Phoenix Food 2010

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes restaurant critic Brian Duff’s take on the 2010 food trends,

Portland’s year in food in 2010 was marked by new ventures on the part of established players on the food scene. It’s a tried and true recession-era strategy for those with the resources: you reinvest when rents are down, vacancies are high, and contractors are desperate for remodeling work. Right now credit is cheap, but only for those with some collateral. So it’s the perfect time for the big players to double down.

and Deirdre Fulton’s year in review article commented on the Trader Joe’s, food bloggers, food carts and new restaurants.

Under Construction: River House and El Rayo Cantina

Mainebiz has published a report on a pair of new restaurants that the owners and managers of El Rayo have in the works.

The owners of El Rayo Taqueria are expanding in two directions. Tod Dana and Alex Fisher are opening a cantina in the building next door to their popular Mexican restaurant on York Street. And in the other direction, a few blocks west, they are working on a new restaurant at 231 York St. called River House.

Chef Bob Smith, 49

Members of the Portland and broader Maine food communities are mourning the loss of Bob Smith. The Locavore column in today’s Portland Daily Sun is a remembrance of Bob.

Generous, vivacious, energetic, hilarious; those words come quickly when people speak of Bob Smith.

“I see him in his white t-shirt with a flannel shirt over it, jeans and a pair of clogs, moving a million miles an hour. His goatee, perfectly parted hair and those signature eyebrows. Nobody had more passion for life than Bob had,” said Marc Doiron who worked with him at the Commissary, the lunch and dinner eatery at the Portland Public Market.

A Passages article on Bob appeared in today’s Press Herald,

“He was brilliant, funny, and had a huge heart,” Wright said. “Bob’s motto was, ‘Food is love,’ and there was more than enough of it wherever he was.”

Steven Gerlach, his friend for the past 31 years, remembered Mr. Smith on Monday as a “beautiful and joyous man” who had a deep appreciation for “beauty in the world.”

and the Maine Cheese Guild also posted a small notice about Bob this weekend,

This is a shock – a loss of one of our own…Terribly sad – such a sweet guy and wonderful cheesemaker.

Review of Pai Men Miyake

From Away has published a review of Pai Men Miyake.

We had attentive, friendly service, fine sake and beer, and the kinds of starters that get in your head and nibble at your brain until you return for another taste, all served in an exciting, energized setting . Ultimately, though, the ramen (like Radiohead, films by the Cohen brothers, and the television show Deadwood) is something I can only admire intellectually, rather than actually enjoy with my whole heart. I can appreciate the talent, thoughtfulness, skill, and technique that went into creating them; I just don’t much feel like eating them.

This Week’s Events: Cask Beer Night, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

TuesdayFull Moon Cask Beer Night at Sebago Brewing.

Friday — Cinque Terre will be holding their annual Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner, 4-8, $65 per person. A number of restaurants will be open on Christmas Eve: Andy’s Old Port Pub, El Rayo, Eve’s at the Garden, Five Fifty-Five, Gritty’s, Haraseeket Inn, Havana South, Holiday Inn by the Bay, Sebago Brewing, The Corner Room, The Farmer’s Table, The Front Room, The Grill Room and Vignola are all planning on being open Christmas Eve.

Saturday — A select few restaurants are planning to be open on Christmas Day, some with special holiday-themed menus: Binga’s Stadium, Gritty’s, Holiday Inn by the Bay, Old Port Tavern, Passage to India, Pom’s Thai Taste, Twenty Milk Street, the Eastland Park Hotel, Haraseeket Inn in Freeport, Sable Oaks Marriott in South Portland and the Sea Glass Restaurant in Cape Elizabeth.

New Year’s Eve — there are a lot of options for New Year’s Eve celebration: Bar Lola, BiBo’s, Bresca, Bull Feeney’s, Cinque Terre, David’s, DiMillo’s, El Rayo, Events on Broadway, Five Fifty-Five, Figa, Fore Street, Frog & Turtle, Grace, Havana South, Local 188, Old Port Sea Grill, Paciarino, Ribollita, Sonny’s, Sea Glass Restaurant, Season’s Grille, The Farmer’s Table, The Grill Room, The Salt Exchange, Vignola, Walter’s and Zackery’s.

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.

4 Star Review of Pai Men Miyake

Pai Men Miyake received 4 stars from the Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Spicy miso ($11) from the ramen list gave perfect satisfaction. A half of a hard-boiled egg marinated in soy added some salty protein, and spicy sesame garlic paste revved up the miso broth to the savory thickness and intensity of a kind of Japanese meat glaze. Tons of skinny ramen noodles filled the bowl in which a couple of thick slices of pork belly provided bites of mild and tender meat.

Also in today’s paper are the teenage reminiscences of Congress Street in the 1950s by Martha Pillsbury. In her article she recalls a number of eateries from that era,

It is with sweet thoughts that I remember Soule’s Candy Kitchen and Haven’s Candy. Also, who remembers the State Theatre, the Pagoda Restaurant, State Street Drugs, Hays Drugstore, Your Host Restaurant, Strand Theater and the Puritan Restaurant?

The Puritan was where kids would stop on our way home from high school to eat french fries with gravy, have a Coke, and maybe smoke a first cigarette. West End kids got to know a lot of East End kids at the Puritan.