Under Construction: Silly’s with a Twist, 865, Cantina and more

Here are a few updates on restaurants under construction in Portland:

  • Silly’s owner Colleen Kelley is planning to open Silly’s with a Twist next door at 38 Washington Ave. The new venue will include a bar and serve the same menu as its sister restaurant.
  • 349 Cumberland Ave has been repainted and a sign in the window indicates “good food coming soon”. There’s no indication yet what type of restaurant it will be. 349 was briefly the home of Apsara before it moved to Fore Street. It had previously been the home of Huong Vietnamese Cuisine.
  • The owners of Venue which closed their Portland location on Forest Ave earlier this year are re-opening on Forest Ave at the same location with the same general concept but with different staff and a different name. The new business is named 865 Forest. A draft menu (page 62) was submitted as part of their liquor license application.
  • The El Rayo Cantina has also submitted a liquor license application. You can see the draft menu (page 81) online in the agenda materials for Monday’s City Council meeting.

Reviews of Hot Suppa and Local 188

From Away has published a review of Local 188,

Why we waited so long to eat there, I don’t exactly know. We didn’t want to be disappointed? Our fears proved misguided, once again. We had a great night out in their dining room, and walked back to our apartment, sated and sober.

Eat Here. Go There. has published a review of Hot Suppa,

All in all, I think it’s a great place to treat yourself and the ones you love to some Southern style soul food. It’s a little off the beaten path so I don’t think it’s been fully discovered for dinner yet. I can’t wait to go back!

Shoptalk with Rick Micucci

Earlier this week the Press Herald published an interview with Rick Micucci from Micucci Grocery.

Q: What are your earliest remembrances of the store?
I grew up here. My three brothers, two sisters and I played here as children. And, I’ve been working here full time since high school. When we got our driver’s licenses, we helped our father make deliveries to customers. My father was always looking for good deals on quality food. I remember times when he’d buy an entire (train) rail car full of canned tomatoes. He’d ask my brothers and I to grab a few of our friends and unload the freight car into a truck and haul it back to the store. Sometimes it would take us two days to finish the job.

Reviews of Blue Burrito, Falmouth Sea Grill and The Cheese Iron

The Bollard has published a review of the Blue Burrito Cafe in Westbrook,

When you think of Mexican food, one of the last words that pops into your head is “Westbrook.” One trip to Blue Burrito Café will change that.

From Away has published a sandwich review of The Cheese Iron,

This is not your lunchbox’s ham and cheese. Smoky ham, taleggio, sweet chutney and basil, grilled on crusty baguette. This is the sandwich I have been wanting all year, maybe all my life.

The Golden Dish has published a review of the Falmouth Sea Grill which is sibling of the Old Port Sea Grill in Portland,

Connolly has definitely taken the menu to a higher culinary standard, a middle of the road goodness that’s easy to like.

Is it a menu or a dining experience meant to send you to the moon? No. And that’s OK. Not every meal needs to wow and dazzle. But in such a fun, convivial setting, you couldn’t ask for more.

Bar Review of Sebago

Portland Bar Guide has published a review of the new Sebago Brewing on Fore Street.

The beers serve as an embodiment of various places and experiences in Maine. The most popular with customers is the medium-bodied Frye’s Leap IPA ($4 for a pint; $5 for 22 ounces), but many staff members and beer connoisseurs (me included) prefer the malty Runabout Red. You need only look to the wall over the raised booths to see the painted labels of the year-round craft beers and five seasonal brews. If the smorgasbord of beer choices overwhelms you, you can always try the sampler ($5), which offers a selection of five 4-ounce glasses.

First Review of Fez

Audrey Ruth has published a review of Fez.

Despite its unassuming (to say the least) ambiance, and casually-dressed staff, and relative emptiness (the three of us were dining simultaneously with a couple, also on their first trip, though a few other parties trickled in as the nine o’clock hour ticked nearer), the food was unparalleled. As the first Moroccan place in Portland that I know of, there’s no bar to speak of, but Fez is setting it high for any successors.

Immigrant Kitchens: Afgani Lamb

In the latest entry on Immigrant Kitchens Lindsay Sterling learns how to make Afgani Lamb from Shamayel Kargar (read the recipe and see the photos).

Twenty-one years ago Shamayel Kargar and her husband had a hankering for some good lamb. What they had found at Shop ‘n Save was very different than what they were used to. Where they were from in Afghanistan, lamb came straight from the farm, and I mean straight. Since “sheep farm” wasn’t a category in the Greater Portland phone book, Shamayel asked her sister to watch the kids while she and her husband got in their car and headed away from town on Forest Ave. They figured they’d come to a pasture with some sheep on it eventually.

Farmers Market, Blueberries & Water

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on a new credit/debit card/food stamp option at the farmers market,

“It’s something that the farmers have been talking about for the past couple of years,” said Jaime Berhanu of Lalibela Farm in Bowdoinham. “There are probably already five or six of us who take food stamps, and just maybe two or three that do credit cards. It’s one of these things that’s been on the long-term goal list.”

a survey of blueberry-flavored products and list of Southern Maine locations for berry picking,

Blueberries are even more abundant this year, thanks to the loads of new products on grocery shelves that tout them as potent antioxidants. From blueberry juices to dried blueberries in cereals, there are more ways than ever to get your blueberry fix.

This year, I thought it would be fun to look at some ways you can drink your blueberries.

and an article about a Portland firm that provides an alternative to bottled water.

In place of waste-generating and chemical-leaching plastic bottles and jugs, Blue Reserve provides bottle-less water coolers that use a nine-stage, commercial-grade water filtration system.