Down East: Best New Restaurants

The cover article of the April issue of Down East is the magazine’s list of the Best New Restaurants in Maine.

Portland area restaurants on the list are: Bao Bao, Blue Rooster, Bramhall, Central Provisions, Dutch’s, East Ender, Ebb & Flow, El Rayo in Scarborough, Elsmere BBQ, Empire, Enio’s, Hugo’s, Isa, Outlier’s, Lolita, Piccolo, Salvage BBQ, Slab, Sur Lie, Timber, Tiqa and Vinland as well as the upcoming restaurants The Honey Paw, MC Union, Scales and Tempo Dulu.

The article is not available online yet.

Isa Is Now Open (Updated)

isa_dessertIsa(facebook, website) is opening for business tonight. Owners Suzie St. Pierre and Isaul Perez have a number of years experience working in restaurants in New York City. It’s billed as a “cozy neighborhood bistro serving an eclectic yet seasonally driven menu“.

The restaurant is located at 79 Portland Street just a couple doors down from Back Bay Grill. Isa will be open 6 days a week Wednesday through Monday. They’ll initially be serving just dinner but plan to eventually be open daily 11am – close.

Update: The Golden Dish has published a first look post on Isa.

Bar Review of Petite Jacqueline

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Petite Jacqueline.

In a city that becomes increasingly more popular for its bars and restaurants by the day, there are two reasons Petite Jacqueline stands out in Portland. The first is that this traditional French bistro is exactly that – traditional. Many of Portland’s newest dining additions feature trendy small plate menus, or experimental New American cuisine. Petite’s steadfast and classic French menu actually makes the restaurant more unique among an otherwise adventurous gastronomic town.

Interview with Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor

The Press Herald has published an interview with Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, the chefs/co-owners of Hugo’s and Eventide.

Q: You are both owner/chefs. What’s the division of labor?

TAYLOR: He focuses much more on Hugo’s, and I focus much more Eventide. We’ve hired an old sous-chef for Honey Paw. Both of us are intimately involved with the menu at Honey Paw. If I have a flash of inspiration that fits better at Hugo’s, I’ve no problem saying that. And the same for him. We try to cultivate a collaborative atmosphere in the restaurant. I really like it when a cook says, “I’d really like to do this.” It’s much better if the cooks have a sense of ownership because it’s going to taste better.

WILEY: It sounds clichéd, but we have a really awesome community that helps us run the restaurants.

Taylor and Wiley are semi-finalist nominees for this year’s James Beard Best Chef: Northeast award. Along with their co-owner Arlin Smith, they’re currently in the process of launching a third restaurant, The Honey Paw.

Local Food Initiative

The Bangor Daily News has published a report on a recent 1-day meeting of Mayor Brennan’s local food initiative.

To reach the city’s goals, members of the mayor’s subcommittee such as John Naylor, co-owner of Rosemont Market and Bakery, are strong disciples. Naylor, who spoke at the conference, works with 40 farmers and local food producers in his four markets, (the fifth Rosemont opens in Portland’s West End soon) and says a commitment is needed across the board to keep the movement robust.

2nd Annual Rum Riots

rumriots_logoThe schedule for the 2nd Annual Rum Riots(facebook, twitter, instagram, website) is starting to take shape. This year’s program includes:

The mission of Rum Riots is to “celebrate cocktails, bars and bartenders”. It’s scheduled to take place May 30 – June 1.

Under Construction: PHAC x Piccolo Collaboration

The owners of the Hunt + Alpine Club and Piccolo are in the early stages of collaborating on a new restaurant. Damian Sansonetti, Briana and Andrew Volk and Ilma Lopez plan to launch the new venue sometime in 2016 which they’ll operate in addition to continuing to run their current establishments. Details on concept and location are not yet public.

WSJ: Dynamic Food Cities

The Wall Street Journal published an article about the rise of the culinary scenes America’s smaller cities. It mentions Portland in passing,

And then there’s this: These are places where chefs can make a difference. The most dynamic food cities in the country right now are the two Portlands (Ore. and Maine), Nashville, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., Houston and Philadelphia. All took off in the past decade thanks to the arrival of a few gifted chefs who pioneered a new dining scene.

This Week’s Events: PSO Wine Dinner, Maine Maple Sunday, Beer & Cheese Tasting, BiBo’s

MondayFlock & Vine is holding a wine tasting at their new location in Knightsville.

Tuesday — the monthly Local Foods Networking Breakfast is taking place at Local Sprouts.

Wednesday — the 14th Annual Portland Symphony wine dinner is taking place; the 5-course dinner features dishes prepared by Central Provisions, Lolita, Hugo’s, Fore Street, and the Haraseeket.

ThursdayThe Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Banded Horn.

FridayBiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe is holding a wine dinner, and there will be a rose tasting at The Farm Stand, as well as a wine tasting at Rosemont on Brighton of wines from Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia.

Saturday — Vignola is holding their 8th Annual Beer and Cheese Tasting, RSVP is blind tasting 6 red wines, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — it’s Maine Maple Sunday, Flock & Vine is holding a wine seminar, and Rosemont is hosting a Bean Supper.

Chocolate Lovers Fling — tickets for the Chocolate Lovers Fling are now on sale.

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.