Golden Hired as Restaurant Critic for Sunday Telegram

The Maine Sunday Telegram has drafted John Golden to serves as the newspaper’s weekly restaurant critic spot.

Many years later my perusal of Maine dining – which I will now bring to you in this space, every Sunday – is altogether a different kettle of fish. It’s more about the food – the quality of what you’re eating and where it came from, important factors that make such an otherwise pompous social pecking order seem all the more superficial.

The thrill of it all still excites me today. Of course I have my favorite dining spots, and others that I avoid. As a critic I won’t sugar-coat the experience just to play nice. I will tell it like it is – to report on the good, bad or indifferent experience.

Under Construction: Mainely Wraps

mainelywraps_logoMainely Wraps (website, facebook) has leased 339 Fore Street in Boothby Square. This will be the 3rd location for Mainely Wraps which also has shops in Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough. Mainely Wraps was founded by Rich & Naphtali Maynard.

339 Fore was most recently the home of the short-lived Compass Rose, and prior to that has been occupied by Sebastian’s, Apsara, Shima.

For a complete list of Portland restaurants in development check out the PFM Under Construction list.

Home Brew City

In time for Portland Beer Week, the Portland Phoenix has published a feature story on the robust home brew culture in Portland. The article also touches base with 3 home brewers that are currently making the leap to the pro leagues: Austin Street, Bissell Brothers and Foundation Brewing.

It seems there’s always more, and there is: Up-and-comers like Bissell Brothers Brewing, Austin Street Brewing, and Foundation Brewing Company (see sidebar) will be opening up shop on Industrial Way. One benefit of the craft beer boom is home-brewers are getting more attention. “With the amount of breweries that have opened over the last five years or so, people’s palates have just exploded,” says home brewer Gregg Carine. “It’s reviving people’s interest in beer — both drinking it and brewing it.”

Under Construction: Vinland to Open in December

SoupWhiteBackground4-300x284Chef/owner David Levi has provided an update on Vinland (website, facebook, twitter) and announced plans to open the restaurant in December.

…Our locally sourced, solid birch bar is finished, all our major equipment is purchased, our gorgeous local birch and walnut tables made by artisan woodworker Marc McCabe are done, the plumbing and electric are roughed in, the floors are refinished, and, in short, we’re getting close. We easily won approval from Portland’s City Council for our food, liquor, and outdoor seating permits. Portland Dry Goods and Seawall are teaming up to help us outfit our staff in casual elegance, in clothing made ethically here in New England…

Review of Vena’s and Omi’s

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Omi’s Coffee Shop and Vena’s Fizz House.

The Italian was rich, dark, and roasty without any of the bitterness dark roast often brings. It was smooth and a touch chocolaty. A cappuccino had the same virtues but intensified. [Omi’s]

The results are pretty fantastic, and what initially seems like it will be a bit of a hoot ends up as a revelation. The sodas look gorgeous and taste like nothing else in town. For a ginger julep, fresh ginger and spearmint are muddled and mixed with a root soda. The first sip sends an explosion of ginger through your head, filling your sinuses and tickling the front of your brain, while the spearmint spice lingers on your tongue. A cider bite also gets a head-filling heat from ginger, but mellows it with apple and clove rather than an intensifying minty spice. [Vena’s]