May 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 May 2008 here.

of The Switch also profiled the expanded and revised market at Free Range Fish and Lobster.

John Golden reviewed Bresca on his blog Food for Thought last week. “What a relief to report that Bresca is a superb addition to Portland’s dining roster. I say relief because there had been heaps of braise initially, and I was afraid it wouldn’t deliver.”

Type A Diversions has a report on the debut of the duck press at Evangeline.

May 29 PM
Cream & Sugar has been added to the site. Cream & Sugar is a bakery that sells its traditional home-style products in Monument Square twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays. has reviewed Bull Feeney’s. The post is entitled “Bull Feeney’s – Go for the Food, Stay for the Music”.

Do you exercise to eat? If so, then the Wine Flight 5K might be a good fit for you. All throughout the Summer and early Fall they’ll be a series of “training” runs that consist of a light jog to a restaurant or bar and then enjoying “a nibble and a drink”.

May 29 AM
According to Commune Tested, City Approved, Green Elephant now serves brunch on Sundays.

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an article on how to cook Maine’s Spring time foragable, the fiddlehead.

There’s a guest editorial in today’s Press Herald by Kerem Durdag on Capt. Hanson Gregory and the origin of the doughnut hole. Durdag is married to Gregory’s great-great-granddaughter.

Portland 207 has expanded its list of venues with outdoor seating: part 1, part 2. The new list adds Empire, Flatbread, Novare Res, Portland Lobster Co., The White Heart and Yosaku.

May 28 PM
Accidental Vegetables has reviewed the Sunday brunch at Caiola’s. “Caiola’s food is always creative and fun, and the Sunday brunch we enjoyed with friends Jenn, Matt, Trent and Rebecca was no exception.”

The Stadium has been reviewed in the weekly bar blog 1:00 a.m. Curfew. “It’s like a place you would see on a Coors Light commercial depicting a night out with your boys.”

This week’s edition of The Maine Switch has an article about Local Sprouts. Local Sprouts is starting up a community supported kitchen that will produce prepared food for its members.

May 28 AM
An article about how the downturn in the economy is impacting Maine restaurants appeared on the front page of today’s Press Herald.
May 26 – This Week’s Events
Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe will be hosting a wine dinner on Friday. Rabelais is having an opening for a photography exhibit on Friday entitled “Spices of Life, Scenes of Sustenance from India’s Himalayas”. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday, the 35th Annual Old Port Festival is taking place and Slow Food Portland is holding their annual Fiddlefest. Also on Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

The Boston Globe has reviewed Evangeline. “Evangeline the restaurant faces the street with tall windows and a gold leaf stencil of a pig. Here chicken is the other white meat. Inside the style nods to French bistros and brasseries but doesn’t exactly re-create their glamorous shabbiness.”

Novare Res has started publishing an up to date list of their 25 draft beer options on their website.

May 25
The Organization for Transformative Farming has been added to the site.

Five Fifty-Five‘s chef Steve Corry was interviewed for an article in the May issue of Continental Airlines’ magazine.

May 24
Type A Diversions has reviewed opening night at The Grill Room. “If I hadn’t been following the progress towards opening night at The Grill Room, I would have thought the restaurant had been open for years. There was none of the normal opening night nervous energy, the waitstaff appeared well-trained and confident, and the kitchen was appropriately staffed and had their timing down.”

Buy Local held the ceremonies for their Indie Biz Awards on Friday night. Big Sky, Coffee by Design, Micucci’s, North Star, Rosemont and Silly’s were among the winners. For a complete list of winners visit the Buy Local website.

May 23 PM
Harding Lee Smith’s new restaurant, The Grill Room, opened tonight to a full house.

A new cafe is going into the space on Monument Square formerly occupied by Foley’s Bakery. For more information on the new establishments under development in Portland see the Under Construction list.

May 23 AM
Nabisco has once again cancelled production of the Crown Pilot cracker, according to an article in today’s Press Herald. In 1996 when Nabisco dropped the cracker from its product line up, Donna Damon on Chebeague Island lead a letter writing campaign that eventually brought the cracker back.
May 22 PM
Beer, Maine & Me has posted a list of the 25 beers on tap at Novare Res. I’d recommend you try out the Old Rasputin Imperial Stout.

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Gauchos Churrascaria. “What would you pay to have a handsome young man wearing a sash around his hips anticipate your every need for about an hour? At Gauchos Churrascaria it goes for $30, and it comes with meat. Drinks are extra. A lot extra, actually. And drinks help.”

Dogfish Bar & Grill was reviewed by 1:00 a.m. Curfew. “The Dogfish Bar & Grille on Free Street is a place that strives to accommodate diners and drinkers, and they do a fine job of it.”

May 22 AM
Novare Res opened last night to a large and enthusiastic crowd.

The Maine Switch has reviewed Granny’s Burritos. This week’s edition of The Switch also includes a profile of The Merry Table.

May 21
The Grill Room, Chef Harding Lee Smith’s new place on Exchange St, will be opening for business on Friday at 5 pm according to the restaurant’s website. The site includes dinner, lunch and bar menus as well as the wine list. The restaurant plans on starting to take reservations Friday at noon.

The Food & Health section in today’s Press Herald has an article about a machine that uses high pressure to extract the meat from lobsters without cooking them. Also in today’s paper, is a look at how the rising price of gas is leading to the theft of restaurant grease used in biodiesel production.

May 20
Both Blog About Beer and Beer, Maine & Me are reporting that Novare Res will be having a soft opening on Wednesday at 4 with their grand opening planned for this Friday.

Beer Lcavore has posted a lament for the seasonal passing of winter beers and offers some advice to local bartenders on how to handle the transition to summer.

May 19 – This Week’s Events
The Cheese Iron is holding a class on American artisan cheeses Thursday night. There will be wine tastings at Browne Trading on Thursday and at Old Port Wine Merchants on Wednesday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
May 18
Portland’s newest Greek restaurant, Emilitsa, received 4 stars in this week’s Taste & Tell column on “Lively and pungent garlic and lemon flit in and out of many dishes, while oregano evokes a dry, fragrant hillside overlooking a sea far different from the northern Atlantic. In fact, everything on these plates at Emilitsa seem infused with another world.”

The Merry Table was reviewed by “Amber and I both highly recommend this for a nice break from the typical seafood and pub fare available for lunch.”

Chow Maine is reporting that the Chebeague Island Inn will be reopening on June 1. For more information on the new restaurants and bars under development in Portland see the Under Construction list.

May 17 PM
The May issue of All About Beer magazine includes two Portland bars in their list of the 125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die. Great Lost Bear came in at #46, and Gritty McDuff’s at #117.

Kitchen and Cork, a new kitchen supply store in Scarborough, opened for business this week.

May 17 AM
1 a.m. Curfew has reviewed Blue, a small bar and music venue on Congress St. “The food is in its own class too. Much of it is made up of light fare such as hummus or vegetable plates, and the menu changes frequently enough that it is on a chalkboard next to the featured wines.”

Novare Res, a new “bier cafe” located at 4 Canal Plaza/188 Middle St, plans to open this coming week. According to a sign in front of the entrance, the opening may be as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

May 16
Type A Diversions has reviewed Joe’s Boathouse. “If you want to dine on the water, but avoid the typical tourist traps, Joe’s is a fine choice . . . Joe’s won’t win any awards for culinary excellence, but you’re guaranteed friendly service and a view that can’t be beat.”
May 15 PM
Epicurious has named Cinque Terre to their list of the Top 10 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the country. Chef Skawinski is quoted saying, “Everyone at the restaurants pitches in with planting and harvesting at the farm. It’s wonderful that we can plan in advance specific ingredients and menu items, and have the freedom to experiment with new varietals and seasonal offerings”

Commune Tested, City Approved is reporting that Peak Organic is working on a Pomegranate Wheat Ale with Acai for this summer.

The Bollard has a short article about the ongoing legal battle between The Icehouse and the city over its food license.

May 15 AM
Today’s Press Herald has an interesting interview with a buyer and co-owner of Market Fresh Produce. Market Fresh supplies fruits and vegetables to several local restaurants and stores including Rosemont, Hugo’s and 555. Also in today’s paper is an article on the resurgence of home vegetable gardens brought on by the rising price of food.
May 14 PM
Rabelais appears in the pages of the June issue of Food & Wine magazine.

Mims Brasserie was reviewed in this week’s Portland Phoenix “The important question raised by Mim’s, especially dinner there, is whether there is an overlap between the set of Commercial Street spots that appeal to tourists and the set of restaurants locals might choose for a nice meal. Though Mim’s was a bit underwhelming, it has enough strengths that on a nice night in the summer, I think there is.”

Event Calendar updates: this Saturday’s book signing with Steven Gdula at Rabelais has been postponed and the grand opening of Kitchen and Cork in Scarborough has been delayed.

May 14 AM
Homegrown Herb & Tea was profiled in today’s Press Herald. The Munjoy Hill establishment was also the subject of an article in The Maine Switch earlier this year and made the cut in Down East‘s survey of great places to eat in Maine.
May 12 PM
Type A Diversions has reviewed The Merry Table. “Appreciate The Merry Table for what it is – a cheap eat, not fine dining . . . if you want to experience a bit of France in the Old Port – or are simply seeking an alternative to the typical lunchtime sandwich spots, The Merry Table Crêperie fits the bill.”

Tastes Like the Future has a post about the homemade energy bars at North Star called Star Chasers. “they’re made with honesty and love and have this ‘melt in your mouth’ quality that makes them completely additive . . . all this on top of only costing you $1”.

Fiddleheads are in season and have started appearing on local menus and blogs. Here are a couple recipes from The Maine Mouth and Commune Tested, City Approved.

May 12 – This Week’s Events
Neil Rosenthal, author of Reflections of a Wine Merchant, will be at Rabelais on Tuesday for a book signing. The signing will be followed by a dinner with Rosenthal at Fore Street. Also on Tuesday, Bar Lola will be hosting a wine dinner featuring Oregon and Washington wine. There will be wine tastings at RSVP and Leavitt & Sons as well as a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House this week. Kitchen & Cork, will be opening for business this week. On Wednesday, the Slow Food Portland book group is meeting to discuss The Warmest Room in the House and on Saturday the author of that book, Steven Gdula, will be at Rabelais to speak and sign books. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Portland Psst! reports that the current issue of Yankee Magazine profiles of some of Portland’s top chefs: Sam Hayward of Fore Street, Rob Evans of Hugo’s, Lee Skawinski of Cinque Terre & Vignola, Steve Corry of 555 and Krista Kern of Bresca. “It’s not unusual to talk with people who vacation in Portland just to dine – the scene is that varied. That good.”

May 10
Type A Diversions returned to Hugo’s to review the refurbished interior and new menu. “The improvements made in decor and cuisine with the reopening of Hugo’s reaffirms its position as one of the best restaurants in Portland, Maine.”
May 9 PM
The Merry Table opened for business on Thursday night. The Wharf St establishment sells crepes and other light fare.

Bar Lola was reviewed in the latest issue of Portland Magazine. “Seated at the crest of Munjoy Hill as Congress Street plunges toward the Eastern Prom, Bar Lola, the newest of the new up here, is delighting crowds of excited diners.”

Benny’s has opened for the season. The clam shack is located along a lonely stretch of Commercial St past the old ferry terminal.

Lady Ball’s Victorian Boutique & Tea Room, Captain Mowatt’s and The Pepper Guys have all been added to the site. The Pepper Guys is a specialty store that sells hundreds of different brands of hot sauce.

May 9 AM
The Maine Switch is reporting that Portland-based Captain Mowatt’s won the People’s Choice award at the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival. Captain Mowatt’s sells a number of different hot sauces and it was their Canceaux Sauce that won the award.
May 8
Westbrook’s The Baker’s Bench earned 4 stars in a review published today on “The work-of-art type of sandwiches are what I sampled recently at the Baker’s Bench in Westbrook.”

The Westbrook Diarist provides a glimpse inside Lady Ball’s Victorian Boutique and Tea Room.

The Business section in the Press Herald has an interview with John Amato, great grandson of the founder of Amato’s and the general manager at Amato’s Bakery in Westbrook. The bakery provides breads for the Amato’s stores as well as for other local restaurants.

John Everett has reviewed Brian Boru in his weekly bar guide 1 a.m. Curfew. “Brian Boru is a departure from the Fore Street, Commercial Street and Wharf Street areas, if only because of the great layout and different crowd.”

May 7 PM
Chris2fer has reviewed the Blue Spoon and rates the East End restaurant 4 out of a possible 5 stars. “I would definitely go back to Blue Spoon. The food is well presented and well prepared, the wait staff is attentive and professional, and the restaurant is classic.” is reporting that in April Allagash Brewing Co. won three awards at the World Beer Cup held in San Diego. Allagash’s Dubbel, Tripel and Curieux won gold, silver and bronze, respectively, in their categories.

Portland207 has the rundown on Portland restaurants and bars with good outdoor drinking spots with brief reviews of what each has to offer. Last week’s edition of The Maine Switch had an article on the same topic that included a list of the more popular spots in Portland and beyond.

May 7 AM
The ice cream truck issue made it on to the front page of the Press Herald.

Also in today’s paper is an article about a TV show called “The Chef’s Kitchen” which is recorded at the New England Culinary Arts Forum in Edgecomb. Several Maine chefs, including Steve Corry from Five Fifty Five, have appeared on the show.

May 6
City Councilor Donoghue is asking the question “Are ice cream trucks sacred like fresh apple pie and high school football or are they unwelcome nuisances we tolerate?” I think Summer just wouldn’t be the same without occassionally hearing an ice cream truck go through the neighborhood.

Enjoy Your Meal is reporting that Vaughan Street Variety is opening a new location in South Portland.

May 5 – This Week’s Events
Hugo’s is reopening with a new menu Thursday night. On Saturday Barbara Damrosch, author of The Garden Primer, will be at Rabelais to speak and sign copies of her book. Also on Saturday, Whole Food is holding their Taste of Maine Food Festival. Wine tasting are taking place at Black Cherry Provisions and The Corner General Store. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Caiola’s is starting a new brunch service on Mother’s Day this Sunday. Also on Sunday, there will be a Jazz Breakfast at the Portland Museum of Art. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
May 3 PM
La Bodega “El Caribe” has been rechristened Los Amigos International Market.

Type A Diversions has reviewed Tu Casa on Washington Ave. She wrote, “Tu Casa has many loyal patrons who rave about the price point and authenticity of the cuisine. If you’re seeking Salvadoran fare, Tu Casa is likely your only choice in Portland. If you’re simply seeking a ‘cheap eat’ there are better choices within walking distance of Tu Casa that are in the same price range.” has reviewed Emilitsa, the new Greek restaurant on Congress Street. ” . . . we were thoroughly delighted with our meal and our waitress. As most of the other reviewers have concluded, eating at Emilitsa is highly recommended.”

May 3 AM
John Myers, bartender at Local 188, has won the B&B 70th Anniversary Master Mixologist Showcase for a drink he invented called The Touchable.
May 2
Evangeline is the topic of a new article on Chow Maine. It covers the gamut from sourcing of frog legs to plans for a regular Monday night pre fixe meal to screaming babies. “A chef without rules and standards and opinions might not present us with so much good stuff to eat – food that is devoted to taste and flavor.”

The Breakfast Club has revisited Bintliff’s American Cafe and graded them a B overall. That’s an improvement over the C given in last February’s TBC review. ” . . . it wasn’t all that much better. i’ll probably still go back there again — after i save up about 3 months worth of allowance. what can i say? i’m a sucker for patios that are like tree houses and it’s still a cozy place to enjoy a leisurely sunday meal with good people. and i also have a slight crush on our server.”

May 1 PM
Veranda Thai had their grand opening this week. The new eatery is located just off the Washington Ave exit in the space formerly occupied by Espans Quck Lunch.

In coffee news, Freaky Bean has been named the official coffee sponsor of the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Additionally, Freaky Bean is opening 2 new locations in South Portland and Scarborough. Coffee by Design is also opening up a new location in Freeport that will be located in the LL Bean store.

Commune Tested, City Approved has some advice for those of you seeking hummus sandwiches in Portland. has published a review of The Front Room advising “If you get a chance to stop in, I definitely recommend the experience.”

Readers of The Forecaster learned this week that Free Range Fish and Lobster has now expanded to sell meats in addition to their usual seafood business. “‘You always get that one person in the family that doesn’t eat seafood,’ [owner Joe] Ray said. ‘People kept saying it would be so much easier if we had meat.'”

Also in The Forecaster is an article about John and Brendan Ready winning a U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Young Entrepreneurs of the Year award for their business Ready Seafood.

May 1 AM
The 10 restaurants viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of April were:

  1. Evangeline
  2. Emilitsa
  3. Bresca
  4. Chef et al.
  5. The Frog and Turtle
  6. Blue Spoon
  7. Caiola’s
  8. Five Fifty-Five
  9. Food Factory Miyake
  10. Mims Brasserie