J’s Oyster Bar

Maine magazine has posted an article about J’s Oyster Bar that appeared in the July issue.

On the stool to my right sits a slight man in a baseball cap with a gray mustache who tells me, “I was here on opening night back in 1977!” The man is Frank Kimball. He is 75 years old, grew up on Peaks Island, and is a former Navy sailor, postman, drag racer, and husband. He doesn’t eat oysters, but he loves the scallop casserole. “You got to get it,” he says. “The atmosphere is 90 percent of the reason I come here. The rest is the scallop casserole.”

Sweetgrass Farm Distillery

In part two of The Root’s series on Maine craft distilleries blogger Sharon Kitchens and Portland Hunt & Alpine Club co-owner Andrew Volk paid a visit to Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery in Union, Maine.

Keith Bodine, co-owner, winemaker, and distiller for Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery in Union, Maine, is a man with a healthy science background and a passion to create something. Thankfully, one of those things is gin.

“I really like gin,” said Bodine. “Distilling always appealed to me. I took a couple distilling classes at (UC) Davis. It’s not a major part of their curriculum, but I was always intrigued by it.”

Interview with Fluid Farms

MaineToday.com has published an interview with Jackson McLeod and Tyler Gaudet, owners of Fluid Farms (website, facebook) an aquaponics company operating in Falmouth that’s farming basil and tilapia.

How do you explain this process to others?

Jackson- Aquaculture is raising fish in water. Hydroponics is raising plants without soil. In any system, you have to put nutrients in. Our nutrient is fish feed.

Tyler- We feed the fish, they excrete the waste that feeds the plants, the water comes back to the plants clean.

Jackson- The plants are the living filter for the fish. The fish are the nutrients for the plants.

Under Construction: Coastal Root Cocktail Bitters

A new company called Coastal Root is working to launch a line of locally produced bitters later this summer. Owner Nolan Stewart developed an interest in bitters during his tenure as a bartender at Five Fifty-Five. The first of his bitters has a base of gentian, burdock and dandelion root with sassafras and sarsaparilla playing a leading role. Stewart has a second bitters in the planning stages that will feature hibiscus, jasmine and ginger.

The Coastal Root Facebook page explains, “We are a company dedicated to creating cocktail bitters, and innovative cocktail ingredients in Portland Maine. It is our goal to use local ingredients to give our bitters a Maine identity.”

Portland’s cocktail culture is making some good strides forward. Maine Craft Distilling recently joined New England Distilling to provide locally produced spirits, craft cocktail bar the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club is under construction on Market Street, a mixology shop called Vena’s Fizz House opened last week, and now Coastal Root will be providing a source for locally produced bitters.

Imbibe: Maine Mead Works

An article on American mead appears the latest issue of Imbibe magazine. Maine Mead Works is one of the meaderies featured in the article.

The HoneyMaker meads from Portland’s Maine Mead Works also taste markedly different. They drink dry, crisp and delightfully delicate, making them more in line with well-crafted white wines. “We want to show that mead is light, food-friendly and can be a part of everyday life,” says owner Ben Alexander, whose initial ignorance of mead led to an infatuation.

This Week’s Events: Local Foods Breakfast, Twilight Dinner, Tandem Tapas, Cabin Cove Oysters

Tuesday — the July Local Foods Networking Breakfast is taking place at Local Sprouts.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

ThursdayMitch Gerow from East Ender will be the guest chef at this week’s Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm, and the first dinner in the Supperpie series is taking place.

Friday — Rosemont and Tandem Coffee are collaborating on an event called Tandem Tapas that will feature wines from Rioja and Navarra, tapas by Rosemont and coffee by Tandem.

SaturdayCabin Cove Oysters will be featured food truck at at Rising Tide, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — Local Sprouts is hosting the Real Food Challenge Welcome Party.

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.

Under Construction: CBD in East Bayside

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes feature article about 20,000 square foot new facility Coffee by Design has under construction in East Bayside. An earlier report indicated that this new location was solely to serve as a roastery, offices, training facility and equipment store but the new plans incorporate a coffee shop where “connoisseurs will be able to order limited-edition roasts at the coffee bar and choose the brewing technique, including pour-over, French press and espresso.”

While Diamond Street will be a place where people can “geek out” on coffee, Lindemann said it will also cater to artists, blue collar workers, students and others looking for a cup of coffee and place to kick back in a “warm, earthy” environment.

“There is a trend in our industry that is elitist,” Lindemann said. “We want amazing coffee to be available to everybody. …

“Our humble beginnings are still there.”

CBD will be joining, Urban Farm Farmentory, Tandem Coffee, Bunker Brewing, Maine Craft Distilling, and Rising Tide Brewing as well as Pure Pops, Bomb Diggity Bakery, and Eat Local Fish in the East Bayside neighborhood.

Review of Hugo’s

The Golden Dish has published a review of Hugo’s.

The range of entrees is fairly extensive but they’re small portions in multiple succession.  Roast venison and turnips, asparagus with borage, oyster and pickled shimeji or smoked swordfish belly with beach rose, sea vegetables and kohlrabi are some of the highlights. The dessert list is short but swoon-worthy.  My favorite was S’More—smoked chocolate ice cream with spruce shoot and toasted marshmallow.

First Look at the Portland & Rochester


The Blueberry Files and I stopped by the check out the newly opened Portland & Rochester Public House and she’s posted an article on her blog about the experience.

The draught list is solid, the cocktail list intriguing, and the wine full of things I’d never even heard of. Entrees range are typical proteins – chicken and steak, but with intriguing sides like spatzle. The restaurant is staffed with industry pros, and the space transformed into a hipper, younger joint.

I encourage my fellow bowlers to stop in and check the place out before or after a game. And the rest of you will just have to make the trek down into Bayside to see this place’s potential for yourself.