Baker Michael Reilly Retires

A front page story in today’s Press Herald profiles Michael Reilly as his 50-year career running Reilly’s Bakery in Bidddeford comes to a close.

That demanding schedule is about to change. On Dec. 29, his 65th birthday, after the pork pie Christmas rush, Reilly will put away his rolling pin at precisely 10 a.m. – the time he was born – and retire from full-time work at the family baking business he has owned since 1983. His daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Kevin Hussey, who represent the fourth generation, will be taking over management of the old-fashioned bakery well-loved for its maple cream doughnuts, which sell for $1.25 apiece. They’ll celebrate with an open house retirement party from 1-4 p.m. on Jan. 2.

Beer Can Supply Shortage

Today’s Press Herald reports on changes in wholesale beer can supply market that are impacting Maine brewers.

All of that has created a growing demand for craft beers in 16-ounce cans and strained the segment’s primary supplier, Pennsylvania-based Crown Holdings. Normally, beer can suppliers deliver a minimum order of 155,000 cans – the payload of a conventional 18-wheeler. But Crown, a metal can manufacturer, developed a niche business catering to those small brewers who only needed half-truck orders.

A few months ago, word started trickling out that Crown would no longer offer half-truck orders, and was dropping some customers entirely – even if they ordered full truckloads.

This Week’s Events: Sur Lie/Rhum, 555 Eve Dinner, Christmas, NYE List

MondaySur Lie is holding a tiki cocktail infused neighborhood welcome party for Rhum.

ThursdayFive Fifty-Five is serving a Christmas Eve dinner.

Friday — it’s Christmas Day. Congress Squared, Eve’s at the Garden, the Harraseeket Inn, the Inn by the Sea, Twenty Milk Street, and Union are serving Christmas dinners. See OpenTable for a list of other restaurants open on Christmas day.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

New Year’s Eve – restaurants have started announcing NYE specials. Let me know if you know of one that’s missing.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

25 Best New Restaurants: Honey Paw

The Honey Paw was included in the Gear Patrol list of the 25 Best New Restaurants in America.

What to Order: Fry bread with uni butter; fried wings with coconut, lemongrass, tamarind and Thai bird chili; Vietnamese pork meatball soup with glass noodle, smoked pork broth, mortadella, roast pork and Thai bird sambal; fish head curry made with local cod, sweet potato, pickled okra, cashew, fresh turmeric, tomatillo sambal and jasmine rice.

La Liste 1,000: Fore Street

La Liste, a new international guide to the 1,000 most “exceptional restaurants from around the world” was released on Thursday. 101 US restaurants made the cut. Per Se came in #2 overall and Fore Street, the sole entry from Maine, was ranked #935.

La Liste is based on the collective rankings from 200 guidebooks and online review sites. Each of the source’s weight in the overall score was based on their level of reliability as reported from a survey of 150,000 restaurant owners.

This graphic (click to expand) shows the national origins of the restaurants on the list:

lalisteYou can learn more about the team leading the project, their sources and methodology on the La Liste website.

Colby Alums in the Food Industry

The new issue of the Colby alumni magazine highlights the stories of 9 graduates making their mark in the Maine food industry including Maine rice farmer Ben Rooney, Pemaquid Oyster Company co-founders Jeff McKeen and Carter Newell, Blue Ox Malthouse founder Joel Alex, James Beard nominated chef Mike Wiley, Ocean Approved co-founder Paul Dobbins, and several others.

I don’t if it’s because I also went to Colby and so am more likely to notice the connection but my sense is there are a lot of Colby alumni working and leading in the Maine food industry.

Interviews: Cara Stadler & Tim Adams

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Cara Stadler, chef/owner of Bao Bao and Tao Yuan.

LO: What made you decide to stay in the industry?
CS: I love food, I love cooking, I love the science behind it, and I love the effect it can have. The fact that you can take someone’s terrible day and turn it around is pretty awesome. We want people to come in and be happy at the end of the day. We do our best every day to deliver something fun and enjoyable.

and interviewed Tim Adams, head brewer and co-owner of Oxbow.

Blending various barrels is clearly an important practice in creating your finished beers. How do you determine what beer to blend with what beer?
It starts with the end goal of having a balanced and complex product. I’ll have a beer in mind, usually that starts with having a color in mind that will need to be accomplished. Flavor profile-wise I want barrel character, but not too much barrel character. I like blending different types of barrels to enhance complexity. I do a lot of mixing of wine barrels and bourbon barrels, and barrels of various ages. I like working with at least a small amount of bourbon barrel beer for the vanillin, I find that it’s a really nice smoother-outer, if you will, on the pointier and sharper notes of acidity.


Review of Fore Street

The Golden Dish has reviewed Fore Street.

Fore Street has not lost its luster one bit.  Yet its gloriousness is so subtle.  It doesn’t blaze with culinary fripperies. Instead its gastronomic Zeitgeist favors a less-is-more approach, maintaining a patina of refinement with everything that comes out of its kitchen.  From the food that’s grilled, spit-roasted or pan seared and roasted in great cast-iron pans to the utter fineness of its ingredients—nearly all locally sourced— it’s the simplicity  of its cooking that speaks with such exuberance.