Sweet Sea Cookies

Leigh Kellis, the fonder of The Holy Donut, has leased the former Old Port Sandwich Shop space on Market Street. Starting next week she’ll be using the store for a 6-month pop-up shop for her new venture Sweet Sea Cookies (website, facebook, instagram).

The goal of Sweet Sea Cookies is to raise money for Less Plastic Portland which encourages businesses to reduce plastic use.

Cookies come in 3 flavors: oatmeal raisin, sea salt chocolate, and sunflower crunch. The cookies are produced by Baristas + Bites for Sweet Sea.

Food Insecurity

This week’s Portland Phoenix talked to Wayside, Good Shepherd, Preble Street, Full Plates, and Project FEED about the increased demand for assistance they’re responding to during the pandemic.

Additionally, according to Full Plates Full Potential, 43 percent of Maine’s public school children rely on school meals to get the food they need.

Portland’s increased need for food assistance has also been evident at Preble Street Food Programs. Joe Conroy, senior director of food programs and facilities at Preble Street, last week said his organization “has provided record amounts of food” to local people in need since the pandemic began, and is on track to provide 1 million meals in 2020.

To help fight hunger in Maine consider a donation to:

Dear Dairy Ice Cream

Dear Dairy (instagram) has leased 1,400 sq ft of space at 160 Presumscot Street where they plan to locate their new ice cream production space and studio.

Co-owners Alec Haviland and Glenn Dalrymple shared that “Dear Dairy started as an art project and we wanted it to keep feeling like one…So we’ve been balancing finding a space that didn’t cost so much that we would have to grow into something we didn’t want to be but that also allowed us the space we needed to spread our creative wings and fly.”

To that end, Dear Dairy is co-leasing the space with clothing designer Celia Haviland and artist Shawn Brewer. The hope is that the creative energy of these various disciplines under one roof will be inspiring for all, and will “permeate into the ice creams and cakes and the fabrics and clothing and prints that all make their way out the same doors.”

Once they’ve completed the build out and are back in operation, the expanded space will allow Dear Dairy room to “experiment and weave new flavors and house made inclusions into ice creams that we will continue packaging into 12 Oz containers to sell in grocery stores”. Dear Dairy will also plans to provide home delivery for their ice cream, as well as continue making custom flavors for restaurants.
Haviland and Dalrymple hope to get production back underway early next year.

Vena’s Moving

Vena’s Fizz House has announced plans to move to a new location. They’ll be wrapping up business at the corner of Silver and Fore Street in January. Owners Steve and Johanna Corman are in the process of locating a new larger location to expand both their retail shop and bar.

We will be closing our brick and mortar venue in January. After seven years in our quaint little corner in the heart of the Old Port we are bitter, sweetly letting go to move Vena’s on to a larger space to enable the next phase of our business to scale & grow in Portland.

We are excited to share our plans and will do so in the next couple of months – so stay tuned! In the meantime, please find all your beverage needs at our brimmed to the rim online shop. If you need a recipe, want to talk bitters or host a virtual mixology class, just give us a shout.

The current Vena’s space at 345 Fore Street is now for lease for $3,750/month.

Jing Yan Opening Wednesday

A new Munjoy Hill Asian-inspired restaurant Jing Yan (facebook, instagram) is slated to open for takeout on Wednesday. Jing Yan is located is located at 90 Congress Street in the space formerly occupied by Lolita.

The overall layout of the restaurant has remained the same with a number of changes to the interior design to align the look with the new restaurant concept. Co-owner Britt Langford has hand-painted a panoramic mural along the banquet wall as well as a circular motif above the front table that features a Jing Yan, a species of Bejing swallow that the restaurant is named for.

Husband and wife Leo Zhang and Britt Langford are the co-owners of the restaurant, and Chris Petrillo has joined the team as Jin Yan’s chef. Langford and Zhang met in China where the couple ran the Bar 4 Nine cocktail bar before moving to Maine.

Hours are Wednesday through Monday 11 am – 11 pm. The kitchen closes at 8 pm but a limited late night menu is available 8 – 11 pm. Jing Yan will be open on Thanksgiving.

Here’s a look at the opening night takeout menu. Jing Yan will also have available milk and fruit teas, mocktails and soft drinks to go.

Sok Sabai Food Truck

A new food truck called Sok Sabai (instagram) is under development and is expected to launch this coming spring. Sok Sabai will serve a menu of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese food that will include beef and chicken skewers, egg rolls, noodle bowls and wings.

Owner Tina Nop is the first recipient of a Entrepreneurial Empowerment Scholarship from Fork Food Lab. As reported in the Portland Phoenix,

The scholarship will cover the cost of a six-month membership at Fork, as well as licensing costs, access to free legal, tax, and business planning, and additional marketing and brand support from local digital marketing agency iBec Creative.

The scholarship was made possible through a combination of private donations and a $2,500 sponsorship from Atlantic Federal Credit Union.

Of Cambodian heritage, Nop is also incorporating Laotian and Vietnamese food in the food truck menu “to honor the cultures of all the people who have helped her family.” The name of the food truck means “peace and happiness” in the Khmer language.

For more information about Nop, her family and about the Sok Sabai food truck read this in depth article in the Portland Phoenix.

Be sure to follow Sok Sabai on instagram to keep up to date on the development and launch of the food truck.

Update: Also check out this article from the American Journal.

This Week’s Events: Thanksgiving, Pacifico

WednesdayDaniel Iwasko from Duckfat is Wednesday’s guest chef at the Duckfat Friteshack Grill, and the weekday Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – it’s Thanksgiving…see the list below for ideas on where to get ingredients and dishes for your meal.

SaturdayPacifico, a new Latin American restaurant in Saco, is scheduled to open.

Thanksgiving Resource Guide – a growing list of which restaurants are doing in person or takeout Thanksgiving dinners, as well as bakeries, markets and other providers with special offerings for Thanksgiving. While deciding on your own Thanksgiving Day meal plans consider making a donation to the Good Shepherd Food Bank to help fight hunger in Maine.

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.

New Breweries

The Press Herald has published a report on Maine breweries that are launching and expanding.

When beer industry veterans John Callinan and Rick McCormick decided to open a brewery together, they jokingly asked themselves, what could go wrong?

For starters, the usual things that always go wrong with a brewery opening – federal and state licensing taking longer than expected, construction delays, trouble with equipment. But during a pandemic, all of these issues are amplified and joined by a host of others. Still, they’re among several brave beer lovers who moved forward with plans to open new breweries this year despite it all.

Opening a Restaurant During a Pandemic

For today’s paper, the Maine Sunday Telegram has talked to owners and chefs that have taken on opening a restaurant during the pandemic.

These restaurateurs cite personality traits like flexibility, resilience, grit, optimism and a sense of humor as key to opening in these profoundly challenging times. They also credit reasonable landlords; strong relationships with purveyors; kind neighbors; and supportive staff, families, customers, and state and local officials. Did we mention hard work? Very, very hard work.

Beard Chef Series: Krista Kern Desjarlais

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published the fourth and final article in their series with Maine chefs who were 2020 Beard Awards nominees. For this week they’ve interviewed Krista Kern Desjarlais and published her recipe for a shaved brussels sprouts salad. I first ate that salad in 2007 and having tried (and failed) to reverse engineer the recipe especially appreciate this article.

She has been understandably cautious about bringing back her North Yarmouth bakery/café during the ongoing pandemic, waiting until “I’m able to do it absolutely the right way.” For Desjarlais, a finalist this year for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Northeast award, that has meant anticipating the winter with equal parts pragmatism and imagination.

Prior articles in the series have focused on Vien Dobui from Cong Tu Bot, Ben Jackson from the now closed Drifters Wife, and Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell from Palace Diner.