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 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.