Wild Beers in America

Food Republic has published an article on the origins on wild-fermented beers in the US. The article relays details on a seminal trip in 2006 by the owners of 5 American breweries to Cantillon in Belgium: Allagash, Dogfish Head, Russian River, Avery and The Lost Abbey.

[Russian River Brewing owner Vinnie] Cilurzo wasn’t the only brewer inspired on that voyage. In 2008, Allagash Brewing of Portland, Maine, became the first to utilize a coolship, a large pan used for open-air “wild” fermentation. As Allagash brewmaster Jason Perkins recalls, shortly after the trip, “[owner] Rob Todd came in, and basically said, ‘Fuck it, let’s build a coolship. And let’s do it right.’” The brewery had been emulating old-world Belgian brewing techniques for decades, but had never taken on an experiment like this.

Reviews: Mi Sen & Little Tap House

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Mi Sen,

Eating out on a Monday and Tuesday night in Portland can cause a bit of head scratching – so many restaurants are closed on these weeknights, especially as we head into relatively slower seasons. Fortunately, Mi Sen Noodle Bar is open on these early weekdays, causing me to land there twice recently for some great noodle dishes. You should head there any night of the week (except Sunday, they’re closed) when you’re in the mood for some filling, inexpensive, and delicious Thai food.

and The Golden Dish has reviewed Little Tap House.

Little Tap House has grown into a full-fledged neighborhood meeting place that serves not only craft cocktails and local brews but a decently satisfying menu of creative pub grub. The night we were there earlier this week the place was literally packed to the rafters. It had great vibes and atmosphere as a thriving popular pub.

Review of Rosen’s Deli

The Press Herald has published a review of Rosen’s Deli.

With meats piled as high as the Chrysler building on rye bread, you’re forced to take tiny bites around the edges, or pick it apart bit by bit until you whittle it down to manageable size. This is partly why some of their larger sandwiches are more expensive, ranging from $10.99 all the way up to $15.99 for chopped liver, tongue, corned beef and Swiss cheese. (Maybe that last one comes with a side of health insurance?) It’s also why fans from all over the country went apoplectic when the previous incarnation of the Jewish deli closed in January.

2nd Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting (Updated)

IMG_0862The 2nd Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting took place yesterday. 85 different varieties of apples sourced from about a dozen orchards in Maine and New Hampshire were part of the event that I helped organize along with friends Sean Turley and Cecilia Ziko.

A few of my favorites were Ashmead’s Kernel, Esopus Spitzenburg, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Frostbite, Sundance, Ribston Pipppin, Pitmason Pineapple and Red Astrachan.

Nearly all of the apples were purchased in a single day on Saturday within a  few hours drive of Portland. It’s encouraging to realize that so many great heirloom varieties are out there if we just take a bit more time to explore.

For those of you without cars, Rosemont Market is the best in-town source of unusual apple varieties. There’s also a rare apple CSA that is run each fall called Out on a Limb run by Maine’s preeminent  apple expert John Bunker.

Update: Here’s a complete list of the apple varieties we had on-hand for the tasting. It includes information of which orchards we bought them from, and interesting details on their origin and apple genealogy.

Boston Globe: Small Plates in Portland

Former Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Nancy Heiser, has written an article about Portland’s small plate restaurant trend for The Boston Globe.

Small plates have taken hold as a culinary craze in many cities, but in Portland, arguably New England’s small city most revered for food, they are hot, and we’re not talking temperature. Several restaurants that have opened to some acclaim are offering only small plates, and most are doing so in small spaces too. Don’t come expecting full-blown entrées with trimmings.

But you will eat well. Very well.

Central Provisions, Lolita, Sur Lie and Bao Bao are all featured.

This Week’s Events: Gneiss, Maine Wine, Filipino Dinner, Harvest in the Hood, Pumpkin Carving, Flanagan’s

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

Thursday — Slab is holding a Gneiss Brewing tap takeover.

Friday — a Maine wine event is taking place at the Custom House, and The Sinful Kitchen is serving a Filipino Feast.

Saturday —Rosemont is hold Harvest in the Hood at their store on Brighton, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday –The Thirsty Pig’s 4th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest is taking place, and Masa Miyake is the featured chef at a Flanagan’s Table dinner.

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.

South Portland Food Cupboard

The Bangor Daily News has posted a report on the work of the South Portland Food Cupboard.

On Thursday mornings, when the doors of the South Portland Food Cupboard swing open, low-income families can’t believe their eyes.

“The produce is so absolutely beautiful that our clients just cry,” said director Sybil Riemensnider, who receives the weekly bounty from Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth. “These are things they can’t afford.”

Under Construction: LB Kitchen (Updated)

2015-10-11_18-43-31Lee Farrington is planning to renovate 249 Congress Street, the home of her former restaurant Figa, where she and her wife plan to open a new restaurant called LB Kitchen(instagram). They hope to open LB Kitchen sometime early next year.

The restaurant is billed as “a modern cafe”, but specific details on concept, menu, etc are at present still tbd. It’s great to hear that Farrington will be running another restaurant and that the former Figa location is going back into productive use.