August 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.

August 31
The Grill Room received 3½ stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Open for three months and extremely popular, the Grill Room’s food is excellent – even though it can be long in coming.”
August 30
Portland in a Snap has a brief post about Dollaro’s with photos of the staff and the interior of the shop. Dollaro’s is the new Italian bakery on Forest Ave.
August 29 has reviewed Chef et al. “Aside from the over-use of air conditioning, this was a great little spot, and I know Amber and I will be heading back to check out some of the offerings on their dinner menu.”
August 28 pm
Jonathan Levitt, a Maine-based food writer and photographer, has an article in the latest issue of Gastronomica. You’re likely to have read Jonathan’s work before if you subscribe to The Boston Globe where his articles about Maine restaurants and food have often appeared.Luke Livingston, author of Blog About Beer, has a guest post on NXT: The Next Generation about the advantages of home brewing.
August 28 am
Granny’s has a new name. The Congress Street burrito shop is now doing business as Grandes Burritos Taqueria. The new name comes with some changes and additions to the menu.Yesterday’s email newsletter from Rabelais reports that the Maine episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods which was filmed here this summer will air on the Travel Channel November 18th.

Portland In A Snap has an update on this mural of the Roman Colosseum going up on the outside of G&R Dimillo’s Bayside.

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance has been added to the list organizations on Portland Food Map.

August 27 pm
Type A Diversions has reviewed The Frog and Turtle in Westbrook. “The Frog & Turtle lives up to its self-description, ‘a neighborhood spot that has good fresh food.’ I particularly love that Chef Tranchemontagne is not afraid to add heat and spice to his dishes.”1:00 a.m. Curfew‘s Amy Martin had a very unhappy Happy Hour at Mesa Verde. “So I was all geeked to write about how summer isn’t over and you should get your fill of margaritas while it’s still hot and sunny outside. Margaritas are now dead to me.”

This week’s Portland Phoenix is their back to school special for college students. The Student Survival Guide section of the newspaper has a list of 100 Things To Do liberally sprinkled with many stops at local watering holes and restaurants. The issue also has an eating out guide for students that is (not yet, at least) available online, and another article in Lindsay Sterling’s cooking series.

August 27 am
The Food section in today’s Press Herald has an article about Jamon Iberico, the $100 per pound Spanish ham imported to the US by a Portland company called The Rogers Collection.
August 26 pm has reviewed Cafe at Pat’s. “Our chief complaint was the pace of the meal. The food was worth coming back for; I hope that the service was just having an off night. Amber and I will certainly be taking a walk down that way again for dinner at some point, but we’re not in any hurry.”
August 26 am
Local food writers have produced hundreds of reviews for Portland restaurants and each week more get published. So it’s always a surprise to see that there are still 60+ places for which there’s no review available online. Here’s my top 10 wish list of reviews I hope will be written in the remainder of the year:

Today’s Press Herald has an article on the opposition Poland Spring is encountering in its efforts to expand the sources for their bottled water. Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It will be speaking in Portland on September 17.

Tastes Like the Future writes about her weekend drinks and dining experiences at The Grill Room and Walter’s in this post on her blog.

August 25 – This Week’s Events
The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Novare Res. Cultivating Community will hold their biweekly Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm on Thursday. There is a wine tasting at Browne Trading on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
August 24
Type A Diversions declares “I will definitely return” in her review of Local 188. “The atmosphere at Local 188 is fun and party like; the cuisine is creative and well prepared. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to be having a good time and there were many large groups the night we dined.”
August 22
There’s an article in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch about the fun to be had at farmers’ markets. The article includes a short list of markets in the Portland area. Portland Psst! reports that there’s also a farmers’ market every Friday in the Whole Foods Market parking lot. To locate a market further afield in Maine check out the directory on the Get Real, Get Maine! website.
August 20 pm
There’s a profile of Mousse Cafe and Bakeshop in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch.This week’s Portland Phoenix includes a pair of articles on the farming and buying of locally grown produce. has reviewed Dogfish Cafe. “Fine dining (a la, some other Congress St. establishments) this is not, but the food is good, the staff is attentive, the atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and we’ll definitely be going again. This is a nice little neighborhood find and within easy biking distance for us to boot.”

August 20 am
Poutine made the frontpage of the Food & Health section in today’s Press Herald. In the article, the paper’s taste testers debate the finer points of the traditional French-Canadian concoction of fries, gravy and reports that the State is proposing to raise licensing fees for restaurants and other retail food businesses.

The Associated Press interviewed a number of Mainers for this story about the increasing popularity of canning.

There have been two additions to this week’s event calendar. Shipyard is having a release party at Bull Feeney’s tomorrow for their Pumpkinhead Ale. Kitchen and Cork is holding a wine tasting on Saturday.

Portland in a Snap reports on the theft of a chalice from Novare Res. Owner Eric Michaud is offering a reward ($100 of beer) for information on the thief. The chalice has important sentimental value for Michaud because it was custom made for his wedding which took place last month.

August 18 – This Week’s Events
Amy Trubek, author of A Taste of Place, A Cultural Journey into Terroir will be at Rabelais on Monday for a book signing. There are a wine tastings Wednesday at Old Port Wine Merchants and Thursday at Black Cherry Provisions. The Maine Audubon Society is holding a mushroom foraging workshop on Saturday at their farm in Falmouth. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday Novare Res is holding a German beerfest and Cinque Terre is hosting a dinner at their farm in Greene, Maine. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.In her contnuing quest to find the perfect lobster roll sandwich, Type A Diversions has reviewed The Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth. “If you want to experience classic seaside Maine at its best, head to the Lobster Shack at the end of Two Lights Road in Cape Elizabeth.”

Earlier this year there was a lot of buzz about a collaboration between Ebeneezer’s Pub, Belgian brewer De Struisse, and chef Sean Paxton to open a beer bar and restaurant in Portland called Pannepot Cafe. News about the cafe has been pretty sparse lately but the same group is holding a dinner in Lovell, Maine August 28 and the menu gives some indication of what we can look forward to when/if the cafe does open.

August 17
Fortune Garden received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. ” . . . you can enjoy a good Chinese dinner at Fortune Garden. The sauteed green beans and the Hunan shrimp were the best choices at one recent meal.” has a write-up on this weekend’s Roguepalooza event at Novare Res that saw 27 beers from Rogue available on tap.

Maine food author Nancy Harmon Jenkins wrote an article about Maine blueberries that appeared this week in the New York Times.

Thanh Thanh Bida, a bar and pool hall is now open on Read St.

August 16 pm
Stephen Lanzalotta, the baker at Micucci’s, will be offering a series of 2-hour cooking classes called Piatto per Tutti, to be held Monday nights starting September 8 (polenta cheese pasticciata, cress and mushroom salad, pinenut cookies). For more infomation e-mail coincidence, I was driving out Forest Ave this afternoon and spotted Dollaro’s Bakery. Dollaro’s is a new Italian bakery; it sells a variety of breads and pastries.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Maine lobstermen are applying for the Marine Stewardship Council’s seal of approval. There’s also a report in the Press Herald warning about the risks of eating wild mushrooms without some basic training in differentiating the good from the bad.

August 16 am
1:00 a.m. Curfew has reviewed The Big Easy. “The Big Easy has been a staple for live music in Portland for about a dozen years . . . It’s where you go to hear a good band, dance and have a few drinks.”Tickets for this Fall’s Harvest on the Harbor food festival are now on sale.
August 14
Demand for local produce from large companies like Whole Foods is increasing according to this wire story that appeared in the Thursday Press Herald.
August 13 pm
The Portland Phoenix has published a joint review of Novare Res and Prost!. “Of all the methods humans have devised to deploy alcohol in hope of temporarily deadening us to the stultifying burdens of life, beer-drinking is among the oldest and perhaps the best.”Type A Diversions has posted a review of Haggarty’s. “Haggerty’s is a gem in Portland and one I’m glad I finally discovered for their exceptional Brit Indi cuisine.”
August 13 am
Toni Fiore, host of the locally produced TV show Delicious TV, has published a cookbook for the show entitled Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian.
August 12
The publicity for Masala Mahal keeps rolling in. Southern Maine’s new Indian grocery was the subject of a profile today on “‘We specialize in Indian spices, Indian lentils and different flours,’ said Mamta Punjabi, the 38-year-old shop owner. ‘These are the foods that we grew up with. It feels like home to have them.'”
August 11 – This Week’s Events
The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Vignola. Cultivating Community will hold their weekly Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm on Thursday. There is a wine tasting Wednesday at RSVP. Evangeline and Allagash are holding a beer tasting to celebrate MOFGA, and a beer talk is happening on Wednesday at Prost. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Roguepalooza will happen at Novare Res on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday and Sunday the 83rd Annual Italian Bazaar is taking place on Federal St. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.The front page of today’s Press Herald features a story about Oakhurst’s legal battle 5 years ago with Monsanto over Oakhurst’s label which did (and still does) read, “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones Used”.
August 9 pm
Mousse Cafe and Bakeshop had a soft opening today and will having their official opening day on Monday. The cafe is in the space in Monument Square formerly occupied by Foley’s Bakery.
August 9 am
1:00 a.m. Curfew has written up a review of Ruski’s. “At any given moment you’ll find the place packed or empty. You’ll always find specials on the board – drinks, breakfast plates and dinners – and people you want to be around.”The Bollard is reporting that a pair of local business owners are planning to buy building that was formerly home to The Icehouse and open a new Mexican restaurant there. For more information on other food business under development in Portland see the Under Construction list.
August 7 pm
The Forecaster interviewed Kim Anderson and Anna Maria Tocci, co-owners of the North Star Music Cafe. Tocci is quoted in the article, “We have grandmothers coming in for lunch, sitting right next to a table full of pierced up teenagers, and it’s no big deal. I love that we provide a space that appeals to so many different kinds of people”.
August 7 am
There’s a review of the sandwich board at Ari’s East End Market in today’s Press Herald.The Maine Switch reviewed Flatbread. ” . . . the flavors were spot on and the thin pizza crust was neither too crispy nor too soft.”

This week’s Switch also contains a profile of Maine Brewing Supply, an interview with Daniel Perron from Sumner Valley Farm about selling all natural meats at the Farmers’ Market, a look at the hot sauce makers in Maine, and several other food articles on topics from blueberries to soul food.

August 6 pm
Here’s an audio article from National Public Radio (via Portland Psst!) about Catch a Piece of Maine, a lobster CSF run by John and Brendan Ready.Commune Tested, City Approved cooked up a beet pizza. No, that’s not a typo, the pizza topping included peppers, garlic, onion, tempeh, potatos and beets.
August 6 am
The Portland Phoenix has reviewed The Grill Room. “The salmon was well-browned and crisp-skinned but still moist and a touch translucent inside. Tuna straddled the line between grilled and seared nicely. The red, tender duck was terrific with a barely sour vinegar-kissed chard. Short ribs were crisp edged but fall-apart tender.”Masala Mahal, Maine’s new Indian grocery store, was profiled in the Food & Health section of today’s Press Herald.
August 4 pm
Chris2fer has reviewed the pizza at Siano’s “I recommend Siano’s Pizzeria if you like thin crust pizza that is on the spicy side.”, and dessert at the Quality Shop “Sweet sugary apple filling with whipped cream in a fried donut like pastry. Yes, please.”There’s an update from Local Foodie on her work to store up blueberries, peas and strawberries for winter. “Rebuilding that relationship with food does take time and effort, but it certainly beats eating frosted toaster pastries!!!” I wonder if Chris2fer would agree.
August 4 am – This Week’s Events
This week there’s a real scarcity of foodie events on the calendar. No wine tastings, book signings, special dinners, or any of the usual items I have to list, just a beer talk at Prost! on Wednesday and Farmers’ Markets taking place Wednesday and Saturday.There’s a video on YouTube about the camapign, run by Scarborough resident Roger Doiron, to get the next President of the United States to plant a vegetable garden at the White House.

Type A Diversions has published a review of Bar Lola.

August 3
StarEast Cafe received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “A Middle Eastern restaurant, StarEast makes great flatbread, fine stuffed grape leaves, lamb stew and other good things from that wonderful cuisine.”Maine, Beer & Me published its final post yesterday. He has relocated to Northampton, MA and will no longer be updating the blog.
August 2 reports that The Great Lost Bear has added a new set of taps exclusively dedicated to serving up Allagash brews.
August 1
The 10 restaurants and bars viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of July were:

  1. Evangeline
  2. Bresca
  3. Emilitsa
  4. Caiola’s
  5. Five Fifty-Five
  6. The Grill Room
  7. Prost! International Tap House
  8. Chef et al.
  9. Novare Res
  10. Back Bay Grill

Evangeline has been at the top of the list for the last 4 months running.