Fabulous Femmes Dinner (Updated)

Five of Maine’s best chefs—all women—are coming together in October to co-produce a dinner at Flanagan’s Table. Ilma Lopez from Piccolo, Melissa Kelly from Primo, Krista Kern Desjarlais soon from The Purple House, Cara Stadler from Tao/Bao Bao and Kim Rogers from Hugo’s are teaming for a Flanagan’s Table dinner in October to benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

The chefs will be joined by Briana Volk from Hunt & Alpine who will be providing the cocktails, Tabitha Perry from Crush Distributors who will provide the wine and Alex Wright from Flanagan’s who donated the space for the fundraiser, as well as Briana Holt and Kathleen Pratt from Tandem serving baked goods with the pre-dinner cocktails and coffee respectively, and Catherine Eliot from Portland Patisserie who will supply the take home baked goods.

Tickets are on now sale On the Flanagan’s Table website. (Update: The dinner sold out in 3 minutes on Wednesday)

On a side note, today’s Press Herald interviewed 4 of the chefs about what it’s like to be a woman working in a restaurant kitchen today.

Bumper Crop of Apples

Today’s Press Herald features a story on this year’s bumper crop of apples in Maine.

Experts and apple orchard owners say a combination of factors is likely behind this year’s bumper crop. Apple trees tend to be cyclical, so this year’s higher yield follows a lighter harvest last year. Good spring and summer weather also played a role, although the warm late-summer conditions have pushed back the ripening for some popular varieties by a week or two.

Under Construction: Woodford Food & Beverage


I got a chance to take a look inside Woodford Food & Beverage(facebook, twitter, instagram) yesterday afternoon. As you can see they’re making good progress on framing out the space but there’s still a lot of work to do. Owner Birch Shambaugh is aiming to have the 85-seat neighborhood restaurant and bar open by the end of the year.

Shambaugh recently took a big step forward toward opening day with the hire of chef Courtney Loreg(linkedin, instagram) to lead the kitchen staff. Courtney was the sous chef at Fore Street (2001 – 2005) and at Bresca (2009 – 2011). She’s spent the last three years as part of the culinary team at Wente Vineyards in California. She has a wealth of experience and I’m looking to see how she translates that into the menu for Woodford.

The restaurant is located at 660 Forest Ave, the address of the original Valle’s Steakhouse.

Reviews: Tiqa Brunch & Terlingua

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Terlingua,

All in all, Terlingua puts out a solid meal. The smoked chicken was excellent and that spicy sauce was too. My corn could have used some more bacon flavor, but it was still good and that drink was shockingly pleasing. I’m glad that Portland has another BBQ joint, but I’m even more glad that it’s not a straight up BBQ place, but a hybrid with Latin American flavor. Their unique combination is something I think people will go to for good eats and good drinks for some time to come.

and The Golden Dish has written up the brunch at Tiqa.

Most everything is paired with eggs, but the underpinnings are definitely from the Middle East.  Turkish cuisine played a big part in the dishes on the menu.  Typical breakfast/brunch items are often fruit, yogurt with honey, baked eggs with sausage and Tiqa’s menu reflects that to some degree.

Former Brown Street Marguerita’s

A report in today’s Press Herald indicates that upper floors of the Marguerita’s building on Brown Street are being converted to condos, but the first floor will still be a restaurant space,

Jack Soley said they’ve already had interest in the first floor from more than 30 business owners, but they are waiting for the right fit. Considering that people will be living upstairs, he said, that’s probably going to be “more casual fine dining than a bar situation.”

This Week’s Events: Piccolo/Roustabout, Coopering Demo, 953, Whiskey Tasting, Oktoberfest

TuesdayPiccolo is collaborating with Roustabout on a preview pop-up dinner, Ed Lutjens will be giving a coopering demonstration at Maine Craft Distilling.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday953 Congress Street is holding a Grand Opening, and a women’s Whiskey and Chocolate Truffle tasting is taking place at Grace.

Friday — there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli, and it’s also First Friday Art Walk so restaurants will be busy – be sure to make your reservations soon.

Saturday — The Thirsty Pig is holding their 3rd annual Oktoberfest, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

The Sinful Kitchen – is kicking off a Filipino dinner series on October 16th.

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.

Great American Beer Festival Winners

Two Maine brewers are taking home medals from this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition:

  • Allagash won a gold medal in the Belgian Style-Witbier category for Allagash While
  • Allagash also won a silver in the Belgian Tripel category for their Tripel
  • Baxter Brewing won a silver in the Field Beer category their Window Seat Coconut Almond Porter

You can see the full list of award winners on the GABF website.

Ed Lutjens, Cooper

Today’s Sunday Telegram includes an interesting article about Ed Lutjens and his path to become a modern day cooper.

Ed Lutjens is a cooper. Yeah, we didn’t know what that was either, although at one time, Maine was full of them. This is the technical name for the people who make wooden barrels wrapped in metal bands, the kind fine whiskey is aged in. The kind that fall off the back of stagecoaches in old Westerns. Read on to learn how Lutjens teamed up with Maine Craft Distilling, took a trip to The Bourbon Trail and carved – sorry, irresistible – himself a niche market in one of the sustainable world’s more indulgent products.

For more information visit www.edlutjens.com.

Interview with Olive Cafe

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Olive Cafe owner Rayan Elkhatib.

How did you first get into the restaurant business?
I’ve been in the industry since I was 15 years old. My parents kind of planted the seed. They both had little cafes like this (in Florida) and I always worked with them. My mom taught me the cooking part of the industry and my dad pretty much showed me the business side. It caught on, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Before I came here, I was the assistant manager for a really nice restaurant in Del Ray Beach called City Oyster. I was well-rounded, I had all the experience and it was time for me to open my own shop and see what I could do with it.

Mirabelle Delayed

The Press Herald reports Mirabelle House is delayed pending a zoning appeal.

The ruling by code enforcement office Justin Browns means that the house’s owner, Marc Christensen and his business partners, must delay the beginning of cooking class slated to begin Oct. 10, until the town’s zoning board of appeals meets later that month to consider his application for permits to operate. Brown also ruled out other potential uses for the elegant home, barring the use of the property for weddings, as a production studio, or as a general event venue for corporate retreats or parties, uses that the business’s website had mentioned as possible options.