Here’s a look at the top stories from April 2008:
- Erik Desjarlais opened his new restaurant Evangeline in Longfellow Square.
- Bresca was included on the Conde Nast Traveler‘s 2008 Hot List.
- Andrew Zimmern was working on new episode of his show set in Maine.
- An article by Sam Hayward on island raised sheep in Maine was published in The Art of Eating.
- Chef et al opened on Forest Ave and Granny’s re-opened on Congress Street.
- Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham gave a lecture entitled “The Natural Cook: What Diet Does to Make us Human” at the University of New England.
Food historian Sandy Oliver, author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, culinary antiquarian bookseller Don Lindgren, and Tilly Laskey, curator of the “Maine Eats” exhibit at the Maine Historical Society were interviewed earlier this week on Maine Calling about Maine’s food heritage.
In conjunction with a new exhibit at the Maine Historical Society, we examine Maine’s food heritage, including what ingredients and dishes have come from the different cultures that have shaped our state.
Here’s a look at the top food news from 10 years ago in March 2008:
- Forbes Traveler recognized The Great Lost Bear as one of the Best American Beer Bars, “Maine is a craft-brewing mecca, and there’s no better place to sample the Northeast’s bounty than this nearly 30-year-old institution offering a mind-boggling 52 taps.”
- Mayor Suslovic welcomed to town a master distiller from Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
- Hilltop Coffee moved across the street leaving the space that’s now occupied by Willa Wirth.
- the 2nd edition of Deathmatch took place.
- Foley’s Bakery closed.
- Olive Garden was ranked 2nd in the Best Restaurant category in the Press Herald readership poll.
- Blogger Beer, Maine & Me complained that, “We have a ton of great breweries, brewing lots of great beers, representing all different styles, but no IPAs that we can really brag about in the arena of holier-than-though hoppiness.”
- Rob Evans was a nominee for the 2008 James Beard awards in the Best Chef: Northeast category.
Chronicling the food scene has amassed a lot of information. Now that PFM has passed its 10-year anniversary, I’ve launched this new monthly column looking back at what the key stories were this month a decade ago.
Here’s a look at the top stories from February 2008:
- Emilitsa opened on February 8th, bringing Greek fine dining and an all Greek wine list to Portland. Type A Divervsions wrote, “Our expectations were exceeded on the night we dined; we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the exceptional service and the upscale decor.”
- Portland Food Map first published its list of Sunday Brunch destinations.
- The Atrium at The Cedars, a retirement community, won top honors from the judges in both the Best Chili and Best Chowder categories at the 15th annual Great Chili and Chowder Challenge.
- Una kicked-off a project to expand the cocktail bar into the space next door to them on Fore Street which had formerly been occupied by Portland Pie.
- The then anonymous writer of food blog Portland Psst was revealed to be Peter A. Smith.
- The Maine legislature considered a bill to legalize home delivery of beer and wine.
As a kid my favorite part of reading Scientific American was the 50 and 100 Years Ago section. Being able to look back and see what the hot topics in science with a century earlier was fascinating.
While I don’t (yet) have an accurate take on the food scene in Portland a century ago, Portland Food Map reached its 10-year anniversary last year. Daily chronicling the food scene has produced a lot of information to work with and this month I’m going to start a new monthly column looking back at what the key stories were a decade ago.
Here’s a look at the top stories from January 2008:
- StarEast opened in Woodfords Corner.
- News of Novare Res became public—this brought the Under Construction List up to a total of 12(!) businesses under development.
- Nancy English was the Maine Sunday Telegram restaurant critic, and blogs Type A Diversions and Portland Psst were very active in reviewing and reporting on what was going on.
- Otto Pizza co-owner Mike Keon changed the name of his Commercial Street restaurant from Crab Louie to One Eyed Jacks Pizza.
- Three years prior to the launch of Instagram, Portland food blogger From Way Away registered the word ‘Pastarazzi‘ into the Urban Dictionary. It was defined, “Foodie bloggers who insist on taking pictures of their meal at nice restaurants.”
- Rabelais and Slow Food Portland collaborated to hold the Slow Food Writers Night at SPACE Gallery.
- Both Bleachers and Wild Oats closed.
Today’s Press Herald includes a feature article about the memories of the old Roma Cafe and new incarnation.
The first weeks of the restaurant’s second life were filled with diners who told the staff that the Roma, closed for more than a decade, was where they’d celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, held wedding rehearsal dinners and romantic Valentine’s Day celebrations, and gotten engaged. Teenagers trying to impress each other suffered through awkward prom dates at the Roma.
See more photos of the new Roma Cafe.
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article on the B&M Baked Bean factory in Portland.
Inside, the production line is gravity-fed, for the most part. On the top floor, empty 200-pound iron bean pots swing from a ceiling-mounted rail system. Hairnet-clad workers use brute force to roll the cauldron-like pots from one station to the next, filling them with beans, molasses, cane sugar and other ingredients.
The article includes a video interview with Thomas Coreau who has worked at the plant for nearly a third of the company’s 150 year history.
The Press Herald interviewed Steve Shamos about his family’s decades long ownership of Quality Shop on Stevens Ave, and his decision to sell the business and let “some young people to take over”.
Shamos’ grandfather, Elias Shamos, a Greek immigrant who moved to Portland from Brockton, Massachusetts, bought the shop from another owner in 1945. Shamos’ father, Steve, then took over, moving the Quality Shop next door to its current location at 473 Stevens Ave. in the 1970s.
Cumberland resident Tom Foley has written about his memories of Forest Gardens bar in the 1960s.
The Sox and Celtics reigned. Fifteen-cent draught beer, usually Narragansett or Pabst Blue Ribbon, was served in 8-ounce fluted glasses. Frequent refills ensured that the beer was always fresh and cold. Six-ounce “dimeys” were also available, as were 10-cent bottles of “Little Bo Colts,” a National Bohemian brand associated with the Baltimore Colts. Most patrons were Giants fans, but who could resist a 10-cent bottle of beer when short of cash?
A new book titled Built on Family about the India Street Italian-American community is now on sale at Anania’s on Congress Street.
It includes a chapter on the food traditions of the neighborhood and the area’s Italian owned restaurants and groceries including Amato’s, Anania’s, Micucci’s, Commercial Fruit, the Village Cafe, Taliento Suprette, Sangillo’s, Cremo’s Bakery, and Al’s Lunch. The book also includes hints of a possible alternative origination story for the Ham Italian sandwich.
You can read more about the book and author Jamie Carter Logan on the CreateSpace website,
“Built on Family” covers the physical neighborhood, the importance of the local Church, the immigration patterns, home life, and the establishment of businesses. It traces how family and kinship were present in all activities – a trait brought over from Italy and not distinct from other Italian settlements in the United States.
With personal interviews conducted by the author intermingled with census research and photos, the book uses humorous and touching stories to bring historical data to life.