This Week's Events

The Lakes Brew Fest is taking place at Point Sebago in Casco on Saturday. On Sunday Cultivating Community is holding the 2nd Annual 20 Mile Meal in Cape Elizabeth. The next Piatto per Tutti cooking class takes place tonight; the classses are taught by baker Stephen Lanzalotta. There will be training run for the Wine Flight 5k on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Old Port Wine Merchants. There are wine tastings at Browne Trading on Thursday and at Rosemont on Brighton Ave on Friday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday there will be a competition among several local bars to see which can produce the Best Signature Cocktail. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

This Week’s Events

The Lakes Brew Fest is taking place at Point Sebago in Casco on Saturday. On Sunday Cultivating Community is holding the 2nd Annual 20 Mile Meal in Cape Elizabeth. The next Piatto per Tutti cooking class takes place tonight; the classses are taught by baker Stephen Lanzalotta. There will be training run for the Wine Flight 5k on Tuesday; trainees will be jogging to Old Port Wine Merchants. There are wine tastings at Browne Trading on Thursday and at Rosemont on Brighton Ave on Friday. Farmers’ Markets are taking place in Monument Square on Wednesday and at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. On Sunday there will be a competition among several local bars to see which can produce the Best Signature Cocktail. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Old Port Tavern

The Old Port Tavern received 2½ stars from this week’s Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

“Skip appetizers and most desserts to enjoy a good and sometimes exceptional entree, some at bargain prices.”

September 2008 Blog Posts

September 20
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.
September 18
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.
September 17
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.
September 14
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!”

September 13
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.”
September 11
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. “
September 10
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.
September 7
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.

September 6
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.

September 5
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.
September 4
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.

September 3
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.”

Blog About Beer reports that Novare Res and The Great Lost Bear have both made Imbibe magazine’s list of 100 Best Places to Drink Beer in America.

Correction: Roberto Rufino will be appearing at the PineLand Centennial Celebration on September 13 and not, as had been previously stated, this coming Sunday.

September 2
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:

  1. Evangeline
  2. Bresca
  3. The Grill Room
  4. Five Fifty-Five
  5. Local 188
  6. Caiola’s
  7. Emilitsa
  8. Bar Lola
  9. Back Bay Grill
  10. Chef et al.

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 South Portlander has a report on how the increasing price of food is impacting Scratch Baking.

August 2008 Blog Posts

The process of converting all the past blog posts into the new system will take some time. I will chip away at it as time allows.

August 31
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.”
August 30
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.
August 29
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.
August 24
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.”
August 22
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.

August 17
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 piattopertutti@yahoo.com.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.
August 14
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.
August 12
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.

August 3
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.
August 2
BeerBloggers.com reports that The Great Lost Bear has added a new set of taps exclusively dedicated to serving up Allagash brews.
August 1
The 10 restaurants and bars viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of July were:

  1. Evangeline
  2. Bresca
  3. Emilitsa
  4. Caiola’s
  5. Five Fifty-Five
  6. The Grill Room
  7. Prost! International Tap House
  8. Chef et al.
  9. Novare Res
  10. Back Bay Grill

Evangeline has been at the top of the list for the last 4 months running.

July 2008 Blog Posts

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

Chow Maine has profiled John Calande, a software engineer turned baker. Calande’s breads are appearing on the table at Bresca and Evangeline, and some of baked goods are for sale at the Corner Store.

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.

Rabelais and Five Fifty-Five both made it into a post on the site Daily Candy Boston.

July 29
Shelly’s has been added to the list of Food Carts.

According to The Maine Switch, Others! cafe is working with Portland Green Streets “to offer a company-wide gelato party to the downtown organization with the most Green Streeters each month.”

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.
July 27
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.”
July 26
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”.
July 25
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.

July 24
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.”

Are you going to a bean supper? If so, you might want to read this amusing bean dinner guide from the Westbrook Diarist.

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.”

This week’s edition of The Maine Switch writes about the Harvest on the Harbor food festival taking place in Portland this fall and a look behind the scenes at Stonewall Kitchen.

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.

Today’s Press Herald reports on the 2008 Open Farm Day and a $640,000 increase in funding for Maine food pantries.

July 20
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.
July 18
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!.

July 17
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.”

July 16
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.

July 15
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.
July 13
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.”

The Meat House has been added to the food map as has the blog Travels with Hilary which I learned about from a recent post on Portland Psst!.

July 12
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.

July 11
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.”

July 8
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.
July 6
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 South Portlander asked Bob Johnson, owner of Scratch Bakery, for some recommendations on summer wines.

July 4
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.”

July 3
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.

July 2
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.

July 1
The 10 restaurants and bars viewed most often on Portland Food Map during the month of June were:

  1. Evangeline
  2. Novare Res
  3. Bresca
  4. The Grill Room
  5. Chef et al.
  6. Caiola’s
  7. Emilitsa
  8. Five Fifty-Five
  9. Prost! International Tap House
  10. Food Factory Miyake

June 2008 Blog Posts

The process of converting all the past blog posts into the new system will take some time. I will chip away at it as time allows. In the meantime you can read the posts from 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.
June 29
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.

June 28
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.

June 27
There’s a new article on Chow Maine about Tropa Wine Co., a new wine shop located in the West End.
June 26
Today’s Press Herald reviewed North Star Music Cafe. “The North Star’s niche is comfort. The cafe is spacious.”

New England Couture Cakes was profiled in this week’s edition of The Maine Switch.

June 25
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.

There’s a late addition to this week’s event calendar. Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe is holding a wine dinner on Friday featuring wines from South Africa.

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.

A Taste of New York has been added to the list of food carts.

June 22
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.”
June 20
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 . . . ”

Bresca‘s menu is now online at their MySpace page.

June 19
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.

Todos Street Tacos has been added to the site’s list of food carts

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.
June 15
Today’s Press Herald reports that maple syrup production fell in Maine during 2008.
June 14
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.

Enjoy Your Meal has posted the menu for next weekend’s Taste of the Nation dinner on Cow Island.

The Bollard has innagurated it’s new The Maine Beer Guy column with a rundown of locally made summer brews. The Beer Guy is authored by Russ PHillips who writes a beer blog called Beer, Maine & Me.

June 13
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.
June 11
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.”

This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix includes a review of Chef et al., and The Maine Switch offered up a profile of Novare Res, Portland’s new European style beer cafe.

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.

June 6
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”.
June 5
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.

June 1
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:

  1. Evangeline
  2. Emilitsa
  3. The Merry Table
  4. Caiola’s
  5. Bresca
  6. Hugo’s
  7. Blue Spoon
  8. Novare Res
  9. Five Fifty-Five
  10. The Front Room