Under Construction: Three Buoys, Dancing Elephant II, Buck’s Naked, The North Point

Monday’s City Council meeting will review and vote on liquor licenses applications from several new restaurants under construction:

  • The North Point—a “small, rustic, upscale wine, cheese and spirits bar& restaurant” located at 35 Silver Street across the street from The Regency. The draft menu (pages 99, 102-103) includes a selection of cheeses and charcuterie, sandwiches, soups and chocolate truffles . According to the application owner Noah Talmatch has 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, the past 18 years in NYC.
  • Dancing Elephant II—Iqubal Hossain, owner of the Dancing Elephant in Westbrook, is expanding into Portland through the purchase Passage to India on Wharf Street. A draft menu (pages 63-64) was included in their application.
  • Three Buoys—as previously reported by the Munjoy Hill News, Three Buoy’s Seafood Shanty & Grille is in the process of renovating the former Wings-N-Things on Cumberland Ave. Three Buoys is expanding into the Portland market from their original restaurant in York. Their goal is to open in December.  A draft menu (pages 47-48) was included in their application.
  • Buck’s Naked BBQ—as previously reported by The Forecaster, Buck’s is taking over the space on Wharf Street formerly occupied by Havana South. According to the application their goal is to open in November. You can see a photo of the new interior on Buck’s Facebook page.

Review of Zen

The Golden Dish (newly relocated to the Press Herald from Down East) has published a review of Zen Chinese Bistro.

After many visits over the last several months, Zen has become my de facto dining spot when I have a yen for Chinese food. It’s slightly more expensive than places like Panda Garden along the Brighton Ave. strip.  And it’s so much better.   

Let me be clear, though,  the cooking is not necessarily cutting edge or crafty. There’s no fusion gimmickry or sleight-of-hand flavors in surreptitious guises. Instead it’s good solid renditions of the genre, using quality local ingredients prepared with care.

Under Construction: Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

A new craft cocktail bar called the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club (website, blog) is currently under development with a target opening date in March 2013. No lease has been signed yet but owner Andrew Volk is actively seeking out the right space for the business.

Here’s how he describes his vision for the Hunt & Alpine Club,

The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club will feature craft spirits from Maine and around the world. Their ever-changing cocktail menu will reflect Andrew’s experience and passion in the industry. Along with cocktails there will be a beer and wine menu, and small plates from local purveyors. Customers can expect a relaxing atmosphere that pays homage to the outdoor spirit of Maine while remaining modern and current. The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club will also provide continuing education for those curious about spirits. This program will include bringing in bartenders and industry experts from around the world to Maine.

Volk’s resume includes time as a bartender at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. In addition to launching the Hunt & Alpine Club, he’s also working as a consultant to Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick, VT.

Katie Made Moving to Congress Street

According to a report from the Munjoy Hill News, Katie Made Bakery is “preparing to move her growing business to a much larger space on Congress Street” in 2013.

The Congress Street location will permit [Katie Made] to expand their menu to include soups and salads.  (They already make delilcious sandwiches at the Cumberland Avenue location.)   The new location will include display space for cakes, pies and other baked goods not currently possible because of space limitations.   Seating for about nine will be available as well.

Solo Dining & Bartender Interview

Dispatch magazine has published their list of the 5 best spots in Portland for solo dining,

…I think there’s something totally underrated about alone time.  I especially like eating alone and my buds here at Dispatch agree. In fact, my twitter identity is the @thelonelymower because I often “mow” (meaning to eat quickly/aggressively) alone. Thus, we bring you a list of five great spots to go and have a meal in the company of yourself in Portland.

and an interview with Sonny’s bartender Jon Clemons.

So, what’s your favorite thing about bartending?
Making drinks and watching people—teaching people about cocktails. I love it when people sit in front of me and ask, “What’s that? Why you doing that? What’s that for?” I love turning people on to cocktails that don’t like cocktails. Like some dude sitting in front of me watching me make cocktails and he’s drinking a beer and ten fifteen minutes into it he’s asking me a million questions then all the sudden he’s drinking cocktails. That’s what I like.

HuffPo: Interview with Erin MacGregor-Forbes

The Huffington Post has posted an interview with Portland Master Beekeeeper Erin MacGregor-Forbes.

Having just wrapped up a two-and-a-half year term as president of the Maine State Beekeeper Association, what are the biggest hurdles you see Maine beekeepers facing?
Education is the biggest hurdle for Maine beekeepers and beekeepers throughout the county. There are so many new beekeepers getting into the craft, and not enough educational resources. Beekeeping is much more complicated than just “adopting a beehive”. You really need to be able to understand the biology of what is going on in the colony because the bees can’t just tell you when things aren’t going well. Beekeeping is a skill best taught hands-on or in classroom…

The interview is part of an ongoing series that Maine food blogger Sharon Kitchens is writing for the Huffington Post.

Reviews of Micucci and Bonobo, Portland Beer Week

Today’s Press Herald includes a review of Micucci’s,

I’m already a regular customer of Micucci’s, especially the bakery/cafe part, where Stephen Lanzalotta’s Sicilian slab pizza is doled out to a long line of salivating customers jockeying for position. Lanzalotta’s pizza makes all the pleasure centers in your brain light up like a pinball machine until you want to cry for your mama.

as well as a bar review of Bonobo,

The pizza is the real star of this bar, with a thin crust and creative toppings to satisfy adventurous taste buds. The pies measure about 13 inches and come with a promise that no nitrates, hormones or antibiotics were used in the meats.

and a report from last week’s Portland Beer Week.

Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald gathers some new ideas on Thanksgiving dessert from the pastry chefs at Grace and the Sea Glass (with recipes) as well as from local cheese expert Shannon Tallman.

Whether it’s served right after the big dinner or a couple of hours later, a great dessert after everyone’s come out of their turkey coma is an essential part of the Thanksgiving Day meal.

Here are three ideas for the Thanksgiving table that go beyond the traditional choices and will impress your guests.