Bam Bam Grand

The Spiced Plate has posted a report and tasting notes from Saturday’s grand opening of the Bam Bam Bakery, a gluten-free bakery on Commercial Street.

Andrew and I split a chocolate chip cookie while thinking about what we were going to fill a pastry box with.  Let’s start with the most decadent: Caramel Delight Bars.  These blissfully large bars have a  chocolate shortbread base doused in caramel, topped with a generous combination of nuts, dried cherries and Maine sea salt.  Sea salt and caramel are so lovely together as a contrast of flavors, and the texture on this bar makes every bite one to savor and linger over.  It completely blew any pastry I’ve had in my gluten-eating days out of the water.

First Review of Taco Escobarr

PJB Photographic has published a review of Taco Escobarr.

The “puffy” option was my favorite. Unexpected, decadent yet manageable, the puffy, deep-fried taco shell was mouth-watering (currently writing this at 11:45 pm and having to resist driving back into town for another round) and amazing. I took mine with braised pork, and the default toppings of tomato, lettuce, and cilantro.

Food Trucks on the Agenda

Food Trucks were on the agenda at yesterday’s meeting of the Creative Portland Corporation and made it on to the front page of today’s Press Herald.

The organization’s directors unanimously endorsed food trucks at their monthly meeting, and will propose an ordinance to the City Council’s Health and Recreation Committee later this year. If the committee endorses the ordinance, it will go to the City Council.

“It seems odd that we would make rules that limit people’s choices,” said Andy Graham, president of Creative Portland. “We just need to come up with policy suggestions that balance everyone’s interests.”

I was at the meeting, as were Andre Polhill and Helen Andreoli who are interested in starting a “food truck in the city with barbecue and Southern comfort food”.

Review of Pho Hanoi

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Pho Hanoi in South Portland.

And you better get prepared — your pho comes quickly. This soup, served in a huge bowl, is just as familiar as the décor, and as phoes go it’s a good one. The beef broth has a good depth and richness, without any heaviness or too much salt. A squeeze of lime accentuates the bright notes of ginger and scallion. From there you can work the sauces as you wish. The classic bright red Vietnamese hot sauce is all pepper-heat, and gives the broth a thin, sharp flavor. A darker red sauce gives the same heat, but with a sweeter, thicker base of tomato. The hoisin adds both sweetness and rich umami. We ordered our pho with thin slices of tender brisket. Each bowl is full of incredibly tender rice noodles, which soaks up the broth and catches up the sauces.

Bar Review of Petite Jacqueline

The Portland Bar Guide has published a review of Petite Jacqueline.

Their cocktails take their cues from standard French fare, and feature ingredients such as cognac, champagne toppers and Grand Marnier. Wanting to feel a little “Moulin Rouge” I ordered the French Kiss (Absinthe, Bourbon, Lillet and 7-Up, $7) because I felt there was no way to be disappointed in a drink that was made with both bourbon and absinthe. To the glee of my tastebuds, I was not disappointed in the slightest. If those liquors sound a little gruff, you may want to try out the French Connection Cosmo (Cognac, Grand Marnier and Cranberry Juice ($11) or the Belgian Orange Blossom (Vodka, Grapefruit Juice, Bitters, Almond Syrup and Seltzer, $7).

The Host Position

Portland Daily Sun columnist Natalie Ladd wrote today about the important role the host plays at a restaurant.

To the unindoctrinated, it’s hard to explain why the host position is so difficult to execute and so vitally important to the operational flow of a busy restaurant. There’s the reservation book or list that’s been building, with the names and times often incorrect due to hasty human error that can set off a domino effect of disaster.