Bao Bao Review & Maine Cookbooks

Portland Magazine has published a short review of Bao Bao,

On to the dumplings. Our first indulgence, Steamed Hake, Burdock ($8.08), is like nothing we’ve seen anywhere. “Thread-cut” dumpling wrappers are ribboned layers enveloping the tender fish. Happily devouring our six pieces, we accelerate into our next plate of dumplings: the absolutely essential Lamb, Black Bean, Chili, Peanut ($8.08).

and an article about Maine cookbooks.

Some of the great Maine cookbooks are out of print but hardly out of sight in a city and state with such a good used-book network of stores and used sections within stores. “Saltwater Seasonings is one of the very few that really catches the spirit of Maine,” says Don Lindgren, owner of Rabelais Books in Biddeford, probably the center of the universe for vintage and rare cookbooks.

Down East Review of Lolita

Down East has reviewed Lolita.

An array of small plates, served with careful attention to flavor and texture. Local, seasonal ingredients used to maximum advantage. Well-balanced cocktails and a confident, savvy wine list. The sense that you’re the only diner who really matters in a small but bustling dining room. You could use all of these phrases to describe both Bar Lola — Guy and Stella Hernandez’s Munjoy Hill institution, which the couple closed in November 2013 after seven years — and Lolita, the intriguing new restaurant they’ve opened just a few doors down on Congress Street. But while both restaurants’ broad outlines are similar, Lolita feels quite new — as if your dear friend got a chic haircut, a killer pair of shoes, and a fascinating new career to discuss over drinks.

Boston Globe Profile of Slab

The Boston Globe has published an article about Slab.

On the Slab menu, Luna holds beer-braised meatballs, is used for caponata sandwiches, and is the utensil provided for scooping up orange- and saffron-scented Sicilian hummus. The kitchen also offers a rotation of “Sicilian street food” specials, including hearty slaw, fried cauliflower with pepperoncini and lemon aioli, Silician-style jerk chicken with grilled orange wedges, and rhubarb pork osso bucco.

Under Construction: Press Hotel

Urban Eye has an update on the restaurant Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier are developing for the Press Hotel.

This we do know, Mark and Clark’s first Portland restaurant is an open kitchen, 65-seater with a bar. The entrance is directly across from City Hall. It won’t be an upscale Italian spot like M.C. Spiedo, which opened in Boston’s Seaport last Feb., or a seafood house like M.C. Perkins Cove, but “a combination of all of our experiences,” said Frasier. They will also be in charge of room service and stocking room mini bars with “cookies and things we love.”

Foodcoma’s Annual Pumpkin Beer Survey

Joe Ricchio and friends have published their annual survey/review of Pumpkin beers, 26 in all.

Before I introduce this year’s judges, I feel the need to say that, over the years, as the pumpkin beer craze has grown, we’ve see our number of entries grow from six in 2009 all the way to almost thirty, only five years later. Along the way, we have all tasted lots of disgusting beer, but I feel like this time it was much harder to distinguish them from one another. It’s as if they all collectively decided to dial their flavors back and go for something more quaffable, perhaps in anticipation of the pumpkin spice backlash? I’m not sure, but it would appear that even the brewers are over it with their own pumpkin beers.

Under Construction: On the Vine Marketplace

According to the American Journal, On the Vine Marketplace  has bought Dunstan School in Scarborough with plans to turn the restaurant building into a grocery store. On the Vine has an existing store in Exeter NH.

[Co-owner Abel] Schultze said the On the Vine in Exeter employs about 50 people, including trained chefs and bakers, and about one-third of the staff will come to Maine in the spring to help get the Scarborough store up and running.

In addition, Schultze said that either he or Edwards would be on hand locally all week long because they want to “keep in direct touch with our customers.”

Update: for additional information read this article in the BDN.

US Bartendenders Guild, Portland Chapter

Local bartender, Paul Russellusbg_logo, is heading up an effort to establish a Portland chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild. Russell and the local planning committee have achieved provisional status for the local chapter and will be holding a bar crawl on December 1st to reach out to and sign-up up local members.

According to the organizations website, the benefits of membership include meetings with fellow local bartenders, discounts on accreditation, networking, access to industry events run by the USBG and assistance signing-up for health insurance. The local chapter plans on running tastings, pop up competitions, educational events and presentations by vendors.

Maine Craft Distilling Tasting Room/Mixology Shop

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Maine Craft Distilling (website, twitter, facebook, instagram) has leased the historic Mallet Building on Mill Street in Freeport where they plan to open a tasting room and mixology shop.

Distiller Luke Davidson tells me the new two-story space will increase exposure and retail sales of their spirits and enable MCD to expand into selling cocktail accessories, glassware, shakers, mixers, bitters, books and, of course, MCD-emblazoned merchandise. Davidson also plans to use the Freeport location to host events including ” educational events,evenings of music, book authors and joint events with other area businesses (e.g. spirits and cheese pairings farm to table/flask catered events etc)”.

MCD hopes to open their Freeport store by early January.

This Week’s Events: Porchetta Feast, Oxbowzakaya, Thanksgiving, Coffee Smuggler

lolita_porchettaTuesdayLolita is throwing their inaugural Pre-Thanksgiving Porchetta Feast, and Oxbowzakaya an annual Oxbow tap take-over/izakaya menu is scheduled for Pai Men Miyake.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — the following restaurants are serving Thanksgiving Dinner:

Saturday — Coffee by Design is hosting a book launch party for Coffee Smuggler, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — author Josh Christie will be at Rising Tide for a book signing of his Handbook of Porters & Stouts.

Thanksgiving — Check out the PFM Thanksgiving Resource Guide for ideas on where to source ingredients for your meal at home.

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.