Chef Josh Berry, Vegetarian

The Press Herald has published an article about Union’s chef Josh Berry and the year he spent eating a vegetarian diet,

Berry has long wanted to experiment with his diet so that he could get firsthand experience of what it’s like to live with food restrictions, and could embrace the trend of meatless meals. He figured the exercise would help him improve the menu choices at the restaurant, too.

Having completed a year as a vegetarian, Berry has switched over to a gluten-free diet in 2018.

Quill Book & Beverage Now Open

Quill Books & Beverage (facebook, instagram), the new bookstore/bar/coffee shop located at One Westbrook Common in Westbrook is now open and plans to hold a grand opening this Saturday.

Owners Matthew Irving and Allison Krzanowski will 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. The bookstore will 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”.

Veranda Kitchen & Bar

The new Veranda restaurant in Westbrook, Veranda Kitchen & Bar, is scheduled to open on March 20th.

This will make the fifth location of the Veranda business group. The original restaurant, Veranda Thai, opened in the space that had been formerly occupied by Espans Quick Lunch on Veranda Street in May 2008.

The GM of the Veranda group recently leased retail property in South Portland so it looks like a sixth location is in the works.

This Week’s Events: Final Beard Nominations, PSO Wine Dinner, New England Made

Monday – it’s the last day of Maine Restaurant Week.

Wednesday – The James Beard Foundation will be releasing the list of nominees for this year’s awards – here’s the list of 11 Maine semifinalists that was made public in February. Check back mid-day to  see who made the cut. Sam Hayward, Ilma Lopez, Sara Jenkins, Paolo Laboa and Troy Mains will be the featured chefs at the 17th Annual PSO Wine Dinner.

Friday – There will be a wine tasting at Rosemont on Congress Street.

Saturday – it’s the first day of the New England Made show, Oakleaf is holding a pop-up dinner at Fork Food Lab, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayFoley’s is teaching a baking class.

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.

Liquid Riot

The Bollard has published a profile of Liquid Riot.

“We do everything,” said owner Eric Michaud, “we can’t have one part without the others here. There’s a synergy to it.” Nationwide, there are still only a dozen or so brewery/distillery combinations out there. It’s difficult to manage two alcoholic-beverage-producing operations in concert, let alone with the addition of a full-service restaurant and bar, but after five years, Liquid Riot seems to have it handled. Michaud, who also founded Novare Res Bier Café, a renowned craft-beer bar in the Old Port, works with his small, close-knit team to accomplish something that others have not even dared to attempt.

2018 Lost Kitchen Reservations

The Lost Kitchen has announced the new process they’ll be following for taking reservations for the 2018 season.

People interested in dining at The Lost Kitchen are being asked to mail (not email) an envelope containing a 3×5 card with their contact information. French and her team will then randomly select cards and contact them to book a table.

For full details see this PDF on their website.

Reviews: Chaval, Roma Cafe

The Bollard has reviewed brunch at Chaval, and

The brunch menu had so many appealing options that we struggled to decide. My wife ended up ordering two items. Her bowl of lightly sweetened, house-made granola ($7) featured a dollop of locally made Greek yogurt and chunks of pear and apple roasted to a perfect firmness. The Standard ($12) included two eggs, toast, potatoes, and meat — in this case, thin, savory patties of lean maple-and-sage sausage. The eggs were slow-poached at 63ºC, widely considered the ideal way to prepare a perfect soft egg. The onion-jam-topped potatoes were crisp, aggressively seasoned, and downright brilliant, right up there with the potatoes at Dutch’s and Palace Diner, which I rave about to anyone who’ll listen.

The Golden Dish has published a brief review of the Roma Cafe.

That goes for the meatballs and spaghetti, too, which my dinner mate thoroughly enjoyed. The meatballs are gossamer light and beautifully sauced with the kitchen’s rich marinara. Our mistake was to have too many filling first courses.

Dinner Ending at Artemisia

Artemisia Cafe has announced plans to shut down their dinner service. This coming Friday will be its last night in operation.

The Italian restaurant that serves dinner at Artemisia opened nearly 5 years ago in May of 2013 and is run by Heather Neville and Guy Frenette. The couple grew-up in Maine but had spent several years working in the restaurant industry in the Bay Area (Chez Panisse, Aquerello, Oliveto). There’s no word yet on what their post-Artemisia plans are.