Diesel to Dining Room & Fettle Vegan

Today’s Press Herald includes a feature story about Maine food trucks that are making the transition into a traditional restaurant or adding a brick and mortar venue to their business plans.

So it was a no-brainer that when he and his wife, Jenna Friedman, decided to open a food truck in Portland, they settled on serving Middle Eastern food. CN Shawarma, which advertised its food as “Arabian BBQ on wheels” when it debuted in June 2014, proved so popular that the developers building the new apartment complex at the corner of Anderson and Fox streets in East Bayside approached the couple and asked if they would be interested in opening a restaurant in the building.

The Food & Dining section also reports on Maine native Amber St. Peter who has a career as a vegan food writer from her home base in LA..

Fettle Vegan is now known for both, as well as being on-trend in terms of both ingredients (think jackfruit, cauliflower and chickpeas) and dishes (fig + almond chia oat pudding; San Pedro style fish-less market tray; and shredded kale and Brussels sprouts salad).

All-Star Bake Sale

Bakers and pastry chefs from more than 15 restaurants and bakeries are collaborating on bake sale. The list of participating establishments includes Ten Ten Pié, Aurora Provisions, Fore Street, The Purple House, Central Provisions, Caiola’s/Piccolo, Bao Bao and many more.

The $40 boxes of baked goods will be on sale on Friday at Aurora Provisions, Little Giant and East End Cupcakes. The initiative is a fundraiser for Maine Planned Parenthood.

Food Trucks Add Brick and Mortar

The Bangor Daily News has published a report on the growing number of mobile food operators that have expanded to include a brick and mortar establishment or traded in their truck as they grew into a traditional restaurant.

As more and more of Maine’s food trucks morph into bricks-and-mortar eateries, their owners offer a variety of reasons that shifting from four wheels to four walls suddenly makes sense: The “right space” became available, tight quarters came to feel too stifling, the initial venture was successful enough to bankroll a bigger, more traditional restaurant.

The most recent development was Bite Into Maine’s decision to open a location on in Scarborough. Bite Into Maine will join fellow mobile food vendors Mami, Small Axe/East Ender, Love Kupcakes/Baristas+Bites, Hella Good Tacos, Mainely Burgers, Urban Sugar and CN Shawarma/Baharat in converting to or adding a brick and mortar capacity.

This Week’s Events: Sticky Sweet, Good Food Awards, Barrel Aging Tours, The Locker Project

Tuesday – a new food vendor under  construction in the Public Market House called Sticky Sweet will be handing out free samples starting at 11am, and Vena’s will be teaching a cocktail making class.

ThursdayBao Bao is hosting an Oxbow tap takeover.

Friday3 Maine companies will be waiting to hear how they fair in the 2017 Good Food Awards taking place in San Francisco, Woodford F&B is celebrating their 1-year anniversary by raising money to fight hunger in Maine through The Locker Project, and  Rising Tide will be leading 30 minute tours of their new West Wing barrel-aging space.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – Two Fat Cats is starting their celebration of National Pie Day a day early with the launch of their pie buffet.

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.

Best Greek Restaurant: Emilitsa

TimeOut has included Emilitsa in their list of the Best Greek Restaurants in the USA.

Chef Demos recently handed the back-of-house reigns over to son Niko, a Jean-Georges alum making his mark with reinvented Greek cooking. The menu has gotten a refresh—there are now lamb ribs glazed in coriander and citrus and grilled Nova Scotia swordfish topped with sweet peppers—but Emilitsa’s original spirit and inspiration remain untouched. Grandma would be proud.

Reviews: Toroso, Pho Co, Sonny’s, Treehouse

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Toroso,

To a great extent, her approach works well, especially in standout dishes like umami-rich lamb albondigas, and tender, plancha-seared asparagus spears with grated cured egg yolk to add a luxurious, savory character. Seasoning issues (both too much and too little, depending on the dish) pop up from time to time and drag down otherwise promising dishes, like ras el hanout-spiced cauliflower.

the Press Herald has published reviews of Pho Co.,

It was startling. The typical pho broth is thin and lightly flavored; really it’s just the medium for the lovely rice noodles and chicken and herbs and peppers to soak in. This broth was rich and sweet with ginger. This broth could stand on its own. I haven’t stopped thinking about this broth for the last 24 hours.

and of Sonny’s,

Latin American flavors dominate the menu in this Art Nouveau-inspired Old Port restaurant. The cocktail list is the star of the show, but there’s a good selection of wine and beer, too. Good for happy hour, brunch, dinner and late-night snacks.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed The Treehouse.

The Treehouse delivered magnificent food once again and I got to truly enjoy every morsel. The waitress was superb and the atmosphere is one of the better scenes in Portland. Check them out this winter as their warm, cozy room will keep you comfy despite the cold Maine weather.

First Look at Tipo

The Blueberry Files has posted a first look at Tipo,

Tipo, the neighborhood restaurant from Central Provisions owners Chris and Paige Gould, opened last night, serving wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, and small plates. We went for an early dinner anticipating a crush of people, but found a pleasant, steady flow of customers in the open, well-lit space…Tipo is sure to be a hit with the neighbors. Even those used to dining on-peninsula should venture out to this relaxed neighborhood spot.