Review of Fez

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Fez.

Throw aside most expectations of fine dining to enjoy Fez, a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood establishment where the food is mostly good, and the owners, who also serve and cook, welcome you like an old friend. Dishes in hues of brown and yellow bear robust flavors of north Africa. Zaalouk, an eggplant appetizer, is a must-order. The falafel is tasty, too. You’d be hard-pressed to get such hearty and inexpensive portions of halal meat anywhere else in Maine. Still, three months after opening, the establishment shows disorganization. The happiest customers will be those who come with a flexible attitude.

Maine Farmland Trust

Zester Daily has published an article explaining the important work being done by the Maine Farmland Trust to protect farmland for the future.

Into the breach came John Piotti, executive director of the Maine Farmland Trust. Founded in 1999, MFT is a nonprofit whose mission is to retain Maine’s vulnerable agricultural land base and keep Maine’s prime farmland from disappearing into “a vast tract of ranch homes.”

MFT is working to support and secure the transfer of farming from one generation to the next. Through a variety of easements that guarantee the land in perpetuity for farming use, and a series of creative and flexible cooperative ventures with counties, the state, the federal government and private benefactors, MFT is able to purchase land from families like the Jordan family at close to market price and sell, lease, or lease with a buy-back provision, to a next generation of family farmers.

SoPo Farmers Market Location Issues

The Forecaster reports on the South Portland Farmers Market and interest in moving it to a more visible and high traffic location.

Vendors say that business at the market at Thomas Knight Park, which opened for the first time on July 14, limped along after a relatively successful first month.

Rainy weather on many Thursdays hasn’t helped, they said. But according to Caitlin Jordan, business manager of Alewive’s Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth and head of the South Portland Farmers Market Association, the less-than-stellar turnout has one root cause.

“Like any business,” she said, “it’s location, location, location.”

Bourdain Commentary

Chubby Werewolf has posted a detailed and critical commentary on Anthony Bourdain and the No Reservations episode filmed in Maine.

…What I do have a problem with is people who say shitty things about others under the veil of criticism and then can’t even be bothered to qualify their remarks. Take, for instance, the monkfish dish that Mr. Bourdain “didn’t love so much.” What did he dislike about it? Was it not fresh? Was it the taste of one of the components? Was it the pairing of the leeks and red pepper with the monkfish liver? A little bit of information would go a long way here. Ditto on the comment about Mr. Street’s “watery-looking sauce.” Did you taste it, Anthony? Or did you just decide that because you saw something that looked “watery” that it was bad?

Greek Wine Dinner

Joe Ricchio has posted a report on the Maine magazine blog about  the Greek wine dinner he helped organize at Bresca last month.

The second course, a wonderful combination of fresh Peekytoe crab with roasted grapes, crushed almonds, and verjus sorbet, finds a life partner in the Domain Spiropoulos Mantinia. Similar to the Ode Panos in that it is made from moschofilero, but different in that it is not sparkling, it has crisp, briny notes that play up the sweet grapes and almonds nicely, in addition to a delicate floral nature that jives with the sorbet.

Maine Culinary Podcast #5: Maine Beer Week

The 5th episode of the Maine Culinary Podcast is now out. Host Dan Bodoff leads a discussion with folks from David’s and Rising Tide Brewing.

David Turin and Beverage Director Patrick Morang from David’s Restaurant, as well as Nathan Sanborn, owner of Rising Tide Brewery, joined us to discuss the origins and purpose behind Maine Beer Week, as well as some of their menu items and pairings.

Gelato Fiasco on Fore Street & Tony Bourdain Interview

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an interview with Tony Bourdain about his upcoming appearance with Eric Ripert at Merrill and lingering ill will generated by the Maine episode of his TV show No Reservations,

If comments on social media are any indication, Mainers sure know how to hold a grudge. While some loved Bourdain’s view of Maine through the eyes of his cameraman Zach Zamboni (who grew up in Milo), many others are still wondering more than a year after the show aired: Why wasn’t Portland more prominent in the show, given its growing reputation as a food town? Why didn’t Bourdain go to (fill in the blank) restaurant in Portland? And why was he so mean to restaurateur Dana Street when they were having dinner at his Portland restaurant, Street and Co.?

And for an article in today’s paper food reporter Meredith Goad lands interviews with owners of Gorgeous Gelato and Gelato Fiasco. Gelato Fiasco is in the process of opening a shop at 425 Fore Street almost directly across the street from their local competition.

“It’s not a very clever move in business strategy,” [Gorgeous Gelato co-owner Donato Giovine] said. “If I were them, I’d go to Boston. The only thing I think is, they want to kill us as a business.”

[Gelato Fiasco co-owner Josh] Davis denies that. He says he and [business partner] Tropeano have looked at 80 different locations in the Portland area during the past two years, “and have just not found the place we thought would make it work.”

When the Fore Street spot became available, Davis said, they both thought it was perfect for their business. It has “great foot traffic,” he said, as well as outdoor seating.

For additional commentary on the Gorgeous Fiasco issue see the Portland Examiner.

And Another Review of Schulte & Herr

The Golden Dish has published a review of Schulte & Herr.

 I daresay goulash, schnitzel and dumplings? Homemade rye bread and liptauer cheese with cornichons and capers? Spaetzle and caramelized onions under melted Emmentaler or the bratwurst platter with all the fixings?

These uber old school dishes herald from a charming new restaurant called Schulte & Herr — tucked into a humble space along the inauspicious nether lands of Cumberland Avenue.