Best and Worst Tips of 2013

Portland Daily Sun columnist Natalie Ladd share her Best and Worst Tips of 2013 in today’s paper,

4) I was delighted when a customer left me a $25 Visa gift card. I was not so delighted when I tried checking out at CVS with fun stuff I didn’t need, and was told the card had a zero balance on it. The line was long and I was embarrassed, so I paid cash.

Also in today’s Sun is an article about Steve & Renee’s Diner.


Wine Request List for 2014 & MOFGA Field Guide Poetry

libby_bookThe Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about a book of poetry by Russell Libby the deceased former director of MOFGA entitled What You Should Know: A Field Guide to Three Sisters Farm,

The poems are about the future of Libby’s land at Three Sisters Farm in Mount Vernon, and the role his family will play in taking care of that land. The underlying theme is mortality. The last in the collection, “Things You Should Know,” begins with the lines: “If I could, I would walk with you long enough that you, too, might find your way about without a map or guide, but I am certain it will take a while to share what I have learned these past three decades, and the time to start is now.”

and columnist Joe Appel shares a wish list for changes he’d like to see in wine consumers, servers and producers,

Drinkers, Again
Hold feet to fire. You ask your grocer where the broccoli came from; you ask your clothier the age of the Bangladeshi child who knit your socks. Wine is a consumable, and ought to be held to the same standards we apply to other aspects of our lives.

Maine Food Enterprises in Top Gun

Top Gun is an intensive 5-month training program that teaches small business owners the skills they need to grow and be successful. The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial runs the program and it’s a point of distinction just to be invited to participate.

Nine out the 21 organizations people in the Spring 2014 class are Maine food/agricultural businesses. From the Portland area are Nonesuch Oysters, Apiara (beekeeping technology), and Finest Kind Tea. Participants from further afield in Maine include Bixby Bar (a 2014 Good Food Award finalist), a distillery, a malt house and more.

You can learn more about Top Gun on the MCED website.

Best New Bars in America: Hunt & Alpine

thrillist_barThillist has named the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club to their list of the Best New Bars in America.

…the Scandinavian après-ski spot from Andrew and Briana Volk does the honorable thing, and cuts right to the booze — serving up crafted cocktails (Volk has been a bartender at choice spots across the country) — selected out of a large leather bound list that seems to have cherry picked Volk’s favorites from across the country (shout out to Tommy’s Margarita in SF!), alongside Nordic small plates served on wood planks.

Fishin’ Ships Launches Kickstarter Campaign

The fishinships_logo.mediumFishin’ Ships (facebook, twitter) food truck has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Owners Sam Gorelick and Arvid Brown are raising $12,000 to help pay for a food truck. They’ve already made good progress and have received more than $5,000 of pledges towards their goal.

So how did we decide on our goal? Some newer trucks, with lower mileage, are priced as high as $20,000, whereas some heavily used trucks we’ve looked at are as low as $5,000.  We hope to find a happy medium between the two and that is why we are asking for $12,000.  This will allow us the purchasing freedom to buy a nicer vehicle, without having to pinch pennies further down the road.  If we find a truck for less than our goal, the remaining Kickstarter money will be directed towards retrofitting costs such as kitchen equipment, electrical, plumbing, labor and licensing.

This Week’s Events: Roussillon, Tiarna, Piccolo Craft Fair, New Year’s Eve

Monday — Rosemont and Tandem are collaborating on a tasting event featuring wine from Roussillon.

Tuesday — the monthly local foods networking breakfast is taking place at Local Sprouts.

Thursday — a wine and cheese tasting is taking place at the Public Market House.

FridayMaine Craft Distilling is hosting a tasting party, and Allagash will be releasing their latest beer, Tiarna.

SaturdayPiccolo and Dandelion Spring Farms are collaborating on a Farm to City craft fair; Piccolo will be serving pastries and hot chocolate. There will be a wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place at the Urban Farm Fermenntory on Anderson Street.

New Year’s Eve List
Restaurants are beginning to announce their plans for New Year’s Eve. Here’s a list of ones I have details for so far. I’ll be expanding the list as more information becomes public. (Restaurant owners: please send details to or post a comment below.)

  • Back Bay Grill, 4-course dinner for $96 per person
  • BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe, 3-course dinner, $50 per person
  • Boone’s is throwing a party with a band, cocktail luges, ice sculptures and balloon drop. 5-course prixe fixe dinner is $85 per person with optional pairings available. More info.
  • David’s Opus Ten, 9-course dinner with wine pairings is $150 per person.
  • East Ender, 4-course dinner for $65 per person.
  • El Rayo, 4-course dinner for $38 per person.
  • Empire Chinese Kitchen, serving the standard menu.
  • Eventide, will be throwing a party, a $25 ticket will get you “$1 oysters and a steady supply of your favorite menu items for snacking (lobster rolls and oyster buns included)”
  • Five Fifty-Five, 5-course dinner in the restaurant for $100 per person
  • Gather, serving a special NYE’s menu
  • Grace will be serving their regular dinner menu. A cover charge of $10 (which funds the Good Shepherd Food Bank) will get you into the late night party which comes with complementary champagne toast at midnight.
  • Hugo’s, 5-course dinner, $120 with optional wine pairings for $75
  • Hunt & Alpine Club, will be serving “special food and cocktail menus. Included will be options for multiple punches, bottled cocktails and Champagne”. They’ll be taking reservation up to 10pm and staying open until 2am.
  • Miyake, will be serving a special 5-course omakase in addition to their usual menu
  • Oscar’s New American, 4-course dinner for $75 per person with optional wine pairings for $45
  • Outliers Eatery, 7-course dinner
  • Pai Men Miyake will be “tapping a couple of special kegs and have an extensive specials selection in addition to the regular menu”
  • Petite Jacqueline, 3-course dinner for $65 per person, there are also optional wine and champagne pairings
  • Piccolo, 5-course dinner with a glass of sparkling wine, $85 per person
  • Schulte & Herr, will be open 5-9pm
  • Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, 4-course menu, $85 per person with optional wine pairing for $30
  • Spread, will be open, details still TBD
  • The Frog & Turtle, 2 seatings (4:30-7:30, 8-12:30) at $40 and $65 per person
  • The Good Table, will be serving a special New Year’s Eve menu
  • The Salt Exchange, 4-course dinner, $65 per person
  • Twenty Milk Street
  • Vignola will be serving a speecial NYE menu, $55 per person
  • Vinland, “tasting menu with a glass of bubbly for $75, plus four paired wines for another $25”. Email for reservations.
  • Zackery’s, room and dinner package starting at $119 plus tax
  • Zapoteca, 5-course preview of dinner the chef will serve at the James Beard House, $50 per person with optional wine/tequila pairings for $25.

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.