Review of El Rayo

July 1st, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed El Rayo.

El Rayo was great and always is. Their prices are reasonable, their food is delicious, and the service is where it should be. The outdoor area is really fun and with umbrellas at the tables you don’t have to worry about getting scorched by the sun. For added outdoor cooling, the drink menu lists a host of refreshing cocktails. The bands that play there add even more happiness to your Mexican merriment and they don’t play at ear-bleed levels so you can actually converse with others at your table. I recommend El Rayo year round, but if you really want to party, head there on a sunny summer day and enjoy all it has to offer.

Pocket Brunch Launches Pocket Cruise

June 30th, 2014

The Pocket Brunch crew is launching Pocket Cruise, a monthly sunset cruise aboard the Frances with food and drink.

The first Pocket Cruise is scheduled for July 10, 6-8 pm. Ticket are now on sale.

This Week’s Events: Hilltop, Year in Burgundy, CBD’s 20th, Dogfish Dinner

June 30th, 2014

MondayHilltop Superette is scheduled to open today. The Nickelodeon is screening A Year in Burgundy; a pre-screening party will take place at MJ’s Wine Bar and a post-screening party at Petite Jacqueline.

TuesdayCoffee by Design is celebrating their 20th Anniversary and there will be a Dogfish Head dinner at In’finiti.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

ThursdayBlack Tie is holding a farm dinner, there will be a Baxter Brewing tasting at the Bier Cellar, and the Great Lost Bear is holding their Red, White and Blue showcase.

Friday — it’s the Fourth of July and First Friday Art Walk is taking place.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, 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.

Under Construction: Craft Beer Store (Updated)

June 30th, 2014

111commercialst111 Commercial Street, the space formerly occupied by Port Bean Cafe, has been leased. The new owners plan on opening a retail craft beer store.

Update: The new store will be part of the multi-state Craft Beer Cellar chain. For additional info see this report on Eater Maine.

Uncle Andy’s Before, During and After

June 30th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published a first person account of his time as a volunteer on the Uncle Andy’s Restaurant Impossible construction crew and impressions of the South Portland diner from  before and after the renovations.

I made a return trip to Uncle Andy’s shortly after the renovation. I really wanted to see how the place was holding up. I wondered if it was possible that they would just magically turn everything around as there were so many changes made which I’m sure included lots of happenings that I never saw including training of the staff and the like.

Reviews: Corner Room, Thurston’s & Blue Rooster

June 30th, 2014

Drink-up and Get Happy has published a bar review of The Corner Room,

Overall happy hour at The Corner Room was a great deal. Excellent prices on drinks and delicious, plentiful free food make it a great place to go for any occasion, though if you are going to be a larger group make sure to get there early or you may not have space for you. You’ll leave having enjoyed a great evening without shelling out much cash at all.

Chubby Werewolf has reviewed the latest chef series hot dog at the Blue Rooster,

The baked white beans (you can see a glimpse of them on the right-hand side of the hot dog in the masthead image) was almost like a bean mash. With the mustard, radicchio and the red onions delivering much more assertive flavors, I think that the idea behind the beans was to offer something texturally distinctive. For me, it worked. And, much like last week’s Mac & Cheese dog, the combination of “franks & beans” brought back childhood memories of summertime picnics and family gatherings.

and The Golden Dish has reviewed Thurston’s Wicked Good Burgers.

Ultimately fast-food burgers have a distinctive taste no matter what’s in them. Thurston’s offers a decent burger, great ice cream and a comfortable place in which to have a quick, inexpensive meal.

In’finiti Oat Whiskey

June 28th, 2014

In’finiti has announced they’ll be launching an oat-based whiskey next week.

For those of you keeping track, this will make the 4th craft whiskey from Maine. The other three are:

  • Gunpowder Rye from New England Distilling
  • Fifty Stone from Maine Craft Distilling
  • Baby Bourbon from Wiggly Bridge

BFC: Blind Lobster Roll Tasting

June 28th, 2014

For the latest episode of Booze, Fish & Coffee hosts Bo Bigelow and Brian Ericson conduct a blind lobster roll tasting.

Film Crew at Fort Williams: Pressure Cooker

June 27th, 2014

A film crew from the Jane Street production company is scheduled to be at Fort Williams Park today shooting for an episode of a new show called Pressure Cooker.

From what I’ve heard it’s a cook-off style show with Portland being the second of three stops (Philadelphia is next). The crew will be setting up a kitchen in Fort Williams for the filming today.

Jane Street owners have produced Chopped among other shows for the Food Network.

Bon Appétit & Condé Nast Traveler Visit Maine

June 27th, 2014

ba201407Bon Appétit & Condé Nast Traveler magazines have both published articles in their July issues about Maine.

According to Bon Appétit’s Genevieve Morgan, “Maine…has finally managed to become, well, cool.” She goes on to write,

For decades, visiting Maine meant a predictable diet of lobster and lighthouses. What’s happening today up and down the coast goes way beyond that. Artisans and farmers have taken the local-everything model and run with it, resulting in a place like nowhere else. It’s a mix of new, native and “from away”. It’s about seafood that makes chefs giddy. It’s a Portland restaurant scene that crushes tasting menus and Japanese bar food. It’s roadside markets piled with candy-sweet strawberries and foraged black trumpet mushrooms. It’s island inns that nail the perfect mix of rustic and sophisticated. Add in some of the best brewers on the planet, and the state’s ubiquitous slogan, “The way life should be,” starts to sound pretty legit.

Bon Appétit highlights Eventide, Palace Diner, Oxbow, Rising Tide, Central Provisions, Primo, Tao, Tandem, Bunker, UFF, Hunt & Alpine and more. The article isn’t online yet but should be on newsstands shortly.

Condé Nast Traveler highlights Chebeague Island Inn, Eventide, Fore Street, Standard Baking, Rabelais and others. You can see the full article online.

Interview with Maine-ly Meatballs

June 27th, 2014

The American Journal has published an interview with Maine-ly Meatballs.

Q: Do you have any long-term goals for Maine-ly Meatballs? Are there ways to expand?
A: We are hoping to franchise Maine-ly Meatballs. You never know, you may be on vacation in Florida and see a Maine-ly Meatballs truck roll on by.

Under Construction: Tandem West End

June 26th, 2014

tandemwestendHere’s a little look inside the construction site of the new Tandem Coffee in the West End. There’s a long counter for displaying baked goods and coffee pick-up. There’s also a separate seating area with a big communal table. Click on the photo to see in an enlarged view.

Interview with Bite into Maine

June 26th, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview with Sarah and Karl Sutton, owners of the Bite into Maine lobster roll food truck.

Q. Is there a lot of heated competition among food trucks and between food trucks and restaurants?
It’s not as adversarial as the media makes it out to be between food trucks and restaurants. Food trucks are a good way for a restaurant to expand, like if they want to do more catering. And a lot of food truck owners end up opening brick-and-mortar restaurants. We want to be at Fort Williams forever, but we eventually want to have our own brick-and-mortar takeout place. And food trucks work together well. I don’t think of other food trucks as my competition…

Portland Pancake Day

June 25th, 2014

Space Gallery is holding Portland Pancake Day this Sunday, 9 – noon.

Pancakes: they’re flat, they’re round, they’re soft, they’re delicious… and they’re bringing the people of this town together for one morning-long breakfast celebration in Congress Square Park.

I double dare you to not smile as you read the following two words: FREE PANCAKES. Free pancakes!

Review of DiMillo’s

June 25th, 2014

Haddockquest has reviewed the fish sandwich at DiMillo’s.

There’s no getting around the heavy level of kitsch associated with DiMillo’s, but you don’t show up rolling your eyes. Instead, you walk through the power-operated doors into the ship’s gaudy lobby and finally its dimly-lit bar, put on a small buzz (scotch seems appropriate) and revel in the sheer joy shared by those old ladies picking through their lobster rolls. Then, you bite into a haddock sandwich and smile — even if you’re just a little bit confused as to why.

HuffPo: The Hop Yard

June 25th, 2014

The Huffington Post has published an article about The Hop Yard in Gorham.

Enter three young men in their thirties with farming in their blood and a passion for great beer — hop farmers Ryan Houghton, Geoff Keating, and Peter Busque. The founders of The Hop Yard, these guys grew up in Maine and are committed to seeing the state become a major producer of high quality hops.

Rowan Jacobsen: Apples of Uncommon Character

June 24th, 2014

applesRenowned food writer Rowan Jacobsen will be in Portland this September 22, 6pm for a talk, apple tasting and book signing at Space Gallery for his new work, Apples of Uncommon Character.

Here’s some info on the book (due out in September),

Packed with photographs as delightful as their subjects, Apples of Uncommon Character shows us the fruit in all its glory. Rowan Jacobsen collected specimens both common and rare from all over North America, selecting 123 to feature, including the best varieties for eating, baking, and hard-cider making. By capturing the nature of each apple, including its flavor, origins, and sometimes surprising ties to American history, Apples of Uncommon Character celebrates our romance of the rural landscape. It’s a must-have for every foodie.

 Jacobsen is the author of several books including A Geography of Oysters, American Terroir, and The Living Shore. His book Fruitless Fall is responsible for inspiring me and countless other people to take up beekeeping.


Review of Slab

June 24th, 2014

The Blueberry Files has published a first look review of Slab.

The salumi comes with slices of Sicilian summer sausage, an herbed soft cheese spread, muffuletta relish (spicy olives, cauliflower, peppers, and carrots), and addictive crispy slices of Luna bread. Other starters include an orange sage hummus, served with Luna bread wedges and Focaccia with olives and oil.

Miyake Partners Splitting (Updated)

June 23rd, 2014

The Miyake organization sent out a press release this morning. In it they announced that longtime partners Masa Miyake and Will Garfield are ending their business relationship. The practical impact on the Portland dining scene is that Miyake Diner will be closing and Garfield will be using the space to launch a new venture.

The split is an amicable one, here are their thoughts on the 8-year relationship,

Of the company’s recent changes, Masa Miyake said, “ This is a very positive change for both of us. Will was my first employee when I opened Food Factory Miyake in 2007, and was only eighteen years old at the time. Since then, we have worked together to establish the Miyake name as a pillar in the ever-competitive Portland dining scene. It will be an adjustment for our staff and patrons, but I know that it is time for Will to move on to a project that is his own.”

William Garfield reiterated the same sentiment by stating that, “ Masa has been an amazing mentor throughout the past eight years, but we both agree that it’s time for me to move on to different projects outside of the Miyake name. I am glad that we have been able to bring new and inspiring culinary concepts into Portland over the past few years, and I wish the best to Masa and the Miyake staff moving forward.”

Update: for additional information see this article in the Press Herald.

Family Feast at The Well

June 23rd, 2014

Family Feast on The Farm

Family Feast will be serving an Indonesian prix fixe dinner at The Well on Monday June 30.

They’re still planning the details but so far this what the menu looks like:

  • Crab and head cheese bao with hackelback caviar
  • Chilled cucumber nasturtium soup with coconut and smoked mussels, black lime vinaigrette
  • Large format beef tongue salad  “Garggouillou” with farm veg, pickled, raw, fermented, shoots and flowers with a cumin lime honey vin, rhubarb mustard, peanuts, beef tongue, black sesame miso puree, sesame bagel croutons, yogurt, farm greens
  • Whole duck egg ravioli over a ragu of duck hearts and gizzards, liver, peas, chocolate mint, tofu
  • Baba guling, balinese pork presenation
    -smoked shoulder in a yellow curry with squid and clams, eggpant, zuchini
    -charred blood and pork sausage wheel with chili glaze over seared bitter greens
    -rolled stuffed roasted belly with aromatic rice and wok fried broccoli raab in oyster sauce and garlic
    -fried bits, ears, skin, intestine with herbs and shallots in nuoc chom
  • Dessert will be stone fruit buckle with whipped farm cream, and then small corn cookie and ice cream sandwiches with jackfruit and tamarind

Tickets are $100 per person. Sign-up online at Eventbrite.