Down East: Best of Maine

Down East has published their annual Best of Maine readership poll and editor’s selections in the July issue of the magazine.

Portland area food establishments that made the cut are:

  • Best New Restaurant – Chaval (Editor’s Choice)
  • Best Frozen Mashups – ice cream collaborations by Parlor Ice Cream with Rose Foods, Tandem and Palace Diner (Editor’s Choice)
  • Bakery – Standard Baking Co.
  • Beer Bar – Novare Res
  • Brewery – Allagash
  • Burger – Nosh
  • Chef – Cara Stadler
  • Cocktail Bar – Blyth & Burrows
  • Ice Cream – Gelato Fiasco
  • Donut – Holy Donut
  • Pizza – Otto Pizza
  • Seafood Market – Harbor Fish

Vanessa Seder, Food Stylist & Author

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about local food writer and stylist Vanessa Seder and her new book Secret Sauces.

“When you’re getting hired as a stylist, there’s so much money and pressure involved,” she said. “You have to understand how everything works. You have to understand who’s on the set, why they’re there, what your role is, how to do take after take if needed. And there’s all different types of food styling – there’s styling for video, commercial styling, editorial, cookbooks, magazines, packaging. It’s all different, and you have to understand that before you get into it. And you have to know what tools are good.”

F&W Best New Chef

Food & Wine has come out with their 2018 Best New Chef list. There aren’t any chefs in Maine on the list this year, but the July issue does include a list of all 323 chefs that have been recognized in the last two decades. Four are located in Maine today:

  • 2004 – Rob Evans, Duckfat and former chef/owner of Hugo’s
  • 2007 – Steve Corry, Five Fifty-Five
  • 2011 – Bowman Brown, Elda in Biddeford and former co-chef/owner of Forage in Salt Lake City
  • 2014 – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Bao Bao and Lio

Burgers as a Trend

The Press Herald has a report on the staying power of burgers as a food trend.

With the March opening of Black Cow, a locally owned burger joint that makes everything in-house down to the mustard, there are now five burger-centered eateries in a half-mile between Commercial and Brown streets.

Long relegated to pubs, drive-thrus and barbecues, burgers re-emerged on the American food scene as part of a trend toward returning to basics – but better. Think gourmet popsicles or taco trucks.

This Week’s Events: Champagne Wine Dinner, 2nd Washington Ave Block Party

Tuesday – Elda is holding a 5-course Champagne wine dinner, and Slab is holding the 1st Annual Industry Pizza Eating Contest.

Wednesday – the Maine Historical Society is holding a Food of our Forefathers class for children, there will be a wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Little Giant Market in collaboration with The Cheese Shop under construction on Washington Ave and Crush Wine Distributors, and The Great Lost Bear will be featuring beer from Gneiss Brewing.

Friday – there will be wine tastings at Maine & Loire and Rosemont on Brighton Ave.

Saturday – the 2nd Annual Washington Ave Block Party is taking place, there will be a Maine Coast Roast tasting at Two Fat Cats in South Portland, 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.

Review of Nonesuch River Brewing

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Nonesuch River Brewing in Scarborough giving it 3 stars.

Not all the beers are as impressive as the design, but if you visit, be sure to order a glass of brewer Michael Schuler’s toasty, low ABV stout; it’s a pleasing, dark little sipper. As for food, there are few standouts, but plenty of decent options on executive chef Jeff Gambardella’s menu, including a spicy Maine crab sandwich that features grilled mango and house-pickled jalapeños, and a lovely shaved asparagus salad with edamame, pistachios and crumbly goat cheese. Locals have already embraced Nonesuch as a community hot spot, and with a trio of co-owners who are eager to listen to their customers, I’m betting that things will only get better.

Allagash Brewing

Down East tells the story of Allagash Brewing and Rob Tod. The article is an assemblage of interviews with Tod, former and current employees, customers and leaders in the industry.

Top-secret ingredients and MacGyvered dairy equipment. Old world wisdom and cutting-edge tech. Hollywood celebrity and cult cachet. It’s all part of the long, heady history of the curious beer that put Maine suds on the map.