First Review of Kushiya Benkay

Eat Maine has published a review of Kushiya Benkay.

Equally satisfying is the panko encrusted Kushikatsu, because, honestly, what is better than delicious fried chicken on a skewer? These, as well as the fried pork with onions, are made even more delicious when dipped in the creamy, pungent wasabi mayo served as an accompaniment. As with the yakitori, there are many, many options of meat to choose from here.

Kushiya Benkay opened August 23 in Longfellow Square. As you might have guessed from the name, it’s the sibling of Benkay on India Street.

Standout Cheese Shop: The Cheese Iron

From Away recommended The Cheese Iron for inclusion in Gourmet Live’s list of Standout Cheese Shops.

The Cheese Iron has exposed beams, a farmhouse table, and all the good things in life: wine, salami, pasta, tomato sauces, pressed oils, baked goods, and, of course, cheese. While you may come for the cheese, you won’t want to miss the Cuban sandwich, which layers smoky ham, thick slices of Taleggio, sweet chutney, and fresh basil atop a crusty baguette that’s grilled until golden.

BSA Popcorn Cooking Competition

According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, Chefs from Nosh, Zapoteca, Sea Dog Brewing, Frog & Turtle and Hot Suppa were in Monument Square yesterday for a popcorn cooking contest.

Five of the city’s most popular eateries sent teams to Monument Square on Wednesday afternoon to put gourmet spins on Boy Scout popcorn in an effort to help raise the profile of the organization’s signature fundraising snack. Judges for the light-hearted first Popcorn Bowl were Gonneville, the Pine Tree Council’s top popcorn seller for 2011, WMTW TV news anchor Erin Ovalle, Southern Maine Community College culinary arts program chairman and chef Wil Beriau, and Portland Press Herald food writer Meredith Goad.

Visit Maine a la Carte for all the details on each restaurant’s entry in the competition.

James Tranchemontagne brought his son as his sous chef, and made a Creole popcorn with ground ancho, filo, onion and garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper, cayenne and smoked paprika.

Bar Review of The Great Lost Bear

The Press Herald has published a bar review of The Great Lost Bear.

I don’t remember how many beers were on the list at the time, but now The Great Lost Bear boasts a total of 69 taps featuring mostly craft beers from the Northeast and 15 Maine microbreweries.

At some point, a list of beers that long can make it hard to choose what brew you’d like to sip. However, with such a long list, you are sure to find something you like.

Food Sciences, Wine Storage and MOO Milk Documentary

Today’s Press Herald includes a front page article on the Food Science program at the University of Maine,

At a time when enrollment at UMaine is down overall, a record number of students is enrolling in the university’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

advice on how to best  store your growing home wine collection,

How should you store the wine you keep at home for dinner parties or your own drinking pleasure? Do you really need one of those wine refrigerators that are so popular these days? And when should you take the leap to a real wine cellar?

and an article about a documentary on MOO Milk.

In a film that is at turns humorous, heart-wrenching and very humane, Pingree and Mann follow three farm families in Aroostook County and Downeast Maine as they and seven other farms strike out on their own to create Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co., better known as MOO Milk.

Black Point Inn Raises $30,000 to Fight Hunger

The staff at the Black Point Inn collaborated with chef Rob Evans and Brian Hill on a 6-course meal that raised $30,000 to fight hunger in Maine.

Black Point Inn staff donated their time to work the event, our food vendors and wine merchants donated all product and 100% of all proceeds  – $30,000 went to the cause. Every dollar raised will connect a child to 10 meals, so with the generosity of the Black Point Inn community, we helped provide 300,00 meals in Maine – 6th in the nation for “severe food insecurity.”

Review of Sea Glass

Map & Menu has published a review of the Sea Glass restaurant in Cape Elizabeth.

It’s ok however, because I returned the favor with my Baked Fig & Manchego Strudel, a herb ricotta and smoked almond-stuffed phyllo pastry, drizzled in a spiced honey (man, do I love honey) that was so delicious that I devoured it in almost record time. By the time our entrées arrived, we were well on our way to realizing just how special of an evening we were sharing, and the main course just sent us over the top.

Photo Credit: Map & Menu

Restaurant Inspections

Natalie Ladd has weighed in on the issue in her weekly column in the Portland Daily Sun,

The Portholes of the world (and once again, they are not alone) should be the minority and should be closed down. Unless we pull out the safety and cleaning checklists and actually use them in a structured, consistent fashion, much more than a sketchy economy is going to hurt our pockets.

and the Press Herald includes an editorial on the need for more restaurant inspectors.

A city the size of Portland, especially one that has so many restaurants, should have more than one inspector for this important job. Portland will never maintain its reputation as a “foodie” city if it can’t assure the public that its commercial kitchens follow the law. If restaurant owners think the inspections are a pain, wait until they can’t prove that their businesses comply with safety standards. They will be anxious to get the health department’s attention.

Under Construction: David’s Opus 10

Maine a la Carte has published an interview with David Turin about his new restaurant, David’s Opus 10. Turin plans on repurposing the private dining room in the back of David’s in Monument Square to launch Opus 10.

“David’s Opus 10” will be an 18-seat restaurant with its own independent, open kitchen and a fixed price, multi-course menu. Seven courses will be served Tuesday through Thursday, and nine courses on Friday and Saturday. Turin is hoping to open the place by the first week in November, depending on how well renovations go.

Bo Byrne, currently the chef de cuisine at David’s 388, will be moving to David’s to cook with Turin at the new place. Carlos Tirado, who has been sous chef at the South Portland restaurant for the past two-and-a-half years, will take Byrne’s place there.