Little Big’s Cronuts (Updated)

March 21st, 2014

The Forecaster has published an article about Little Bigs and their Sunday sales of cronuts.

Updated: The Press Herald has also published an article on this topic.

Under Construction: Bonfire Pub

March 20th, 2014

bonfire_logoBonfire (facebook) is under construction at 37 Wharf Street in the space formerly occupied by Seawall and Brook There. Bonfire is a country-themed bar. They hope to open in May.

Bonfire Country Pub located in the Heart of the Old Port at 37 Wharf Street in Portland. This amazing place features a country vibe with fun lively atmosphere. Specializing in our drinks served in Red Solo Cups and a hint of technology, you will have an absolute blast with this fun atmosphere.

Roost House of Juice Closing

March 20th, 2014

roost_logoRoost House of Juice has announced that they are closing up the business as of April 1.

We have decided to close the doors to our café & juice bar at 11 Free Street. We’ve had a tremendous run here and we’ve felt your love and support throughout this endeavor.

We want you to know that our decision to close is based on a number of factors, with the biggest being that we’re ready to move on from the brick & mortar business model.

Roost’s closing comes as Liquid M2, a business with a seemingly similar concept, is soon set to open.

Review of Fishermen’s Grill

March 20th, 2014

Blueberry Files has reviewed the Fishermen’s Grill.

This place isn’t sexy, but the food is the real deal. The seafood is ordered fresh daily and sourced locally. Once there weather warms up, I could see sitting outside or getting food to go and enjoying it in Baxter Woods across the street. It’s not necessarily cheap, but portions are big and easily feed two. The Fishermen’s Grill is cash only. Go check it out and enjoy the “locals only” feeling.

Star Chefs Announces 2014 Awards List

March 19th, 2014

Star Chefs has announced their 2014 Coastal New England Rising Stars list and on it are several Maine chefs and food purveyors:

  • Ravin “Bas” Nakjaroen from Long Grain in Camden
  • Andrew Taylor and Michael Wiley from Hugo’s/Eventide
  • Ilma Lopez from Piccolo in the Pastry Chefs category
  • Eli Cayer from the Urban Farm Fermentory in the Artisans category
  • Will Pratt from Tandem in the Coffee Roasters category
  • Nathan Sanborn from Rising Tide in the Brewers category
  • Andrew Volk from Hunt + Alpine in the Bartenders category

2014 Best of Portland Nominations

March 19th, 2014

The Portland Phoenix has kicked-off their 2014 Best of Portland readership poll. The Phoenix readership poll is a 2 step process:

  • Step 1 which just started, nominate candidates you think are an especially good fit in any or all of the categories
  • Step 2, next month the Phoenix will publish a ballot summarizing the top nominees from each category for us all to vote on

There are a plethora of food and drink categories (Bagels, Bars, Barbecue, Beer Selection, Brewpubs, Brunch, etc) to make nominations in there’s even one for food blogs. A list of the 2013 winners is available online as a reference.

If the 2014 polls follows the same schedule as past years then the final results will be made public in April at a live event at the Port City Music Hall.

Food Truck Rules

March 19th, 2014

The Portland Daily Sun has a report on last night’s City Council subcommittee review of proposed changes to rules regulation food trucks.

The Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday supported policy initiatives that would amend the request for proposals process used for the city’s parks to allow food trucks to cluster and use the space and fix a requirement that proscribes what types of food can be served; amend the ordinance related to Compass Park that bars food service in that area; and recommend the city dedicate four spaces on Congress Street adjacent to Lincoln Park for trucks.

The changes no go before the full City Council for final approval.

Maine Maple Sunday

March 19th, 2014

The Press Herald has published a set of articles about the 2014 Maine Maple Sunday taking place this weekend at sugar houses across the state.

When Mark Cooper first started participating in Maine Maple Sunday 26 years ago, he had a little over 300 taps in his sugarbush, and about 300 people stopped by that day to tour his operation and buy some maple syrup.

By the time this springtime Maine tradition rolled around last year, Coopers Maple Products in Windham had grown to 1,800 taps, and “easily” 3,000 people dropped by to walk Cooper’s farm, watch syrup-making demonstrations and buy maple cotton candy and other maple products. About two dozen relatives and friends show up to help with the logistics of putting on the day.

For additional coverage see this article about Merryfield Farm by Press Herald blog The Root.

For a complete list of participating syrup makers see this list from the Maine Maple Producers Association.

Sangillo’s Decision Delayed

March 18th, 2014

After several hours of presentations from the bar, the police and the public last night, the City Council decided to delay a final vote on Sangillo’s liquor license until the April 7th meeting.

For more information on last night’s meeting see articles in today’s Bangor Daily News, Press Herald and Portland Daily Sun.

For additional perspective on the Sangillo’s issue read this piece by Samuel’s Bar & Grill owner Sam Minervino published by Eater Maine.

Portland Coffee Guide & A Tandem Interview

March 18th, 2014

Sprudge has posted a Good Coffee Lover’s Guide to Portland,

Beautiful Portland, Maine! As discussed previously in these pages, this jewel of the Northeast is a city of food, and within these food-filled streets is a growing need for coffee. Here’s a snapshot guide to the coffees of Portland—almost entirely roasted in the city itself—bearing in mind we may have been too dizzy from frites endorphins after lunch at Duckfat to remember every single cafe.

and The Root has published the final in their series of interview with local roaster. This final piece is an interview with Will and Kathleen Pratt from Tandem.

“What drew us to wanting to do this in the first place, was we loved how cafes could create that sense of community,” said Kathleen. “Just knowing your regulars and people who come in the door, so when we were planning and building out the space we said we really want this to feel welcoming and inviting like you are walking into our home. That this is some place you can come and meet people and the Wi-Fi thing was definitely a conscience effort. We didn’t want people to be on their computers. We wanted people to talk and engage.”

Interview with Maine Foodie Tours

March 18th, 2014

The American Journal has published an interview with Pamela Laskey, owner of Maine Foodie Tours.

Laskey sees the tours as a “win-win” for both foodies and businesses alike. Foodies get information and samples, and businesses have a chance to promote their product. She says that between 30 and 35 percent of tour customers end up making purchases on the tour stops. And, unlike some food tours, Laskey compensates businesses for the samples they offer during the tour. Yes, the businesses get exposure and sales, she says, but the cost of samples can add up.

Under Construction: West End Tandem

March 17th, 2014

tandem_westend

Tandem Coffee Roasters (facebook, twitter, instagram, website) has announced plans to launch a cafe and bakery in the West End at 742 Congress Street. For this venture Tandem is teaming up with baker Briana Holt, whose resume most recently includes Pies ‘n’ Thighs in Brooklyn. Tandem plans on starting construction next month and hope to be open in early summer.

Some of the seasonal bakery offerings will include sweet and savory pastries and a rotating selection of pies, all made on site. Expect more seating and a similar vibe to Tandem’s East Bayside location, ie. hi-fi no wi-fi.

This is Tandem’s second location, their roastery and original cafe opened on Anderson Street in East Bayside in 2012.

742 Congress had originally been slated as the location for a bakery run by Local 188, but the project was put on hold in order to focus time and attention on the launch of Salvage BBQ.

Food Truck Improvements (Updated)

March 17th, 2014

The City Council’s Public Safety, Health and Human Services committee will be meeting Tuesday night (5:30 pm, room 209) to consider some adjustments to the ordinance that regulate food trucks in Portland. The specific changes under consideration are:

  • Open a variety of city parks to use by a limited number of food trucks based on a RFP process.
  • Allow food trucks to operate in Monument Square on some specific days of the week
  • Create designated parking spaces for food trucks similar to the Uhaul rental spaces that already exist
  • Allow food trucks to park in metered spots anywhere in the city after 6pm

Update: the Press Herald published an article on Tuesday about the requests before the subcommittee.

This Week’s Events: Sangillo’s, Bar Night, JBF Awards, Jolly Woodsman, Food for Change, Maine Maple Sunday

March 17th, 2014

Monday — the City Council will be deciding whether to renew Sangillo’s liquor license, they’ll also be considering liquor license applications from Slab and The Jewel Box.

Tuesday — the Local Foods Networking Breakfast is taking place at Local Sprouts, Tandem and Rosemont are holding another Bar Night event, the James Beard Foundation will be announcing the final nominees for the 2014 JBF awards, and Novare Res will be pouring Jolly Woodsman, a collaboration between Speckled Ax and Banded Horn Brewing.

Wednesdaythere will be a screening of Food for Change at Space Gallery.

Thursday — The Great Lost Bear will be featuring beer from Sebago Brewing.

FridayBibo’s is holding a wine dinner.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at Browne Trading and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Urban Farm Fermentory on Anderson Street. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.

Sunday — it’s Maine Maple Sunday, and Pete Sultenfuss from Grace will be the featured chef at this month’s dinner at Flanagan’s Table.

American Sommelier Classes – the Maine chapter of American Sommelier is offering several wine education programs this year: monthly seminars on a wide range of topics, a 6-week foundation series on major grape varietals, and a 10-week series on viticulture.

Outstanding Winterpoint — Hugo’s/Eventide will be collaborating with Winterpoint Oysters on an Outstanding in the Field event August 24th. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.

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.

Review of Gather

March 16th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Gather.

For a unique, thoroughly charming dining experience, Gather offers gracious dining in a country village type of setting in a historic circa 1860 former Masonic hall. The vast dining room and its dramatic space are the scene for stylish farm-to-table fare. Standout dishes include their house-made Neapolitan-style pizza, rosemary-spiked French fries, wonderfully prepared appetizers and a good selection of hearty entrees like grilled meat loaf, braised chicken leg, local pork using a rotating selection of cuts that changes periodically, grilled and poached fish, soups, hamburgers and such delicious specials as their poutine of rosemary french fries with duck. Desserts are homemade.

Under Construction: Slab Sicilian Streetfood & The Jewel Box

March 15th, 2014

Two new restaurants have submitted their liquor license applications for review at Monday’s City Council meeting:

  • Slab Sicilian Streetfood is collaboration by baker Stephen Lanzalotta, the owners of Nosh and other business partners.  Slab will be located in the section of the original Portland Public Market that had housed Scales. The menu “will exemplify the centuries old street-food culture of Sicily”. The 75 seat restaurant (see construction photos on Instagram) will be able to accommodate as many as 100 additional customers when the outdoor patio is in use. They plan to be open 7 days a week, 11 am to 1 am. You can see a draft menu (page 60)  in the meeting materials.

slab_blueprints2

  • The Jewel Box is a new craft cocktail bar being launched by Nathaniel Meiklejohn. The bar will be located at 644 Congress Street about equidistant between the State Theater and Longfellow Square. The first floor will seat 18 and there’s semi-private mezzanine space with room for up to 8. In addition cocktail and other drinks, Nan’l will be serving a small mostly vegetarian food menu. You can sign-up for TJB’s mailing list on their website: thebeardedladysjewelbox.com.

thejewelbox_blueprint

PDS on Sangillo’s

March 15th, 2014

The Portland Daily Sun has posted an article by lobsterman Chris Shorr entitled “Why is Sangillo’s in the crosshairs?

So my question is, why would the police single out Sangillo’s? If they are so concerned with putting a stop to late night hooliganism and violence, why wouldn’t they focus on the bars in the Old Port first?

Perhaps it’s because as a police force, they recognize that they will never be able to effectively corral the after hours trouble makers in the Old Port. So they might as well feign diligence by blaming a single blue collar establishment for a struggling neighborhood’s problems.

The Save Sangillo’s campaign has set up a facebook page at facebook.com/SaveSangillos.

Reviews: Empire, Oscar’s, Casa Fiesta

March 15th, 2014

Down East has reviewed Empire Chinese Kitchen,

Wok-fried dumplings arrive with dipping sauce on a rectangular pottery platter; batter-fried honey walnut shrimp with citrusy yuzu mayo soon follow. There may be a brief scramble to see who can liberate their chopsticks from their paper liner first, and then the frenzy begins. What next? Perhaps one of the Cantonese classics: wonton soup or delicate steamed char sui (pork buns). An order of the heavenly baby bok choi simply tossed in the wok with a little garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce will make you never look at a green vegetable the same way again.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Oscar’s New American,

Just about every dish had great little touches, like the sharp and crunchy little fried capers on the deviled eggs, perched next to garlic chips that had been soaked in milk and fried. And even the one unrelentingly rich and creamy dish we tried, braised pork cheeks over those same manchego grits, was balanced and layered. A rioja reduction brought just a touch of sweet to the appealingly funky grits and tender meat.

and both The Golden Dish has reviewed Casa Fiesta.

When you don’t want to have a more rarefied Mexican meal at places like Zapoteca, or good tacos at Taco Trio in South Portland, then go to Casa Fiesta where the complexities of this sort of sensory pleasure won’t clutter your better food sense.

The Campaign to Save Sangillo’s

March 14th, 2014

The Save Sangillo’s campaign has launched a Facebook page to bolster support for the popular neighborhood bar. Go “like” the page to show your support for the bar.

The campaign got a boost today when Eater Maine published an impassioned pro-Sangillo’s editorial from Snug owner Margaret Lyons,

Every neighborhood needs a Sangillo’s. There is a contingent that requires a certain type of bar. Whether that continent be Donald Sussman or Timmy Noname, they need a place where they can just have a gee dee drink … for cheap. Sangillo’s is not a charity endeavor for hipsters or an outreach project. They don’t need salvation. They need the opportunists to shut the f*** up and for their neighbors to circle the wagons. For what it’s worth, The Snug has Sangillo’s back.

and an essay on the from preeminent Portland bartender John Myers on “why Sangillo’s is a great neighborhood saloon“,

Those kinds of places, with that kind of vibe, I fear, are not long for this world. Sangillo’s is one of them, though.

A great neighborhood saloon like Sangillo’s reminds me of a geologist plunging his tap into the earth and pulling up a striated sample of rocks and dirt and compacted debris. He can read history in a 2-foot plug of dirt. I’ve watched the neighborhood change over the decade or so I’ve been in Portland just by watching the people change in that bar.

Portland Hunt + Alpine Club

March 14th, 2014

Star Chefs has published a profile of the Hunt + Alpine Club.

When he opened Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, he didn’t want to recreate that Portland. Instead, he wanted to help Maine develop its own cocktail and spirit culture. “In smaller markets in particular, it’s important that owners pay very close attention to what their guests are looking for,” he says—facilitating but never foisting, forcing, or otherwise (sometimes literally) funneling cocktail culture down local gullets. But with his nurturing and finesse, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club has received “an overwhelming positive response.”