Reviews: Taj, Chaval, Central Provisions, LFK, Hardshore

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Taj,

Among her best dishes are an indulgent cholle batura – puffy fried bread served with mild, stewed chickpeas – and both gobi 65 and gobi Manchuria, two takes on deep-fried, fiery-hot cauliflower florets. Unfortunately, Taj has problems with consistent execution in service and food. Sometimes, shifts between competence and carelessness occur within a single meal, where you might eat a terrific, blistered garlic naan alongside a tough, overcooked half-chicken ($11.99), marinated in yogurt and powdered with tandoori masala as red as a country barn.

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Chaval,

We left feeling like we’d spend the evening hanging out with friends, sitting at the bar, and engaging in some witty banter (theirs, not mine 😉). With dishes that encouraging sharing, Chaval is the perfect place to catch up with friends over some snacks and drinks.

the Press Herald has reviewed Hardshore,

With excellent gin and an extremely fair price point, the tasting room at Hardshore Distilling is hands-down one of the best places on the peninsula to grab a G&T, before dinner or not.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed LFK, and

I love bar food. I love it when it sucks, and I love it when it’s surprisingly great. LFK somehow toes the line, offering bites that satisfy and those that simply do not. Pick your poison.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Central Provisions.

Here’s specifically why Central Provisions absolutely nails it. First, their food parings are spot on. But, the biggest reason is that they have seasoning down to an absolute science, possibly better than anywhere I’ve ever eaten. I can’t imagine fries more perfectly appointed or a crab salad that better combines its tastes. And those are just the start; everything else they serve follows suit. Go early, go often, go downstairs. Go give them your money. It’s well worth it.

Food Network Guide to Portland

The Food Network has published an eating guide to Portland,

Though a mention of Portland, Maine still brings to mind lobsters for many, the city offers so much more than seafood. Gone are the days when everyone flocked to the waterfront district of Old Port. Impressive pockets of eateries have sprouted up in places like Longfellow Square, the east side of Washington Avenue and the historic West End. This is your guide to making every single meal count, and in the process enjoying the most diverse array of foods that Forest City has to offer.

Highlighted in the article are: Back Bay Grill, Baharat, Boda, Central Provisions, Chaval, Cong Tu Bot, Drifters Wife, East Ender, Emiltsa, Empire, Eventide, Gorgeous Gelato, Highroller Lobster, Hot Suppa, Isa, Izakaya Minato, LB Kitchen, Miyake, Palace Diner, Tandem, Terlingua, The Honey Paw, The Purple House, Tipo, Woodford F&B

Urban Sugar Name Change

Urban Sugar has run into a trademark issue and as a result will need to change their name.

The time for change has approached for Urban Sugar Donuts. In our pursuit for growth we encountered a problem. We discovered that our name had previously been trade marked and therefore unavailable for us to continue operating under. We made an attempt to license rights of use however we were unable to come to an agreement.

This isn’t the first time a Maine restaurant has had to change names for legal reasons. Back in 1981 a beer bar called The Grizzly Bear changed their name to The Great Lost Bear after a legal challenge from an existing West coast operation called Grizzly Bear Pizza. More recently Cara Stadler’s restaurant in Brunswick changed its name to Tao Yuan when an existing restaurant named Tao objected to their choice of names.

10 Years Ago in March

Here’s a look at the top food news from 10 years ago in March 2008:

  • Forbes Traveler recognized The Great Lost Bear as one of the Best American Beer Bars, “Maine is a craft-brewing mecca, and there’s no better place to sample the Northeast’s bounty than this nearly 30-year-old institution offering a mind-boggling 52 taps.”
  • Mayor Suslovic welcomed to town a master distiller from Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
  • Hilltop Coffee moved across the street leaving the space that’s now occupied by Willa Wirth.
  • the 2nd edition of Deathmatch took place.
  • Foley’s Bakery closed.
  • Olive Garden was ranked 2nd in the Best Restaurant category in the Press Herald readership poll.
  • Blogger Beer, Maine & Me complained that, “We have a ton of great breweries, brewing lots of great beers, representing all different styles, but no IPAs that we can really brag about in the arena of holier-than-though hoppiness.”
  • Rob Evans was a nominee for the 2008 James Beard awards in the Best Chef: Northeast category.

New Lost Kitchen Book

Erin French, chef and owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom Maine, is working on a new book entitled Finding Freedom which will will chronicle the “challenges, stumbles and victories that have led me to the exact place I was ever meant to be”. The book is being published by Celadon Books, an imprint of MacMillan.

This will be French’s second book. The Lost Kitchen Cookbook debuted last May.

French was recently named a 2018 Beard Awards semifinalist in the Best Chef: Northeast category.

Maine Beer Co. Hires a CEO

Maine Beer Company has hired Steve Mills to be the CEO for the Freeport-based brewery, reports Brewbound.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Maine Beer Company,” Mills wrote to Brewbound. “I’ve known David and Dan since almost the beginning. They had such awesome vision for what they wanted Maine Beer to be: people focused, exceptional quality and supporting 1 percent For The Planet. And look at what they’ve built! It’s all about doing what’s right. I’m looking forward to contributing wherever I can.”

Mills is moving to Maine from Utah where he was the CEO of Uinta Brewing.