Great Lost Bear, Sidewalk Dining

This week’s Food & Dining section includes an article on the 40-year anniversary of The Great Lost Bear,

Dave Evans, who founded The Great Lost Bear with his wife, Weslie, is now 72, but still comes into the restaurant every day and has no plans to retire. Many Portlanders have their own fond recollections of spending time at the Bear – such as sipping craft brews from one of its 80 taps, or mugging for the Bear Cam at the bar. Evans, naturally, has his own, and recently shared some of his favorite memories of the place that has become his second home.

and an article on sidewalk dining in Portland.

As the number of restaurants in Portland continues to rise, so does the demand for outdoor seating, where locals and tourists alike can bask in the sun while slurping Maine oysters or sipping craft beer. Setting up tables on the sidewalk allows restaurants without private outdoor space to compete for customers who won’t dine out any other way when it’s warm enough or have their dog in tow — and more and more of them are taking advantage of that option.

Bánh mì

Today’s Sunday Telegram includes an article on the growing popularity of Bánh mì sandwiches.

In Portland, it used to be just the foodie crowd who knew what a banh mi was, and that you could get one at Kim’s Sandwich on St. John Street, before it closed in 2016. Today these Vietnamese sandwiches seem to be everywhere, showing up in both traditional and experimental forms.

Purple House Evolution

Chef/owner Krista Desjalais has announced that she’ll be going into Summer recess for The Purple House after May 12th in order to focus time on her Bresca and the Honey Bee location.

When The Purple House reopens in October, Desjarlais will be launching “with a new format which will include new pastries, bread, bagels, savory baked goods and pizza al taglio for the weekend….we will also offer a fancyish lunch served Thursday and possibly Friday… two seatings, 8-10 people per seating, multi course”.

Details on how to reserve seats for lunch will be shared later this year.

Street Food Survey

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram takes a look at the diverse range of international street food now being served by Maine restaurants.

Street food taps into our culture’s growing preference for international flavors and casual restaurants, where curious diners can explore new dishes with friends and family. As with tapas-style dining, people can sample several dishes without blowing their budget, and can pass dishes around the table to share. A lower bill at the end of the night means diners can enjoy a restaurant meal more than one night a month, said Clay Norris, chef/owner of Baharat.

Liquor License for Rising Tide

The Press Herald has published a report on the City Council’s approval of a new liquor license for Rising Tide.

Portland city councilors have rushed through a liquor license for a local brewery despite a warning from the city attorney that doing so would violate the city’s zoning rules and code of ordinances, and go against precedent it set in dealing with a competing brewery.

2019 Beard Award Nominee

The list of nominees for the 2019 James Beard Foundation awards were released today.

There is one nominee from Maine this year. Rob Tod from Allagash Brewing Co. is a nominee in the Outstanding Wine Beer or Spirits Professional category.

This year’s semifinalists were announced in February. The 2019 award winners will be announced on May 6th at the Awards Gala in Chicago.

Related information:

The Down East Food Issue

The new issue of Down East is out and it’s all about Maine Food. The articles include:

  • A discussion of some of the leading female chefs of Maine
  • A list of the 35 “Maine-iest” Foods
  • An article by  Guest Editor Sam Sifton
  • A look at the diverse cuisines being served on Forest Ave
  • An article about American Unagi
  • A profile of a 97-year old lobsterman
  • and a lot more

Most of the articles are not yet available online.

Coffee Roasters

The number of local coffee roasters has significantly expanded over the past decade and many run cafes where you can try their coffee such as Arabica, Bard, Coffee by Design, Speckled Ax, Tandem in Portland, and Elements and Time & Tide in Biddeford.

But there are also a growing number of roasters you can try by visiting coffee shops and restaurants that don’t roast their own and have opted to bring in beans from elsewhere in the state or the country. Here are the ones I know of:

Strata & Vegan Cakes

The Food & Dining section in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes articles on the Strata cutlery shop on Washington Ave,

Strata, which opened Feb. 1, is located in one of the shipping containers that entrepreneurs are renting for retail space on Portland’s East End, a busy neighborhood of restaurants and bars. Knife shopping there is an education and an experience unlike anything you’ll get at Williams-Sonoma or other big stores that sell knives by the block. Atwell trades in artisanal Japanese and French knives, but also knives crafted here in Maine – beautiful handmade pieces that look as if they belong in a museum. “I try to stay away from machine-built stuff as much as possible,” he said.

and one on the availability of vegan cakes in Maine.

But vegan cakes aren’t just a Portland thing. They are coming out of the oven at bakeries across the state. It’s a trend fueled by two factors: more people eating vegan, and more people avoiding dairy products and eggs due to allergies and intolerances. This availability of vegan cakes is a marked change from even a few years ago.