Bourdain Interviews

September 28th, 2016

Today’s Press Herald includes an interview with Maine native and Bourdain cinematographer Zach Zamboni about growing up in Maine and his life on the road with Anthony Bourdain.

They may be buddies, but Zamboni is nothing like Bourdain’s no-holds-barred public persona. Soft-spoken and thoughtful, Zamboni often speaks in imagery that evokes the landscape, whether he is describing the rolling hills and deep forests of Maine or talking about how when you eat an oyster, you’re tasting the tides. He credits his rural childhood in Maine with helping to prepare him for the life he leads now.

and an interview with Bourdain.

Q: Our culture is so engaged with food now – almost to the point of fetishizing what’s on the plate. Is there any turning back? Or is this fascination with food a good thing?

A: We are more educated about what we’re eating and where it comes from and who’s making it than ever before. I think as silly as it is and as excessive and fetishistic, it signals a real cultural shift where we actually care about what we’re eating and who’s cooking, and this is good. I imagine that at some point we will shift to a more emotional response to food without taking pictures of it. We’re sort of catching up with France and Italy. On balance, however ridiculous it is at times and lampoonable, I’m happy with it.

Bourdain will be in Portland on October 9th for a show at the civic center.

Gold for Blue Current

September 27th, 2016

Blue Current has been awarded a gold medal at the London Sake Challenge for their Junmai Ginjo sake.

This Week’s Events: Food Systems, Food Lab, Dessert Pop-up, Kermit Lynch, The Coffee Man, Cantillon Zwanze

September 26th, 2016

Monday — there will be a lecture at the Public Library on Arctic Ocean Food Systems.

TuesdayFork Food Lab is holding their Grand Opening, and pastry chef Brant Dadaleares is serving a dessert pop-up at The Honey Paw.

Wednesday — there will be a Kermit Lynch wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

ThursdayArabica is hosting a screening of The Coffee Man at their cafe on Commercial Street, and a colloquium is taking place at Bowdoin to “explore a whole system approach to increased food production in Maine and to examine the connections between economic growth potential in the food sector, good natural resource stewardship, and the overall health of our communities.”

FridayCellardoor is holding an event called VinFest at Thompson’s Point.

Saturday —  Novare is once again the location for the relase of this year’s Cantillon Zwanze, Rosemont is holding their annual Harvest in the Hood, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayRising Tide is throwing a party to celebrate their 6th Anniversary, and Cellardoor is running a second event, Pairing at the Point.

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: Eighteen Twenty Wines

September 25th, 2016


A behind the scenes look at the future production space and tasting room for Eighteen Twenty Wines (website, facebook, instagram) in East Bayside.

Eighteen Twenty produces rhubarb wines and is working with Maine farms to scale up supply.

Reviews: The Corner Room, King of the Roll, Dutch’s, Binga’s Stadium, Sapporo

September 25th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Corner Room,

I imagine it’s possible to create a road map to help diners navigate The Corner Room’s extensive menu and weather its inexplicably off-putting service stumbles – problems that made us feel as stressed out as our servers on a Saturday, then practically disappeared when we returned on a Tuesday. But I don’t need to. Squint your eyes just a little, and you’ll see the outlines of a fantastic Italian-American joint that serves great simple food: pizzas, seasonal pasta and a first-rate Caesar. Just ignore half (two-thirds, really) of the unnecessarily complicated menu and pray that you’re not in the dining room on a busy night.

The Bollard has reviewed Dutch’s,

OK, let’s pause for a moment and talk about those hash browns. Pillowy soft on the inside, perfectly crisped and seasoned on the outside, these cube-shaped hash browns were the best breakfast potatoes I have ever eaten. Seriously, I would gladly eat them every single day for the rest of my life.

The Bollard has reviewed Binga’s Stadium,

Though I’d been daydreaming about pastrami, and Binga’s offers their own house-smoked pastrami and Swiss sandwich ($8.99), I opted instead for the Jewish Texan ($8.99), partly because the odd name made me momentarily wonder, Is that offensive? It’s not, and neither was the sandwich: house-smoked brisket in a brioche bun, topped with slaw, Swiss and Thousand Island dressing. The brisket was tasty, and overall I’d declare the sandwich decent, though nothing to write home to your bubbe in Houston about. I would’ve preferred a chewy marbled rye to the soft brioche bun.

the Press Herald has reviewed King of the Roll,

It’s nice to know, just as duck gravy poutine hasn’t eradicated the french fry or brown butter lobster rolls made null the mayonnaise kind, a regular old sushi restaurant still has its place in Portland. In benefit-cost ratio, its lunch menu is hard to beat. The options are abundant, all under $14 and many under $8.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater reviewed Sapporo.

Sapporo has been around for a while and there seem to be a steady stream of patrons rolling in. I think they could improve a few minor items, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. I felt they had a solid menu, good food, and a pleasant atmosphere. Go grab some rolls or a teriyaki of some kind and report back.

Speckled Ax Medals at Golden Bean

September 24th, 2016

Speckled Ax took home 3 bronze medals from the Golden Bean coffee roasting conference for their natural Hambela, Corduroy espresso blend, and classic Bird Dog espresso.

FT Review of Drifters Wife

September 24th, 2016

The Financial Times has reviewed Drifters Wife.

High-ceilinged and spare, it’s the most European restaurant in scale and approach that I’ve seen in the US, with just 20 seats at tables and eight at the bar. You have the reassuring feeling that the proprietors are not only working but also quietly surveying every detail. The wine shop is now confined to the rear half of the room, yet filled with more bottles than ever. All the wines are from organic, hand-harvested grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts. It’s the best shop in Maine.

Under Construction: Yes Brewing

September 23rd, 2016

yesbrrewingA new brewery called Yes Brewing (facebook, instagram) is under development in Westbrook. Owner John Bigelow plans to start off using a “1 barrel wort/8barrel ferment system”.

The American Journal reports,

Yes Brewing, owned by John Bigelow of Portland, is looking to operate the new brewery at 609 Main St., Unit 2, which is behind Mister Bagel. City Planner Jennie Franceschi said the unit is roughly 2,400 square feet.

The Planning Board will host a public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and could vote to approve the project that night. If approved, it would mark the second new craft beer tasting room downtown since early 2015, when Mast Landing Brewing Co. opened at 920 Main St. Since that time, Mast Landing has become a popular destination in the city.

Under Construction: Portersfield Cider

September 23rd, 2016

imageOwner David Buchanan reports making good progress on the Portersfield Cider (facebook) tasting room in Pownal and expects to open this winter.

Gelato Fiasco Open Kitchen

September 23rd, 2016


Gelato Fiasco is launching their Open Kitchen concept today (noon – 8pm) at the Fork Food Lab.

They plan to use the space to “experiment with new flavors and ideas” and to teach gelato making classes. They encourage gelato fans to stop by a try out one of the new flavors their testing.

Fork Food Lab is located at 72 Parris Street. They’ll be holding a grand opening this Tuesday at 6pm.

El Rayo Now Open

September 22nd, 2016


The new El Rayo Taqueria located at 26 Free Street is now open. They’ll initially be open for breakfast and lunch, adding dinner service later.

Best Restaurants in the World: Eventide

September 21st, 2016

Condé Nast Traveller has included Eventide in their list of the 207 greatest restaurants around the globe.

…[W]e enlisted and cross-referenced the impassioned guidance from the real experts, our network of chefs, food writers, and most-in-the-know travelers. What follows is a print-it-out, laminate-it, take-a-screenshot-of-it, globe-spanning hit list so you will never waste a meal again.


Mark’s Sports Now Open

September 21st, 2016

Mark’s Sports Bar (facebook), the sports bar that took over the former Buck’s Naked BBQ spot on Wharf Street, opened over the weekend.

Under Construction: Baristas + Bites (Updated)

September 20th, 2016

baristasandbitesLove Kupcakes leased 469 Fore Street earlier this year and have been working to develop a new quick service business concept called Baristas + Bites which they plan to launch later this year.

Baristas + Bites will be open all day serving grab and go foods three meals a day aiming to attract repeat customers from the downtown area.

Owner Amy Alward is working with USM to build a mobile app that will notify customers when food is new items are just about ready: “when our fresh roasted free range organic rotisserie chicken… [or a] sheet tray of triple treat warm chocolate chip cookies gets pulled from the oven.” The app will also enable customers to pre-order and pay for curbside pick-up.

Alward plans to put in place a tip-free pricing model through a standard fee added to all sales that will enable her to pay staff front of house and kitchen staff $15/hr.

Hours for the Baristas + Bites will be 5 am – 9:30 pm Monday through Saturday, and 6 am – 9 pm on Sundays.

Update: The Bangor Daily News has published an article on Baristas + Bites and their strategy of being a tip-free eatery.

This Week’s Events: Falchini, Maculan, The Coffee Man, Nikita, Noshbow, Cheese Iron 10th

September 19th, 2016

Monday — Solo Italiano is holding a Falchini wine dinner, and the Scarborough Land Trust farm dinner is taking place at Broadturn Farm.

Wednesday — There will be a Cellardoor food pairing event on Thompson’s Point, Black Tie is holding a farm dinner in New Gloucester, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — special guest Angela Maculan will be at Piccolo for a 5-course dinner featuring her family’s wine from the Veneto region, there will be a cider and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, and Coffee by Design will be screening the movie The Coffee Man (if you can’t make it this week, Arabica will also be screening this film next week on the 29th)

Friday — it’s the fist day of the Common Ground Fair, The Cheese Iron is celebrating their 10th anniversary (Congratulations to Vince and Jill), Rising Tide is releasing their new beer Nikita, and Maine & Loire is holding a Shacksbury wine tasting.

Saturday — the first PSO Symphony & Spirits event of the season and the Saturday Farmers’ Market are taking place.

Sunday — the 2016 edition of Noshbow is taking place at Slab.

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.