Reviews of Mike’s, Asylum, Silly’s with a Twist, Maine’s Pantry

Instant Portland has published a review of Maine’s Pantry,

All in all, Maine’s Pantry pleasantly surprised me. I was, honestly, expecting something of a tourist trap, but they are far from that. Instead, owner Elena Morrow-Spitzer is clearly passionate about supporting local food and local businesses, and has done a tremendous job gathering the best of Maine’s bounty and showcasing it on the shelves of this tiny shop. Even if you are local — actually, particularly if you’re a local – I encourage you to stop in and get introduced, as I did, to something new and delicous made right in your own back yard.

From Away has published a sandwich review of Mike’s,

…The result, though, is satisfying:  A moderately-priced, pleasantly musty-flavored sandwich, heavy with quality meats and cheese, as well as some inventive twists on Portland’s signature sandwich. It’s enough for a hearty meal, and enough to make me anxious to try Mike’s other offerings.

and the Press Herald has published a review of lunch at Asylum,

Was this a gourmet odyssey of a lunch? In two words: Not really. But will I go back? Another two words: You bet.

and a bar review of Silly’s with a Twist.

One of their early creations, Shelley told me, is dubbed a Blushing Beauty. The idea of mixing Absolut Vodka with Izze Sparkling Grapefruit sounded delightful, so I ordered the drink. It is aptly named, because the sparkling fruit juice is the color of rosy cheeks — the same hue my face takes on when I drink. And the nice twist is that the drink is served with the whole bottle of Izze, so you can add more to the vodka or order more vodka to add to the juice. Can you guess which addition I chose?

Raw Milk and Hard Cider at the Market

The Forecaster has published an update on the effort to allow the sale of raw milk and hard cider at the Farmers Market.

Customers at the city’s farmers markets may soon be able to buy unpasteurized local milk, hard cider, beer and wine to go with their fresh vegetables, meats and baked goods.

City Councilors John Anton and Cheryl Leeman are sponsoring an amendment to the city’s rules that would allow licensed market vendors to add fermented beverages, raw milk and raw milk products, such as cheese, to their wares.

MB’s Sweets

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes a profile of MB’s Sweets, a South Portland gluten-free bakery.

Mary Beth Goldman of MB’s Sweets is quietly, persistently and actively infiltrating area restaurants, retail outlets and coffee shops with products that are deceivingly healthier than their white flour and hydrogenated-frosted counterparts. All the rage, or not, Goldman says, “Gluten-free sweets don’t have to be dry, gross and recall a childhood memory of choking on a graham cracker. Most people associate gluten-free with crumbly, gritty and crunchy — but that just isn’t the case.”

In Portland, MB’s Sweets products are available at Morning in Paris Cafe on Exchange Street.


Reviews of Ribollita, Five Fifty-Five and Olive Cafe

Breaking Bread with Joe has published reviews of Ribollita, Five Fifty-Five and Olive Cafe. Here’s an excerpt from his post on Ribollita,

I didn’t think we had reserved enough room for dessert, but as fate would have it we ordered anyway.  I ordered the homemade espresso ice cream with chocolate chips, Steve had the same and Kate ordered the cottage cheese cheesecake.  Wow.  Each of these dishes were rich, fresh and delightfully satisfying.

Our stay was perhaps a little longer than normal for a weekday dinner, but each of us had a terrific experience at Ribollita and we all agreed that we needed to eat here more frequently!

2012 Phoenix Best of Portland Nominations

The Portland Phoenix has kicked-off their 2012 Best of Portland readership poll.  The Phoenix readership poll is a 2 step process:

  • Step 1 which just started, nominate candidates you think are an especially good fit in any or all of the categories
  • Step 2, next month the Phoenix will publish a ballot summarizing the top nominees from each category for us to vote on

There are a plethora of food and drink categories (Bagels, Bars, Barbecue, Beer Selection, Brewpubs, Brunch, etc) to make nominations in there’s even one for food blogs. A list of the 2011 winners is available online as a reference.

If the 2012 polls follows the same schedule as past years then the final results will be made public in April at a live event at the Port City Music Hall.

This Week’s Events: Pie Day, Pork and Pinot, Latte Art Competition, Ice Bar, Brewpub Cup

Monday — the Portland Pie Council is hosting the 3rd Annual Portland Pie and Art Gala in celebration of National Pie Day. The Pie Council has also just issued the Official Portland Pie Council 2012 Cookbook. Erin Lynch, kitchen manager at Rosemont, and Ned Swain from Devenish Wines will be on Good Day Maine (Chanel 13 WGME) to talk about National Pie Day.

Wednesday — Wine Wise the Chadwick Bed & Breakfast are collaborating on a Pork and Pinot Noir wine dinner.

Thursday — it’s the first night of the Ice Bar at the Portland Harbor Hotel, Bard is hosting the monthly latte art competition, the Urban Farm Fermentory is teaching a Kombucha workshop, there will be wine tastings the Public Market House and at Browne Trading and the 13th Annual Brewpub Cup is taking place at The Great Lost Bear.

Friday — farmers from around the state will be convening in Freeport for the annual Maine Farmers Market Convention, there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton, and it’s the second night of the Ice Bar at the Portland Harbor Hotel.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers Market is being held, the Maine Farmers Market Convention continues in Freeport, and it’s the last night of the Ice Bar at the Portland Harbor Hotel

SundayJulie and Julia is on the schedule for movie night at Petite Jacqueline and the Urban Farm Fermentory is teaching a kimchi workshop.

Vinland Cooking Classes — Chef David Levi will be offering a pair of classes that focus on “cooking and preparing food as an expression of place and season in Maine”. The classes are taking place January 31 and February 1. More information is available on the Vinland website.

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 if there re any others I should add to the list.

  • Bar Lola, $45, 5-course dinner with optional wine pairings
  • 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

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.

Review of BiBo’s

BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe received 3 stars from today’s review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Service was acceptable and unerring, and the atmosphere quiet during our stay. While the food here may not blow your mind with creativity and flamboyance, Bibo’s (pronounced Bee-bo’s) is primed to get you to the show on time.

The restaurant also offers a leisurely and satisfying dining option in Portland’s arts district. And it’s a good spot for post-theater dessert and coffee.