Review of Timber

December 28th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Timber.

Timber Steakhouse & Rotisserie turns tradition on its head with a dramatic dining room and a varied menu featuring fish, duck and pork as well as delicious beef and chicken. Don’t miss the Tuna Tataki starter, a fine introduction to the kitchen’s skill and artistry. Do watch your wallet, though: With filet mignon priced at $41 and New York Steak at $49, memorable meals here may take a bite out of your savings.

Interview with Guy Hernandez

December 27th, 2014

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Guy Hernandez, chef and co-owner of Lolita,

Guy and Stella moved from St. Louis to Maine to work as an architect and a consultant, respectively, before falling into the food scene with 158 Bakeshop and what later became Scratch Bakery in South Portland. Late last year, the pair surprised Portlanders when they announced they were closing their popular Munjoy Hill restaurant Bar Lola to open Lolita. Guy said the feedback’s been great and the community’s been nothing but supportive, and he finally has time to step out for meals elsewhere, like the Tokyo Abura at Pai Men Miyake.

The article is part of a new series. Each week the Phoenix sits down with a local chef to get their thoughts on a dish from someone else’s restaurant. The first 2 interviews in the series were with Luke Aberle from Piccolo and Geoff Wiech from Hunt + Alpine.

CBD Kinetic Coffee Sculpture

December 27th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News has published an article on the kinetic coffee sculpture that sits atop the new CBD building in East Bayside. The article includes a short video interview with the artist.

The handiwork of South Portland sculptor Jac Ouellette is a 1,000-pound statement piece that can be seen from Interstate 295.

“This was a good challenge for me,” said Ouellette, who spent the last year working on the sculpture, which soars 15 feet high on the Diamond Street building and moves with the wind.

Bar Review of El Rayo

December 25th, 2014

The Press Herald has published a bar review of El Rayo in Scarborough.

Expect to find parents, kids and grandparents at El Rayo in Scarborough, but a young, professional crowd at the bar area. The service is super quick, the drinks are tried and true, and what better bar food is there if not fish tacos and Mexico City-style corn on the cob?

Up and Coming

December 24th, 2014

CNN has included Portland in their list of Up and Coming Foodie Destinations.

There are nearly 600 restaurants in the city of 66,000 — one of the highest ratios of any town in the country. Many of them specialize in fresh, local fare.

Five Fifty Five currently has a local beef tartar on the menu, as well as Gulf of Maine cod and truffled lobster mac and cheese. Hugos is doing a tasting menu that includes rabbit with Brussels sprouts, spaetzil and mustard, grilled swordfish and a cream of broccoli soup. And Piccolo is putting an Italian spin on a local pork chop, hake, and an eggplant, tomato and ricotta dish.

20 Best Beers: Coolship Resurgam

December 24th, 2014

Food Republic has included Allagash Coolship Resurgam in their list of the 20 Big Beers of the Year.

The beer writer Joshua Bernstein introduced me to this older release at a bottle share this fall, and its funky, citrus-forward flavors have lodged firmly in my memory since. Resurgam is part of the company’s coolship program, meaning it ferments spontaneously via interaction with natural yeasts in open-air vats. It won a GABF medal in 2010 and again this year, with silver in the Belgian-style lambic or Sour Ale category.

Best New Breweries: Bissell Brothers

December 23rd, 2014

Paste magazine has included Bissell Brothers in their list of the Best New Breweries of 2014.

The bros actually opened the doors of their nano-brewery late in 2013, but this year has seen them gain considerable momentum; The Substance IPA continues to sate Portland-area hopheads, and hoppy amber Bucolia didn’t do too bad a job either, but Bissell Brothers really spread its wings this past month with the release of Angels with Filthy Souls, an Amarillo-laced milk porter that should immediately assuage any fears of a redundant portfolio on the brewery’s part. If expansion is not on their radar, then the rest of us are worse off for it.

This Week’s Events: Christmas, New Year’s Eve List (Updated)

December 22nd, 2014

Thursday — it’s Christmas Day.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place at the Urban Farm Fermentory.

New Year’s Eve — restaurants have started announcing their New Year’s Eve dinner plans. I’ll add more listings as information becomes available:

      • Artemisia Cafe, 4-course dinner for $65 per person
      • Back Bay Grill, 4-course dinner, $96 per person
      • Bao Bao Dumpling House is holding a Chinese street food party starting at 10pm, “$28 buys you a glass a bubbles and passed bites all night”.
      • BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe, 3-course dinner, $50 per person.
      • Boone’s, 5-course dinner, $85/$110 per person
      • Central Provisions is throwing a party. The $100 ticket comes with a “welcome punch, passed hors d’oeuvres, 2 drink tickets and a midnight toast
      • Ebb & Flow is serving their regular menu “plus lots of specials” and will be “giving out free bubbles to everyone to ring in 2015″.
      • Eventide, will be throwing a party, $50 per person
      • Five Fifty-Five, 5-course dinner in the restaurant for $100 per person with optional wine pairings and truffle, caviar, and oyster supplements. Five Fifty-Five is also planning a champagne and caviar lounge in their private dinning room for $50 per person.
      • Grace will be serving their regular dinner menu. A cover charge of $20 (which funds the Good Shepherd Food Bank) will get you into the late night party which comes with complementary champagne toast.
      • MJ’s Wine Bar “will be offering 9 different sparkling wines by the glass this year. All at either $6 or $10 a glass”.
      • Petite Jacqueline, 3-course dinner for $70 per person, there are also optional truffle, caviar, oyster and foie gras supplements.
      • Piccolo, 8-course tasting menu with a glass of prosecco, $110 per person
      • Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, 4-course menu, $85 per person with optional wine pairing for $30
      • The Frog & Turtle, 4-course dinner $65 per person
      • Vinland, 5-course/5-snack tasting menu, $90 per person
      • Zapoteca, 5-course dinner, $70 per person with optional tequila tasting for $25

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.

Map & Menu 2014

December 20th, 2014

Map & Menu has posted a list of their favorite Maine food and drink of 2014.

We’re finishing up our Best of 2014 posts with the most challenging to whittle down and write – our favorite food (and drinks!) from our home state of Maine. There are plenty of spots in Portland and beyond that we wish we could include on this list, these are simply the dishes and restaurants that stood out to us and kept us coming back for more in 2014.

Review of Sur Lie

December 20th, 2014

The Golden Dish has published a second review of Sur Lie.

But with so many good restaurants in town, Sur-Lie has matured and can stand on its own merits as a fine place to have a wonderful meal casually or with as much pomp as you like.

Review of The Jewel Box

December 19th, 2014

The Press Herald has published a bar review of The Jewel Box,

The Jewel Box is mellow and classy, but not in a fancy way. There are moments when you feel like you’ve stepped inside a Wes Anderson film, and others when you might be on the set of Mad Men. Either way, Nan’l Meiklejohn, a.k.a. “The Bearded Lady,” and his staff will see to it that you have a well-crafted cocktail, some light snacks and a whole lot of good service.

Maine Craft Distilling in Freeport Now Open

December 19th, 2014

mcd_freeportMaine Craft Distilling is having a soft opening for their new Freeport tasting room/mixology shop today.

Maine Craft Distilling-Freeport edition is now open for biz. We are calling it our “soft” opening and are sure there is much that we will need to improve upon but come on by and try us out!!! The gala grand opening will be in the new year.

The tasting room is located at 7 Mill Street.

Under Construction: 46 Market Street

December 18th, 2014

The Golden Dish reports that Steve and Michelle Corry have leased 46 Market Street where they plan on opening a

casual restaurant serving French-inspired café  salads, sandwiches, soups and wine throughout the day with breakfast, lunch and dinnertime service.  The focus, however, will be on pastry, headed by a highly regarded local pastry chef, whose name was not, as yet, revealed. Count on Parisian-style espresso and coffee, killer croissants at breakfast and classic eclairs and Napoleons, French onion soup and salad Nicoise as part of a casual menu of light fare.

Pig + Poet/Chef Sam Talbot

December 18th, 2014

samtalbotLark Hotels has announced that chef Sam Talbot will be joining Lark to launch Pig + Poet, the restaurant at Whitehall, their new property in Camden which is slated to reopen this May.

Talbot was the Founding Executive Chef at Surf Lodge in Montauk and the Imperial No. Nine in NYC. He’s the author of The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries and was a semi-finalist and “Fan Favorite” on season 2 of Top Chef.

Here are some additional details on the restaurant from the Lark press release:

Focusing on Maine’s farmland, fisheries and game, the restaurant will feature a raw bar, signature roast pork dishes, Sam’s fresh take on lobster rolls, chowder and blueberry-sweet corn cobbler just to name few items. A charcuterie bar will offer sausages and cheese selections. The “poet” in the name is a nod to the chef’s role in the creative process, as well as a subtle wink to Edna St. Vincent Millay, a Pulitzer-prize winning poet who was discovered at Whitehall Inn in 1912.

“I’ve always loved the great outdoors and having a real connection to the food that comes out of my kitchen,” Chef Talbot said. “It’s become a bit of a cliche to say that my food is farm-to-fork, but that’s truly what it will be. Being in Camden is an inspiring opportunity for me to work with new local vendors, flavors and experiences. I have always been drawn to the water and waterfront towns and I’m excited to join the amazing food movement going on in the MidCoast, Portland and throughout Maine.”

Lark Hotels runs a several well regarded boutique inns including the Pomegranate Inn in Portland.

Interview with Fred Forsley

December 18th, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview with Shipyard co-owner Fred Forsley.

Q: From the business perspective, is it complicated?
It looks like a simple business, but it can be complicated in the sense of getting a brand to grow and to get more than an initial sampling. From day one, the product was world-class and that made it easier to sell. At the end of the day, sales and marketing is a key ingredient, but it’s the quality of the product.

Under Construction: New Street/Hayward Restaurant

December 17th, 2014

The Golden Dish has a report on the as-yet-unnamed new seafood restaurant being developed on the Portland waterfront by Dana Street and Sam Hayward.

It hasn’t been named yet, but Street described it to me as a classic New England seafood house reminiscent of the way fish houses were in the early part of the 20th century as brasserie-style dining rooms. While he didn’t go into much detail about the menu, he offered this: It will resemble the simplicity of Fore Street’s straightforward approach, using the finest and freshest local ingredients. The focus will be on seafood but will also include steaks, chicken, lamb and pork done in the inimitable style of Hayward and his team of chefs. The food will be at once old-fashioned yet contemporary…

Gulf of Maine Fisheries

December 17th, 2014

The New York Times published an article this week about the impact warming sea temperatures are having on cod and other fisheries in the Gulf of Maine.

In the vast gulf that arcs from Massachusetts’s shores to Canada’s Bay of Fundy, cod was once king. It paid for fishermen’s boats, fed their families and put their children through college. In one halcyon year in the mid-1980s, the codfish catch reached 25,000 tons.

Today, the cod population has collapsed. Last month, regulators effectively banned fishing for six months while they pondered what to do, and next year, fishermen will be allowed to catch just a quarter of what they could before the ban.

Catbird Creamey

December 16th, 2014

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about the Catbird Creamery in Westbrook.

“Vanilla in the summertime pretty much walks out the door,” said Corey DiGirolamo, who runs the shop with her husband, Andrew Warren.

That’s fine, DiGirolamo said, but the couple put a lot of effort into stretching the idea of ice cream flavors in a lot of different directions, like Furious George, which features caramelized bananas and dark chocolate chips. And, oh, hot pepper.

Catbird is in the midst of a $60,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money so they can move the business to new quarters.

Neighborhood Markets

December 16th, 2014

The Golden Dish has put together a survey of Portland-area neighborhood markets: Fresh Approach, Smaha’s Legion Square Market, Pat’s Meat Market and Rosemont.

Neighborhood food shops are virtually a thing of the past, yet Portland has held onto a few. These neighborhood stores are not relics, rather they’re critical to their communities and where residents get the basics like meat, produce, groceries and even baked goods and avoid the hassle of congested supermarket lots or glacial waits at check-out lines.

Letter from Ilma Lopez

December 15th, 2014

For the past two and half months Damian Sansonetti, chef and co-owner of Piccolo and Blue Rooster, has been battling a significant illness. He’s now returned home from a long hospital stay. His wife and partner Ilma Lopez has asked me to post this letter to make the situation public and express the gratitude of the family for all the help they’ve received during this time.

Ten weeks ago, Isabella and I took Damian to the hospital. Finally this week, he returned home to Portland from Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. What has been a long, difficult and uncertain period for our family is finally coming full circle. Damian is home and beginning again to do what he loves to do more than anything in the world: eating food.

Due to the medical ambiguity and uncertain outcome of Damian’s condition, we have strived to keep the situation private. Thankfully, today we are able to publically acknowledge that, while much mending is to be done, Damian is well and will be returning to the kitchen soon. We would like to thank those that have worked in his stead and kept the restaurants running like clockwork. Luke Aberle, Kelly Nelson, Dan McCarthy, Randy Cruse, Jason Williams, Kim Rodgers – we owe you the world. Thank you–and for all the support we received from the community we are eternally grateful.

We hope to see you soon at Piccolo or Blue Rooster soon.

Ilma Lopez