Scallop ceviche on a prawn crisp paired with a “Ponzu Scheme” cocktail from Blyth & Burrows of Portland took the Spirit Quest Judge’s Prize during Maine Restaurant Week. Maine Restaurant Week

Portland cocktail bar and restaurant Blyth & Burrows took top honors at Sunday’s Spirit Quest, the food-cocktail pairing event sponsored by Maine Restaurant Week.

The restaurant won the $1,000 Judges’ Award for its pairing. The dish Blyth & Burrows entered was scallops ceviche, grapefruit, Fresno pepper, kelp and lava salt on a prawn crisp, which paired with a cocktail they called a “Ponzu Scheme,” made from pisco brandy, grapefruit, coconut and ponzu foam.

BlueFin at Portland Harbor Hotel won the event’s $750 People’s Choice award for its pairing. BlueFin crafted a bite of tuna poké on a crisp wonton with cilantro-lime slaw, scallion and Sriracha mayonnaise, and matched it with a Drumshanbo Irish gin and cucumber tonic.

The popular Restaurant Week event had to be canceled last year because of the pandemic. This year, 300 people bought Spirit Quest tickets for the self-guided tour of 10 restaurants and bars in Portland’s Old Port and Congress Street Arts District. Participants were required to show proof of vaccination at each stop.

Spirit Quest judges were retired diplomat and freelance writer Angie Bryan, whose Bar Guide column appears in the Portland Press Herald, and cookbook author and Edible Maine magazine editor Christine Burns Rudalevige, who writes the Green Plate Special column for the Portland Press Herald.

New combined market in Scarborough


A project two years in the making came to fruition this week when the combined Rosemont Market & Bakery and Harbor Fish Market opened off Route 1 between Westwood Avenue and Fairfield Road.

The new market is in the former Oak Hill fire and police stations, which developers Jack Soley and Timothy Hebert envision serving as a village center, complete with a fitness center, affordable senior housing and other commercial tenants. Rosemont Market and Harbor Fish share almost 5,000 square feet in the new space.

“The combining of these two businesses in one space has been a vision that we have shared for some time. We committed to doing this during unprecedented times … and we did it!” Harbor Fish co-owner Mike Alfiero said in a news release. “We are honored to expand our incredible products and services to the great town of Scarborough, creating a new business model that has strong potential for future growth of both businesses and staff in the process.”

Harbor Fish had already been selling seafood at Rosemont Market’s other area locations. But once the Oak Hill redevelopment project was launched in early 2020, the opportunity arose for the two businesses to truly partner.

Erin Lynch, Rosemont Market & Bakery director of operations, said pandemic-related supply chain issues delayed its opening from last fall until now. Customers appeared this week to be happy the wait finally ended, she said.

“As soon as we hung the ‘open’ sign, people were thrilled. We’ve had streams of customers just pouring in,” she said.


Gorham Sebago closing for reno work

Sebago Brewing Company will close its Gorham location later this month for a renovation project that it expects will last through spring.

The company announced this week that it will close its Gorham brewpub at 29 Elm St. on March 27 and reopen sometime in June.

Sebago bought the 1853 building – originally built as a railroad station – in 2001. “We’ve wanted to update it for some time, but building the brewery and then the pandemic pushed us off track a bit,”  Sebago Brewing co-founder Kai Adams said in a prepared statement. “The brewpub will still have that local vibe but with a more modern feel and better flow for staff and guests.”

The brewing company plans to expand the location’s kitchen, build new bathrooms and a larger bar area. The reboot also will include an expanded draft system and new tap lines.

Sebago, which runs four other properties, said it is “finding temporary locations” where its Gorham staff can work during the project. Sebago plans to “welcome back” the staff upon reopening in June, and will increase its staffing at the site because it will be open seven days a week. The Gorham Sebago is currently closed Sundays and Mondays.


Fundraiser for Ukraine

Portland bar Dock Fore is raising funds to assist the relief efforts of two Ukrainian nurses who live in the Portland area. Dock Fore owner Shaun McCarthy said his Fore Street bar already has raised more than $1,000 for Natalia Iantsevych and Anna Stasiv and their work to provide needed medical supplies to their war-ravaged homeland.

Dock Fore’s Ukraine flag-themed Jell-O shot to raise funds for the relief efforts of two Ukrainian nurses in Portland. Photo courtesy of Dock Fore

Through this Sunday, Dock Fore is featuring a special blue raspberry-lemon Jell-O shot in the colors of the Ukrainian flag for $2.95, of which $2 will go the Palianytsia Fund, McCarthy said. The charitable foundation helps refugees and war victims. The bar also is selling $5 tickets to a 50/50 raffle, to be drawn Saturday at 6:15 p.m. The Jell-O shots already have raised $300 this week, while raffle tickets have pulled in about $800, McCarthy said.

“One guy came in and gave us $100. He said, I don’t want any raffle tickets, just take the money,” McCarthy said. “It just shows the American spirit. People are looking for a way to help, to do what little they can.”

Iantsevych flew to Ukraine on Sunday for at least a month to help wounded soldiers and refugees. Her friend, Stasiv, has set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for medical supply shipments to her home country.

McCarthy said Dock Fore chose to donate to the Palianytsia Fund because of the recent controversy over a GoFundMe campaign to support the Canadian trucker convoy that was protesting vaccine mandates. GoFundMe shut down the campaign and refunded $9 million in donations because they said the trucker demonstration had turned into a violent occupation.

The Dock Fore owner was moved to raise money for the nurses’ medical supplies project after seeing them featured on a local television news program. He said he hopes to raise at least $2,000, and will extend the special Ukraine flag Jell-O shot sales past Sunday if he sees enough public demand.

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