Harvest on the Harbor

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes an overview of some of the key activities taking place at Harvest on the Harbor this week.

I am happily anticipating Harvest on the Harbor this week, Oct. 24-27, a celebration of food with sweeping views of Casco Bay and an array of food and wine events and tasting opportunities. I am especially eager for Top of the Crop on Thursday, Oct. 25, when four outstanding Maine chefs will vie for Maine’s Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant. The fab four were selected based on their farm-to-table philosophy, relationship with local farms, and how well their restaurant menus reflect the farm-to-table movement year-round — not an easy task. The event will host a diverse international crowd with attendees from 48 states and the Netherlands, UK and Canada.

Review of Bard Coffee

Serious Eats has published a review of Bard Coffee.

The baristas on staff were more than happy to geek out with me about brewing styles (“We live for this stuff, this is what we do.”), and are committed, enthusiastic professionals. Bard proudly hosts monthly latte-art competitions to benefit Coffee Kids, and is one of a few small-but-mighty coffee companies encouraging improvements in the local bean scene by leaps and bounds. Despite (or perhaps because of?) its cafe being directly across the street from a Starbucks, Bard has become a community staple in Portland’s historic district—a testament to the coffee as well as to the people behind it.

This Week’s Events: Taste Memory Launch, Harvest on the Harbor, Latte Art Competition, Milbrandt Vineyards Dinner

TuesdayBar Lola is holding a wine dinner featuring Milbrandt Vineyards, and Devenish Wines is holding an wine tasting at LFK focused on organic wines from France.

Wednesday — a launch party for David Buchanan’s book Taste, Memory is taking place at SPACE, it’s the first day of Harvest on the Harbor, both Rosemont and Old Port Wine Merchants are having wine tastings, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the monthly Latte Art Competition is taking place at Bard Coffee and both the Public Market House and Aurora Provisions are holding wine tastings.

Friday — the annual Caviar Dinner is taking place at the Portland Harbor Hotel, Coffee by Design is running tours of their roastery on Washington Ave, there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton, and both BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe and Vignola/Cinque Terre are holding wine dinners.

Saturday — the Deering Oaks Farmers Market 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.

Review of Kushiya Benkay

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Kushiya Benkay.

For a softly lit date night that’s a bit different, a wee-hours snack or a protein-lover’s lunch that won’t break the bank, Kushiya Benkay’s menu is tough to beat. Built on the reputation and strength of Portland sushi standard bearer Benkay, this newest niche endeavor is a terrific addition to the local dining roster.


Washington Post: Many Flavors of Portland

Washington Post editor Joe Yonan has written about a visit to Portland eating and drinking at  Micucci’s, Urban Farm Fermentory, Eventide and Bresca.

Maybe there’s something in the sea air that gets to you, that fills you with Maine pride. I’ve heard more than one Mainer say with confidence that Portland’s food scene is better than Boston’s, for instance, and I’ve always (politely) scoffed. But I’ve been in the state for the better part of a year, and I’m starting to see their point. If nothing else, I think of it this way: If little Portland were plunked down in the middle of Boston, it would be a food lover’s destination. And I’d head there for dinner — or lunch, or pre-dinner oysters, or mid-morning pastries, or a macchiato — anytime.

Yonan has been spending a year in Maine and is occasionally blogging about on his website.

Ezra Pond Cake: 8 Delicious Things

Rebecca Crump from Ezra Pound Cake has posted a list of her 8 favorite things to eat in Maine.

We toured farms and bakeries, talked to chefs and seafood industry experts, and I had some of the best meals of my life. (Thanks, Sharon!) So, if someone asks you to come to Maine, say yes, kiss them on the mouth, and dig into some of these delicious things:

Rebecca was in Maine this Summer as part of a food blogger tour arranged by Delicious Musings.

First Review of Gather

Eat Maine has published the first review of Gather.

I finish the meal feeling comforted and full, and I know that this is more than just a new restaurant—it’s a place for friends and families to share a meal, a conversation, a bottle of wine. It’s the place to go for a homemade meal when you have no time to cook. It’s a place to congregate after a sporting event, a school board meeting, and a long day at the office. With a seasonal, locally focused menu, I know I’ll be back with my friends and family to experience this sense of community again and again.

Building Customer Loyalty

Natalie Ladd’s column in the Portland Daily Sun list the factors that help restaurants build a loyal customer base.

We all know it’s about food freshness and quality (the place in question is just so-so), the atmosphere (by most standards, the place in question needs to be sandblasted and rebuilt from the ground up), the price points (nothing noticeable one way or the other here), service (no fine dining experience for sure) and relationships built.
It is here, in this last element, where they excel and I have created a short checklist for restaurants and bars to follow, based upon proven success in such a generally mediocre establishment.

Phoenix on UFF Expansion

The Portland Phoenix has announced that they plan on providing ongoing coverage of the UFF’s expansion in Bayside.

In the former ABC Taxi headquarters (the company moved to Bishop Street recently, out off Warren Avenue), Cayer has gotten contracts and city permits for the kernel of something he hopes will be much bigger.

In the coming weeks, the Portland Phoenix will be exploring different aspects of this new endeavor, including talking with the businesses that will be moving there and setting up operations.

Culinary Colleen’s Eating Tour of Portland

Massachusetts food blogger Culinary Colleen visited Portland and loved every bite she took. Her eating tour took her to Eventide, Maine Mead Works, Fore Street, The Holy Donut, Duckfat and Novare Res.

Do you ever watch that Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate?” I felt like I was on that show at every restaurant we tried. I kept turning to Matt and saying “this is one of the best things I have ever eaten!” (And I was hardly even exaggerating.)