Several local businesses that have just opened – a couple are set to launch on Thursday – can satisfy your sweet tooth on the July Fourth holiday, or any other day.

Start the Fourth with a breakfast bang …

Brant Dadalaeres, owner of Gross Confection Bar in Portland, announced Monday that the bakery part of the business will open for the first time at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Look for fruit scones, muffins, sausage and cheddar biscuits, and espresso coffee cake. The bakery entrance is at 57 Exchange St.

It’s not just for county fairs

Usually you’ll find Kyle McNair and his food cart in the heart of the Old Port, selling fried dough to revelers heading into the bars, or tipsy patrons stumbling back out into the streets in the wee hours.

Kyle McNair plans to sell his fried dough on Portland’s Eastern Promenade Thursday during the city’s July 4 celebration. Photo courtesy Kyle McNair

But on the Fourth, McNair will be stationed on Portland’s Eastern Promenade, hoping to catch the crowds that gather to watch the fireworks. His cart is called Fred’s Fried Dough after McNair’s middle name (also, his mother calls him Fred). I can picture a Fred gobbling fried dough, but not a Kyle. Kyle is more of a strawberry shortcake kind of name.

McNair launched his cart at the end of April, so this is his first summer in business. Four days a week, he works for the city of Portland. On weekends, he sets up from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fore Street, near Five Guys, stalking late-night partiers like a cheetah eyeing a gazelle. McNair knows his customers because he used to be one of them.

“I was out there drinking and the lines were out of the door, and I thought I had to do something,” McNair said. “I worked a second job for a year before I could buy my cart.”

A 5-inch fried dough costs $6, and the large (8.5 inches) is $8. Toppings include vegan chocolate sauce, caramel, cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar.

McNair said he plans to keep selling into the fall to catch the cruise ship crowds. He’ll also show up at special events around town. To find him, keep an eye on the Fred’s Fried Dough Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

C’mon baby, let’s do the Twist

Twist, an ice cream food truck from Dan Zarin and Melissa Lombardi, is set to launch Thursday, during Portland’s Independence Day celebration, at the corner of Congress and Merrill streets, near the Blue Spoon Café.

Zarin is a former advertising copywriter who gave up 14 years working in a cubicle, he says, for a new career making people happy. His business partner, Lombardi, was most recently a manager at Woodford Food & Beverage on Forest Avenue. Both love ice cream and think Portland has too few ice cream shops to satisfy demand. They opted to keep a small footprint with a mobile truck, Zarin said, so they can change the menu often, and “get wild ideas and try them out.”

Twist’s Fireworks Spectacular: Vanilla ice cream twisted with Maine wild blueberries and strawberries, and topped with a white chocolate shell, sprinkles and popping rock candy. Photo by Dan Zarin

Here’s the twist in Twist: Instead of carrying a lot of flavors, the truck starts with full-fat hard serve vanilla or chocolate ice cream and blends in ingredients to order – everything from frozen fruit to breakfast cereal. Once the ice cream goes through the blender, its consistency is closer to a soft soft serve, Zarin said.

Milkshakes are also available. Thursday’s vegan shake is the Rhesus Monkey, made with banana, chocolate, peanut butter and coconut milk. (And yes, the pun on Reese’s is intended.)

Prices at Twist range from $6-8, although on Thursday the truck will also have red, white and blue juice pops for $3.

Check Twist’s social media accounts for future locations and hours.

New Vietnamese ice cream shop

A new ice cream and coffee shop opened last Thursday at Huong’s Vietnamese restaurant at 267 St. John St. in Portland.

The sign outside features a picture of what looks like traditional soft-serve cones, but Huong’s has always made fruit smoothies in flavors such as avocado, banana, durian and jack fruit. Here’s hoping for exotic ice cream, too.

Are there any food groups besides ice cream and cake?

If you can feel your arteries hardening as you read about all these sweets, drive up to Freeport to try the new Wanderlust Juicery, which will be offering healthful specials on July 4.

This Wild Bradbury Mountain smoothie bowl is one of the most popular items at the new Wanderlust Juicery in Freeport. Photo courtesy of Wanderlust Juicery

The juicery opened June 22 in the former location of the Freeport Chowder House at 4 Mechanic St. It serves cold-pressed juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls made from local, organic ingredients. Juices run $6.95 to $9.95, depending on size. Smoothies and smoothie bowls cost $9.95.

Owners Michelle Burkey and Jesse Lamon are an engaged couple who moved to Maine two years ago. Burkey, a teacher, is helping to open the juicery this summer. Lamon will run the business full time, year round. The couple renovated the space using locally made furniture and re-purposed barn wood.

Buy anything at the juicery Thursday, and you’ll get a free Katahdin recovery shot – a 2-ounce bottled juice made with turmeric root, ginger root, lemon, pineapple and coconut.

That should get your internal fireworks going. Happy Fourth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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