Interview with Piccolo & Chef Life Balance

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with the owners of Piccolo, Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez,

Can you tell me a little bit about your background? What made you get into the restaurant business, and what made you stay?

Ilma Lopez: I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I studied to work in medicine, but was also drawn to the techniques and specifics of the kitchen and baking. The people and the ingredients (kept me in the business).

Damian Sansonetti: Growing up in a big Italian family in Pittsburgh, Penn., you are always around food and cooking. My father was in the business, but I never thought it would be a career path until when I was in my university chem and bio classes and all I was thinking about was food. (I love) the adrenaline rush of service and the way you get to connect to guests with the food and service. It’s awesome when you trigger a food memory or emotionally move people with what your team can do.

and an article on how two chefs are finding work/life balance once they became mothers.

The funny thing about work/life balance, though, is that for most people the balance is truly key. Too much work can be a bad thing, and so can too little. Now, separately, [Krista Kern] Desjarlais and [Lee] Farrington have turned to breakfast and lunch service, with occasional evening engagements on their own terms, as a way to equalize work and life.

Own a Piece of Oxbow

The Press Herald reports that Oxbow Brewing is seeking to raise $850,000 in equity investment funds, presumably to expand their business.

Oxbow filed a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities form, signaling that it intends to solicit investments in exchange for shares in the company. The brewer indicated that it would accept amounts as little as $5,000 per investor, and that it expected the offering period to last more than a year.

The Abitare Project

The Abitare Project(website, facebook, twitter, instagram) is putting together a series of performances for their 2016 calendar. Each will be a collaboration between project musicians Tracey Jasas-Hardel and Ben Noyes and a local chef, pairing food, wine and music into single experience. Chefs who are interested in participating in the series can get in touch with them at

This Week’s Events: Agricultural Trade Show, Fore River Launch, Brewpub Cup, Mockingfish, Good Food Awards, Duckfat Allagash Dinner

foreriverMondayVena’s Fizz House is teaching a Mixology class.

Tuesday — it the opening day of the 75th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta.

WednesdayThe Thirty Pig is holding a launch party Fore River Brewing.

ThursdayFore River Brewing is opening their tasting room in South Portland, and The Great Lost Bear is hosting the 7th Annual Brewpub Cup.

Friday — Rising Tide is having a bottle release for Mockingfish. The Good  Food Awards Gala is taking place in San Francisco, 8 Maine food producers are in contention for an award.

Saturday — Rosemont is featuring Urban Farm Fermentory at their monthly Meet Your Maker event, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayDuckfat is holding an Allagash beer dinner, and Tiqa is teaching a cooking class.

oxbowkurosawaKurosawa‬ Film Series — Oxbow and the Mami food truck have kicked off a weekly Kurosawa‬ film series. It starts this week with a showing of Drunken Angel. Visit the Oxbow website for a full list of upcoming screenings.

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.

Under Construction: Portland Meatball Co.

Planning is underway to convert 104 Exchange Street, currently the home of Pierre’s of Exchange Street, to  a restaurant. The 2,300 square foot space is slated to be the home of the Portland Meatball Company.

According to PMC’s trademark application, “all of our products/food/menu items are produced and sourced from local Maine farms and local Maine Businesses.”

Pizzaiolo Controversy Explored

BDN columnist Chris Busby has examined in more depth the Facebook posts published by Pat Scally, owner of a new pizzeria under construction on Cumberland Ave.

I believe that, but I don’t believe Scally posted those memes by mistake. I think Scally is ignorant about politics (he admits as much) and insensitive to racist rhetoric (which he also concedes), but is not a hateful person or someone I would consider a racist.

That said, I believe James was right to bring those memes to the community’s attention, and people certainly have the right to criticize Scally for the posts and refuse to eat his pizza. But had this matter ended there on Facebook, Portland would be a more divided and dangerous place as a result. There’d be more hatred, less understanding, and no opportunity for an apology or forgiveness. If we’re going to keep the real racists at bay (and out of the White House), we’ll need to do more reaching out than flipping out.

7 Reviews: Tomaso’s, Bayou Kitchen, Bao Bao, Samuel’s, Terlingua, Slab, Oxbow

The Bollard has reviewed Terlingua and Slab.

Slab successfully transforms traditional brunch ingredients into imaginative new dishes with bold flavors. There are at least a half dozen other menu items I want to try. The next time I’m torn between craving the familiar and the unexpected, I know exactly where I’m going.

The Press Herald has published a review of  Tomaso’s and a bar review of Oxbow.

Tomaso’s Canteen is a short walk from just about anywhere in downtown Portland and I encourage people to color outside their pre-established lunch lines and give it a whirl. Don’t be in a huge hurry so you can sit back and relax.

The Golden Dish has reviewed both Bayou Kitchen and Bao Bao.

The homies were perfectly delicious red-skinned potatoes given a nice crisping on the flat top.  Two poached eggs were just right, with firm whites and runny yolks.  I chose Bayou’s cornbread as my toast selection.  It was so light that the bread nearly crumbled in my hand.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Samuel’s.

We finished eating and paid our bill which I believe was somewhere around $40 buck before tip. It wasn’t pricey, but the food didn’t distinguish itself in selection or quality. Nonetheless, it wasn’t bad and was pretty much what one would expect from a neighborhood location outside of Portland.