Portland Phoenix Readership Poll

March 26th, 2015

phoenix2015The nominees have been announced and voting has begun in the Portland Phoenix 2015 Best of Portland Readership Poll.

Portland Food Map is a nominee this year in two categories:

  • Best Food Blog/Column category (along with Portland Food Coma, From AwayEater Maine and The Daily Dish)
  • Best Blog category (along with Spinster Jane, Fighting the Tides, Hilly Town, and Knack Factory).

Now is the time to review the full list of categories/nominees  and to vote for your favorites.

Review of East Ender

March 26th, 2015

Map & Menu have reviewed the new East Ender.

It turns out that all of our worrying was for naught because now that we’ve tried Karl Deuben & Bill Leavy’s reincarnation of the East Ender on our favorite block of Middle Street (read: one of the most delicious blocks in all of Portland), we realized that it’s not the truck that made the meal, but the chefs behind the grill.

Review of Sur Lie

March 26th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix restaurant critic Brian Duff has reviewed Sur Lie.

Sur Lie calls their very first category “to settle” and their dessert category “closure” (the latter features a pair of fantastic fresh donuts, with a tart blueberry filling). But the power of a well-designed list is to trigger what anthropologists call the seeking instinct — rooted in our brain’s most robust neurocircuitry — which never settles nor reaches closure. It’s what drives us through the Internet, click by click, and the rest of life, too. Sur lie’s best innovation might be making small plate dining seem affordable and accessible, but still intriguing and ambitious. It will leave you seeking another chance to visit.

This week’s edition also includes a visit to Lolita with Petite Jacqueline’s chef Fred Eliot.

A.C.: Now that you’re back on marrow, what makes this version special?
It’s super rich, but not an enormous portion. After a long day at work I like to have something that’s not too big because I want to go to bed. But I do like something rich like this or ramen noodles. What’s really cool here is they do it over the fire, so it adds this smokey flavor to it. It’s nothing intense but it’s woody. It’s messy, interactive. It gets everywhere. You need a lot of bread.

Tony’s Donuts Expanding

March 25th, 2015

The Press Herald reports that Tony’s Donuts has closed their South Portland location and is planning to expand their Portland store.

Fournier plans to expand the original family business at Congress and Bolton streets by renovating a former auto maintenance garage on the property into a coffee shop, he said.

“By the time I get done with renovations, you won’t recognize it,” Fournier said.

Sea Fantasy: Eventide

March 25th, 2015

The Angela Adams blog Sea Fantasy has posted a photo essay of Eventide.

2015 James Beard Award Nominees (Updated)

March 24th, 2015

JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOGJames Beard Foundation has announced the final nominees for this year’s awards competition. Of the 10 Maine-based semi-finalists announced in February, 4 are final nominees:

  • Best New Restaurant – Central Provisions
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley at Eventide Oyster Company, and Masa Miyake at Miyake
  • Rising Star of the Year – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan

The award winners will be announced May 4th at the Lyric Opera in Chicago at the JBF Awards Gala hosted by Alton Brown.

Update: Both the Press Herald and Bangor Daily News have published reports on the award nominees.

The Sinful Kitchen Opening Sunday

March 24th, 2015

Chef David Mallari has announced plans to open The Sinful Kitchen(facebook, website) this Sunday, 8-2.

The last inspection passed!
We are going to do a soft opening for the general public this coming Sunday 3/29 from 8-2pm.
We will then start our regular business hours on Wednesday, April 1st.

The restaurant will be serving brunch menu 5 days a week, Wednesday through Sunday.

Food Trucks for Sale (Updated)

March 24th, 2015

Several food trucks are for sale:

On the flip side, at least two new food trucks are set to launch this year: Cannoli Joe’s and an, as yet unnamed, Japanese food truck.

Update: the Press Herald reports that Don’s Lunch has been sold.

This Week’s Events: JBF Nominees, Louis/Dressner, Ardeche Wine Dinner, Sebastien Riffault Wine Dinner, Flanagan’s Table

March 23rd, 2015

2015-02-11_21-36-56Tuesday — the list of final nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards will be released. 10 Maine semi-finalists are on the long list for 2015.

WednesdayBlack Tie is teaching a cooking class.

Thursday — Maine & Loire is holding a Louis/Dressner tasting, Devenish Wines and Congress Squared are collaborating on an Ardeche wine dinner, it’s community family night at Grace, The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Oxbow Brewing, and there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House.

Friday — winemaker Sebastien Riffault will be at Vinland for a natural Sancerre wine dinner.

SaturdayDavid Turn will be the featured chef at a sold out Flanagan’s Table dinner, the Portland Food Co-op is holding a bitters workshop, and the Winter 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.

Chef Cara Stadler

March 22nd, 2015

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about chef Cara Stadler.

Also on her 10-year agenda is expanding her business. She doesn’t want any more restaurants, but hopes to develop some food businesses that will give her employees a living wage, health care, and some growth opportunities so they’ll stay with her longer. She’d like, for example, to start some kind of fermentation company with [Josh] Fratoni, who is an expert on the topic. She also wants to start making and selling the hot sauces that [Saskia] Poulos has been experimenting with the past few years.

But for now, she’s still enjoying the national spotlight and the boost it has given to her business. While loyal locals keep Tao Yuan busy in winter, summer traffic was “way more intense” last year.

Review of JP’s Bistro

March 22nd, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed JP’s Bistro.

If you’re looking for ease and comfort in a neighborhood bistro, JP’s fits the bill. The small dining room is appealing and the wait staff uber-welcoming. Dishes, however, can be overly complicated, and with prices north of $25 for steak and a few pasta-based entrees, it’s worth ordering with care. Keep it simple and try chicken, sausage and white bean soup, a flavorful starter filled with chunks of white meat, spinach and ditalini pasta. Ribeye is nicely marbled and competently grilled, but skip the bourbon sauce and enjoy it solo. Definitely get two spoons to share chef John Paul Gagnon’s excellent bread pudding for dessert. Made with slices of challah from Sorella’s Bakehouse, it’s surprisingly delicate and pleasingly sweet; you may find yourselves dueling over the last bite.

Down East: Best New Restaurants

March 20th, 2015

The cover article of the April issue of Down East is the magazine’s list of the Best New Restaurants in Maine.

Portland area restaurants on the list are: Bao Bao, Blue Rooster, Bramhall, Central Provisions, Dutch’s, East Ender, Ebb & Flow, El Rayo in Scarborough, Elsmere BBQ, Empire, Enio’s, Hugo’s, Isa, Outlier’s, Lolita, Piccolo, Salvage BBQ, Slab, Sur Lie, Timber, Tiqa and Vinland as well as the upcoming restaurants The Honey Paw, MC Union, Scales and Tempo Dulu.

The article is not available online yet.

Isa Is Now Open (Updated)

March 19th, 2015

isa_dessertIsa(facebook, website) is opening for business tonight. Owners Suzie St. Pierre and Isaul Perez have a number of years experience working in restaurants in New York City. It’s billed as a “cozy neighborhood bistro serving an eclectic yet seasonally driven menu“.

The restaurant is located at 79 Portland Street just a couple doors down from Back Bay Grill. Isa will be open 6 days a week Wednesday through Monday. They’ll initially be serving just dinner but plan to eventually be open daily 11am – close.

Update: The Golden Dish has published a first look post on Isa.

Bar Review of Petite Jacqueline

March 19th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Petite Jacqueline.

In a city that becomes increasingly more popular for its bars and restaurants by the day, there are two reasons Petite Jacqueline stands out in Portland. The first is that this traditional French bistro is exactly that – traditional. Many of Portland’s newest dining additions feature trendy small plate menus, or experimental New American cuisine. Petite’s steadfast and classic French menu actually makes the restaurant more unique among an otherwise adventurous gastronomic town.

Interview with Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor

March 18th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, the chefs/co-owners of Hugo’s and Eventide.

Q: You are both owner/chefs. What’s the division of labor?

TAYLOR: He focuses much more on Hugo’s, and I focus much more Eventide. We’ve hired an old sous-chef for Honey Paw. Both of us are intimately involved with the menu at Honey Paw. If I have a flash of inspiration that fits better at Hugo’s, I’ve no problem saying that. And the same for him. We try to cultivate a collaborative atmosphere in the restaurant. I really like it when a cook says, “I’d really like to do this.” It’s much better if the cooks have a sense of ownership because it’s going to taste better.

WILEY: It sounds clichéd, but we have a really awesome community that helps us run the restaurants.

Taylor and Wiley are semi-finalist nominees for this year’s James Beard Best Chef: Northeast award. Along with their co-owner Arlin Smith, they’re currently in the process of launching a third restaurant, The Honey Paw.

Update on Mama’s Crowbar

March 18th, 2015

The Press Herald reports that a deal has been worked out to negate the eviction notice that Mama’s Crowbar had received so the bar can remain open through the end of their lease on October 1, 2015.

Local Food Initiative

March 18th, 2015

The Bangor Daily News has published a report on a recent 1-day meeting of Mayor Brennan’s local food initiative.

To reach the city’s goals, members of the mayor’s subcommittee such as John Naylor, co-owner of Rosemont Market and Bakery, are strong disciples. Naylor, who spoke at the conference, works with 40 farmers and local food producers in his four markets, (the fifth Rosemont opens in Portland’s West End soon) and says a commitment is needed across the board to keep the movement robust.

2nd Annual Rum Riots

March 17th, 2015

rumriots_logoThe schedule for the 2nd Annual Rum Riots(facebook, twitter, instagram, website) is starting to take shape. This year’s program includes:

The mission of Rum Riots is to “celebrate cocktails, bars and bartenders”. It’s scheduled to take place May 30 – June 1.

Under Construction: PHAC x Piccolo Collaboration

March 16th, 2015

The owners of the Hunt + Alpine Club and Piccolo are in the early stages of collaborating on a new restaurant. Damian Sansonetti, Briana and Andrew Volk and Ilma Lopez plan to launch the new venue sometime in 2016 which they’ll operate in addition to continuing to run their current establishments. Details on concept and location are not yet public.

WSJ: Dynamic Food Cities

March 16th, 2015

The Wall Street Journal published an article about the rise of the culinary scenes America’s smaller cities. It mentions Portland in passing,

And then there’s this: These are places where chefs can make a difference. The most dynamic food cities in the country right now are the two Portlands (Ore. and Maine), Nashville, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., Houston and Philadelphia. All took off in the past decade thanks to the arrival of a few gifted chefs who pioneered a new dining scene.