael Savona hail from Newton, Pennsylvania. They hope to open Sagamore Hill in April.

Under Construction: Lena’s

November 3rd, 2017

The Portland Pottery Cafe has applied for a liquor license. They plan on adding dinner hours when they’ll operate under the name Lena’s and serve an Italian menu. You can see a draft menu for Lena’s on page 72 of Monday’s City Council packet.

Under Construction: Blue Lobster Tasting Room

November 3rd, 2017

Blue Lobster Wine Co. (facebook, website, instagram) launched their wholesale business in September and is now planning to open a tasting room at their location at 219 Anderson Street.

Under Construction: The Tasting Room

November 3rd, 2017

Bow Street Distributing has purchased 495 Forest Ave where they plan to open The Tasting Room. They plan to use for “beer, wine and liquor tastings and trainings”.

Don’s Lunch Moving

November 2nd, 2017

The American Journal reports that Westbrook-based food truck, Don’s Lunch, is in search of a new location.

The van, which doesn’t roll out at the end of each day, has been stationed in various Westbrook locations over the years, including Cavallaro’s Auto Repair, Bernie’s Auto and Friendly Gas. Bernier said he’s looking for a new location on a main road with good visibility.

Maine Food Sovreignty Law

November 2nd, 2017

The Press Herald has published an article about The new and revised food sovereignty law,

“People can have an idea and try it out in their home kitchen or on their farm,” said Heather Retberg at Quill’s End Farm in Penobscot, a Maine food advocate. “I have apples on my trees; I am now able to can and sell applesauce. Or my neighbor’s been coming here for years and saying, ‘Oh, I really love that goat cheese you make; can you sell it to me?’ and people have had to say no, and now they can say yes.”

Portland Beer Week

October 31st, 2017

Portland Beer Week kicks-off on Sunday. The full schedule more than 50 tap takeovers, lectures, beer dinners, and tours.

It would be close to impossible to get to them all so I’ve made a short list of the ones I’m most interested in getting to:

  • Blind IPA Tasting on Sunday at The Thirsty Pig
  • Early History of Maine Beer Lecture on Monday at The Great Lost Bear
  • Silence of the Lambics on Tuesday at Novare Res
  • Cookie and Beer Pairing on Wednesday at The Thirsty Pig
  • Allagash Mystery Beer Night on Tursday at The Great Lost Bear
  • Goodfire Brewing Launch on Thursday at The Thirsty Pig
  • Oxbozakaya on Thursday at Pai Men
  • Austin Street Beer Dinner on Thursday at Terlingua
  • From There to Here on Friday at Slab
  • Where the Wild Biers are on Saturday at Novare Res
  • Zymurgy Home Brew Tour on Sunday with the Maine Brew Bus
  • Freshman Orientation on Sunday at Bayside Bowl

This Week’s Events: Food Stories, Nonesuch River, Portland Beer Week, In Search of Israeli Cuisine

October 30th, 2017

Monday – Meghan and Phil Gaven from The Honey Exchange will be interviewed on WMPG’s Food Stories radio program.

WednesdayBrowne Trading is hold a wine tasting, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – there will be a cider tasting at the Public Market House, and The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing Nonesuch River Brewing.

Friday – there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont on Brighton.

Saturday – the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – it’s the first day of Portland Beer Week, you can review the full schedule on There will be a screening of In Search of Isreali Cuisine at the Jewish Community Center.

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, please provide details as a comment to this post.

Reviews: Lazzari, Yobo, Bolster Snow, Scratch Toast Bar, The Treehouse, Cong Tu Bot

October 29th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Lazzari,

The pizzas he creates in the copper-clad monster Le Panyol oven at the rear of the restaurant are excellent, with a lightly charred, gorgeously blistered crust and toppings that are – whenever possible – roasted in the fiercely hot wood-fired oven. His crowning achievement isn’t pizza, though. It’s his meatballs, served with a ladling of fresh marinara, a rough scoop of black-pepper-dusted housemade ricotta, and a slice of the bread he bakes himself…

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Yobo,

While Yobo is good at the light and bright, it’s just as good at the rich and hearty. A chicken confit, first braised then fried and coated in red chili paste, was double-rich and beyond tender. Potstickers are done in a thick, homemade-country style. The mung bean pancake combines the earthy and sweet, the garlicky and sour. Bi bim bap eschews crunchy vegetables for a version that is heartier, with wilted leaves mixing in among the yolk, sauce, crispy rice and tender seared beef.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Scratch Toast Bar,

What you get here is a line-up of toasts that come with various spreads…On my first visit I thoroughly enjoyed the cheese toast. I was expecting a glorified grilled cheese sandwich but was taken away instead by the house-made pumpkin enriched ricotta spread on a multi-grain sprouted bread. It was lightly toasted and the ricotta, laced with honey, was beautifully made.

Portland Magazine has reviewed Bolster Snow, and

We’re even more wowed by the day’s catch—sea bass on our visit—served as a whole, pan-seared filet in a sauce containing earthy chanterelles, pickled raisins, and subtle curry oil ($30). The fish is tender and sweet, and the skin crackles. Accompanying florets of cauliflower will convert even the staunchest non-believer.

the Portland Press Herald has reviewed The Treehouse.

A great place to go for whimsical ambiance; get there soon before the weather chills too much to enjoy that patio.

Also this week, Down East published a review of Cong Tu Bot. The article isn’t online yet, but the magazine is available at your local newsstand.

Allan Kellis, 68

October 27th, 2017

Allan Kellis, co-owner of The Holy Donut, passed away earlier this week at the age of 68, reports the Press Herald.

Soon after Leigh Kellis started making doughnuts in her kitchen in 2011, her father, Allan Kellis, jumped in to help.

He would show up at 6 every morning to make deliveries to coffee shops and retailers like Coffee by Design and Whole Foods. For the next five months, he delivered doughnuts and worked tirelessly to help his daughter grow the wholesale business and secure a retail space.

Under Construction: Highroller Lobster Co.

October 27th, 2017

Highroller Lobster Company has announced plans to open a brick and mortar restaurant. The restaurant will be located at 104 Exchange Street in the former Portland Meatball Company space.

Owners Baxter Key and Andy Gerry launched their first food cart in June 2015. They’ve been a fixture at tasting rooms in the Portland area and have added a second cart on Commercial Street. Key and Gerry are working with Peter Bissell on this project to as they put it “make this place SLAP!”

Belleville Bakery Opens Today

October 25th, 2017

Belleville (instagram, website, facebook), the new bakery at the intersection of Congress and North Streets on Munjoy Hill, is slated to open today. Chris Deutsch and Amy Fuller are serving croissants (be sure to try-out the chocolate almond) and other traditional French baked goods along with Tandem Coffee in the mornings. The lunch menu includes options like a prosciutto, sharp provolone and giardiniera sandwich and roman pizza.

The couple learned to bake in Paris. Prior to moving to Portland they operated a French bakery food cart in Washington DC called Hot Hot Bakery.

Belleville will be open 7-3 Tuesday through Friday, and 8-3 on the weekend.