Neal and Ricky

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes an article on Portland’s prohibitional past and a story about the naming of Rockin’ Ricky’s Tavern,

Back to famous bars though. One of my favorite bar stories is one I was told about Ricky’s, on Portland Street, across from the post office. It seems that when Italy changed sides in the Second World War an Italian submarine navigated into Portland Harbor and turned itself in, and because Italy was in dire straits at the end of the war some of the Italian crewmen decided to stay in this country. They were each given a stake by the federal government to establish themselves in their new country and the story goes that a man named Ricci used his cash to start a tavern on Portland Street, which he named after himself, and over time Ricci’s became anglicized to Ricky’s. Rockin’ Ricky’s Tavern, who would’a thought.

Hugo’s Past/Hugo’s Future

Down East magazine’s blog The Golden Dish and Maine magazine’s blog Eat Maine have both published articles about the transition in ownership at Hugo’s.

[Chef Andrew] Taylor feels very much the same way. “I love Hugo’s,” he says. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I don’t want to change that. I love what Rob and Nancy have done and I know they are equally fond of the fact that we have taken it over.”

Now that he will finally call Hugo’s style of cuisine his very own, Taylor discusses plans to continue developing and improving the menu. This feeling of liberation is often what truly allows a chef to flourish and produce some of their very best work. So far the response from patrons has been overwhelmingly positive.

Reviews: Big Sky & El Rayo Cantina

Today’s Press Herald includes a bar review of El Rayo Cantina,

If you’re interested in testing your tequila taste buds, El Rayo also offers “Tequila Flites” for $15 to $19. The tasting allows you to compare tequilas from their three favorite producers to help you determine which you prefer.

and a Eat & Run review of Big Sky Bread.

The sandwich shop operates in the Market House at 28 Monument Square, and I frequent it most often mid-afternoon for an oatmeal raisin cookie ($1.55). The cookies, which are about the size of large saucers, strike a balance between being crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey in the middle.

And the paper continues its fascination with what meals will be served by who and when for President Obama’s visit.

Full Belly Deli & The Portland Food Co-op

Wednesday’s Portland Daily Sun includes articles about the Full Bely Deli,

Full Belly Deli on Brighton Avenue is celebrating their 25th anniversary this month and owner David Rosen is proud, yet plagued with a bit of tzuris (Yiddish for troubles, woes or worries) experienced by most long-time restaurant owners these days when thinking about the future.

and the Portland Food Co-op.

A half-dozen years after initial meetings and more than three years after its formal incorporation, the Portland Food Co-Op is finally ready to begin stocking shelves and welcoming members at its new Hampshire Street store, one block up from Congress Street at the foot of Munjoy Hill.


Presidential Eats, Evans Act II, Public Market House, Wine Dreams, Holy Donuts

Today’s Press Herald contains a bumper crop of articles about the meal being served at President Obama’s dinner in Portland this Friday,

The White House has thrown up a strict no-talk zone over the dinner menu for the president’s whirlwind Friday fundraising mission to Maine. But here’s what we know.

an interview with Rob Evans on what he plans on doing next now that he’s sold Hugo’s,

Evans said the sale of the restaurant where he built his culinary reputation will give the couple the time and money they need to establish a small farm on 82 acres they bought in Limington. “And then we’re going to be looking at doing more businesses in Portland,” Evans said. “So we’re not retiring. We’re not opening up restaurants in New York like a lot of people think we’re doing. Actually, quite the opposite. We’re looking to get more connected to the state.”

an article about the success of the Public Market House,

The company that Horton formed with the owners of two other stores in the building in Monument Square announced this week that four more businesses are moving in, making 11 in all and essentially filling the place.

The Maine Squeeze Juice Cafe, Y-Limes Gourmet Desserts, Union Bagel Co. and La Cocina Dominicana are either moving in or have already opened in the market.

Joe Appel’s list of “Ten [wine-related] things that will never happen

The Maine Legislature will summon the courage necessary to override restaurant-industry protectionism and enact a law allowing diners to bring their own bottles of wine to dinner if they pay a “corkage” fee. Restaurants, despite their legitimate concerns regarding waitstaff gratuities and customers’ abuse of the leeway offered, will permit BYO and set parameters that curtail the risks.

and a reprint of the Maine a la Carte blog post about The Holy Donut.

The Holy Donut opened a week ago last Friday at the former site of Terroni’s Market on Park Avenue, near Hadlock Field. Leigh Kellis, the owner, had been using the kitchen at the East Ender and selling her products wholesale at Coffee By Design, Whole Foods and Bard Coffee.

Local Butchers & Maine Maple Sunday

The Press Herald has published an article about local butchers,

A growing number of consumers like Graf are buying their meat from neighborhood butchers who work with locally raised animals, rejecting the idea of pre-cut, pre-packaged meats shipped from large, anonymous farms hundreds or thousands of miles away.

The Hannaford ground beef recall, and federal investigators’ failure to find the source of the salmonella contamination, has prompted some local butchers to change their meat grinding practices and encouraged a “buy local” attitude among shoppers like Graf.

and a report on yesterday’s Maine Maple Sunday.

Steam billowed out of the Nash Valley Farm sugarhouse, sending out the usual welcome to Maine Maple Sunday visitors.

But not much else was usual at the farm. The buckets hanging on the maple trees stood empty, the maple trees were bursting with flowers and there was a green carpet of grass instead of the usual mix of snow and mud underfoot. And it was water, not sap, boiling away in the evaporator.

This Week’s Events: World Food Party, Latte Art Competition, Latin Vegan, Old HLT

Monday — Grace is hosting a charity wine event to benefit the Cancer Community Center.

TuesdayBar Lola is holding a wine dinner.

Wednesday — Lindsay Sterling from Immigrant Kitchen is the emcee for the Phoenix’s World Food Party.

Thursday — Bard Coffee is holding the monthly TNT Latte Art Competition, there will be a wine tasting at the Browne Trading, the UFF is teaching a Kombucha workshop, Maine Mead Works and Silver Moon Creamery are hosting a charity tasting to raise money for the Wayside Food Program, and The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Bunker Brewing.

Friday — Chef Michelle Goldman of Sea Change Cooking School will be holding a Latin Vegan tasting at the Danforth Inn.

SaturdaySweet Marguerites is holding the Grand Opening for their new store in South Portland, Allagash is releasing Old HLT (8% ABV, aged with cherries for 2 years) and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Irish Heritage Center.

Sunday — the 26th Annual Chocolate Lover’s Fling is taking place.

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.