This Week’s Events: Common Ground, BiBo’s Wine Dinner, Zapoteca Tequila Dinner

Tuesday — Local Sprouts is hosting the monthly local foods networking breakfast, and the IfAA is kicking off their dinner series.

Wednesday — there will be a Pretty Things tasting at the Bier Cellar, the Makers Market is taking place at the Urban Farm Fermentory in the afternoon and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place in the morning.

Thursday — there will be a Malbec tasting at the Public Market House.

Friday — it’s the first day of the Common Ground Fair and BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe is holding a wine dinner.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at Browne Trading, it’s the 2nd day of the Common Ground Fair, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

SundayZapoteca is holding a tequila dinner, the 14th Annual Trail to Ale is taking place, it’s the last day of the Common Ground Fair.

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: King’s Head & Casa Fiesta

Another pair of new restaurants have submitted liquor license applications to the City Council:

  • Casa Fiesta is “Mexican Bar and Grill” under construction at 865 Forest Ave (formerly Venue Music Bar, The Loft and many others). The application indicates that Casa Fiesta is “modeled like a current successfully operating business in Bideford Crossing“. They hope to open in October. A draft menu (pages 49-50) was provided as part of the materials supplied to the City Council.
  • King’s Head is under construction on Merrill’s Wharf in the Pierce Atwood building. The application states that King’s Head aims to provide a “high quality dining experience” which features “fresh ingredients highlighting local/regional/sustainable cuisine”. The interior design will draw on “maritime and historical themes” using “vintage and or antique” fixtures. They also hope to open in October. The draft menu (pages 27) was provided as part of the materials supplied to the City Council.

First Reviews of Empire Chinese Kitchen

Both The Blueberry Files and The Golden Dish have published reviews of Empire Chinese Cuisine based on their opening day first impressions.

Even so, there were a few small things that Empire could work on, but I trust that they will improve. Overall, my impression of the food was very positive and combined with the location, the atmosphere, and the great bar (and bartender, obvi), I’m sure Empire will make many people very happy.[TBF]

The menu is very concise but full of enough options. Parlaying its stance as a dining establishment serving Chinese soul food — comforting and delicious — what has emerged is a new neighborhood haunt that Portlanders have long wanted and can now embrace  without hesitation. [TGD]


Maine Brew Bus & Dave Geary Interview

This week’s edition of The Forecaster includes a double article about the Maine Brew Bus,

The tour visits three of Maine’s leading breweries: Allagash Brewing Co. off Riverside Street, where the visit begins with a tour and ends with a tasting; then to Maine Beer Co. in Freeport for a beer sampler and snack, and finally to Rising Tide Brewing Co. in East Bayside, for a final tasting.

and containing an interview with Dave Geary.

Geary, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, said the brewing scene has changed dramatically in the years since he began building his brewery in 1984.

“There we no real road maps, how-to guides,” he said. “All of our equipment is custom made. These days you can buy it off the shelf, turn-key operation, if you’ve got enough money.

Apples/John Bunker/Apple CSA

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about this year’s apple season, the apple CSA and John Bunker,

For five years now, Bunker and his wife, Cammy, and crew have run an “Out on a Limb” heritage apple CSA, with two drop-off locations in Portland. I just joined and can’t wait for this week’s first pickup of the 10 to 12 pounds of apples. Last year, the CSA distributed dozens of rare and beloved Maine varieties, including deep purple (plum-like) Black Oxfords and dense Blue Pearmains, aromatic Garden Royals and Idareds, Cox’s Orange Pippins and Northern Spys. Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus is known for these late season Northern Spys, crisp yet juicy, and equally good eaten fresh or baked into pie.

For more on the apple CSA see this post from The Blueberry Files about the first week’s distribution.

Empire Chinese Kitchen Now Open

Empire Chinese Kitchen (website, facebook) has now opened at 575 Congress Street. The venue has been completely recast by owners Theresa Chan and Todd Bernard as a Chinese dim sum restaurant—harkening back to the building’s early 20th century past as a Chinese restaurant. Despite the rain, the restaurant was packed when The Blueberry Files and I stopped by for dinner.

According to the Press Herald,

The menu, a press release sent out today says, will feature “truly authentic Chinese cuisine and Dim Sum. The menu of traditional and modern ‘Chinese soul food’ will feature local meats, seafoods, and seasonal produce. The kitchen will be headed by a Dim Sum Master Chef with 40 years’ experience creating specialty dumplings in world class kitchens around the world.”

For more details see today’s article about Empire from the Bangor Daily News.

Historical tidbit: Maine’s first Chinese restaurant was opened on Custom House Wharf by Ar Tee Lam in 1880.

Changes to Portland’s Food Truck Regulations

The Portland Daily Sun has published an article about proposed changes to Portland’s food truck regulations.

The amendments to the ordinances related to food trucks — which were passed unanimously — will allow trucks to be parked with 65 feet of each other but not an open restaurant; restructure the permitting process and fee; increase the size limits on trucks; and ease the time restrictions for trucks to set up in metered parking spaces, giving them an extra two hours.

The changes are moving forward for a vote by the City Council.

Portland Brunch Spots

MaineToday has published an article highlighting 28 of the brunch destinations in Portland.

Brunch: It’s what we do in Portland on weekends. Whether we jump up ready to start the day with exercise, or drag our sorry selves out of bed — possibly regretting (ahem) beverage choices made the night before — chances are we’ll be sitting down to a plate of eggs or pancakes sometime before noon…