The Purple House to Serve Ogawa Coffee

The Purple House will serve Ogawa Coffee when the North Yarmouth wood-fired bakery and cafe opens early next year. Chef/owner Krista Kern Desjarlais tells me she “loved the richness of the roasts without bitterness or acid” and that both the dark and lighter roasts “remained balanced with citrus and hibiscus notes brightening the flavor without acid on the finish” that make for “really beautiful and delicious” coffees.

Desjarlais is currently looking for a barista to join her staff and participate in the training with Ogawa prior to opening The Purple House.

Ogawa Coffee was founded in Kyoto in 1952, and now operates nearly 40 coffee shops across Japan, and as of earlier this year, one in Boston as well. 2010 World Barista Latte Art champion Haruna Murayama “oversees the  menu development and barista training for Ogawa”.

Over the last few years with the opening of Bard, Speckled Ax and Tandem, Mainers have seen a diversification of the choices we have for coffee. The selection of Ogawa for The Purple House adds another great option to the mix. I had the chance to visit Ogawa’s cafe in Boston last month and am looking forward to having a local destination to get a cup of their coffee.

This Week’s Events: New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve

  • Abilene – serving a prix fixe dinner
  • Artemisia Cafe – 4-course, $75.
  • Back Bay Grill – 4-course dinner, $105.
  • BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe – 3-course, $55.
  • Boone’s – 5-course dinner, $85.
  • Central Provisions14-course tasting menu, $220 per couple (including tax and gratuity) with optional pairings $55 per person.
  • Crooners & Cocktails – 7-course dinner paired with a split of Moët champagne for $85 per person.
  • East Ender – snack buffet and glass of sparkling wine, $25.
  • Evo – 5-course dinner in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot, $75 per person with optional wine pairings.
  • Five Fifty-Five – 4-course, $85, with optional wine pairings.
  • Honey Paw/Eventide – passed apps and champagne toast, $53.74.
  • Isa – 3-course dinner, $45.
  • King’s Head – 4-course and glass of prosecco, $30.
  • Lolita – over-the-top tapas party including 30 of the most popular items from their 2015 menus
  • MK Kitchen – 4-course dinner, $75.
  • Pepperell Mill – party in the Biddeford, $20 per person.
  • Petite Jacqueline – 3-course tasting menu with champagne, $75.
  • Piccolo – 9-course dinner and glass of prosecco, $115.
  • Sur Lie – tasting menu, $75.
  • Tempo Dulu – 8-course dinner with cocktail and champagne toast, $195.
  • Terlingua – 5-course and glass of bubbly, $75.
  • Tiqa – 4-course dinner, $55.
  • Twenty Milk Street – a la carte menu.
  • Union – 5-course dinner, $99.
  • Vinland – 5-course dinner and sparkling wine toast, $108.
  • Grace, Ebb & Flow and several other restaurants will also be open serving their regular menu.

Friday — the Blue Spoon is serving an Italian New Year’s Day dinner.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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.

Review of El Rayo

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed El Rayo.

Standard menu items are more reliable than the specials here, so stick with familiar favorites like fried plantains served with a piquant chipotle mayonnaise. (That mayo is so good, it’s reason enough to order the appetizer.) Then dig into a bowl of guacamole with one of El Rayo’s thin, lightly salted tortilla chips: The guac is fresh, brightened with key lime juice, and pleasantly peppery, and you’ll plow through the crispy chips in no time. You can move on to empanadas and burritos served with rice and beans, or a quesadilla crisped on the griddle, but the tacos at El Rayo (it is a “taqueria” after all) stand out. Don’t miss the barbecued pulled pork taco served with cole slaw, crumbly cotija cheese and a red onion escabeche: It’s a meaty, sticky, messy winner.

Under Construction: BRGR Bar

Restaurateur Phelps Craig (linkedin) has leased the first floor of the old Margarita’s at 11 Brown Street where she plans to open the Portland location of BRGR Bar (instagram, website, facebook).

Choose from one of their house specialty burgers or get creative with the build your own option. The menu also features some “adult” alcoholic milkshake options like the Apple Pie a la Mode made with house infused apple cinnamon bourbon.

Craig opened Brazo in 2007 which she sold to Friendly Toast owner Eric Goodwin earlier this year. The original BRGR Bar in Portsmouth is located at 34 Portwalk Place directly across the street from the Portsmouth branch of Green Elephant.

Under Construction: Pizzaiolo

piazzaiolaEater Maine has posted an update on Pizzaiolo, the New York-style pizzeria under construction at 360 Cumberland Ave.

Alongside 12 different selections of white, whole wheat, and gluten-free slices (“no one else has gluten-free slices ready,” Scally insisted), the pizzeria will offer salads and precisely one type of sandwich: a meatball sub with roll and meatballs baked in-house.

Owner Pat Scally, the former director of Operations at Otto Pizza, hopes to be open in January.


Reviews: Tomaso’s Canteen & Portland Patisserie

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed the Portland Patisserie,

These desserts are lovely for a bit of shared decadence at the patisserie’s traditional small white tables. Or you can fill the table up with larger plates for crepes, soups, salads and sandwiches. The crepes are expertly done in the traditional style, with their handsome brown wedge topped by a jagged crown of crisp and chewy cheese. A crepe made with duck, gruyere, onion and stonefruit was built like the tricolor. At the point of the wedge the cheese mingled with the tart and sweet of the fruit. Where it widened the richer flavors of a chewy duck confit and tender caramelized onion dominated. The top was all terrific salty cheese.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Tomaso’s Canteen.

We ate and ate, stopping only to take short breaths and stare lovingly at our food. Eventually, it was nearly gone and we were filled to the brim. I reminisced about the past hour and realized that while I was well fed, the meter where I parked wasn’t. I asked for the bill and hoped that there wasn’t another one on my car. Our total came to a mere 31 bucks before tip. We didn’t have any drinks, but we had lots of food. It was all very good, and that app…that app was simply gorgeous. We were both smiling and raved about Tomaso’s Canteen as a great place to go and not spend all our cash while still getting top notch pub grub.

Maine Good Food Awards Tasting (Updated)

Eight Maine food producers earned a place as Finalists for the 2016 Good Food Award in early November.

Rising Tide is hosting a GFA Maine tasting event January 7th 4-7 pm along with 6 of their fellow finalists where you’ll be able to sample and buy the products that have earned this recognition:

The final winners of this national competition will be announced on January 15 in San Francisco.

Retail Social Media Controversy

Today’s Press Herald reports on the recent social media smear campaign of several beer and wine retailers, and controversy over its origins.

On Thursday, a few profiles left one-star reviews on the pages of local retailers such as Bier Cellar, RSVP Discount Beverage, Rosemont Market and Bakery, Craft Beer Cellar and Old Port Wine Merchant. Dozens of other one-star reviews have been posted since, leading to arguments about the reviews and who is responsible for them.

The ruckus has erupted into a social media back-and-forth among the retailers, and highlights the importance of online reputations while offering a cautionary tale for businesses that hire contractors to manage their social media presence.

Food & Wine Discovery Series

surlieSur Lie and the Maine chapter of the American Sommelier Association are holding a Food & Wine Discovery Series early next year. Each session will consist of  a guided tasting through 8 wines (4 flights of two each) with a dish created by Chef Emile Rivera for each flight.

Three sessions are scheduled so far:

  • January 7 – Sparkling Wines of the World
  • February 11 – The World of Sherry
  • March 10 – Organic, Biodynamic & Sustainable Wines

Tickets are $45 and are on sale at Sur Lie.

The draft wine list for January session include:

  • Castellroig Brut Nature Reserva Cava, Catalonia, Spain
  • Villa Di Corlo “Corleto” Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Caneva Da Nani “Col Fondo” Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
  • Avinyo Blanc Vi d’ Agulla-Petillant, Penedes, Spain
  • Domaine Des Terres Blanches Ancestral Rouge, Loire, France
  • Chateau De Lavernette Reserve De Lavernette Granit Brut Nature, Burgundy, France
  • Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne, France
  • Corte Bianca Extra Brut, Franciacorta DOCG, Italy
  • Steininger Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, Kamptal, Austria