Portland Eateries and Watering Holes in the News
In honor of Eventide Oyster Co.’s, big James Beard Award win, this week’s blog will feature some of the Portland restaurants/bars that have received an award or were nominated. The James Beard Awards are the Oscar’s of the food world and Portland is fortunate to have had several nominations in 2017. There will be more on Eventide later, but for now let’s start with cocktails: the Hunt & Alpine Club, was nominated in the Outstanding bar program category. This mouth watering hotspot on Market Street is about as good as it gets if you’re into mixology and I have to say, the food made to compliment your beverage will not disappoint.
Drifter’s Wife, was a semi-finalist in the Best New Restaurant category. Chef Ben Jackson’s talent has brought diners in from all over New England and there is no doubt in my mind that he will someday, in the not-so-distant future, win this award. His style of cooking is what makes Chef Ben a standout. His unique cuisine incorporates fresh local ingredients and the plating is artistically creative. Alison Pray, the baker and owner of Standard Baking Co., was nominated for Outstanding Baker. Alison’s bakery has been touted by many food publications as one of the best bakeries in the United States; hence the perpetual line out-the-door. I’d name a favorite baked good, but too be honest, I love everything that comes out of that kitchen. Lastly, Ilma Lopez of Piccolo, received a nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Ilma was born in Venezuela and her and her husband, Damian Sansonetti, own and operate Piccolo and the new Chaval restaurant serving French and Spanish food in Portland’s West End. Ilma’s sweet, dazzling desserts are an unforgettable finale to a savory palate pleaser. I’d like to also mention that Damian and Ima are two of the most generous chefs in Maine; giving of their time and talent many, many times throughout the year.
Eventide Oyster Co.’s chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley won a James Beard Award in the Best Chef of the Northeast category. When you consider that there were 19 semi-finalists and thousands of chefs eligible to be nominated, this is quite an accomplishment. The award was announced at the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago on May 1. Portland is proud to welcome home Chef Andrew and Chef Mike and their well deserved medal. Our chefs can now stand beside the elite few from Maine who have been honored in the past. And while we’re mentioning accolades, two Maine restaurants are on the Opinionated About Dining list of the Top 200 Gourmet Casual restaurants in the U.S.,Eventide is #46 and Central Provisions is at #86. I highly recommend a visit to both culinary treasures. Next week other nominees will be featured: Fore Street, Cara Stadler of Bao Bao and Allagash Brewing Co.