Under Construction: Gross Confection Bar

Gross Confection Bar (websitefacebookinstagram) owner Brant Dadaleares has announced plans to open his new dessert/cocktail bar in the first week of January.

Gross Confection Bar has been under construction for the last few months in the 2,000 sq ft subterranean space in the former location of Christmas Noel at 57 Exchange Street.

Under Construction: Strata

Strata (website, instagram) a cutlery retail business and knife sharpening service that launched earlier this year, has leased unit 4  of the The Black Box container building on Washington Ave.

Owner Evan Atwell sells specialty Japanese, French and New England made cutlery, as well as sharpens knives using a traditional Japanese whetstone process. Atwell moved to Portland from California where he worked for the Bi-Rite Market group.

He plans to open the new Strata retail store on February 1st.

Best Beer Bars: Tomaso’s

Hop Culture has included Tomaso’s on their list of the Best Beer Bars of 2018.

I love that Tomaso’s stocks a handful of uber-fresh, local, craft cans and draft beers at all times (check their IG). However, this place is mostly a local spot for tall boys and wings. They also have a beer + shot menu, which always gets me. So yeah, you probably won’t find proper glassware, but you’ll always find a great time. 

Beer Releases at Oxbow & Rising Tide

Two beer releases are taking place this weekend:

  • Rising Tide will tapping 12 barrel-aged beers on Saturday which will include “several never before released projects” including a “spontaneously fermented ale with raspberries”.
  • Oxbow is releasing a pair beers brewed with Maine honey to celebrate the landmark accomplishments of Karl von Frisch to explain the dancing behavior of bees. Both Dance Language beers blonde farmhouse ales brewed with Maine honey. “To showcase the flavors and aromas of different varieties of honey we brewed a single base saison recipe. The DL: Buckwheat Honey is light gold in color with notes of pepper, dried flowers, fresh baked bread, and honey with a medium body finish. While the DL: Blueberry Honey version has notes of  fresh citrus, dark fruit, and honey with a medium body and dry finish.”

Under Construction: Bird & Co.

A new Mexican restaurant called Bird & Co. is under construction at 539 Deering Ave in the space formerly occupied by Abilene.

The cover letter supplied by owners William Dowd and Jared Dinsmore indicates they’ll be serving a menu of “reasonably priced entrees drawing on Mexican and American Southwestern cuisine”. You can see the draft menu supplied with the liquor license application on page 85 of the City Council materials for Monday’s meeting.

Dowd and Dinsmore plan to open Bird & Co. 6 days a week, 11 am to 10 pm for lunch and dinner. They hope to open the restaurant in January.

Maine Chefs on Reality TV

The Press Herald talked with chefs Rob Evans, Matt Ginn, Austin Miller, Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, Rachel LeGloahec, Zachary Pratt, and Shanna O’Hea about their experiences appearing on reality cooking shows like Chopped.

Contestants described a typical day filming “Chopped” in New York City. All the chefs appearing on the same episode meet at a fast food joint around 5:30 a.m. for a day that won’t end until 9 p.m. They are ushered into an unmarked building, where they must give up their cell phones. Ginn says that for “Chopped Champions,” pockets were checked for hidden recipes and smuggled kitchen equipment. Chefs say they were not even allowed to go to the bathroom alone.

Under Construction: Monte’s Fine Foods

Mainebiz has published an update on Monte’s Fine Foods which is slated to open on Washington Ave in May.

The plan morphed into a retail operation selling local and imported food products, mostly Mediterranean. Plus, they’ll have in-store dining featuring Roman-style pizza made on the premises. There are several types of Roman pizza, he said. In this case, they’ll make Roman “pinsa,” a rustic multi-grain flatbread that’s crispy and light, he explained. Toppings will feature the local and imported ingredients sold in the store.