Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Chefs are flocking to five U.S. cities, including Portland, where they have the freedom to open their own restaurants in places where the rents don't rival Manhattan, according to StarChef.com, an online magazine that covers the world of the working chef.
The magazine compares Portland to Brooklyn, saying our city by the sea "has the same young, vibrant energy but in a smaller, more manageable package." In addition to a good hipster quotient, the magazine cites Portland's welcoming population, ocean views and cool summers.
Damien Sansonetti, the former chef at Bar Boulud in New York and 2009 New York Rising Star Chef, and his wife, pastry chef Ilma Lopez, are named as two chefs who left the big city to answer "the siren call of Portland" and now have two restaurants here.
Justin Walker, executive chef at Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, was the guest chef last night at the latest Flanagan's Table dinner.
Flanagan's Table, in case you haven't heard, is a farm-to-table dining experience, held once a month in a Buxton barn, that benefits the Maine Farmland Trust.
The five-course dinners feature rotating guest chefs from some of the finest restaurants in Maine. Among those who have cooked there: James Beard award winners Rob Evans and Melissa Kelly, Brian Hill, Masa Miyake, Krista Kern Desjarlais, Jason Loring, Cara Stadler, and the chefs from Hugo's and Long Grain.
Kate Shaffer, the chocolatier behind Black Dinah chocolates, worked out of her home kitchen on Isle au Haut during the early years of establishing her business.
When it got to the point that she was producing 150,000 truffles a year out of that home kitchen, she and her husband, Steve, decided it was time to build a commercial kitchen on their island property.
Now, it's time to grow again.
On Thursday, Portland's Zoning Board of Appeals will hear a Conditional Use Appeal Application from AMA LLC, — Arlin Smith, Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor — owners of Portland's popular Hugo's and Eventide Oyster Co., to turn the ground floor of 34 Vannah Ave. into a 28-seat casual restaurant.
34 Vannah Ave. in the Woodford's Corner neighborhood of Portland, the possible future home of Vannah St. Tavern, which would be the third Portland restaurant owned by Arlin Smith, Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor. Photo from Google maps.
According to the appeal application, "Vannah St. Tavern" (the potential name) will be "a warm, cozy, welcoming restaurant that will put a premium on hospitality." The plan is to serve dinner only, Wednesday through Sunday. "Very simply, it will not be a bar, loud music will not be welcome and any disorderly conduct will not be tolerated."
Thomas Pisha-Duffly is just back from a culinary journey through Java, Bali and Lombok, and he wants to share what he learned about the cuisine with you.
Pisha-Duffly, a professional cook who has worked in Boston and at Hugo's right here in Portland, will be putting together a multi-course, family-style dinner inspired by his travels at Nosh Kitchen Bar on Feb. 23.
Among the dishes to be featured at this "Family Feast" event are Indonesia's celebrated fried chicken Ayam Goreng, goat coconut curry with roti, whole fish, a varietyof sambal, pickles, rice, sides, noodles, fritters and salads.
After dinner, guests will be served an array of Indonesian sweets and pastry with coffee from Tandem Coffee Roasters.