Another big city food critic has made a visit to Maine and written about the strength of Portland’s food scene. Tom Sietsema, the food critic for the Washington Post, calls Portland “a gourmet’s port of call” and picks out Rabelais, Evangeline, Hugo’s, Browne Trading and the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth for special mention.
|September 19 pm
1:00 a.m. Curfew has reviewed Top of the East, the lounge located on top of the Eastland Park Hotel. “Because of the view and the ritzy drinks, the Top of the East might be the place to take your parents when they visit. And it would be a great spot for a first date – assuming you’ve got the money to blow.”WMPG broadcast (via Psst!) an audio profile of Bogusha’s, a Polish restaurant and market. Among other things, Bogusha explains the link between schnitzel and matrimonial harmony.
|September 19 am
This year’s weather conditions have led to a crop of apples that are sweeter and bigger than usual according to an article it today’s Press Herald.
This week’s edition of The Forecaster has an article about the meal that Chef Lee Skawinski cooked at the James Beard House last night.
Todd Richard has a nice article in this week’s issue of the Portland Phoenix about cooking with goat meat purchased at the International Market on Vannah Ave.
|September 16 pm
The Maine Switch has reviewed Henry VIII. “Henry VIII Carvery isn’t particularly fancy – you can eat in or out on the patio-type tables or take it to go – but it definitely hits the spot.”There are several other food articles in this issue of The Switch including a report on the upcoming 4-H market animal auction, a look at the diversity of burgers available at local restaurants and an article about local chefs use of beer in their cooking.
There’s been a last minute addition to this week’s Event Calendar. Representatives from the Parmigiano Cheese Consortium will be at The Cheese Iron on Friday and Saturday afternoon.
|September 16 am
Portland Psst! has reviewed the Korean fare available at Happy Teriyaki. “Myung and Kum You make steaming hot ceramic bowls filled with fried rice and beef and mushrooms, the bi bim bop, and kimchi stew with soft tofu that has the mouth-coating pleasure, the umami, of Parmesan cheese with cultured soy beans and fermented cabbage.”
|September 15 – This Week’s Events
Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania will be in town on Wednesday; she’ll speak at the Public Library at noon and at Lonfellow Place in the evening. Food and farming advocate Gary Nabhan will be speaking at SPACE Friday evening. The Common Ground Fair is taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday; the fair is MOFGA’s annual celebration of organic farming and sustainable living. The next Piatto per Tutti cooking class is on Monday; the classses are taught by baker Stephen Lanzalotta. There are wine tastings at Old Port Wine Merchants on Wednesday and at both Leavitt & Sons and Black Cherry Provisions on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Also this week, Chef Skawinski from Cinque Terre/Vignola will be cooking at The James Beard House in New York. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
The Inn on Peaks Island received 3½ stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “The crowds are well served at The Inn on Peaks Island, where guests can count on the utterly familiar to be jazzed up well within the comfort zone.”Today’s paper has an editorial by Joan Silverman of Kennebunk about her concern that servers that don’t take notes will get her order wrong. Personally, I’ve rarely had a Portland waiter bring me the wrong order.
Beer Locavore reviewed the beer list at Blue in his latest post. “Beer is important. So why do so many otherwise fine restaurants get the beer list wrong? . . . An example of a local venue which gets it right is Blue”
Travels with Hilary sampled the chocolates from Dean’s Sweets, Nutmeg Foods and Safe Harbor Confections at a food festival in the Mid-Coast region. After engaging in some enthusiastic “quality control” of Dean’s truffles she wrote, “No sharp edge, just that sublime taste of dark chocolate with depth.”
As reported by Portland Psst!, Arabica will be closed while they move to 2 Free Street. On my way to Standard Baking this morning I noticed a note in Arabica’s window that says they will re-open “as soon as we can, maybe a week or two. We love you! Thanks!”
1:00 a.m. Curfew has reviewed the Bramhall Pub. “The Bramhall Pub is sure to meet your needs, whether it’s listening to a good band, playing darts or pool, or just quietly having a beer.”Type A Diversions has received kudos from Plating Up the blog of Maine Food & Lifestyle. “Before you head out to dinner in the Portland area (or beyond), do yourself a service and visit Type A Diversions written by ‘Erin,’ a foodie from Southern Maine with impeccable taste.”
Maine Home + Design published a profile of Back Bay Grill in the August issue of the magazine. “Entering its twenty-first year of operation, the Back Bay Grill has proved its staying power. Credit the classic food, unwavering attention to detail, superb service, and an eye toward the future for its enduring success. “
Michael Bauer, the executive food editor and restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, was recently in town and wrote about his eating experiences on his blog, Between Meals. Bauer wrote that “Portland is . . . about a tenth of the size of San Francisco, yet in terms of food, it’s every bit as sophisticated” and called out Fore Street, Hugo’s, Evangeline, Emilitsa, Rabelais and Standard Baking for special mention. He singled out Duckfat in a separate post as something he’d “like to have in San Francisco“.The Portland Phoenix has reviewed selected sweets to be found at Maple’s, Mousse Cafe, and Others!.
|September 9 pm
Kath’s Cafe and Catering has graduated off the Under Construction List and on to Brighton Ave. Kath’s is located in the building that used to house Francisco’s.Emilitsa was reviewed by Portland Magazine. “Emilitsa is not simply ‘the new Greek restaurant in Portland.’ It is the most exciting new dining establishment of any kind here, and it happens to be Greek.”
Eve’s at the Garden was reviewed by Down East. “Ascend its grand staircase to the lobby and to the adjacent cove of Eve’s at the Garden. There it behooves you to have a seat in a comfy circular booth or tuck yourself away in the enclosed outdoor patio and appreciate Eve’s for what it is: a typical hotel restaurant with atypically fine food.”
A couple additions have been made to what is already a very busy Event Calendar this week. Roberto Rubino is extending his visit to Maine and will be at Nezinscot Farm on Sunday providing a chance for people to meet and talk with him in an informal setting. The Victoria Mansion is hosting a Turkish gala event on Saturday night to celebrate the completed renovation of the Turkish Smoking Room.
|September 9 am
Type A Diversions has reviewed the lunch menu at Big Sky Bread Co.. “Using only quality, fresh ingredients, Big Sky is an example of simple done extraordinarily well.”
|September 8 pm
Rabelais Books was written up in The Tasting Room, a blog by Food & Wine Senior Editor Ray Isle. Isle spent the last weekend in Portland and seems to have been thoroughly charmed by the Portland food scene in general and Rabelais in particular.eGullet Forums‘s stallwart contributor Johnnyd has added a raft of additional details and photographs to his earlier post about the summer Deathmatch. (You’ll need to scroll down a bit to see the new information but it’s well worth it.)
|September 8 am – This Week’s Events
The first Piatto per Tutti cooking class is on Monday; the classses are taught by baker Stephen Lanzalotta. Slow Food Portland is hosting a potluck dinner on Monday night. A wine dinner is taking place at Vignola; the evening is based on the menu Chef Skawinski will serve at the James Beard House the following week. The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Gritty’s. Cultivating Community will hold their biweekly Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm on Thursday. There is a wine tasting at RSVP on Wednesday and a wine and cheese tasting at Public Market House on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Renowned cheesemaker Roberto Rubino will speak at the Pineland Centennial Celebration on Saturday. The East End’s annual street festival, Munjfest, is taking place on Sunday.For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
The Merry Table received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “A fine opportunity to taste traditional French fast food, with good soups, salads and more.”Also in today’s paper was an article about the Eat the View campaign being run by Scarborough resident Roger Doiron. For an entertaining aside, take a look at these photos shot by Doiron of people standing in front of his home, each posed with a fruit or vegetable in their mouth.
The Antenna, a blog from gBritt the public relations firm for Harvest on the Harbor, has released a pair of audio interviews with Rabelais owners Don and Samantha Lindgren and with Rod Mitchell from Browne Trading.
Portland in a Snap has researched the story behind the morphing of Granny’s into Grandes Burritos.Type A Diversions has reviewed Fore Street. “Fore Street has re-emerged as one of my favorite places to dine in Portland.”
The September issue of The Bollard has hit newsstands. This month’s edition includes an article about the increasing competition between Coffee by Design and Freaky Bean, and a new installment in The Land of the Forgotten Cocktail series by award-winning bartender John Myers. Copies can be found just about anywhere free newspapers are distributed.
1:00 a.m. Curfew has reviewed Awful Annie’s Irish Saloon. “The name says it all. Awful Annie’s makes no attempt to charm you with niceties. This place is for the unpretentious.”Travels with Hilary reports her take on the Portland equivalent of the junk food standards: pizza, milk shake and fries.
Last night the Portland City Council voted to “ban smoking in outdoor dining areas before 10 p.m.”Paul Heckler, a former staffer at Uffa and The Frog and Turtle, is living in Israel for the coming year and blogging about his experiences including details on local market and restaurants.
Accidental Vegetables has a post on her impressions of this past weekend’s Deathmatch dinner.
The Maine Switch has published a profile of Dollaro’s Bakery, and a review of Emilitsa “Emilitsa brings the wholesome goodness of a Greek grandmother’s country kitchen into the heart of the city. No one ever leaves hungry.”The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Flask Lounge. “The menu at Flask is appropriate to the atmosphere – modest, a bit quirky, affordable, and appealing.”
Correction: Roberto Rufino will be appearing at the PineLand Centennial Celebration on September 13 and not, as had been previously stated, this coming Sunday.
Type A Diversions has reviewed Bresca. “Comfortable and relaxed enough to qualify as a neighborhood eatery, the refined cuisine and service at Bresca also makes it worthy of a special occasion.”News on this past weekend’s Deathmatch is starting to come out. The theme of this dinner was food that the participants “found, grew or killed” themselves.
Jan from BeerBloggers.com reports Portland’s beer scene impressed some visiting beerphiles from Boston.
|September 1 pm
The 10 restaurants and bars viewed most often during the month of August were:
Evangeline has been at the top of the list for the last 5 months running.
|September 1 am – This Week’s Events
The Slow Food book group will meet on Wednesday to discuss Little Heathens, Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. Rabelais is holding an opening on Thursday for a photography exhibit entitled Three Mile Radius, 36 Dunkin’ Donuts Shops. There are a wine tastings at the West End Grocery on Friday and Leroux Kitchen on Saturday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.WCSH’s 207 has interviewed Andrew Zimmern for a segment appearing on tonight show. 207 is on channel 6 at 7 pm.
An organization called the Restaurant Opportunities Centers of Maine is trying to organize the restaurant workers in Southern Maine, according to this report from the Press Herald.
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.
The Grill Room received 3½ stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Open for three months and extremely popular, the Grill Room’s food is excellent – even though it can be long in coming.”
Portland in a Snap has a brief post about Dollaro’s with photos of the staff and the interior of the shop. Dollaro’s is the new Italian bakery on Forest Ave.
New2Maine.com has reviewed Chef et al. “Aside from the over-use of air conditioning, this was a great little spot, and I know Amber and I will be heading back to check out some of the offerings on their dinner menu.”
|August 28 pm
Jonathan Levitt, a Maine-based food writer and photographer, has an article in the latest issue of Gastronomica. You’re likely to have read Jonathan’s work before if you subscribe to The Boston Globe where his articles about Maine restaurants and food have often appeared.Luke Livingston, author of Blog About Beer, has a guest post on NXT: The Next Generation about the advantages of home brewing.
|August 28 am
Granny’s has a new name. The Congress Street burrito shop is now doing business as Grandes Burritos Taqueria. The new name comes with some changes and additions to the menu.Yesterday’s email newsletter from Rabelais reports that the Maine episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods which was filmed here this summer will air on the Travel Channel November 18th.
Portland In A Snap has an update on this mural of the Roman Colosseum going up on the outside of G&R Dimillo’s Bayside.
The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance has been added to the list organizations on Portland Food Map.
|August 27 pm
Type A Diversions has reviewed The Frog and Turtle in Westbrook. “The Frog & Turtle lives up to its self-description, ‘a neighborhood spot that has good fresh food.’ I particularly love that Chef Tranchemontagne is not afraid to add heat and spice to his dishes.”1:00 a.m. Curfew‘s Amy Martin had a very unhappy Happy Hour at Mesa Verde. “So I was all geeked to write about how summer isn’t over and you should get your fill of margaritas while it’s still hot and sunny outside. Margaritas are now dead to me.”
This week’s Portland Phoenix is their back to school special for college students. The Student Survival Guide section of the newspaper has a list of 100 Things To Do liberally sprinkled with many stops at local watering holes and restaurants. The issue also has an eating out guide for students that is (not yet, at least) available online, and another article in Lindsay Sterling’s cooking series.
|August 27 am
The Food section in today’s Press Herald has an article about Jamon Iberico, the $100 per pound Spanish ham imported to the US by a Portland company called The Rogers Collection.
|August 26 pm
New2Maine.com has reviewed Cafe at Pat’s. “Our chief complaint was the pace of the meal. The food was worth coming back for; I hope that the service was just having an off night. Amber and I will certainly be taking a walk down that way again for dinner at some point, but we’re not in any hurry.”
|August 26 am
Local food writers have produced hundreds of reviews for Portland restaurants and each week more get published. So it’s always a surprise to see that there are still 60+ places for which there’s no review available online. Here’s my top 10 wish list of reviews I hope will be written in the remainder of the year:
Today’s Press Herald has an article on the opposition Poland Spring is encountering in its efforts to expand the sources for their bottled water. Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It will be speaking in Portland on September 17.
Tastes Like the Future writes about her weekend drinks and dining experiences at The Grill Room and Walter’s in this post on her blog.
|August 25 – This Week’s Events
The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Novare Res. Cultivating Community will hold their biweekly Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm on Thursday. There is a wine tasting at Browne Trading on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
Type A Diversions declares “I will definitely return” in her review of Local 188. “The atmosphere at Local 188 is fun and party like; the cuisine is creative and well prepared. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to be having a good time and there were many large groups the night we dined.”
There’s an article in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch about the fun to be had at farmers’ markets. The article includes a short list of markets in the Portland area. Portland Psst! reports that there’s also a farmers’ market every Friday in the Whole Foods Market parking lot. To locate a market further afield in Maine check out the directory on the Get Real, Get Maine! website.
|August 20 pm
There’s a profile of Mousse Cafe and Bakeshop in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch.This week’s Portland Phoenix includes a pair of articles on the farming and buying of locally grown produce.
New2Maine.com has reviewed Dogfish Cafe. “Fine dining (a la, some other Congress St. establishments) this is not, but the food is good, the staff is attentive, the atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and we’ll definitely be going again. This is a nice little neighborhood find and within easy biking distance for us to boot.”
|August 20 am
Poutine made the frontpage of the Food & Health section in today’s Press Herald. In the article, the paper’s taste testers debate the finer points of the traditional French-Canadian concoction of fries, gravy and cheese.KeepMECurrent.com reports that the State is proposing to raise licensing fees for restaurants and other retail food businesses.
The Associated Press interviewed a number of Mainers for this story about the increasing popularity of canning.
There have been two additions to this week’s event calendar. Shipyard is having a release party at Bull Feeney’s tomorrow for their Pumpkinhead Ale. Kitchen and Cork is holding a wine tasting on Saturday.
Portland in a Snap reports on the theft of a chalice from Novare Res. Owner Eric Michaud is offering a reward ($100 of beer) for information on the thief. The chalice has important sentimental value for Michaud because it was custom made for his wedding which took place last month.
|August 18 – This Week’s Events
Amy Trubek, author of A Taste of Place, A Cultural Journey into Terroir will be at Rabelais on Monday for a book signing. There are a wine tastings Wednesday at Old Port Wine Merchants and Thursday at Black Cherry Provisions. The Maine Audubon Society is holding a mushroom foraging workshop on Saturday at their farm in Falmouth. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday Novare Res is holding a German beerfest and Cinque Terre is hosting a dinner at their farm in Greene, Maine. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.In her contnuing quest to find the perfect lobster roll sandwich, Type A Diversions has reviewed The Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth. “If you want to experience classic seaside Maine at its best, head to the Lobster Shack at the end of Two Lights Road in Cape Elizabeth.”
Earlier this year there was a lot of buzz about a collaboration between Ebeneezer’s Pub, Belgian brewer De Struisse, and chef Sean Paxton to open a beer bar and restaurant in Portland called Pannepot Cafe. News about the cafe has been pretty sparse lately but the same group is holding a dinner in Lovell, Maine August 28 and the menu gives some indication of what we can look forward to when/if the cafe does open.
Fortune Garden received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. ” . . . you can enjoy a good Chinese dinner at Fortune Garden. The sauteed green beans and the Hunan shrimp were the best choices at one recent meal.”BeerBloggers.com has a write-up on this weekend’s Roguepalooza event at Novare Res that saw 27 beers from Rogue available on tap.
Maine food author Nancy Harmon Jenkins wrote an article about Maine blueberries that appeared this week in the New York Times.
Thanh Thanh Bida, a bar and pool hall is now open on Read St.
|August 16 pm
Stephen Lanzalotta, the baker at Micucci’s, will be offering a series of 2-hour cooking classes called Piatto per Tutti, to be held Monday nights starting September 8 (polenta cheese pasticciata, cress and mushroom salad, pinenut cookies). For more infomation e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.By coincidence, I was driving out Forest Ave this afternoon and spotted Dollaro’s Bakery. Dollaro’s is a new Italian bakery; it sells a variety of breads and pastries.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Maine lobstermen are applying for the Marine Stewardship Council’s seal of approval. There’s also a report in the Press Herald warning about the risks of eating wild mushrooms without some basic training in differentiating the good from the bad.
|August 16 am
1:00 a.m. Curfew has reviewed The Big Easy. “The Big Easy has been a staple for live music in Portland for about a dozen years . . . It’s where you go to hear a good band, dance and have a few drinks.”Tickets for this Fall’s Harvest on the Harbor food festival are now on sale.
Demand for local produce from large companies like Whole Foods is increasing according to this wire story that appeared in the Thursday Press Herald.
|August 13 pm
The Portland Phoenix has published a joint review of Novare Res and Prost!. “Of all the methods humans have devised to deploy alcohol in hope of temporarily deadening us to the stultifying burdens of life, beer-drinking is among the oldest and perhaps the best.”Type A Diversions has posted a review of Haggarty’s. “Haggerty’s is a gem in Portland and one I’m glad I finally discovered for their exceptional Brit Indi cuisine.”
|August 13 am
Toni Fiore, host of the locally produced TV show Delicious TV, has published a cookbook for the show entitled Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian.
The publicity for Masala Mahal keeps rolling in. Southern Maine’s new Indian grocery was the subject of a profile today on KeepMECurrent.com. “‘We specialize in Indian spices, Indian lentils and different flours,’ said Mamta Punjabi, the 38-year-old shop owner. ‘These are the foods that we grew up with. It feels like home to have them.'”
|August 11 – This Week’s Events
The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Vignola. Cultivating Community will hold their weekly Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm on Thursday. There is a wine tasting Wednesday at RSVP. Evangeline and Allagash are holding a beer tasting to celebrate MOFGA, and a beer talk is happening on Wednesday at Prost. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Roguepalooza will happen at Novare Res on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday and Sunday the 83rd Annual Italian Bazaar is taking place on Federal St. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.The front page of today’s Press Herald features a story about Oakhurst’s legal battle 5 years ago with Monsanto over Oakhurst’s label which did (and still does) read, “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones Used”.
|August 9 pm
Mousse Cafe and Bakeshop had a soft opening today and will having their official opening day on Monday. The cafe is in the space in Monument Square formerly occupied by Foley’s Bakery.
|August 9 am
1:00 a.m. Curfew has written up a review of Ruski’s. “At any given moment you’ll find the place packed or empty. You’ll always find specials on the board – drinks, breakfast plates and dinners – and people you want to be around.”The Bollard is reporting that a pair of local business owners are planning to buy building that was formerly home to The Icehouse and open a new Mexican restaurant there. For more information on other food business under development in Portland see the Under Construction list.
|August 7 pm
The Forecaster interviewed Kim Anderson and Anna Maria Tocci, co-owners of the North Star Music Cafe. Tocci is quoted in the article, “We have grandmothers coming in for lunch, sitting right next to a table full of pierced up teenagers, and it’s no big deal. I love that we provide a space that appeals to so many different kinds of people”.
|August 7 am
There’s a review of the sandwich board at Ari’s East End Market in today’s Press Herald.The Maine Switch reviewed Flatbread. ” . . . the flavors were spot on and the thin pizza crust was neither too crispy nor too soft.”
This week’s Switch also contains a profile of Maine Brewing Supply, an interview with Daniel Perron from Sumner Valley Farm about selling all natural meats at the Farmers’ Market, a look at the hot sauce makers in Maine, and several other food articles on topics from blueberries to soul food.
|August 6 pm
Here’s an audio article from National Public Radio (via Portland Psst!) about Catch a Piece of Maine, a lobster CSF run by John and Brendan Ready.Commune Tested, City Approved cooked up a beet pizza. No, that’s not a typo, the pizza topping included peppers, garlic, onion, tempeh, potatos and beets.
|August 6 am
The Portland Phoenix has reviewed The Grill Room. “The salmon was well-browned and crisp-skinned but still moist and a touch translucent inside. Tuna straddled the line between grilled and seared nicely. The red, tender duck was terrific with a barely sour vinegar-kissed chard. Short ribs were crisp edged but fall-apart tender.”Masala Mahal, Maine’s new Indian grocery store, was profiled in the Food & Health section of today’s Press Herald.
|August 4 pm
Chris2fer has reviewed the pizza at Siano’s “I recommend Siano’s Pizzeria if you like thin crust pizza that is on the spicy side.”, and dessert at the Quality Shop “Sweet sugary apple filling with whipped cream in a fried donut like pastry. Yes, please.”There’s an update from Local Foodie on her work to store up blueberries, peas and strawberries for winter. “Rebuilding that relationship with food does take time and effort, but it certainly beats eating frosted toaster pastries!!!” I wonder if Chris2fer would agree.
|August 4 am – This Week’s Events
This week there’s a real scarcity of foodie events on the calendar. No wine tastings, book signings, special dinners, or any of the usual items I have to list, just a beer talk at Prost! on Wednesday and Farmers’ Markets taking place Wednesday and Saturday.There’s a video on YouTube about the camapign, run by Scarborough resident Roger Doiron, to get the next President of the United States to plant a vegetable garden at the White House.
Type A Diversions has published a review of Bar Lola.
StarEast Cafe received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “A Middle Eastern restaurant, StarEast makes great flatbread, fine stuffed grape leaves, lamb stew and other good things from that wonderful cuisine.”Maine, Beer & Me published its final post yesterday. He has relocated to Northampton, MA and will no longer be updating the blog.
BeerBloggers.com reports that The Great Lost Bear has added a new set of taps exclusively dedicated to serving up Allagash brews.
The 10 restaurants and bars viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of July were:
Evangeline has been at the top of the list for the last 4 months running.
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 July 2008 here.
|July 31 pm
There’s an article in today’s Press Herald about the downturn in lobster prices due to soft demand from consumers. “lobster costs the same amount as turkey — and less than honey ham — at the deli counter at Hannaford supermarkets”. In light of the recent health warning regarding lobster tomalley, Japan had banned lobster imports from Maine but the ban was lifted this afternoon.
|July 31 am
The August issue of The Bollard has hit newsstands. This month’s edition includes an enthusiastic review of brunch at Chef et al. “If Chef et al. falters . . . it would be a crime against breakfast itself.”, an article about red tide and a new installment in The Land of the Forgotten Cocktail series by award-winning bartender John Myers. Copies can be found just about anywhere free newspapers are distributed. I picked up my copy at Norht Star when I stopped in for dinner last night. The July issue of The Bollard is now available online. If you didn’t read it in print, be sure to checkout last month’s review of Medeo.
|July 30 pm
The Bollard has an update on the story from a couple weeks ago that Stone Coast Brewing is going out of business. According to The Bollard, while retail opperations are ceasing the beer will still be sold through the brewery’s pub in Bethel.
The Portland Phoenix reviewed Hamdi, the Somali restaurant located on Washington Ave. “My own Somali-prepared goat arrived: a pile of boiled, bone-in mysterious goat parts you could reasonably get at directly only with your teeth. It came with a mound of rice (likely flavored and tinged yellow with some Goya products I spied in the kitchen) topped with peas, carrots, and pickled onions, and along side a couple bites of iceberg.”
|July 30 am
Today’s Food & Health section in the Press Herald dishes up the details on the Harvest on the Harbor food festival taking place in Portland this October.
Blueberry fans should take a look at today’s article entitled Reveling in the Blues. If you’re interested in picking your own blueberries, check out this map of some local pick-your-own farms put together by the folks at KeepMECurrent.com
In the Business section of today’s paper there’s a report on the reversal of judicial approval for the sale of Wild Oats to Whole Foods.
Shelly’s has been added to the list of Food Carts.
|July 28 – This Week’s Events
Vignola is holding a wine dinner on Thursday. Cultivating Community is also holding their weekly Twilight Dinner at Turkey Hill Farm on Thursday. On Saturday, Rabelais will host Dorothy Perillo Linder, author and illustrator of A Vegetable Collection, for a book signing. The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is taking place on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to The Grill Room. Wine tastings are taking place on Friday at the West End Grocery and Saturday at Leroux. There’s a beer talk at Prost! on Wednesday. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
Evangeline, received a rarely awarded 5 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Evangeline serves meals that evoke the curiosity, reworking traditional French ingredients and presenting them with a purity and conscientiousness that tastes fresh and original.”
Portland bartender John Myers is center stage in this article from today’s Wall Street Jornal about the competition held at the annual Tales of the Cocktail convention. Myers was one of six contestants who were challenged to come up with an original cocktail that had to include ginger marmalade and either Grand Marnier or Navan vanilla liqueur. The Journal called Myers’ combination of smoky single-malt Scotch, vanilla liqueur, bitters, and a spoonful of the marmalade an “essay in simplicity”.
The current state of the economy doesn’t seem to be impacting interest in the food for sale at the Portland farmers’ market according to this post from Commune Tested, City Approved.
Backyard Farms, the Madison, ME company that grows the vine-ripened Backyard Beauties tomatoes available at Hannaford, are planning to build an additional 18 acres of greenhouse space.
The Portland Press Herald reviewed the Lobby Cafe. The cafe is a sandwich cart located in the lobby of the post office building on the corner of Congress and Temple Streets. “It didn’t feel like a sandwich, but more like a hardcover book. It tasted even better. Thinly sliced, the beef had a rich, hearty flavor to it, and the bread was chewy and substantial.”
This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix offers up some advice on how to shake up your summer menu. “Every season has a fruitcake, an obligatory consumable ‘guest’ that invites itself over every year and overstays its welcome.”
|July 23 pm
A reference to Krista Kern in the recent Portland Magazine review of Evangeline as the “former chef/owner of Bresca” set off a flurry of concern among Bresca fans today. After hearing from a couple people myself, I called Krista. She asked me to spread the word that she’s still very happily the current chef/owner of Bresca with no plans to change that fact.
|July 23 am
Portland Magazine has reviewed the excellent pre fixe dinners being served Monday nights at Evangeline. “Evangeline, from the Greek euangelion, means ‘good news,’ which this surely is for food enthusiasts.”
|July 21 – This Week’s Events
Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe is holding a wine dinner on Friday and Saturday night. A wine tasting is taking place this Thursday at Browne Trading. There’s a beer talk at Prost! on Wednesday. On Saturday the 6th Festival of Nations is taking place in Deering Oaks Park. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
Beer Locavore has a post about the challenges of staying a locavorian in a city filled with imported (and less expensive) temptations.
Chef et al., received 2½ stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “With fantastic starters showing off good ideas and ingredients, mix-ups I encountered in the entrees may just need working out”.
|July 19 pm
This year’s Maine Fare, originally scheduled to take place September 12-14, has been cancelled. The official announcement cites “unfortunate circumstances” as the cause and promises that “Maine Fare will be held again in fall 2009.”
|July 19 am
The 2008 Dining Guide in the latest issue of the Wine Spectator has recognized 24 Maine restaurants for the quality of their wine lists. Arrows in Ogunquit and Havana in Bar Harbor took home silver, and the rest bronze. Portland area restaurants honored in the guide are Back Bay Grill, Cinque Terre, Five Fifty-Five, Hugo’s, Rachel’s and Vignola.
Maine’s Open Farm Day is taking place this Sunday. There are a dozen farms in Cumberland county participating in the event. They each are offering a different line up of things to see and do.
From this week’s edition of The Forecaster comes word that Anthony Barrasso has decided to pull the plug on the popular Anthony’s Dinner Theater & Cabaret. The Forecaster also has an article on this weekend’s Yarmouth Clam Festival.
BeerBloggers.com have expanded their stable of blog writers to 5. Jason and Jan are being joined by Ben (a brewer), Chris (a “beer lover”) and Marcus (a European correspondent located in Luxembourg).
Blog About Beer has a post on the strengths of and current challenges at at Prost!.
Today’s Press Herald includes a look at the working life of a Good Humor man and an article on all the activities planned for this weekend’s Yarmouth Clam Festival.
There’s a last minute addition to the Event Calendar for this week. Cultivating Community is now holding biweekly Twilight Dinners on their farm in Cape Elizabeth. The 3 course meals will be cooked by local chefs “designed and executed from the organic bounty we harvest”. The cost is $15 per person. The first dinner in the seires is tonight.
From the highly regarded foodie blog, The Ethicurean, (via Psst!) comes a composite review of Fore Street, Gilbert’s and Hugo’s. “Got a little time to explore the dining scene of Portland, Maine? Change your plans: you’ll actually need lots and lots of time to do it right.”
Accidental vegetables has reviewed the Green Elephant. “The service was great, the ambiance lovely, and the food delicious. it definitely won’t be long until we’re back.”
Masala Mahal was profiled in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch.
The Maine Lobster Council is holding their 2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year cook-off at the Blaine House next week. The event is a competition among the five finalists. With all the stellar cooking talent we have here in Portland it’s surprising to see that there isn’t a single Portland chef among the final five.
Blog About Beer is reporting that Stone Coast Brewing Co. is going out of businesss as of August 1.
The Bollard has reviewed the bar scene at Mexico Lindo. “The skinny: $1.50 drafts and free, warm, real tortilla chips with tasty salsa, all day and well into the night. A man can live, quite happily, on this special for several days if necessary. That’s a hallmark of a truly outstanding happy hour.”
|July 14 – This Week’s Events
Silly’s is celebrating their 20th anniversary on Tuesday. The training run for the Wine Flight 5k is taking place on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Rabelais. There are wine tastings taking place this week on Wednesday at Old Port Wine Merchants and Thursday at Black Cherry Provisions in Falmouth. The Slow Food Book Group is meeting on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday a beer talk is taking place at Prost!. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Kitchen & Cork is holding a cooking class Saturday which will involve students cooking a meal based on itelms bought at the Saturday farmers’ market. The Yarmouth Clam Festival is taking place Friday through Sunday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
Diamond’s Edge, received a 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “The beautiful location is the draw at Diamond’s Edge, but some pricy meals are less than outstanding.”
A recent article in The Maine Switch prompted BeerBloggers.com to publish a review of Prost!. “Having been in three or four times now myself, including just two days ago for our June MBWG meeting, I think Kamila’s [a food writer with The Maine Switch] optimism is deserved.”
According to a post in The South Portlander, South Portland’s ordinance on beekeeping made it into the wall Street Journal.
The June issue of Maine Home + Design provides this behind the scenes look at opening night for Evangeline. “The kitchen is suffused with an air of confidence and control, but there is also an undercurrent of unease, as if it could all collapse at any moment. Still, laughter can be heard as they prep and share stories, and curses fly jovially around the room. ”
KeepMECurrent.com interviewed Sebago Brewing Co.‘s brewmaster, Kai Adams, about pairing beer with food.
|July 9 pm
The Merry Table was reviewed in this week’s Portland Phoenix. “But it is a good sign if a creperie tempts you to sit down, try some appetizers and a glass of wine, and take your time with a food that is usually wolfed down on the go. These crepes reward the attention.”
The South Portlander reports that Amato’s will be bringing its traditional Maine Italian to the Maine Mall food court, filling in the gap left by Au Bon Pan.
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch takes a look at the traditional Maine clambake.
|July 9 am
Portland Harbor Hotel, home to Eve’s at the Garden, has hired Lisa Smith from Standard Baking to be their pastry chef. According to a press release, “The focus of the new in-house baking program will be on Classical European baked goods including croissants, brioche, and other baked goods. Smith is thinking ahead to eventually expand into North African and Middle Eastern flatbreads; for now she is in the research and development phase.”
Today’s Press Herald reports on some upcoming cooking competitions being held at the Moxie Festival, Yarmouth Clam Festival, etc.
Last week’s edition of The Maine Switch included a profile of Prost! and a review of The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth. “I left wishing I hadn’t waited so long to try this Cape favorite, which immediately soared to the top of my list of dining choices.”
Freaky Bean has opened up a new location in South Portland. According to The South Portlander, “Freaky Bean shops are popular with the green crowd, though there has been some protests over the drive-through in South Portland, a first for Freaky Bean.”
|July 7 – This Week’s Events
The Kitchen & Cork is holding cooking classes Tuesday and Thursday nights this week. Tuesday night the owner and brewers of Dogfish Head will be on hand at Novare Res, 6 Dogfish products will be on tap that night. There are wine tastings taking place this week on Wednesday at RSVP, Thursday at the Public Market House and on Friday at Rosemont’s Brighton Ave location. On Saturday, Mark Kurlansky, award winning author of Cod and Salt will be at Rabelais to sign copies of his latest book, The Last Fish Tale, and Maine author Kate Gooding will be at the LeRoux Kitchen to sign copies of her newest cookbook, Black Fly Stew. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.
Burrito, received an enthusiatic 4 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Excellent if not perfectly authentic burritos, enchiladas, rellenos and more create an exciting opportunity for anyone with an appetite.”
Type A Diversions has put together a handy list of places to enjoy lobster rolls in the Portland area.
The new print edition of The Bollard has hit the streets. This month’s edition includes a review of Medeo and a new installment from The Land of the Forgotten Cocktail series by award-winning bartender John Myers. Copies can be found just about anywhere free newspapers are distributed. I picked up my copy at Maple’s Gelataria.
Port City Studios has posted an article extolling the virtues of the North Street Community Garden. “I am going to put it out there that the North Street Community Garden in Portland is the most scenic community garden in the country.”
Accidental Vegetables has reviewed Bresca. “Our meal at Bresca was, overall, quite delicious. If you detect a tone of disappointment in this entry, it’s because it didn’t quite live up to its reputation, I thought.”
The Eat & Run column in today’s Press Herald reviewed The Merry Table. “The Merry Table offers a nice alternative to grabbing a sandwich for lunch in downtown Portland. The savory crepes are a touch more expensive than an Old Port sandwich, but well worth it for both the quality and the change of pace.”
Also in today’s paper was a Community Voices commentary by Rabbi Akiva Herzfeld on living to eat vs eating to live, and an article about Roger Doiron’s organization Kitchen Gardeners International. Due to technical problems at MaineToday.com it hasn’t appeared on the newspaper’s website yet.
Type A Diversions has reviewed the Conundrum Wine Bistro. “Conundrum does not serve overly creative fare, but rather simple dishes done well. This is one my favorite spots in Southern Maine for drinks and appetizers – they make a mean martini, have a diverse wine list and an excellent selection of appetizers and cheeses.”
If you’re headed to the Eastern Promenade to watch the fireworks Friday night there are a couple alternatives to the fried dough and other street fare that you might want to check out. Bar Lola is selling box dinners to go, pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, mexican brownie and ice tea or lemonade. Rosemont‘s location on Munjoy Hill is planning to up the number of pizza and sandwiches for sale as well.
PORTopera, Portland summer opera company, is producing a cookbook this year, Cucina de Bel Canto. According to the Press Herald, the “cookbook contains more than 500 recipes from area chefs, foodies, singers and board members, as well as images from past productions.”
There’s a late addition to this week’s event calendar. Luke Livingston from BlogAboutBeer.com and Jason Burks from BeerBloggers.com will be giving a talk tonight from 6-7 pm at Prost!. The talk “will cover some of the basics, such as selecting proper glassware, pouring properly, beer temperature and how it effects taste, etc.”
Local Foodie is begining the second year that she and her husband are eating a locavore diet.
Food historian Sandy Oliver has written a follow-up article on the Crowne Pilot cracker situation for The Working Water.
The 10 restaurants and bars viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of June were:
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 June 2008 here.
|June 30 pm
Samantha Hoyt Lindgren of Rabelais appeared on the radio as part of the Sunrise Bookshelf show on WUML in Lowell, MA.
Masala Mahal, an Indian market in South Portland, has been added to the site.
Commune Tested, City Approved has posted a review of Novare Res. “For the past month, Novare Res has been serving up more than 200 bottled beers and an ever changing selection of 25 beers on tap. And the food is amazing.”
|June 30 – This Week’s Events
Tuesday night the owner and brewers of Allagash will be on hand at Novare Res, the beer bar will have 10 Allagash products on tap that night. The next training run for the Wine Flight 5k is taking place on Tuesday; Walter’s is the destination. There are wine tastings taking place this week on Friday at the West End Grocery and on Saturday at Leroux. Farmers’ Markets are being held 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.
Nakornping Thai, received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. ” . . . Nakornping’s appetizers, like the sate and the ‘shrimp in a blanket,’ are excellent, and some of the entrees I tried rate just as highly. Only a few overcooked main ingredients detracted from the meals’ good quality.”
The Thai restaurants in Portland will have some additional competion when the new Thai buffet that’s now under construction on Congress St opens. The new restaurant will be located at the former location of D’Angelo’s.
Today’s edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram has an interesting article on the resurgence of grain farming and milling in Maine and an article on the red tide outbreak affecting the shellfish industry.
In her debut as the new blogger for 1:00 a.m. Curfew, Amy Martin has reviewed Prost! International Tap House.
You can tell it’s strawberry season by the number of strawberry festivals taking place. New Gloucester had theirs on Thursday and today there are ones in South Freeport and North Yarmouth. If you don’t have time for either of those options then go to this morning’s farmers’ market in Deering Oaks where there’s sure to be plenty of fresh strawberries for sale.
There’s a new article on Chow Maine about Tropa Wine Co., a new wine shop located in the West End.
Today’s Press Herald reviewed North Star Music Cafe. “The North Star’s niche is comfort. The cafe is spacious.”
This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix includes an interview with Blake Smithson, former owner of Chickey’s Fine Diner, about the regional variations of barbeque in the US.
|June 23 – This Week’s Events
The Greek Heritage Festival is taking place this week Thursday through Saturday. On Thursday, The Cheese Iron is holding a class on goat cheeses. Kitchen & Cork is holding a course on kitchen knife skills Wednesday. On Saturday they are offering a cooking class that will take students shopping at the Portland farmers’ market and to other shops, and then return to the store’s kitchen to prepare a meal with their purchases. Browne Trading is holding a Wine tasting on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are being held 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.
Club Onyx opened for business last week.
Tu Casa, received 3 stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Well-made, inexpensive Salvadoran standards fit the bill for a great casual dinner out.”
This week’s edition of The Forecaster has a write up about Mark’s Hot Dogs 25th anniversary, and an article about The Icehouse ending the legal battles over their liquor license.
The Great Lost Bear won the Best Beer Bar category in Cheers magazine’s annual Benchmark Awards.
Francisco’s Culinary Journey has reviewed Bayou Kitchen. ” . . . we’ve been back every week. That says a lot about a place! I’m now hooked on the Bayou Scramble . . . ”
John Everett has written a farewell article for his bar blog, 1:00 a.m. Curfew packed with parting advice on things like “pregaming”, Homerunners and his favorite bars in Portland. Amy Martin, a writer from The Maine Switch, will be taking over for John.
|June 18 pm
The Clown has decided to close its shop on Market Street in the Old Port. June 21 will be their last day in operation. Their two locations in Stonington and York will remain open.
There have been a couple late additions to this week’s list of food events. Tomorrow afternoon, the Public Market House is holding a wine and cheese tasting. From a post on New2Maine.com I learned that Cinque Terre and Eve’s are colaborating on a wine dinner tomorrow night showcasing the wines of Wente Vineyards. The dinner will be held at Eve’s. For more information on both these events visit the Event Calendar
This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix reviewed the brunch offerings at Five Fifty-Five, Caiola’s and Local 188. “Five Fifty-Five successfully dresses itself down for brunch. Local 188, already dressed down, seems to handle brunch more smoothly than its dinner service. Finally Caiola’s, efficient and effortlessly elegant at night, is precisely the same in the morning.”
|June 18 am
Portland 207 has posted Part 3 in his ongoing series listing all the restaurants and bars in the city with outdoor seating on decks, patios, sidewalks, etc. To get the full picture see also Part 1 and Part 2.
Commune Tested, City Approved has an article about harvesting wild ginger and other plants for a homemade wild-sourced salad.
|June 17 pm
Binga’s Wingas in conjunction with Harpoon Beer is running a benefit tonight for Climb for Cancer Care. $1 will be donated for every Harpoon you order, $2 for orders of wings, fries or onion rings ordered.
The Bollard has the scoop on last night’s City Council dileberations on the Porthole/Comedy Connection’s outdoor deck. “City legal staff had recommended that councilors severely limit food and alcohol service – and prohibit entertainment – on the businesses’ adjoining outdoor decks, due to waterfront zoning restrictions.”
|June 17 am
Tropa Wine Co. is now open for business. The small wine store is located on Congress across the street from Local 188 and just around the corner from Evangeline.
If you need any reminder about how wonderful and remarkable to Portland restaurant scene is just take a look at this post on Chowhound.com. Chowhounder Anastasia came to Portland specifically for a “7 day foodie excursion”. In a single week, she and her husband managed to pack in visits to Bar Lola, Five Fifty-Five, Miyake, Yosaku, Fuji, Mims, The Lobster Shack, Portland Lobster Co., Street & Co., Duckfat, Standard Baking and Shipyard. I can’t think of any other city the size of Portland that people visit exclusively for the food.
A post by Portland Psst! tipped me off to an article about Maine wineries appearing in a recent edition of Mainebiz. Maine’s weekly buisness magazine also has a story about Roger Doiron’s nonprofit Kitchen Gardens International.
The Maine Beer Writer’s Guild had their June meeting at Novare Res and several of the members have posted their thoughts about the meeting and the bar to their blogs: Blog About Beer, Beer, Maine & Me, BeerBloggers.com. Here are some more Novare Res-related posts from other blogs that have surfaced as well: Beer Locavore, The Sound Inside My Mind. The new beer bar has certainly generated a lot of buzz in the short time it’s been open.
|June 16 – This Week’s Events
Peakfest is being held this week Friday through Saturday. Bayside World Market & Fair is taking place on Saturday as is the Vegetarian Food Festival. An all star cast of local chefs is headed to Cow Island on Sunday to cook for the 3rd Annual Taste of the Nation dinner (tickets are still available). The second training run for the Wine Flight 5k is taking place on Tuesday. Wine tasting are taking place at Old Port Wine Merchants on Wednesday and Leavitt and Sons on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are being held 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.
Today’s Press Herald reports that maple syrup production fell in Maine during 2008.
The new issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine is out. It includes stories about the use of romanesco (a fractalish Italian broccoli) at Caiola’s and the farm to table philosophy of Lee Skawinski from Cinque Terre. There’s also an interesting piece by Sandy Oliver debunking the legend that felons in Maine’s past refused to eat lobster more than twice a week.
Prost! International Tap House has opened for business. Joe’s New York Pizza has been added to the Under Construction list. Joe’s is going into the spot on Fore Street formerly occupied by Granny’s.
|June 12 pm
Rosie’s has been reviewed in the weekly bar blog 1:00 a.m. Curfew. “Spectacular? No. But Rosie’s is solid and consistent, and that’s the mark of someone who has gotten this whole bar thang right.”
Chow Maine has a report on the “silky finnan haddie chowder” prepared by Sam Hayward for last week’s James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony dinner at Lincoln Center (recipe included).
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch is a veritable food article feast. In addition to the profile of Novare Res cited yesterday, there’s an aritcle about ethical eating, a focus on French cuisine, a cooking interview with the Talya Corsetti of Corsetti’s Variety, and a set of summer grilling recommendations from the Gadget Guru.
|June 12 am
The weekly Eat & Run column in the Portland Press Herald reviewed the new South Portland location of Vaughan Street.
Chris2fer has published a 5 star review of Duckfat. “After we ate what was one of the best meals I have ever had we all got up and made out with the wait staff to show our appreciation. Ok, not really. But it was that good.”
The Food & Health section in today’s Press Herald has an article about the collaboration between chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street and violinist Lewis Kaplan. The pair will be co-hosting a benefit dinner for the Bowdoin International Music Festival.
|June 10 pm
Type A Diversions reviewed Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster. “I’ll certainly return to Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster. I think a perfect summer evening would consist of drinks and appetizers at Conundrum in Freeport, followed by a lobster roll, onion rings and slice of coconut cream pie sitting at the picnic tables at Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster.”
Rabelais was profiled by The Ethicurean. “If you love food or books, you’ll be pleased with what you find at Rabelais. If you happen to love both food and books, you’ll be over the moon.”
Details on this weekend’s Bizarre Foods Deathmatch have surfaced on the eGullet forums.
|June 10 am
Today’s Press Herald includes articles on how Mainers are becoming more frugal with their food budgets and on the formation and activity of the Maine Clammer’s Association.
|June 9 – This Week’s Events
Wine tasting are taking place at RSVP on Wednesday and Black Cherry Provisions on Thursday. Farmers’ Markets are being held in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Rabelais is holding a book signing and cookie swap Saturday with the author of Cookies, Brownies and Bars. Also on Saturday, Maine members of BeerAdvocate.com are hosting a gathering at Novare Res. 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.
Rabelais has posted more info about the visit of the Bizarre Foods film crew to Portland to their blog. They hope to publish a small video clip from the segment at Hugo’s plus photos of the Bizarre Food Deathmatch soon.
Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods, is in town. In their email newsletter Rabelais is reporting that Zimmern is filming segments with Rob Evans, Sam Hayward, Rick Tibbets, Masa Miyake, the Deathmatch crew, Rabelais, and others. According to the newsletter, the “projected air date is sometime in August”.
The weekly Eat & Run column in the Portland Press Herald reviewed the lunch options at Novare Res “When I visited recently, I ordered the ‘spring sandwich,’ made with rosemary ham, cotswold cheese with lettuce and garlic onion jam and served on thick, crusty bread. The sandwich had a nice balance of flavors, and was pleasantly filling.”
Also in today’s Press Herald, the Business section has an interview with Ben Sawyer, the owner of Benny’s.
The Chebeague Island Inn restaurant opens for business tonight.
|June 4 pm
The Maine Switch reviewed Chef et al. “Their dinners, at $18-$30 an entree, seem a little pricey for the neighborhood – but with a deliciously inexpensive lunch menu, a bar that’s open all day, wireless internet and a nice, laid-back environment, Chef et al may still pull in the student and young professional crowd.”
This week’s Switch also includes a profile of Harding Lee Smith’s new restaurant The Grill Room.
Novare Res has been reviewed in the weekly bar blog 1:00 a.m. Curfew. “Novare Res is a great idea. The deck is beautiful and the location is tucked away . . . The beer selection is astounding, and truly encapsulates every different type of brew you can think of. But Novare Res still has some kinks to work out.”
|June 4 am
The Food & Health section in today’s Press Herald offers up this primer on caviar with help from Browne Trading Company.
|June 3 pm
The Maine Mouth has a post about PETA’s proposal to build a Lobster Empathy Center in the Somerset County Jail. According to PETA’s press release, “Visitors to the center could voluntarily have their fingers rubber-banded together, and then they could walk into a dirty tank where they would be pressed up against other visitors to simulate conditions for lobsters in supermarket tanks.”
|June 3 am
Tastes Like the Future raves about the Apricot Cornmeal Sage cookies at North Star.
Demolition of The Village Cafe’s building began yesterday.
|June 2 – This Week’s Events
The Wine Flight 5k training run series starts this week with a trip to Local 188. Wine tasting are taking place at The Clown on Thursday, West End Grocery on Friday and Leroux on Saturday. The First Friday Art Walk is this week. Farmers’ Markets are being held 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.
The new print edition of The Bollard has hit the streets. This month’s edition includes a review of breakfast at Mims and a new installment from The Land of the Forgotten Cocktail series by award-winning bartender John Myers. Copies can be found just about anywhere free newspapers are distributed. I picked up my copy at Longfellow Books.
Passage to India, received 3 stars in this week’s Taste & Tell column in the Maine Sunday Telegram. “. . . you can relax and tuck in with confidence at Passage to India, Portland’s newest Indian restaurant.”
The West End will have another source for wine when Tropa Wine Co. opens its doors at 688 Congress Street in Longfellow Square. For more information on the new establishments under development in Portland see the Under Construction list.
Beer, Maine & Me has published his list of 10 Great Places to Get a Beer in Portland.
Chow Maine has a report on Saturday’s farmers’ market in Dering Oaks.
The 10 venues viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of May were:
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.
New2Maine.com 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.
|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.”
|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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
Portland’s newest Greek restaurant, Emilitsa, received 4 stars in this week’s Taste & Tell column on MaineToday.com. “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 New2Maine.com “Amber and I both highly recommend this for a nice break from the typical seafood and pub fare available for lunch.”
|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.
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”
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”.
|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.”
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.
Westbrook’s The Baker’s Bench earned 4 stars in a review published today on MaineToday.com. “The work-of-art type of sandwiches are what I sampled recently at the Baker’s Bench in Westbrook.”
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.”
BeerBloggers.com 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.
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.”
New2Maine.com 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.
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.
New2Maine.com 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:
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 April 2008 here.
|April 30 PM
John Golden has broken a 6 and half month silence on his blog Food for Thought to write a review of Evangeline. Golden writes, “This is probably one of the most appealing Portland restaurants to open in some time. It seamlessly joins the ranks of other highly regarded establishments in town. Evangeline continues the trend flawlessly.”
G & R DiMillo’s Bayside was the subject of a review in John Everett’s Bar Guide and a profile by Avery Yale Kamilla in The Maine Switch. Everett writes, “I’m excited by the possibilities of G&R DiMillo’s Bayside, but also realize the place needs to find its niche in the coming months.”
The new issue of The Maine Switch also has a review of Bogusha’s Polish Restaurant and Deli. “You can’t help but notice the mannequin dressed in Polish garb the minute you walk in the door. She welcomes you with pale, stone-faced Polish pride. To her left is the grocery store part of the venue where you’ll find everything from fruit juice to salami sticks to what might be a compilation of erotic stories written in Polish.”
The Portland Phoenix‘s Todd Richard visits The Cheese Iron as part of his Twenty $pot series spending $28.02 on fruit, wine, bread, sausage and cheese.
|April 30 AM
Production staff at the Travel Channel have told me they’re working on an episode of Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern set in Maine. There’s no word yet on what Maine foods will make the cut. The New York Times says of Zimmern, “Less dangerous than Anthony Bourdain, less annoying than Rachael Ray and less cloying than Paula Deen, Mr. Zimmern is a delight.”
Chris2fer has written a review of Pizza Villa. “Long story fairly short, if you are at Pizza Villa in the attached bar drinking and you get a hankering for some pizzas, then this is the place for you! If you want some tasty excellent pizza then go to Flatbread or Bonobo.”
The Press Herald has an article today on how the high cost of gas is impacting the food delivery services in town. They are also reporting that the new tax on beer will give Maine brewers a pass due to their relatively small size.
|April 28 – This Week’s Events
The 7th Annual Potato Planting Party is taking place on Saturday at Turkey Hill Farm in Cape Elizabeth. There are wine tastings taking place at The Clown, Rosemont Market and Bakery and the West End Grocery. The later two coincide with the First Friday Art Walk. As usual, 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 Under Construction List has been updated to include O’Brien’s Bar & Grill, Port City Music Hall and Thanh Thanh Bida. All three are going up for their liquor licenses at tonight’s City Council meeting.
|April 27 PM
Type A Diversions has reviewed Mims Brasserie It sounds like she wasn’t all that impressed with either her lunch or dinner. “Mims shines at breakfast, serves an adequate lunch, and is a disappointment for dinner . . . If you simply seek an after work spot to share cocktails and a great view, then Mims fills the niche.”
|April 27 AM
Gauchos Churrascaria received 3 stars from MaineToday.com in this week’s Taste & Tell column. “The fascination of meat herds many of us toward that as a main course. It also explains the substantial appeal of the meals served at Gauchos Churrascaria in Portland, where handsome men bring skewers of grilled beef, pork and chicken to the table, serving as much or as little as you like.”
|April 25 PM
John Everett reviewed The White Heart in the latest installment of the Bar Guide. “Visiting this locale is more intense than the usual pub experience. The music is loud, there is no TV to save your pathetic conversation attempts and much of the clientele is dressed in their best.”
Accidental Vegetables has published a new review of Evangeline. “Overall, our meal at Evangeline was outstanding. With our drinks (which, again ahem, we had quite a few of) the bill came to $112, including tip, per couple. It’s not the kind of money we can drop on dinner every week, but for a special occasion . . . Evangeline will definitely be at the top of our list.”
Chow Maine has the rundown on changes afoot at Hugo’s. The new menu will reportedly have a items ranging in price from $5 to $130 and a TV over the bar that will show “chefs’ hands at work in the kitchen, images shot that afternoon of fish cleaning and agnolotti pasta making, and the plating of every dish”.
|April 25 AM
There’s been a last minute addition to the event calendar for tonight. A lecture is taking place on UNE’s Portland campus entitled The Natural Cook: What Diet Does to Make us Human. Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham will address “when did our ancestors learn to cook and what impact did this have on our evolution” and “whether cooking might be a crucial component of what it is that makes human beings what they are.”
|April 24 PM
The latest post on The Maine Mouth asks the question “What is good Maine food?”, and author Kathleen Fleury confesses to liking the fried clams at Susan’s Fish and Chips better than those at the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth.
The Farmer’s Market season in Portland doesn’t officially begin until early May but Commune Tested, City Approved is reporting that the Wednesday market in Monument Square was up and running this week. There’s no word on whether the Saturday market is also starting up early.
Fat Baxter’s has been bought by Rosemont Market and Bakery.
|April 24 AM
Happy Teriyaki was reviewed in the Go section of today’s Press Herald. “Happy Teriyaki opened just this week, and although I seriously doubt it really is ‘Seattle’s best teriyaki,’ as advertised, it is a good place to get relatively inexpensive teriyaki, yakisoba, tempura and other Japanaese-style fast food.”
|April 23 PM
This week’s Portland Phoenix has a double review of two of Portland’s Greek restaurants, Emilitsa and Acropolis. It also includes an interview with several of the participants from this weekend’s Food + Farm event being held at the SPACE gallery.
The Maine Switch has reviewed Mesa Verde. “Every bite screamed simply prepared and fresh. It was exactly what we needed. The food here is not heavy on spice, so if you like a little more kick (as we do), just sprinkle on some hot sauce.”
Fans of the now departed Francisco’s Blue House Cafe may be interested in checking out a new blog, Francisco’s Culinary Journeys, which is written by the former chef of Francisco’s, David Mallari. Mallari is now running a catering company that organizes pig roasts called The Pig Kahuna.
|April 23 AM
Type A Diversions has published a review of Granny’s Burritos. She writes that “Granny’s new location is worth the walk from the Old Port if you’re craving the best Burritos in Greater Portland.”
Today’s edition of the Press Herald has an article about the movie King Corn which is showing Friday night at the SPACE gallery.
|April 22 PM
Happy Teriyaki, located at 630 Congress St, has opened for business.
|April 22 AM
The number of places on the Unreviewed List keeps on shrinking. During the last 3 months local food writers have published first-time reviews for more than a dozen restaurants, diners and bars. Here’s another dozen that it would be great to see reviews for in the next few months:
|April 21 – This Week’s Events
Browne Trading, Black Cherry Provisions and Rosemont Bakery are having wine tasting this week. Slow Food is holding a wine tasting (at Aurora Provisions) and Italian dinner (at Caiola’s) on Tuesday. Food + Farm, a co-production of SPACE and MOFGA, is taking place Friday through Sunday at SPACE. The 4th International Food Festival is taking place at SMCC on Saturday and on Friday Rabelais is hosting the co-creators of an article in the current issue of Gastronomica entitled “Milk Haul”. As always, 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 Breakfast Club has reviewed Steve and Renee’s Diner. They called it a “very comfortable place to eat a no frills, yet totally solid, quality diner breakfast. no pretensions here.”
Granny’s Burritos has reopened on Congress Street in the space formerly occupied by Uncle Billy’s Resto-Bar. The new Granny’s is a collaboration between Chris Godin of Granny’s and Jonathan St. Laurent, proprieter of Uncle Billy’s. The new restaurant will carry over some of the more popular items from Uncle Billy’s menu.
Green Elephant received 3 stars from MaineToday.com in this week’s Taste & Tell column.
Type A Diversions has published a review of Evangeline. Having been on-hand for the opening night at the restaurant she wrote, “After witnessing many less graceful grand openings, I was impressed at the staff orchestration.” Her overall opinion of Evangeline is that “Chef Erik Dejarlais has combined the elegance of distinctively prepared cuisine, with a lively urban setting. An instant classic, Evangeline is a ‘must try’ restaurant for foodies living in, or visiting Portland.”
|April 17 PM
This week’s edition of The Forecaster has an article about the new venues (Prost, Onyx, Cobblestones) that are under construction on Fore and Wharf Streets.
Erik Desjarlais’ new restaurant, Evangeline, had its grand opening tonight.
|April 17 AM
The Phoenix released the results of their 2008 reader’s poll this week. The web pages listing the results don’t seem to be working at the moment so if you want the full scoop you’ll need to pick up a paper copy. Here’s a taste: best local beer – Allagash, best Latino restaurant – Tu Casa, best Indian – Tandoor, best wings – Binga’s Wingas, etc.
John Everett reviewed Local 188 in the latest installment of the Bar Guide. “Local 188 is poised to become a popular nightspot . . . and for good reason. A one-of-a-kind drink selection paired with $6 Tapas and attention to detail make Local 188 incomparable to other bars and taverns in the boozy ocean of Portland.”
Artemisia Cafe received 4 stars in a review published on MaineToday.com. “In Portland, few things say spring better than a raspberry lime cooler from Artemisia Cafe.”
BeerBloggers.com is reporting that “Sea Dog and Shipyard Brewing Companies each took home a medal at the 2008 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) in Melbourne, Australia.”
|April 16 PM
This week’s edition of The Phoenix has a review of Empire Dine and Dance. “The food is not remarkable but is better than corporate versions of casual fare . . . The best thing we tried was the $5 half-size burger. This is bar food as it should be.”
|April 16 AM
The Bollard has published a review of Flask Lounge, a sports bar located in between Miyake and Katahdin on Spring Street. Editor Chris Busby writes, “Flask is a decent little eatery. They’ve got burgers and steak bombs and all manner of panini, plus Cincinnati Chili and Italian sausage pizza pockets that are better than you think . . . The Buffalo wings are not as good as you think – that is, not baptized in a deep-fat fryer – so beware.”
Today’s Press Herald has an editorial on the return of the Miss Portland Diner and an article in the Food & Health section on the growing variety of gourmet salts now available and growing in popularity.
A new sports bar, G & R DiMillo’s, opened last night. G & R is located at 118 Preble St in the old location of Bleachers and is owned by a member of the same family that runs the DiMillo’s restaurant on Commercial St.
The Breakfast Club has reviewed The Frog and Turtle and graded them an A- overall. They had some interesting interactions with their waiter and got to try a “chocolate-filled, bacon-wrapped doughnut”.
The Portland Culinary Scribbler has a new wine & cheese essay by Nicole Chaison. Nicole has written in response to Carmela Benegas Rose and Boucheron cheese.
|April 14 – This Week’s Events
Bar Lola is having a wine dinner on Tuesday night and there are wine tastings taking place this week at the Old Port Wine Merchants and Leavitt & Sons (Falmouth). On Thursday, Frog and Turtle is hosting a renaissance themed dinner at their restaurant in Westbrook. Mark Winne, author of Closing The Food Gap, Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty will bet at Rabelais on Monday for a book signing. As always, 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 Portland Food Map event calendar.
Siano’s Pizzeria was reviewed in this week’s Taste & Tell column on MaineToday.com. Siano’s was given 2½ stars. Nancy English, author of the review, wrote “We loved the good pizza and enjoyed the fried calamari, but if I return, I won’t order the boring onion rings and awful five-cheese ravioli. Salads served to a neighboring table looked great.”
Harbor Fish Market will be closed Tuesday to honor the memory of Benjamin Louis Alfiero who along with his brother John started the market in the early 1970s.
Today’s edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram had an article about Mountville’s ordinance banning the planting of “genetically engineered crops”.
The Press Herald has a report on the clamming crisis in the Midcoast region, and hidden in the Dispatches is a short piece on the visit of a film crew from Oprah Winfrey’s show to Hugo’s yesterday where they taped a segment with chef Rob Evans on his tuna melt sandwich.
Type A Diversions revisited Blue Spoon for a casual lunch on Munjoy Hill. She wrote that it offers an “excellent value to its patrons” and while not a “destination restaurant” is someplace that “would surely be a favorite if I lived nearby.”
|April 9 PM
John Everett reviewed the Three Dollar Deweys in the latest installment of the Bar Guide. “An old-fashioned pub. A place to meet new people, relax with friends, try a few new beers . . . and eat free popcorn.”
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch includes a review of Ribollita. “I’ve heard Ribollita described as having the best Italian food in town. Frankly, it could have been $1 burgers and I’d still be raving about it, with its fantastic service and friendly atmosphere.”
|April 9 AM
Chris2fer has given Bonobo 4 stars in his new review of the West End pizzeria. Chris2fer writes, “I think that I have found my new favorite pizza place in Portland. The prices were reasonable, the service was quiet but efficient (and mellow) and the restaurant itself was very nicely appointed and comfortable. We will definitely be going back.”
Saeng Thai House opened up a second location at 921 Congress St yesterday. A neighborhood variety store, Spring Street Variety, has opened at 237 Spring St.
|April 7 – This Week’s Events
Mims Brasserie is reopening today under the direction of Scott Olsen, its new Executive Chef. Downeast Beverage and RSVP are both hosting wine tastings this week. Slow Food Portland has a potluck dinner on Wednesday and their book club is getting together on Tuesday to discuss Cod by Mark Kurlansky. Save Our Seafood, a seafood tasting and auction, is taking place on Monday; John Williamson of the Ocean Conservancy will be the guest speaker. On Saturday, Whole Foods is attempting to break a Guinness Book record for the Most Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels Ever Cracked simultaneously. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the Portland Food Map event calendar.
Type A Diversions published the first review of Chef et al just a day after the Forest Ave bistro opened its doors. While she cautions that like most new restaurants they have “a few kinks to work out”, she states that the “refined and creative culinary skills showcased in our simple lunch at Chef et al will ensure my repeat patronage.”
The Breakfast Club has reviewed 158 Picket Street Cafe and graded them an A- overall. They loved the bagels but not the “white and wide-mouthed with tiny handles” coffee cups.
Empire Dine and Dance was the subject of this week’s Taste & Tell column on MaineToday.com. Empire captured 3 out of a possible 5 stars for their “bar food made with panache”.
Evangeline, Erik Desjarlais’ new restaurant in Longfellow Square, will be having its opening night on April 11.
The new issue of Down East includes a guide to eating in Maine. Editor Kathleen Fleury polled “chefs, market owners, specialty food purveyors, food writers, and other culinary icons” about where they are eating now. Portland had a very strong showing in the results with entries as diverse as Homegrown Herb & Tea and Back Bay Grill.
The Bollard is reporting that Granny’s Burritos will soon be reopening in the location currently occupied by Uncle Billy’s Resto-Bar. The new incarnation of Granny’s is a joint venture by Chris Godin of Granny’s and Jonathan St. Laurent of Uncle Billy’s.
Chef et al. opened for business yesterday. Chef et al. is billing itself as a “casual New England bistro”. They are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and plan on starting a Sunday brunch service soon.
John Everett reviewed the Asylum for this week’s installment of the Bar Guide. “Young people want a place that has good music, cheap drinks and a dance floor. Asylum meets that criteria, and has a fun-loving and professional staff to boot”.
Kim’s Sandwich & Cafe received 4½ stars in a review published on MaineToday.com. “Simply put, Kim’s Sandwich and Cafe on Portland’s St. John Street is a great find. It would be pretty darn hard to find a better value for a really tasty lunch.”
BeerBloggers.com has written a review of Gritty’s Scottish Style Ale. “The taste is a good bit more exciting than the smell. The malts are bready and have a caramel flavor to them. The initial sweetness gives way to the smokey accents, which adds a pleasant complexity to the taste.”
|April 2 PM
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch has an article on one woman’s search for the best New England clam chowder in the city, and an introduction to the 22nd Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fling that’s taking place on Sunday.
|April 2 AM
From Way Away has put together a list of 20 “great foodie things in our broken city of Portland”.
Chow Maine has published a calendar of April wine tastings at over 20 stores from Ogonquit to Gardiner.
The 10 restaurants viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of March were:
Emilitsa holds the top honors for the second month in a row.
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.
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+.
Erik Desjarlais has a progress update on Evangeline with some details on the menu and pricing on his blog.
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.
The Go Section on MaineToday.com 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.'”
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.
Pom’s Thai Taste received 3 stars in a review from MaineToday.com. “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.
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.
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 MaineToday.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MaineToday.com. 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.
Begining in May, Caiola’s plans to start serving brunch on Sunday.
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.
Today’s Portland Press Herald has an article about how bakeries are being impacted by the recent steep increases in the price of flour.
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.
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, BeerBloggers.com and Blog About Beer all of which write about Maine brewing.
|March 1 PM
The 10 restaurants looked up most often in February were:
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.”
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”.
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 February 2008 here.
Chow Maine has an article about how the current Maine shrimp season is going. It includes details on how some local restaurants are incorporating this seasonal ingredient into their menu. Gilbert’s Chowder House, Hugo’s, Sapporo and The Front Room are all mentioned.
Down East magazine has an excellent video profile of Tony’s Donut Shop and the people who work there.
If you’re looking for a way to stretch your bar budget, take a loook at PortlandOldport.com. The site lists daily drink specials at local restaurants and bars.
|February 27 PM
Driving home tonight I noticed that the old location of Seng Thai at 921 Congress Street was undergoing renovation. There’s no sign to indicate who’s going to move in to the space but the interior design made it look likely that it will be a Thai restaurant.
The Portland Phoenix published a joint review of Rosie’s and Silly’s. The reviewer ties the two eateries together in his trademark style with a leap year/passage of time theme. “Leap year should remind us that the arbitrary and chaotic lurk even in the monotonous tick of the clock and turn of the calendar page.”
The Sun Journal published a review of Portland Pie this weekend. “This should be a story about pie . . . but it turned into an investigation of buffalo wings rather faster than I had expected”.
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch includes a review of Katahdin. “I swore off martinis a few years ago . . . and thank god my martini willpower gave out.”
|February 27 AM
Chow Maine has updated their calendar of wine tastings to include upcoming events in March. If you’re ready to try some new wines you now know where and when to go.
An overview of the burgeoning Westbrook restaurant scene appeared in today’s edition of the Portland Press Herald. Baker’s Bench, The Frog and Turtle, Burrito and Casa Novella were among the many places mentioned in the article.
G & R DiMillo’s Bayside, the sports bar moving into the old Bleachers location on Preble Street, was the focus of an article in today’s Press Herald.
The Press Herald also had an article today about a bill before the Maine legislature to legalize home delivery of beer and wine. Maine is one of a minority of states that makes this practice illegal. Blog About Beer just wrote about this issue yesterday and came out in favor of the law.
By a vote of 8-1, the Portland City Council voted tonight to approve a liquor license for Erik Desjarlais’ new restaurant Evangeline. Evangeline will be located at the former location of Uffa in Longfellow Square. Liquor licenses were also approved for the Cobblestone Grill and G & R DiMillo’s Bayside. Una was granted an extension to their existing license to apply to an expansion into an adjoining space. You can see details on this and other upcoming food and drink establishments on the Under Construction List.
The anonymous writer of Portland Psst! was outed this weekend. Erik Desjarlais had a cryptic post on his blog this weekend that read “Peter Smith, we know who you are!!!” Explanation came today when Psst! indirectly confirmed that he is Peter Smith. Psst!’s latest post explaining the “reasons Psst! exists” ends with “Thank you and goodbye.” This has led some to conclude that this may be the end of the popular blog.
Walter’s Cafe received 3 stars in a critical review of the Exchange St restaurant published on MaineToday.com. The review praises the oyster stew but comments that “other combinations and fusion dishes suffered from a muddle of ingredients and ideas. Brie and spinach-stuffed, bacon-wrapped trout, a special, was a meal that resembled a room with too many doors.”
Steve Corry, chef/owner of Five Fifty-Five, gives an interview on his life in 2007 (“It’s been a bit insane.”) as a new dad and being recognized last year by Food and Wine as one of the 10 Best New Chef’s in the country. Corry’s short list of favorite places to eat in Portland includes Back Bay Grill, Fore Street, Hugo’s, Bresca, Bar Lola, and Emilitsa.
Scarborough resident and founder of Kitchen Gardens International, Roger Doiron was quoted in an Associated Press article about the increased interest in home gardens that’s being driven by high food prices. Dorion recently set up a new website called Eat Maine Foods to support the Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine.
Chow Maine has investigated the state of fine dining restaurants in Portland in light of the current economy and found that they’re faring well. Bresca, Fore Street and Caiola’s are all doing better than they were a year ago. The article also mentions that an essay by Sam Hayward on island sheep will be appearing in the upcoming issue of Art of Eating.
A new sports bar called G & R DiMillo’s Bayside is planning on opening in the former location of Bleachers on Preble Street. You can see details on this and other upcoming food and drink establishments on the Under Construction List.
Una, the tony Fore St cocktail lounge, is expanding into the space vacated late last year by Portland Pie. The additional space will be used to expand the bar and make room for a dance floor.
|February 21 PM
Portland 207 and The Forecaster are reporting that Portland is one of three finalists in the Twin City of Bushmills in America contest being run to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Bushmills Irish Whiskey. Visit the Bushmills site to vote.
|February 21 AM
Hamdi Restaurant and Grocery, a small Somali establishment on Washington Ave, netted its first review today and so has been taken off of the list of unreviewed Portland restaurants and bars.
The Portland Press Herald had a front page article today about the 23% decrease in lobster landings in 2007. One possible explanation is the increase in Cod and Striped Bass which are predators of the tasty crustaceans.
StarEast Cafe the new Middle-Eastern eatery located in Woodfords Corner, was reviewed by Brian Duff in this week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix. Brian was complimentary of the food and summed up StarEast by saying, “overall the experience at StarEast was more a pleasantly odd surprise than a disappointment. If the space were busier some of its quirks would become less glaring.”<br
The Maine Switch this week includes an interview with John Regas, the owner of Emilitsa, the new Greek restaurant in town, and a review of the Brazillian steakhouse Gauchos Churrascaria. Reviewer Karen Beaudoin advices, “When it comes to the food at Gauchos, you need to come hungry to get your money’s worth . . . The food was good, but maybe not $240 for four people good (including drinks and tip). You pay for the variety (there are 12 meats in all, including chicken hearts – we passed – lamb, flank steak and sirloin) and the experience which is like none other in Portland.” </br
“As a loyal Pom’s fan” Type A Diversions was looking forward to visiting Pom’s new restaurant Pom’s Thai Taste on Congress St in Portland. Type A wraps up her latest review—a mix of praise and criticism—by asking “Is Pom’s spread too thin? . . . To be the best, or the biggest…that may be the question for Pom as she grows her Thai restaurant empire in Maine. I vote for quality over quantity.”
|February 18 PM
Chris2fer and friends visited Katahdin where they found everything from the decour to the drinks to the food to their liking. Chris2fer sums it up this way “Katahdin is one of the best restaurants in Portland. I have never been unhappy with what I have ordered. It is always cooked perfectly, and seasoned expertly. The wait staff is charming and they pay attention, but they don’t hover, which is a pet peeve of mine.”
|February 18 AM
The Bollard has a new review of Brea Lu Cafe. “It’s a marriage of convenience. Brea Lu has decent food and it’s a nice, friendly place. If the greater-USM area happens to be your neighborhood, it’s a perfectly good spot to call your own. But if you have to get in your car to get there, as we do, there are plenty of better breakfasts in town.”
The Frog and Turtle received 4 stars the Taste & Tell column published on MaineToday.com.
Portland 207 wrote up a review of his visit to Empire Dine and Dance, noting that the “food needs few improvements” and that the “slider-style mini-burger received rave reviews and the veggie lasagna was over-sized but damn delicious”.
The 15th annual Great Chili and Chowder Challenge was held last weekend. The Atrium at The Cedars, a retirement community, won top honors from the judges in both the Best Chili and Best Chowder categories.
Thanksgiving’s, a Thanksgiving themed restaurant in Westbrook, was reviewed today in the Go Magazine section on MaineToday.com. “Almost everything on the menu is built around rotisserie turkey meat. In addition to several turkey sandwiches, most of them $7.99, there are entrees of turkey pot pies, turkey croquettes, turkey stir-fry and – of course – a Thanksgiving turkey dinner.”
Brunch at The Frog and Turtle was reviewed by Accidental Vegetables. While not a big fan of their Bloody Mary “I kept sipping it, hoping the flavor would grow on me, but no dice”, she was quite taken with the freshly made doughnuts, “They were, quite simply, incredible. It’s worth the drive just to try them”.
This week’s edition of The Maine SWitch includes a review of The Front Room. “Though it may be crowded, the Front Room’s good reputation is well-deserved. On the slightly expensive side, the food was well-worth the cash, and the waitstaff and customers are so friendly that it’s easy to forgive the noise and accept it as a part of the neighborhood feel that the East End does so well.”
The Frog and Turtle was featured in a review appearing in the latest edition of Portland Magazine.
MaineToday.com blogger Jim Britt published a post today about his recent interest in single bean chocolate. The article includes a list of some local chocolatiers and chocolate vendors. I’d also add Haven’s Candies and Dean’s Sweets to the list local chocolatiers, and Old Port Candy and The Cheese Iron to the list of local stores that sell good chocolate.
Ri-Ra Irish Pub received 3 stars today in the review published on MaineToday.com. According to the review, at Ri-Ra “Sturdy, straightforward dishes discover the right compromise between mother Ireland and the modern America, nourishing diners both substantially and well.”
Type A Diversions paid a visit to Emilitsa, the new Greek restaurant on Congress St that opened just last Friday. She had this to say about the experience, “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. We look forward to our return.” It looks like Emilitsa is off to a good start.
|February 7 PM
Accidental Vegetables has posted her impressions of a revisit to Empire Dine and Dance. While the space still felt ” a little ‘off'” to her, she did say that “All in all the food at Empire is fine. If you’re out and about and want to grab a bite, you could find something pretty tasty at a pretty reasonable price.”
After a long hiatus while he remodeled his Portland home, StephenCooks.com has returned to life with two recipes: one for Moroccan-style Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Orzo “Risotto” and a second for Scallop and Pancetta Pizza.
|February 7 AM
The burgers at Vivian’s Drive-In were called “moist and juicy, fresh and succulent” in the review appearing in today’s Go Magazine section on MaineToday.com.
The Bollard has an update on the changes taking place on Fore and Wharf Streets, including more information on the Oktoberfest International Taphouse and Club Onyx, and news that Cobblestone Grill will be going into the spot formerly occupied by Cake. You can see details on these and other upcoming food and drink establishments on the Under Construction List.
|February 6 PM
This week’s edition of The Maine Switch includes a review of Uncle Billy’s Resto-Bar and an article about the CSA Fair taking place this weekend.
|February 6 AM
Today’s Press Herald includes an article on the CSA Fair being sponsored in Freeport this Sunday by Slow Food Portland, MOFGA, and the Maince Council of Churches. There’s also news that SMCC will be hosting a five-week wine appreciation class.
The City Council voted tonight to grant a liquor license to the Oktoberfest International Taphouse. The taphouse will be moving into the location formerly occupied by Diggers/Liquid Blue. Consideration of the liquor license for Evangeline was deferred until the meeting on February 25. You can see details on these and other upcoming gastro-business on the Under Construction List.
Market Street Eats will be moving a few doors up the road to 36 Market St. They plan on moving to the new location on March 3.
Nancy English gave Beale Street Barbeque, 3½ stars in the review published today on MaineToday.com. According to English, at Beale Street the “tender ribs and melting pulled pork and brisket, even the crab cakes, are barbecue classics, but some of the other dishes seem off-track.”
Portland Food Map now has a page for all the brunchaholics out there. It’s a list of all the places listed on this site that are open for Sunday brunch. It’s still a work in progress so if you know of any place missing from the brunch list, then please email me at email@example.com and let me know.
|February 1 PM
Chris2fer has reviewed Spirited Gourmet giving it a rating of 3 out of 10. He found it sadly lacking in both spirit and gourmetness and wrote “I will not be going back.”
The Good Egg Cafe, the breakfast avatar of Pepperclub, was reviewed by Type A Diversions. Type A calls The Good Egg a “vegetarian-friendly version of Becky’s” and declares that, “it fits the bill for a casual and affordable breakfast spot with friends.”
The Press Herald ran a story today about the collection of ethnic restaurants located on Forest Ave opposite Baxter Woods.
|February 1 AM
The 10 restaurants viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of January were:
According to the Portland-based Blog About Beer a second high-end beer cafe is planning on opening in Portland. The establishment will be called The Pannepot Brewpub and Cafe and is hoping to open in the March/April time frame near the intersection of Forest Ave and Congress St. This comes hard on the heels of news last week that Novare Res Bier Cafe will be opening this Spring in the Old Port.
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 January 2008 here.
Emilitsa, the long anticipated addition to Portland’s line-up of Greek restaurants, is having a soft opening tomorrow night with a limited menu.
This week’s issue of The Maine Switch has an article about ice wine—a wine made by pressing frozen grapes. According to the article, ice wine is on the menu at Five Fifty-Five, Hugo’s and Mims Brasserie.
|January 30 PM
The Portland Phoenix‘s Brian Duff checked out North Star Cafe and Fat Baxter’s as part of an article on the sandwich options in the East End, “As the economy slides into recession it is time we started to think more seriously about the sandwich.”
The Maine Switch published two reviews. The first of Pom’s Thai Taste, “Everything we’ve eaten at Pom’s bursts with a perfect balance of sweet and savory and contains the crispy freshness that only comes from high-quality ingredients properly sauteed.”; the second on Spartan Grill, “while the menu may be Spartan, the flavor remains deliciously complex”.
The Bollard posted a review about the restaurant-turned-nightclub that is 51 Wharf.
|January 30 AM
Today’s Portland Press Herald has an article about the impact being felt in the organic food industry with the growth in demand now far out-stripping the growth in supply.
Type A Diversions has reviewed Caiola’s. She comments that it is “one of the best examples of a neighborhood restaurant that I’ve encountered”, and that “I’d be hard pressed to go anywhere else if I lived nearby.”
Today’s newspaper has an article about John Bunker and his book Not Far from the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine 1804-2004. Bunker was in town last fall when he did a book reading and apple tasting at Rabelais Books.
Nancy English gives Sapporo, Portland’s original sushi restaurant, 3 stars in her review published on MaineToday.com. According to English, Sapporo “caters to a wide range of tastes, but its offerings themselves cover too wide a spectrum, some not as good as they should be.”
Francisco’s Blue House Cafe is going out of business. Brunch on February 3 will be the last meal they serve.
The Portland Harbor Hotel, home of Eve’s at the Garden, is having their annual Ice Bar this weekend. 7,000 lbs. of ice have been carved into a working bar which includes a “martini luge”. The Joan Kennedy Trio will provide music for the bar tonight.
The Portland Phoenix is gathering nominations for their annual Best of Portland reader’s poll. Go to the Phoenix’s website to nominate your favorite bars, restaurants, etc. You have until February 10 to get your nominations in. The actual voting on the nominations starts February 14.
|January 24 PM
According to a report from Portland 207, the Spartan Grill has opened up a temporary location on the first floor of the Public House while the construction of their new digs on the second floor is underway.
Type A Diversions has published a review of Burrito!. “Burrito! is an affordable lunch spot for those who work in the vicinity, and probably a fun place to enjoy a pitcher of margaritas and a plate of nachos after work or before a movie. Cleaner and less grungy than Granny’s ever was, the decor is cheery with lots of color, though this time of year the small space heater is not quite enough to take the chill out of the air.”
|January 24 AM
The Maine Switch has an excellent profile of Homegrown Herb Tea, a herbal tea shop located in the East End. Terra Cotta Pasta was featured in a review in today’s Go section on MaineToday.com.
|January 23 PM
Brian Duff at the Portland Phoenix calls the Green Elephant a “big step in the right direction”. He goes on to comment that the restaurant is “Elegant but affordable, progressive but pleasurable, pan-Asian but not dangerously eclectic, a touch didactic (a glossary chalked on the wall defines tempeh and soy), but charmingly so, with affordable wine and interesting tea – Green Elephant is something Maine could use.”
|January 23 AM
The Portland Culinary Scribbler, a cooperative food writing effort, launched this week. The first set of postings “all turn on a common theme: the various writers’ subjective reactions to a wine and cheese pairing.”
Local Foodie reports that a buying club is getting set-up for people to make purchases from alternative food suppliers like the Crown of Maine Co-op.
Novare Res, is the name of a new beer cafe that will be opening at 4 Canal Plaza this Spring. With all the recent announcements, we’re now up to a count of 12 food and drink establishments that are on the Under Construction list.
Chow Maine has shared some insight on Maine slaughterhouses and where their beef comes from.
Be sure to save a spot on your calendar this week for the Slow Food Portland Writers’ Night. On hand will be writers Margaret Hathaway, Sandy Oliver, James Peterson, Melissa Pasanen and Rick Gencarelli. More info on the event and the writers can be found on Slow Food Portland’s website. Portland foodies should also be aware that tickets are now on sale for the PSO Wine Dinner and Auction. The event usually sells out and with good reason: great wine and great food prepared by Maine’s top chefs.
Rachel’s L’Osteria is the focus of a new review from Type A Diversions. While she enjoyed some aspects of the meal, she sums up the overall experience this way, “It’s the kind of place that when you look in from the sidewalk, you are drawn inside. Once inside, however, it is a disappointment, with prices to match.”
Delivery service 2 Dine In and local menu library MaineTakeout.com were profiled in today’s Press Herald. Also in today’s paper, Don and Samantha Lindgren, owners of Rabelais Books, were featured in the weekly Favorites column. Portland Food Map was listed among their favorite websites.
The Maine Sunday Telegram has an interview with foodie and local food photographer Russell French.
The Bollard has a new article with the lowdown on changes in the Wharf St bar scene. “Five nightclubs and bars have either closed or will soon close . . . ”
Type A Diversions calls Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland “worth the trip” for their bagels and other baked goods.
|January 19 PM
Wild Oats closed its doors for good yesterday and Whole Foods was packed today. The parking lot was so full it was like trying to find a space at the mall the week before Christmas.
|January 19 AM
The Commercial St seafood restaurant formerly known as Crab Louie has re-invented itself as One Eyed Jacks Pizza. The menu includes meat and fish tacos, a short list of specialty pizzas, and a daily dinner special. Those of you who remember the Crab Louie sign will recognize the new one for Jacks—the boy is now grasping a slice of pizza instead of a fish.
Type A Diversions, a self-confessed “huge Five Fifty-Five fan”, raves about the brunch at the Congress St restaurant in her latest review. After polishing off a main dish of wild rice, Gruyere cheese, duck confit and poached egss she reports she “felt like I had died and gone to Heaven”.
Micucci’s in-house bakery get’s nothing but praise in the latest review. “Micucci’s Grocery in Portland has only one prepared lunchtime offering: pizza. But that’s all it really needs.”
|January 16 PM
Cafe at Pat’s was reviewed in today’s edition of The Maine Switch. According to author, “The experience at Pat’s was much better than I imagined . . . and we’ll be back for the Sunday brunch, which I’ve heard is fantastic.” It’s a banner day for PR at Spelt Right. In addition to the article in the Press Herald linked to below, The Maine Switch has also profiled the local spelt flour bakery.
|January 16 AM
Spelt Right, a Portland bakery that uses spelt flour in its cooking, was profiled by Meredith Goad in today’s issue of the Press Herald. Also from today’s newspaper comes news that Wolf’s Neck Farm is offering a four-part series of classes on local food; USM and Whole Foods are teaming up to offer a four-part series of classes on chocolate, cheese, and olives. The editorial page of today’s paper, comments on the results of recent research into the connection between price point and wine enjoyment.
With all the restaurants, bars and other food service venues in Portland for which there’s no review available online, local bloggers and food writers have a target rich environment to work in. Here’s my top 10 wish list of reviews I hope will be written in the new year:
|January 13 PM
Erin at Type A Diversion has done a review of The Wine Bar, which takes it off the unreviewed list. Erin comments that When “fresh out of college” she and her husband thought the Wine Bar “was a cool place to spend a Saturday night”, but now finds that it’s not living up to those memories. My memories of The Wine Bar are also very positive . . . perhaps it’s time for me to make another visit.
|January 13 AM
The Press Herald is running their 22nd annual reader’s poll. The poll includes categories for Best Restaurant, Best Cheap Eats, Best Lobster Roll, Best Coffee, Best Bakery, Best Pizza, Best Bar and Best Beer. You can participate in the poll by filling out the survey online at the Press Herald‘s website.
In response to the posting of the word Pastarazzi by From Way Away in the Uban Dictionary, Type A Diversions has explained the guidelines she uses to when taking pictures at restaurants.
Local blogger, From Way Away, has posted a new word in the Urban Dictionary: Pastarazzi. According to the dictionary, Pastarazzi are “Foodie bloggers who insist on taking pictures of their meal at nice restaurants.” I wonder if he had anyone in particular in mind?
There’s an excellent post on the eGullet Forums about four Maine farms that have banded together to deliver farm produced goods to Portland during the off-season of the farmers’ markets. The posting includes a list of all the items available which range from parsnips to moogurt. The four farms are Thirty Acre Farm, Freedom Farm, Goranson Farm and Townhouse Farm.
Silly’s is the focus of a review in this week’s issue of The Maine Switch. The article touts Silly’s universal appeal, “You can bring your 8-year-old nephew, your foodie aunt and your meat-and-potatoes dad and the whole crew will be happy (if a little bit silly).” Hard on heels of yesterday Portland Phoenix article on Rabelais and the Slow Food Portland Writers’ Night comes this list food book recomendations from TMS food critic Avery Yale Kamila.
|January 9 PM
Today’s Portland Phoenix includes an article which is a mashup of Rabelais and Slow Food Portland. The result? Slow Food Portland Writers’ Night which is taking place January 24 in the SPACE gallery.
|January 9 AM
Mesa Verde is the focus of an review published today by Type A Diversions. She sums up her impressions this way, “Mexican is not difficult to do well, but you won’t find it done well at Mesa Verde.” The Portland Press Herald is reporting that Bresca will be expanding its wine list with 40 new wines from Spain and that changes to the menu are also in the works. Additionally, the Press Herald reports that Hugo’s will be discontinuing its prix fixe menu in May in favor of “a more casual, a la carte style”.
Erik Desjarlais, has posted an update on his blog about the upcoming opening of his new restaurant Evangeline. With regard to what Desjarlais refers to as “The Magic Question” aka When will you be opening Evangeline?, all Erik has for answer is “soon”. In his words, “It will be 2 years in February since Bandol [Erik’s last restaurant] closed its doors. A few extra weeks won’t hurt.”
Nancy English gives Chabba Thai Cuisine II 2½ stars in her review of the Forest Ave restaurant published on MaineToday.com. According to English, Chabba II is “another good option on crowded Thai landscape”.
Accidental Vegetables has published a review on her New Year’s Eve visit to Fore Street. She sums up her experience by saying, “All in all it was a lovely dinner, and not outrageously priced. So why do I say we probably won’t be adding it to our rotation? I think, honestly, it’s the philosophy of the restaurant: simplicity . . . I really have no complaints about our meal, which was masterfully prepared within its merits, or the service, which was truly outstanding. It just didn’t excite the hell out of me.”
Type A Diversions has published another in her ongoing series reviewing Portland’s sushi restaurants. This time around she writes about Benkay, “The service is so-so – never stellar, but not poor enough to keep me from returning. I’ll hold out hope that Yosaku will get their act together in time for summer, when it is so nice to enjoy sushi on their patio. Until then, when I have a sushi craving, you’ll find me at Benkay.”
Today’s Press Herald is reporting that Bleacher’s, the Bayside sportsbar that closed recently, may reopen in the future in another location. The article goes on to report that another restaurant probably will be going in to the former Bleacher’s location on Preble St.
Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe was rated 7 out of 10 by local blogger Chris2fer, and MaineToday.com has a review of Portland’s newest Thai restaurant, Pom’s Thai Taste.
Bleachers, a sportsbar located on Preble St, has thrown in the towel. According to Portland Psst!, StarEast Cafe had it’s grand opening today. The Maine Switch‘s Avery Yale Kamila has written a very good overview of the past year’s food highlights and upcoming changes in the Portland restaurant scene.
Passage to India has netted it’s second review in as many days, this one is from The Maine Switch. Nancy English has posted an article on her site Chow Maine Guide about bitters and bitter ingredients in food. Todd Richard at The Phoenix has written an article about shopping at Fat Baxter’s, a market located on Munjoy Hill.
|January 1 PM
Blogger Type A Diversions has published a review of Passage to India, Portland’s newest Indian restaurant. This brings the count of restaurants and other food service businesses without reviews down to 80. Tic Tac O, Salads, etc., Clock Tower Cafe, and Five Seasons Cooking School have been added to the site.
|January 1 AM
The top 10 restaurants viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of December are:
Bresca has remained in the top spot for the past 4 months running.
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 December 2007:
Rabelais Books is hosting an event with David Wondrich, an “internationally-recognized authority on cocktails and their history” and author of IMBIBE!, this Friday from 5-7 pm. Blogger Accidental Vegetables has posted comments about her recent visits to Thanh Thanh 2 (“I continue to be favorably impressed”), Empire Dine and Dance(“I really wanted to like Empire”), and Pom’s Thai Taste (“Overall our experience at Pom’s was outstanding”). Portland Magazine has published a new review of Green Elephant.
|December 30 PM
Artist Stephen Quirk has begun a project photographing local kitchens. Photos of Zu Bakery, West End Deli, and Bresca are available so far.
|December 30 AM
Gauchos Churrascaria opened for business this week at 100 Commercial St, former location of Oolong. MaineToday.com has a new review by Nancy English of Ribollita. Alison LePage, author of the Local Foodie locavore blog, will be a guest on WMPG’s (FM 90.9) show Big Talk on Thursday January 3, at 7:30 pm.
The Phoenix‘s Brian Duff has published his food predictions for 2008. The Maine Switch has a new review of Bull Feeney’s, as well as tips on buying Champagne and dealing with New Year’s Day hangovers.
According to The Bollard, the new owner of the Chestnut Street Church plans on turning the historic building into a restaurant.
According to a recent post on the eGullet Forums, Gauchos Churrascaria, a Brazillian steakhouse, will be opening for business on December 27.
Type A Diversions has published reviews of Tandoorand of Fore Street.
Passage to India had its grand opening this week. They are in the spot formerly occupied by Soffrito on Wharf Street.
|December 20 PM
Empire Dine and Dance is the focus of an article from The Forecaster on the changes taking place on Congress Street.
|December 20 AM
Siam Orchid, a “Thai takeout place” located in One City Center’s food court, was reviewed in the Go section on MaineToday.com.
|December 19 PM
Empire Dine and Dance and Bintliff’s American Cafewere reviewed in this week’s issue of The Maine Switch. The Portland Phoenix has a new article from Brian Duff on the growth and diversity of online information sources focused on the Portland restaurant scene. Along with Portland Food Map, Duff mentions Portland Psst!, Type A Diversions, From Way Away, Accidental Vegetables, and The Breakfast Club.
|December 19 AM
Blogger From Way Away has filed another report on his quest to sample all locally available poutine. You may recall, his first stop back in October was Duckfat; he gave them an overall scrore of 3.66. This monthhe reported on a visit to The Frog and Turtle which got an overall score of 1.8 for it’s interpretation of the classic fries and gravy dish.
Binga’s Wingas has closed its Portland St. location. A sign on the door explains, “Due to repeated vandalism, this location will only be open for parties and private functions.”
Nancy English gave Whole Foods Trattoria 2 out of a possible 5 stars in the review published today on MaineToday.com. English writes, “With the enormous range of food steps away, I imagined the corner of Portland’s Whole Foods Market that serves hot meals would be worth trying out. For the most part, I was wrong.” The Bollard is reporting that the owner of Digger’s and Liquid Blue has lost his appeal for an entertainment license and that the decision may spell the the end for the two local bars.
Today’s Press Herald reports that Freeport has given Gritty’s the go ahead to build a 24 foot tall silo to store barley malt. The silo will hold up to 50,000 pounds of grain.
There’s a new review of the Flask Lounge in the Go Magazine section of MaineToday.com. Also in today’s paper is a Community Voices article by Chichun Tsou about the role of rice in East Asian cultures. The Portland Phoenix has an article by Lindsay Sterling on her experience cooking with West Ender Sally Ng.
Fog Cutter Coffee had its first day in the old Maine Roasters location at 529 Warren Ave yesterday. To celebrate their new location coffee was free to everyone who stopped by. Nancy English has published a new installment of her holiday shopping series on Chow Maine. The three articles so far have covered caviar, holiday breads, and, my favorite, chocolate.
The Breakfast Club has published a new review. Benny Girl, Wild Toast and the rest of the Breakfast Club crew visited Ruski’s on Danforth St. They gave it an overall rating of a B.
Fog Cutter Coffee plans on opening their new location on Warren Ave Monday morning.
|December 7 PM
Empire Dine and Dance opened their doors to the public today. They’re running a cash bar and a limited menu at the moment. Credit card processing and a full menu are expected to come online next week. A group called Sacarrapa Boys is going on stage tonight at 9pm. On an unrelated topic, Downtown Lounge has opened back up.
|December 7 AM
Today’s Press Herald has a detailed article about Freaky Bean and its purchase of Maine Roasters. The article mentions that Freaky Bean plans on opening additional locations next year in South Portland and Scarborough. It goes on to say that the Maine Roasters location on Warren Ave has been closed and is being sold to Fog Cutter Coffee “which owns drive-through operations in Cumberland and South Portland.” According to Fog Cutter, their new location will be open by the end of the year.
The Maine Switch has published a review of Casa Novello, an Italian restaurant located in Westbrook. The Portland Phoenix has an in-depth article on the ongoing development of the Portland Food Co-op. There’s a new review on MaineToday.com of Leonardo’s Pizza.
On November 30 Freaky Bean Coffee entered into an agreement to purchase Maine Roasters Coffee. The acquisitions spreads their reach northward into Falmouth and Yarmouth. Freaky Bean VP, Andrew Kessler tells me that they anticipate a slow transition as they take the time to learn more about the neighborhoods and their new customers . . . The Bollard is reporting that a restaurant called Chef et al will be moving into the former Venue Bar & Grill location on Forest Ave, and that Granny’s Burritos has unexpectedly closed . . . Portland Psst!is reporting that the owner of The Front Room will be opening a new restaurant called The Grill Roomat the former location of Natasha’s. Also according to Psst!, Pom’s Thai Taste opened today which pushes the official count of Thai restaurants in the city to 11. Quite day for restaurant news in Portland.
The Downtown Lounge is temporarily closed for renovations. Chris2fer has been added to the list of local food bloggers. The latest print edition of The Bollard includes recommendations on family friendly restaurants. Among those that the author recommends are O’Natural’s, Flatbread, Three Dollar Deweys and Mekhong Thai. Also in The Bollard is an article on forgotten cocktails by John Meyers, the bartender at Local 188. You can pick up your free copy of The Bollard at Coffee by Design and many other local locations. Blogger Type A Diversions has posted a review of Duckfat; a recent visit changed her previously negative impressions of the Middle St sandwich shop.
Nancy English gave Bonobo 4 fours stars in the review published today on MaineToday.com. English sums up her impressions of the West End pizzeria by writing “The craftsmanship here assures you of an exceptional thin-crust pizza; ask which are the lighter ‘new generation’ pies if you like more of the crunch.” Also in today’s paper is an article on the closing of the Village Cafe.
The top 10 restaurants viewed most often on Portland Food Map for the month of November are:
Bresca has remained in the top spot for the past 3 months running while the other nine slots have been somewhat fluid.