Alfred Matiyabo, Farmer

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a feature article about Alfred Matiyabo who grows produce in South Portland for the area’s African immigrant community.

…the pumpkins, the amaranth, and most of the eggplants are African varieties, the kind he remembers from his native Congo, their seeds ordered online. And these plants, cleaned, cut and packaged under his brand – Africando – in the commercial kitchen of a church in Portland, are crops specifically planted for a growing community of African refugees, Matiyabo’s customer base.

Under Construction: Skillet


A new eatery called Skillet (facebook) is under development on Walker Street in the West End.

Owner Natalie ‘Figgy’ DiBenedetto is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Skillet will be her 3rd restaurant; the first two Mina and Another Fork in the Road were located in the Hudson Valley.

DiBenedetto plans to operate a take-out business along with a few outside tables serving,

…a nightly take home meal for 2 or 4 people as well as cast iron fried chicken, korean style chicken and all the fixins (slaw, potato, lots of seasonal vegetables etc..). Also trying to perfect a gluten free fried chicken. We’ll do some whacky ice cream sandwiches with homemade ice cream and homemade cookies and southern banana pudding (yes, with ‘nilla wafers)We’ll probably do a seasonal shrub soda and some other fun libations…

Her target customers are “working families, singles and couples in the area that want something comforting, nutritious, affordable and fun”. DiBenedetto will also use Skillet as the base of operations for a catering business that serves traditional comfort foods from her native state of Missouri: “BBQs, fried chicken picnics, fish fry, pig roasts etc”.

Skillet will be built off of the backside of the Yordprom Coffee building. She hopes to break ground for the building in the few couple months. You can see additional views of the building and a detailed floor plan in this submission to the Historic Preservation Board.

Skillet joins Tandem Bakery, Bramhall, Tawakal Halal and Salvage along with a few established businesses (Yordprom, Flores, and Bodega Latina, Hong Kong Market, etc) in expanding business develop past Longfellow through Bramhall Square and down to Saint John. This is a trend that’s likely to continue.

Under Construction: Fore River Brewing


Fore River Brewing (twitter, facebook, instagram) has released some additional info about their plans. Founders John LeGassey, Michael Pridham and Thomas Hansen are currently identifying a location for their brewery and hope to open in 2015. They plan on brewing a wide range of beers that “reflect the owners’ varied taste and over ten years of brewing experience.”

Details on some of their prior brewing experiments can be found on Brew Toad.

Photos of Blue Spoon

The Angela Adams blog Sea Fantasy has published a set of photos of Blue Spoon.

We always try to find great neighborhood restaurants when we travel. This probably comes from us having the luxury of living in a neighborhood with excellent eateries. Blue Spoon, Lolita and The Front Room are all at the top of Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine and are all worth a trip for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Blue Spoon has been one of our long time favorites for years. The owners and staff are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and very talented. It’s the perfect place to go with friends or on your own for a delicious meal in a cozy environment, surrounded by neighbors.…

Maine Seaweed Festival

The Bangor Daily News has published an article of the Maine Seaweed Festival which is taking place this Saturday at SMCC.

Food vendors for the event, including food trucks from Good Shepherd Food-Bank, Locally Sauced, Fishin’ Ships and Maine Grain Alliance, will provide seaweed dishes and the festival also will serve up Maine seaweed ice cream.

The festival will wind down with a ticketed dinner featuring offerings from local chefs and farmers.

Reviews: Ruski’s, Buck’s

The Press Herald has posted a bar review of Ruski’s,

And this ease-of-attitude – there’s absolutely no pretention or bar brawl disorder – seems to be a vibe everyone catches when they step through the door at Ruski’s. There’s a sense of respect whether you’ve been coming here for decades or just stumbled upon the corner bar for the first time.

While not a place to find a craft cocktail, Ruski’s is a fully stocked bar with 12 taps and a number of nightly cheap beer specials that are available until 1 a.m.

and a review of Buck’s Naked BBQ.

The brisket was served on a soft brioche bun, and I added a healthy dose of the house barbecue sauce. I don’t need a lot of heat with my meat, but I enjoy a mild kick. The meat was tender and came apart easily in sandwich-sized bites. A knife and fork were not necessary.