Dirigo Brewing Opens in 1 Week

Maine’s newest brewery, Dirigo Brewing Co. (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) is set to open one week from today on August 19th.

Please join our brewmaster Tom Bull, his wife Molly, and their partners Mark and Meesha Paulin on Friday, August 19th to sample Dirigo Brewing Company’s first three offerings: a German Pale Ale; a Rotbier (red ale); and a Schöps Bier (chocolate wheat ale derived from a 16th century Polish recipe).

Dirigo is located in downtown Biddeford in the Riverdam Mill. The doors open at 11am.

Food Strategy Framework Released

The Maine Food Strategy Framework report has been released, according to a report from the Press Herald.

“What is being presented in this document is a set of goals, and in those goals there are a set of underlying ‘how do we get theres,’ ” [Joshua Stoll, founder of LocalCatch.org] said. “That’s the piece that’s really exciting. This creates a blueprint for moving these ideas forward that people from all over Maine have been thinking about.”

Interested to learn more? Read the full report.

T+L Best Cities for Food

Portland has clocked in at #10 on the Travel and Leisure list of the Best Cities for Food in the United States. The ratings are based on a poll of the T+L readership.

Major cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, are hardly surprising. The latter has a crop of new restaurants that are dynamic and adventurous—but also just really, really good. Yet our readers found fantastic, world-class meals even in quiet Savannah, Georgia, and far up the coast in Portland, Maine.

“I was amazed by the food scene here,” admitted one reader of their trip to Portland. “Even the food trucks were unexpectedly exceptional. [You] can get the best fish and chips in Maine!”

Under Construction: Cong Tu Bot

Vien Dobui and Jessica Sheahan have leased a 1600 sq ft space at 55 Washington Avenue where they plan to open Cong Tu Bot (Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter), a Pho noodle bar. Dobui and Sheehan ran a few Cong Tu Bot pop-up dinners back in 2013 and I can say from personal experience that Vien’s noodles and soup are outstanding. I am very excited to see opening day for this new venture.

They’re planning a casual, moderately priced restaurant that customers want to, and can afford to make a regular destination. Cong Tu Bot will be open 10am to 10pm serving primarily lunch and dinner items but with some breakfast dishes in the mix and takeout will be available.

Vien was the first employee and a former partner at Tandem. He’s currently cooking at Palace Diner. A fellow Blue Bottle alum, Joseph Zohn, will be moving to Portland from Los Angeles to work as the sous chef at Cong Tu Bot. Zohn has also cooked at Reynard and at Marco’s in Brooklyn.

Jessica will be the GM for Cong Tu Bot. She has 9 years of experience both in front and back of house in the restaurant industry, both in  San Francisco and Portland.

Dobui and Sheahan are hoping to open sometime in early 2017.

This Week’s Events: Oxbow @ Eventide, Pomology, Foulmouthed Beer, Twilight Dinner, Jolly Pumpkin

Monday — there will be an Oxbow tap takeover at Eventide tonight.

WednesdayBlack Tie is holding a farm dinner in New Gloucester, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — Foundation is releasing 500ml bottles of their new beer Pomology:Apricot, and The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Foulmouthed Brewing.

Friday — the West End Rosemont and the Public Market House are holding a wine tastings.

Saturday — Novare Res will be featuring 21+ beers from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market will take place.

Sunday — Emmet Helrich from Local 188 and Chef Paul Tuck from Sonny’s are  the featured chef for Cultivating Community’s Twilight Dinner at The Well, and the weekly Crofters & Artisan Market is taking place.

Rabelais Book Sale — Rabelais books will be holding their annual book sale August 25-28 at their store in Biddeford’s North Dam Mill.

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.


Reviews: Rhum, Local 188, Lolita, Dewey’s, Lunch & Lobster

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Rhum,

Other dishes put a variety of Pacific cuisines new twists. A creamy hamachi tartar was like a finely chopped poke with lots of sesame. The kim-chi croque madame offset the sour cabbage with runny egg yolk and melted American cheese. The little bahn mi, with pork jerky and some sort of siracha-touched mayo, unleashed enough umami to encourage more drinking. The fois gras loco moco attempts to take low cuisine pretty high – with delicate eggy pillows filled with the rich liver meat and spam.

the Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Local 188,

One place where this approach has paid dividends is on the dessert menu, where you’ll find …pastry chef Pat Tubbs’ literally named take on a Black Forest cherry dessert, the Bosque Negro ($8), a dense triple chocolate brownie dripping with slow-melting charred vanilla ice cream and dotted with deep red pickled cherries. Tubbs ties sweet and savory elements together with a Spanish-accented sherry pastry cream, soft raisin fruit jellies that echo aromas in the sherry, and a sprinkling of fried pine nuts that have been tossed in paprika. There’s a lot going on here, but apart from needing a little more vanilla char flavor in the ice cream, it all comes together in this remarkably inventive dessert – even the plating, which is aptly Picasso-esque.

the Press Herald has published a bar review of Local 188,

Local 188 has been a fixture in Portland’s West End for nearly two decades serving up Spanish-inspired tapas, one-of-a-kind cocktails, local beer and a comprehensive wine list that caters to everyone. Lively, relaxed, eclectic and fueled by the local art scene, Local 188 has helped create the city’s foodie foundation.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Lolita,

But it was well worth it because the food is so good here—tremendous flavors, gutsy preparations.  I had been several weeks prior to dine at the bar and had a wonderful meal of small plates: a piquant tuna tartare, a bracing grilled squash with a garlicky pistachio aioli and a robust stew of mixed shellfish.

The Bollard has reviewed Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster,

The Lobster Delight ($24.95) was indeed delightful: a one-pound lobster, an ear of corn and a dozen steamed clams, served with plenty of melted butter. While my husband made short work of that plate, I dug into another classic, the lobster roll with fries ($16.25). Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster’s version is the Platonic ideal: big hunks of fresh meat dressed in mayo and nestled in a grilled New England-style hot dog bun. The sole garnish is a leaf of lettuce.

and the Press Herald has reviewed Three Dollar Dewey’s.

Three Dollar Dewey’s is comfortable, the food is affordable and there’s zero pretense. We all know that Portland is a hardcore foodie town with new places opening almost every week all with something different to offer. I’m not knocking this, it’s part of what put and keeps Portland on the map. But it’s also good to remember the places that have stood the test of time. Three Dollar Dewey’s is one of those places for me.

Tandem to Expand

Tandem Coffee is planning to expand into the original Bunker Brewery building later this year when Bunker moves to their new location in Libbytown.

Owners Will and Kathleen Pratt intend to use the 1,200 sq ft building to grow their coffee roasting and packing facility. The space freed up next door will become additional seating for the original Tandem cafe and a small bakery to augment the capacity of the main kitchen on Congress Street.

Interview with Leslie Oster

Maine Women Magazine has published an interview with Leslie Oster from Aurora Provisions which includes some pointers for putting on a great event.

Leslie Oster is a bit of a legend in Maine. As general manager and catering director for Aurora Provisions (the café, catering company and market in Portland’s West End neighborhood), Oster will oversee a whopping 23 weddings this year and more than 50 catered events. She creates original menus and is known for her stunning table arrangements.