Portland represented in James Beard Foundation Annual Awards

As an appropriate prelude to Restaurant Week here in Portland, semifinalists for Outstanding Restaurant and Chef Awards from the James Beard Foundation have been announced, and Portland is proudly represented.   Fore Street has been nominated for “Outstanding Restaurant” and their chef, Sam Hayward for “Outstanding Chef.”  Demos Regas from Emilitsa is in the running for “Best Chef – Northeast” as is Krista Kern Desjarlais from Bresca. 

Once again, Portland has positioned itself among the best of the best of the foodie world thanks to these great restaurants and chefs.  GOOD LUCK to the semifinalists and enjoy the amazing offerings during restaurant week – and all year long!

Judges from across the country will present a final list of nominees on March 21.

While you eagerly wait for the Valentine Bandit this weekend ….

  While everyone is waiting to see if the Valentine Bandit will visit us again this year – as locals have since 1976 – [valentines+2+portland+maine+february+2010.jpg]there are a few fun activities going on this Valentines Weekend in Portland.

Love Really Counts on Friday, February 11th when dozens of Portland, Maine musicians will gather on Empire’s stage to share their music, celebrate love, and support the generous, loving and caring work of The Center for Grieving Children. 100% of the proceeds benefits The Center for Grieving Children.

Downtown Showdown kicks of WinteRush with 32  top skiers and snowboarders in New England competing on the  man-made slopes of Monument Square. The fun begins Friday at 5:30.

Listen to romantic songs from Kelly Cuafield (and ladies get a free rose) at Anthony’s Dinner Theater on Saturday.

Holiday Inn By the Bay hosts the Chili & Chowder Challenge – Sunday, Feb 13th. Local restaurants will compete to be named the best chili & best chowder by the judges and by the Peoples’ awards.  Attendees get to sample the chilis & chowders and funds raised will be used by Altrusa of Portland to fund their scholarships and community service projects. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Anita Chandler at 772-2701

Photo by Corey Templeton, more of his photos can be found here ! portlandmainedaily.blogspot.com/

America’s Top Foodie Cities – Portland is #4!

cnbc.com and Sperlings Best Places have listed Portland at #4 for America’s Top Foodie Cities! Cities large and small, and sometimes overlooked are listed on cnn.com for food lovers across the country.  They looked at many different “foodie” aspects of our cities offerings – not just what Zagats or Michelin might say. 

Portland ranks after Santa Rosa, California, Portland, Oregon and Burlington,Vermont using the following criteria:  The ratio of local restaurants to chain restaurants, number of Whole Foods and cooking stores, number of wine shops, wine bars, craft breweries, and brew pubs; and the number of CSA (community supported agriculture) farms and local farmers markets.

 Here are some of the stats and details presented:
Local restaurant percentage: 81.9%
Population: 513,373
Breweries: 19, or 37 per million
Farmers Markets: 15, or 29.2 per million

“This New England city has proven to offer much more than the edible attractions the tourists seek out: lobstah and chowdah. Farmers are undeterred by Maine’s unforgiving winters, as 26 CSA farms and 15 farmers markets attest, resulting in local lamb, bacon, scallops, honey, and potatoes, and more.”

See the full list on cnbc’s website and go eat in Portland to celebrate!

Pirates Kid’s Celebration helps bring in the New Year and the Black Cat Ball is back!

If you are looking for a New Years Eve with  the family or to celebrate red carpet style with 350 of your closest friends, here are a few offerings:

Bring in the New Year with your entire family and the Portland Pirates! The annual Kid’s New Year Celebration at the Cumberland Civic Center includes a game between the Pirates and the Connecticut Whale followed by INDOOR fireworks.  For tickets and more information visit portlandpirates.com. 

For more of a glamorous, festive, dancing and live music style New Years Eve, the Black Cat Ball is back after 17 years.  Featuring the rockin’ sounds of Wavelength, there will be hot & cold hors d’oeuvres, Cash bar, Free champagne toast, Countdown with balloon drop, Photo Booth, Party Favors and more.  The event is held at the Mariner’s Church, tickets are $50 and more information including the history if this  big night can be found on Sid Tripp’s Black Cat Ball facebook page.

Reny’s to move into downtown Portland

Great news for Downtown Portland today, Reny’s will be moving into the old LL Bean and Olympia Sports retail spaces on Congress Street in Portland.   Targeting a May Grand Opening, Reny’s will leverage the entire 25 thousand square feet of space, bringing jobs and retail shoppers to downtown Portland.  This news wraps up a wonderful holiday event season in downtown Portland and is a great way to kick off the New Year!

WHOM Prize Package – last chance to enter! Winner to be announced tomorrow.

 94.9 WHOM is offering a fantastic prize package valued at well over $1,00. Go to their web site to enter NOW!  Win an overnight stay for two with meals included at the Eastland Hotel AND a $200 gift card from each one of these old port merchants:

Minott’s Flowers (Temple St.), Serendipity (Exchange St.), Vervacious (Commercial St.), Zrinka (Fore St.), Old Port Playhouse (Temple St.).

This prize is valued at well over $1000! ENTER NOW TO WIN!

Merry Madness Tonight!

Eat Drink and Be Merry TONIGHT! Merry Madness starts at the Eastland Park Hotel from 5-6pm with free food, music and great raffles. Commemorative wine glasses are on sale for $6 and mugs for $5, then jump on the free bus shuttle with your map of over 70 shops staying open late until 10pm. You can refill your wine glass or coffee mug in the shops while you finish your holiday shopping!

Eastland Park Hotel is on 157 High Street, a list of stores can be found here!