Sok Sabai Food Truck

A new food truck called Sok Sabai (instagram) is under development and is expected to launch this coming spring. Sok Sabai will serve a menu of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese food that will include beef and chicken skewers, egg rolls, noodle bowls and wings.

Owner Tina Nop is the first recipient of a Entrepreneurial Empowerment Scholarship from Fork Food Lab. As reported in the Portland Phoenix,

The scholarship will cover the cost of a six-month membership at Fork, as well as licensing costs, access to free legal, tax, and business planning, and additional marketing and brand support from local digital marketing agency iBec Creative.

The scholarship was made possible through a combination of private donations and a $2,500 sponsorship from Atlantic Federal Credit Union.

Of Cambodian heritage, Nop is also incorporating Laotian and Vietnamese food in the food truck menu “to honor the cultures of all the people who have helped her family.” The name of the food truck means “peace and happiness” in the Khmer language.

For more information about Nop, her family and about the Sok Sabai food truck read this in depth article in the Portland Phoenix.

Be sure to follow Sok Sabai on instagram to keep up to date on the development and launch of the food truck.

Update: Also check out this article from the American Journal.

This Week’s Events: Thanksgiving, Pacifico

WednesdayDaniel Iwasko from Duckfat is Wednesday’s guest chef at the Duckfat Friteshack Grill, and the weekday Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – it’s Thanksgiving…see the list below for ideas on where to get ingredients and dishes for your meal.

SaturdayPacifico, a new Latin American restaurant in Saco, is scheduled to open.

Thanksgiving Resource Guide – a growing list of which restaurants are doing in person or takeout Thanksgiving dinners, as well as bakeries, markets and other providers with special offerings for Thanksgiving. While deciding on your own Thanksgiving Day meal plans consider making a donation to the Good Shepherd Food Bank to help fight hunger in Maine.

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.

New Breweries

The Press Herald has published a report on Maine breweries that are launching and expanding.

When beer industry veterans John Callinan and Rick McCormick decided to open a brewery together, they jokingly asked themselves, what could go wrong?

For starters, the usual things that always go wrong with a brewery opening – federal and state licensing taking longer than expected, construction delays, trouble with equipment. But during a pandemic, all of these issues are amplified and joined by a host of others. Still, they’re among several brave beer lovers who moved forward with plans to open new breweries this year despite it all.

Opening a Restaurant During a Pandemic

For today’s paper, the Maine Sunday Telegram has talked to owners and chefs that have taken on opening a restaurant during the pandemic.

These restaurateurs cite personality traits like flexibility, resilience, grit, optimism and a sense of humor as key to opening in these profoundly challenging times. They also credit reasonable landlords; strong relationships with purveyors; kind neighbors; and supportive staff, families, customers, and state and local officials. Did we mention hard work? Very, very hard work.

Beard Chef Series: Krista Kern Desjarlais

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published the fourth and final article in their series with Maine chefs who were 2020 Beard Awards nominees. For this week they’ve interviewed Krista Kern Desjarlais and published her recipe for a shaved brussels sprouts salad. I first ate that salad in 2007 and having tried (and failed) to reverse engineer the recipe especially appreciate this article.

She has been understandably cautious about bringing back her North Yarmouth bakery/café during the ongoing pandemic, waiting until “I’m able to do it absolutely the right way.” For Desjarlais, a finalist this year for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Northeast award, that has meant anticipating the winter with equal parts pragmatism and imagination.

Prior articles in the series have focused on Vien Dobui from Cong Tu Bot, Ben Jackson from the now closed Drifters Wife, and Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell from Palace Diner.

Lois’ Consolidating Operations

Lois’ Natural Marketplace has announced they’ll be “hibernating our store on India Street for the winter” and consolidating operations and staff to their original store in Scarborough. The Portland store will close on November 25th.

Our entire Portland crew will be joining our Scarborough store staff. We have expanded our hours and our deli will be reopening to serve hot soups and coffee again. We are looking forward to new changes and a lot of new talent joining our Scarborough store.

Winter Business Sustainability Grant Program

The city has announced a grant program to help businesses with costs for outdoor operations during the pandemic. The application deadline is December 9.

The City of Portland’s Winter Business Sustainability Grant Program (WBSG) is being launched today, November 19. Offering grants of up to $10,000, the Program’s purpose is to assist Portland businesses with the cost of maintaining a portion of their operations outside through the fall and winter, due to the pandemic. The program’s main objective is job retention.

Grant funds can be used for a variety of items including furniture, equipment, heaters, coverings, platforms, lighting, signage, barricades and other things needed to extend outdoor business operations as the temperatures goes down. Items must be purchased after November 19, 2020 to be eligible for grant reimbursement.

see program guidelines | download application

9 PM Curfew

Governor Mills has announced a new measure intended to help curtail spiking Covid numbers by implementing a 9 pm curfew November 20th through December 6th.

Beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 20, 2020, through Sunday, December 6, 2020, all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink service, including social clubs, restaurants, and bars and tasting rooms currently open for outdoor service, will close for the night by 9:00 p.m. This limit on hours is designed to limit extended gatherings at a time when many students and family members are returning to Maine and at a time when social gatherings are more common, both of which will likely lead to more COVID-19 transmission.