Coffee Me Up

June 8th, 2017

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about Coffee Me Up and its owners Alba Zakja and Mateo Hodo.

What sets this gem apart are three things: First, the owners, Alba Zakja and Mateo Hodo are two of the most beautiful humans I have encountered. Their smiles are warm, welcoming and real. Second, their pastry offerings are homemade and Albanian; Albania is their birthplace, although they have both become American citizens. Two of their pastries are especially delicious: Byrek is a traditional phyllo savory pastry. It’s light, unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else in Portland, and you can rely on seeing it at Coffee ME Up seven days a week. The other is Alba’s mother Simina’s Baklava.

Hakka Me Food Truck

June 8th, 2017

A new Cantonese food truck called Hakka Me (website, facebook) was spotted on Spring Street yesterday on their first day in business by Eating Portland Alive.

According to their website, “Hakka Me is a blend of local ingredients, imported spices, and techniques passed down many generations” that shares the owners family recipes with the people of Portland.

HiFi Donuts Now Open (Updated)

June 8th, 2017

A new shop called HiFi Donuts (website) has opened at 30 Monument Way in the space formerly occupied by Hero’s.

Update: Both the Press Herald and Urban Eye have published articles about HiFi Donuts.

Maine Summer Food Festivals

June 7th, 2017

Today’s Press Herald has assembled a round-up of summer Maine food festivals,

Mainers love good food, and in the summer they love to celebrate it.

Lobster, blueberries, potatoes, even that love-it-or-hate-it soda known as Moxie – Maine has long shared its affection for such bounty through summer food festivals. This year, three new festivals will be joining the mix, all in southern Maine.

and includes an article about omnivores who order vegan and vegetarian dishes when eating out.

For years, chefs and restaurant owners across Maine have told me how their vegan dishes are being snapped up by meat-eating customers. So I decided to investigate further. What I discovered is a sizable group of people who eat meat at home but order vegan meals when they dine out.

Joseph C. Anania, 94

June 6th, 2017
Joseph C. Anania, co-founder of the first Anania’s Market passed away at the age of 94.
In 1960 Joseph and his sister Vivian opened the original Anania’s Market, which was located on Newbury Street in Portland. He worked in the store along with his brothers who became involved in the business over the years, until Joseph’s retirement in 1987.

This Week’s Events: Lobster Conf, Night Kitchen, Austrian Wine, Montenidoli, Blyth & Burrows, Bier Cellar

June 5th, 2017

Monday – the first day of the 5-day 11th International Conference & Workshop on Lobster Biology and Management taking place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

Tuesday – Opening night of the Night Kitchen Musical at Portland Stage, and TempoArt is holding a benefit at Bunker Brewing.

Wednesday – Winemakers and owners of 8 Austrian wineries will be at The Well for a grand tasting event of 50 Austrian wines, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – Winemaker Elisabetta Fagiuoli from Montenidoli will be at Maine & Loire for a tasting, and a Year of the Rooster dinner is taking place at Zen Chinese Bistro.

Friday – it’s the official opening day of Blyth and Burrows (facebook), a new cocktail bar on Exchange Street. The 2017 Allagash Victoria Ale release is taking place at the Victoria Mansion, and the Munjoy Hill Rosemont is holding a wine tasting.

Saturday – the Bier Cellar is holding a party to celebrate their 5th Anniversary with tastings by 10 brewers and importers, LeRoux Kitchen is holding a wine tasting, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – the 44th Annual Old Port Festival 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: Veranda Thai

June 4th, 2017

Veranda Thai owner Hai Pham has purchased the building at 672 Main Street in Westbrook where a new Veranda Thai restaurant is under construction.

Veranda Thai joins a growing list of restaurants and other food businesses in Westbrook: Big Fin Poke, Bamboo Bistro, Black Dinah Chocolates, Mast Landing Brewing, and Brea Lu Cafe. Both Fishermen’s Grill and Yes Brewing Company are also under construction.

Frog and Turtle made the first notable leap into the Westbrook market when they left behind a spot in Longfellow Square for Main Street in Westbrook in 2007.

Maine Beer Box

June 4th, 2017

The Maine Beer Box, a shipping container beer tap system, is headed to Iceland, reports the Press Herald.

The project is a partnership between the Maine Brewers Guild and Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company that has its U.S. headquarters in Portland. The guild plans to ship the container every year to a different port on Eimskip’s shipping routes. The aim is to market Maine’s craft beer industry overseas and encourage brewers to consider foreign exports as a way to grow their companies, Sean Sullivan, executive director of the brewers guild, said during a send-off event for the beer box at the International Marine Terminal in Portland on Friday.

Reviews: Woodhull, Baharat, Tiqa

June 4th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Woodhull,

Instead, focus on the Mexican-inspired plates that husband-and-wife chef duo, Matt and Rachel Chaisson, prepare with considerable skill. Standouts are the roasted cauliflower taco on a fresh, housemade soft tortilla; the hearty, multidimensional Baja rice bowl; and the ambitiously named “fritter mountain,” a quick-fried patty of smoky roasted corn covered in red cabbage, corn salsa and cotija cheese. It’s good enough to merit a little voyage of your own to Yarmouth for a taste.

Press Herald has reviewed Baharat,

The Rad Mirage ($10) has already gained some renown in the short time Baharat has been open. It seems that, once you taste it, it becomes difficult not to recommend it to every person you see. Having had it myself now, I get it. Vodka, Lebanese yogurt, honey and mint, blended to perfection, it’s a unique cocktail that complements the food and the location perfectly. It’s nearly absolutely impossible not to have two, so I did.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Tiqa,

Tiqa was even better than I remembered. They were more than satisfactory in the past, but my meal this time might have been the best yet. The seafood, pork, and potato combo in cream was extraordinary with the app and dessert as excellent bookends. It left me feeling like I had eaten something very special. The restaurant is putting some high quality flavors out from their kitchen and a meal there is most definitely one you’ll enjoy.

Under Construction: Little Giant

June 1st, 2017

Little Giant (facebook, instagram) owners Andrew and Briana Volk have released information on the management team that will be running their 60-seat West End restaurant which is slated to open in mid-June.

  • Rian Wyllie (instagram) will lead the kitchen at Little Giant. Wyllie was the Executive Chef of Deep Ellum and Lone Star Taco Bar in Boston for the past ten years.
  • Darcy Brennan Poor will be leading the bakery/pastry program. A Portland resident, she studied at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. In NYC she worked at Runner and Stone in Brooklyn, a retail bakery and restaurant that specializes in naturally leavened breads, viennoiserie pastries, and desserts.
  • Max Overstrom-Coleman (instagram) will be the bar manager at Little Giant. He has more than twenty years in the hospitality industry.

The restaurant is located at the intersection of Danforth and Clark Streets.  Back in December it was named to Imbibe Magazine’s 2017 class of ‘Imbibe 75′.

The menu for Little Giant “will focus on Continental European cuisine with a New England influence” and the bar program “will bring together the influences of European cafe culture and well-made cocktails to Portland’s West End.”


The Night Kitchen

May 31st, 2017

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about The Night Kitchen, a musical being produced at Portland Stage to raise funds for Preble Street.

Charmingly cheesy jokes are interspersed with more serious moments where the audience gets to see – and hear – the rhythm of a restaurant kitchen, its pleasures and its very real stresses, too. (Hear it, in syncopated songs like this: “Cut thin – mince, dice/Pound well – add spice/ Just so – precise/Chop once – chop twice/Strike match – stir rice/Chill well – on ice/Oh yeah – that’s nice.”)

Under Construction: Brickyard Hollow Brewing

May 31st, 2017

A new brewery called Brickyard Hollow Brewing Company is under development in Yarmouth, reports the Press Herald.

Yarmouth entrepreneurs Brad Moll and Frank Grondin announced Tuesday that they plan to open a small-batch craft brewery and restaurant called Brickyard Hollow Brewing Co. at 236 Main St., now the home of Anthony’s Dry Cleaners. The 2,100-square-foot brewery will seat 60 indoors and an additional 30 on its patio.

Lazzari Opened Yesterday

May 30th, 2017

Lazzari (facebook) opened for business last night serving drinks and an abbreviated menu of small plates and wood-fired pizza. Lazzari is located at 618 Congress Street in a fully renovated space that used to house Mesa Verde.

They plan on operating with an abbreviated menu for another two nights.

SaltBox #2

May 30th, 2017

SaltBox Cafe owners are renovating a Grumman stepvan into a second food truck.

Under Construction: Benkay Moving

May 29th, 2017

Benkay has announced plans to move from their current location  on Commercial Street to a new building under construction at 16 Middle Street. They expect to be open at the new restaurant this summer.