Casita Corazon

Casita Corazon, the South Portland second location of El Corazon (facebookinstagram) restaurant in Longfellow Square, opened for business last week. The restaurant is located in the former 158 Pickett Street Cafe location. The building has undergone renovations since 158 Pickett Street Cafe closed at the end of last summer. Casita Corazon will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 – 8.

El Corazon initially launched as a food truck in 2013 before taking over the former Petite Jacqueline space in Longfellow Square in 2017.

What’s Going On in Biddeford

Prompted by the recent recognition in Food & Wine, the Press Herald has explored the emergent Biddeford food scene and some of the factors contributing to its success.

Elements co-owner Michael Macomber said when Elements first opened, it was the only bookstore in town, as well as the only shop for premium coffee or craft beer. He said the Food & Wine praise for Biddeford “isn’t surprising, given the way the momentum in town has been (building). There’s a good collection of business owners who see an environment here that welcomes new and exciting ventures.” He added that he’s seen foot traffic in town increase dramatically in the past few years because of more places to live.

The Continental on Brighton Ave

A new pub called The Continental is under construction at 170 Brighton Ave. Co-owners Michael Barbuto and Kevin Doyle are in the early stages of construction. When they’re done with renovations they’re aiming to create an “easy going space with a mid 90’s English/Irish pub” feel.

In addition to serving cocktails and local beers The Continental will be featuring slow pour nitro ales and stouts. The food menu is expected to trend towards comfort food inspired by dishes found in pubs from around Europe.

Doyle and Barbuto are co-owners of CBG on Congress Street. They hope to open The Continental in September.

Next Great: Biddeford

Food & Wine has included Biddeford in its list of America’s Next Great Food Cities.

It’s an exciting time for food in America. The culinary landscape in cities big and small around the country has matured exponentially in the past two decades, a shift that has been thrilling to experience and to taste. The immense challenges of the last two years in particular have seen many chefs, restaurateurs, and makers leave bigger urban centers and return to their smaller home cities. This returning talent, plus a new generation of entrepreneurs, are spurring a burst of creativity, innovation and deliciousness in under-the-radar destinations all over the country. It is these destinations that make up Food & Wine’s inaugural list of the next great food cities: the seven most exciting big cities, plus four smaller towns with populations less than 60,000 that have big food scenes.

Called out in the article are: Magnus on Water, Night Moves, Jackrabbit, Elda, Rabelais, Palace, Lorne Wine.

SMCC Culinary School

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an article about the SMCC culinary school.

Their instructor, chef Bo Byrne, explains why he has 50 pounds of chicken bones in a pot in the back corner of the kitchen (for 20 gallons of chicken stock) to be mixed into the pot of beans he also has going for a traditional French cassoulet.

Near the conclusion of their two-year education at the South Portland bayside college, these young professionals are on a new, nuanced track into the hospitality industry.

Visit the SMCC site for more information about the SMCC Culinary Arts Program.

Upcoming Events: Eat It & Beet It, Ruby’s, CBD Gathering, Gasharoo

TuesdayCoffee by Design is hosting a group of women who work in the specialty coffee industry for a gathering at their Diamond Street coffee shop.

Wednesday – Eat It & Beet It (instagram) will be launching their food truck at Belleflower Brewing in East Bayside.

ThursdayRuby’s West End is hold a party to celebrate their 1-year anniversary.

SaturdayNovare Res is holding Gasharoo, their annual celebration of beers from Allagash Brewing Company.

April 19 – a new business called Jonesin’ is holding a pop-up at Fork Food Lab. Jonesin’s serves “Jamaican inspired cuisine with Asian influences”.

April 20Oxbow Brewing is hosting a Fermentation Fair organized by The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture.

April 21 – Wayside will be serving a 4-course prime rib dinner, and Yes Yes Pizza will be holding a pop-up at Howie’s Pub.

April 22 – May 1 – the 4th Maine Seaweed Week will be taking place.

April 27 – the regular Portland Farmers’ Market season begins on Wednesday April 27th in Deering Oaks Park. The market has been in operation since 1768.

April 27-29 – the Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition is taking place in Portland.

May 2Death & Co will be taking over the bar at the Hunt & Alpine Club.

May 3 – Upcoming restaurants Twelve and Bar Futo are collaborating on a dinner taking place at Evo; there are a 5:30 and 8:30 seating.

May 4Chaval is holding a Star Wars themed May the Fourth dinner.

May 25 – the debut of Season 5 of the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil. Season 5 includes an episode shot in Portland, Biddeford and the Midcoast.

June 13 – The 2022 Beard Foundation Awards gala is taking place in Chicago. Five Maine chefs and restaurants are contenders for this year’s awards.

June 13 – 19 – the 5th Annual Portland Wine Week will be taking place—see details on their Women in Wine Dinner.

July 21Magnus on Water chef Ben Jackson will participating in the Outstanding in the Field series with a dinner at Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb.

July 23Chaval chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti will participating in the Outstanding in the Field series with a dinner at Dandelion Spring Farm in Bowdoinham.

September 3Tender Table is holding their 2nd Annual Food & Art Fair in Congress Square Park.

October 9 – the Maine Cheese Guild is holding Maine Open Creamery Day.

Congratulations to Julien Langevin

Congratulations to Julien Langevin (USCC bio) on winning the Cup Tasters competition at the 2022 US Coffee Championships. Langevin works as a coffee roaster at Coffee By Design.

In the Cup Tasters event competitors “test their sensory skills by discerning taste differences in a ‘triangulation.’ The competitor with the ability to taste, smell, concentrate, and recall, those with the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time wins.”

The national coffee championships were held over the weekend at the Specialty Coffee Association annual conference that took place in Boston. Langevin will represent the US at the World Coffee Championships later this year.

Erin French, Reviews Return

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Erin French, the chef/owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom,

Longtime Freedom resident Wilson Hess said that French’s passion for her multifaceted role at The Lost Kitchen and her charming hospitality is the restaurant’s secret sauce. “She’s a gracious personality and a wonderful storyteller,” said Hess, who has dined at The Lost Kitchen. “Everyone in the room feels like they’re at home when they’re there.”

and an announcement by restaurant critic Andrew Ross about the upcoming return of restaurant reviews to the newspaper and insight into the ways his approach will differ from pre-pandemic days.

If you haven’t worked it out yet, be patient, reader: Please remain seated and keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times – we’re about to start reviewing again.

As I gear up for a return to thinking critically about restaurant dining, I’ve also been realizing how different writing a full review will be. It’s pure denial to insist that our world is normal again, so why should we expect our food writing to be the same as it once was?