This Week’s Events: Rabelais, Kaki Lima, Foodiepreneur Workshop, Common Ground Fair, Beer 101

MondayDon Lindgren, owner of Rabelais Books, will be speaking at Boston University. His talk is part of the Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies and Gastronomy and is titled Anatomy of a Cookbook; Brian Hill, chef/owner of Francine Bistro and Shepherd’s Pie, will be the featured chef at tonight’s Flanagan’s Table.

TuesdayThe Honey Paw will be in Boston to prepare a dinner in collaboration with Kaki Lima.

WednesdayPulp+Wire will teach a workshop on launching a food brand, Salvage BBQ is hosting a launch party for Beer 101 (Banded Horn x Owl & Whale brewing collaboration), and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — the Public Market House is holding a wine and cheese tasting.

FridayRising Tide is kicking off their 5th Anniversary celebration with a beer and oysters event that will feature Mockingfish on draft, and it’s the first day of the Common Ground Fair.

Saturday — it’s the second day of the Common Ground Fair, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — it’s the last day of the Common Ground Fair.

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.

Amergian Bros.

AmergianCross West Bayside on Oxford Street and you’re likely to spot this old sign for the former Amergian Brothers neighborhood market at the intersection with Chestnut Street. It was founded by George Amergian in 1928 in what was then the Armenian neighborhood in Portland. The market remained in business until the beginning of the 21st century and was for many year’s run by his nephew Edward Mardigan.

Review of Empire

The Golden Dish has reviewed Empire.

It’s been two years since Empire opened, and in that time they’ve succeeded in setting the standard for some of the best Chinese food north of Boston. It didn’t try to be a fusion powerhouse like Mission Chinese in New York or Meyers and Chang in Boston. But the chefs, under the direction of co-owner Theresa Chan, take on nontraditional dishes as well. Consider their brioche char siu bao (baked pork buns) or spicy cucumber with jelly fish salad as examples–two must-have dishes.

Under Construction: Rhum Tiki Lounge (Updated)

Jason Loring has announced details of his latest project, Rhum, “a refined take on Tiki with a distinctly Portland, Maine flavor”.

Rhum will serve an “Elegant, modern translations of classic Tiki dishes…bolstered with an impressive raw bar featuring local seafood.” The bar program will include classic and contemporary Tiki drinks and the intriguing promise of a “large format program for team tippling.”

The kitchen and bar will be led by the talented team of Frank Warren Anderson and Rebecca Ambrosi. You’ll recall Frank and Rebecca moved to Maine last year and launched The Hunter’s Bend, an underground supper club and catering company. They met when working at Animal and Son of a Gun in Los Angeles, where Frank was the chef de cuisine. Rebecca has worked in the kitchens of both Thomas Keller and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Rhum is located on Cross Street on the ground floor facing Spring Street of the JB Brown-owned building that also contains Arabica Coffee and Pinecone+Chickadee. Construction began in early August.

Rhum is a Fifth Food Group project. The Group is a collaboration between “Jason Loring, owner of Nosh and Slab; Mike Fraser, owner of Bramhall Pub; Nat Towl, builder and designer.” They hope to open Rhum this winter.

Loring describes Rhum as “a subterranean escape that welcomes guests, encourages them to revel in groups, and presents a series of elegant surprises throughout each visit.” It sounds like a lot of fun and I look forward to the experience.

Update: the Press Herald’s Meredith Goad caught up with Loring on Friday and has published some additional details on Rhum.

Interview with Arlin Smith

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Hugo’s co-owner Arlin Smith.

LO: What do you think the secret is to excellent service?
AS: One thing that I try to push … is the difference between hospitality and serving. Anyone can be a server. You don’t have to have a voice, you just have to have feet and hands and be able to take food from one place to another. Hospitality is going above and beyond, to guide a person, to be generous, to anticipate their needs before they even know that they need them. That’s what separates just serving people and really taking care of people. This is one of the most unique dining experiences in New England, never mind in Portland. It’s not for everyone — you have to come here not just to get sustenance, you have to come here to have an experience, to allow us to take care of you. If you want to go out and be taken care of, I don’t know many places that do it better than here.

Under Construction: Second Pint Brewing

secondpintA new brewpub called Second Pint Brewing Company (website, facebook, twitter) is now under development in Portland. Second Pint bills itself as “Maine’s first ‘Eco-Brewpub’ “.

Second Pint Brewing Company aims to be Portland, Maine’s first “Eco-Brewpub”. We will offer handcrafted organic beers and fresh, local ingredients, all served in a sustainably-built and operated building with a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.

We will make extreme use of technology and sustainability in an effort to protect “our” future with a thoughtful alternative. Second Pint Brewing Company will be 100% renewably powered and carbon neutral. We also plan to attempt to become a near zero waste tacitly by utilizing on site composting, repurposing used brewing material, and only selling products in reusable packaging.

Second Pint has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Fundable with the goal of raising $15,000.

The founder of Second Pint is Jesse Hardie who describes himself as “an avid home brewer and a 15 year veteran of the food and beverage industry” who “has been the acting General Manager of restaurants that exceed $2M in annual sales”.

Hardie plan to construct a “15-barrel brew system capable of producing 1500 barrels a year when operating at total capacity. This will allow us to provide locally and organically produced craft beer to the surrounding community as well as provide a large line-up that will continually rotate in our on premise pub.

It’s facebook about page lists three beers in their product section, “Aperitif Ale, Grey Bird IPA, Fresh Pressed Imperial Coffee Stout”. There’s also a draft menu for the brewpub online.

Maine Heirloom Apples

appletastingThe Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald reports on the growing interest in heirloom apples.

Bendzela and Essman are among a growing number of Mainers who have developed an appreciation for heirloom varieties of apples that for the most part disappeared with the rise of big agriculture. They have replanted varieties that were originally grown on the farm and added more that were once popular in Maine – apples with different textures, unusual tastes and whimsical names, such as King of Tompkins County, Fallawater, Esopus Spitzenburg (a favorite of Thomas Jefferson) and Hubbardston’s Nonesuch.

The paper also has an article on vegetarian chef and Maine-native Matthew Kenney.

Matthew Kenney’s restaurants and books are a force in the plant-based food world, but his biggest influence may be in the new chefs he teaches.

Vinland: Link Between Yelp Ads and Reviews

The Press Herald has a report on Vinland chef/owner David Levi’s complaint that Yelp manipulated his restaurant’s reviews on the site when he declined to advertise.

A Portland restaurant owner says Yelp has manipulated reviews of his restaurant after he declined to buy ads, an accusation the online recommendation site has faced before and vigorously denies, saying reviews are ranked by a computer algorithm.

Vinland owner David Levi said he was prompted to speak out Monday after he noticed that Yelp’s local community manager, Steff Deschenes, downgraded her personal review of his restaurant from four stars to three stars a year after posting the review. But Deschenes said she made the change months ago, after reflecting on her experience at Vinland.