Maine Restaurant Week 2021

Maine Restaurant Week is set to take place March 1 – 12. The Press Herald has published an article about how this annual event has adjusted to the pandemic and highlights some of the restaurants taking part in 2021.

Maine Restaurant Week organizer Gillian Britt, of gBritt PR, said the usual $495 participation fee for restaurants has been waived this year, with help from several sponsors. Maybe because that, there is a wider variety of eateries participating this year representing a wider geographic area, spreading a little more inland and little farther from Portland in all directions, Britt said, including Doolin’s Pub in Litchfield and Jonathan’s in Ogunquit.

For information on all the restaurants taking part visit the MRW website.

Chaval’s Con Todo Series

Chaval is launching a new takeout pop-up series called Con Todo (instagram). The pop-ups will be taking place every 3-4 weeks and each one will have a different  theme.

The first Con Todo will be taking place Monday March 1st and the concept is Chef’s Night Out in KTown. Chaval has been barrel fermenting kimchee for the last 2 months and they’re excited to use it in the upcoming Con Todo menu. Future ideas for pop-ups include a Quebec sugar house menu, and a Piccolo dinner.

Follow Con Todo on instagram to get alerted when pre-orders go live.

Sam Sifton: Maine Voices Live

Sam Sifton will be the featured guest in a Press Herald Maine Voices Live event taking place April 6th. Register online to attend.

Sam Sifton is the assistant managing editor of The New York Times, overseeing culture and lifestyle coverage. He is the founding editor of NYT Cooking, writes a food column for The New York Times Magazine. While based in New York City, Sifton has spent time in Maine every year of his life. His love of the state and its food heritage frequently shows up in his popular NYT Cooking email newsletter.

Sifton was originally scheduled to speak on March 16th, 2020, but the event was postponed due to the pandemic.

Kindfulness Service Challenge

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, and in keeping with the spirit of that holiday, hospitality and marketing pro Jennifer Trebino Wyllie (instagram) is launching the Kindfulness Service Challenge.

Wyllie shared the definition of Kindfulness which is “the quality or state of being mindful of the people around you + bringing kindness to their day”.

For her program she’s challenging us all for the next 10 days to “consciously + purposely be kind to service workers. It costs nothing to be kind and I know that not only will service workers have better days, but everyone will feel happier + lighter and hopefully continue doing so. This is meant to be a habit breaking challenge that spreads kindness and love.”

For more information see the steps in the graphic shown here and view the program announcement on instagram.

This Week’s Events: Mardi Gras, Norimoto

Monday – it’s President’s Day.

TuesdayEaux will be serving be serving a menu of po’boys, gumbo, cornbread and more at a Mardi Gras pop-up in Oxbow Alley. (Rescheduled to February 23rd)

Friday – Atsuko Fujimoto from Norimoto Bakery will be participating in the Small Axe guest chef series at East Ender (continues on Saturday)

Saturday – Chris Lynch from Commander’s Palace in New Orleans is participating in the Ramona’s guest chef series (continues on Sunday).

This Week’s Events: Guest Chefs, Helm, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day

TuesdayMr Tuna is the featured restaurant in the Terlingua guest chef series.

ThursdayHelm is opening for takeout.

FridayBao Bao is offering a regional dumpling menu in celebration of Chinese New Year, and Little Brother Chinese Food (instagram) will start taking orders for their new frozen dumpling business for pick-up starting on the 19th at Fork Food Lab.

SaturdayJudy Gibson is the featured restaurant in the Ramona’s guest chef series.

Sunday – It’s Valentine’s Day—see our list of V-Day specials. The Pink Waffle will be holding a pop-up at Figgy’s.

2021 Valentines Day List

Valentines Day is just a few weeks away, and local bars, restaurants and confectioners are just now starting to announce specials they’re offering this year. Check back often, we’ll be adding new entries as they get posted online.

  • Ada’s – “Pink Sorpresine (naturally dyed with beets) or a pink and white Lasagna with pink pasta, mushroom duxelle, and a white Ragu sauce”
  • Allagash Brewing – releasing Heart of Hearts, a “ruby-colored, foudre-aged sour beer rested for four months on fresh-plucked raspberries”
  • Bao Bao – “6-course Valentine’s menu includes a fried tonkatsu oyster sandwich with yuzu koshu aioli.” $68 for two people.
  • Baristas + Bites – heart shaped baked goods.
  • Basket Island Oysters – a dozen oysters, a bottle of Resurgam Spruced Up hot sauce, and a shucking knife.
  • Ben Lu Bakery – has a collection of Valentine’s Day treats available.
  • Big Sky Bakery – Valentine’s Day themed baked goods.
  • Blue Spoon – will be serving their regular menu plus some Valentine’s Day specials.
  • BlueFin – a special Valentine’s Day menu.
  • Botto’s Bakery – truffles and cupcakes.
  • Broken Arrow – serving a 6-course Valentines tasting menu on Saturday February 13th.
  • Chaval – 4-course dinner for takeout and also taking reservations for outdoor dining on their heated patio and in minigrenhouses.
  • Craft Curbside – has a set of Valentine’s Day meal kits.
  • Dean’s Sweets – has a set of Valentine’s Day options.
  • Empanada Club – is offering a traditional Argentinian holiday dulce de leche chocolate-covered cookie.
  • Evo – 5-course takeout dinner ($90/person), or a 7-course dinner at Evo ($130/person).
  • Fore Street – a takeout menu during Valentine’s Day weekend.
  • Gros Confection Bar – Triple Chocolate Entremet & Confections for two.
  • Helm – a 3-course prix fixe menu with optional caviar and oysters additions.
  • Izakaya Minato – a special Valentine’s Day menu.
  • Knotted Apron – 4-course dinner with wine pairings for $75 per person.
  • La Belle Patisserie – chocolates and macarons.
  • Lake & Co. – will have a dinner of Coquilles St.-Jacques plus sides and desserts. They’ll also be selling Valentine cookie decorating kits.
  • Luke’s Lobster – a takeout seafood tower for two with 2 splits of Prosecco, and a box of chocolates from Bixby & Co, $130.
  • Mainely Macarons – “Valentine’s boxes include 6 Chocolate and 6 Vanilla Bean with a strawberry jam center.”
  • Mr. Tuna – a Valentine’s Day party box.
  • North 43 Bistro – 3-course dinner.
  • Novare Res – in collaboration with Dean’s Sweets Novare has a set of beer and chocolate pairing which are also available for home delivery via CarHop.
  • Portland Beer Hub – a Valentine’s Day special beer bundle of a mixed 4-pack and two whoopie pies
  • Portland Cake Co. – 7″ red velvet and chocolate cakes, $25 each.
  • Prairie Baking – cakes and confection boxes.
  • Ragged Coast Chocolates – has a collection of Valentine’s Day offerings.
  • Ribollita – has a Valentine’s Day special of “Scallops w/Moscato Cream w/Fresh Fettuccine & Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese” and their regular menu is also available. They’re open Thursday through Saturday for takeout.
  • Sopo Seafood – has Valentin’s Day gift boxes.
  • Standard Baking Co. – has hazelnut, sugar and Linzer heart-shaped cookies, opera torte, and French macarons.
  • Sugar Giant – has a Valentine’s Day box with optional champagne and print add-ons.
  • Tao Yuan – 9-course chef’s tasting menu, $58 per person.
  • Top of the East – 3-course takeout dinner for 2, $85.
  • Union – 4-course takeout dinner for 2, $120.
  • Union Kitchen – has a special Valentine’s Day menu.
  • Vena’s Fizz House – a “Valentine’s Day beverage kit that includes ingredients & recipes for both cocktails and mocktails”.
  • Wine Wise – Périgord black truffle virtual wine dinner for 2 with Chaval, $250.
  • Yardie Ting – a stuffed salmon dinner for two with sides, dessert and two bottles of Ting for $90.

This Week’s Events

Wednesday – This week’s guest chef collaboration at Radici is with chef Cara Stadler from Bao Bao.

ThursdayTandem is re-opening their West End coffee shop and bakery for takeout, and Mami, George’s North Shore and Highroller are collaborating on 2-night pop-up.

Friday – it’s the first of a 2-day guest chef collaboration at the Small Axe Pop-up/East Eender with chef Josh Sobel from Ramona’s.

2021 Flavors of Freeport

Flavors of Freeport, the annual celebration of food and drink in Freeport, Maine, is taking place February 1 – 28. This year the Visit Freeport (website, facebook, instagram) organization has created two ways to explore the restaurants and other businesses in town.

Restaurants, coffee shops and other food businesses will be offering Freeport On The Menu specials during February. Take a look at the Visit Freeport website and/or check in with your favorite Freeport businesses on instagram for details on what they have to offer.

Also during February take part in Freeport Foodie Lotto with the chance to win a $1,000 prize or gift cards from local businesses. Download a copy of the game card and earn Flavors of Freeport stamps by spending $10 or more at one of the participating businesses. You can get stamps for the Stay in Freeport squares by making making a hotel reservation, and earn a stamp for the center square by making a donation of $10 to the Freeport Community Services Food Pantry. Full details and rules are included on the game card, along with details on all the participating businesses.

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