Benkay Review

Benkay received 3½ stars from the Taste & Tell column in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

A tuna maki roll was part of my companion’s regular sushi dinner, with two pieces of blue fin tuna, one piece of albacore tuna, and a roll set vertically to hold tiny orange eggs of flying fish roe, all crunching between the teeth with a satisfying sound. A small shrimp had been spread across its chewy sticky rice with a secret depth charge of wasabi hidden underneath.

Portland Food Co-op

Yesterday’s Portland Daily Sun published a trio of articles on local food, locavorism and the market factors that resulted in the close of the Whole Grocer and the birth of the Portland Food Co-op. According to the Sun, “Last month’s purchase [by the Co-op] from the Crown of Maine, the statewide distributor of organic Maine goods and products, exceeded the amount purchased by Whole Foods.”

Olive Cafe Review

Olive Cafe received 3 stars from the Eat & Run column in today’s Press Herald.

I tried the chicken shawarma sandwich ($8.50), which was marinated grilled chicken topped with garlic sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickles in a wrap. The chicken was so lightly spiced I couldn’t really distinguish any flavors. It was the light, creamy garlic sauce that made this sandwich worthwhile, boosting it a level or two above a ho-hum chicken wrap. I would order it again.

Flatbread Review

Type A Diversions has reviewed Flatbread.

Whenever anyone asks me where my favorite pizza place is in Portland, I always say Flatbread. Some don’t count Flatbread’s wood-fired, clay oven, all-natural pizza as “real pizza” because it’s not dripping with grease – but that’s exactly what I like about their pies.

Washington Post Visits Munjoy Hill

Here’s an article from the Travel section of this weekend’s Washington Post that slipped online a little early. Post writer Christina Talcott sings the praises of the “vibrant, eclectic” Munjoy Hill neighborhood and promises “while there’s snow still on the ground there, Munjoy Hill’s density of sights, shops and dining spots offers plenty of opportunities to pop in someplace warm. ” The article highlights some of the foodie spots on the Hill including: North Star, Hilltop Coffee Shop, Rosemont, The Front Room, Duckfat, Colucci’s and Homegrown Herb & Tea.

This Week's Events

The James Beard Foundation is scheduled to announce the final list of 2009 nominees today; several Portland restaurants are semi-finalists. Bar Lola and the Foreside Tavern are both hosting wine dinners this week. Rosemont, Leavitt and Sons, Browne Trading, Kitchen and Cork and Scarborough Wine Outlet are all holding wine tastings. On Thursday, The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beers from Rogue Brewing. Friday night, ILAP is holding the 5th Annual Celesoiree. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.