This Week’s Events

The Portland Symphony’s Wine Dinner and Auction take place tonight. There are two cooking classes scheduled this week: Piatto per Tutti on Monday and Black Tie Bistro on Wednesday. Food & Wine magazine is scheduled to announce the 2009 list of  Best New Chefs on Wednesday; Hugo’s Rob Evans was on the list in 2004 and 555’s Steve Corry in 2007. MOFGA is teaching a class on organic gardening Wednesday night in Cape Elizabeth. Wine tastings are on tap at the West End Deli on Friday and at Leroux Kitchen on Saturday. Novare Res is holding a vertical tasting of Ola Dubh 12, 16 and 30 on Thursday, while The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beeers from Boston Beer Co. For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Press Herald Readership Poll Results

The results of the Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Readers’ Poll are out. Fore Street got the nod for Best Restaurant ahead of DiMillo’s—thankfully Olive Garden didn’t make the cut this year. But national chains McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts beat out local favorites Becky’s and Coffee by Design in the Cheap Eats and Coffee categories. See the article for the full set of results.

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.