Interview with Chad Conley & Greg Mitchell

The North East Kitchen has published an interview with Greg Mitchell & Chad Conley, chef/owners of the Palace Diner. The interviewed is beautifully illustrated with a set of photos from kitchen and counter at the diner.

NEK: What about now, is there someone or something that particularly inspires your cooking?
CC: I’ve moved away from my earlier interest in fine dining and anything “fancy”. My favorite restaurants are well-run local favorites. I’m proud of the way we execute homey, comfortable food at Palace. I’ve become more interested in paying attention to the non-food parts of the restaurant experience. The idea of creating a simply pleasant experience that exceeds people’s expectations and leaves them feeling like they’ve found something unique but approachable has become a part of what drives me alongside creating fun and delicious food.

The North East Kitchen is a new project which will include “interviews – and recipes – from chefs and cooks, and feature kitchens and food life along the North Eastern US”. Author/photographer Myriam Babin is also “producing a photography book about chefs of the North Eastern US to be published by Princeton Architectural Press.”

Union Bagel Co. Expansion

Union Bagel Company is considering moving their bakery to Westbrook where they’d also operate a second retail shop, according to a report from the Press Herald.

The Westbrook Planning Board reviewed a sketch plan Tuesday for the proposed location of the company’s wholesale operation, as well as a new retail shop, at 9 Cumberland St.

The building, located on the rotary leading to downtown Westbrook, has seen frequent turnover in recent years, having been home to Thanksgivings, Hoggy’s Market and most recently, Eddie’s Eatery.

Reviews: Great Lost Bear & Portland Co-op

The Press Herald has published a bar review of The Great Lost Bear,

The Great Lost Bear has an extensive beer list and maintains a hometown-bar vibe. Good for a burger and a beer, especially on Mondays and Tuesdays when it’s “talls for smalls” pricing.

and a lunch review of the Portland Food Co-op.

There are two kinds of organic soups ready to ladle into to-go cups (soups change daily) and the price was right ($3.50 for a small). I chose the mushroom barley, which was vegan (I felt instantly virtuous). Since that was so cheap, I also grabbed a couple of lunch-portioned salads from the cooler right near the soup: a half pound of “Awesome Chicken Salad” for $6.86 and an “Autumn Salad” with chickpeas, kale and pepitas, aka little pumpkin seeds, for $2.64.

Under Construction: Gruit

Urban Eye reports that the Urban Farm Fermentory is expanding into the former Bomb Diggity space where they plan to establish a brewery.

In a 700 square-foot space under the same roof, UFF’s is opening a new grain fermentation facility called Gruit. “This allows us to do a few things that are new in the beer world.” Gruit, an ancient herbal beer, will be made here and served on tap in UFF’s tasting room. As will braggots (a barley malt mead).

Under New Ownership: Expectations vs Vision

An article in this month’s issue of Dispatch examines the challenges new owners face when taking over an existing restaurant–putting in place their vision while trying to retain an established customer base. Specifically the article looks at the purchase of Steve & Renees Diner and the conversion of Quatrucci’s to Other Side Deli.

Two people would come in and sit at a table for six, drink a pot of coffee over the course of an hour, and leave without ordering food. This is their preferred method of protest.”

Such is how Josh Bankhead, who owns and operates Hella Good Tacos in Portland with his wife Melissa, describes the war waged on them by estranged patrons, mostly senior citizens, upon their purchase of the venerable Portland institution, Steve & Renee’s Diner.

Intervale Mercantile Now Open(ish)

intervalesignIntervale Mercantile Co.(instagram) had a soft opening on Saturday and is now “slightly open“, 10-2 Monday through Friday with a grand opening planned for Saturday.

Intervale is located at 4 School Street in Freeport. A studio and retail shop for Erik Desjarlais’ line of Weft & Warp brand products (knife rolls, aprons, leather goods, etc) as well as a growing assortment of vintage chefs knive, grooming products and an interesting collection of flatware based jewelry and decorative items.

This Week’s Events: Tap Takeovers, Fernet Michaud, MBC Dinner, Dim Sum Brunch, NYE List

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

Wednesday — there will be an Allagash tap takeover at Eventide Oyster Company, and Maine Craft Distilling and Coastal Root Bitters are being featured at the Ri Ra Meet the Makers event.

ThursdayLiquid Riot is releasing Fernet Michaud, Bao Bao is hosting a Foundation Brewing tap takeover, and there will wine tastings at the Public Market House and C Salt Gourmet.

Friday — Rising Tide is holding a beer and oyster event in  collaboration with O’ Oysters.

Saturday — MBC is having a bottle release for Dinner (starts at 7am, 1 case limit), Bissell Brothers is having a can release for Angels with Filthy Souls, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — The Honey Paw is holding a Dim Sum Brunch.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

SMCC Culinary Continuing Studies

SMCC is offering a set of three culinary classes as part of their Continuing Education program. A collaboration with the state’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife department, the classes focus on cooking with wild game and fish.

  • January 23 – Duck, Duck, Goose
  • February 27 – Freshwater Catch
  • March 12 – Small Game

The classes will consist of a cooking demonstration and tasting with SMCC instructor Geoffrey Boardman and discussion with IFW staff.