Review of Hugo’s

Vin et Grub has published a review of Hugo’s.

Our 4th course, was beautiful and intricate.  Referred to as the Suckling Pig Three Ways, we were presented with a large plate, with a piece of compressed shoulder, homemade thai sausage, and pig foot atop a long wonton noodle.  A curry froth, curried peanuts, and sweet potato medallions rendered this the most impressive dish of the evening.  The noodle (i love them) was soft and satiating and delicate.  The curry froth was light and pure, and it added an enriching effect on all of the proteins on the plate…

Under Construction: Barbecue & Plush West End

A pair of updates for the Under Construction List:

  • The new restaurant under construction at the Corner of High & Spring Streets in Katahdin’s old location is slated to be called Plush West End. The start of a website for the business can be found at
  • Planning for a new barbecue vendor on the 2nd floor of the Public Market House is now under way.

Review of Joe’s NY Pizza

From Away has published a review of Joe’s New York Pizza.

Though the pizza being slung out the door at Joe’s certainly can’t compare to what you’d find at Flatbread or Otto’s, it’s simply not trying to compete on that level. This isn’t organic arugula and free-range chicken served on a gluten-free crust; it’s hard-working, cheap, fast, workaday pizza, for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money or time to go from “empty-stomach” to “stomach full of pizza.” In that regard, we find Joe’s New York Pizza to be a solid choice for a midday slice.

JBF Awards: Krista Kern Desjarlais is Finalist

The James Beard Foundation announced the final list of nominees for this years awards at an event in the other Portland today. Krista Kern Desjarlais, chef/owner Bresca is a nominee in the Best Chef Northeast category (see page 8). She’s up against 5 other chefs from Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The winners of the 2011 JBF awards will be announced on May9 in New York City.

Update: the Press Herald interviewed Desjarlais this afternoon for an article about the nomination,

“I don’t even know what to say yet, I guess,” Desjarlais commented by phone on her way to Boothbay. “I don’t know, it’s awesome. It’s a great group of people to be nominated with. There’s not a whole lot of women that got nominated throughout the country, so I feel like that’s great, too.”

Maine at Work: Sugarhouse

For the new installment of Maine at Work, Press Herald reporter Ray Routhier writes about working at a sugarhouse in Newfield, Maine.

As Debra fired up a large oil-powered evaporator (the boiler, in common sugarhouse parlance), her husband began to explain all its parts and how it works in much more detail than I can relate. Basically, the giant stainless-steel contraption had sap flowing first into a preheating area, then into a “flue pan” area, then into the finishing area before it is ready for packaging.

Maine Maple Sunday is taking place this coming weekend. It’s a chance to visit a sugarhouse in your area and see how they turn maple sap into maple syrup.

John Palanza, 89

South Portland baker and business owner John Palanza passed away last week. Palanza owned the Uncle Andy’s Bakery in South Portland for 45 years, from 1951 to 1996.

In the late 1940s, Mr. Palanza was hired by Fred Nanney, the original owner of Uncle Andy’s, to run the doughnut shop. In 1951, Mr. Palanza acquired Uncle Andy’s, growing it from a doughnut shop to a full-service bakery.

For more than 40 years, he produced breads, cakes, pies, doughnuts and assorted pastries for hundreds of loyal customers, many of whom would wait in line outside the bakery on busy weekend mornings and on holidays. The police department assigned a traffic cop to direct traffic past the shop during its busy times.

This Week’s Events: JBF Nominee’s, Wine Dinners & Events, Flavors of Freeport, Maine Maple Sunday

Monday — The final nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards will be announced today. 8 Maine-based semi-finalists were announced back in February. A wine charity event to benefit the Cancer Community Center is taking place at Grace and BiBo’s is hosting a wine dinner.

TuesdayBlue is holding their monthly wine and cheese event and The Salt Exchange is serving a 6-course Italian wine dinner.

Wednesday — the 6th Annual Dine Around the World is taking place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

ThursdayAurora Provisions is holding a wine tasting.

Friday — the 7th Annual Celesoiree is being held at The Portland Company on Fore Street, and it’s the opening day of the Flavors of Freeport food festival.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center, Wine Wise is teaching a class on Big Red wines at The Wine Bar, and the Flavors of Freeport festival continues. Whicked Whoopies will be assembling the World’s Biggest Whoopie Pie at the Maine Mall and in the afternoon there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont Market on Congress Street.

SundayMaine Maple Sunday is taking place at sugar houses all throughout the state, and it is the last day of Flavors of Freeport.

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.

Gifford’s Ice Cream

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram included a profiles of the company and the Gifford family.

Roughly 30 years ago, Randall Gifford left the fate of his Skowhegan dairy in the hands of two of his sons, Roger and John.

They had a choice to make: Continue the dairy business, or sell their father’s company and switch to making ice cream.

It was a big decision — at the time, Gifford’s dairy was one of the largest in Maine.

Food History: 1925

A pair of vintage photos of Chinese immigrant waiters taking an “Americanization Class” have recently been added to the Maine Memory Network website. The men all worked at either the Empire and the Oriental in Portland. The Empire stood on the corner of Forest Ave and Congress Street where Empire Dine and Dance is today. The Oriental was located at 28 Monument Square in the spot that now houses the Public Market House.