Piccolo Commentary

Food writer Erik Neilsen has kicked off a new column on the local site Hot Trash with an article about Piccolo,

In the 2 or so years that I’ve been eating at Piccolo, ideas and notions I once held about “Italian food” and what that phrase actually means have been shattered entirely. Southern Italian cuisine in particular is so rich in history and depth that I feel I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what it means to cook and enjoy it today, from here. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better introduction to the ingredients, stories and people characteristic of this part of the world without actually going there than a meal at Piccolo—do yourself a favor and kick it off with a plate of the pulpo.

CN Traveler: Press Hotel

A Condé Nast Traveler article about the Press Hotel highlights the role the Portland food scene has played in the development of the city.

On the coattails of a truly impressive food renaissance that began in 1996 with Sam Hayward’s Fore Street, gathered speed with Rob Evans’ 2000 reincarnation of Hugo’s, and got truly hot around 2012 with the debut of Eventide Oyster Co., Portland found itself—and then got found. By the time I visited in 2015 momentum was heavy, propelled by a slew of James Beard Award nominations including Best New Restaurant, for Central Provisions, just a few blocks from the Press; Best Chefs in the Northeast for Eventide owners Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley; and Rising Star Chef for Cara Stadler of Bao Bao Dumpling House. Next to Eventide, Wiley and Taylor had just opened Honey Paw, their brilliantly quirky take on noodle bars; and a block south Damian Sansonetti had begun his love song to Italian at Piccolo. And on and on. As food towns go, Portland had gone from simmer to full-on boil.

25 Years at Becky’s Diner

The Forecaster has published an article about Becky’s Diner. Becky’s recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.

“We had a line the first day; I ended up doing dishes because we had not staffed up,” she said. “I think the whole waterfront was rooting for me. I hope they came back for the food.”

With her home riding on her business, Rand said failure was not an option.

Maine & Loire/Drifter’s Wife

Sweet has posted an article about Peter and Orenda Hale and their two Washington Ave businesses Drifter’s Wife and Maine & Loire.

While opening a natural wine shop like Maine & Loire in a place like Brooklyn might be the long-awaited puzzle piece in certain burgeoning, hip neighborhoods of the borough, that wasn’t necessarily the case for Portland. It was a risk, and one that not only paid off, but led to their newest venture: Drifters Wife, a wine bar tucked inside of the shop.

Erik Desjarlais, Weft & Warp (Updated)

Today’s Press Herald includes an article on former chef Erik Desjarlais and his business Weft & Warp where he makes knife rolls, aprons, and leather goods.

Most of his customers – as much as 80 percent – are in the restaurant industry, although he also counts serious home cooks as fans. Cooks, bartenders and front-of-house staff all over Portland use his gear, as do employees of such well-known restaurants as Toro in New York City and Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.

“We love his work,” said Ken Oringer, chef/co-owner of Toro in Boston and Manhattan. Toro’s New York service team wears custom Weft & Warp waist aprons. “We love to support any chef/artisans who take risks to follow their hearts.”

Desjarlais has a retail shop under development in Freeport called Intervale Mercantile Co. which he hopes to have open this Saturday.

Taking Over An Established Restaurant

The Press Herald has posted an article, focused heavily on the Arrows to Velveteen Habit transition, on the challenges restaurateurs face when buying an established restaurant with a loyal customer base.

Sometimes in life it’s necessary to let go of the old to make way for something different. For the past year, Goldman has been trying to let go of Arrows and its well-loved traditions to make room for his new restaurant, The Velveteen Habit. It hasn’t always been easy. Customers were scarce at first. Longtime fans missed the old wine list, the formality of Arrows and that wisteria.

WholeMade Meal Shares

Earlier this week, the Bangor Daily News reported on WholeMade Meal Shares, a meal delivery service in Portland.

They also know that most people don’t have time to cook those types of meals every day.

Enter WHOLEmade Meal Shares – homemade meal bundles made by the women and distributed for customer pick-up at the beginning of each week.

“We’re cooking for you,” Cimino said. “We’re taking over the food world and reclaiming people’s health. And we’re making it easy for them.”

Boston Globe: Small Plates in Portland

Former Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Nancy Heiser, has written an article about Portland’s small plate restaurant trend for The Boston Globe.

Small plates have taken hold as a culinary craze in many cities, but in Portland, arguably New England’s small city most revered for food, they are hot, and we’re not talking temperature. Several restaurants that have opened to some acclaim are offering only small plates, and most are doing so in small spaces too. Don’t come expecting full-blown entrées with trimmings.

But you will eat well. Very well.

Central Provisions, Lolita, Sur Lie and Bao Bao are all featured.