Piccolo adds Sunday brunch and customized suppers

Chef Damian Sansonetti and his wife, pastry chef Ilma Lopez, are broadening their reach at the recently opened Piccolo, 111 Middle St., to include Sunday brunch and individualized, intimate Sunday Suppers.

Brunch is offered from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an a la carte menu that may include spaghetti carbonara, Italian toast with Mission fig and orange conserva and a frittata with or without Abruzzi sausage.

The Sunday Suppers are by reservation only; reservations must be made before 1 p.m. on the day you want to dine. The menu is tasting-style, with five courses, and will be tailored to your party, Sansonetti says. When you make your reservation, you will be asked if you have any dietary restrictions or strong dislikes. The menu will these and Sansonetti will serve some of the courses and explain the dishes.

“We decided to offer this, as we have had a lot of restaurant people come in on Sundays and ask us to just cook for them, so we wanted to offer it on a limited basis,” the chef wrote in an email.

Sunday Suppers cost $49 per person, with available wine pairings extra. The price can fluctuate depending on what’s offered.

Bar Lola will close, but owners plan a new place

Guy and Stella Hernandez have announced that they will be closing the doors of Bar Lola and opening a new place this winter.

Why? Chef Guy Hernandez told PortlandFoodMap.com: “We want to loosen our ties and make the process of cooking and dining out more transparent and less precious. A lot of places don’t give their customers the option to dine in a way they feel most comfortable – they’re either too rigid, have too many menu restrictions, or are too formal.”

The last dinner service at Bar Lola will be Nov. 16, and the couple hope to have their new place open by late February.

Meanwhile, the last wine dinner at the restaurant, located at 100 Congress St., will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The theme will be “A Road Trip through Spain.”

The cost of the dinner is $75 per person. Call 775-5652 for reservations.

The wine dinners are expected to continue at the new restaurant.

‘Fancy desserts’ on Tuesdays this month at Gelato Fiasco

Gelato Fiasco is holding “fancy dessert nights” each Tuesday in November. The made-to-order desserts will change each week and be available between 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

Last week, the dessert was Holy Donut Sundaes, made from fried potato donuts topped with the customer’s choice of gelato or sorbetto, hot fudge or salted caramel sauce, and whipped cream.

Next Tuesday, the focus will be on root beer floats and cream sodas. Capt’n Eli’s sodas will be combined with your choice of gelato or sorbetto. (Think blueberry soda and lemon sorbetto, or root beer and fresh cream gelato.

To see a full list of desserts, go to gelatofiasco.com.

New Orleans tastes come to Gingko Blue

Gingko Blue, the cocktail lounge and live jazz venue at 455 Fore St. in Portland, has introduced a new small plates menu with a New Orleans bent.

Executed by chef de cuisine Barry Morrow, who previously worked at Walter’s next door, the menu includes bayou classics such as barbecued oysters, gator sticks and fried okra. There is also Cafe du Monde coffee and for dessert, King Cake.

American Sommelier event features nine Italian wines

“Navigating Italian Wines” will be the topic of the next American Sommelier Maine wine education event.

The class will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Vignola & Cinque Terre, 10 Dana St., and include a tasting of nine Italian wines. The cost is $60 per person.

For more information or to register online, go to americansommelier.com/maine.

Dogfish invites customers to put cocktails in contest

The Dogfish Bar & Grille, 128 Free St., is holding a contest that will allow customers to develop two of its signature cocktails for winter.

The contest runs through Nov. 24. To enter, go to the bar at Dogfish Bar & Grille, get a drink submission form, and fill out your recipe and drink name.

After Nov. 24, there will be voting on the restaurant’s website (thedogfishcompany.com/dogfishbargrille.html) for a full week. The two winners will have their drinks featured on the menu. Call 772-5483 for more information.

Cocktail classes start Sunday at Portland Hunt + Alpine Club

The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, recently named one of the “30 Hottest Cocktail Bars in America” by Eater National, will host a series of afternoon cocktail classes, beginning Sunday with “Holiday Cocktails.”

You’ll learn how to make four wintertime cocktails, and will be able to enjoy the cocktails and snacks while you learn. Each student will go home with recipes for each drink and a bottle of Royal Rose cocktail syrup.

There are only 15 seats available for this class, which begins at noon at 75 Market St. Tickets are $75 each and are available at http://cocktailclass.brownpapertickets.com.


Medieval Feast to be eaten in a 14th-century manner

Take a trip back seven centuries Friday and Saturday when the Franco Center holds its annual Medieval Feast from 6 to 9 p.m.

The meal will consist of a thick soup served with a dinner roll, a meat turnover, half a chicken and pumpkin pie for dessert. The catch? Just like in the 14th century, there will be no utensils on the table.

Entertainment will include a performance in between courses by the Medieval Players. The plot of the original play is described as “Spamalot-meets-CSI, a comedy that centers around a mystery involving a murder at the royal court.”

The evening will also feature an annual Dragon Wing contest in which contestants compete to be the first to finish a plate of red-hot chicken wings. Awards for the best costumes (costumes are optional) will also be presented.

Tickets are $35 each and may be purchased by phone any time at 689-2000, by visiting francocenter.org, or by visiting the box office at 46 Cedar St. between noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is no minimum age to attend, but the Franco Center suggests parents use their discretion in deciding whether to bring children. The evening occasionally features bawdy humor and “clinically incorrect terms for bodily functions.”

Historian to reveal what George Washington ate

Food historian Sandra Oliver will give a free talk, “George Washington’s Breakfast,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bates College.

The event will be held in Pettengill Hall’s Keck Classroom (G52), 4 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk).

Oliver is the founder, editor and publisher of Food History News, an online source for North American food history.

For more information, call 786-8296.


Earth at Hidden Pond chef to create meal at Cellardoor

Chef Justin Walker of Earth at Hidden Pond will be the guest chef at the Cellardoor Farmhouse Saturday.

The dinner will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Cellardoor Winery’s renovated farmhouse at 367 Youngtown Road. There will be wine, hors d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner for $85 per person.

Walker will be joined by artist-of-the-month William Crosby.

Call 763-4478 for reservations.


Blue Strawberry chef to help kick off Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week Portsmouth and the Seacoast kicks off tonight with a cocktail contest from 4 to 6 p.m. at Martingale Wharf.

James Haller, chef of the former Blue Strawbery Restaurant, credited with putting Portsmouth on the map as a culinary destination, will be the special guest.

Nearly 50 restaurants are participating in this fall’s restaurant week, which runs through Nov. 16. Last April, 70,000 people participated in Spring Restaurant Week.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, go to restaurantweekportsmouth.com.

– Compiled by Meredith Goad, Staff Writer

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