10 Years at 555

In his latest post The Golden Dish takes a walk down Portland’s restaurant memory lane and describes Five Fifty-Five’s recent 10-year anniversary dinner.

The rest, of course, is history and last Friday the restaurant celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a special 10-course dinner to commemorate the event.  I’d like to chronicle the dinner here rather than offer a typical critique and to look back at some of our old stars and current tastemakers.

Review of JP’s Bistro

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published a review of JP’s Bistro.

JP’s Bistro clearly has a following. There’s no doubt they are doing something right. The food was very good and my app was among the best stuffed mushrooms I have ever had. The wait staff was extraordinarily well-versed on the menu. They worked together better than the staff at most restaurants, helping each other when necessary and never seeming rushed at our table even though they were very busy. But there were some mistakes made on the night we were there. The biggest mistake was obviously the delayed food…

OPT on Portland Coffee Shops

The Old Pine Tree has posted a survey of her favorite coffee shops in Portland. (via Vrai-lean-uh)

My favorite spot is probably Arabica. I say probably because it’s hard to pick a favorite these days. I like Arabica for their coffee. It’s solid. It’s always good. It’s never burnt tasting. I’m not sure if it’s the absolute number one best, but it is consistent, and consistently good, and that counts for a lot. I also like Arabica for the atmosphere. It always feels inviting there…

Interview with Maine Craft Distilling


WCSH has aired an interview with Luke Davidson, head distiller at Maine Craft Distilling.

“We are a farm to flask distillery.  We are using as much of the Maine grain and other products as we can and putting them into the bottle,” said Davidson.

Their Blueberry Moonshine, which will hit store shelves soon, provides a glimpse into how they hope to help Maine farmers find new markets for their products.

“So we are using a Maine grown barley to make a white spirit that is then infused with our region’s blueberries and sweetened just a little bit with some maple syrup,” he explained.  “It is sort of like liquid pancakes with a kick.”

The new distillery opened for business this week in East Bayside.

Review of Portside Picnic

The Press Herald has published a review of the Portside Picnic food truck.

Portside Picnic seems to have a lot of lobster for a truck, so I tried the lobster taco. It came in a warm and very fresh flour tortilla. The lobster meat was sauteed and topped with fresh, thinly sliced red cabbage, tomatoes and a great homemade salsa.

The taco was great, with just a little kick of spice. (There is a shelf of hot sauces and condiments to choose from if you want more heat.) For just $1, I also got a small order of organic french fries, which were hand-cut, fresh out of the fryer and full of potato flavor.

You can find Portside Picnic in the Back Cove parking lot where they’ve leased a permanent location from the city.

Compass Rose Now Open

According to Maine a la Carte, Compass Rose opened for business last night. The restaurant is located in Boothby Square at 339 Fore Street in the space formerly occupied by Sebastian’s.

The restaurant, owned by chef Tony Kratovil and his wife Rose, will serve a variety of classic steak and seafood dishes. “We will be serving lunch and dinner and probably brunch on Sunday,” Rose Kratovil said. “We’ll do a light fare menu late afternoon, from 2 to 5. We’re serving hand-cut steaks. Everything’s done on premise.”

Launch of Maine Craft Distilling

gBritt PR has sent out a release announcing the launch of Maine Craft Distilling. Maine Craft Distilling’s current product line includes Alchemy Gin
, Ration Rum
, and Black Cap Vodka. As soon as they clear final approval they will also have 50 Stone Whiskey, a blueberry moonshine, QueeQueg Spiced Rum and Chesuncook Botanical Gin.

Their tasting room and production facility is located at 101 Fox Street in East Bayside.

See this PFM news item from December for more info.

Under Construction: SoPo’s Restaurant Expansion

The Current has written about the recent growth in the number of South Portland restaurants.

Since mid-March, eight new restaurants have opened in South Portland, and licenses have been issued for another six, all slated to open by mid-August. According to City Manager Jim Gailey, South Portland has seen boomlets like that before, but it’s always been in the area of the Maine Mall and inevitably followed by rapid turnover.

“What’s really odd, and really kind of nice, is that a lot of this is going on right here, downtown, with small, owner-operated places,” said Gailey.

The article mentions a new venture called the Elsmere BBQ and seems to indicate that the South Portland Tony’s Donuts is still under development.