Harvest on the Harbor 2021

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an overview of the 2021 edition of Harvest on the Harbor which is taking place this week November 3-6.

The festival, which once drew people from all over the country for such popular events as the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition, was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. It’s back this year, shorter and later in the season, a hybrid of live and virtual events. Gillian Britt, one of the producers of the festival, said each event is limited to 250 people, and festivalgoers will be required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Ticket sales so far have been steady.

Tickets are on sale at harvestontheharbor.com.

New Taco Trio in South Portland

Taco Trio (website, facebook, instagram) quietly opened their new South Portland location yesterday. The new 90-seat Taco Trio is located at 60 Ocean Street just a few blocks away from the original location at the Knightville rotary.

The restaurant initially will serve the same menu (tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, sopes, tamales, etc) and will expand over time. They also hope to eventually hold food events to showcase the food and drink culture of Mexico.

New to this location will be a 15-seat bar and cocktail program. The bar will showcase agave-based spirits. The house cocktail list includes items like Sunset in Mexico (Azteca Azul Reposado tequila with butterfly peaflower and lemonade, and the Matador Norteña (Pizcadores Sotol, pineapple and lemon juice with agave and habenero). Flights of agave spirits are also available.

Taco Trio expects to open today at 4 pm. Their regular hours will be Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 9 pm. The owners also have a second Taco Trio location under construction in Saco—stay tuned for more info on when that location will open.


Forest Ave

Today’s Press Herald takes a look at the growing restaurant community on outer Forest Avenue, specifically the stretch from Woodfords to Morrill’s Corner.

On, or just off, the indistinguishable 1.4-mile stretch of outer Forest Avenue that lies between Woodfords Corner and Morrill’s Corner – amid the hair salons and nail salons; the car washes and dog washes; the Asian, Arab and African markets; the storefront churches; the tattoo parlors; and the modest eateries – a small cluster of new food businesses have opened, or are set to open, perhaps signaling a shift for a pocket of Portland that is more often seen as a thruway than as a destination.

Vena’s Fizz House 2.0

Vena’s Fizz House has announced plans (facebook, instagram) for their new expanded location at 867 Congress Street across the street from La Bodega Latina in a former church constructed in 1889.

“Our long term goal was to eventually scale and grow into a bigger space but the pandemic definitely forced our hand to make that decision earlier than we had planned.” said Vena’s co-owner, Johanna Corman. “The new Vena’s 2.0 will hold all the nostalgic charm and passion for beverages and flavors that we are known for. Additionally, the venue lends itself to events and we plan to offer a unique space for specialty occasions, and mixology classes.” explained Corman. Plans for the reopening will happen in spring 2022.

The mixology shop and cocktail/mocktail bar was founded in 2013 and until last year had been located on the corner of Silver and Fore Streets in the Old Port.

Falafel Time on Forest Ave

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about the new Forest Ave restaurant Falafel Time and its owner Qutaiba Hassoon and the growing restaurant community along Forest Ave.

To observe the operations at Falafel Time feels like a trip into their family’s kitchen. Hassoon’s mother, Anaam Jabbir, helps run the operation with Hassoon and Saeed. Other family members are among the employees, and they speak mainly in Arabic, working quickly to fill orders.

“I’m proud of him,” Saeed said of his son moments after tossing a pizza in the oven. “He’s always worked under someone and now he’s in charge. Owning a restaurant is hard work, but he’s good at customer service and wants to take care of the customers.”

The Portland Board Launching Thursday

The Portland Board (websitefacebookinstagram) is planning to launch this Thursday. Portland’s newest food truck—a 1979 Volkswagon bus—will be located in the parking lot at Root Wild Kombucha weekly Thursday through Sunday, noon to 7 or 8 pm.

Owner Graham Young will be serving a opening week menu with three options: a traditional board, a spicy version and a vegan board.

The boards include a mix of charcuterie meats and cheeses along with bread, crackers, savory spreads, jams, pickled veggies, dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit, fresh veggies. The vegan board include items like cashew ricotta, mushroom pate, cashew hard cheese and beet hummus in place of the meats and cheeses.

Fork Food Lab Moving To South Portland

Today’s Press Herald includes an update on Fork Food Labs’ plans to move to new larger quarters in South Portland.

If the deal goes through, Fork Food Lab would occupy about 18,000 to 25,000 square feet of the property, with plenty of room to spare for other food producers who might want to relocate there, creating a kind of “food hub,” Seretta said. He said he’s been talking with several businesses about the idea, but declined to name them.

Norimoto Open on Stevens Ave

Atsuko Fujimoto opened the new location for Norimoto Bakery (website, instagram) this past Saturday. The bakery is located 469 Stevens Ave in Deering Center.

For the time being she’s keeping to a schedule of taking online pre-orders on Friday for pick-up on Saturdays with some extra baked goods for walk-in sales. As soon as some additional construction is completed Fujimoto anticipates being open Thursday through Saturday for walk-in sales.

Upcoming Events: Pop-ups, Dinners, Halloween, Autumn Party, Pasilla

WednesdayMr. Tuna is kicking off their Izakaya Night Market series, and Via Vecchia is holding a Truffles & Nebbiolo wine dinner.

ThursdayDuckfat is serving a (soldout) 5-course duck dinner, Maine & Loire are holding a Meiklang wine tasting, and Ironclad Eats and Bellflower Brewing are collaborating on Hellflower Night in East Bayside.

Saturday – 25+ food and drink establishments and other businesses are working together to hold East Bayside Halloween Fest. The event is raising funds for Maine Needs; S & P is holding a plant-based Autumn Party.

Sunday – it’s Halloween!

November 1 – Chef Ryan Nielsen is holding the first of his Pasilla (instagram) pop-up series. He’ll be serving a menu of tacos, tortas, tostadas, agua frescas and desserts. The pop-up will be taking place at the Mr. Tuna space in the Public Market House with takeout and limited seating.

November 3-6Harvest on the Harbor is taking place.

November 4Launch party for MOFGA’s new book The Organic Farming Revolution, and North 43 Bistro is holding a wine dinner featuring wines from Roederer Vineyard.

November 7/8 – Chef Cara Stadler has launched a pair of event series that run through June. The Science Cafe series “feature a local aquaculture producer or two who will share their story and answer our questions” and the cooking class series will be taught the subsequent evenings focusing on the product highlighted in the previous night’s Science Cafe.

November 10Evo and Liquid Riot are collaborating on a beer dinner.

November 21 – Lorne Wine is holding a Fete du Beaujolais at Broadturn Farm.

Thanksgiving – a small but quickly growing number of vendors are starting to announce their Thanksgiving offerings. This list will be updated as new info becomes available:

  • Lake & Co. – menu goes live October 25th; order deadline November 15th for pick-up on November 24th and 25th.
  • Other Side – is taking pre-orders for turkeys, sides and dessert.
  • Portland Co-op – is starting to take turkey pre-orders on November 1st.
  • Rosemont Market – is taking pre-orders for turkeys, sides and baked goods for pick-up on the 23rd or 24th.
  • Solo Cucina Market – is a pick-up location for turkey orders from Farmers’ Gate for pick-up on November 23rd or 24th.
  • Two Fat Cats – has a wide array of baked goods avaible for pre-order with pick-up on November 23-25th.
  • Westin – offering a 2-person ‘take and bake’ meal for $80 for pick-up on the 24th, and a 3-course dinner on Thanksgiving day at the Westin for $85 per person (reservations open on October 27th).
  • Yardie Ting – plans to offer family-style meals for parties of 4-, 6- and 12-people. Details are forthcoming.

Rathskeller on Wharf Now Open

Rathskeller on Wharf (website, facebook, instagram) opened for business on Tuesday. The Rathskeller is located at 51 Wharf Street and is being launched by Tom Minervino, his sister Meg Minervino and their business partner Mike Barton. The Minervinos and Barton also own and operate Legends Rest in Westbrook.

The Rathskeller will be open Tuesday through Thursday 3 – 11 pm, and Friday and Saturday noon – 1 am.

Here’s a look at the opening week’s menu: