This Week’s Events: Maine Food Means Business, The Holy Donut, Halloween, Portland Beer Week

Tuesday — the Maine Food Means Business Conference kick’s off in Freeport.

WednesdayThe Holy Donut’s new location on Exchange Street will be opening at 7am, it’s the second day of the Maine Food Means Business Conference, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place in the morning.

Thursday — It’s Halloween there will be a Hallowine tasting at Aurora Provisions, Taste Tours will be leading a trick or treat tour of the Old Port, and Hugo’s will be serving a Halloween Curiosities Dinner.

Friday — it’s the start of Portland Beer Week, see for a full calendar of the all PBW activities taking place November 1-10. There will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli and it’s the November edition of First Friday Art Walk.

Saturday — the Maine Brewers Festival will be held at the Expo, LeRoux Kitchen and Browne Trading are holding wine tastings, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — Petite Jacqueline kicks off their fall movie night series with a screening of Entre Les Bras.

Winter Farmers Market — the Winter Farmers Market will be starting up on December 7. This year they’ll be located at the Urban Farm Fermentory on Anderson Street in East Bayside.

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.

Changes on Exchange Street: Steak House, Mornings in Paris, Holy Donut #2

There are a number of changes taking place on Exchange Street:

  • The Mornings in Paris coffee shop at 13 Exchange Street is closing down sometime next month. From what I’ve heard the owners are closing their Portland location in order to focus their energies on the MiP in Kennebunk.
  • The new Holy Donut location at 7 Exchange Street is scheduled to open this coming Wednesday at 7 am.
  • North Point owner Daniel Talmatch is launching a steakhouse. He’s hasn’t signed a lease yet but hopes to locate the new restaurant at 106 Exchange, the longtime home of Oriental Table.

Review of Elsmere

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Elsmere BBQ.

The results are quite good. The pulled pork has a touch of maple sweetness over a rich just-smoky flavor. The brisket has a peppery rub and earthy flavor that works especially well with the mustard-based barbecue sauce. The chicken was, unusually, the smokiest of the meats — utterly infused with the flavor of the wood. The danger of a long smoke without sauce is that things get a bit dry, and the chicken at Elsmere did lean a bit in that direction.

Betsy Nelson, Vegan Cheesemaker

The Press Herald has published an article about Portland-based vegan cheese maker, Betsy Nelson.

“A lot of people say to me, ‘I would go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese,’” said Nelson, 31, who lives on Munjoy Hill in Portland. “That was the thing I missed, too.”

To satisfy her taste for cheese, Nelson began making small-batch, artisanal cheeses from fermented nut milks. Her soft cheeses can be served on bread or crackers and pair well with fruit and wine. They are totally dairy free.

Bar Lola Closing/Owners Launching New Restaurant

Owners Guy and Stella Hernandez will be closing down Bar Lola as of November 16, and will be redirecting all their energies to launching a new restaurant in Portland. They’re close to securing a space for the as-yet unnamed restaurant and hope to open sometime in February 2014.

In explaining their motivation to launch a new venture, chef/owner Guy Hernandez explains,

We want to loosen our ties and make the process of cooking and dining out more transparent and less precious. A lot of places don’t give their customers the option to dine in a way they feel most comfortable – they’re either too rigid, have too many menu restrictions, or are too formal. And in most cases, food just magically appears from a distant kitchen. We want to change that paradigm and give the dining public a place in which they can feel that they are part of the action as an array of wonderful ingredients are transformed into dishes on the menu.

The plan is for the restaurant to be open 11am straight through to closing 6 days a week. They describe the new dining experience this way,

…from the moment you enter you’ll immediately be surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the visible ingredients, coupled with real, accessible cooking, all anchored by a custom-made, wood-fired grill. It will be warm and welcoming, and will inspire customers to stop in at any time of the day to get a carefully crafted snack and glass of wine from an extensive by-the-glass list, supported by a deeper, by-the-bottle cellar. Or, customers can choose to compose a full meal from what’s on hand that day from the restaurant’s purveyors.

I’m a big fan of Bar Lola will be sorry to see it go but am very excited to see what Guy and Stella have in store for us next.

High & Mighty Moving to Portland?

the Press Herald What Ales You column reports that High & Mighty Beer Company is considering moving to the Portland area.

“We are exploring opening a small Farm to Table Brewery Restaurant in the Portland area. We are looking to have this completed in the next couple years. Our hope in doing so is to help maintain farm land as we believe it was meant to be; as farm land. We’d like to have this as an extension of High & Mighty, but you never can really predict what the future holds.”