Food (41)

At Sichuan Kitchen, No-Frills Authenticity and Warmth Abound

Years ago, the running joke around town was that the best Chinese food in Portland required a drive to Boston, which actually held some weight until Empire Chinese Kitchen brought its take on traditional Cantonese cuisine to the city in 2013. Then came Bao Bao’s addictive dumplings just one year later, a second venture for Cara Stadler after her success with the exceptional Tao Yuan in Brunswick. Suffice to say that things have improved, but…

On Becoming a Baker — Kerry Hanney of Night Moves Bread + Pie

“For me, baking bread and pies is the culmination of my life’s journeys.   As a young person, Kerry Hanney felt disconnected from nature. Born in the Midwest and raised in Atlanta, she recalled spending a good deal of time outdoors as a child, but that changed as she attended middle school and high school in the city.   That was how she came to Maine — well, that’s part of it. Kerry’s father passed…

Cooking Channel's 'Late Night Eats' episode features gluttonous trip through Portland — An interview with Jordan Andino

Restaurateur Jordan Andino (of the Filipino taquerias Flip Sigi and 2nd City, both in Manhattan) has landed what many would call a “dream job” in hosting Cooking Channel’s Late Night Eats, a new series chronicling after-hours dining and imbibing throughout North America. Portland joined Montreal, Atlanta, St. Louis and more on Andino’s list of 13 stops for Season 1 — and, as he tells the Phoenix, it was also his favorite of the trip. “It’s somewhat…

Dinner and a Movie: Portland's Tipo and 'A Trip To Spain'

In the new film The Trip to Spain, the British actor/comedian Steve Coogan carries a book as he travels from Cantabria to Andalusia, on assignment reviewing restaurants for the New York Times. The book is Laurie Lee’s chronicle of traveling Spain in the 1930s, just before the fascists overthrew the government and triggered civil war. The film, the third in The Trip franchise, resumes a less consequential contest: between Coogan and Rob Brydon (another British…

An easy commute does not mean a smooth road — How David Iovino of Blue Spoon makes it work

There are several kinds of restaurant owners. There are those who thrive on chaos and wouldn’t have it any other way; those who give management over to someone else and detach completely; owners who can turn it off like a switch and back on when they need to; and then there is David. David opened Blue Spoon in January of 2004. He reflects: “If I had known how much work it would be and how…

Finding reward within the mess — Portland gets two new arepa spots

With its crisp thin cornbread teetering on big pile of colorful fillings, the arepa is a nice looking sandwich. But because those very virtues make arepas difficult to eat, you know you are about to make a mess of this lovely thing. Such is the sway of entropy over all human institutions, and Americans wondering just how our sometimes-lovely nation might soon destroy itself can learn from the two great homelands of the area.   Will…

A Life in the Food Scene — Photojournalist and Food Writer Diane Hudson On Portland Past and Present

Cookbook writer, restaurant critic, food writer, photo journalist, painter, world traveler, and lover of all things Maine, Diane Hudson is not cagey about her thoughts and opinions. She's also a woman with more wisdom in her pinky finger than I possess in my entire brain. I felt privileged to spend some time with Diane over coffee and donuts at the new HiFi cafe.  I think you’ll find her candor refreshing and her insight provocative. Tell…

Chaval Redefines Neighborhood Dining in the West End

Anyone who has lived in Portland since the turn of the century knows that the restaurant community has seen an immense amount of growth over the course of the past 17 years. Look around, and the signposts are everywhere. Some will quickly identify the closing of the Village Cafe in 2007 as the proverbial tidal shift between two Portlands (“old” and “new”), while others stretch back to Fore Street’s emergence as a dining destination in…

Diversity of Flavors: The Shawarmageddon starts at Baharat

Diversity is easy to love if your group can dominate. But when supremacy is challenged, the dominant class gets itchy for a fight (or flight). Hence the white guys currently abandoning multicultural democracy to flirt with authoritarianism, and abandoning egalitarian family life for an existence online with their fellow gamers and trolls. The better alternative, some say, is to incorporate diversity, be transformed by it, and fuse it into a new and coherent identity. But…

Công Tử Bột Elevates Without Sacrificing Authenticity

For better or worse, inner Washington Ave. and the neighborhoods it connects have experienced a great deal of change in recent years. While rising rents and the inevitable displacement of lower-income families represent the darker side of change, a shining light can be seen in the drive and passion shared by those who are actively working to revitalize the Nissen building and its neighboring storefronts. In just a few short years, the landscape has morphed…
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