Best New Bar: Papi

Congratulations to beverage director LyAnna Sanabria and the entire team at Papi on being named one of Top Ten honorees in the of Best New Cocktail Bars – East category in this year’s Spirited Awards.

The awards program is run by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation which organizes the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference. A short list of honorees will come out in late May, and a winner will be announced at the conference in July.

Papi opened for business in March 2023. The Maine Sunday Telegram gave the bar and restaurant 4 stars when they reviewed it in September.

Bandaloop, Hop Water, Veggie Burgers, Scallop Aquaculture

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes articles about scallop aquaculture and hop water products by produced by Maine breweries, an overview of Maine-made veggie burger options, and a 3½ star review of Bandaloop in Arundel.

In Arundel, executive chef/owner W. Scott Lee and co-owner Bridget Lee have continued their 20-year tradition of offering wide-ranging food and beverage options: from vegan and vegetarian options at every course to quirky cooking that embraces dishes like a fanciful Samoan-inspired coconut-and-ginger “palusami” stew, or German-style pork-and-red-cabbage.

Review of Kuno

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Kuno.

A few Thai dishes – a legacy of Yee’s time cooking at Boda – remain on the menu, but the restaurant’s true highlights are its Peranakan/Malaysian dishes. Highlighting umami-forward flavors, spice and smoke, and noodles galore, Kuno’s menu is small and charming, just like the restaurant itself. 

Kuno (website, instagram) is located at 166 Cumberland Ave and is open Tuesday to Sunday, 5 – 11 pm.

2024 Beard Awards Nominees from Maine

UPDATE: you can watch the awards presentation via this Youtube Livestream.

The list of final nominees for the 2024 James Beard Foundation Awards season has been released. 4 of the 10 chef and restaurant semifinalist announced in January are 2024 nominees. Congratulations to:

  • Outstanding Bakery – ZU Bakery, Portland (Barak Olins, bottom right photo)
  • Outstanding Hospitality – Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland (upper left photo)
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker – Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery in Portland (bottom left photo)
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Jake Stevens, Leeward (upper right photo)

The 2024 award winners will be announced on Monday June 10th in Chicago.

Related information:

Food & Wine: Best Food City, Best Restaurants, Best Bakeries

Food & Wine has released the winners of their Global Tastemakers Awards. Maine is recognized in three of the award categories:

Portland is on the list of the 10 Top US Cities for Food and Drinks.

Aragosta on Deer Isle is on the list of the Top 20 Restaurants in the US.

Portland is on the list of the 10 Top US Cities for Bakeries.

How the award winners are selected:

This year, we asked more than 180 food and travel journalists from across the globe to nominate their favorite restaurants, bars, bakeries, markets, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises around the world. We then entrusted that feedback to an expert panel of judges to rank each category’s winners. In many categories, we’ve included a Plus One, hand-selected by our expert panel, to shout out more culinary destinations we don’t want our readers to miss.

4½ Star Review of Duckfat

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a 4½ star review of Duckfat.

Sure, some of the appeal comes from Duckfat’s co-owner, James Beard Award winning chef Rob Evans. But alongside stellar gelato-based milkshakes, luxuriously gravy-drenched poutine and well-composed salads with house-made add-ons like smoked, spice-rubbed duck breast, there’s another attraction: the service. For that, co-owner Nancy Pugh deserves credit.

Review of Thistle & Grouse

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Thistle & Grouse.

The duo’s menu is not Scottish pub food, as the name might imply, but New American, with a farm-to-table bent. Highlights include chicken-fried mushrooms on a golden brown Maine Grains cornmeal waffle, nutty ube cheesecake with lime curd, and a terrific lobster carbonara featuring homemade gnocchetti sardi pasta.

Today’s paper also includes an article about Maine native Justin Terry who runs a Japanese restaurant in Paris, and an article about teenager Pi Crosby and the community potluck event he launched on Peaks Island.

Onggi in Bon Appetit

Onggi has been highlighted in a new Bon Appetit article entitled “American Baking Is More Creative Than Ever. These 9 Bakeries Are Proof”.

…Co-owners Marcus Im, Amy Ng, and Erin Zobitz, who opened the shop in April 2021, offer a tight rotating roster of baked goods that highlight fermentation, including chocolate chip cookies bearing an unmistakable sourdough twang and savory kimchi-cheddar-corn soufflés reminiscent of Korean American corn cheese. A heavy dose of miso in a scallion-flecked scone offers a punch of pungent soy and an almost caramellike nuttiness. Each umami-packed bite is a triumphant reminder that fermentation in baking is the domain of so much more than bread.