Reviews: Otto, Baharat, LB Kitchen, Boone’s, Sonny’s, Minato

USA Today has reviewed Otto Pizza,

The pizza that wowed me was the three-cheese tortellini, common as a standalone pasta dish but almost never seen as a pizza topping, where it works really well. The top of the pasta gets just a bit crisped in the oven adding a great textural element, and it is all coated with a thick, old school red sauce like your Italian American nonna would make on Sundays.

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Baharat,

It’s exciting to watch food truckers grow their business into something that’s familiar and yet grows the concept of the original truck. Baharat takes the bright, unique flavors of CN Shawarma and gives them a home in East Bayside, where you too will be “all in” at first sip and bite.

The Golden Dish has reviewed LB Kitchen,

My favorite dish besides the Figa bowl is the egg sandwich. It’s made with lightly toasted white bread from Standard, with a really tasty turmeric fried egg with kimchi and cashews, another crunchy element that imparts great flavor and texture.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Boone’s and a mezcal dinner at Sonny’s, and

Despite my one criticism of their menu, I always enjoy Boone’s. I’ve tried a number of different items there and have never been disappointed. They serve solid food, good drinks, and if you go between 4 and 6, you’ll be able to take advantage of some pretty decent happy hour specials. I’ll be keeping them on my list of restaurants to visit, especially in the warmer months when I can sit outside and eat close to the water.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

Perhaps most pleasing and comforting of all is the okonomiyaki. The pancake was pleasantly light on egg and flour and the cabbage had a bit of crunch. Kewpie mayo offered some tang and spice, and a brown sauce some sweet. Flakes of bonito, which curled and swayed eerily as the steam rose from below, joined seaweed in lending some salt and funk.

T&C Portland Guide

Town and Country has published a visitors guide to Portland.

With terrific, forward-thinking restaurants, stylish independent boutiques, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and cobblestoned streets, Portland is the perfect New England destination for a long weekend. The area is particularly magical in summer, when the weather’s clear and dry, and when delicious eats in the Old Port abound.

Highlighted in the article are: Central Provisions, Duckfat, Eventide, Fore Street, Hunt and Alpine, J’s Oyster Bar, Oxbow and Rising Tide.

New Food Truck: Mashed

A new food truck called Mashed (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) is launching today. It’s the creation of veteran school teacher Renee Rhoads who is embracing her “lifelong passion for cooking and gardening” by launching a mobile food business. She’s operating out of a 1972 Shasta Compact trailer which she has named Spud.

Mashed plans to serve a menu of about 8 dishes all unified by the common element of being served in a “nest of Maine mashed potatoes”. Rhoads sources her potatoes from Middle Intervale Farm in Bethel.

Mashed will be on the Eastern Prom today, 4-7 pm. Since it’s their first day they’re serving a more limited menu of Haddock Cioppino or British Curry with Tofu and Chick Peas.

Getting excited for this Friday! Haddock isn’t on my original menu, but it is Good Friday, so I thought I would honor my Italian-American heritage with Cioppino. The dish originated on the docks of San Francisco in the late 1800s with Italian immigrants. While some say this fish stew comes from Genoa and means “chopped”, I like the lore that it’s folks “chipping in” to create a delicious stew. I feel like so many people have chipped in to encourage me in this new adventure so it seems perfect.

Mashed will be participating along with other food trucks in 2017 edition of Street Eats and Beats on May 20th on Thompson’s Point.

LB Kitchen

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about LB Kitchen and its owners Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind.

Byrna and Lee shared with me what they’re aiming for with LB Kitchen:  “Let’s be honest, we are not those kind of people who eat to live. We live to eat, all day and every day. We wake up thinking about food we dreamed about. We spend our days and our nights swirling around in our kitchens creating, tasting, laughing, loving, and sharing. To us, food is life, love, medicine and community. Our mission at LB Kitchen is to tell you stories through our food; where it came from, why we love it, why we chose it, why it tastes and makes you feel so good. We believe that food is fun and functional.”

Under Construction: Linda Kate Lobster & Seafood Co.

After a couple years in development, Linda Kate Lobster & Seafood Co. (website, facebook, instagram) is set to launch their retail market and cafe at 1035 Ocean Ave in mid-May.

Chef Sam Bergeron (instagram) will be offering lobster and crab rolls and chowder to start. He has worked at The Well and The Honey Paw and is currently on staff with The Purple House and The Bread & Butter Catering Co.

Linda Kates operates a 10,000 sq ft lobster processing facility at this location. In addition to the cafe they will also launch a retail seafood market and a lobster bake/raw bar catering business.


This Week’s Events: Beyond the Kale, Kermit Lynch, Bread Stenciling/Scoring

Tuesday – Kristin Reynolds will give a lecture at the Maine Historical Society entitled Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City.

Wednesday – there will be a Kermit Lynch wine tasting at Old Port Wine Merchants, and a Indian vegetarian cooking class at O’Maine Studios.

ThursdayO’Maine Studios is hosting a sourdough stenciling and scoring workshop, and a bread art gallery.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Next Week – scallop fans may be interested to know that the International Pectinid Workshop is taking place in Portland next week.

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: Big Fin Poké, Baharat, Vieux Port Creole, Artemisia, Empire, Pizzaiolo

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Big Fin Poké,

And overall, it is a successful one, with fresh (though mostly not local) ingredients, clear attention to food safety and cleanliness, and an almost infinite number of choices to personalize a meal to your tastes. The poké bowls with short-grain sushi rice and salad bowls can be very good, especially ones with cubed tofu, tuna, yellowtail and salmon. Both the yuzu citrus and spicy aioli sauces are excellent, and do well to cut the flavors of heavier, fattier ingredients like the sake-marinated beef brisket.

the Press Herald has reviewed Vieux Port Creole,

I expected they’d perhaps arrive on a big platter, running together over a mound of rice, but instead when the dish arrived (not exactly swiftly; I’d just checked my watch and 14 minutes had elapsed) each dish was presented in its own little bowl, with a big lump of white, buttered bread on the side. I went fork-to-fork between all three. The jambalaya was definitely too salty on first bite, but as I kept pulling pieces of chicken and andouille from the thick, brown gravy, I realized it was addictive.

the West End News has reviewed Artemisia Cafe and Pizzaiolo,

The Charlie sandwich, served on grilled peasant bread, featured roast beef, tomato, lettuce, red onion and a Gorgonzola aioli, served warm. Both sandwich and side were delicious, save for some stringiness to the meat.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Baharat and Empire,

The amount of food we received in addition to the quality of both food and drinks made it feel like a bargain. The atmosphere was cool and casual and even though they just opened, they’re drawing quite a crowd. I’m happy to say that Bharat was so awesome that I’m already planning what to order on my next visit.

Under Construction: Vegan Hot Dog Cart

A vegan hot dog cart called Sup Dawg (website, facebook, instagram) is under development. You can check-out their menu online.

We are a mobile, vegan-dawg-slingin’, local as heck food stand located in picturesque Portland, Maine. We use as many local & organic ingredients as possible, make toppings and condiments in-house, and yes, it’s always VEGAN!

Owners Katie Knowles and Sean Ahern plan to be open by June 1st and operate the cart Wednesday through Sunday. Knowles and Ahern are both employed at Flatbread. They’re both vegan and see their food cart as a way to add to the number of vegan eating options in Portland.