5 Stars for Vinland

July 27th, 2014

Vinland has received 5 stars from today’s review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Vinland takes farm-to-table another step to use only ingredients grown or produced in Maine. Chef David Levi pulls it off with creativity and inspired dishes, but no lack of flavor. He uses yogurt whey in place of citrus, lardo and ghee instead of olive oil, and honey and maple syrup for sugar, in a small-plates menu that is entirely gluten free. All of the dishes are flavorful and familiar, from lobster and halibut to pork, steak, chicken and pork belly. The location is bright and welcoming, and the clientele is healthy and enthusiastic. Try creative cocktails and griddled cornbread and beet chips at the bar, or call ahead for an eight-course tasting menu orchestrated by Levi for $90, or five courses for $60. And don’t forget to try the homemade ice cream.

Review of Street & Co.

July 27th, 2014

Diningsense has reviewed Street & Co.

As long as the appetizers and main dishes continue to operate in different directions, it will be hard to see how much Street is capable of accomplishing. I think it tries to offer simple, rustic cuisine (these descriptors are referenced on the website, at least) and I respect this, but simplicity doesn’t preclude creativity and this is where the main plates disappointed. After a two-year hiatus, I’m glad to have returned to Street and Company, but the apparent struggle to construct a coherent plate of fish makes me wonder whether their skills have grown coarser than before.

Food & Wine Editor in Portland

July 26th, 2014

Dana Cowin, Editor of Food & Wine, was is in Portland Friday and Saturday, posting photos and commentary on Instagram of the places she visited. She stopped by:

See this post for information on where she visited in 2012.

MOFGA Receices $1M Grant

July 25th, 2014

The Partridge Foundation has made a $1 million grant to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. The grant comes with an additional $1 million challenge provided MOFGA can raise an equal amount.

According to a report from the Press Herald,

The Partridge Foundation awarded the money to “seed MOFGA’s work in encouraging a new generation of organic farmers,” according to a written statement from the foundation.

The statement adds that the grant reflects foundation founder Polly Guth’s “deep interest in healthful food and farming in her native New England.” Guth is a native of Manchester, New Hampshire, and her foundation has made grants to Maine organizations before, including several smaller grants to MOFGA.

Maine Open Farm Day

July 25th, 2014

PrintThis Sunday is Maine Open Farm Day, an opportunity to visit and learn more about our local farms. Two dozen farms in Cumberland and York counties are participating in the event this year.

For more information read this article from the American Journal.

Interview with Luke Davidson, Distiller

July 24th, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview with Luke Davidson from Maine Craft Distilling.

Q. What are some other unique spirits you make?
We have two other great ones – one we’re calling “Sea Smoke,” an aged whiskey, and we’re taking sugar kelp and Maine-grown peat and heating it to smoke some of the grains. Then we distill the barley and make a nice, richly profiled whiskey. The other up-our-sleeve one is taking traditional-styled gin and putting it in a barrel and making it age. It’s sort of a hybrid of whiskey and gin.

Under Construction: Otto Pizza

July 24th, 2014

The Forecaster has published an update on the 2nd South Portland Otto under construction by the Mall.

Otto Pizza’s second South Portland location at 125 John Roberts Road will open in early August, according to a liquor license application councilors approved Monday.

Maine’s Best Lobster Roll

July 23rd, 2014

deaug2014For the 60th anniversary issue, Down East magazine intensively searched the state for the best lobster roll, trying “scores of lobster rolls served up by food trucks, lobster shacks, and restaurants from Eastport to Kittery.”

Greets Eats, a food truck on Vinalhaven, scored the top spot. Local Portland-area favorites Eventide and Bite into Maine were among the 4 runners-up.

The article includes the online ad-on video of chef Sam Hayward at Fore Street demonstrating how he prepares a lobster roll.


WSJ: Food Financials at the Westin

July 23rd, 2014

An article in the Wall Street Journal about the Westin Harborview Hotel in Portland reports that strong food/drink sales at the Top of the East and other part of the hotel for a big role in its financial success.

New Castle President Gerry Chase is projecting revenue this year from the bar at $1.2 million, which would be more than double what it was before the renovation. April brought sales of $130,000, compared with previous years when that month had revenue of $15,000 or less, he says.

The bar’s success is one reason the hotel’s food-and-beverage revenue accounts for nearly half the property’s overall revenue, Mr. Chase says.

Portland’s Food Carts and Trucks

July 22nd, 2014

The latest issue of Portland Magazine includes an article on Portland’s food trucks and carts.

Mentioned in the article are: Mark’s, Little Jamaica, Taco Trio, Small Axe, Urban Sugar, CN Shawarma, El Corazon, Wicked Good, Fishin’ Ships, Mainely Meatballs, Love Cupcakes.

The Huffington Post has interviewed Valerie Sandes, co-owner of the Urban Sugar food truck,

How did you choose donuts? How did you decide what donuts to make?
I grew up on these little bite-sized donuts at the race tracks (motorsport tracks in SoCal) my dad brought me to every weekend for his 1/4 midget racing addiction. They were just the traditional sugar donuts but I was instantly hooked from the first melt in my mouth bite. I was a donut lover from that point on, cakes, yeasties, round or square I don’t care…I love ‘em all! I decided to go with the cake variety for the truck because that is what made the most sense logistically with the self imposed space restriction of the vehicle.


Interview with Karl Deuben

July 21st, 2014

Knack Factory hasposted an interview with Karl Deuben from Small Axe.

Without being precious, your food is perhaps more sophisticated than one might expect to get from a truck. How did you decide to go that route?
It is food that we like to cook in a style we thought was accessible for people who would be coming to a food truck. We wanted to put into our business everything we had learned at Hugo’s and Miyake. Bill had been in New York and I was in Chicago, and we wanted to utilize the techniques and philosophies behind cooking food that we had picked up over time. You have to have pride in what you are doing. This isn’t necessarily the optimal business model, but we are very proud of the food that we execute.

Reviews: Lolita, Blue Rooster

July 21st, 2014

Portland Magazine has reviewed Lolita,

On to “Large” ($24), as we share the evening’s asado–grilled hanger steak on a bed of zesty salsa verde surrounded by very good roasted vegetables which we request in lieu of fingerlings. Lolita is flexible–you can get what you want here.

and Chubby Werewolf has continued his Blue Rooster chef hot dog review series.

I’m usually wary of fruit—in any of its forms—as a condiment, but I found that I really liked the contrast the sweet cherry jam against the hot dog’s more savory ingredients, so much so that I’ll consider trying the Apocalypse Now burger the next time I’m at Nosh. And what a neat visual: that smear of very-dark purple jam almost resembles caviar. (Less aware was I of the foie gras mayo but, on this edible ode-to-excess, I can’t tell you that I missed it for a second.)

This Week’s Events: Oxbow/Del Ducato Dinner, Allagash at Pai Men, Goose Island Migration, Beer Camp Preview

July 21st, 2014

Monday — Piccolo is hosting a 6-course beer dinner featuring Oxbow and Del Ducato Birrifico.

WednesdayBier Cellar is holding a Goose Island Migration Week tasting, Pai Men is having an Allagash tap takeover with special food pairings, food book author Kate McCarty will be speaking at the Maine Historical Society, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

ThursdayThe Great Lost Bear is previewing beers from Sierra Nevada Beer Camp.

Saturday — Novare Res will be having a Beer Camp preview, and the Deering Oaks 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.

Review of Bresca and the Honey Bee

July 20th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Bresca and the Honey Bee, Krista Kern Desjarlais’ snack shack in New Gloucester.

The review also shares that “[Desjarlais] tells us she has a location lined up in Lewiston-Auburn, but needs to decide if she’s ready to get back into the scene”. Should she decide to go ahead I imagine there a lot of Bresca fans, myself included, who will be making regular treks to Lewiston-Auburn this Fall.

Food & Wine: Zimmern’s 10 Plates in Portland

July 19th, 2014

fandwaug2014For the August issue of Food & Wine magazine Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern has assembled a list of 10 of his favorite dishes from Portland restaurants.

In my childhood, I passed through Portland every year on my way to Camp Moosehead. Since then it has become one of America’s great restaurant cities. My parents retired here years ago, and I’m hard pressed to think of a small town with as large of an impact on the country’s food scene. I am here often, baseball cap on my head, enjoying a great meal.

Featured in the article are the following:

  1. Meat Coma Platter at Salvage BBQ “best sliced brisket in recent memory”
  2. Seared Foie Gras at Central Provisions “the foie gras is superb”
  3. Crab Salad at Vinland “the Scandi-style fits the natural landscape of Maine perfectly”
  4. Steamed Lobster Roll at Eventide“the kitchen is jamming on all cylinders”
  5. Lobster Dumplings at Empire “This place is mobbed, even in winter, when other places aren’t”
  6. Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog at Blue Rooster “awesome sandwiches”
  7. Cheeseburger with Gochujang at Small Axe “from the playful minds of chefs Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy”
  8. Poutine at Duckfat “the menu is loaded with winners”
  9. Mussels with Almond and Garlic at Fore Street “the mussels…are legendary”
  10. Grilled Swordfish Belly at Miyake “the wait is worth it”

Update: The article is now online.

Under Construction: Ebb & Flow, Golden Lotus

July 19th, 2014

The liquor license application for a pair of new restaurants are scheduled for Monday’s City Council meeting:

  • Ebb & Flow (facebook, twitter) is a Mediterranean seafood restaurant under construction at 100 Commercial Street—former home of Spread, Gaucho’s, Oolong. As reported last month, the restaurant is a collaboration between Nova Seafood owner Angelo Ciocca and chef William D’Auvray. An extensive draft menu for Ebb & Flow was supplied with the application (starts on page 31).
  • Golden Lotus is a new Asian restaurant that will be taking over the spot at 511 Congress Street which currently is the home of Shanghai Tokyo. Chef/owner Joe Tang has 30 years of restaurant experience, mostly in NH. For several years he was part of the staff at Wok Inn before joining the kitchen staff at Empire Chinese Kitchen. A hand-written draft menu (page 69) was supplied with the application.

Review of Becky’s

July 19th, 2014

Living, Eating and Aging has reviewed Becky’s.

…For food, your basic breakfast is as good as any basic breakfast in town, better than many.  The menu contains all the essentials – eggs, bacon, pancakes, fresh fruit, etc. and not one word on the page is in French. I’m sure many respected foodies might now question my foodie bona fides but I’m gonna just throw it out there: it’s 6:30AM and I’m hungry, I’m going to Becky’s.

Review of Scarborough El Rayo

July 18th, 2014

The Golden Dish has published a review of the Scarborough El Rayo.

The salsa was made from fire-roasted tomatoes, giving it a rich burnished taste.  The chips were made  from Tortilleria Pachanga tortillas, the local artisanal provider from Bayside.  Also impressive was the restaurant’s listing on the back of the menu of local purveyors, something that you don’t often see on the typical Mexican menu here.

Maps Cafe Opening Today

July 17th, 2014

maps_logoMaps Cafe (facebook) is scheduled to open today at 2 pm. They’re located at 64A Market Street, just down the road from the Salt Cellar.

Maps Cafe is aiming for a “European feel whilst focusing on local Maine produce in a relaxed environment”. They’ll be serving beer, wine, coffee, tea, sandwiches, snacks and sweets.

Marshall Wharf Seaweed Brew

July 17th, 2014

NPR has aired a report on Marshall Wharf’s brewing of Sea Belt, a beer that uses Maine sugar kelp as one of its key ingredients.

At Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. on the Belfast, Maine, waterfront, new beers begin their journey into draft lines and pint glasses inside two large tanks. Marshall Wharf has a reputation for making some unconventional beers — a stout with locally sourced oysters, for example, and a wheat-infused kolsch with jalapeno and habanero peppers. A few years ago, David Carlson, the brewing company’s owner, discovered a beer from Scotland, called Kelpie, made with seaweed.

“If there’s seaweed in Maine and it’s a good product,” he says, “why not try putting it in the beer?”