Saturday, April 28

Summer beer

Local craft and micro-brews included Geary's, Shipyard, Gritty's and Sebago in this user report.

Shipyard, 86 Newbury, brews the Virgin Islands Pale Ale and under the Peak Organic label. D.L. Geary, at 38 Evergreen Drive, makes wintry porters and HSA. Brewpub beers from Sebago, in Gorham, and Gritty's, Fore Street, vary somewhat - with darker craft beers besting lawnmower fare.

What's missing for the eighty-degree days? The highly-rated Allaghash White, brewed at 100 Industrial Way, is quinessential summer material. Highly drinkable. Sour, citric and a bubbly. More neutral in flavor than traditional Belgium but cheaper too. Still, it's pricey.

If local includes Portsmouth, then Smuttynose's Summer Weizen, a creamy, sweet clove-flavored Belgium-esque brew is also quite good.

Casco Bay Brewing Co., 57 Industrial Way, brews a blond American, the Summer Ale, and under the Carrabasset label, a Kolsch-styled Summer Pale Ale. Their signature is the Irish Rip Tide Red.

Farewell to Sparhawk Golden Ale, South Freeport's hoppy blond, which is reportedly out of business. And what would summer be without a little 420 IPA, from Stone Coast, 23 Rice Street.


Thursday, April 26

Week in Review Apr 26

In Lewiston, the man who rolled a pig head into a mosque last year shot himself in a parking lot, a student was suspended after putting a ham steak sandwich near Somali students, and Fox News reported on a hoax website reporting someone as saying "Ham is not a toy," as fact. Governor John Baldacci is a licenced ham radio operator.

Fast food chains were scarce in downtown because of rising property values, one developer said. Most residents oppose a proposed tax on meals. A man rode the mechanical bull at the Stadium, and it was said, "Portland and the rest of southern Maine has some of the most disgusting swamp donkeys east of the Mississippi!"

Cod races were planned and legislators hoped to save the fishing industry.


Wednesday, April 25

The Nancys of Maine

Nancy Coleman is reportedly trying to take home the fried chicken blue ribbon.

Nancy (N.L.) English has the gossip on goats, wine tastings and ham sandwiches.
Pugh, of Duckfat and Hugo's, returned from a motorcyle road trip to the Carolinas.

Harmon Jenkins, a native Mainer, went to Italy on the New York Times' dime to look at Easter eggs and 40-egg frittatas.

Nancy Griffin considered cavier, shrimp and slow seafood for Working Waterfront.

Nancy's Seafood, on Holyoke Wharf, continues to wholesale lobster.

Nancy Heiser looked at the food scene in Portland ("Maine Food Considered") for Port City Life.

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The room turned gold, fat little Cherubs came out of nowhere blowing the really long horns you always see in paintings with Cherubs. You’ve seen them……everything around me became sort of fuzzy and ethereal, and I’m pretty sure I looked like the guy who got hit with the lacrosse ball. Food epiphany. It has only happened to me about 10 times in the past 15 years, and I’ve eaten a ton of good food at a ton of restaurants.
Not Bandol. That was Bresca, according to Erik. If you want the reviews straight from the horse's mouth, go to his blog.

Saturday, April 21

Wild Billy's

This just in from The Portland Banner:
If you live in the West End, or Parkside for that matter, chances are good you spend some serious walking time downtown. And if you’re like this reporter, you’ve been hankering for a couple things: one is a n affordable. quick lunch (under five bucks, really...we’re so fuckin’ broke we can’t afford to live in the affordable artists condos….besides that….oh yeah, writers aren’t artists….damn…..), another is a good breakfast joint as Marcy’s is always jammed up, and a third is a plain ol’ American restaurant (without having to walk all the way over to Ruskies!) Well, our collective prayers have been answered ! Wild Burritos, Hot Suppa! and Wild Billy’s are here! Wild Burritos is like a chi-chi Granny’s. Hot Suppah, though they aren’t open for “suppah!” has the greatest Corned Beef Hash on the planet! Wild Billy’s is a rib joint, with great soul style eats and velvet tits on the wall. Welcome to Portland, guys!
By Wild Billy's, the Banner means Uncle Billy's, which has a mean fried chicken, some tender pork shoulder sandwich and impromptu blues shows. Hot Suppah! got mediocre marks (B-) from the breakfast bunch.


Thursday, April 19

Allen's Coffee Brandy

The most sought-after drink in Maine.

Week in Review Apr 19

Four men were arrested for drinking in public, and Whole Foods remained open on Easter in violation of state law. The store's "North Carolina pulled pork isn't bad," the Press Herald said, in the seventh recent review of the store. Phoenix readers gave Wild Oats the best produce award.

Turkeys are reportedly polygamous, which means one male will mate with several females. Flatbread removed its carpet and expensive chairs, and DeMillos floating restaurant did not sink. Portland, Ore. was awared the most delicious destination.

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Plywood Report, Addendum

Number of Longfellow Square restaurants last Saturday: 4

Restaurants remaining Monday: 1

That's King of the Roll, 675 Congress. Local 188 closed its curtains. Uffa! has a plywood window until its planned reopening next Wednesday and Bankok Thai took a week off.

But the damage to Longfellow Square doesn't compare with the Eastern Waterfront, which was hit hard last week by the developers' wrecking ball.

Above right is the (former) Breakaway Tavern.

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Wednesday, April 18


[Updated: Bresca review here]. If the speed at which The Phoenix noticed the "newish" Point 5 Lounge, at 555 Congress, which opened last summer, and Phoenix readers noticed the newly crowned "Best New Restaurant" Caiola’s, on Pine Street, which opened last spring, it may months before Rabelais Books, 86 Middle Street, gets a nod. (This week's 555 review may have been Goaded on because of 555 chef Steve Corry was noted as "Best New Chef" by Food & Wine.) Even the Portland Press Herald’s "under-thirty" rag, The Maine Switch, found out about Rabelais' opening last week.

If you like eating and reading books - and, no, not the public library's Edible Book Fest, which was two weeks ago - go to Rabelais. Samantha and Don offer a little of everything - from paperbacks of Schlosser's Fast Food Nation to hardcover first-editions of Rombauer's The Joy of Cooking. Besides great company and some fine reading, the two promise a little wine and cheese come May.

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Sunday, April 15

Plywood Report

With a nod to Eater, here's some restaurants putting up the plywood.

Looks like Binga's Wingas couldn't wing it on Portland Street. It's "Closed for Renovations."

Those renovations are taking shape elsewhere. On Washington Ave, in the old B & B Cleaners building, where Binga's is probably opening a second or third location. This location may go.

Binga's still serves fried pickles and wings at 795 Congress Street.

The West End Pizza Gallery/Akira's Kitchen stopped slinging on Spring Street.

No word from Akira Matsumura, who ran WEPG/AK and used to roll at Benkay, on the future of terriyaki pizza and udon.

But he's certainly resourceful. He's finally found a use for the free local rags. The Phoenix, the Forecaster and the Blue Room cover his windows.

And finally...

Inside the Miss Portland Diner, currently under wraps in a Bayside parking lot.

Thomas Manning, a Portland native who lives in New Jersey, plans to add 2,100-feet to the dining car when it moves to Marginal Way.

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Saturday, April 14

Farmers' Market

Sumner Valley has been going solo at the Farmers' Markets selling frozen chicken. In May, other farmers join him the first Wednesday in Monument Square and the first Saturday in Deering Oaks.

This week, farmers' markets, including the Public Market House, made national news: in New York and Los Angeles. In So-Cal, having actual farmers at farmer's markets is "like a chef having to stop cooking in order to hand-deliver every plate." Which explains the illusions of farmer-direct - giant glossy photographs at Whole Foods of farmers and happy cows on the back of milk cartons.

But what happens when the Portland Fish Exchange goes under? Will fishmongers form a Portland Fish Exchange House, with blow-ups of draggers?

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Thursday, April 12

Week in Review Apr 12

Irradiated foods may soon be labeled “pasteurized,” the FDA said. Milk handling fees used to subsidize dairy farmers may rise 12 to 36 cents. Lobster prices hit $15 a pound, and a lobster liberation group reportedly purchased $3,400 worth of lobster with the intent of releasing them.

"If it was a staple," one businessman said about rising lobster prices, "like milk or bread or eggs, I would feel differently." Scientist may be working on feeding farm-raised cod soybeans and herring gulls flocked to Widgery Wharf. "Yeah," a vegetarian said, "we eat hummus and tabouli."

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Tuesday, April 10

New, new, new

El Camino, Brunswick's way-north-of-the-border Cali-Mexican taco shop, may be opening a new location on Ocean Avenue. Look forward to fresh, local organic. And hopefully these extra tables will alleviate some of the painfully awkward service.

Barry Yudoken renovates 545 Congress for Emilitsa, another Greek Restaurant, with a beer and wine license. Never heard of this guy.

Local 188, closing mid-April, has benches inside its new Longfellow Square location - across the street, the former location of City Soul. They'll still have Schlitz and paella. A "wave goodbye" with food and music is scheduled for April 15, 6 p.m. No word on whether the new place, which open in July, will have an exposed pipe labeled, This is a Pipe.

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Sunday, April 8


Looking for eggs?

Here's a primer on the architecture of a chicken egg. Eggs - even from Sysco or the supermarket - tend to travel less than other foods for obvious reasons. Maine is also #1 in brown egg production. Brown Eggs Are Better, an 1980s marketing campaign said, Local Eggs Are Fresher. The longer a brown egg sits on the shelf, the wider its white spreads in the pan.

The best layers: Organic brown eggs from Sally Merrill, of Cumberland's Sunrise Acres, and Simon and Jane Frost's organic multicolored eggs from Thirty-Acre Farm in Whitefield. The color differences comes from the kinds of chickens, not their feed. Both farms have pasture-raised hens that lay thin-shell eggs with rich orange yolks. (Both are sometimes at Whole Foods Market; though prices went from $4 at the Whole Grocer to $5, a decision dictate by the retailer not the farmers. More on this here and at the Bollard essay, "Hannah and Her Hot Hippie Sister" here.)

Poultry shares are also available at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough. Eggs can also be found at Sumner Valley at area Farmer's Markets, Pineland Farm at Royal River Natural Foods in Freeport, and Wolfe's Neck Farm has eggs at the Freeport farm. Sebego's Mayberry Farm also supplies supermarkets, as does the world's largest brown egg factory Quality Egg/DeCoster in Turner. Don't forget, Becky's Diner cracks real eggs.

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Saturday, April 7

Fore Street

In case you missed everything ever written about food in Maine or food in Portand, Port City Life gives you the scoop on Sam Hayward.

Sam Hayward at home. Sam Hayward sharpening his knife. Sam Hayward on what's great about Maine food. Sam Hayward says this about the most publicized mushroom forager, Rick Tibbets. (PCL also has a look at Whole Foods, Divine Brownies, Kate's butter, Bar Harbor canned seafood, and Tony Barrasso of Anthony's Kitchen.)

Now, let's look go to Chef Rob Evans, of Hugo's. He has this to say, not about Hayward, but about the gut of mediocre restaurants. "There are too many restaurants for a place with 65,000 people in the wintertime. That goes through the whole state, too." As well as a glut of mediocre critics.

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Thursday, April 5

Week in Review Apr. 5

The city has proposed rules that would limit music in bars (1). “These are dismal results,” police said, after using two underage operatives to bust 15 establishments for liquor violations, including two Big Apples.

In New York, a man caught English sparrows for a French-inspired dinner (2) and New York Mayor Micheal Bloomberg, who has “a sweater vest's taste on a millionaire's budget,” continued policing restaurants (3). In Chicago, inspectors fined a hot doggerie $250 for serving banned foie gras (4) and in San Fran, bloggers beaned brand-new restaurants (5). A Raymond man crawled around Portland's B&M baked bean factory "looking for contamination" (6).

Plans for enlarged Atlantic salmon farm in the Gulf of Maine raised concern (7) and scientists said this summer may be a big year for red tide.

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Food Network

A month ago, the Oregonian reported Portland, Ore.'s nomination as "The Most Delicious Destination" as determined by the Food Network, which is owned by newspaper conglom E.W. Scripps.

The other nominees: Portland, Me. and Minneapolis, Minn. The winner airs April 15.

Who's slated for an appearance? Mayor Nick Mavadones Jr. (who works at Casco Bay Lines and is not a chef - in case you were wondering).

That's it, according to the timid local press corps (Goad and WCSH), who just received the press release from the Chamber of Commerce. The network told Goad the chefs "take advantage of their amazing seaside bounty." But who? Chances are it won't be anyone we haven't read about a million times. Just those who "continue to earn enthusiastic press accolades" (and pay their advertorial dues). For more on this head to Portland Magazine. Just what Portland needs, more cryptojournalism.

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Wednesday, April 4


Cake, Tom Manning's place at 50 Wharf Street, might have cakes but no Tiramisu, the delicate Italian "kiss of espresso." Rite Aid does (at 290 Congress, 713 Congress, 936 Brighton and 701 Forest), at least according to the worst of Portland's marginally critical food columnists, the Phoenix's Todd Richard.

This trying frugal gourmand can't tell a lady finger from a Nilla wafer. If he burned his mouth of a toasted white bread and melted American cheese, maybe marsala could have had the same texture as cream sherry. Espresso equates with leftover coffee? Kind of makes me want a whole case of Allen's Coffee Brandy.

His "Twenty $pot" highlights a national chain pharmacy, a little big-box store displacing local druggists with under-priced pharmaceuticals, tampons and eggs. Maybe he couldn't tell the difference between Rite Aid and the locally-owned Paul's Food enter, 585 Congress. Twenty $pot isn't worth two cents. Next month: Menu foods wet dog food on the cheap.

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North Star Cafe

With Earth Day and all, it's time to get in tune with the universe, man. Even Goad reports on a vegetarian festival April 21.

And the North Star Cafe, 225 Congress, which opened yesterday, has some of the vibrations as a veggie-only yuppie coffee shop - couches, open mikes, chai, wood floor, 26-year olds, organic teas, vegan brownies, microbrews on tap - it will have serve sandwiches with Mainely Poultry and prosciutto.

Beef up there before heading to The Snug, 223 Congress, for more drinks and a grilled cheese, soup, "or something," from the meat-free menu.


Canned dandelions in Maine, via Michelle.

Tuesday, April 3


Sure, you'e heard about Killer Coke, so what about kosher Coke?

Jewish dietary code prohibits corn, which is found in most Coke as high fructose corn syrup. Cane sugar , and apparently aspartame, is Orthodox Union kosher-certified (more on certification here).

Getting to Hannaford for the sugary drink could be tough, too, with the abundance of un-Kosher gasoline. With only about 9,300 possible seder celebrants in state, maybe that's why Hannaford only has Diet Kosher Coke.