East End Cupcake Wars

The Press Herald has published a report on East End Cupcakes and their appearance in the latest episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. The show aired Sunday night and the theme for this week’s competition was to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the I Love Lucy show.

Zoidis, owner of East End Cupcakes in the Old Port, didn’t win the show’s $10,000 prize, but she did come away with some clever Lucy-inspired cupcake ideas.

A cupcake she created in the first round of the competition was an homage to the “Vitameatavegemin” episode, in which Lucy is hired to do a TV commercial for a health tonic that makes her tipsy.

This Week’s Events: Cooking Class, Pai Men Wine Dinner, Coffee Cupping, Bakery Pop-up

TuesdayChef David Levi is teaching a cooking class. The class will teach how to “create and craft delicious and nourishing dishes using exclusively organic, local, and sometimes wild ingredients.”

WednesdayPai Men Miyake and Rosemont are co-hosting a wine dinner featuring Hillinger wines from Austria, and David Levi is holding a second (sold out) session of his cooking class.

Thursday — The Great Lost Bear is featuring Gritty’s at their weekly brewery showcase, and Rosemont is holding a wine tasting.

FridayCoffee by Design is holding a pair of coffee cuppings, and there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli.

Saturday — a Bakery Pop-up Shop is taking place at Akari, sales at the pop-up shop will benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank. There will be a wine tasting LeRoux Kitchen, Wine Wise is leading a Cabernet wine walk in the Old Port, and the Winter Farmers Market is being held.

SundayLa Vie en Rose is on the schedule for movie night at Petite Jacqueline, and Maine food historian Sandy Oliver will be speaking at the Freeport Historical Society about the history of chocolate in American cooking.

Valentine’s Day — memories of New Year’s Eve are just fading and it’s already time to start making plans for Valentine’s Day. Here are the first few V Day options I’ve heard of. Post a comment with info for others that I should add to the list.

  • Bar Lola, $45, 5-course dinner with optional wine pairings
  • Bresca, 5-course Paris 2066 Dinner, $65 per person, $100 per person with wine pairings
  • Cinque Terre, 5-course on February 13 and 14, $59.95
  • Peaks Island Gastro Society, $100 6-course prix fixe with wine pairings on Saturday February 11
  • Petite Jacqueline, $65 4-course dinner with optional wine pairings
  • The Salt Exchange has posted their Valentine’s Day menu
  • Vignola, 4-course, $39.95

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.

East End Cupcakes in Cupcake Wars

East End Cupcakes appeared in tonight’s episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. According to a press release,

Tasked to commemorate the 60th anniversary of “I Love Lucy” through confection, Zoidis along with childhood best friend, Shana Treger, started Round 1 with a“Vitameatavegemin” cupcake, that captured the judges attention. Squeezing through to the finals despite running out of time in Round 2, they were tasked with baking and decorating 1,000 cupcakes with flavors from the previous rounds in under 2 hours. Even though viewers agree that their display and decorations were the sweetest, East End Cupcakes finished as the runner up. “We were so honored to be chosen for the show and really put our heart and soul into it. When the final judgement was made, I felt like screaming ‘Waaaahhhhh’ in homage of the fabulous Lucille Ball.” Said Zoidis jokingly.

Review of 158 Pickett Street Cafe

Eat Here. Go There. has published a review of 158 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland.

Now, I am certainly not saying I would never eat here again, but this first impression wasn’t stellar. I have heard that their bagels and lox are awesome, as well as their omelets, so maybe I would go back and try one of those sometime?…Sorry Pickett Street. We wanted to love you, but you just wouldn’t let us.

Review of Espo’s

Espo’s Trattoria received 3½ stars from the review in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

Espo’s Trattoria offers a traditional expectation of Italian favorites in a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere.  Portions are enormous, pricing is fair, and the wine list shows a native food pairing intelligence. Try the marsala sauce over spinach.

Bard TNT in the BDN

The Bangor Daily News has published a report on Bard’s monthly barista TNT latte art competition.

Once a month or so, they come. Some rookies, some veterans. All seeking the four weeks of bragging rights in the Portland coffee community that come from a Thursday Night Throwdown title.

On the final Thursday of most months, Bard Coffee hosts a raucous playoff style competition to see who can whip up the best art in a head of latte foam.

Bard has also posted a set of photos from the January competition.

First Review of El Rayo Cantina

Chubby Werewolf has published a review of the El Rayo Cantina.

All and all, the Cantina at El Ray delivered on just about every level for me. The price was reasonable, the service exceptional and the food outstanding. I had arrived feeling rather skeptical about the prospect of a cheeseburger served at an establishment specializing in Mexican cuisine, but departed  having enjoyed one of the better burgers in recent memory. I’ll return again soon, and the only question will be whether my Slow Burn is accompanied by another outstanding burger or one of the restaurant’s many other tempting offerings.

China Taste & Pizza by the Slice

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of China Taste.

But first it’s worth trying China Taste’s very good appetizers. The scallion pancake sizzles loud enough coming out of the oil that the whole waiting area looks up. It has a great crispy-chewy exterior with an underlayer of soft dough and ample scallion. You dip it into a terrific spicy-sour soy-based sauce. A splash of the same sauce perfected a bite of the house egg roll. The crisp exterior is surprisingly light, and the inside has that slight pinkish hue from the spices mixed into the ground pork. The chopped veggies inside still have a sweet crunch.

Also in this week’s Phoenix is a survey slice bars in Portland.

What’s New at Allagash

Today’s What Ales You Column in the Press Herald reports on Allagash’s new products and a recent expansion in brewing capacity.

The bunker was designed so two more of the tanks can be added when business warrants, Perkins said. As of now, Allagash brews about 25,000 gallons — about 800 barrels — of beer a week.

Allagash also will be adding a new bottling line this year. Its bottling system handles both its 12-ounce bottles and 750-milliliter cork and cage bottles. The 375-milliliter (12.7 ounce) bottles used for the limited-release beers sold only at the brewery are bottled by hand.

The article also reports that both the new batch of Coolship Resurgam and the new honey beer Saison Mihm are both due out soon.