The dining room at Taco Trio’s new location at the corner of Ocean and C streets. The restaurant opened over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Taco Trio

It’s finally taco time! Taco Trio, formerly at 119 Ocean St. in South Portland, opened over the weekend at its new location down the road, on the corner of Ocean and C streets.

The menu is the same for now, but owners Karen Rasmussen and Manny Pena have said they’d like to expand it to include more authentic Mexican dishes not typically found in Maine (Pena is from central Mexico), tequila cocktails and – eventually – breakfast. Rasmussen noted on social media that the tequilas are “100% Blue Agave, made in Mexico and mindfully sourced.”

Taco Trio is also planning to open a location at 27 Elm St. in Saco, but has had trouble finding staff.

From counterculture to … charcuterie?

There’s a new food truck (food bus?) in town. The Portland Board is selling lovely, locally sourced platters of artisanal meats and cheeses, paired with accompaniments such as jams or pickled veggies. Graham Young parks his blue renovated 1979 VW at the Root Wild kombuchery, 135 Washington Ave., from noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.

The El Fuego board, with The Portland Board VW bus in the background. Photo courtesy of Graham Young

The menu includes items such as the eponymous Portland Board, which serves two and comes with three meats, three cheeses, and three pairings such as honeycomb, mustard seed and jams. The El Fuego board pairs spicier foods with balancing flavors, and Young recently introduced a vegan charcuterie board, which features beet hummus, mushroom pâté and cashew ricotta. All boards come with bread and/or crackers and pickled veggies and range in price from $18 to $25.

Next week, Young plans to introduce small bites and pairings that will serve one and cost $8 to $12. The small bites will rotate weekly.

The Portland Board will also offer catering and host pop-ups.

Last call for Lib’s

Lib’s Dairy Treats, a favorite North Deering neighborhood soft-serve spot at 32 Auburn St., has extended its closing date for the season by a week because of all the nasty weather Portland got Saturday.

Hours from today through Friday will be 2 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, Lib’s will open at noon and will close for the season at 8 p.m., or whenever they run out of ice cream. This week’s specialty flavor is pumpkin pie.

First call (in a while) for Purple House

Krista Desjarlais, owner of The Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee in New Gloucester, has announced definitively that when The Purple House reopens in a few weeks, her popular, Montreal-style bagels will be off the menu.  But she will be making ice cream, a staple at the seasonal Bresca & the Honeybee; and new pastries, baked goods and savory items.

Soup’s on, in the very short-term

Monique Barrett, also known as Mama Mo, is closing her soup business indefinitely on Nov. 14 to pursue a career in music therapy. (Her kale and Maine yellow-eye bean soup helped me get through the first part of the pandemic.)

There’s still time to stock your freezer with her soups (by the pint or quart) and other comfort foods, such as meatloaf and shepherd’s pie. Pre-order online at mamamossoup.com through Nov. 8. Pick up your food Nov. 12 at the 317 Main Music Center in Yarmouth or on Nov. 13 at Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris St., Portland. Delivery is available for a $10 fee.

Add fizz to your autumn

Cheers! Vena’s Fizz House, which closed its Portland mixology shop and bar at 345 Fore St. in January, has found a new location on Congress Street and expects to reopen, in expanded form, next spring.

Johanna Corman and her husband Steve, who founded Vena’s in 2013, had been searching for a new place for months when they found a spot at 867 Congress, originally a church that was built in 1889. It is directly across from La Bodega Latina and Flores Restaurant (the casual lunch spot at 863 Congress, not the new restaurant at 437 Congress) and a block or two down the street from Salvage BBQ.  Johanna Corman said in a news release that the new property “will hold all the nostalgic charm and passion for beverages and flavors that we are known for,” as well as plenty of space for events, including mixology classes.

Meanwhile, you can order their products online at venasfizzhouse.com.

Food on the Frontier shifts

Frontier, a Brunswick arts and cultural venue in the old Fort Andross mill, will reopen to the public Nov. 3. Hours will be noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. But the center’s full-service restaurant, which has been closed during the pandemic, will remain closed.

Instead, the owners have partnered with Wild Oats Bakery to provide baked goods, salads and concessions in Frontier’s café space. Coffee, beer, wine and cocktails will also be available.

In announcing the changes, Frontier’s owners wrote: “For now, we’ll be leaning back into our roots as an Art House, and opening our café, cinema, and gallery for film screenings, live music, art exhibitions, and community events.”

Planning to attend an event? Bring a mask, as well as proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Coffee, crafts and comestibles

Coveside Coffee at 28 Vannah Ave. in Portland will host its second market in its parking lot Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Eat Neopolitan pizza from Quanto Basta or a sandwich from Roll Call while browsing goods from 15 craft vendors. A little holiday shopping, maybe, and a cup of coffee to keep you warm.

Courtesy of Voracious 2021

We love books about food as much as we love food

Chef and YouTube personality (“It’s Alive”) Brad Leone will appear at The Shop at Island Creek Oysters, 123 Washington Ave., in Portland at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13 for the launch of his debut book, “Field Notes for Food Adventure: Recipes and Stories from the Woods to the Ocean” (Voracious, $35), due out Nov. 23. The event moves to Oxbow Brewing at 3 p.m.

In the book, Leone chronicles his travels in the Northeast (including Maine), where he taps maple trees, forages for mushrooms, and cooks with squid and seaweed. “Field Notes for Food Adventure” includes 80 recipes inspired by the outdoors.

Co-hosts for Leone’s visit to Portland are Longfellow Books and Oxbow Brewing Co. Find details at eventbrite.com.

And for the kiddos

Kalamata’s Kitchen, a series of children’s books designed to teach kids about different cultures and help them bond with their parents over food, is coming back to Maine.

Since the first book, which featured Portland chef Ilma Lopez, was published in 2018, Kalamata’s Kitchen has become a brand, selling dolls, games and shirts with clever sayings such as “Dal in this together,” “Mary had a little lamb kebab” and “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall squash risotto.” The brand also includes a “Taste Bud Travel Guide” that lists kid-friendly restaurants in 17 cities, and a blog where children can read personal stories from famous chefs. An animated TV show is in the works.

Sarah Thomas, Kalamata’s Kitchen co-founder, and illustrator Jo Kosmides Edwards, will be in the parking lot of Black Birch in Kittery (2 Government St.) on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon for a reading and book signing with food provided by local restaurants. From 2 to 3 p.m., Thomas and Edwards are scheduled to do a reading and book signing at Oxbow Blending & Bottling, 49 Washington Ave. in Portland, with snacks from Chaval and Duckfat.

Mainers love garlic (or fear vampires)

An email about a garlic braiding class that the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is holding in its Freeport store Tuesday elicited much excitement here. Alas, it has already sold out. But wait, there’s a waiting list!

The class, taught by Carole Mapes of Flywheel Flowers, runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and costs $55 for MOFGA members or $65 for general admission. All supplies, including the garlic (Inchelium Red), are included.

To get on the waiting list, email [email protected]

Mark your calendars for this hot event

The Spicy Shark, a Portsmouth-based hot sauce company, plans to host the first New England Hot Sauce Fest on July 30 at Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton. The event will include samples from more than 20 New England-based hot sauce companies, music, food, beer and eating contests – think hot pepper and hot wing competitions. Proceeds will go to the Blue Ocean Society in Portsmouth and the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, N.H.

Tickets cost $10 online or $15 at the door. Kids under 10 get in free. For updates or tickets, go to newenglandhotsaucefest.com.

We give thanks for Thanksgiving options

Here’s this week’s selection of restaurants that plan to be open or offer takeout for Thanksgiving:

Petite Jacqueline, the French bistro at 46 Market St. in Portland, is serving a three-course menu with options and optional wine pairings. The restaurant will also have sides to go for parties of 4, 6, 8 or 10. On the takeout menu: Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, mashed potatoes and turkey confit stuffing. Find complete menus, pricing and online ordering this week on the website, bistropj.com.

Earth at Hidden Pond, 354 Goose Rocks Road in Kennebunkport, is serving its feast from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The four-course, family-style menu will include Maine oysters, lobster ravioli, turkey, pumpkin doughnuts and pecan pie and costs $80 for adults and $45 for children 12 and under. For reservations, go to earthathiddenpond.com/make-a-reservation.

Ocean, the restaurant at Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, plans to serve an $85 four-course Thanksgiving menu from noon to 4 p.m., with choices that include lobster bisque, house-made capellini, turkey, venison loin, wild-caught salmon, and pumpkin-spiced crème brûlée. Reserve at capearundelinn.com.

At BlueFin, the restaurant at the Portland Harbor Hotel, 468 Fore St., Thanksgiving begins with oversized popovers and includes choices such as bacon-wrapped sea scallops, cider-brined roast turkey, center-cut prime rib and grilled halibut. Dinner, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., costs $75. For reservations, call (207) 523-2004.


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