The Reuters news service has produced a profile of Grace.
Every element of the design shows a keen eye for detail. Napkin rings are made from spare parts harvested from the original pipe organ. The dramatic architectural feature over the bar echoes two trefoil stained glass windows. Even the knives mimic tall, spear-shaped windows.
Chef Peter Sueltenfuss presides over the large open kitchen located in the church’s former altar. There, he produces an eclectic blend of modern American cooking that leans heavily on Maine seafood and locally-raised produce.
The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a feature article on the Maine Food Producers Alliance.
The alliance holds workshops that teach up-and-coming stovetop businesses all the practical things they need to know, from picking out the best packaging to the do’s and don’ts of approaching major retailers. The group includes businesses of all sizes, from Stonewall Kitchen – whose owners started out selling their products at local farmers markets – to smaller ventures such as the Perfect Peanut Brittle Co. in Saco.
For more information on the MFPA visit their website.
Cinque Terre and Vignola have been featured in a National Geographic Traveler article on farm to table restaurants.
Co-owner and chef Lee Skawinski selects varietals for the farm discovered on trips to Italy, and the kitchen crew helps harvest everything from tomatoes to 3,000 heads of garlic per season. Cinque Terre crafts traditional, multicourse meals inspired by the cuisine of Liguria in northwest Italy. Expect comforting dishes such as zuppa di pesce (fish soup) with potato and fennel, and ravioli with kale and braised lamb. Vignola is its breezy little sister, serving tavern fare: Terrines of Maine rabbit are a specialty. To catch a breeze yourself, take a stroll by the ocean across the street from the restaurants.
A group of 5 “seasoned and passionate artisan bakers” are launching a new bagel bakery in Portland called the Union Bagel Company. Their stated goal is “to bring traditional bagels to Portland, and to create a successful enterprise that is both supportive of and dependent upon a strong regional economy.”
They’ve launched a website, set-up a Facebook page and are now raising $7500 in start-up funds on KickStarter. If you’ve wanted to see the Portland bagelverse continue to expand then you might want to visit their fundraising page, watch the video and consider helping them out with a donation.
For this week’s episode, the Maine Culinary Podcast has published an interview with Tom and Shannon Bard from Zapoteca.
Wednesday — to kick-off Maine Restaurant Week the organizers have planned a cocktail and pastry competition at the Portland Harbor Hotel. Also taking place that night are a 4-course rabbit and Austrian wine dinner at Grace, a kimchi workshop at the Urban Farm Fermentory, and Pilot Beer Night at Sebago Brewing.
Thursday — the opening day of Maine Restaurant Week which runs March 1-10; see the MRW’s website for a full list of participating restaurants. As part of MRW the culinary team from Cinque Terre and Vignola will be offering a multi-course tasting menu at the Danforth Inn. Also on Thursday, The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Redhook Brewery.
Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli and a bourbon tasting at The Salt Exchange, and the tasting menu at the Danforth Inn will be available for a second night. First Friday Art Walk is taking place and MRW week continues so restaurants will be packed so be sure to make your reservations soon.
Saturday — the Peaks Island Gastro Society is holding their March Dinner (6 courses including Pinot Noir braised Montana Antelope and a Terrine of Maine Goose & Oregon Truffles), there will be a sake tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, Wine Wise is holding a wine walk in the Old Port, it’s the final night of the tasting menu at the Danforth Inn, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center.
Sunday — Maine Restaurant Week continues.
All Month — Starting on Thursday and running throughout the month of March, Grace, Miyake, Pai Men Miyake and the Foreside Tavern in Falmouth will make a donation to fight hunger in Maine for every 3- or 7-course meal you order. “The idea that there are children in our state the are hungry is simply unacceptable to us. When we learned that each dollar raised connects a child with ten meals we knew we could make an impact right here in our own community.” said Anne Verrill, owner of Grace & The Foreside Tavern.
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.
The annual food issues of Maine and Down East magazines came out this week.
The March issue of Maine magazine includes:
- Joe Ricchio’s take on the state’s 6 best cookies (personally I’d add the sea salt chocolate chip at Aurora Provisions)
- An article on healthy eating
- A profile of forager Evan Strusinski
- A “cross-section of Maine’s most interesting chefs [and] the foods they really care about”
- Interviews with restaurant managers at 555, Francine Bistro and Zapoteca
- An article about Maine Maple Sunday
- A profile of Jarrod Spangler who works as a butcher at Rosemont
- A great cover photo of Steffi and Brian Davin, owners of Schulte & Herr
and in Down East you’ll find:
- An extensive guide to cheap eats across the state
- An article about Maine Maple Sunday with tasting notes from a dozen sugar houses
- An article about Moxie
- An article about the Maine eel fishery
Neither magazine has published their articles online yet (hint hint!) but the magazines should be available at your favorite local bookstore.
The Golden Dish has published a review of Blue Spoon.
For a main course I chose what’s known as chicken under a brick and my partner had the seafood stew. My last encounter with this preparation occurred recently at the uninspiring Macaroni Grill. Needless to say the two interpretations are worlds apart. Blue Spoon’s take reveals beautifully seasoned and extremely moist white and dark meat served over a mass of seared Brussels sprouts with addictively delicious caramelized fingerlings. But the real prize is the resounding bacon and mustard sauce that elevates this dish to a higher realm indeed.
SheWired has published an interview with Kate Squib. (via Edible Obsessions)
What’s your philosophy on food?
Like I said, I grew up in a large family where food was the center of everything. It kept our family close. Food brings people together, so why not make everything — from its preparation to its consumption — an enjoyable experience for everyone to share? And don’t let anyone ever tell you not to play with your food. That’s the best part! Play with your food. Learn what it’s capable of, and what you’re capable of.
Joe Ricchio has written a review of Harmon’s Lunch for Maine magazine’s blog.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that very few things satisfy the soul like a great burger, and Harmon’s Lunch has stood the test of time by consistently offering one of Maine’s best.
Who needs Happy Meal toys, anyway?