Reviews: Independent Ice, Cheese Shop, AC Lounge

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Independent Ice Co.,

But its newest tenant, The Independent Ice Company, has transformed it into a sophisticated and – believe it or not – cozy whiskey bar with a surprisingly broad menu of casual dishes. Don’t skip the signature cocktails, all slightly tweaked versions of classics served with (naturally) their own specially formulated shape of ice. The rosemary sour is a zingy pleasure, and the Rufus Page Black Walnut Old Fashioned might well be my favorite autumn cocktail this year. While you’re sipping, order a pair of outsized, bacon-wrapped meatloaf sliders; a cone of Belgian-style, house-cut fries or even a kale-and-arugula salad. Yes, you read that right: a salad… on Wharf Street.

The Golden Dish has reviewed The Cheese Shop, and

The focus of the Cheese Shop is, of course, cheese curated from top European and local creameries as well as a fine selection of vinegars, olive oils, charcuterie, coffees, pastas and preserves.

Press Herald has reviewed AC Lounge.

The wine selection is impressive, offering 6-ounce or 9-ounce portions of one rose, five white, and six reds, all ranging from $8 to $10 for the smaller and $12 to $14 for larger pours. There’s also an $8 sparkling wine and a $7 sherry. In keeping with the hotel’s origins, nine of the options are from Spain. The 15 beer choices range from $5 to $8; I didn’t see any Spanish options, but there are lots of local ones. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are espresso martinis on tap. Burp.

Commercial Street Rosemont Closing

Rosemont Market has shared the news that they’ll be closing their Commercial Street store as of November 21st.

This was an incredibly difficult decision, and one that we did not come by lightly.

We want to say thank you to every single customer who ever shopped there. Our hope is that you will visit our close-by Munjoy Hill and West End stores, where our staff is standing by.

Commercial Street employees are being redeployed to other Rosemont markets in Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth, Portland and the upcoming store in Falmouth.

PATHS Culinary Concepts

WGME has aired a piece on the Portland’s Arts and Technology High School culinary class which gives students some of the skills they need on their way to their first kitchen job or to enter culinary school.

“I want them to be able to come in and know how to handle a knife, how to set up a work station, how to show up on time and dress appropriately. All those skills that you didn’t see in a cookbook,” Hannibal said.

That also includes business math, sanitation, marketing, nutrition and one of the most popular parts of the curriculum, how to make some delicious desserts.

Palace on the Eater 38

Palace Diner has been named to Eater’s 2018 list of America’s Most Essential Restaurants.

In 2014, Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell took over a decades-old, 15-seat restaurant housed in a Pollard train car built in 1927 and turned it into the ideal realization of a daytime Americana diner. Eating here haunts me: I can’t find better light, lemony, buttery pancakes, or a more precisely engineered egg sandwich, and theirs is the only tuna melt I ever hunger after.

This Week’s Events: History Maker Awards, Wine Dinners, Cooking Classes, Leeward Pop-up

Monday – a Canning Workshop is taking place at Fork Food Lab.

Tuesday – The Maine Historical Society will be honoring the Barber Family, Sam Hayward, David L Geary, the O’Hara Corporation, and Smith’s Farm with History Maker Awards. There will be a Piedmont wine dinner at Lolita and a Leeward pop-up dinner at The Honey Paw.

Wednesday – there will be a Thanksgiving wine tasting at Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – Petite Jacqueline will be serving a Beaujolais Nouveau dinner, and Maine Heritage Seaweed is teaching a Cooking with Seaweed class.

Friday – Tipo is holding a Natural wine dinner, Belleville is holding a Pizza Night, and there will be a Rioja wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton Ave.

Saturday – the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is just 11 days away. Here’s a list of the restaurants I’ve heard are doing holiday dinners that day:

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.

Reviews: Blue Spoon, Eaux, Bonobo

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Blue Spoon,

Occasionally though, everything comes together as it should, and it’s possible to see Lavey’s skills in full flight. Take the grilled Broad Arrow Farm pork loin served with bacony white beans, roasted Brussels sprouts and a creamy dill-and-mustard sauce ($28). It’s a precisely balanced plate, with lightness from sherry vinegar and a breadth of textures and flavors that draw you back until suddenly, it’s all gone.

The Bollard has reviewed Eaux, and

It’s not strictly traditional; the chicken is boneless, which I know is blasphemy to purists. But from the spicy, crunchy coating — fried just to the brink of burnt — to the moist and succulent meat inside, this is damn near perfect. The waffle is just as good. Crisp on the outside, impossibly light and fluffy on the inside, the only thing these beauties need is a smear of the sweet, earthy cane syrup that’s gently drizzled around the edge of the plate.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Bonobo.

Let’s talk about that pizza. Fired in a wood oven at lower temperatures than the standard 700-800°F range, the dough gets a bit more time to set before exiting the heat, resulting in a thin, slightly chewy and pleasantly sweet crust with just a touch of smoke and sourness to it. Perhaps most akin to the end product served at Lazzari, the pizza at Bonobo — more restrained in toppings and thus lighter in feel — is unique to itself and without any true analogs in the area

Also, the Press Herald has published an article about Baxter Brewing new pub in Lewiston.

Sticky Sweet Kickstarter Success

Sticky Sweet (website, facebook, instagram) has successfully completed a $22k Kickstarter campaign. Co-owners Kelley and Ashley Dow raised the funds to expand the production capacity of their dairy-free, gluten-free vegan ice cream business.

The Dows have leased a 600 sq ft space at 115 Cumberland Ave—just around the corner from the restaurants on Washington Ave—where they’ll be opening a Sticky Sweet scoop shop.

2019 Good Food Award Finalists

Congratulations to the Maine food producers named finalists in the 2019 Good Food Awards:

  • Beer – Liquid Riot for their Blushing Star Barrel-Aged Lager
  • CharcuterieA Small Good for their Cider Brined Coppa
  • Cider – Portersfield Cider for their Ridlon 16/2
  • Coffee – Bard Coffee for their Organic Costa Rica La Mirella
  • Spirits – Liquid Riot for both their Old Port Straight Bourbon Whiskey & Fernet Michaud

The winners will be announced January 11 at a gala in San Francisco.