Bar Review of Portland Patisserie

The Press Herald has reviewed Portland Patisserie.

For an after-work glass of wine and a bite, Patisserie offers a great happy hour seven days a week from 4 to 8 p.m. With the purchase of either a cheese or charcuterie plate (or a combo cheese and charcuterie), all bottles and glasses of wine are half off (three whites, one rose, one red). A cheese plate with two cheeses is $8, add a cured meat or two, and you’re looking at $10 to $13. However, the servings are generous and the boards include two large heaps of raspberry and apricot jams, cornichons and a spoonful of Dijon mustard (with charcuterie). There’s no special on beer (yet), but beers include Funky Bow IPA, Shipyard and Allagash.

City Food Policy

The Press Herald reports that candidates for mayor and city council will be asked to share their views on food policy at a pair of upcoming  forums.

To state the obvious, Portland is a food city. That doesn’t just mean it’s a fantastic place to go out to dinner, it means anyone who wants to be elected to the City Council or become mayor of Maine’s largest city better pay attention to the politics of food. Next week, candidates will be gathering for two food policy forums for the first time in the city’s history, and they should be prepared to discuss everything from food insecurity to raising goats within urban limits to whether chefs should be able to put moose on their menus.

Open Call for Beard Awards

The James Beard Foundation has put out a public call for entries for the 2016 Awards.

Is a restaurant you know deserving of consideration from the Beard Foundation? Then fill out this online form and your submission will be considered as the Foundation is putting together the list of semi-final nominees due out in February. The deadline for submissions is December 31st.

In 2014, the Beard Foundations received more than 38,000 entries through this process.

James Beard’s 1964 Visit to Portland

BeardDoyon4In November 1964 LBJ had just defeated Goldwater, the Sardine Law was front page news,  and famed chef and food writer James Beard visited Portland to lead a 4-day series of cooking demonstrations organized by the Portland Symphony Orchestra as a fundraising activity for their 1964-65 season.

Reporter Hazel Loveitt from the Press Herald along with “more than 200 women and two men” (Brunswick chef Pete Doyon and home cook Harry Dunbar) were on site for the first day of classes. Loveitt reported,

Beard’s heroic proportions belied his agility as he did a culinary ballet between the stove, oven and food preparation. When he added “about a half teaspoon” of vanilla to the filling he was making for apple flan the master chef dispensed the flavoring directly from the bottle to the cooking pan with the flair of a showman.

While using the slim handleless French rolling pin to roll the tart flan Beard explained that the pin was easier to guide than the more common rolling pin.

An earlier version of the article was certainly a product of the times. President Kennedy has delivered his famous challenge for a moon landing 2 years earlier, and the article referred to the rolling pin as a “slim space-aged model”.

beardbookletThe town was still in the afterglow of Beard’s visit several day later when the paper published a follow-on piece which concluded “All calories aside, we’ve been living in a gastronomical Shangri-La.”

Beard was assisted with the classes by Ruth Norman and they were held at the State Street Church. Their entire series of 5 classes went for $12 per person. Accounting for inflation that would be $91 in today’s dollars—a bargain in any decade.

A half century later few people in town remember Beard’s visit, but as luck would have it one of few artifacts of that week, a booklet from Beard’s classes (shown above), came into the possession of Rabelais Books, and owner Don Lindgren brought it to my attention. It contains 34 pages of recipes from the classes. They’re an interesting mix of French, Italian, American and Asian cooking such as Salad Nicoise, Shish Kebab, Rummed Crab Spread, Cannelloni, Crepes Duxelles, Barbecued Spareribs and Fried Rice.

Many thanks to PSO historian Hank Schmidtt and to the Symphony for their assistance in researching this article.




Under Construction: El Rayo on Free Street

El Rayo will be reopening at 26 Free Street in the space currently occupied by Papier Gourmet, according to a report from the Press Herald.

“It’s a beautiful space,” [co-owner Tod] Dana said. “We will be applying to the city to build a deck off the back of it. That was something I was really excited about, to continue to have a an outdoor experience as part of the business. This space has a bright, sunny southern exposure off the back.”

Need to get caught-up on all the new places in development? Check out the our Under Construction list for the latest details.

Update: For more information on El Rayo’s move to Free Street see this report from the Bangor Daily News.

This Week’s Events: Eliot Coleman, Harvest on the Harbor, IndieBiz Awards, Old Port Bourbon, Ghoulship, Goods from the Woods, Fabulous Femmes

oldportbourbonMonday — Maine author and farmer Eliot Coleman will be honored at the James Beard Leadership Awards, Sur Lie is holding an Allagash beer dinner, and Maine Craft Distilling will host a coopering exhibit by cooper Ed Lutjens.

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

Wednesday — it’s the first day of Harvest on the Harbor, Rosemont is holding a wine tasting on Munjoy Hill, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — Devenish Wines teaching a Sicilian Natural Wine Seminar at Aurora Provisions, the IndieBiz Awards are taking place, the Bier Cellar is holding Hoof Hearted Brewing tasting, Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Two Roads, and C Salt is celebrating their 1-year anniversary.

FridayLiquid Riot is releasing their latest spirit: Old Port Bourbon.

Saturday — Maine Beer Company is having a bottle release for Dinner and Allagash is for Ghoulship, Oxbbow is holding the 5th Annual Goods from the Woods in Newcastle and Rosemont is holding a Grower Champagne event, Aaron Knoll—Gin:The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival—will be at Sweetgrass for a book signing at 2pm, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – there will be a pumpkin carving contest in Congress Square Park, chefs Ilma Lopez, Krista Kern Desjarlais, Melissa Kelly, Cara Stadler and Kim Rodgers a serving a sold out dinner at Flanagan’s Table as benefit for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, and it’s the last day of Harvest on the Harbor.

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.

More Anticipated at Thompson’s Point

A number of food and drink busineses have already announced plans to locate at Thompson’s Point. Cellardoor is opening a 5,000 sq ft tasting room, Stroudwater Spirits is building a distillery, Jason Loring has plan to launch a seafood shack called The Point, and artist Sam Van Aken plans to install a grove of his grafted Trees of 40 Fruits.

Sharp-eyed watchers have noticed that the overall site plan on the Planning Board website also reserve space for 10,000 sq ft brewery and a 125 room hotel and restaurant.

Imbibe: The Maine Event

imbibe2015ndImbibe magazine has published a feature article on Portland in the November/December issue of the magazine. The article addresses Portland evolving cocktail scene, distilleries and breweries as well as touches on coffee roasters, retail shops and restaurants.

Mentioned in the article are: Allagash, Austin Street, Bissell Brothers, Bunker, Central Provisions, Cold River, Eventide, Foundation, Geary’s, Gritty McDuff’s, Hunt & Alpine, Liquid Riot, Maine Maine Craft Distilling, Mead Works, New England Distilling, Novare Res, Rising Tide, Shipyard, Sur Lie, Tandem Coffee, The Bearded Lady, Three Dollar Deweys, Urban Farm Fermentory and Vena’s Fizz House.

Vena’s Fizz House has a small stack of the new issue on sale at their Fore Street store.

Under Construction: Vinbar

A new wine bar called Vinbar is now under development at 3 Deering Ave in the space vacated by Tawakal Store in Bramhall Square.

co-owners Colleen Callahan, David Levi and Robert Swain intend to serve a line-up of natural wines accompanied by “food items that are thoughtfully made, and do so at an accessible price point.” They plan to serve breakfast and lunch and anticipate their customers will come from the surrounding neighborhood as well as Maine Med and staff from other nearby businesses.

The draft menu (page 63) supplied with Vinbar’s liquor license application includes items like buckwheat galettes, smoked fish pate as well as grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and fish chowder. They plan to be open 7 days a week.

David Levi is the chef/owner of Vinland.

Vinbar is the second natural wine bar project that’s been announced. Last month, Maine & Loire made public there plans to launch Drifter’s Wife on Wahington Ave.