Review of Gilbert’s

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Gilbert’s Chowder House.

Gilbert’s is a no-nonsense chowder house set in a sea of upscale businesses on Commercial Street. Play to the kitchen’s strengths and order a cup of house-made clam or corn chowder; both are rich, peppery and full of flavor. Skip the specials on the blackboard and try a fried haddock sandwich from the standard menu instead: the coating is light and crunchy, and the fish it encases is juicy and steaming hot. Sandwiches come with chips, but you’ll want to order a side of French fries, which are among the best in town.

Under Construction: Portland Mash Tun, MC Union, Crooners & Cocktails

The City Council meets Monday and among the other things on the agenda are liquor licenses for:

  • Portland Mash Tun, a small scale brew pub under construction at 29 Wharf Street. Owner Rick Binet is planning a 54-seat bar that serves house made beer as well as small selection of wines and spirits and a food menu of burgers and other pub food (page 63).  Binet is also a co-owner of The King’s Head Pub. He hopes to open Portland Mash Tun in May.
  • M.C. Union the 70+ seat restaurant and bar operated by chefs by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier under construction in The Press Hotel(web, facebook, instagram). The draft menu (page 86) includes a raw bar selection, appetizers like “Khmer chicken wings with cool cucumber noodle salad and caraway black pepper dipping sauce” and entrees  such as chicken under a brick and MC lobster mac and cheese. The hotel is expected to open this Spring.
  • Crooners & Cocktails(facebook, twitter), a “moderately priced 39 seat supper club offering a wide array of classic American cuisine, wines and classic cocktails.” C&C is under construction at 90 Exchange in the space most recently occupied by Thai 9. Full draft menus for lunch and dinner are on pages 107-108.

Mama’s Crow Bar

The Press Herald has published an article about Mama’s  Crow Bar and the efforts of their landlord to evict the popular East End bar.

Henley finds herself locked in a legal battle with the building’s owners, who she says are trying to evict her. This week she received an eviction notice saying she failed to pay the March rent. Her attorney, John McVeigh, said the owners failed to come and collect the rent check as they have each month over the past two years.

“Why they’ve decided to try this end run when all they have to do is wait six months and they’ll be done with it anyway, I can’t explain,” McVeigh said.

First Look at East Ender

The Golden Dish has posted a first look review of the new East Ender.

At my next lunch I had to have the burger, made famous at Small Axe, a thick patty of local beef cold smoked and charred on the grill just right.  This version did not disappoint.  Though at $14 it’s pricey.   It comes lobbed with a shield of melted Stilton and a scrim of caramelized onions–mahogany-hued sweet onions slowly sautéed in balsamic and a touch of red wine.  The burger is accompanied by excellent batter-dipped onion rings.

Under Construction: Full Belly Deli

Chris Busby reports that the new Full Belly Deli will be located in the Old Port at the corner of Fore and Market Streets.

Speaking of delis, Portlanders were stunned when Full Belly Deli abruptly closed its location on outer Brighton Avenue this winter. Now comes word that Full Belly’s mile-high pastrami sandwiches and other indulgences will reappear at the corner of Market and Fore streets, in a space most recently occupied by a failed link in the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt chain, according to landlord Joe Soley, who has an avowed taste for tongue. Soley also said the deli may apply for a license to serve beer and wine.

Interview with Standard Baking Co.

The Press Herald has published an interview with Alison Pray and Matt James, co-owners of Standard Baking Company.

Q: I run into bakers and pastry chefs all the time with Standard Baking on their resume. Is mentoring important to you?
PRAY: Mentoring is huge. That is the beauty of baking and bread especially. You can’t learn it from a book. You have to learn by having your hands in the dough. And you have to learn from master bakers, or just bakers better than you. Watching what they do, trying to duplicate their movements, watching as they make adjustments to the dough. You learn from every batch that you make. It’s a constant work in progress to try to make good bread consistently.

Update: MPBN has also posted a profile of Alison Pray and Matt James.

New Blog: A Women’s Guide to Butchering

Kathleen Lomen, a former vegetarian current staff member at The Farm Stand, has launched A Women’s Guide to Butchering, a blog on her chosen career path as a butcher.

I needed to find a way to BE the butcher and own my space. And it’s not just me. I’ve seen the women coming out of the wood work giving a go at breaking into this field and that’s who this website is for. Part anecdotal and part instructional, i want this to be a place for people to see a woman at work and also one who is still in her early beginnings of becoming a seasoned butcher.

Scott Tyree

Congratulations to Scott Tyree who recently passed the Theory Exam as part of his efforts to complete his certification as a Master Sommelier. Of the 120 Advanced Sommeliers who took the exam a scant 20 passed this very demanding exam.

Tyree and the others will be in Aspen this May for the final step in the process, the blind tasting and services tests. For the blind tasting candidates will need to successfully identify the “grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintages” of 6 different wines within 25 minutes.

There are currently 140 Master Sommeliers in all of North America.

Under Construction: LemonCycle

A Cape Elizabeth high school sophmore named Nat Jordan has launched a $2,500 Kickstarter campaign to help fund lemonade food cart called LemonCycle(twitter, facebook).

LemonCycle will operate out of a modified cargo tricycle-based this summer on the streets of Portland.

LemonCycle blends two of my favorite summertime passions together; biking and lemonade. More importantly, it provides the people of Portland, Maine, with an eco-friendly, refreshing way to cool off during the sweltering months of June, July and August.

What we are is a lemonade cart on the frame of a cargo tricycle. Cargo tricyles are an up-and-coming form of delivery, food vending and everyday travel.

First Look: East Ender

The Blueberry Files has published a first look report from the East Ender.

We sampled a few of the bar snacks – fried vegetables in a Bagna Cauda sauce ($8) and the chicken liver croquettes topped with pickled onion jam ($9). They were both outstanding. The happy hour menu (served 3:30-5:30 Monday through Sunday) also had a selection of cheeses, mussels, a BLT, and the infamous cold-smoked burger. It’s back! Hooray! If at any point, you can’t find me between 3:30 and 5:30, I’ll be at East Ender, taking a burger and $2 Miller High Lifes to the head.