Bear Garden

Shown in the photo above is Craig Howard hard at work tending The Great Lost Bear‘s new rooftop vegetable garden. Howard has beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, shallots, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, and a variety of peppers as well as lemongrass, and mint under cultivation—all destined for use in the GLB’s kitchen. If the rooftop concept works out, the hope is to expand it in the coming year.

Paciarino Review

Paciarino received 4 stars in this week’s Taste and Tell review from the Maine Sunday Telegram.

The impeccable, fresh pasta at Paciarino, compelling Italian recipes and the fine Italian wine make dealing with a noisy dining room very much worth your while.

Reception Report

Portland Fodder was part of kitchen crew that cooked for the wedding reception recently held at Grace, and he has published a report on the food at the event:

Passed items included Truffled Grilled Cheese, Gougeres, Chicken Confit Tartlet, Braised Duck Tacos, Oysters with Blood Orange Mignonette, Fried Clams with Chorizo Mayonnaise and several other finger foods. Also a carving, crudite, dipping and chef manned pasta station were setup throughout the dining room for guests to choose from. The flavors and aromas acheived were amazing! The flavor of the chicken confit was hands down the best chicken I have ever had!

Public Market House Expansion

The Public Market House on Monument Square is moving ahead with plans to expand to the second floor with space for 4-5 new shops and an eating area, according to an article in today’s Press Herald.

[Kris] Horton said the expansion will include a second floor and four or five new shops – averaging 380 square feet of space each – as well as new public restrooms and eating areas looking out over the square.

Horton and her partners are meeting with potential businesses.

Horton said they hope to fill the space with businesses that sell locally grown and produced products.

A butcher, a flower shop, a home-made clothing shop and a soup restaurant have shown interest, she said, and the space will be available by midsummer.

Hill[y]to[wn]p Cookie Review

Hilly Town has published another installment in it’s weekly cookie review series. This week Hilltop Coffee Shop‘s peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie was the focus.

Hilltop’s PBCCC contained a goodly amount of salt, which suits my personal taste, and despite its age the insides were wonderfully soft and chewy. However, the bottom was greasy and the edges ever so slightly sandy, two minor design flaws that I will blame on the peanut butter. And peanut butter, as you know, is delicious, as long as you are not one of those poor people who is allergic.

The Food Switch

The latest edition of The Maine Switch includes articles about Cultivating Community “a Portland-based nonprofit that connects people to the earth, their food and one another through agriculture” and about Grown@Home which provides “weekly maintenance and new plantings throughout the growing season” for your home garden. There’s also an article by Harding Smith about barbecuing and additional piece about local barbecue sauce manufacturers. Especially interesting in this edition is a piece by Avery Yale Kamila as she tries to establish which watering hole is truly Portland’s oldest bar.

Locavore Canola Oil?

The Boston Globe has an article about the canola crop being grown in Maine and pressed into cooking oil by Maine Natural Oils.

Rodney Chamberland has been working straight out plowing and planting over 100 acres of seed potatoes. The farm’s potatoes come first.

Then, Chamberland plants rotation crops. One he’s seeding this spring will turn into 30 acres of flowering yellow canola. The crop not only improves the potatoes he’ll grow on the same land next year, says Chamberland, but its seeds will also be pressed into one of the Northeast’s only regional cooking oils: Maine Natural Oils.

The article also quotes Leslie Oster from Aurora Provisions,

“I am more than all for it,” says Leslie Oster, the general manager of Aurora Provisions and a Slow Food Portland organizer. “Now, if we could just get someone to invest in a full-scale wheat production mill.”