Reviews: El Corazon, Woodford F&B, Lazzari, Bite Into Maine

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed El Corazon,

It’s easy to get distracted at El Corazon, a Portland restaurant that offers an enormous range of dishes from across Mexico. Some, like carnitas-filled quesadillas, a jiggly housemade flan and fruity hibiscus agua fresca, demonstrate clearly why the business, an offshoot of a local food truck, has built up such a loyal following. Yet on the same, vast menu are bland items like albondigas soup, chicken sopes and fried pollock tacos, listed alongside overcooked carne asada and a saccharine seafood cocktail.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Woodford F&B,

Proprietors Birch Shambaugh and Fayth Preyer — along with chef Courtney Loreg — have created an intimate venue for well-executed bistro food on perhaps the most hectic corner in the greater Portland area, and it’s amazing how well it works. Despite the unfortunate, near-24/7 presence of construction and traffic buzzing outside as part of the major Woodfords Corner redesign, the room itself remains warm, lively and romantic. F&B’s interior showcases both classic and modern elements of design, evoking feelings of sitting in a Blade Runner-esque diner with slightly Parisian leanings.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Lazzari, and

Lazarri isn’t redefining pizza, it’s just taking it and making it to exacting standards. They’re also making sure that all the side notes – non-pizza food, drinks, and staff – are killing it too. Whether you’re starting your night there, ending it, or it’s your entire evening, there’s no doubt a visit to Lazzari will make you happy. It seems to be what they do. And they’re doing it well.

the Press Herald has reviewed Bite Into Maine.

I tried the LGC, a lobster grilled cheese with chipotle aioli and fontina and sharp cheddar cheeses on sourdough bread for $11.95. It was buttery and golden brown on the outside. The cheeses were creamy, the lobster chunks were tender, and the chipotle aioli had a little kick that took a few seconds to register.

Under Construction: Legends Rest

The American Journal has published an update on Legends Rest,

The other owners are Mike Barton and Minervino’s sister and Westbrook resident, Meg Minervino. The 1,000-square-foot space will seat 35 people and will have a late 80s to early 90s feel that will “capture the old school sports bar vibe,” Tom Minverino said.

For more information see the original announcement on PFM.

Seaweed Aquaculture

Civil Eats has published an article about seaweed aquaculture in Maine.

There are many varieties of seaweeds, and methods of farming differ, but sugar kelp production works well in Maine. Kelp farming generally involves gathering source tissue from wild kelp and then using the spores from that tissue in a lab to grow kelp seedlings or “sporophytes” on strings that are then attached to ropes strung out just below the ocean’s surface. Leaf-like blades then grow downward while clinging to the rope from what is called a holdfast, hanging below the surface of the water in rows.

2017 Most Exciting Food Cities

Portland has clocked in at #27 on Zagat’s 2017 list of the Most Exciting Food Cities in America.

Maine’s formerly sleepy little coastal capital has blossomed into a full on dining destination over the past few years, led by an ambitious flock of artisans, brewers, bakers and chefs…and it’s safe to say that Portland is officially taking the New England culinary scene by storm.

BA: Best Bagels of 2017

Bon Appétit has declared the Montreal-style bagels from The Purple House the Best Bagels We Ate in 2017.

I planned my entire trip around being able to make as many visits as possible to The Purple House. (I managed three.) There, I found hearty, rustic sandwiches and striking pastries like gooseberry-studded financiers. But the most important thing I found was the bagel that had been missing from my life: crackly and deeply flavorful in the Montreal style, yet homey and comforting in what I’ll call the Jewish-American deli style.

Richard McNeill, 76

Richard McNeill, founder of Carburs, has passed away at the age of 76 reports the Cazenovia Republican.

Widely known in Portland as owner of Carburs Restaurant and the Down East Feast five decker sandwich that revolutionized the Old Port cuisine scene from 1976-1998. Rich also received an honorary diploma from the students of Cazenovia College for his involvement and support. Rich loved to cook and bake for his friends and family, making beer bread and buttermilk brownies. He regularly traveled to Pittsburgh to keep in touch with his sisters, Kitty and Linda, and the large family that resides there. Rich was known for his compassion and gentleness towards others and a simple outlook on life. His clever humor and notable sayings always kept those around him smiling and comfortable.

Carburs was a mainstay of the Portland dining scene in the last quarter of the 20th Century. The 20+ page menu offered dozens of sandwiches with names like the The Connecticut Yankee (React-or glow in the dark) and the Smith & Wesson (Oil’s well that ends well). It was located in Portland at 123 Middle Street, and in Burlington Vt, Hadley MA and Plattsburgh NY.

According to the obituary, “A memorial service and interring of remains will be held in summer 2018 at St.Eiboh’s Cove, Raymond, Maine.”

Tuscan Table Opens Wednesday

Tuscan Table (facebook, instagram) has announced plans to open their new restaurant in South Portland on Wednesday. Former Cinque Terre/Vignola chef Lee Skawinski will be headlining a new Italian restaurant.

Tuscan Table will be located at 390 Gorham Road next to Books-A-Million at the Mall. The 165-seat restaurant is part of the same restaurant group as the Royal River Grill House and Tuscan Bistro.

Krista Kern Desjarlais

Chef Krista Kern Desjarlais was profiled in the latest issue of Plate magazine.

You have such an eclectic selection of baked goods. Roman-style pizza, Montreal bagels, French pastries like kouign-amann and mille-feuille. How did you curate your selection?
My choices were based on years of baking on my own and enjoying traditional Baking in French and Italian styles. I staged at Le Circque under Jacques Torres, which was amazing. I spent time in Rome; my grandfather lived there for 30 years and passed away there. I was hired to be the pastry chef for Guy Savoy in Las Vegas and went to Paris to transcribe the pastry program for them. I met other pastry chefs like Pierre Herme and worked in their pastry kitchens, so I got to see how all of their stuff was made.