Gluten-Free Eats

The Natural Foodie column in today’s Press Herald takes a look at where to find gluten-free eats in the Portland area.

“When I first came back to Portland, I started cold calling restaurants asking if they’d be able to put something together for me,” said McDonnell.

The response varied considerably between eateries, with some offering a number of options and others asking, “What’s gluten-free?”

“Now people are really, really good about it,” McDonnell said. “Even compared to two years ago.”

Retail>>>Wholesale

The Portland Daily Sun has published an article on the growing number of food vendors who are breaking into the wholesale market.

The restaurant-driven path may tempt some producers to go directly into wholesale, but it could be that successful retailing is a good foundation for wholesaling.

At Maples, for example, management reports that of their last 10 outlet deals, only two came from company outreach. The other eight called the company.

Even Whole Foods, the giant retailer that is a Holy Grail for many seeking to take their local, organic products to a larger market, recruited Maple’s.

Retail>>>Wholesale

The Portland Daily Sun has published an article on the growing number of food vendors who are breaking into the wholesale market.

The restaurant-driven path may tempt some producers to go directly into wholesale, but it could be that successful retailing is a good foundation for wholesaling.

At Maples, for example, management reports that of their last 10 outlet deals, only two came from company outreach. The other eight called the company.

Even Whole Foods, the giant retailer that is a Holy Grail for many seeking to take their local, organic products to a larger market, recruited Maple’s.

Coffee Service

The USM Free Press has published a review comparing and contrasting the coffee at StarEast and Big Sky.

Both the Star East Cafe and Big Sky Bread Company have other things going for them than what they offer for coffee and breakfast. However, first impressions are first impressions, and Star East didn’t cut it by a long shot. It might be a good place if you are interested in trying falafel or okra stew, but it’s no coffee shop. Big Sky Bread Company takes the cake.

While an unrelated article in the Portland Daily Sun commented on the politics of where you get your java in a independent store friendly food town.

Lobster Chef of the Year: Mackenzie Arrington

The Press Herald has a report on yesterday’s Lobster Chef of the Year competition at Harvest on the Harbor.

“I think the right person won,” said Thomas, a fisherman who has been a regular at the competition over the years. “That was the best use of lobster I’ve seen in a long time.”

Arrington, who is 22 and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America last week, won the title and $1,000 by serving up roasted Maine lobster tail on braised cabbage with corn bread. He is the son of last year’s winner, Margaret McLellan.

JBA 2010

Final nominations for the 2010 James Beard Awards aren’t due out until March 22, and the award ceremonies aren’t taking place until May but the James Beard Foundation is already gathering input online for “proposed nominations”. This is your way to contribute to the process, just register and submit your recommendations to the judges.
In 2009 Rob Evans won in the Best Chef – Northeast category; Fore Street, Emilitsa and Sam Hayward were all finalist or semi-finalists. Who from Portland do you think will get a nomination (semi or final) in 2010?