Krista Desjarlais, owner of The Purple House at 378 Walnut Hill Road in North Yarmouth, has announced the popular breakfast and lunch spot will close early for the season this year. Mother’s Day – May 12 – will be the restaurant’s last day before Desjarlais moves to her seasonal job baking and making ice cream at Bresca & the Honeybee, her summertime snack shack on the shores of Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester. The Purple House will re-open in mid-October with a new format, Desjarlais wrote in a post on social media.

The Purple House in North Yarmouth will be open through Mother’s Day, May 12. It will re-open in October with a new focus, according to chef/owner Krista Desjarlais. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The new format will include “a fancyish lunch” served on Thursdays, and possibly Fridays, which will replace the occasional multi-course, fixed-price dinners that Desjarlais had been serving. She noted that there will be two seatings for the lunch, with eight to 10 people per seating. She’ll post information on how to get a reservation later in the summer.

She said she’ll also be making some changes to the Purple House menu, introducing “new pastries, bread, bagels, savory baked goods and pizza al taglio for the weekend.”

Desjarlais said she’s making the changes “because sometimes breaking something you have built is the only way to be able to start again with fresh ideas.” She said she is searching for “a more sustainable life” as a cook, baker, mother and wife.

Sweetgrass Farm wines and spirits comes to Kennebunk

I remember how enchanted I was the first time I tried a sip of Back River Gin from Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery. The aromatics used to make it included Maine blueberries, an unusual choice back then, and it tasted different from any other gin. That was 2007. The farm distillery went on to make Three Crow Rum, and last fall released its first whiskey, Sunk Haze, aged for seven years.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting any of their wines or spirits – all made with Maine-grown fruits and grains – either at the farm in Union or at their shop and tasting room in Portland, now there’s a third location to visit. Keith and Constance Bodine, owners of Sweetgrass, announced last week that they are opening a shop and tasting room in Kennebunk on May 22. The new location will be at Maine Art Hill #4, 5 Chase Hill Road, and will open after a 3 p.m. ribbon cutting with the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce.

New Vietnamese restaurant coming to Cumberland Avenue in Portland

A Vietnamese sandwich shop called Bánh Appetit is scheduled to open in late May or early June at 171 Cumberland Avenue, in the former home of Ten Ten Pié bakery.

Tuyet Thi Le, who plans to open Banh Appetit, a Vietnamese restaurant on Cumberland Avenue, will include banh mi sandwiches on her menu. Tuyet Thi Le

This will be Tuyet Thi Le’s first restaurant, but she comes from a restaurant family. Her mother has owned Huong’s Vietnamese Restaurant at 267 St. John’s for 18 years. Le and her sister have helped run Huong’s for the past five years, Le said. Not long ago, Le’s sister purchased Pho Co. in the Portland Public Market from their uncle, Hoang Nguyen, and changed the name to Pho Huong. Nguyen recently announced that he and his wife, Chau Du, are opening Melting Pot Variety at 158 Spring St. in Westbrook, which will serve a mix of Vietnamese foods and traditional convenience store foods, such as pizza and Italians.

“I’ve been helping my mom quite a while, and I’ve always had a love of food my whole life,” Le said. “I thought it might be time to start my own business.”

Le said that in addition to serving traditional bánh mi, she’ll offer special versions of the popular sandwich weekly, probably on Fridays. Also on the menu will be banh bao, steamed buns filled with ground pork, cabbage and wood ear mushrooms; and banh pateso, a savory puff pastry filled with ground pork, mushrooms, onions and paté. Le said she also plans to offer a main course option every day, such as a stir fry with soup and white rice.

Meanwhile, Atsuko Fujimoto, the former baker/co-owner at Ten Ten Pié, is selling her Asian-influenced creations wholesale to local restaurants under the name Norimoto Bakery while she looks for new retail space in Portland. Sichuan Kitchen is selling her desserts, and Boda recently posted a photo on social media of her shokupan buns — the very tender, very fluffy and increasingly popular Japanese white bread.

Happy Birthday, Crystal Spring Farmers Market 

The Saturday farmers market at Crystal Spring Farm, located at 277 Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick, begins its 20th year Saturday.

The market was established in 1999 by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, which is asking shoppers to consider either biking to the market this year – two new bike racks await you – or hoofing it via the five miles of gentle walking trails. For a short walk, the trust suggests parking along Woodside Road and walking east along the Quarry Trail that skirts the farm. For a longer walk, park at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden at Crystal Spring Farm North, on Maurice Drive off Baribeau Drive. For a trail map, go to btlt.org/farmers-market.

The farmers market green and parking area are restricted to vendors until the market opens at 8:30 a.m. The market is open every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May 4 through Oct. 26.

 

Toast on the Coast invites you to eat, drink and be merry – for a cause

Time is running out to grab tickets for this year’s Toast on the Coast at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Terminal, which usually sells out. It’s scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 9.

Toast on the Coast is an opportunity to drink wine and eat good food prepared by local restaurants – among them, 95 Ocean, the Beachmere Inn, Inn by the Sea, Maine Oyster Co., Dandelion Catering, and Sur Lie. The wine is supplied by Bow Street Distributing. Tickets cost $100 and are available at toastonthecoast.com; proceeds benefit Veterans Count Maine.

 

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