Cannabis Dinner Cancelled

The culinary cannabis dinner scheduled to take place tonight was cancelled in response to intervention by State authorities.

The organizers issued a statement Thursday,

It is with great sadness that we must announce the last minute cancellation of Cultivator Country Fair: Farm to Fork Cannabis Dinner Aug. 24th 5-9 PM due to direct request by the State of Maine.  We have done everything in our power to find an alternative to a cancellation, and discussed alternatives with law enforcement, but no compromise has been received. Despite the best efforts of our founders and lawyer, we were left with no other choice but to cancel the event. This conclusion has essentially been decided for us and we have been advised that if we persist we will be met with resistance. Although similar events such as ours have transpired successfully and without repercussion, the State of Maine has stated they are ‘cracking down’ on multiple caregivers coming together and have chosen to make an example with this public event. Despite this being a benefit for children, in their eyes, what we are trying to do is being considered illegal.

The dinner was going to feature food by chefs Josh Potocki and Scott Nicoll. I was looking forward to attending, am so am sad to see not be able to go forward.

For more information, see this article from the Press Herald.

Aurora Provisions Closing

Aurora Provisions, a mainstay of the West End neighborhood, is slated to close its retail store and cafe Labor Day weekend.

The owner issued a statement Wednesday afternoon,

We believe that the catering side of our business represents our future. Though to realize the catering business’ full potential and to meet our current demand, we must devote our full time, talent and resources to this line of service. Therefore, it is with fond sadness but clarity of purpose that we announce the Aurora Provisions café will permanently close on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

We did not come to this decision easily or hastily. Like many of our peers in the food industry, we’ve had our share of challenges and have had to face difficult economic realities, but we are proud to say we’ve done so head-on, with a goal to ensure Aurora’s longevity, which is ultimately what we are doing with this transition.

All café staff will have the opportunity to transition to the catering business as seasonal employees, though we respect some may pursue opportunities elsewhere and are arranging outplacement services through the Maine Department of Labor. This is a talented team and we hope to keep it together.

Happily, we will continue to operate our catering service out of the same location for as long as we can continue to earn your patronage. We know this will come as a shock to many, but with this decision, we believe we can secure a long and bright future for Aurora Provisions.

Thank you for your continued support.

As a longtime West End resident and Aurora customer I’m sad to see this taking place. The building occupies a central location at the intersection of West, Clarke and Pine. Hopefully someone else will step forward to operate a neighborhood cafe in that space, but as of today there’s no word on what the future holds for 64 Pine Street.

Aurora was sold last year by Marika Kuzma Green to the present owner Melissa Carr.

For more information see today’s article on the closure in the Portland Press Herald.

Business Is Booming

The Press Herald checked in with restaurants across town on the impact Portland being named Restaurant City of the Year. No surprise, business is booming with restaurants and other businesses mentioned in the Bon Appétit are scrambling to ramp up production and add staff to accommodate the enthusiastic surge of new customers.

Portland restaurants, especially those named in Bon Appétit’s September Best New Restaurants issue, have been rejoicing – and reeling – from the after effects of the magazine’s glowing coverage of the city’s food scene. Business is up – way up, in some cases. Summer tourists are seeking out the restaurants mentioned by Bon Appétit, and locals are visiting for the first time, discovering the gems in their own backyard. Social media has exploded with love for Portland, with restaurants gaining hundreds of followers from all over the country, practically overnight.

Hella Good Tacos Closing

Hella Good Tacos owners Josh and Melissa Bankhead have announced plans to close their business at the end of Saturday.

Dear friends and taco lovers,

We are sad to say we have decided to close Hella Good Tacos. We have had a great nearly 8 year run between our cart and brick and mortar.

However Melissa and I have decided it’s time to let go and try something new.

We will be open until end of day Saturday, unless for some reason we run out of food before hand.

Please come in for one last bite and help us off to our next chapter.


This Week’s Events: Rall Wines, Gin Khao Gun, First Name Basis, Cannabis Dinner, Pizza & Petals, Salt & Sauce

Monday – winemaker Donovan Rall from South Africa will be at Bow Street for a tasting of his Rall and Vuurberg wines.

Tuesday – Good Fire Brewing is hosting the (sold out) Gin Khao Gun family-style Thai dinner.

Wednesday – the Pizza & Petals pop-up dinner is being held at Broadturn, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

ThursdayRosemont is holding an event featuring wines from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, and The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Norway Brewing.

Friday – chef Josh Potocki and guest chef Scott Nicoll will be preparing a “farm to fork cannabis dinner” at Caswell Farm in Gray.

Saturday – the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – The Hungry Collective food truck group will be at Thompson’s Point, and a Salt and Sauce dinner is taking place at LB Kitchen.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Reviews: Pizzarino

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Pizzarino.

I was really impressed with the salad and thought the pizza was good enough to add to my rotation, especially if I wasn’t looking for just a massive pie and nothing else. My only hope would be that service would speed up slightly, though it wasn’t that bad considering I was there on their sixth day. Head there soon and check out a pizza place that’s Italian through and through. Pizzarino adds another to Portland’s list of pizza eateries that have a style all their own.

Under Construction: Roots Cafe

A new gluten-free cafe is under construction in Westbrook. Roots Cafe (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) is located across from the fire station at 20 School Street.

Owners Aimee Fortier, Lorraine Fagela, and Faye Wilson plan to serve a menu of sandwiches, soups, salads and crepes. The building features a childcare area run by Green Tree Ministries where kids can play while adults meet up in the cafe. There’s a large roof top deck as well as an outdoor patio on the ground floor.

Roots Cafe is working with Farm House Coffee Roasters in Winterport on a line of house-labeled fair trade organic coffee. The cafe is scheduled to open in early September.