Review of East Ender

Map & Menu have reviewed the new East Ender.

It turns out that all of our worrying was for naught because now that we’ve tried Karl Deuben & Bill Leavy’s reincarnation of the East Ender on our favorite block of Middle Street (read: one of the most delicious blocks in all of Portland), we realized that it’s not the truck that made the meal, but the chefs behind the grill.

Review of Sur Lie

The Portland Phoenix restaurant critic Brian Duff has reviewed Sur Lie.

Sur Lie calls their very first category “to settle” and their dessert category “closure” (the latter features a pair of fantastic fresh donuts, with a tart blueberry filling). But the power of a well-designed list is to trigger what anthropologists call the seeking instinct — rooted in our brain’s most robust neurocircuitry — which never settles nor reaches closure. It’s what drives us through the Internet, click by click, and the rest of life, too. Sur lie’s best innovation might be making small plate dining seem affordable and accessible, but still intriguing and ambitious. It will leave you seeking another chance to visit.

This week’s edition also includes a visit to Lolita with Petite Jacqueline’s chef Fred Eliot.

A.C.: Now that you’re back on marrow, what makes this version special?
It’s super rich, but not an enormous portion. After a long day at work I like to have something that’s not too big because I want to go to bed. But I do like something rich like this or ramen noodles. What’s really cool here is they do it over the fire, so it adds this smokey flavor to it. It’s nothing intense but it’s woody. It’s messy, interactive. It gets everywhere. You need a lot of bread.

Tony’s Donuts Expanding

The Press Herald reports that Tony’s Donuts has closed their South Portland location and is planning to expand their Portland store.

Fournier plans to expand the original family business at Congress and Bolton streets by renovating a former auto maintenance garage on the property into a coffee shop, he said.

“By the time I get done with renovations, you won’t recognize it,” Fournier said.

2015 James Beard Award Nominees (Updated)

JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOGJames Beard Foundation has announced the final nominees for this year’s awards competition. Of the 10 Maine-based semi-finalists announced in February, 4 are final nominees:

  • Best New Restaurant – Central Provisions
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley at Eventide Oyster Company, and Masa Miyake at Miyake
  • Rising Star of the Year – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan

The award winners will be announced May 4th at the Lyric Opera in Chicago at the JBF Awards Gala hosted by Alton Brown.

Update: Both the Press Herald and Bangor Daily News have published reports on the award nominees.

Food Trucks for Sale (Updated)

Several food trucks are for sale:

On the flip side, at least two new food trucks are set to launch this year: Cannoli Joe’s and an, as yet unnamed, Japanese food truck.

Update: the Press Herald reports that Don’s Lunch has been sold.

This Week’s Events: JBF Nominees, Louis/Dressner, Ardeche Wine Dinner, Sebastien Riffault Wine Dinner, Flanagan’s Table

2015-02-11_21-36-56Tuesday — the list of final nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards will be released. 10 Maine semi-finalists are on the long list for 2015.

WednesdayBlack Tie is teaching a cooking class.

Thursday — Maine & Loire is holding a Louis/Dressner tasting, Devenish Wines and Congress Squared are collaborating on an Ardeche wine dinner, it’s community family night at Grace, The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Oxbow Brewing, and there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House.

Friday — winemaker Sebastien Riffault will be at Vinland for a natural Sancerre wine dinner.

SaturdayDavid Turn will be the featured chef at a sold out Flanagan’s Table dinner, the Portland Food Co-op is holding a bitters workshop, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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.

Chef Cara Stadler

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about chef Cara Stadler.

Also on her 10-year agenda is expanding her business. She doesn’t want any more restaurants, but hopes to develop some food businesses that will give her employees a living wage, health care, and some growth opportunities so they’ll stay with her longer. She’d like, for example, to start some kind of fermentation company with [Josh] Fratoni, who is an expert on the topic. She also wants to start making and selling the hot sauces that [Saskia] Poulos has been experimenting with the past few years.

But for now, she’s still enjoying the national spotlight and the boost it has given to her business. While loyal locals keep Tao Yuan busy in winter, summer traffic was “way more intense” last year.

Review of JP’s Bistro

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed JP’s Bistro.

If you’re looking for ease and comfort in a neighborhood bistro, JP’s fits the bill. The small dining room is appealing and the wait staff uber-welcoming. Dishes, however, can be overly complicated, and with prices north of $25 for steak and a few pasta-based entrees, it’s worth ordering with care. Keep it simple and try chicken, sausage and white bean soup, a flavorful starter filled with chunks of white meat, spinach and ditalini pasta. Ribeye is nicely marbled and competently grilled, but skip the bourbon sauce and enjoy it solo. Definitely get two spoons to share chef John Paul Gagnon’s excellent bread pudding for dessert. Made with slices of challah from Sorella’s Bakehouse, it’s surprisingly delicate and pleasingly sweet; you may find yourselves dueling over the last bite.