With new owners and a new head chef, what's cooking at Caiola’s?

Did anything interesting happen last year?   It’s already so hard to remember. You could say the same for the food scene here in Portland, where few developments made people take notice. Folks talked about Drifter’s Wife, thanks to its palatable pedanticism and New York PR connections. But prices there are already climbing, which saps the charm from that particular embodiment of why the rust belt resents the cultural elite.   Other developments emphasized the…

While Pho explodes in popularity, take time to learn its history

I have been dining out longer than I care to say and I admittedly had my first bowl of Pho (pronounced “fuh”), when I relocated to Portland from Brooklyn three years ago. I’m sure I’d heard of this famous noodle soup, but I’m not certain why I had not been introduced to it. I have regrets about this omission; however, the not knowing has peaked my interest even further.   French missionaries traveled and lived…

Milk Stout Does a Body Good

Think about stout, loyal reader, and the mind conjures a bitter, black draft, with roasted flavors. Now imagine adding the sweet, creamy character of milk to the roasted, bitter experience of the stout. That's the essence of a milk stout, a novel style of beer that includes lactose, a sugar derived from dairy. Lactose can't be fermented, so it doesn't get turned into alcohol. Instead, it remains in the beer, adding a sweet, rich flavor.…

Get sweet, salty and buzzed on salted caramel beers

Happy 2017, loyal readers! I've just spent a month drinking Double IPA, a challenging, high-alcohol style of beer. It's a new year, and I'm in the mood to break out of my hoppy rut. There are few factors driving my decision. First, my palate is momentarily fatigued by hops. Second, during these dark days, I crave a style of beer that I can provide simple, sweet pleasures. So, I'm dedicating January to darker beers, primarily…

The Clink: Getting to Know Dirigo Brewing Company

If I told you twenty years ago that Biddeford was on its way to becoming a culinary and cultural destination, you probably would have laughed me out of the room. But here we are in 2017 and the “Biddosance," as I like to call it, is in full swing. With outstanding food spots like Palace Diner and Custom Deluxe, galleries and boutiques moving into once-shuttered storefronts on Main Street, and, most importantly, the revitalization of derelict…

A Grab-Bag of Oddball Double IPA

This December, I've been marinating my liver in delightfully hoppy double IPA (DIPA). I've sipped 8 DIPA's from Maine, 3 from California and 3 from Vermont. What did it leave me with? 1 hangover, 3 hoppy belches, 4 great beer articles, and a whole pile of DIPA that didn't fit into a convenient regional category. This week, I'm selecting the standouts from oddball bin in my fridge and putting my DIPA binge to rest. In…

Tasting an epic style of beer: the Double IPA

This month, we're slugging down epic quantities of an epic style of beer: Double IPA (DIPA). This style of beer intensifies the characteristics of IPA — an already profound style of beer. This week, we're tasting DIPAs from Vermont. Why? Well, I recently found three excellent DIPAs from that state, and many successfully argue that the “East Coast” DIPA trend started in Vermont, with the introduction of The Alchemist's “Heady Topper.” This unfiltered, highly hopped…

Bite Sized Food News

It’s almost the end of 2016, and we’re still finding things to excite us about Portland’s food scene. Yes, a new year is almost upon us, but as the holiday fever winds down, it seems that Portland continues to surprise and inspire us with culinary prowess. This week, Bite Into Maine has been named for one of the best sandwiches in the country, the Green Eyes cocktail at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club is named…

The most popular restaurants that opened in 2016

Wow, what a year it has been. Although some would say it’s been a rough year socially and politically, at least it's been a pretty swell one for the local culinary scene. Several restaurants opened in 2016, but these are the ones I consider delightful.    Rossobianco When the owner of Vinland decided to open an Italian restaurant, many of us weren’t sure what the outcome would be. But then we remembered that trend-wise, 2016…

Newly opened Mini Mogadishu offers authentic Somali cuisine

Somalis in the greater Portland area can get a taste of home at Mini Mogadishu, the new Forest Avenue restaurant that opened Saturday. It’s owned and operated by Nimo and Halimo Mohamud, spiritual sisters and pioneers in an ethnic fare usually served up by men. Al Huda, Fez Mediterranean, and Asmara offer Somali and the somewhat similar Eritrean food, as do several other markets dotted in between, but the tendency is that some can turn…
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