March 2008 Blog Posts

The process of converting all the past blog posts into the new system will take some time. I will chip away at it as time allows. In the meantime you can read the posts from March 2008 here.

March 31
Benny Girl confesses to a guilty pleasure in Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup in the new review of Kathy and Dave’s Cafe by The Breakfast Club. Overall TBC gave Kathy and Dave’s a B+.

A Blog About Beer has a review of Peak Organic’s new Maple Oat Ale. ABAB interviewed Peak Organic’s founder, John Cadoux, back in September.

March 30
Erik Desjarlais has a progress update on Evangeline with some details on the menu and pricing on his blog.

If you’re looking for locally raised meat, CSA’d or otherwise, then read this article on Chow Maine. The article also reports that a Monday Farmers’ Market is in the works for 2008.

March 28
Today’s Press Herald has an update on the return of the Miss Portland Diner to Marginal Way. The diner’s owner, Thomas Manning, plans to reopen the diner by this fall.
March 27
The Go Section on has a review of StarEast Cafe which they say is “definitely worth a try”.

ILAP, the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, is hosting CeleSoiree 4 tomorrow at 58 Fore Street. There will be a silent art auction, African drumming and ethnic food from about 20 restaurants including Acropolis, Bogusha’s Polish Restaurant & Deli, Food Factory Miyake, Hamdi Restaurant & Grocery, Hi Bombay!, La Bodega Latina, Miccuci’s Grocery Co., Oriental Table, Sengchai Thai, Tandoor, Vientiane, Yosaku.

March 26 PM
Blog About Beer is announcing the formation of the Maine Beer Writers’ Guild to “to promote better beer writing and celebrate Maine’s craft brew culture”.

The Portland Phoenix has a review of the noodle soup options at Huong Vietnamese Restaurant and Pom’s Thai Taste. “The downtown Arts District has recently become a hot spot for Asian noodle soup. It offers a chance to try both a classic pho at Huong’s Vietnamese, and a transcendent contemporary take at Pom’s.”

The Maine Switch has a review of David’s on Monument Square. “Let me just say right off that I’m olive oil obsessed. I love to drizzle it over mashed potatoes, whip it up into a vinaigrette and lather it on pancakes. (Yes, pancakes.) And when I sit down at a restaurant and see a bottle of the golden goodness in front of me, I know I’m in the right spot.”

TMS restaurant reviewer, Avery Yale Kamila, started up a blog this month called Commune Tested, City Approved where she writes about vegetarian food and sustainable living.

Kaysone Thai, 21 Forest Ave, turned into Chaba Thai Cuisine II and now Chaba Thai Cuisine II has changed hands and is named Nakornping Thai Restaurant.

March 26 AM
John Everett reviewed the Gritty McDuff’s for this week’s installment of the Bar Guide. “We all love that Gritty’s brews its own (delicious) beer, serves good food and is a comfortable, sociable place with nice patrons and relaible staff. However, on weekends and busy summer nights, the place is often mobbed and it takes WAY too long to get a drink. These nights recall a famous Yogi Berra quip, ‘No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.'”
March 25
Chef Rob Evans of Hugo’s has been nominated for an award from the James Beard Foundation in the Best Chef: Northeast category. This is the second nomination for Evans. Also nominated were Clark Fraiser and Mark Gaier of Arrows in Ogunquit.

Type A Diversions has posted a review of Green Elephant. “Green Elephant fills a void in the Greater Portland restaurant scene; for vegetarians, vegans and those seeking an alternative to traditional Asian cuisine it is a fine choice for an affordable lunch or quick bite before a movie.”

March 24 PM
The Breakfast Club has resurfaced with a pair of new reviews. The first is of Easter breakfast at Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe, “with a great intown location but an off-the-beaten-path feel, bibo’s is the perfect alternative to many of portland’s better-known establishments. don’t miss it.” And the second of the St Patrick’s Day breakfast served at Brian Boru, “we wish there had been lucky charms cereal on the menu. they probably would have made a killing with that.”

Not to be out done, The Bollard has a published a breakfast review of The Frog and Turtle in Westbrook. “Chef James and co-owner/wife Heidi have completely transformed the former home of Chicky’s Fine Diner, creating a comfortable, casual space where good food takes center stage. The creative menu at The Frog & Turtle is flawlessly prepared, and Chef James doesn’t compromise on the quality of his ingredients. The wait staff, many of whom are holdovers from Cafe Uffa, are energetic, knowledgeable, and friendly to a fault.”

A blog called From Off has posted a short review of 2 Dine In, a service that delivers food from about 20 local restaurants. “I finally tried 2DineIn, and forget my doubts and worries – it was excellent.”

Portland Psst! is reporting that Awful Annie’s Irish Saloon has reopened on Congress Street.

Blog About Beer is publishing a six article how-to on drinking beer. He’s posted the first four articles so far: Find the Best Pubs, Getting the Most Out of the Glass, Fresh Beer is Better Beer, Stemware.

March 24 AM
Rabelais Books is appearing in an article about foodie bookstores in Saveur. They are also featured in an article in the latest edition of Port City Life.

The new edition of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine is on the newstands. There’s a trio of articles about Maine bakers, a profile of Cold River Vodka, an examination of the history of finnan haddie by food historian Sandy Oliver and much much more. Go to the MF&L website to see a full table of contents.

March 23
Pom’s Thai Taste received 3 stars in a review from “Opened last December, Pom’s Thai Taste Restaurant & Noodle House serves creamy curries and good noodle soups in a modern room. Oversweet dipping sauces and a few bland dishes were the only detractions during a meal on the bustling evening of Portland’s First Friday Art Walk, when I was impressed by the spicy, crispy duck and house special curry.”

Chow Maine has an article about restaurants that are making an effort to composte their waste.

The Portland Culinary Scribbler has posted another two pieces in their ongoing series of “various writers’ subjective reactions to a wine and cheese pairing”. Kate Beltz wrote “Disconnecting” in response to a 2006 Gouguenheim Merlot paired with Artisan Cabrales. Jesse W. Lane wrote “Red Wine Convert” in response to a Gougenheim Malbec paired with Chistou.

March 22
John Everett reviewed the Downtown Lounge in this week’s installment of the Bar Guide. “When I walk down Congress Street late at night, I often peek inside this tiny fun factory. Doesn’t matter if it’s 8 p.m. on a Friday or midnight on a Sunday, there are always people crowded in the diminutive Downtown Lounge. On a Thursday afternoon, my curiosity got the better of me.”

Beer, Maine & Me bemoans the lack of a Maine beer that can satisfy his desire for hoppiness. “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.”

Erik Desjarlais has provided readers of his blog advice and step by step instructions on how to stun, skin and butcher rabbits. Earlier in the week Desjarlais reported that there have been delays in getting his new restaurant, Evangeline, finished and so it will not be opening April 4 as originally expected. has published a report on the 1st Annual Eco Appetito that was held last weekend at Cinque Terre.

March 21
Today’s Press Herald has an article about Peak Organic’s newest beer, a maple oat ale which Peak brewed from locally sourced oats and maple syrup. A launching party for the new beer was held this week at Slainte on Preble St.
March 20 PM
Rabelais Books is holding a reception Friday from 5 to 7 pm for an exhibit entitled Food + Table. Rabelais describes the show this way, “Food + Table is a collaboration by students at the Maine College of Art in the Metalsmithing, Jewelry and Graphic Design departments . . . We are very excited about our first three dimensional show, the art will be interspersed throughout the store, making for all sorts of discoveries.”
March 20 AM
Portland 207 has a report on the newly re-opened Little Lad’s Bakery & Cafe. “A quick glance at the board was all that was afforded to me, as my host had already selected my meal. The first hand burger. This is no a typo. Their vegan menu is awash in choices that are slightly tweaked to do away with any traces of meat and dairy. Items such as pizza and grilled cheese on the sandwich board out front do not indicate the restaurant’s vegan intentions to those passing by.”

Passage to India was reviewed a second time this week, this time by the Go staff at The review gives the Wharf Street restaurant 4½ stars. “If you love Indian food, walk down to Wharf Street and grab a booth at Passage to India, the latest addition to Indian cuisine here in Portland. You can order one of their $6.95 lunch specials and even add a cup of soup for the same price as a sandwich-centered lunch in the Old Port.”

March 19 PM
This weeks edition of The Maine Switch includes a review of Binga’s Wingas. “You know you’d rather be watching March Madness with a pitcher of draft beer and a basket of hot wings than with that Diet Coke and bag of potato chips you happen to have at home.”

There’s a review of Passage to India in this week’s Portland Phoenix. “Passage to India is considered to be one of the best restaurants in the New England area, and is consistently rated among the top Indian restaurants in America and worldwide. At least that is what the restaurant’s Web site says – verbatim. And all this accomplished in just a few months! Having visited, I think it is an overstatement.” Reviewer Brian Duff goes on to say “Passage to India’s bombastic self-description is typical of the oddball charms that allow it to enliven what was once my least favorite restaurant space in the city”.

Fore Street Chef, Sam Hayward, is cooking a five-course dinner with wine pairings at the Poplar Stream hut as a benefit for Maine Huts and Trails. Diners will need to hike in, and for a $250 donation will “be treated to a fine dinner, an overnight stay at the hut, and breakfast on Saturday morning.”

March 19 AM
The Food section in today’s Press Herald has a profile of the Good Eats Boutique. Good Eats is somewhat unusual in that, rather than baking all the goodies themselves, they employ “eight Maine bakers who specialize in just one or two treats, which is DeWitt’s [the owner] way of tapping into their passion for baking and maintaining the quality and consistency of her products.”

There’s also a very interesting article in the Business section on the growth in number and influence of food blogs. My favorite line from the article is “Blogs . . .usually spring from personal obsessions.” I’m sure I don’t know what they’re talking about. 🙂

March 18 PM
The foodie blogosphere has expanded yet again. Kathleen Fleury is writing The Maine Mouth, a blog for Down East magazine, and the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle are collectively writing a blog called Plating Up. There are now 25 food and drink blogs listed on this site.
March 18 AM
Maine Maple Sunday is traditionally the 4th Sunday in March which this year falls on March 23—Easter Sunday for most Christians. As a result, some sugar houses will be open Saturday instead of Sunday. To find a location near you that’s open, regardless of the day, check the State of Maine’s Maple Sunday directory.
March 17
Chaba Thai Cuisine II on Forest Ave has been bought by a new owner. Chaba II will be renamed Nakornping Thai Restaurant. Both Nakornping and Veranda Thai Cusisine were issued liquor licenses at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Local Foodie has made it through a Winter with some “potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, apples and squash” still stored away. Her experiments in growing spinach indoors with natural light (no grow lights) haven’t taken off but sprouts and kombucha have.

March 16
Chow Maine has an interview with Scott Olsen, the new Executive Chef at Mim’s Brasserie. Olsen is quoted in article saying “I am moving to Portland because . . . it has the most amazing restaurant scene I’ve been in. Even more happening than San Francisco”. Speaking on his approach to cooking he said, “I am not a big fluffy garnisher . . . and just want to give people AMAZINGLY FREAKIN’ GOOD FOOD.”

The Press Herald released the results of their 22nd annual Audience Readers’ Poll today. In some instances the food and drink portion seems to be more of a reflection of brand awareness than what is truly the best in each category. Here are a few examples: Olive Garden was #2 in the category for Best Restaurant, McDonalds was #1 in Best Cheap Eats and Dunkin Donuts was #1 in the Best Coffee category. The Portland Phoenix will be releasing the results of their readership poll soon. It will be interesting to see how the two sets of results compare.

March 14
John Everett reviewed The Snug in his Bar Guide this week. According to Everett, “I could have closed my eyes and imagined I was in Dublin, surrounded by Guinness-swilling Irishmen. Instead I was at the foot of Munjoy Hill boozing with Mainahs. The Irish vibe at The Snug is strong, and pretty authentic.”

Psst! has the news that Foley’s Cafe & Bakery on Monument Square has closed and that Happy Teriyaki is going to open a location at 630 Congress St. Saeng Thai House on St John St is opening a second location around the corner at 921 Congress sometime in late March or early April. The new Thai place going into the old location of Espans Quick Lunch on Veranda will be called Veranda Thai Cuisine. The Merry Table is the name of a new restaurant that is going to be located at 43 Wharf St. It looks like Awful Annie’s Irish Saloon will be re-opening at their former location, 189 Congress St. For information on these and all 19 new restaurants and bars under development in Portland see the Under Construction list.

March 13
The Press Herald has an entertaining interview with Rick Fournier from Tony’s Donut Shop. When asked if one of his new products has a nutritional label, Fournier answered “No. If you break it first, all the calories leak out. So calories aren’t an issue. And our doughnuts have non-fattening centers.”
March 12 PM
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch has a review of Vignola. The Switch offered this comment in the Diner’s Tip section of the review, “Skip dinner. Come for wine and dessert.” Type A Diversions had somewhat similar sentiments in her recent review that said, “I would return for drinks and appetizers, but likely not for dinner.”

Mainebiz has a story on Borealis Breads’ return to Portland.

March 12 AM
News of this past weekend’s Japanese Deathmatch dinner is starting to come out. The Deathmatch is a periodic event run by a group of local chefs and foodies that get together to cook for each other on a specific theme. See these posts on Accidental Vegetables and eGullet for more information.

The Enjoy Your Meal blog has the lowdown on which local restaurants have added Bushmills-based items to their menu in support of Portland’s bid to win the Twin City of Bushmills competition.

March 11
Market Street Eats has completed the move into new digs at 36 Market Street. Fans of Little Lad’s will be happy to hear that they will be re-opening on April 17.

Chow Maine has an article about the ongoing Winter farmer’s market operating in Portland. You can seee a full menu of items available at the market on eGullet.

March 10
A new blog, John Everett’s Bar Guide, has been added to our list of local food and drink bloggers. Everett writes a weekly blog entry reviewing one of Portland’s many bar and lounges. His reviews are chock full of information and are really fun to read. Each week’s post includes a readership survey which are usually quite whimsical. So far this year John has reviewed Andy’s Old Port Pub, CJ’s Place, Dock Fore, Empire Dine and Dance, Flask Lounge, Old Port Tavern, Rivalries, Slainte and Una.
March 9 PM
Type A Diversions has published a review of Vignola, an Italian restaurant on Dana Street. To quote Type A, “Vignola is a fun and lively gathering spot with an excellent Italian and French wine selection, as well as an extensive European and Belgian Beer assortment. There are several stand-out dishes, though the execution is not consistent across the menu.”
March 9 AM
Mexico Lindo received 1½ stars in a review from Food critic Nancy English wrote that the “dishes tasted during two recent visits to Mexico Lindo suffered from a lack of flavor, dubious freshness and overcooked chicken.”

Lava Lounge has been replaced by Cactus Club at 416 Fore St, and Oktoberfest International Taphouse, the beer bar that’s opening in the old location of Digger’s, has changed their name to Prost! International Taphouse.

Erik Desjarlais has a cryptic post on his blog that just reads “Mark April 4th on your calendars!” I think that’s Erik’s way of saying that April 4th will be the opening day of Evangeline, his new restaurant in Longfellow Square.

March 7 PM
The Hilltop Coffee Shop has moved across the street to the same building that’s home to Fat Baxter’s. Hilltop is having an open house tonight 5:30 – 7:30 to celebrate their new location.

City Deli has opened a second location at 18 Veranda St. Across the street from them a Thai restaurant is going into the building formerly occupied by Espans Quick Lunch. See the Under Construction page to see a full list of up and coming establishments.

The Spring edition of The Bollard is now out. It includes a review of Kim’s Sandwich Cafe, and another segment in their series on cocktails written by John Myers, the highly regarded bartender at Local 188. You can usually find copies of The Bollard at most local coffee shops.

March 7 AM
The Press Herald is reporting that Mayor Suslovic will be welcoming a master distiller from Bushmills Irish Whiskey to town today. Portland’s competing with Boston and Louisville to be selected the twin city of Bushmills.

According to Portland 207, Bull Feeny’s, Gritty’s, Ri-Ra and Brian Boru are sponsoring a “drunken parade” with a bagpiper to “lead the band of jubilant drinkers from bar to bar.” See Portland 207 for the schedule.

March 6
Begining in May, Caiola’s plans to start serving brunch on Sunday.
March 5
Food Search, Portland Food Map’s food-focused search engine, now indexes more that 300 websites including ones for all the local business listed on the site as well as a growing number of producers in Maine that sell in Portland such as oyster farms, cheese makers and breweries.
March 4
Today’s Portland Press Herald has an article about how bakeries are being impacted by the recent steep increases in the price of flour.
March 3
Chris2fer‘s latest review is of Norm’s East End Grill. Chris2fer and his friends enjoyed the easy parking, the “conforming to the non-conformist” waiters and the cornbread. “This must be stated. If you go to Norm’s, you have to get a side of cornbread . . . it is worth going just for said bread.” Overall, Chris2fer rated Norm’s a 4 on a 1-5 scale.
March 2
Another Portland run beer blog has been added to the site. Beer, Maine & Me includes interviews, beer reviews, news and book reviews. It is in good company alongside Beer Locavore, and Blog About Beer all of which write about Maine brewing.
March 1 PM
The 10 restaurants looked up most often in February were:

  1. Emilitsa
  2. The Frog and Turtle
  3. Bresca
  4. Five Fifty-Five
  5. Caiola’s
  6. Katahdin
  7. Gauchos Churrascaria
  8. The Front Room
  9. Local 188
  10. Blue Spoon

Emilitsa soared past the others to claim the top spot which had been held by Bresca for the past several months.

March 1 AM
Forbes Traveler magazine has included The Great Lost Bear in its list 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.”, a local blog that offers beer reviews and news has been added to our growing list of local food and drink blogs.

Type A Diversions has published a review on a disappointing dinner at Bangkok Thai. “Unlike my husband who lived in Thailand for several years, I’ve only had Thai food in the U.S. We both agree that Bangkok Thai’s cuisine is some the most mediocre we’ve experienced”.