Roustabout Preview Pop-up

October 2nd, 2015

The Golden Dish has posted a report on the Roustabout pop-up that took place earlier this week at Piccolo.

This was a collaborative dinner with super-star chef Damian Sansonetti and wife and pastry chef Ilma Lopez giving a ”helping hand” in their kitchen where Roustabout co-owners Kit Paschal (drinks manager) and Anders Tallberg (chef) put on a fabulous show. In fact it’s one of the best meals I’ve had since the opening nights (and repeated visits) to Evo, Tempo Dulu and Union— the new one-percenters of Portland’s signature restaurants.

Roustabout(twitter, instagram, facebook, website) is under construction at 59 Washington Ave. It’s expected to open later this year.

Under Construction: Stroudwater Spirits

October 1st, 2015

A new 5,000 square foot distillery called Stroudwater Spirits is under development at Thompson’s Point, according to reports from the Bangor Daily News and Press Herald. The distillery plans to produce “small-batch bourbon, vodka, and gin” and also “host tastings and private events” at the facility when they open in early summer next year.

“This location is a great fit for us because it puts us in a location that will surely become a destination for people who love craft spirits, wines, and beers,” said Jeff Johnson, a founding partner of Stroudwater Spirits. “We are looking forward to opening our doors and getting down to distilling.”

Top 10 for September 2015

October 1st, 2015

The 10 restaurants PFM readers looked up most often last month were:

  1. Ocho (-)
  2. Evo (8)
  3. Isa (5)
  4. Terlingua (1)
  5. Union (12)
  6. Figgy’s (17)
  7. Empire (32)
  8. Ramen Suzukiya (43)
  9. Tempo Dulu (6)
  10. The Honey Paw (3)

The numbers in parentheses indicates their rank last month.

The top article for the month was this recent update on Woodford Food & Beverage.

Review of Punky’s

October 1st, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Punky’s.

My breakfast sandwich ($3.50) consisted of bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel. There was nothing remarkable about it, other than it was exactly what I wanted. I am used to a breakfast sandwich with one, maybe two strips of bacon. I didn’t count the number of strips, but it must have been four. Toasted on the grill — I know this, because I watched the cook — the bagel was chewy, the egg well cooked and not runny, and the cheese melted but not gooey. I ate it at my desk and appreciated that it wasn’t at all messy.

Fabulous Femmes Dinner (Updated)

September 30th, 2015

Five of Maine’s best chefs—all women—are coming together in October to co-produce a dinner at Flanagan’s Table. Ilma Lopez from Piccolo, Melissa Kelly from Primo, Krista Kern Desjarlais soon from The Purple House, Cara Stadler from Tao/Bao Bao and Kim Rogers from Hugo’s are teaming for a Flanagan’s Table dinner in October to benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

The chefs will be joined by Briana Volk from Hunt & Alpine who will be providing the cocktails, Tabitha Perry from Crush Distributors who will provide the wine and Alex Wright from Flanagan’s who donated the space for the fundraiser, as well as Briana Holt and Kathleen Pratt from Tandem serving baked goods with the pre-dinner cocktails and coffee respectively, and Catherine Eliot from Portland Patisserie who will supply the take home baked goods.

Tickets are on now sale On the Flanagan’s Table website. (Update: The dinner sold out in 3 minutes on Wednesday)

On a side note, today’s Press Herald interviewed 4 of the chefs about what it’s like to be a woman working in a restaurant kitchen today.

Bumper Crop of Apples

September 30th, 2015

Today’s Press Herald features a story on this year’s bumper crop of apples in Maine.

Experts and apple orchard owners say a combination of factors is likely behind this year’s bumper crop. Apple trees tend to be cyclical, so this year’s higher yield follows a lighter harvest last year. Good spring and summer weather also played a role, although the warm late-summer conditions have pushed back the ripening for some popular varieties by a week or two.

Under Construction: Woodford Food & Beverage

September 29th, 2015


I got a chance to take a look inside Woodford Food & Beverage(facebook, twitter, instagram) yesterday afternoon. As you can see they’re making good progress on framing out the space but there’s still a lot of work to do. Owner Birch Shambaugh is aiming to have the 85-seat neighborhood restaurant and bar open by the end of the year.

Shambaugh recently took a big step forward toward opening day with the hire of chef Courtney Loreg(linkedin, instagram) to lead the kitchen staff. Courtney was the sous chef at Fore Street (2001 – 2005) and at Bresca (2009 – 2011). She’s spent the last three years as part of the culinary team at Wente Vineyards in California. She has a wealth of experience and I’m looking to see how she translates that into the menu for Woodford.

The restaurant is located at 660 Forest Ave, the address of the original Valle’s Steakhouse.

Reviews: Tiqa Brunch & Terlingua

September 29th, 2015

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Terlingua,

All in all, Terlingua puts out a solid meal. The smoked chicken was excellent and that spicy sauce was too. My corn could have used some more bacon flavor, but it was still good and that drink was shockingly pleasing. I’m glad that Portland has another BBQ joint, but I’m even more glad that it’s not a straight up BBQ place, but a hybrid with Latin American flavor. Their unique combination is something I think people will go to for good eats and good drinks for some time to come.

and The Golden Dish has written up the brunch at Tiqa.

Most everything is paired with eggs, but the underpinnings are definitely from the Middle East.  Turkish cuisine played a big part in the dishes on the menu.  Typical breakfast/brunch items are often fruit, yogurt with honey, baked eggs with sausage and Tiqa’s menu reflects that to some degree.

Former Brown Street Marguerita’s

September 28th, 2015

A report in today’s Press Herald indicates that upper floors of the Marguerita’s building on Brown Street are being converted to condos, but the first floor will still be a restaurant space,

Jack Soley said they’ve already had interest in the first floor from more than 30 business owners, but they are waiting for the right fit. Considering that people will be living upstairs, he said, that’s probably going to be “more casual fine dining than a bar situation.”

This Week’s Events: Piccolo/Roustabout, Coopering Demo, 953, Whiskey Tasting, Oktoberfest

September 28th, 2015

TuesdayPiccolo is collaborating with Roustabout on a preview pop-up dinner, Ed Lutjens will be giving a coopering demonstration at Maine Craft Distilling.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday953 Congress Street is holding a Grand Opening, and a women’s Whiskey and Chocolate Truffle tasting is taking place at Grace.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli, and it’s also First Friday Art Walk so restaurants will be busy – be sure to make your reservations soon.

Saturday — The Thirsty Pig is holding their 3rd annual Oktoberfest, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

The Sinful Kitchen – is kicking off a Filipino dinner series on October 16th.

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.

Great American Beer Festival Winners

September 28th, 2015

Two Maine brewers are taking home medals from this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition:

  • Allagash won a gold medal in the Belgian Style-Witbier category for Allagash While
  • Allagash also won a silver in the Belgian Tripel category for their Tripel
  • Baxter Brewing won a silver in the Field Beer category their Window Seat Coconut Almond Porter

You can see the full list of award winners on the GABF website.

Ed Lutjens, Cooper

September 27th, 2015

Today’s Sunday Telegram includes an interesting article about Ed Lutjens and his path to become a modern day cooper.

Ed Lutjens is a cooper. Yeah, we didn’t know what that was either, although at one time, Maine was full of them. This is the technical name for the people who make wooden barrels wrapped in metal bands, the kind fine whiskey is aged in. The kind that fall off the back of stagecoaches in old Westerns. Read on to learn how Lutjens teamed up with Maine Craft Distilling, took a trip to The Bourbon Trail and carved – sorry, irresistible – himself a niche market in one of the sustainable world’s more indulgent products.

For more information visit

Interview with Olive Cafe

September 25th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Olive Cafe owner Rayan Elkhatib.

How did you first get into the restaurant business?
I’ve been in the industry since I was 15 years old. My parents kind of planted the seed. They both had little cafes like this (in Florida) and I always worked with them. My mom taught me the cooking part of the industry and my dad pretty much showed me the business side. It caught on, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Before I came here, I was the assistant manager for a really nice restaurant in Del Ray Beach called City Oyster. I was well-rounded, I had all the experience and it was time for me to open my own shop and see what I could do with it.

Mirabelle Delayed

September 25th, 2015

The Press Herald reports Mirabelle House is delayed pending a zoning appeal.

The ruling by code enforcement office Justin Browns means that the house’s owner, Marc Christensen and his business partners, must delay the beginning of cooking class slated to begin Oct. 10, until the town’s zoning board of appeals meets later that month to consider his application for permits to operate. Brown also ruled out other potential uses for the elegant home, barring the use of the property for weddings, as a production studio, or as a general event venue for corporate retreats or parties, uses that the business’s website had mentioned as possible options.

953 Congress Now Open (Updated)

September 25th, 2015

IMG_0838953 Congress Street opened last night. 953 is located on the corner of Congress and Saint John Streets in what had been Dogfish Cafe.

Update: 953 Congress is holding a Grand Opening on October 1st.

Reviews: Evo, Isa, Ocho

September 24th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Isa.

The benefits of Isa’s simplicity were most clearly on display in the fantastic burrata crostini. It was made transcendent by the ample slices of perfectly ripe yellow tomatoes, which lay between a rustic bread smeared with pesto and the creamy cheese. A grilled peach appetizer benefited from the fruit’s not-quite-ripeness. A sweeter peach might have overwhelmed the bitter of arugula and the tang of goat cheese. In another likeable salad, the tartness and acid of grapefruit, along with thin slices of apple and a splash of cider, mellowed the aroma and bite shaved fennel.

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Evo,

Evo Kitchen & Bar should be on the top of anyone’s list for the next place to go for wine, cocktails, and small plates. Michael Gatlin has created a beautiful drink list that complements Chef Matt Ginn’s beautiful, seasonal Mediterranean fare. The all-glass space and design is breathtaking, and nowhere else on Fore Street will you feel like you’re at a swanky bar somewhere in Manhattan.

and has reviewed Ocho.

I ordered The Classic. This meant my burrito was a symphony of Spanish rice, cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, crema, plus the two added bonuses of chicken and guacamole. It was ready in about three blinks of an eye, and I was out the door walking back to the newsroom. Once the noshing began, it was a formidable task to eat this hefty burrito…Anyway, my OCHO burrito wasted no time in announcing its deliciousness as my taste buds were awakened by a nine-piece band of flavors. Everything seemed incredibly fresh and, yes, I finished the whole thing.

Vivian’s Drive-In

September 23rd, 2015

The Press Herald reports that Vivian’s Drive-In on Forest Ave is changing hands.

After 21 years of running one of Portland’s most beloved, and cheapest, burger joints, Donna Morgan is selling Vivian’s Drive-In. But despite rumors that the Forest Avenue business might be closing, Morgan said it isn’t going anywhere.

Vivian’s was founded in 1952 by Vivian L. Vintinner. Vintinner sold it in 1964 to Joyce Perry who then sold it to Donna Morgan in 1995.

Empty Pockets

September 23rd, 2015

Both the Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News report claims by staff from the short-lived Pockets eatery in the Old Port that they were unpaid by their former employer.

Employees of a sandwich shop that opened and closed in the Portland’s Old Port this summer say they were never paid for their work.

Pockets, which sold sandwiches 24 hours a day, opened on the corner of Fore and Market streets around the beginning of July and closed last week.

BuzzFeed’s Portland List

September 22nd, 2015

BuzzFeed has posted a list of the “39 Amazing Things That Will Make You Fall In Love With Portland, Maine“. The staff at BF must love to eat out because most of the list highlights restaurants and bars including: Tandem, Eventide, Central Provisions, J’s Oyster Bar, Bard, Lolita, Boda, Silly’s, Schulte & Herr, Blue Spoon,  Hunt & Alpine and many more.

Inside, Outside, Above, Below

September 22nd, 2015

Eatcentric Me has posted a report on Inside, Outside, Above, Below.

I attended Lauren Fensterstock and Aaron Stephan with Chef Masa Miyake’s (chef and owner of Miyake, Pai Men Miyake, and Miyake Farm) staged dinner event INSIDE, OUTSIDE, ABOVE, BELOW recently, and it was a coalescence of all things I most readily identify with and love: great food paired with drinks, meeting interesting people and sharing the experience with them, and a creative, choreographed art installation centered around dining.