Review of Pocket Brunch

Food Coma has published a review of the inaugural Pocket Brunch.

It definitely speaks to the quality of an experience when a brunch can be dragged out for three and a half hours, and no one seems to bat an eyelash or miss a beat. It’s also a very impressive feat to pull this off in one’s home, as there are bound to be countless elements that need to be improvised to simulate the feel of an actual restaurant and not simply a dinner party. If I weren’t so afraid that a hat would “f[*`#] up” my hair and I actually wore one, it would be off to the Pocket Brunch crew for a job very, very well done.

Second Chances

This month’s topic for the collaborative food blogging project was Second Chances. Everyone was challenged with revisiting an eatery that hadn’t exactly wowed them the first time around. We all have off days, that’s as true of restaurants as it is people, so it only seemed appropriate to give these restaurants a second chance and ourselves a second chance to like them.

As you’ll read below, the results were a partial success. Edible Obsessions was ably to cheerfully report that Grace has undergone a complete turnaround since it’s current chef took charge in the kitchen, Vrai-lean-uh and I, while not enamored with our repeat visits, could see something that people might enjoy, and unfortunately The Blueberry Files confirmed that, despite it’s popularity, Taco Escobarr is just not the place for her.

Edible Obsessions – Grace

We’ve been back a few times since then, eating and enjoying our way through Chef Sueltenfuss’ menu. For us, it’s no longer an overpriced, monolith of a restaurant whose food wouldn’t even pass in restaurants that charged one third of the price. For us, Grace is a new restaurant, completely different than the one I was disappointed with a few years ago. It’s one that we’re more than happy that we gave a second chance to. read the full article

The Blueberry Files – Taco Escobar

If you’re in the mood for crunchy Tex Mex Taco Tuesday-esque food, go to Amigo’s, where at least you know what you’re in for. If you want good tacos, with interesting fillings and salsa, head across the bridge into South Portland to Taco Trio. read the full article

Vrai-lean-uh – Sonny’s

All that said, if you’re just looking for a drink and appetizers, I would recommend Sonny’s. Their drinks are very good, the bar is lovely and very appealing. I just wouldn’t go for dinner. Read the articles on read the full article

For my part in this month’s Second Chances series, I made a return visit to The Farmer’s Table. I’ve heard from a few friends who’s culinary sensibilities I trust that they had really enjoyed meals there. That hadn’t been my experience during the restaurant’s first year but I was open to find things had changed. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the return visit did much to change my perspective. The outdoor decks overlooking Commercial Street don’t have an equal and I enjoyed my wine quite a bit but the food didn’t live up to the view and with so many other excellent eating options in town it didn’t make it into my regular rotation.

This Week’s Events: Lobster World Series, UFF Open House, Dogfish Tap Takeover, Pomodoropalooza

Monday — Chef Steve Corry is hosting chefs from Europe and Asia for the 1st Annual Shucks Maine Lobster World Series.

Tuesday — the Urban Farm Fermentory is having party/open house in it’s new 5,000 square foot expansion to introduce their plans for the space.

Wednesday — there will be a wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, it’s the first day when aspiring food truck operators can apply for a food truck license in Portland, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the Bier Cellar is hosting Rising Tide for a beer tasting, a wine and and cheese tasting is taking place at the Public Market House, Cultivating Community’s seventh Twilight Dinner of the summer is taking place at their farm in Cape Elizabeth (tickets available online), and The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from North Coast Brewing.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at Micucci’s and a beer tasting at the West End Deli, and Novare Res is converting all their taps over to serving beers from Dogfish Head.

SaturdayPomodoropalooza, a “no-holds-barred celebration of local tomatoes,” is taking place at Rosemont Produce; you can sample tomatoes from 8 local farms as well as Maine-made cheese and Spanish wine. The Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place. On a related note, the grant that funds the credit/debit/SNAP card wooden token program at the market is coming to an end, and the market is looking for donations to help keep it going.

SundayThe Honey Exchange is having a party to celebrate their 1-year anniversary, and LFK is hosting a 1-year anniversary party for Oxbow.

Upcoming Events — registration for Kitchen & Cork’s pie and cupcake baking contest is now open, call 207-885-5727 to enter the contest. Tickets are now on sale for the Common Ground Fair taking place September 21-23 in Unity. There are still 20 seats left for the next Pocket Brunch. Food Day 2012 is taking place October 24, Maine Food Day coordinator Sharon Kitchens is asking that anyone interested in running a Food Day event contact her at

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.

Horse-Drawn Grocery Service in Rockland

Chalk this one up in the outside Portland but too interesting to pass up category. From Away has published an interview with Brian Smith from Oyster River Farm in Rockland about the horse-drawn grocery delivery service he’s trying to get going in Rockland.

While he waits for his vines to mature, proprietor Brian Smith has another creative idea for this coming winter. Smith intends to roll out the “Oyster River Farm Express” in Rockland, a door-to-door horse-drawn delivery service of Oyster River farm goods, including locally grown produce, freshly baked bread, homemade sausage, and their own well-regarded wine.

Smith is raising $10,000 on Kickstarter to pay for a vintage delivery cart and other essentials for the service. His Belgian draft horse, Don, will be doing all the hard work of pulling the wagon around downtown Rockland for the Oyster River Farm Express.

It makes me wonder if some sort of farmers market delivery service, albeit using pedal power or standard transportation, could work in Portland.

Review of Thanh Thanh 2

Thanh Thanh 2 received 4 stars from the review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Although the building facade is not pretty, Thanh Thanh 2 merits a trip to busy Forest Avenue for its welcoming service and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Each entree is layered with flavor and served in ample proportion for the price, and pho seekers will not be disappointed. Add a cup of fresh coconut juice ($3) to sip on the drive home, and Thanh Thanh 2 makes for excellent takeout.

The Price of a Lobster

An article in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram traces the route and mark-up from the few bucks per pound paid to a lobstermen on the dock to the $17+ that will be charged at a restaurant.

Once caught, a lobster can change hands five to seven times before it reaches a diner’s plate.

Lobstermen this summer are getting paid as little as $2 to $2.50 a pound for their catch — the lowest level in 30 years — but the price escalates to $17 a pound or higher by the time a customer orders a lobster in a restaurant.

The paper also continues their reporting on the recent conflict in Canada about processors importing inexpensive Maine lobsters.

Fox Family Potato Chips

Bon Appetit columnist Andrew Knowlton has gone public with his “chip tryst” with Fox Family Potato Chips which are made here in Maine.

My latest crush is Fox Farms, the hand-sliced chips made in Mapleton, Maine. The Fox family have been potato farmers since the 1800s, but only recently put these beauties on the market. They’re not too thick but not too thin, they’re cooked to a nice amber brown, and they come in longish strips. During the summer I go to Maine as much as the bosses will allow and each time I return with a few bags.

I even introduced them to my parents. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to chip commitment.

I know I’ve seen the chips for sale but haven’t found a bag at some of the likely spots. Does anyone know where an aspiring tryster can pick up a bag here in the Portland?

Three Sons Eviction

According to an article in today’s Portland Daily Sun, Three Sons lost the appeal on their eviction.

Despite an emergency appeal to a federal bankruptcy judge, Three Sons Fishing can no longer stay at its Commercial Street location.
Stuart Norton, owner of Three Sons Fishing, hoped that an appeal to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court would stave off his business’s eviction from the Maine Wharf, though Judge James Haines ruled that Great Maine Wharf, LLC., had the legal backing to take possession of the building and require the seafood market to remove its belongings. Haines said it was “crystal clear” that the lease was with a limited liability company and not Norton.