Under Construction: Quill Books & Beverage

A bookstore/coffee shop/bar called Quill Books & Beverage (facebook, instagram) is under construction in Westbrook. Owners Matthew Irving and Allison Krzanowski have leased space at One Westbrook Common.

Irving has worked for several years as a bartender at Lolita in Portland and Krzanowski is a weaver. At Quill they’ll be serving cocktails as well as bagels, baked goods, yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, and sandwiches and salads for lunch, as well as a line-up of toasts, cheeses and charcuterie for small snacks.

Quill plans to stock a “diverse selection of carefully curated gently used books, including many recent titles” and will host “author and poetry readings, book clubs, and a weekly board game night”.

First Look: Bite Into Maine

Peter Peter Portland Eater has posted a first look at the new Bite Into Maine cafe in Scarborough.

For me, lobster only in the summer isn’t quite enough. That seems to be the feeling Bite Into Maine’s Sarah Sutton is looking to tap into as she opens Bite Into Maine Commissary at 185 US Rte. 1 in Scarborough tomorrow. The new counter service eatery with a dozen seats will be serving their very popular food truck rolls year round in addition to adding some novel items to the menu.

Vegan Thanksgiving

The Press Herald reports that both Sea Glass and Union are offering plant-based options on their Thanksgiving menus.

Many hotels in Maine serve special Thanksgiving meals, but in the past vegan offerings have been limited to side dishes. While a few hotels offer vegetarian entrees on Thanksgiving, the addition of vegan ones to at least two hotel menus is a milestone in Maine’s ongoing embrace of plant-based cuisine.

See our Thanksgiving Resource Guide for a growing list of local restaurants open on Thanksgiving.

Bite Into Maine Opens Tuesday

Bite Into Maine (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) will be opening their new 12-seat brick and mortar kitchen/cafe at 185 Route 1 in Scarborough on Wednesday Tuesday.

The space will serve both and as a prep area to keep their two food trucks amply supplied throughout the summer months and a destination where Bite Into Maine fans can go all year round to get their lobster roll fix to eat in to take out.

Hours are 11 – 4 on Sunday, closed Mondays and 11 – 6 the rest of the week.

Update: Bite Into Maine shifted their opening day to Tuesday.

This Week’s Events: Portland Beer Week, SMCC, Goodfire Brewing, Tuna Debunked

MondayPortland Beer Week continues through Sunday. Visit the PBW site for the full schedule and see the our Beer Week highlights list.

WednesdayHugo’s is holding a beer dinner with Allagash, the SMCC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs are holding A Light on the Point, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – The Thirsty Pig is hosting the Goodfire Brewing launch party, DiMillo’s is holding benefit dinner for Full Plates Full Potential, and there will be a lectures at GMRI entitled Tuna, Debunked: Myths and Misconceptions.

Friday – there will be a wine tasting at the Rosemont in the West End.

Saturday – there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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.

Thanksgiving Resource Guide

Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. I’m assembling a list of Thanksgiving dinners and local resources for home cooks and related events.

Here’s what’s surfaced so far. I’ll be expanding the list over the next few weeks:

  • Eat Out
    • BlueFin is serving a buffet, $49 per person, ages 6-12 $25 and children under 6 are free.
    • Bolster Snow is serving a 3-course dinner for $60 per person, 11 – 3.
    • Congress Squared, 3-course.
    • Five Fifty-Five, 4-course dinner for $88 per person, there’s also a 3-course children’s dinner for $35 per person, 12:20-8:30.
    • Harraseeket Inn is serving their Thanksgiving Grand Buffet.
    • Saltwater Grille is serving a Thanksgiving buffet 11:30 – 5, $55 per person, $20 for children 12 and under.
    • Sea Glass is serving their Thanksgiving Grand Buffet, $66 per adult, $24 per child, 12-7.
    • Tempo Dulu, 5 courses, $85 per person with optional wine and cocktail pairings for $55 or $59, 1 – 7.
    • Timber, 4-course dinner, $49 per person, 12 – 8.
    • Twenty Milk Street is serving a Thanksgiving dinner, 12 – 7.
    • Union is serving a 3-course meal for $55 per person with a children’s menu for $16.
    • Zackery’s is serving a Thanksgiving buffet, $32 per adult, $28 for seniors, children under 10 pay their age, 11 – 2.
  • Community Dinner
    • The Wayside Food Programs will hold a community dinner on Thanksgiving at the Portland Club, 11:30 – 1.
  • Eat at Home
  • Make a Donation

Reviews: Chaval, Cheevitdee, Linda Kate, Cong Tu Bot

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Chaval,

Chaval, Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti’s new French-and-Spanish-inspired restaurant, is a delight. Sansonetti, the savory chef, has built a menu of rock-solid versions of Gallic and Iberian classics, like pa amb tomaquet (tomato bread), yieldingly tender duck confit on Puy lentils ($24) and some of the best pork terrine in North America. On the sweet side, Lopez, who this year was a James Beard Award semifinalist, serves her famous churros with chocolate sauce and sugar ($8), as well as more fanciful desserts like Bee’s Knees, a bombe Alaska made with lemon curd, soft meringue and Barr Hill gin-soaked vanilla cake.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Cheevitdee,

Cheevitdee’s menu isn’t for everyone, but it’s also not reserved solely for health-conscious diners looking for a night out on the town — this is not “diet Thai.” What it is has yet to be fully clarified or realized, but with bright flavors and an approachable atmosphere, this is a restaurant that may well come into its own over time.

Down East has reviewed Cong Tu Bot, and

Cong Tu Bot takes that traditional street fare and gives each dish a unique spin. The bún chá, one of four noodle offerings on the menu, is a perfect example: Dobui takes the Hanoi specialty of cold rice noodles and grilled pork and augments it with ground pork patties, smoky bacon, burnt caramel, and rich, earthy mushroom powder, seasoning it with fish sauce, garlic, shallots, and sugar. Charred bits from the patties enhance the thin but intense broth, which is finished with a dab of schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and served with a side of cucumber, shiso leaf, mint, and lettuce.

the Portland Press Herald has reviewed Linda Kate.

The roll was brioche and evenly browned, the meat piled high and dressed lightly in a citrus basil mayonnaise, with a dusting of minced fresh herbs on top, maybe parsley, possibly basil. Whatever it was, it didn’t interfere with the delicate flavor of the meat. This was a better lobster roll than I’ve had in some famed Portland restaurants. I didn’t love the shaved lettuce below the meat; it teamed up with the crumb of the brioche to seem slightly dry. This is a personal preference, though. In my kitchen, I’d never put lettuce on a lobster roll. Also, my own jury is out on brioche as a cradle for lobster; sometimes I think it sounds better on paper than it tastes.

Female Beer Brewers

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram has an article about the small but growing number of female beer brewers in Maine.

The state’s thriving beer industry mirrors national trends in which female brewers are a distinct minority. But as more women develop a taste for the product, the boys’ club door has been swinging open.

The article indicate that Shonee Strickland will be the head brewer at Brickyard Hollow Brewing Company when it opens in Yarmouth.