Under Construction: SoPo Bar & Grill

June 10th, 2014

Outliers owner Peter Verrill has leased for former JP Thornton’s location in South Portland where he plans on opening SoPo Bar & Grill, according to Eater Maine.

Verrill says the new venture, like its predecessor, will have a cafe/deli component in addition to a restaurant/bar section, and likely even a juice bar to serve health conscious customers of nearby Greener Postures Yoga and Snap Fitness.

Review of the Sloppy Penatzer

June 10th, 2014

Chubby Werewolf has reviewed this weak’s guest chef hot dog at Blue Rooster.

All in all, the Sloppy Penatzer was a fantastic meal, made all the more memorable by the tasty Thai Iced Tea I paired it with (and which has already become an instant favorite). With two holes now residing on my punch card, I’m wondering if it is too early to petition the good folks at the Blue Rooster Food Co. to make some of these hot dogs permanent additions to their menu. The summer is still young, but the Sloppy Penatzer would be at the top of my list.

Interview with Andrew Taylor

June 10th, 2014

Knack Factory has published an interview with chef Andrew Taylor from Hugo’s/Eventide.

Is there a secret to running a successful place?
I think the best way to have a successful business is to have worked in successful kitchens and to keep moving up in those roles. I also have only wanted to work in places where people care about food. I have always tried to seek environments where people were as interested in food as I am.

Reviews of Small Axe & King’s Head

June 10th, 2014

Haddockquest has reviewed Small Axe Truck,

It’s difficult to find too many faults here, but if there’s one thing that needs to be pointed out, it’s portion size. Small Axe’s haddock filet may have been perfectly fried, but it was simply too small to properly stand-up against everything else that was going on. At times, for example, the acidity of the preserved lemon proved to be too much due to a lack of balance, which could’ve been cured by a slightly heftier portion of fish. Local haddock doesn’t come cheap, though, does it?

and The Beer Babe has published a bar review of the King’s Head Pub.

The tap list on the second day was about 20 items long, but struck me as being both ambitious and rather special. A few highlights on the list included the reason I ventured back on Saturday – Cantillion Iris – a spontaneously fermented glass of perfection that is rarely poured from a tap due to its expense and rarity. But mixed in were several of Allagash’s special releases (Victor, Confluence, Ginger Wit), some international selections including Chimay (Belgium), Dieu Du Ciel (Canada) and Thornbridge (England). I also liked that these beers were also side by side with IPAs from Founders, Baxter, and Rising Tide.

Outdoor Seating Issues

June 9th, 2014

The Press Herald reports on issues arising from the expansion of outdoor seating at the city’s restaurants.

For Bud Buzzell, a 72-year-old sight-impaired resident, the familiar sidewalks near his Congress Square home are increasingly a frustrating and dangerous maze caused by restaurants he contends are not providing the required 4 feet of pedestrian space.

“One is more or less copying the other and I’m very upset about it,” Buzzell said of the restaurants expanding into the sidewalks of his neighborhood. “And I know a lot of blind or visually impaired or disabled people who are very upset.”

South Portland Food Trucks

June 9th, 2014

South Portland has begun working on an ordinance that would allow food trucks in the city. You can see the factors under consideration on the South Portland website.

Sentry has also posted an article about the prospect of food trucks in South Portland.

This Week’s Events: Restaurant Impossible, Portland’s Seafood Industry, Sip & See, Smuttfest

June 9th, 2014

Wednesday — Restaurant Impossible will be unveiling the re-imagined Uncle Andy’s at 7pm, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — GMRI is hosting a session on Portland’s Evolving Seafood Industry.

Friday — it’s the first day of the Scarborough kitchen tour, Sip & See.

Saturday — Novare Res is holding the 2014 SmuttFest, it’s the 2nd day of Sip & See, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Start-up and Create Week — An exciting event called Maine Start-up and Create Week is taking place June 12-20. There will speakers and panel discussion in addition to a number related events. Three of the presentation involve the food industry: Marine Innovation, Scaling a Specialty Food Company, and Innovation with Sustainable Foods. For a full schedule and to register for the conference visit, mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule.

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.

Review of Back Bay Grill

June 8th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Back Bay Grill.

Sophisticated dishes superbly done – after 25 years, Back Bay Grill remains at the top of its game. The wine list is a special one – many bottlings have significant cellar age. Every dish is a standout, including specials of the day and – in addition to those described in the accompanying review – Bang’s Island mussels, truffled beef tartare, grilled filet mignon, roast chicken breast and hand-rolled turban of salmon.

The also has an editor’s note indicating that this is John Golden’s last review for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Dean’s Sweets Moving to Fore St

June 7th, 2014

Dean’s Sweets has announced that they’re moving to 475 Fore Street into one of the retail spaces across the street from Miyake. According to the press release,

After almost six years in their current location (82 Middle St.), and four years prior to that making chocolate in their home kitchen, Dean’sSweets now needs more space to make and sell their hand-dipped truffles, caramels, and buttercreams. With consistent growth over the years, including retail, wholesale, wedding, special events, and website orders, Dean’sSweets is moving toward greater capacity to accommodate more people, more equipment, and more production. Committed to making chocolate in small batches for absolute freshness while also keeping production and sales all under one roof, Dean’sSweets is pleased to have found a great location in Portland, steps away from Old Port.

Small Axe and Congress Square Park

June 7th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News looks at the impact Small Axe is having on Congress Square Park.

“There are not a lot of places in the city to get outside and have lunch,” said Deuben, a chef who’s worked for Masa Miyake and at Hugo’s. “This gives people the opportunity to see what the park can be with a little effort. Just as we put a lot of thought and effort into our food.”

First Review of Lolita

June 6th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Lolita.

Owners Guy (chef) and Stella (manager) Hernandez [and Neil Reiter] have assembled a great team of sous chefs  with Kimmo Merronen, Cameron Fernald and Megan Roand who contribute what they do best.  The result is staggeringly exquisite food served in such elegant, relaxed surroundings.  It may have seemed odd to close down their popular Bar Lola to move to what seemed like compromised quarters; but  instead the change brought Portland a brilliantly refined new restaurant. Sometimes geography does make a difference.

Launching: CN Shawarma & the King’s Head

June 6th, 2014

cnshawarma_logoTwo new opening are taking place today and tomorrow:

  • A new food truck called CN Shawarma (facebook, twitter, website) is launching today at noon on the Eastern Promenade. Owners Clayton Norris and Jenna Friedman are serving a menu of shawarma, falafel, kofta, lentil salad and tabbouleh.
  • King’s Head Pub (facebook) is planning a to hold a soft opening tonight with some “light food” and drinks. The restaurant will be having their official opening with a full menu available on Saturday.

Flanagan’s Table Photos: Hugo’s

June 6th, 2014

Knack Factory has published a very nice set of photos from last weekend’s dinner by Hugo’s at Flanagan’s Table.

The dinner featured smoked sablefish, cassoulet, a surf and turf of octopus and pork shoulder, a spit roasted pig and a dessert of sorrel ice cream, asparagus and rhubarb.

50 State Filipine Pop-up Dinner

June 5th, 2014

The SALO Project will be serving a Filipino pop-up dinner this Sunday in Portland. Chef Yana Gilbuena is taking SALO on the road to prepare a pop-up in all 50 states. Tickets are $50 and the dinner is taking place in a private residence in the East End.

Vinland Ice Cream Service

June 5th, 2014

Urban Eye has a report on the new Vinland backdoor ice cream service which is slated to start next week.

To coax the timid to his locavore lair, Levi is using the back door in his kitchen (accessible from Congress Square Park) to hawk cones and homemade popsicles in flavors like cranberry and blueberry yogurt all summer long.

Reviews: Hella Good, Blue Spoon, Congress Gar & Grill

June 5th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Congress Bar and Grill.

Congress Bar and Grill produced a very good meal. They’re not fancy and they keep it simple, but the food tastes great and is cooked perfectly. The service is good too. I’d recommend checking out this congress. They get my vote.

the Press Herald has published a review of the Hella Good food cart,

The fish taco included white fish, lightly breaded and warm and topped with a lime crema salsa, cabbage and cilantro. The pork was fall-apart tender, and the chicken was as well. The pork and the chicken were served with a verde salsa, along with onion, cilantro and other greens. All three were great.

and a bar review of Blue Spoon.

Blue Spoon has been part of the Munjoy Hill community for years. It’s a place people rely on for brunch, lunch, dinner and Wine Time, its signature happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Wine is served by the glass for $2.50 and small plates are available for munching. For an authentic Portland experience, climb the Hill and check out Blue Spoon.

Fishin’ Ships Launched

June 4th, 2014

fishinships_logo.mediumFishin’ Ships (facebook, twitter) launched today on Commercial Street near GMRI. If you miss them today stop by Portland Flea-for-All for the monthly Flea Bites food truck street festival and follow them on Twitter to keep informed about where they are located on a daily basis.

Restaurant Impossible: Uncle Andy’s

June 4th, 2014

Maine a la Carte has information on how to be part of the Restaurant Impossible remake of Uncle Andy’s.

“Restaurant Impossible” airs on Wednesday nights and the episode featuring Uncle Andy’s will air sometime this summer. We can’t report on the transformation because that would spoil the TV surprise, but YOU can participate.

There are two ways to be involved: As a member of the volunteer crew or as a customer for the grand re-opening on Wednesday, June 11 at 7 p.m.


June 4th, 2014

The Portland Daily Sun has reviewed Timber,

Timber could have served green eggs and ham and the experience would have been great. That is mainly because the of the aura of staff professionalism and the tableside visits from the owners, even when they got slammed and overwhelmed a bit on opening night. Whenever I go into a restaurant I can usually spot one or two servers who are the cream of the crop. The ones who make the operation seamless and make you question if they’re part-owners. Everyone at Timber behaved that way.

and the Bangor Daily News has published an article about Timber.

Noah and Dan Talmatch of The Northpoint opened their second restaurant last week called Timber Steakhouse and Rotisserie on Exchange Street. Offering certified Angus beef in diverse cuts served with sides of batter-fried smoked bacon and a bourbon, whisky, rye and scotch bible to consider, the bold brethren once again have hit upon a winning concept.

Coffee House Tour: CBD, Bard, Speckled Axe, Tandem

June 4th, 2014

The Root has published a report from the coffee house tour I led this past weekend in collaboration with The Maine Brew Bus.

During the tour we visited Coffee by Design, Bard Coffee, Speckled Axe and Tandem Coffee Roasters. We learned about coffee importing and roasting, cross compared brewing methods, got trained on the cupping process, and as you might expect drank a vast amount of caffeine. If that all sounds fun to you then you’re in luck as we’re likely to schedule a repeat performance this Fall. Stay tuned.