April 2008 Blog Posts

The process of converting all the past blog posts into the new system will take some time. I will chip away at it as time allows. In the meantime you can read the posts from April 2008 here.

April 30 PM
John Golden has broken a 6 and half month silence on his blog Food for Thought to write a review of Evangeline. Golden writes, “This is probably one of the most appealing Portland restaurants to open in some time. It seamlessly joins the ranks of other highly regarded establishments in town. Evangeline continues the trend flawlessly.”

G & R DiMillo’s Bayside was the subject of a review in John Everett’s Bar Guide and a profile by Avery Yale Kamilla in The Maine Switch. Everett writes, “I’m excited by the possibilities of G&R DiMillo’s Bayside, but also realize the place needs to find its niche in the coming months.”

The new issue of The Maine Switch also has a review of Bogusha’s Polish Restaurant and Deli. “You can’t help but notice the mannequin dressed in Polish garb the minute you walk in the door. She welcomes you with pale, stone-faced Polish pride. To her left is the grocery store part of the venue where you’ll find everything from fruit juice to salami sticks to what might be a compilation of erotic stories written in Polish.”

The Portland Phoenix‘s Todd Richard visits The Cheese Iron as part of his Twenty $pot series spending $28.02 on fruit, wine, bread, sausage and cheese.

April 30 AM
Production staff at the Travel Channel have told me they’re working on an episode of Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern set in Maine. There’s no word yet on what Maine foods will make the cut. The New York Times says of Zimmern, “Less dangerous than Anthony Bourdain, less annoying than Rachael Ray and less cloying than Paula Deen, Mr. Zimmern is a delight.”

Chris2fer has written a review of Pizza Villa. “Long story fairly short, if you are at Pizza Villa in the attached bar drinking and you get a hankering for some pizzas, then this is the place for you! If you want some tasty excellent pizza then go to Flatbread or Bonobo.”

April 29
The Press Herald has an article today on how the high cost of gas is impacting the food delivery services in town. They are also reporting that the new tax on beer will give Maine brewers a pass due to their relatively small size.
April 28 – This Week’s Events
The 7th Annual Potato Planting Party is taking place on Saturday at Turkey Hill Farm in Cape Elizabeth. There are wine tastings taking place at The Clown, Rosemont Market and Bakery and the West End Grocery. The later two coincide with the First Friday Art Walk. As usual, on Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

The Under Construction List has been updated to include O’Brien’s Bar & Grill, Port City Music Hall and Thanh Thanh Bida. All three are going up for their liquor licenses at tonight’s City Council meeting.

April 27 PM
Type A Diversions has reviewed Mims Brasserie It sounds like she wasn’t all that impressed with either her lunch or dinner. “Mims shines at breakfast, serves an adequate lunch, and is a disappointment for dinner . . . If you simply seek an after work spot to share cocktails and a great view, then Mims fills the niche.”
April 27 AM
Gauchos Churrascaria received 3 stars from MaineToday.com in this week’s Taste & Tell column. “The fascination of meat herds many of us toward that as a main course. It also explains the substantial appeal of the meals served at Gauchos Churrascaria in Portland, where handsome men bring skewers of grilled beef, pork and chicken to the table, serving as much or as little as you like.”
April 25 PM
John Everett reviewed The White Heart in the latest installment of the Bar Guide. “Visiting this locale is more intense than the usual pub experience. The music is loud, there is no TV to save your pathetic conversation attempts and much of the clientele is dressed in their best.”

Accidental Vegetables has published a new review of Evangeline. “Overall, our meal at Evangeline was outstanding. With our drinks (which, again ahem, we had quite a few of) the bill came to $112, including tip, per couple. It’s not the kind of money we can drop on dinner every week, but for a special occasion . . . Evangeline will definitely be at the top of our list.”

Chow Maine has the rundown on changes afoot at Hugo’s. The new menu will reportedly have a items ranging in price from $5 to $130 and a TV over the bar that will show “chefs’ hands at work in the kitchen, images shot that afternoon of fish cleaning and agnolotti pasta making, and the plating of every dish”.

Portland Psst! is reporting that Bresca made Conde Nast Traveler‘s 2008 Hot List. The CNT team scoured the restaurants in 32 countries to pick the 105 finalists.

April 25 AM
There’s been a last minute addition to the event calendar for tonight. A lecture is taking place on UNE’s Portland campus entitled The Natural Cook: What Diet Does to Make us Human. Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham will address “when did our ancestors learn to cook and what impact did this have on our evolution” and “whether cooking might be a crucial component of what it is that makes human beings what they are.”
April 24 PM
The latest post on The Maine Mouth asks the question “What is good Maine food?”, and author Kathleen Fleury confesses to liking the fried clams at Susan’s Fish and Chips better than those at the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth.

The Farmer’s Market season in Portland doesn’t officially begin until early May but Commune Tested, City Approved is reporting that the Wednesday market in Monument Square was up and running this week. There’s no word on whether the Saturday market is also starting up early.

Fat Baxter’s has been bought by Rosemont Market and Bakery.

April 24 AM
Happy Teriyaki was reviewed in the Go section of today’s Press Herald. “Happy Teriyaki opened just this week, and although I seriously doubt it really is ‘Seattle’s best teriyaki,’ as advertised, it is a good place to get relatively inexpensive teriyaki, yakisoba, tempura and other Japanaese-style fast food.”
April 23 PM
This week’s Portland Phoenix has a double review of two of Portland’s Greek restaurants, Emilitsa and Acropolis. It also includes an interview with several of the participants from this weekend’s Food + Farm event being held at the SPACE gallery.

The Maine Switch has reviewed Mesa Verde. “Every bite screamed simply prepared and fresh. It was exactly what we needed. The food here is not heavy on spice, so if you like a little more kick (as we do), just sprinkle on some hot sauce.”

Fans of the now departed Francisco’s Blue House Cafe may be interested in checking out a new blog, Francisco’s Culinary Journeys, which is written by the former chef of Francisco’s, David Mallari. Mallari is now running a catering company that organizes pig roasts called The Pig Kahuna.

April 23 AM
Type A Diversions has published a review of Granny’s Burritos. She writes that “Granny’s new location is worth the walk from the Old Port if you’re craving the best Burritos in Greater Portland.”

Today’s edition of the Press Herald has an article about the movie King Corn which is showing Friday night at the SPACE gallery.

April 22 PM
Happy Teriyaki, located at 630 Congress St, has opened for business.
April 22 AM
The number of places on the Unreviewed List keeps on shrinking. During the last 3 months local food writers have published first-time reviews for more than a dozen restaurants, diners and bars. Here’s another dozen that it would be great to see reviews for in the next few months:

April 21 – This Week’s Events
Browne Trading, Black Cherry Provisions and Rosemont Bakery are having wine tasting this week. Slow Food is holding a wine tasting (at Aurora Provisions) and Italian dinner (at Caiola’s) on Tuesday. Food + Farm, a co-production of SPACE and MOFGA, is taking place Friday through Sunday at SPACE. The 4th International Food Festival is taking place at SMCC on Saturday and on Friday Rabelais is hosting the co-creators of an article in the current issue of Gastronomica entitled “Milk Haul”. As always, on Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

The Breakfast Club has reviewed Steve and Renee’s Diner. They called it a “very comfortable place to eat a no frills, yet totally solid, quality diner breakfast. no pretensions here.”

April 20
Granny’s Burritos has reopened on Congress Street in the space formerly occupied by Uncle Billy’s Resto-Bar. The new Granny’s is a collaboration between Chris Godin of Granny’s and Jonathan St. Laurent, proprieter of Uncle Billy’s. The new restaurant will carry over some of the more popular items from Uncle Billy’s menu.

Green Elephant received 3 stars from MaineToday.com in this week’s Taste & Tell column.

April 18
Type A Diversions has published a review of Evangeline. Having been on-hand for the opening night at the restaurant she wrote, “After witnessing many less graceful grand openings, I was impressed at the staff orchestration.” Her overall opinion of Evangeline is that “Chef Erik Dejarlais has combined the elegance of distinctively prepared cuisine, with a lively urban setting. An instant classic, Evangeline is a ‘must try’ restaurant for foodies living in, or visiting Portland.”
April 17 PM
This week’s edition of The Forecaster has an article about the new venues (Prost, Onyx, Cobblestones) that are under construction on Fore and Wharf Streets.

Erik Desjarlais’ new restaurant, Evangeline, had its grand opening tonight.

April 17 AM
The Phoenix released the results of their 2008 reader’s poll this week. The web pages listing the results don’t seem to be working at the moment so if you want the full scoop you’ll need to pick up a paper copy. Here’s a taste: best local beer – Allagash, best Latino restaurant – Tu Casa, best Indian – Tandoor, best wings – Binga’s Wingas, etc.

John Everett reviewed Local 188 in the latest installment of the Bar Guide. “Local 188 is poised to become a popular nightspot . . . and for good reason. A one-of-a-kind drink selection paired with $6 Tapas and attention to detail make Local 188 incomparable to other bars and taverns in the boozy ocean of Portland.”

Artemisia Cafe received 4 stars in a review published on MaineToday.com. “In Portland, few things say spring better than a raspberry lime cooler from Artemisia Cafe.”

This week’s edition of The Maine Switch includes a review of Siano’s and a profile of Chef et al, a new restaurant on Forest Ave.

BeerBloggers.com is reporting that “Sea Dog and Shipyard Brewing Companies each took home a medal at the 2008 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) in Melbourne, Australia.”

April 16 PM
This week’s edition of The Phoenix has a review of Empire Dine and Dance. “The food is not remarkable but is better than corporate versions of casual fare . . . The best thing we tried was the $5 half-size burger. This is bar food as it should be.”
April 16 AM
The Bollard has published a review of Flask Lounge, a sports bar located in between Miyake and Katahdin on Spring Street. Editor Chris Busby writes, “Flask is a decent little eatery. They’ve got burgers and steak bombs and all manner of panini, plus Cincinnati Chili and Italian sausage pizza pockets that are better than you think . . . The Buffalo wings are not as good as you think – that is, not baptized in a deep-fat fryer – so beware.”

Today’s Press Herald has an editorial on the return of the Miss Portland Diner and an article in the Food & Health section on the growing variety of gourmet salts now available and growing in popularity.

April 15
A new sports bar, G & R DiMillo’s, opened last night. G & R is located at 118 Preble St in the old location of Bleachers and is owned by a member of the same family that runs the DiMillo’s restaurant on Commercial St.

The Breakfast Club has reviewed The Frog and Turtle and graded them an A- overall. They had some interesting interactions with their waiter and got to try a “chocolate-filled, bacon-wrapped doughnut”.

The Portland Culinary Scribbler has a new wine & cheese essay by Nicole Chaison. Nicole has written in response to Carmela Benegas Rose and Boucheron cheese.

April 14 – This Week’s Events
Bar Lola is having a wine dinner on Tuesday night and there are wine tastings taking place this week at the Old Port Wine Merchants and Leavitt & Sons (Falmouth). On Thursday, Frog and Turtle is hosting a renaissance themed dinner at their restaurant in Westbrook. Mark Winne, author of Closing The Food Gap, Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty will bet at Rabelais on Monday for a book signing. As always, on Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the Portland Food Map event calendar.
April 13
Siano’s Pizzeria was reviewed in this week’s Taste & Tell column on MaineToday.com. Siano’s was given 2½ stars. Nancy English, author of the review, wrote “We loved the good pizza and enjoyed the fried calamari, but if I return, I won’t order the boring onion rings and awful five-cheese ravioli. Salads served to a neighboring table looked great.”

Harbor Fish Market will be closed Tuesday to honor the memory of Benjamin Louis Alfiero who along with his brother John started the market in the early 1970s.

The Rogers Collection, a local importer and e-tailer of rare foods, has been aded to the site. Chef et al and Whole Foods have been added to the Sunday Brunch List.

Today’s edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram had an article about Mountville’s ordinance banning the planting of “genetically engineered crops”.

An article by Sam Hayward on island raised sheep in Maine is in the latest issue of The Art of Eating. You can pick up a copy of the cult foodie journal locally at Rabelais Books.

April 11
The Press Herald has a report on the clamming crisis in the Midcoast region, and hidden in the Dispatches is a short piece on the visit of a film crew from Oprah Winfrey’s show to Hugo’s yesterday where they taped a segment with chef Rob Evans on his tuna melt sandwich.

Type A Diversions revisited Blue Spoon for a casual lunch on Munjoy Hill. She wrote that it offers an “excellent value to its patrons” and while not a “destination restaurant” is someplace that “would surely be a favorite if I lived nearby.”

April 9 PM
John Everett reviewed the Three Dollar Deweys in the latest installment of the Bar Guide. “An old-fashioned pub. A place to meet new people, relax with friends, try a few new beers . . . and eat free popcorn.”

This week’s edition of The Maine Switch includes a review of Ribollita. “I’ve heard Ribollita described as having the best Italian food in town. Frankly, it could have been $1 burgers and I’d still be raving about it, with its fantastic service and friendly atmosphere.”

April 9 AM
Chris2fer has given Bonobo 4 stars in his new review of the West End pizzeria. Chris2fer writes, “I think that I have found my new favorite pizza place in Portland. The prices were reasonable, the service was quiet but efficient (and mellow) and the restaurant itself was very nicely appointed and comfortable. We will definitely be going back.”
April 8
Saeng Thai House opened up a second location at 921 Congress St yesterday. A neighborhood variety store, Spring Street Variety, has opened at 237 Spring St.
April 7 – This Week’s Events
Mims Brasserie is reopening today under the direction of Scott Olsen, its new Executive Chef. Downeast Beverage and RSVP are both hosting wine tastings this week. Slow Food Portland has a potluck dinner on Wednesday and their book club is getting together on Tuesday to discuss Cod by Mark Kurlansky. Save Our Seafood, a seafood tasting and auction, is taking place on Monday; John Williamson of the Ocean Conservancy will be the guest speaker. On Saturday, Whole Foods is attempting to break a Guinness Book record for the Most Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels Ever Cracked simultaneously. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the Portland Food Map event calendar.
April 6
Type A Diversions published the first review of Chef et al just a day after the Forest Ave bistro opened its doors. While she cautions that like most new restaurants they have “a few kinks to work out”, she states that the “refined and creative culinary skills showcased in our simple lunch at Chef et al will ensure my repeat patronage.”

The Breakfast Club has reviewed 158 Picket Street Cafe and graded them an A- overall. They loved the bagels but not the “white and wide-mouthed with tiny handles” coffee cups.

Empire Dine and Dance was the subject of this week’s Taste & Tell column on MaineToday.com. Empire captured 3 out of a possible 5 stars for their “bar food made with panache”.

Evangeline, Erik Desjarlais’ new restaurant in Longfellow Square, will be having its opening night on April 11.

April 5
The new issue of Down East includes a guide to eating in Maine. Editor Kathleen Fleury polled “chefs, market owners, specialty food purveyors, food writers, and other culinary icons” about where they are eating now. Portland had a very strong showing in the results with entries as diverse as Homegrown Herb & Tea and Back Bay Grill.

The Bollard is reporting that Granny’s Burritos will soon be reopening in the location currently occupied by Uncle Billy’s Resto-Bar. The new incarnation of Granny’s is a joint venture by Chris Godin of Granny’s and Jonathan St. Laurent of Uncle Billy’s.

Chef et al. opened for business yesterday. Chef et al. is billing itself as a “casual New England bistro”. They are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and plan on starting a Sunday brunch service soon.

John Everett reviewed the Asylum for this week’s installment of the Bar Guide. “Young people want a place that has good music, cheap drinks and a dance floor. Asylum meets that criteria, and has a fun-loving and professional staff to boot”.

Hilltop Coffee Shop was profiled in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch.

April 3
Kim’s Sandwich & Cafe received 4½ stars in a review published on MaineToday.com. “Simply put, Kim’s Sandwich and Cafe on Portland’s St. John Street is a great find. It would be pretty darn hard to find a better value for a really tasty lunch.”

BeerBloggers.com has written a review of Gritty’s Scottish Style Ale. “The taste is a good bit more exciting than the smell. The malts are bready and have a caramel flavor to them. The initial sweetness gives way to the smokey accents, which adds a pleasant complexity to the taste.”

April 2 PM
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch has an article on one woman’s search for the best New England clam chowder in the city, and an introduction to the 22nd Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fling that’s taking place on Sunday.
April 2 AM
From Way Away has put together a list of 20 “great foodie things in our broken city of Portland”.

Chow Maine has published a calendar of April wine tastings at over 20 stores from Ogonquit to Gardiner.

April 1
The 10 restaurants viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of March were:

  1. Emilitsa
  2. Caiola’s
  3. The Frog and Turtle
  4. Bresca
  5. Vignola
  6. Five Fifty-Five
  7. Blue Spoon
  8. The Front Room
  9. Local 188
  10. Food Factory Miyake

Emilitsa holds the top honors for the second month in a row.