Restaurant Inspector Reassigned (Updated)

According to a report from the Munjoy Hill News, city health inspector Michele Sturgeon is no longer inspecting restaurants for Portland.

D. Michele Sturgeon, CFPM, CPO and Portland’s Health Inspector is no longer inspecting  Portland restaurants.  Instead, State Health Inspectors are doing the work for which Sturgeon was hired last year – she’d been on the job just over a year when the change was made…

Update: Both the Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News are now reporting that Sturgeon is going on medical leave and that the change in responsibilities is temporary.

Portland’s health inspector is going on a medical leave that is unrelated to her high-profile work inspecting and shutting down several city restaurants for code violations.

Interview with Whitney Reynolds

Dispatch has published an interview with Brian Boru bartender Whitney Reynolds.

Thoughts on the term mixologist?
Well my idea of a mixologist is a little different. To me it’s mixing everything that goes into bartending, which is creating a certain atmosphere. I’ve always worked at places where it’s not so much about making this amazing drink that you’ve never had before that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s more about knowing who’s walking in the door, knowing their name, and having their drink on the bar by the time they get to you.

Maine Beer Tours

Eat Maine has published a report of a recent trip with Maine Beer Tours.

The most obvious appeal of taking a bus when visiting 3-4 stops over an afternoon is that it eliminates any demand for getting behind the wheel, allowing for unfettered enjoyment of the plethora of beers that will be sampled. In addition to longtime Portland staples like Allagash and Shipyard, there is a new wave of brewers that are currently redefining the industry, like Rising Tide and Maine Beer Company.

Reviews of Petite Jacqueline, Hot Suppa, Pai Men Miyake

Dispatch has published a review of Petite Jacqueline,

All in all, Petite Jacqueline had a great atmosphere; the lighting was romantic enough, but not too much (I didn’t get the sense that someone was going to pop out of the corner and propose to me). The staff was very friendly, willing to help—and let’s not forget they were dressed the part in their matching, striped Francophile shirts. The wine choice was perfect, and the food even more so. I would absolutely recommend Petite Jacqueline to anyone and on any night of the week.

The Blueberry Files has published a review of a happy hour visit to Hot Suppa, and the article includes details from a follow-on visit to Otto’s new bar on opening night,

The poutine was the star of the show, with crispy fries that yielded to a potato moosh under the hearty gravy and stringy cheese curds. I could have eaten another plate of this, although I would have regretted it, since it was very rich. 

The Golden Dish has published a review of Pai Men Miyake.

Though we enjoyed our dinner it was hardly restorative at $150 for two. Our waitress might have warned that such a repetitive tasting menu for two was just too many skewers of meat without enough variety.  The appetizers were more interesting and satisfying.  And a few a la carte selections from the yakitori list fortified by the wealth of small courses would have given us the brilliance of Masa’s cooking that we hoped to have.

Review of Gather

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Gather.

For example, crab and corn fritters had an airy lightness beneath a dark and crispy exterior. The aroma of crab and corn mingled with something citrusy and terrific. Even lighter was a puffy pile of finely shaved Brussels sprouts, touched with a barely sweet dressing to cut any bitterness, and studded with huge crunchy croutons and halves of perfectly soft-boiled eggs. Even the pork terrine managed to avoid heaviness. It was moist but not wet, studded with pistachios, with hints of something sour and tarragon. It came in a generous serving with grilled country bread and pickled carrots and onions.

Maine Beer Co. Moving to Freeport

According to a report from the Bangor Daily News, Maine Beer Company, maker of the ever popular Peeper Ale, plans to move to a new facility in Freeport this Spring.

The existing brewery produces 3,000 barrels of beer a year, or about 58,000 12-bottle cases.

With the expansion, Maine Beer will add four new fermenting tanks, which will boost production to 5,000 barrels per year, Kleban said.

The brewery will join two other like-minded businesses on Route 1: Gritty McDuff’s brew pub, and Maine Distilleries, maker of Cold River vodka and gin.

Rosemont Wins Award

Rosemont Market was presented the 2012 Best Small Business award from the Portland Development Corporation last night.

[Co-owner John] Naylor said…”It’s really nice. I’m thankful for it. I think it’s really fabulous that the city recognizes us. We’re a small business in a community we really like,” he said. “The whole premise with Rosemont is we try to do as much with local farms as we can, butcher shop, dairy products, cheeses… Our focus is to be a market for local production as much as we can, to create an interaction between where your food is coming from and where your food is going to.”

Matt’s Coffee in Food & Wine

Bird Dog coffee from Matt’s Wood Roasted/Speckled Ax was included in the December Food & Wine wrap up of “editor-approved gifts represent[ing] the season’s best kitchen provisions, cocktail accessories and style discoveries.

Those of you with good memories will recall that Food & Wine Executive Editor Dana Cowin paid a visit to Speckled Ax when she was in town back in August.


Otto Pizza Expansion Now Open

I just stopped by for a glass of wine and a slice at the new bar space at the original Otto Pizza on Congress Street. Diners now have a choice between going in the center door for a quick slice to go, or either bar to the left and right for table service with wine and beer. The new bar area only opened at around 2 hours earlier but was quickly reaching full capacity.

The new bar area is about 50% larger than Enzo but with the same subway tile, vintage wood and exposed brick aesthetic.

Food Gift Ideas, Slow Food Delegates, Butchering Workshop, Restaurant Inspections, Pirates Cooking

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a set of holiday food gift ideas,

Think of these items as hostess gifts you can take to all the holiday parties you’ll be attending this year, or as not-so-last-minute stocking stuffers. Some of these ideas are things I’ve written about earlier in the year, while others are brand new items I have given as gifts myself.

The common denominator: I promise you I have tried them all and liked them.

an interview with the Maine delegates who attended the Slow Food conference in Italy in October,

Fellow farmer and Maine delegate Sarah Bostick works for the New Americans Sustainable Agriculture Project at Cultivating Community, where she teaches Maine farming techniques to immigrant farmers from warmer climates. In addition, she runs a permaculture design business.

Bostick went to the conference looking for specific ideas that could help her in her work with immigrant farmers.

a report on a hog butchering workshop scheduled to take place at Local Sprouts in December.

Also in today’s paper is an update on restaurant health inspections,

The Wok Inn, which was shut down after failing four health inspections since April, is among four Portland restaurants to be closed in the past two months for health code violations. The other three — Sapporo Restaurant, The Loft and Mekhong Thai — have reopened after correcting violations.

and a report on a program that’s teaching Portland Pirates players how to cook healthy meals for themselves.

Chris Brown, a 21-year-old forward from Flower Mound, Texas, who calls himself “a sometimes cooker,” credited his ease with a knife to a lifetime of hunting deer. “I’m not a big vegetable person, so all these greens are freaking me out a little bit,” he said.

Brown said he is trying to eat better, and hopes the cooking class will help.