5 Stars for Petite Jacqueline

Petite Jacqueline has received 5 stars in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram review.

On a quiet evening earlier this month, the other diners at Petite Jacqueline may not have noticed the menu changes made by the restaurant’s newly hired chef, Paris-born Frederick Eliot. We knew the difference right away after one bite of our first course, a torchon of foie gras ($18), a preparation that set the stage for a remarkable meal to follow. There would also be many more extraordinary dinners on subsequent visits that were enjoyed immensely.

Richard Foss, 96

Richard Foss passed away earlier this month at the age of 96. Foss worked for 63 years at Schlotterbeck & Foss, a Portland specialty foods company founded by his grandfather Charles Foss and Augustus Schlotterbeck in 1866.

Mr. Foss joined the family business in 1940 after graduating from Harvard University. He started in sales and worked his way up the ranks to become president of the company.

The company was co-founded by his grandfather Charles S. Foss in 1866 as a prescription apothecary shop. It later evolved into patented medicines and flavoring extracts, which Foss sold to dairy farmers to make ice cream. Over time, S&F developed specialty food items, such as sauces, marinades, salad dressings, and ice cream syrups and toppings.

Obscure Holiday Cocktail Party V

Last weekend the some members of the Portland food blogger crew got together to for the 5th annual Obscure Holiday Cocktail Party. As in past years, each of the 6 entries were custom paired with cheeses selected by Shannon Tallman, CPP.

My entry this year was the (mostly) locally sourced Want Knot:

1 oz. Maine Craft Distilling Alchemy Gin
1 1/3 oz. Cochi Americano Blanco
1 oz. White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Honey Syrup (1 part Japanese Knotwood Honey from The Honey Exchange, 2 parts water)
1/2 tsp. Beast Feast Maine Ghost Pepper Infused Maple Syrup (available at Vena’s Fizz House)
4 drops Coastal Root Cocktail Bitters
1 Orange Twist

Check out these articles from The Blueberry Files, Vrai-lean-uh, and Map & Menu for more recipes and details on the party.

Interview with Stephen Lanzalotta

Eater Maine has published the first part of an extensive interview with Stephen Lanzalotta.

The concept of Sicilian street food is a unique one in these parts. What should we expect to see?…We want to bring a fresh meeting place — not that that hasn’t been done, there are other places where people meet — but the idea is to take this ancient culture and make it viable in the 21st century. It’s like, Hey, this is a hip aspect of Sicilian culture — sharing a bite with someone else and lingering, or not. That’s the beauty of it. You can grab a bite here and go out, or linger and get several things and make a meal.

Update: Part 2 of the interview is now available on Eater.

First Looks at Top of the East & C2

The Golden Dish has posted his initial impressions from a visit to the new Top of the East lounge and C2 restaurant, both located in the new Westin.

I had an excellent cocktail made by Josh, who was formerly the gatekeeper at Spread’s active lounge area and is doing a great job here. I also enjoyed a plate of smoked swordfish belly that was absolutely delicious. It was served with pickled radish, a red-pepper coulis and saffron aioli—all perfectly done. The rest of the menu offerings is a compelling list of small plates like panko-crusted goat cheese and assorted panini perfect to accompany wine or cocktails.

Under Construction: Bar Lola Next

90 Congress Street is slated to become the home of the new restaurant that Guy and Stella Hernandez currently have under development. Their business partner in this new business is part owner of 90 Congress.

Guy and Stella closed down Bar Lola in mid-November and since then have been working on their new venture. An earlier announcement made public their plans to move Hilltop Coffee to 100 Congress Street, so essentially the coffee shop and the restaurant are trading spaces while both stay on Munjoy Hill.

Phoenix: 2013 Year in Review

As the end of the year approaches we’ve entered the season when publications and columnists sum up the past and make predictions for the future. First out of the gate this year is Brian Duff from the Portland Phoenix,

A year ago Portland was feeling giddy, food-wise — with Eventide on every national best-of list, many interesting new openings rumored, and several prominent food trends, like pop-ups and food trucks, poised to take root in our town. A year on the excitement has subsided, and Portland’s food scene is basically the same. So be it…

What do you think? Is the Portland food scene “basically the same”, and if not how would describe the growth in 2013?

Gritty’s 25th Anniversary

Today’s Press Herald includes a front page article about Gritty’s 25 years in business and the impact they’ve had on Maine’s craft beer industry.

“Yeah, I’d say [Dave] Geary and those guys ([Gritty’s co-founders] Stebbins and Pfeffer) were sort of the godfathers of Maine brewing, and today the scene is just so filled with talented people, very small outfits finding a niche for themselves,” said Houghton, who also runs The Liberal Cup brew pub in Hallowell. “The main reason I’m in Maine is because of Gritty McDuff’s.”

Bangor Daily News and publisher of The Bollard has also written about Gritty’s 25 anniversary in his weekly column.

Together with David Geary, Dave Evans of The Great Lost Bear, and Alan Eames of Three Dollar Dewey’s, Gritty’s founders Richard Pfeffer and Ed Stebbins deserve a significant amount of credit for the scores of breweries, thousands of jobs and millions of dollars the microbrew movement has brought to Maine since the 1980s. For that alone, Pfeffer and Stebbins deserve the key to the city and a big bear hug from Gov. Paul LePage…

Gritty’s 25th Anniversary Party is taking place at 4pm today at their Portland location.

Review of Ernie’s & Gritty’s 25th

The Press Herald has reviewed Ernie’s Pool and Darts,

The bartenders are friends or family members of owner Ernie Rouleau, and if you’re a new face, they’ll welcome you with a warm smile and quick run-down of the menu. There’s no happy hour, but none of the drinks are more than $4 (Natural Light and Busch Light are always $1 on tap) and the bar food – like the steak ’n cheese and meatball sub – are all made to order (unless you grab a bag of chips or a candy bar for a $1). The kitchen space is small, but there might be some steak sizzling on the grill, a handmade personal pizza cooking in the oven and a soft pretzel plumping in the microwave.

and this week’s What Ales You Column reports on a collaboration between Gritty’s and Deschutes Brewing Company from Portland Oregon.

Getting back to the Bachelor Bitter. This is a clear but unfiltered bitter, a West Coast style but with English roots evident. It is hoppier than other Gritty beers, but not overpowering, and balanced, with a good amount of malt in the finish.

It is only 4.8 percent alcohol by volume, so it is a session beer, although a highly flavorful one.

Both Gritty’s and Deschutes were founded in 1988 and are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

Maine #4 in Beer Revenue

IMPACT_CAPITA_lrThe Brewers Association has released data that shows Maine’s beer industry have the 4th highest economic impact per capita in the nation at $324.36 per person. The economic impact is “derived from the total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves through the three-tier system (breweries, wholesalers and retailers), as well as all non-beer products that brewpub restaurants sell.”