This Week’s Events: JBF Awards, Pu’er Tea Class, Mardi Gras Dinner, CSA Fair and 7-Course Dinner at Hugo’s

Tuesday — the James Beard Foundation is scheduled to release the semifinalists for this year’s awards competition, Local Sprouts is hosting a local foods networking breakfast, and a Mardi Gras dinner is taking place at The Salt Exchange.

ThursdayBrowne Trading and the Public Market House are holding a wine tastings.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center.

Sunday — Dobra is teaching a Pu’er Tea class, Hugo’s is holding a 7-course tasting dinner, the 2012 CSA Fair is taking place, and Midnight in Paris is on the schedule for movie night at Petite Jacqueline.

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.

Under Construction: Spread

A new restaurant named Spread is under construction at 100 Commercial Street. The location was formerly the home of Gaucho’s and before that of Oolong.

Spread’s owner is Jung Hur who has been the head chef at Fuji for several years. Spread’s menu “will consist of a blend of American and Asian cuisine.”  A draft menu (page 46) was submitted along with the restaurant’s liquor license application.

Food Truck Task Force

Today’s Portland Daily Sun reports on the formation of a Food Truck Task Force in Portland.

Food trucks could be rolling into Portland as soon as this summer, if a rulemaking process goes as envisioned, officials say.

A city council subcommittee on Thursday unanimously approved the formation of a task force charged with discussing the pros and cons of allowing food trucks to operate in the city. The task force will lay the groundwork for a food truck discussion before the council, a discussion that officials want to have sometime this spring.

MCP: Jeff Landry at The Farmer’s Table

The Maine Culinary Podcast has posted an interview with Jeff Landry, chef/owner of The Farmer’s Table.

…we spent quite a bit of time discussing where he sources their food and different challenges that arise seasonally, when trying to keep everything local.

We also spent some time talking about organic, humane and sustainable farming and how that translates to their beer and wine list. The wine list is carefully being re-done and Jeff explains the importance of not only being an organic and sustainable vineyard, but also the importance of biodynamics.

Gelato Street

Instant Portland has posted a look at Fore Street’s 2 gelato shops: Gorgeous Gelato and Gelato Fiasco.

I suspect you’re expecting me to come down on one side or the other – to pick a shop as the top gelato shop in the city. I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to encourage you to try them both and see which one you like the best. Like chocolate and vanilla, they are very different shops but each delicious in their own way.  Fore Street is one of the most visible locations in the city, with heavy foot traffic, and I’m confident that both shops will do well…

2 New Reviews of El Rayo Cantina

The resident food bloggers at Down East and Maine magazine have coincidentally both published reviews of El Rayo Cantina today. Joe Ricchio writes for Maine that,

Though I rarely encounter deviled eggs that I don’t like, the Cantina’s version are pickled with hibiscus, giving them a brilliant magenta coloring and providing a nice amount of tangy acidity to compliment the rich, creamy yolks. These would pair up brilliantly with a glass of mellow Anejo tequila such as Don Julio 1942.

and reflecting on the same dish John Golden writes in his blog The Golden Dish,

I also loved the deviled eggs, colored from its pickling process in hibiscus. The lighting is low in the room, and the egg whites looked brownish, but in bright light one would have seen that it had red hues.

Bull Jagger Baltic Porter

This week’s What Ales You column reports on Bull Jagger’s upcoming release of their 2nd beer, a Baltic Porter.

The Baltic Porter, which I tasted before it was carbonated, is an intense beer, with quite a bit of sweetness and notes of chocolate, coffee and toffee, and had just a bit of bite at the back of the palate from the rye. I liked it a lot, and expect it will be even better once it is bottled and carbonated.

Reviews of Mesa Verde, The Thirst Pig and The Salt Exchange

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Mesa Verde,

Located in Portland’s arts district, Mesa Verde would be easy to miss while walking down Congress Street because it blends into the block of buildings. But it’s the ideal place to swing by for happy hour or before a show at the State Theatre.

The Portland Phoenix has published a review contrasting sausage and beer options available The Thirsty Pig and Novare Res,

Overall the Thirsty Pig gets recession-era beer and sausage right. It’s a space for those truly in need of escape from life’s unpleasant realities. Novare Res, opened in pre-recession 2008, has a different feel.

and Breaking Bread with Joe & Kate has reviewed lunch at The Salt Exchange.

To sum it up: We loved our Valentine’s Day lunch date, the meal, the service and the overall experience we had at The Salt Exchange once again!  …And on Valentine’s Day, isn’t it all about the love?