Central Provisions at 414 Fore St. in Portland has been completely reinvented for the winter.

Owners Chris and Paige Gould just announced a new takeout-and-delivery-only menu for the well-regarded Old Port restaurant. And the inside has been transformed from a dining area into a storefront selling spices, oils, vinegars, wine, beer and cocktails to go.

The new concept is called Central Sandwich & Provisions, and it will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ordering is available in person, over the phone, online or through the CarHop delivery service.

The menu features familiar favorites like burgers and Italians, but also sandwiches that reflect the creativity chef Chris Gould is known for, including a bone marrow grilled cheese, a fried cauliflower wrap and a suckling pig Cubano. Under the soup-and-salad section, look for the miso squash soup and spicy raw beef salad.

Under provisions, you’ll find frozen cookie dough, varieties of meats and cheeses, and pizza dough from Tipo, the Goulds’ other restaurant.

The pulled pork sandwich at Elsmere BBQ in South Portland. Photo by Ray Routhier

One down for ‘cue to go

Elsmere BBQ has closed its Portland location until spring.

The owners announced last Wednesday that they were closing the restaurant at 476 Stevens Ave. “in order to survive as a business to fight another day.”

The restaurant at 448 Cottage Road in South Portland remains open for indoor dining, delivery and contactless curbside takeout.

Shipping out

The Baristas + Bites café in the Old Port closed in March after the pandemic hit, but owner Amy Alward is still busily baking in the space at 469 Fore St. as she reinvents her brand and focuses on corporate catering and building her online business.

Alward is now selling her cookies and whoopie pies (including holiday collections) through Goldbelly (with free shipping) and, starting in January, through Williams-Sonoma.

From Curieux to curator 

Allagash Brewing Co. is holding its annual Stomping Grounds market virtually this year. The online market, which showcases the work of local artists, will start Thursday and run through Dec. 10.

The launch will occur from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday via Zoom and include a toast from Allagash founder Rob Tod and a guided beer tasting. Anyone who participates in the launch event will get first crack at shopping as well as free shipping. The online marketplace will go live on the Allagash website after the launch event.

To register, go to https://bit.ly/3lrbOJr

Follow the brine

The Maine Oyster Trail got a big boost recently in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Maine Office of Tourism, which was then matched with another $10,000 from the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center.

The money will be used to help “build” the Maine Oyster Trail, an online guide that will help visitors to Maine plan their trips around oyster farm tours and events, raw bars and shucking lessons. Maine has more than 150 oyster farms.

Like the Maine Beer Trail, the Maine Oyster Trail will have a “digital passport” and rewards program.
The oyster trail is expected to be launched in the spring. Keep track of its progress on Instagram @maineoystertrail.

Maine Meat co-owner Jarrod Spangler removes a ham from a tub of brine before tying it and putting it in a smoker. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

Butchers, bakers are latest list-makers

Food & Wine magazine has named Maine Meat in Kittery and W.A. Bean & Sons in Bangor among the 100 best butcher shops and meat markets in America.

The magazine called Maine Meat, owned by Jarrod Spangler and Shannon Hill, “a great shop” whose mission is “to spoil Mainers in the market for the very best the region’s farms are able to produce.”

Of W.A. Bean & Sons, the magazine wrote: “Sugar-cured hams and red snapper hot dogs from this fifth-generation family operation have been staples in Maine kitchens since the 1800s. …”

Back in the spring, Food & Wine named Night Moves in Biddeford, owned by Kerry Hanney, one of the 100 best bakeries in America. Well, now there’s even more good news: the bakery has been bumped up to one of America’s 10 best bakeries.

Throw in a towel, or 12

If you’re cooking more during the pandemic, you probably have lots of messes to clean up in the kitchen. Why not do it in style?

The Maine newsletter Eat Drink Lucky is selling tea towel subscriptions, with the first towel scheduled to ship on Dec. 10, in time for holiday gift-giving. The towels – three are linen, the rest cotton – are designed by nine Maine artists and come in three-, six- and 12-month subscriptions. Three months of towels cost $85, six months costs $140, and 12 months costs $265 (which comes out to $22 per towel).

Ruth Reichl recently featured the “extremely unusual” tea towel subscription in her 2020 Gift Guide, noting the towels are “so lovely that even the most ardent collector would be embarrassed to store them in a drawer filled with tattered old rags.”

The deadline for ordering is Friday.


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