Food Truck Call to Action

The Bring Food Trucks to Portland Facebook page is making the case for broadening the membership of the Food Truck Task Force.

This Task Force may be highly problematic; the members are almost all representative of interest groups who gain by maintaining the status quo. Contacting Councilor Ed Suslovic ( and suggesting other stakeholders (food bloggers, Buy Local, et al) be included would be helpful. Otherwise, the task force is likely to implement only a very limited vision of what food trucks might be in Portland and make it very difficult for a viable food truck operation to survive…

Review of Marcy’s

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Marcy’s.

The sausage at Marcy’s is a step up from the typical chewy diner links — you get something fatter, more tender, and less bluntly salty. The new owners have also upgraded the bacon, which is thicker and has a better mouthfeel. “Homefries” are really hashbrowns of the simple shredded potato variety — a big pile whose brief time on the grill imparts every possible potato texture — from soft and tender to hard and crisp. French toast is simply and nicely done, with a flavor more eggy than sweet. Either the French toast or big fluffy pancakes can be included with your egg breakfast to create a huge meal for less than seven bucks.

Food Carts in Parks & Teaching Preservation

Today’s Press Herald reports on the opportunity for food carts to operate in city parks this Summer,

The city will accept bids through Tuesday. Dumais said there’s no minimum bid, although a $100 deposit is required. A license for a push cart costs $295 and the application fee is $35.

“We’re hopeful that someone will find a good spot and make a go of it,” Dumais said.

The openings are in Deering Oaks, Lincoln Park, Harbor View Park, Back Cove Trail, the Western Promenade and the Kiwanis Pool.

and an article on school kids learning about food preservation.

Children learned how pickling developed as a method of food preservation long before modern refrigeration, and how it still plays a role in keeping foods edible and tasty.

Kate McCarty, one of the master food preservers, explained how ship captains often served pickled foods, which are high in vitamin C, in part to keep passengers and crews from getting scurvy and dying on long trips across the Atlantic.

Double Your Money

This week’s Forecaster includes a report on a Cultivating Community program that doubles the purchasing power of shoppers at the farmers market who use food stamps.

Washington was confused, until Czifrik explained that the market doubles the amount of any Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) spending up to $20. Hence, the pile of tokens that filled the plastic sandwich bag in Washington’s hands.

Under Construction: Matt’s Wood Roasted

The Portland Daily Sun has published an interview with the owner of Matt’s Wood Roasted Coffee about the coffee shop he’s opening on Congress Street,

“We’ll be doing some interesting stuff with coffee, some different ways of brewing it. We have an interesting espresso machine,” he said.

“There will be a coffee lab in the back of this space, with a sample roaster, I’ll be doing some sample roasting on site,” Bolinder said.

and an article about the number of coffee shops in Portland.

Yet some worry that, like a second pot of coffee brewed from old grounds, the market may be weakening. Are customers facing too many choices without adequate demand?

“I’ve got seven on my block, and they never used to be here,” complained one proprietor about the sudden emergence of coffee shops in a small stretch of downtown Portland. “So everybody wants to be in the coffee business.”

Restaurant Week, Jake Castonia, Beard Nomination

Today’s Press Herald includes a profile of Jake Castonia,

Castonia decided to say good-bye to the standard American diet and instead fill his dinner plate with plants. At the same time he made the switch to vegan foods, he began exercising regularly.

At first, he could barely make it through 10 minutes on an elliptical machine. But he stuck with it, and by the time he could exercise for a full hour straight, he had shed 50 pounds.

an article about this year’s crop of Maine semi-finalists in the JBF awards competition,

Maine had an especially strong showing in the Best Chef: Northeast category. Maine chefs, remarkably, make up a third of that category, which bodes well for at least one of them making the list of finalists next month.

and an overview of Maine Restaurant Week.

Food Truck Task Force

The Forecaster has published a report on Portland’s new Food Truck Task Force.

“You’ll see it happen,” said Steve DiMillo Sr., a restaurateur who is concerned about the way the city regulates food trucks on two fronts:

Loosely regulated food trucks could set up near his DiMillo’s restaurant on the waterfront, bringing direct competition.

And DiMillo is also considering moving into the new market. “We’re talking about … a Dimillo’s mobile operation,” he said.

“It makes sense for a lot of us operators to diversify and open up other arms of our operations, especially because we could do a lot of the prep work in our kitchens,” DiMillo said.

Review of Sonny’s

Eat Here. Go There. has published a review of Sonny’s.

Sonny’s turned out to be a great double-date night spot. The striking red brick walls are loaded with big, bold art, while the bold and colorful flavors were served up on bright white plates. The ambiance is superb, and the service is fantastic. This is an upscale establishment, but it doesn’t feel stuffy in the least. The wait staff is alternatively clad lending even more depth to the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere of the space. If you haven’t gone yet, GO! If you don’t like the food order another cocktail. If you don’t like the cocktails, you should probably just move out of the state.

2012 James Beard Awards Semi-Finalists

The James Beard Foundation announced the semi-finalists for this year’s JBF awards. Maine scored 8 semi-final nominations:

  • Petite Jacqueline for Best New Restaurant
  • Melissa Kelly at Primo in Rockland for Outstanding Chef
  • Fore Street for Outstanding Restaurant
  • and for Best Chef Northeast:
    • Krista Kern Desjarlais at Bresca
    • Demos Regas at Emilitsa
    • Danai Sriprasert and Nattasak Wongsaichua at Boda
    • Penelle, Megan, and Phoebe Chase and Ted LaFage at Chase’s Daily in Belfast
    • Brian Hill at Francine Bistro in Camden

The final list of nominees is due out on March 19 and the awards ceremony takes place May 7.

For reference take a look at the semi-finalist lists in 2011 and 2010.