Reviews: Tomaso’s, Lolita, Terlingua, Zapoteca, Roustabout

March 6th, 2016

The Bollard has reviewed Tomaso’s,

My husband, our friend and I ordered a bar-food smorgasbord. The cheese fries ($5) were salty and soft, buried under a pile of chopped bacon ($2 extra) and topped with a house-made cheese sauce. That same cheese sauce (a secret recipe, heavy on the Velveeta) is used to great effect in the decadent Southern BBQ–style mac and cheese ($5). We had a half order of chicken wings ($6) prepared “dirt” style: fried, dunked in some doctored-up Frank’s RedHot, and then fried again. This gave the wings a crispy, spicy skin that begs the question, Why would you order your wings any other way?

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed the happy hour at Zapoteca,

Zapoteca is known for its tequila and mezcal selection. They have over 30 tequilas available so their margaritas are definitely a step above your average bar. The special applies to ALL of their margaritas, not just a house mix with well liquor (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so it’s a great opportunity to sample what they serve. With the prices normally running between $9 and $13 it’s not the cheapest happy hour in town, the drinks are amply sized and delicious.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Lolita,

Sometimes the perfect dinner comes along unexpectedly. That was the case at Lolita. After trying to get into the latest sweep of new restaurants, finding each full to capacity, I headed out of the culinary congestion up to Munjoy Hill.

The Bollard has reviewed brunch at Terlingua,

Still, the best meal of the morning was our friend’s Pulled Pork Benedict ($13). The shredded pork was moist and smoky, and the green­-chile biscuit was fluffy and flavorful. If you’ve never had Tabasco hollandaise, hurry over there now and ask for a shot-glass full.

and the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Roustabout.

Roustabout was at its best with the arctic char picatta – a nice idea and well executed. The fish was moist and mild, served skin side up, showing off a lovely sear. It was animated by the sharpness of capers and a creamy, buttery, lemony sauce with a hint of spice. The broccoli raab was aggressively bitter, soaked in butter and spotted with parmesan.

Scales Now Open

March 5th, 2016


Sam Hayward and Dana Street’s new waterfront restaurant Scales (website, instagram) opened for business on Saturday night.

Chef Mike Smith and team are serving a large menu of primarily seafood-based dishes with appetizers such as Bang’s Island Mussels, fried whole belly clams, salt cod croquette with spicy tomato chutney, and torched arctic char with cultured cream, and larger dishes like grilled swordfish with yellow eyed beans and fish stew. When you go be sure to get an order of the excellent griddled brown bread.

Scales is located on Maine Wharf at 68 Commercial Street. It is open for dinner 7 days a week 5:30 – 10 (Sun – Thurs) and 5:30 – 10:30 (Fri – Sat). Watch for lunch hours to begin sometime this summer.

Opening: Hero & Mast Landing

March 4th, 2016

imageHero (website, facebook, instagram) is scheduled to open today for First Friday. Hero will be serving “Sandwiches of Substance” and salads in Monument Square at 30 City Center. It is collaboration between Empire co-owner Todd Bernard and Mike Keon and Anthony Allen, founders of Otto Pizza.

Mast Landing (facebook, website, instagram) will opening their brewery tasting room today at 3pm. The brewery is located at 920 Main Street in Westbrook. They’ll be serving Seavey Island Ale, Tell Tale Pale Ale and Mainstay IPA.

2016 Best of Portland Readership Poll

March 3rd, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has kicked-off their 2016 Best of Portland readership poll. The Phoenix uses a 2 step process:

  • Step 1, nominate the entries that you feel are the strongest candidate for each category.
  • Step 2, in April the Phoenix will publish a ballot with the top 5 nominees in each category and the final voting takes place.

There are 50+ food and drink categories ranging from bagels and barbecue to wine tastings and wings—there’s even one for Best Food Blog/Column.

Switching to a New Cuisine

March 2nd, 2016

An article in today’s Press Herald explores the challenges for chefs when they change jobs and take on a new cuisine that they haven’t cooked before.

Chefs say they take the leap to stretch themselves and to learn something new. Their strategies for tackling the challenge aren’t so different from anyone’s strategies learning new skills. For chefs, that includes reading, traveling and lots of experimentation in the kitchen.

“This seemed like a great opportunity to manage a kitchen and to force myself to learn new techniques, new ingredients, new flavor profiles,” [Matt] Ginn said, “because it’s easy to fall into a state of complacency.”

Top 10 for February 2016

March 1st, 2016

The 10 restaurants PFM readers checked out most often in February were:

  1. Rhum (-)
  2. Roustabout (1)
  3. Woodford Food & Beverage (2)
  4. Isa (5)
  5. Pizzaiolo (7)
  6. Abilene (9)
  7. East Ender (17)
  8. Terlingua (4)
  9. Union (20)
  10. Evo (15)

The number in parentheses indicates their rank in January.

This Week’s Events: Restaurant Week, Hero, Mast Landing, Peddleman’s, Fading Light

February 29th, 2016

MondaySur Lie is hosting a Foundation beer dinner.

Tuesday — It’s the official first day of Maine Restaurant Week, and in celebration of their 1st anniversary Otherside Delicatessen is holding a wine/charcuterie tasting.

Wednesday — winemakers Eric Texier and Hervé Villemade will be at Drifter’s Wife.

Thursday — there will be a wine tasting at Aurora Provisions.

FridayHero is launching in time for First Friday, and Mast Landing is opening their tasting room in Westbrook at 3pm.

SaturdayPeddleman’s is kicking off their to go service at Union Bagel, Foundation is holding a bottle release of Fading Light (8.5%, dark ale aged with Brettanomyces), and Pine Pitch Press is holding a potluck dinner.

Sunday — Tiqa sommelier Zara Edwards will be teaching a Sparkling Wine and Champagne class.

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.

Forest Ave Thai: Esaan

February 29th, 2016

esaanA new Thai restaurant called Esaan (facebook, instagram) has recently opened on Forest Ave in the space formerly occupied by Joy’s Crepe Cafe.

Brewery Tasting Rooms

February 28th, 2016

There’s a front page article in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram about the increasing vitality and contribution to the bottom line of brewery tasting rooms.

An explosion of microbreweries in Portland – and throughout Maine – is being fueled by a 2011 state law that allowed beer-makers to sell beer right at their breweries, in “samples” that can range from 4 to 16 ounces or more. The law gave birth to the modern craft brewery tasting room, an innovation that has pumped up revenues, expanded the market and attracted even more would-be brewers into the industry.

Under Construction: Tiqa Cafe

February 27th, 2016

Tiqa has leased the Deering Oaks Castle where they plan to operate Tiqa Cafe, reports the Press Herald.

He said breakfast items would consist of bagels and pastries, with coffee by Coffee by Design. Lunches would be sandwiches and salads, and dinners would probably include an item from the restaurant menu along with salads and sandwiches.

Under Construction: Hero

February 25th, 2016

Urban Eye has posted an update on Hero.

Hero, opening in early March at 30 City Center, is about to rock your downtown lunch game Portland. Don’t have a lunch game? You soon will.

“Portland is in need of a lunch spot that is consistently producing high quality food,” said co-owner Todd Bernard, who makes diners swoon at Empire on Congress Street with lobster dim sum delights.

Harvest on the Harbor Sold

February 25th, 2016

The Press Herald reports the Harvest on the Harbor conference has been sold.

The buyers are Stefanie Manning and Gabrielle Garofalo, partners in Portland-based S&G LLC.

Manning is the vice president of marketing and circulation at MaineToday Media and Garofalo owns Gabrielle Garofalo Inc. Consulting & Creative Energy in New York City, where she has worked on the 2012 Billboard Music Awards and New York Magazine’s annual Taste of New York culinary event.

Under Construction: Rossobianco

February 24th, 2016

The Press Herald reports that Vinland owner David Levi has decided to name the natural wine bar he has under construction at 3 Deering St Rossobianco. Levi plans to serve Northern Italian food at Rossobianco,

“My family on my dad’s side is northern Italian,” Levi said. “My family’s from Venice and Milan. I’ve spent a lot of time there, and it’s really the cuisine I grew up with. I’ve always had a very deep love for it…

Under Construction: Old Port Lobster Shack

February 24th, 2016

The Forecaster has posted an update on the branch of the Old Port Lobster Shack under construction on Fore Street. It is the 4th location of a California firm owned by a Boston native and former Portland resident.

Russell Deutsch is ready for a homecoming, even if it is a bit later than expected.

“There is no rush, I want to do it right,” he said Monday about his delayed plans to open the Old Port Lobster Shack in late April at 425 Fore St.

It has been almost a year since city councilors approved a license for the restaurant, which would be the first on the East Coast for the California chain.

Peddleman’s @ Union

February 24th, 2016

Peddleman’s (facebook, instagram) held their pop-up dinner last night at Bao Bao, and by all accounts it was a success.

Peddleman’s regular takeout service at Union Bagel which will operate Saturday through Monday, 5:30 – 9pm begining March 5th. Here’s a look at the menu.