Feeding the Frontline

The Press Herald has published an update on the Feeding the Frontline initiative which got under way back in the spring and has been re-energized this winter as Covid cases and the strain on the healthcare system and medical staff has increased.

“Obviously we all hoped that this wouldn’t go in the direction it has gone in, but we suspected it would, and here we are again,” said Birch Shambaugh, the co-owner, along with his wife, Fayth Preyer, of Woodford F&B on Forest Avenue. “It’s an unfortunate truth and reality … The withering pressure that the front-line workers are under in hospitals is profound and perhaps a closer representation of what we feared would materialize in the spring but didn’t.”

Read the article for details on restaurants with Feeding the Frontline programs.

NYT: Remembering Vinland

The New York Times has included Vinland in an article that highlights 26 of the many restaurants across the country that have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the moment it opened, Vinland was more than a restaurant: it was a thought experiment. Influenced by chefs like Dan Barber and Rene Redzepi, the self-taught chef David Levi made a commitment to local ingredients that went much further than taking tomato salad off the menu. It meant cooking without sugar or black pepper or olive oil. It meant that one night’s menu might have three different dishes based on mushrooms, and woe to the diner who doesn’t care for fungi. (Reviews, not surprisingly, were mixed and passionate.)

NYT: Laughing Stock Farm

As part of their Family Interrupted series the New York Times talked with Ralph and Lisa Turner, owners of Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport, on how they changed their business model due to the pandemic by launching a farm stand.

LISA We bagged up stuff as if we were going to have maybe 10 people a day come.

We sent it out to probably 450 email addresses — and then people just started sharing it and sharing it and sharing it. The first day it was like, wow, that was a lot of people. And I had to refill some stuff that I wasn’t really expecting to.

The eggs were flying out of here — we had kind of a back stock of eggs. We went through 130 dozen eggs in two and a half days. It was insane.

New Year’s Eve/Day List

35 options and counting on this year’s New Year’s list. Check back, we’ll be adding more as more restaurants announce their offerings. Don’t see your favorite restaurant on the list? Check with them directly. Some restaurants may be open on NYE with their regular takeout/menu options.

If you know of any restaurants offering special New Year’s Eve/Day options please email me or post a comment below with  the details.

  • Bao Bao – a special 4-course takeout menu celebrates the dumpling in its many forms from around the world. Order online.
  • Broken Arrow – 6-course dinner with Champagne toast.
  • Central Provisions – takeout caviar, foie gras, dinner and drinks. Order online.
  • Chaval – has on offer a takeout 3-course prix fixe dinner as well as a flounder crudo appetizer and beef tenderloin on special on NYE. Order online.
  • Cocktail Mary – Their NYE Kit includes “A bottle of Anton Ohlig Brut Rose, Cantina del Pioppa Lambrusco di Modena, Famille St. Laurent Saint-Pourçain and Quinto Do Infantado White Port. Sex work, Negroni, Maple Old fashioned and Bellini for two.” $99.99. Order online.
  • Crispy Gai – fried chicken, caviar and Miller. Order online.
  • Duckfat Friteshack – an a la carte menu of American Chinese food. Order online.
  • Evo – a 5-course takeout meal which is a collaboration with Colin Wyatt former Executive Sous Chef at Eleven Madison Park. Order online.
  • Fore Street – full takeout menu. (207) 775-2717.
  • Highroller Lobster/Sun Oriental – a menu created in collaboration between Highroller and Sun Oriental Market available for takeout, on-site dining and delivery.
  • Hunt & Alpine – NYE takeout party kits (2 servings of 4 cocktails plus olives, Hunt’s nut mix, pickles) for $75. Order online.
  • Isa – a NYE takeout menu available for pre-order by calling (207) 808-8533.
  • Izakaya Minato – Omakase for 2, $80. Order online.
  • Judy Gibson – a snack pack for 2-4 people, “Smoked mussels, house made summer sausage, chicken liver pâté with elderflower-buttermilk jelly, spicy popcorn, mixed pickles and olives along with a bottle of bubbles for $60”. (207)808-8649.
  • Little Giant – Burger boxes, “fancy hotdogs” and champagne available to order on New Year’s Eve.
  • Luke’s – A takeout seafood tower and other options for New Year’s Eve. Order online.
  • Mr. Tuna – a variety of sushi options (chirashi, part box, maki platters, etc) for takeout. Order online.
  • North 43 Bistro – has a special NYE menu available for takeout of on-site dining.
  • Other Side Diner – a takeout prime rib dinner for 2 $75. info@othersidediner.com.
  • Petite Jacqueline – serving a 4-course dinner for $75 with optional wine pairings for takeout or on-site dining. They also have a canape basket for 4.
  • Roma Cafe – has a special NYE menu for takeout or on-site dining.
  • Round Turn Distilling –  French 75 cocktail kits. Order online.
  • Sebago Brewing Co. – has a NYE menu for takeout and on-site dining.
  • Small Axe – will be serving a takeout brunch menu on New Year’s Day. See menu.
  • Sur Lie – a takeout NYE differ for 2, $120 with options for add-ons wine or cocktails. Order online.
  • Terlingua – outdoor seatings at 4:30pm, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm for parties of 2-6 people; reservations required. Also a BBQ and bubbles takeout meal for 2, $165. Order online.
  • The Honey Paw – at-cost caviar: 30, 60 or 90 grams. Order online.
  • Tipo – 3-course takeout dinner for $60/person. Order online.
  • Top of the East – a NYE takeout Celebration Box that includes apps and dessert for 2, $60. Order online.
  • Urban Farm Fermentory – will be launching their new brunch service in the UFF tasting room on New Year’s Day, 8am to 6pm.
  • Verbena – a variety of takeout options for NYE and brunch the morning after.
  • Wine Wise and Chaval –a virtual wine dinner for two (deliver included) for $250 – order online. Also a takeout New Year’s Day wine brunch for two for $125 – order online.
  • Woodford F&B – three takeout hors d’ouevres options. (207) 200-8503.

Sweet Sea Cookies Now Open

Leigh Kellis, the fonder of The Holy Donut,  opened the doors to Sweet Sea Cookies (websitefacebookinstagram) pop-up shop on Monday. Located in the former Old Port Sandwich Shop location at 89 Market Street. The goal of Sweet Sea Cookies is to raise money for Less Plastic Portland which encourages businesses to reduce plastic use.

Cookies come in 3 flavors: oatmeal raisin, sea salt chocolate, and sunflower crunch. The cookies are produced by Baristas + Bites for Sweet Sea.

Boston Globe: Struggling Portland Restaurants

The Boston Globe has published an article on the impact the pandemic is having on the Portland restaurant scene.

Across the city, Portland’s restaurateurs are asking the same question. Battered by pandemic restrictions, the city’s once-thriving dining scene is now in depressing straits, contracting in ways that were unthinkable before the virus hit in March.

One-quarter to a third of the restaurants in the Portland area have closed after a sparse tourist season and might never reopen, industry observers said. And for those that have survived — so far, at least — revenue has shrunk to a small fraction of its pre-pandemic total, the workforce has been reduced to skeleton crews, and hopes for a turnaround next year are guarded, at best.

New Browne Trading Market Open

Browne Trading (website) has reopened their Commercial Street market after a long rebuilding project. The overall layout is the same as the old store. The seafood counter is fully stocked. Browne is working to scale-up the wine and specialty foods they have on hand.

Browne was the scene of a 3-alarm fire back in April. The fire shutdown the retail side of the business. Hours for the market are 10 – 6, Monday through Saturday.

Urban Brunch

Urban Farm Fermentory has been approved for a restaurant license. Starting January 1st UFF will begin serving brunch 8am to 6pm Thursday through Monday. Brunch will be available in their 50-person tasting room and as takeout.

Chef Andrew Collier has joined the UFF team and will be drawing on his past experience at Bayside American Cafe to launch the new UFF brunch service. Collier has created a menu of toasts and waffles that will change seasonally to in concert with the ingredients UFF sources for use in their kombucha, cider, mead, gruits and artisanal vinegars.

Brunch at UFF is something owner Eli Cayer has wanted to do for a while, the pandemic accelerated those thoughts into a concrete plan.

Here’s a look at the menu: