Small Axe Truck Now Open


Small Axe Truck (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) opened this morning in the parking lot beside Tandem Coffee and Bunker Brewing (aka the Bunker/Tandem Campus). Small Axe is the creation of Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy. It will be very interesting to see how they translate fine dining skills honed at Alinea, Hugo’s, Miyake, Back Bay Grill to a more informal and mobile platform.

After finishing up breakfast, Small Axe will drive around the corner to Rising Tide be the brewery’s featured food truck starting at noon.


Under Construction: Central Provisions and Compass Rose

The Portland City Council meets Monday when two new restaurants will be asking for approval of their liquor license applications:

  • Central Provisions, Chris Gould’s restaurant, is under construction at 414 Fore Street. Gould just closed on the property earlier this week. Central Provisions plans on serving “seasonally inspired small plates that will be accompanied by local draft beer, a variety of wine and craft cocktails.” You can see the draft menu for Central Provisions on pages 59-60 of the meeting materials. Floor plans for the restaurant are on the subsequent two pages.
  • Compass Rose is under construction at 339 Fore Street in the space formerly occupied by Siam Grill, Shima, Apsara and Sebastian’s. Compass Rose aims to be a “quick service, casual style restaurant that specializes in authentic homemade meals and serve cocktails with flair.” A rough draft of the menu is on pages 83-85. A more finished looking copy is posted in the window of the restaurant.

Review of Little Tap House

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Little Tap House.

The burger is a good one, the bun a soft sweet brioche with a good dark crust. The juicy burger, ground in-house, had been loosely packed just to that right spot where it holds together but does not get too dense. The terrific Maine potato fries seemed double-fried, and come with a choice of sauces — both in the style now familiar from Duckfat. An entrée of roast chicken was juicy and herby, with a just-crisp skin. The accompanying mashed potatoes and snap peas were quite good, unmarred by a compulsion to jazz up their classic appeal.

Entreverge Awards: Mainely Burgers & UFF

According to a report from the Bangor Daily News, Mainely Burgers food truck and the Urban Farm Fermentory were recipients of Entreverge Awards for their “scalable vision for the future and a long term commitment to the people, place and prosperity of Maine”.

The Entreverge awards are about recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of Portland, Huckel-Bauer said, and are “part of making the city a more attractive place for young people to come and start businesses.”

Cong Tu Bot Noodle Pop-up


A new pop-up venture called Cong Tu Bot (Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter) quietly got under way earlier this Spring. The creation of Vien Dobui and Jessica Sheahan, Cong Tu Bot’s specialty has been a type of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup known as Mi Ga.

So far Cong Tu Bot has held a pair of “friends and family” trial runs in April and early June that have mostly remained below the radar, providing the culinary team the chance to scale up their process in preparation for opening to the public.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to both and recommend you take the opportunity when the next pop-up takes place. The broth is well balanced and full bodied and is paired with some really excellent hand-crafted noodles making for a very satisfying meal.

Watch the Cong Tu Bot Tumblr site for more info on upcoming events.






Review of Dishcrawl

The Blueberry Files has published a review of Dishcrawl and the food the group had at The Porthole, The Thirsty Pig, Blue Rooster and The Salt Exchange.

I enjoyed my experience, and heard from a lot of participants that they were in places they’d never been or never would have thought to try. So Mary is accomplishing the mission of Dishcrawls to connect locals with new restaurants. These tours are aimed at locals, with Dishcrawls being offered more frequently in the winter when the restaurants aren’t as busy.

In’finiti, Flatbread, Baxter, Mark’s

Today’s Press Herald includes an Eat & Run review of In’finiti,

This time around, I ordered the pretzel crusted chicken sandwich ($7), which came with avocado, tomato, arugula and aioli on a kaiser roll. It was moist, tender and a bit on the sinful side. Therefore, I loved it.

as well as a bar review of Flatbread, an article about Baxter Brewing’s expansion, and an article on the 30th anniversary of Mark’s Hot Dogs.

Bar Review of Forest Gardens

More Broke 207 has published a bar review of Forest Gardens.

When our food arrived, it arrived unadorned on paper plates, exactly like a $2 grilled cheese should.  With all the fennel infused, grass fed, handcrafted, small farm, artisanal food that Portland is so famous for… sometimes it’s just nice to have a grilled cheese on crappy white bread hiding under a mountain of deep fried onions.

Hot Wings, Taste of the Nation, GMO Labeling

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about the 2nd Annual Hot Wing Cook-off taking place on June 22nd,

People love chicken wings. If there were ever any doubt, consider that last year the first Hot Wing Cook-off Challenge, at the Marriott Residence Inn in Portland, sold out 400 tickets on a Thursday night and had to turn away 75 more hungry chicken wing fans at the door.

about the 2013 Taste of the Nation dinner taking place June 23rd (tickets available online),

The issue is childhood hunger. Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation dinners, held in nearly 40 locations across the country, bring chefs, restaurants, sponsors and the public together at over-the-top culinary benefits to raise money and awareness for local groups that make sure no kid has to go to bed hungry.

and about the passage of a bill in the Maine Legislature to require labeling of GMO foods.

A lawsuit from Monsanto likely awaits if the Legislature enacts the bill co-sponsored by 120 lawmakers, including Democrats, independents and Republicans.