Syrup Grading & Maine Maple Sunday

The Press Herald Food & Dining section has published an article on syrup grading,

Take that darker syrup, which in Maine is called Grade A Extra Dark Amber. In Vermont and New Hampshire, that same syrup would be labeled Grade B. In New York, the label might read “Extra Dark for Cooking.” And in Canada, it’s called “No. 2 Amber.”

and The Root blog has published an article about Maine Maple Sunday.

The 1983 Maine Maple Sunday was the first-in-the-nation event. A dozen Maine producers hosted open houses. “Come and see Maine maple syrup made,” they broadcast. Entertainment featured syrup making, sleigh rides, sap collecting tours, syrup tasting, pancake breakfasts, maple sundaes, and syrup selling. Acceptance by the public was unexpectedly high. Maple Hill Farm in Farmington counted 1500 visitors.

People’s Best New Chef: Taylor and Wiley

Congratulations to chefs Andrew Taylor and Michael Wiley who have one the Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef contest for New England.

See this article from the Press Herald for additional info.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Taylor said. “We had such stiff competition – wonderful chefs in the region – and we’re pretty psyched to come out on top in the region. It really speaks volumes about all the people that supported us.”

Bull Jagger Closing

Bull Jagger has announced that they’re closing up shop.

As some of you know, the brewery is for sale. Bull and Jagger are going their separate ways, and under the circumstances, we have no choice but to close the company. In the coming weeks, we will have fresh beer to package and sell. Our lagers are and will be available in Maine through our distributor, retailers, and to the public while supplies last.

Looking to start your own brewery? Their equipment is for sale on Craig’s List.

Allen’s Still on Top

The Bangor Daily News reports that despite competition Allen’s Coffee Brandy remains the top seller in Maine.

The makers of Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy need not worry about the liquor losing its perennial status as the most popular in the state anytime soon, however. It still outsold its nearest competitor by more than a 3-to-1 margin in terms of bottles sold and, with overall revenues of more than $11 million, its sales were more than $8 million higher than the second-highest earning brand.

Review of Walter’s

The Blueberry Files has published a review of Walter’s.

Having never been to Walter’s for more than drinks and appetizers, I took advantage of their Restaurant Week menu to see if I’d been missing out by failing to frequent this Portland mainstay. Unfortunately, while the meal did have some highlights, I found the experience to be underwhelming, and Walter’s did not make my list of go-to dining spots.

In’Finiti Now Open (Updated Again)

infiniti_mapThe highly anticipated new distillery and brewpub from the owners of Novare Res, In’finiti, is now open for business. In’finiti is located at 250 Commercial Street right across the street from Three Dollar Deweys.

The house beer avaiable so far, Primus Primus, is augmented with a good selection of local brews from Allagash, Oxbow and the usual suspects. I can personally recommend the Haute Fashioned from the cocktail menu. For food you have a choice of tapas (see partial list below) and entrees (moule frites, pretzel crusted  fried chicken, etc).

For another first-hand account of the opening day’s lunch read this PFM comment. For photos of the menu see this user comment on Beer Advocate, and for some additional photos of the food and interior go to The Blueberry Files.

For additional info see this recent article from The Bollard,

“…If you’re having a pint of beer, it was brewed right here on-premise. If you’re having a cocktail, every ingredient in that cocktail was made here. So if there’s three or four different alcohols in that, we made it. If it’s a gin martini, we made the gin and the vermouth.”







James Beard Nominee: Melissa Kelly

The list of nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards were released today. Melissa Kelly at Primo was nominated in the Best Chef Northeast category.

For additional details on Kelly and her nomination see this report in the Press Herald.

This year’s awards ceremony takes place May 3 & 6 in New York City.

For reference, here are links to announcements on the nominations from 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Under Construction: Cia & 428 Brighton Ave


Coffee continues to be a growth industry in the Portland area:

  • Construction of Cia on Ocean Street in South Portland looks nearly complete and almost ready to open. The name is an acronym for coffee, ice cream and art.
  • A new coffee shop and cafe is under construction on Brighton in the old home of Udder Place. According to a report from The Bollard, the space is being developed by “Joe and Shay Mcgonigal, proprietors of The Crooked Mile coffee shop and lunch spot in the Old Port.”

For more info on the 22 other eateries, bakeries and bars under development, see the Under Construction list.

This Week’s Events: JBF Nominees, Best New Chef, German Wine Dinner, Maine Maple Sunday

Monday — the James Beard Foundation will announce the 2013 award nominees later today. Check back this afternoon for details on how the restaurants and chefs that were on the “long list” of semi-finalists faired. Ari Weinzweig, founder of  Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, will be at Rosemont for a book signing.

TuesdayFood & Wine will announce the winners of the People’s Best New Chef competition. Andrew Taylor and Michael Wiley at Eventide/Hugo’s are on the ballot. The monthly local foods networking breakfast is taking place Local Sprouts.

Wednesday — Old Port Wine Merchants is holding a tasting of 2009 and 2010 wine from Bordeaux.

Thursday — the Great Lost Bear will be featuring beers from Sebago Brewing, the Old Port Sea Grill is offering free oysters, 4-6 pm, or at least until the give away the first 400.

Friday — Eve’s at the Garden is continuing their international dining series with a South American wine dinner.

SaturdayBbBo’s is holding a German wine dinner, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — it’s Maine Maple Sunday, the March edition of Pocket Brunch is taking place, Masa Miyake will cook a dinner at Flanagan Farm in Buxton to benefit Maine Farmland Trust.

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.