Reviews: Solo Italiano, Brian Boru, Milk & Honey, Salty Sally’s

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Solo Italiano, giving it 3½ stars,

Solo Italiano is full of surprises. Ignore its Commercial Street location and its very chic, newly recast interior, and you’ll discover a restaurant that cares about simplicity and tradition. Paolo Laboa, executive chef and part-owner, is behind the restaurant’s focus on Northern Italian dishes, in particular food from Liguria, where he was raised. By and large, the dishes he and his team prepare are successful ones, most especially a yellowtail carpaccio in a sultry, savory “gazpacho,” and a stupendously good dessert interpretation of a Caprese salad. Laboa’s homemade pastas, like orechiette and papardelle, are also very good, if occasionally let down by seasoning problems.

The Press Herald has reviewed Brian Boru,

A local hang with an Irish flavor, Brian Boru brings in visitors of all ages, from 20-something brunchers to 60-something retirees. Drinks are strong and inexpensive, and the beer list features plenty of local craft brews alongside national staples.

The Golden Dish has published the first review of Milk & Honey,

It was her take on a Reuben done in the manner of a Monte Cristo, with corned   beef, beet pesto (out of this world delicious), with ricotta salata–all of which is layered onto the farm’s whole-wheat bread and put on a panini press until everything melts into incredible flavors.  Served with a zucchini saladslaw and ice tea, it was a lunch of perfection.

and Future Fun Stuff has published the first review of Salty Sally’s.

The environment is decidedly casual, in a good way. It feels like a neighborhood bar. They have fun things like a tabletop arcade game with the classics, boozy milkshakes, and a sweet slogan. They also have a gluten-free fryer and say that most menu items can be prepared gluten-free.

Under Construction: Proper Charlie’s

A new cocktail bar called Proper Charlie’s is under development at 26 Exchange Street.

Owner and Maine native Joshua Miranda “hopes to appeal to Portland’s more refined cocktail consumer” and “bring a modern interpretation of a classic cocktail bar to one of our City’s more iconic thoroughfares.”

Here’s an excerpt of the draft cocktail menu (page 38) supplied with the liquor license application,


and the draft food menu (page 40).


Wild Terrains Guide to Portland

The Wild Terrains travel site has published a guide to Portland.

Come for the small town charm, stay for the food. This travel guide is going to sound like a fat kid wrote it and we have no shame. Portland is a foodie wonderland – it’s filled with award winning restaurants all within walking distance of downtown, and they do not disappoint. Get ready to gain a few lbs because you’re about to pack a lot of eating into a quick weekend trip.

The restaurants featured are Bard, Central Provisions, Duckfat, Eventide, Hunt & Alpine, Piccolo, Scales, Street & Co, Tandem and The Honey Paw

Botto’s Bakery

The Portland Phoenix has published an article on Botto’s Bakery,

“A lot of people know we do bread. They come in and say, ‘I didn’t know you made pastries,’” Jessica said. Their Washington Avenue location sees a lot of foot traffic from the neighborhood and the morning commute. The storefront business, with a quaint design and a couple of tables and chairs, has tripled since they expanded and upgraded their equipment in 2002, she added. They now bake everything in-house, switching from offering a few frozen items.

and a report on organic farming.

The general impression, from casual conversations with farmer’s market foodies, is that buying organic produce comes with certain expectations: the food will be safer, healthier, tastier and less of a strain on the environment. It’s the “you are what you eat,” kind of mentality and firm believers are willing to pay extra money to adhere to it.

New USM Food Studies Program

The Press Herald has published an article on a new Food Studies program at USM,

The University of Southern Maine is launching a food studies program next spring to provide a broad, liberal arts-style education in food and offer at least 30 paid internships a year to students who want to try working in food-related businesses or anti-hunger organizations in Maine.

as has the Bangor Daily News.

The first of its kind in the state, USM’s Food Studies Program will launch as an undergraduate minor in the spring semester, and cover subjects such as the economics of Maine’s thriving microbreweries and how public policy might improve food insecurity in the state. The university plans to expand the program over the next two years to include graduate-level courses, a graduate certificate program in food studies and internship placements for students in the various food enterprises around Portland.

For more detail see the original proposal to establish the program (82 pages).

Mike Wiley Series

Mike Wiley, co-chef/owner, of Hugo’s, Eventide, and The Honey Paw, has penned an article providing a behind the scenes look at staffing a restaurant. This is the first of a three-part series by Wiley.

When I try to be frank with our guests about where the ideas and food come from, I get the sense they think my explanations are false modesty. That’s not it at all: A lot of really talented and hardworking people work in our restaurants, and everything is a collaboration.

Seed: The Untold Story

PrintThe Nickelodeon will be screening the award winning movie Seed: The Untold Story starting this Friday, through Wednesday September 21st.

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. SEED features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke and Raj Patel.

The screening of Seed at the Nickelodeon is in partnership with Rosemont Market, Cultivating Community, The Wild Seed Project and the Portland Pollinator Project.

Thurston’s Closed (Updated)

Thurston’s Wicked Good Burgers has gone out of business. They served their last burger Sunday night.

Thank you all for visiting Thurstons Wicked Good Burgers and Frozen Custard over the last two years. I wanted to let you all know that at the End of business hours today; 9:00pm, we will be serving our last burger.
Thank you all for your support

Chef Schilly and Team.

Update: The Press Herald has published a report on the closing of Thurston’s.