Anania’s Italian

From Away has continued his vertical tasting of Maine Ham Italian sandwiches with a visit to Anania’s.

I wasn’t expect anything beyond your standard-issue Maine-style Italian sandwich, but instead, was pleasantly surprised by one of the best Italians I have yet tried. The careful balance of ingredients keeps there from being an overwhelming “raw vegetable” flavor all-too-common in this type of sandwich, and the chewy bread and surprisingly creamy and flavorful cheese will stay in my mind for a long time.

For comparison see the comprehensive list of the prior From Away Italian sandwich reviews.

Review of Pai Men Miyake

The Golden Dish has published a review of Pai Men Miyake.

Among the many starters the squash dumplings are my favorite. They seem to float like fluffy cumulous puffs with staying power–as delicate as the best type of gnocchi but loaded with flavor.  They’re cloaked with rinkosan vinegar, brown butter, and cauliflower lending an otherworldly aftertaste that remains with you quite delightfully.

Young Food Writers Competition

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about the Slow Food Portland’s Young Food Writers Competition.

Zoe Popovic, a fourth grader at Congin School in Westbrook, won the grand prize in the Grades 3 to 5 category by writing about how she can tell the seasons by what shows up in her lunchbox every day. Her family has been a member of a CSA since she first started walking. The 9-year-old’s mother, Paula Sobierajski, loads up her daughter’s lunch box every day with local foods they buy from Wolf Pine Farm in Alfred.

The full text of all three winners are online.

Meadery Tour

The Blueberry Files has published some photos and commentary on her recent tour of the Maine Mead Works.

And maybe you’ve heard of and love Maine Mead Works too, since their popularity is on the rise. Maybe you’ve sampled their product at a Greendrinks or eyed up a bottle at the Portland Public Market’s Maine Beer & Beverage Co. But have you ever toured their production facility or sipped their mead while chatting with the staff? If not, get thee to Washington Avenue.

This Week’s Events: Bar Lola, Russian Cooking, Irish Breakfast and More

TuesdayBar Lola is holding a wine dinner and the Maine Restaurant Association’s annual awards banquet is taking place.

Wednesday — the Maine Restaurant and Lodging Expo is taking place, the Portland Symphony is holding their annual wine dinner and auction, Black Tie is teaching a cooking class and Havana South is hosting their monthly wine club.

Thursday — it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, Brian Boru and Bull Feeney’s will be serving an Irish Breakfast starting at 6 am.

Friday — a Russian cooking demonstration and dinner is taking place at Saint Pius Church.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center, and there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont Market on Brighton.

SundaySebago Brewing is holding their Full Moon Cask Beer Night.

WSET Wine Class — The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, will be offering their Intermediate Level 2 certificate class in Portland March 26-27. The class is being taught by Adam Chase from Grape Experience. The program is aimed at anyone “who works in wine, wants a career in the wine industry or has a serious interest in the subject”. See the WSET website for a more detailed explanation of what the course covers. For more information contact Adam Chase at or Marc Doiron the bar manager at Street & Co.

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.

This and That

A collection of food news and links for your Saturday morning:

  • Miyake has leased the space adjacent to Paciarino on Fore Street. They’ll be moving their Spring Street sushi restaurant there later this year.
  • Brown paper is up in the windows of the old Katahdin on High Street and the Restaurant for Lease sign is down. There’s no word yet on what kind of restaurant it will be but I’ve added it to the Under Construction list.
  • The folks from Dobra Tea recently took a break from getting their tea house on Middle Street ready for the grand opening to be interviewed for a book about tearooms in America. Dobra’s grand opening is scheduled for March 31.
  • According to documents filed with the city, Bonobo pizza is changing hands. The new owners, Louise Murphy and Denise Compton,  plan to “operate the business in much the same manner as the original owner and chef.”
  • According to a job posting on Craigslist, Chef Eric Simeon is leaving Grace to “to pursue his own dream of opening a restaurant of his own.”
  • Chef Jeff Hodgdon from The Salt Exchange appeared on the local Fox morning show yesterday. Hodgdon had been the sous chef at TSE and took over the kitchen when Jacob Jasinski left for a job in California last Fall.
  • Saturday is the last day of the 3rd Annual Maine Restaurant Week.

Reviews of Vignola and Yordprom Coffee Co.

From Away has published a MRW review of Vignola.

Malcolm chose the almond tort topped with a delicate scoop of gelato, which was also simply good. None of what we had was particularly innovative or arresting or explosive, but we savored every bite. Vignola makes the food your grandmother would make, if she wasn’t so busy watching Dancing with the Stars and reading biographies of Katharine Hepburn. I really like it there, for reasons I have yet to understand. And we will go back again soon.

Yordprom Coffee Company received 4½ stars from the Eat & Run review in the Thursday edition of the Press Herald.

The Thai coconut broth was light and lemony, and had just a touch of heat — enough to give you a little kick after you’ve swallowed a spoonful. The sliced chicken in the soup was a tad overcooked, but the onions and scallions were perfect.

I also tried the Spicy Chicken Curry ($7.95), which arrived beautifully presented in a large white bowl. “This is very hot,” the server warned me, and I’m not sure if he was talking about the temperature (like the soup, it was steaming) or the spiciness, or both.