Under Construction: Pia Shang Sichuan Kitchen

imageA new Chinese restaurant named Pia Shang Sichuan Kitchen is now under construction in the former Anna’s Used Furniture & Collectibles at 612 Congress Street opposite the State Theater. Owners Qi Shen and Qiong Fang Tan have applied for a full liquor license.  Pia Shang will occupy 2 floors of the building with the kitchen and a second dining room on the 2nd floor.

The draft menu (page 51) supplied with the liquor license application includes items such as Pork in Lychee Sauce with Crispy Rice, and Boiled Fish Slices in Fiery Sauce.

The owners hope to open the restaurant this Fall.

See the PFM Under Construction page for list of other restaurants currently under development.

Under Construction: Veranda Noodle House

The Veranda Group has applied for a liquor license for the new restaurant they have under construction on Commercial Street. The Veranda Noodle House will be located in the former Salt Exchange space. Owner Hai Pham plans to serve a mixed menu off Thai and Vietnamese dishes. You can see a draft menu on pages 29-33 of the City Council materials for Wednesday’s meeting.

Maine’s Chef Shortage

There’s a front page report in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram on the serious shortage of qualified cooks to work in the state’s restaurants.

[Troy] Mains, whose kitchen must turn out 150 lunches and 200 dinners a day but is currently four cooks short, said he has interviewed people just out of culinary school who can’t cut an onion or bone a chicken.

“There’s a decline in cooks, not just the amount but the quality,” Mains said. “When I was up and coming in the restaurant business, I can remember a stack of 50 resumes in a folder of people who wanted to work, and now if I hire four cooks, one works out.”

Restaurants You May Have Missed

dispatch_ricchioJoe Ricchio has written an article for Dispatch magazine (page 40) listing the 20 or so restaurants he misses the most from the late 90s and early part of this century.

Mentioned in the article are Fresh Market Pasta, Mazza, Bandol, Haggarty’s, Go-Go Burger, Una, Perfetto, Village Cafe, Hu Shang, Carbur’s, Michaela’s, Ladle, Bodega Latina, G’Vanni’s, Portland Public Market, The Roma, Aubergine, Honey’s, Crab Louie, and Ruby’s Choice.

That era overlaps with when I first moved to the city, so many happy food memories….

The new issue of Dispatch also contains an interview with Alice Van de Water, bartender at Rosie’s (page 44).

Bar Review of Tempo Dulu

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Tempo Dulu.

The Tempo Dulu bar experience will totally wow you. The cocktails are one-of-kind inspirations intended to pair with the Southeast Asian cuisine, using spices, flavors and techniques rarely used elsewhere in Portland. Housed in the Danforth Inn, Tempo Dulu will be a special-occasion place for most, and perhaps a weekly favorite for deep-pocketed patrons.

Under Construction: 953 Congress Street

953CongressStreetThe longtime Dogfish Cafe space at the corner of Congress and Saint John Streets is now under development as a new restaurant called 953 Congress Street.

Dogfish Cafe had been sold to a couple of employees sometime in 2014 and in early 2015 they renamed the restaurant “Union Station Publyk House”. It’s not clear whether this is  a new venture entirely or just a redesign and rebranding.

Port City Bakeries

The new issue of Portland Magazine includes a survey of some of the city’s better bakeries: Standard, Portland Patisserie, Tandem, Dutch’s, and Ten Ten Pié.

We marvel at the sheer number of restaurants in the Forest City, but how about the bakeries? Portland is the center of the universe for from-scratch, flakey, buttery, first-class baked treats. Hot, fresh scones; lighter-than-air croissants; deadly sweet sticky buns; cookies; breads; and rolls are baked every day in small, thriving hives all over town.

Porthole Interview & Cheap Eats Guide

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an interview with the head chef and owner of The Porthole,

LO: Can you tell me a little bit about the menu?
LC: I’d say that breakfast and lunch is basically “dinerific” sort of food, like high-end sort of diner. We have lobster pancakes … you know, it’s a nicer sort of breakfast for a cheaper price. (For dinner) we use fresh, local seafood. I buy my seafood from Harbor Fish, and we buy our lobsters here on the wharf so it’s very convenient and fresh. They’re in the ocean hours before you’re eating them.

and their annual student guide to cheap eats.

It’s no secret that college students are usually scraping by financially; just look online at the poor college student memes and Tumblr posts and you’ll get the idea. Higher education is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should sit in your dorm room and eat Ramen every night. With the budget-friendly dining options below, you can afford to hit the town and still have enough money to do laundry.

CMS Sommelier Classes

Instructors from the Court of Master Sommeliers will be returning to Portland this Fall to offer:

  • The Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam, a 2-day program that’s the first step in developing a strong foundation of knowledge about wine. Last year’s 50-person class sold with students coming from as far away as NYC.
  • Instructors will be administering the Certified Sommelier Examination, which includes both theory and blind tasting components.

The intro class is scheduled for October 6-7, and the Certified Sommelier exam is taking place on October 8. All three days are taking place at The Regency. You can learn more and sign-up for either option on the CMS website.

The classes are geared towards wine professionals or those considering a career in the wine industry, however a few highly motivated wine enthusiasts also join in.