Under Construction: Wild Burgers

The Portland Daily Sun interviewed Wild Burritos owner Miguel Collins about his cross-Congress expansion into the former site of Stir Crazy.

The expansion is part of Collins’ goal of providing more affordable dining options in the Arts District.

“[In] Portland it’s so expensive to go out to eat. Wild Burritos offers you something for $5 or less. Everything we have is affordable, everything is under $6 and made with all natural ingredients,” he said.

Reviews of Aroma, Micucci’s, Petite Jacqueline

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Aroma.

But Aroma is doing great things with sauces as well, often by using their spices with restraint. The dark, thin saag, for example, is modestly spiced, which highlights the bitter flavor of the spinach and the lamb. The big pieces of meat were as tender, juicy, and richly flavored as the best lamb chops. The spices in the navaratan koorma were similarly mild. The creamy sauce had just a hint of nutty flavor, and among the mix of vegetables the cauliflower and green beans were the most assertive.

Slice has published a review of the Sicilian Slab at Micucci’s.

The crust is surprisingly light, striated, and almost cakey with a pleasant chew—qualities that Lanzalotta attributes to thoroughly hydrating the dough (about 90 percent), using high-quality ingredients (King Arthur Bread Flour, SAF yeast, grey sea salt, water, and a particularly floral Portuguese olive oil), and letting the dough rise five times over the course of its three-hour fermentation. By the time it’s ready for baking, the jiggle-y five-pound mass has risen a bit and formed a thin skin that keeps it from sticking.

The Golden Dish has published a review of Petite Jaqueline.

Of the main courses, I’ve tried the roast chicken, boeuf bourguignon, and fluke meuniere which were all first rate. The braised beef seemed to luxuriate in its deep, rich, dark brown sauce; and the chicken was perfectly delicious—crisp skin, very flavorful ( a local bird), and oozing all the goodness of its natural juices.

RealFood Project & Knife Sharpening

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an interview with chef Frank Giglio. Giglio is teaching a series of classes at the Public Market House on healthy eating and food preparation. The first class takes place tomorrow night and they run through to September.

The series of six cooking classes that kicks off tomorrow at the Public Market House in Portland will emphasize nutrient-dense whole foods and provide food preparation techniques that maximize nutrition and flavor. Called the Maine RealFood Project, the classes will run through the end of September.

“Food is medicine; we need to use it as medicine,” Giglio said. “The point of these classes is to get people inspired so they realize that cooking is fun.”

The Food and Dining section also includes an article about knife sharpening. David Oberton from Wicked Sharp features prominently in the article. Oberton is trying to get approved to set up his knife sharpening operation at the Portland Farmers Market.

“People would bring one or two knives in, and I think they were testing me,” Orbeton said. “And then the following week they’d come in with (L.L.) Bean bags of knives, whole chef rolls. It was overwhelming. We actually had to turn people away.”


Opinionated About Portland

The 2011 issue of the Opinionated About Dining restaurant guide has included several Portland restaurants in its list of top dining destinations in America. Miyake, Hugo’s and Fore Street were all listed in the Highly Recommended category, as was Suzuki Sushi Bar in Rockland. Both Aurora Provisions and Duckfat were recognized in the guide’s list of the Top 25 Inexpensive Dining destinations in the US. (via Rabelais)

Under Construction: White Cap Grille

Today’s Portland Daily Sun reports that the White Cap Grille will take over the space being vacated by Sebago Brewing at 164 Middle Street. Sebago is moving into the new hotel on Fore Street.

White Cap Grille is a spinoff of the Black Cap Grille, located in North Conway, N.H. at the intersection of routes 16 and 302 between EMS and L. L. Bean in the Settlers’ Crossing shopping plaza.

This Week’s Events: End of an Era, Dave Geary, Cellardoor, Peter Weygandt, Intro to Tea

Monday — the last day of the Annual Spring Book Sale at Rabelais.

Tuesday — Sebago Brewing is throwing an End of the Era Party to mark the close of their time at 164 Middle Street. Sebago will soon be moving their Portland brew pub to the new hotel under construction on Fore Street.

WednesdayHavana South is holding their monthly wine club, there will be a beer tasting at RSVP, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

ThursdayDave Geary will be at The Great Lost Bear for the bar’s weekly brewery showcase, David’s is holding a wine dinner featuring Maine’s Cellardoor Winery, and the Relish Cooking Show is taking place at the Portland Expo. Chef Frank Giglio will be teaching the first class of the Maine RealFood Project.

Friday — a tasting featuring wines from Weygandt-Metzler is taking place at Rosemont on Brighton. Peter Weygandt will be attending the event.

Saturday — cheesemaker Barb Skalpa from Echo Ridge Organic Cheese in Mt. Vernon, Maine will be at Rosemont for a tasting, the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

SundayChefs Rob Evans and Sam Hayward will be preparing a multi-course dinner at Hugo’s to benefit Share Our Strength. Dobra is teaching an Intro to Tea class and there will be a mushroom growing workshop at the Urban Farm Fermentory.

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.

Chicken Smackdown

Staff from 7 Portland restaurants gathered at 158 Pickett Street Cafe for the third edition of the Smackdown competition:  158 Pickett St Cafe, East Ender, Hot Suppa, Hugo’s, Nosh, The Cheese Iron, and The Great Lost Bear. The key this month was chicken, chicken banh mi, fried chicken, chicken pate, etc.

Hugo’s won the competition, East Ender was in 2nd place and Nosh (my personal favorite this month) took third. With the busy tourist season soon to start the Smackdown is on vacation until September when it will be hosted at Hugo’s. The topic for the September competition is TBD.

Review of Petite Jacqueline

The Blueberry Files has published a review of Petite Jacqueline.

Petit Jacqueline focuses on French classics- without a twist, just straight-up. I heard someone describe the menu as entry level culinary school ‘French Cooking 101,’ which, to me, is not a detraction. In Portland, there are very few ‘classics’ in the new restaurant category- everyone is reaching for something new. But Steve and Michelle Correy (of five-fifty five) are turning out classics that are simple and good, and can be unexpected if you (like me) are not too familiar with well-executed French classics.

Under Construction: Gingko Blue, Wild Burgers, Cobblestone’s, East End Cupcakes, Taco Trio and Bathras

Here’s a few under construction updates:

  • The soup and sandwich cafe taking the place of Henry VIII’s on Monument Square is slated to be called Cobblestone’s.
  • The cupcakery under construction on Fore Street has changed its name from Buttercup to East End Cupcakes.
  • Gingko Blue is getting set to open. Portland Daily Photo has posted a nice pic of the entrance. If you happen to be in the Old Port at night stop by and look in the window. The bar literally glows blue and white.
  • The eatery replacing Stir Crazy on Congress Street will be called Wild Burgers and Burritos. Presumably it’s the new location and concept for Wild Burritos.
  • Taco Trio at 119 Ocean Street in South Portland is scheduled to open on Monday at 11 am.
  • After a 22 year hiatus, the Bathras Market reopened this past week in South Portland’s Willard Square.