Archive for category Food

Brea Lu Cafe – Great for Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch…

portland-press-herald_3599419If you are in the market for a great place to not only have lunch but breakfast then you have to check out Brea Lu’ Cafe. This is the type of place that is the perfect example of a mom- pop kind of place. Not only do you want large portions when you go out to eat but you want to feel like you are in a place that has style, class, and mouthwatering food. Well this is that place! The portions are huge and it tastes even better! There is art hanging on the walls and it has a nice down home family feel to it. Not only is the food to die for it is very inexpensive, and let me tell you, you get what you pay for.

Brea Lu’ Cafe has something to offer to everyone, whether you like your eggs scrambled or poached, they have it all. Not only do they have stIMG_3348acks of pancakes for breakfast, they have a huge variety of sandwiches, burgers, and chili for lunch. The best part about ordering a sandwich, it doesn’t come with your classic fries, it comes with HUGE home fries! So I must say Brea Lu’ Cafe has got it right!

– Jordan Stolt

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Food, Drinks, And More Food

Here are some upcoming events that are happening right here in Portland that bring you fresh Farm dinners, barbecue, wine, cheese, and beer!



Where: DiMillo’s on the Water, 25 Long Wharf, Portland

When: 5:30 p.m.

Cost: $50


At this annual fundraiser for the March of Dimes, Dr Michael Pinette, medical director of MaineHealth’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine will be honored. The guests can sample dishes from local Maine restaurants including DiMillo’s, Ri Ra, Brunswick Hotel & Tavern, Vinland, and The Frog & Turtle.





Where: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

When:  7 – 9:30 p.m.

Cost: $150


This year the first-ever gala event is an introduction to Harvest on the Harbor, this annual celebration of Maine’s celebrated food and drink scene, which runs through Oct. 25. Seven outstanding local chefs will prepare a course of a locally-sourced meal, complimented with beer, wine and laughs. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank Summer Food Service Program. Also Sommelier Erica Archer from Wine Wise will be the entertainer for the night.







Where: Rising Tide Brewery, 101 Fox St., Portland

When: Noon – 5 p.m.

Cost: $45


The Rising Tide Brewery is celebrating with a “Harvest Fest”. The Brewery will be having fresh meat raised by local farms, on diets that were provided by the brewery’s spent grain. Max Ury Farm will be providing a heritage pig and RC Game Farm will be providing poultry. All of which will be used on a menu crafted up by chefs Brad Messier of Rosemont Market Productions and Matt Brown of the Good Shepherd Food Truck. There will also be pies provided by Brianna Warner, of Maine Pie Line and  small-batch anniversary beer from Rising Tide’s will also be provided. Corvus will be available on draft and in bottles. In addition, the Fest will include a pickle competition, judged by “Celebrity Pickle Panel” Joe Ricchio, Jackie Ward, Kate McCarty, and Adam Callaghan. The ticket price includes food, two drink vouchers and a souvenir glass. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank in support of their mission to fight hunger in Maine.



Where: Novare Res Bier Cafe and other beer bars around Portland

When: TBD


The organizers of Portland Beer Week (Nov. 1 – 7) are hoping they can convince actor Bill Murray to come to Portland by brewing beers in Murray’s honor. Whether or not Murray, who is most famous for his movies “Ghostbusters” and “The Life Aquatic” shows up, guests can enjoy Vigo’s Pink Ooze, Jaguar Shark and Lost in Fermenation along with the beers Maine brewers have already promised to make.



Where: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

 Time: 7:30 p.m.

 Cost: $46-$76


Yes! You got it, the host of “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Iron Chef,” along with cookbook author and renowned food world personality is taking his unconventional humor and culinary expertise on the road. His show is a mixture of his stand up comedy, food, talk show antics, multimedia lecture, and, live music. Audience will be required to interact of course!


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Bonfire grand opening – First 50 people get free burgers for a year! Sept 26, 2014




Bonfire Country Pub in the old port is Portland’s newest bar!  This Friday they are doing something kind of unheard of.  The first 50 people in the door will receive free burgers for a YEAR!  Bonfire Country Pub located in the Heart of the Old Port at 37 Wharf Street in Portland. This amazing place features a country vibe with fun lively atmosphere. They Specialize in drinks served in Red Solo Cups and a hint of technology.  They even have a self serve beer wall!



Check them out this Friday at their grand opening!


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Mark Stevens of Maine Beer Tours || Taking the craft beer ride.

Mark Stevens of Maine Beer Tours LLC

Mark Stevens of Maine Beer Tours LLC


A few summers ago I was outside on the deck in the middle of a Portland Maine summer at Novare Res Bier Cafe.  I was there with a mutual friend Luke Livingston who at the time had just launched Baxter Brewing Company only a few years earlier.  I was getting ready to call it a night when a friendly couple approached me and asked if I ran a company in town.  I said yes and we began to talk, and they informed me they had just started their own business too.  The couple was Mark and Nichole Stevens.  The company was Maine Beer Tours.  This was right at the time that the craft beer industry in Maine was really taking off.  Me, being very new to any of it and being very ignorant to this happening listened somewhat in awe that people would pay money to be driven to different breweries and learn about them and sample beers all day.  Why wouldn’t they just go to a bar?  What’s so cool about seeing a brewery?  Was there really a market for this, I asked?

Well, two years later I think my questions have been answered.  Portland has almost become a proving ground for the craft beer industry and every few months a new brewery that seems to always make great beer will pop up.  Personal friends of mine are responsible for some of the biggest craft beer buzz in the Northeast.  The culture has exploded and people now want to know exactly how it’s made, meet the brewers, sample beers they may never be released, and most of all: have fun!

As the years went on Mark an I remained friends and shared many mutual friends.  I couldn’t help but want to actually know as much as I possibly could because every single time I see his bus drive by in town.  I think about how him and his wife were so friendly and excited the night I met them about this venture.  I sat down with Mark recently to talk to him about it all, and what they have planned for the future!



So how did this all start?    

Mark-  The whole concept started for me back about 9 years ago.  Some friends and I rented a van, found a friend willing to drive us, and did our own tour of breweries in Maine, New Hampshire and Mass.  As you can imagine, we had a ton of fun, and talked about it for years.  Fast forward to about 2010, as my wife, Nichole, and I discussed the idea of going into business more, we knew we wanted to be a part of the beer scene here in Maine.  We knew we weren’t good enough at brewing to open our own brewery, but kept going back to the tour I did all those years ago.  We wanted others to discover this great beer scene we have here.  We spend a good portion of our free time hanging out at tasting rooms, chatting with people, so the idea that we could introduce both locals and tourists to the exceptional beer culture we have here in Maine was a no brainer.  The next thing you know, we own a bus!  


The Maine Beer Tours Bus!

The Maine Beer Tours Bus!

Tell me a little about how you and your wife got into beer, and where you guys grew up.

 Mark-  We both grew up north of Bangor (Nichole is from Old Town, I’m from way up in The County in Fort Fairfield).  Our craft beer options were limited, to say the least.  There were two places in Presque Isle that had a selection that included more than Bud and Michelob.  One was this crazy store that also sold porn and odd kids toys, the other was a pawn shop.  Neither were places you would think of, but they had some interesting beer choices that afforded me the opportunity to try out different things and expand my palate.  Then, at 19 I brewed my first beer at home.  It was awful, but it gave me the itch to learn more about beer.  Since then, I’d say it’s been a bit of a love affair, in a good way.  Since Nichole and I have been together, we have planned every trip around checking out new and different breweries.  For example, while she was on maternity leave, we brought baby Brooklyn to 18 different breweries.  It’s something we love to do.  It’s a very calming place for us, sampling a few different beers and checking out every breweries interpretation of what beer is to them.    

You and your wife run the company, correct?  Have you always loved beer?

Mark-  Nichole and I run the company.  For the first 6 months, it was just the two of us, with friends jumping on the bus to help from time to time.  During this time, we were rapidly approaching the arrival of the newest addition to our family (Brooklyn) knowing that Nichole would need a little time off,  we hired our first employee.  As of today, the Maine Beer Tours team consists of 10 folks that are all just as passionate about Maine’s craft beverage scene as we are.  We are big fans of beer.  We plan vacations around brewery visits, we host a couple of beer tastings at our house every year, and we spend a fair amount of time going to beer events and releases whenever possible.  We are intrigued by the vast differences from one style to the next, or from one hop or malt to another.  It’s been an interest of mine since college, when I brewed my first beer. 

What was the moment you decided to do this, did you feel there was a need?

Mark-  It was back in 2010 when we first discussed doing this.  At that time, there was nothing like it.  Maine Foodie Tours existed, and I was doing the books for them, so I was aware of the tour industry and had an idea of how the numbers might look.  I spent 2011 and the beginning of 2012 working feverishly behind the scenes to figure out licensing, partnerships, routes, calendars, logos, web site design and building relationships with the breweries.  It was the beginning of the brewery boom here in Portland, and the timing was right to really help breweries fill up their tasting rooms.  My concept was less about us, and more about promoting the breweries.  We understand that it isn’t about us, and that we don’t exist without great relationships with the breweries.  We pride ourselves on promoting others as much as possible. The “buy local” premise is big in Maine, and we wanted to further that concept with our tag line “drink local”.  I think we have been helpful to the breweries we visit, and hopefully even some we have yet to visit.  

Courtesy of

Mark and Nichole Stevens.

So take me through what happens when people step onto the bus! 

Mark–  In short, snacks, beer and fun!  To break that all down, we try to really show folks not only just a fun time sampling beers from around the state of Maine, but to teach them all about the great things going on here as well.  We have a 14 passenger bus with lots of storage.  For each and every tour, we pick people up on Commercial Street in Portland, and visit 3-4 different places.  Our tours include all sampling and tours at each location.  Our longer tours include a snack stop (including stops at Salvage BBQ, The Great Lost Bear, Ebenezer’s Brew Pub and Gritty McDuff’s), and our shorter tours include snacks from a variety of local businesses (pretzels from 158 Pickett Street in South Portland, potato chips from Fox Family Farms in Mapleton and popcorn from Little Lad’s in Holden).  A nice little perk about our bus is that it is registered as a limousine, so folks are allowed to sample beers on board.  We typically bring a beer from somewhere we are not visiting, which is a great way to feature another Maine brewery, giving us a wider range of locations to showcase.  We also have bottles of water, because staying hydrated is the key!  A tour with us will feature a minimum of 7 different Maine companies, which is extremely important to us.  Between each stop, we will answer any questions you may have, entertain you with our wit and charm, and provide all the Maine beverage industry information you care to hear.  The idea, for me, is to engage people, but don’t talk over them.  We pride ourselves on fostering a fun atmosphere, and making everyone feel like part of our family, even if it is just for a few hours.

Do you think this would have worked ten years ago, do you think it’s something that is a fad or do you think the craft beer industry is something that will always grow?

Mark–  This may have worked 10 years ago, but it wouldn’t be nearly as strong, obviously.  Breweries have been opening like mad in the past half dozen years, with about 10 just in the past year alone.  I think the timing was right, and this niche is here to stay.  Craft beer is big business, on par with the ski industry here in Maine, which is incredible.  I’m sure that proverbial bubble is hanging out there somewhere waiting to burst but as long as people continue to make solid beer, I think the Maine craft beer industry will continue to grow.   

Do you have any favorite new breweries or ones that you personally love the most?

Mark-  Picking a favorite beer or brewery is like picking your favorite kid.  In all honesty, it changes for me all the time.  I’m really into IPAs and stouts, that much I’ll say.  My taste buds definitely change with the season.  I like flavorful, hoppy beers when the sun is actually keeping us warm, and want dark, roasty stouts when the temperatures drop.  I love the gang up at Baxter Brewing in Lewiston.  I’ve become friends with many of them, and really enjoy spending time up there.  I think Sebago Brewing is absolutely killing it right now.  Their Bonfire Rye, Simmer Down Summer Session Ale and Hop Swap are excellent, and they give an amazing tour out at their production facility in Gorham.  The new guys, Austin Street, Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Gneiss, Banded Horn, Barreled Souls and Funky Bow are putting out high quality products right out of the gate as well.  Seriously, it’s hard to narrow it down for me.


Personally, I have always respected people with a dream, a vision, a passion for anything.  The first moment I met Mark and Nichole I knew they had the passion to make something special.  They’re friendly, hard working people with an intense love for beer and it shows.  To learn more about Maine Beer Tours and to get some tickets and experience this first hand click below!  Comment or like this story on our Facebook to win a free pair of tour tickets to ANY tour.


Take care guys!


-Kyle Poissonnier

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Old Port Fest expands to 3 days.

courtesy of

courtesy of

The ever popular Old Port fest that usually is held on a Sunday, is now expanding to a full weekend! The festival this year will span from June 6- June 8.  The event has grown every year and recently has been drawing close to 30,000 people in the last few years, and has called for an expansion.  The same events that happen on that Sunday will still happen as they have in year’s past.  The event now becomes more of a destination rather than a one day event.

After the official announcement today the general reception of the Portland arts scene is very positive as it gives them more of an opportunity to showcase their work.  The first Friday Art Walk that happens every month in Portland will actually be the first day of this three day event this year.  Congress street will close on June 6 during the walk to create more of a festival atmosphere.  Details on the festival activities on Saturday aren’t final yet but will be released soon.

Sunday’s festivities will start as they always do with a parade down Exchange St and will follow with the plethora of live music and food vendors.  This year the music stages will increase from five stages to six.

This is great news for everyone in Portland who enjoys this great event and also for those vendors who look to make more of an impact and showcase the great arts scene in Portland.

We will update you here at I Love Portland Maine as new details emerge on this year’s Old Port Festival.  

For more information on the Old Port Fest CLICK HERE 

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Street Eats and Beats- May 3, 2014- A portland food truck festival!

Courtesy of Street Eats Facebook page.

Courtesy of Street Eats Facebook page.

Street Eats and Beats food truck festival is this Saturday at the Ocean Gateway!  Over the last decade the food truck scene has really grown and it seems that every city is starting to take part, including Portland!  This event will feature all of your favorite local food trucks as well as some visitors!  This event paired with great food and great local beer also has some pretty impressive live music to go along with it.


The Hyatt Place Old Port Music stage will feature the following greta bands


  • Paranoid Social Club 12:00pm – 1:30pm
  • King Memphis 1:45pm – 2:30pm
  • Wild Adriatic 3:00pm – 5:00pm


Advanced purchased tickets includes entry and a 1 free beer voucher!  The first 1,000 people to arrive receive a free signature cup from the event!

Come out this Saturday 12-5pm and check out the Street Eats and Beats food truck festival!  Located at the Ocean Gateway lot in Portland!


 For more information and to purchase tickets CLICK HERE



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Shannon Bard of Zapoteca to compete against Bobby Flay on The Food Network

Courtesy of Bangor Daily News.

Courtesy of Bangor Daily News.


Shannon Bard’s episode of Bobby Flay’s new show “Beat Bobby Flay” is airing next month on April 10 on the Food Network!  Shannon is the co-owner and chef at Zapoteca restaurant in Portland.  

On the April 10th episode Bard will be going up against Kamel Rose, executive chef at Tribeca Grill in New York City.  The premise of the show is that the two chefs will go head to head competing against each other creating a dish with a secret ingredient chosen by Flay.  Judges then choose the winning dish.  Some of the judges on Bard’s episode will be celebrity chef Michael Symon and comedienne Ali Wentworth.

Tune into the Food Network on April 10 at 10 PM to watch Bard in action and represent Portland!





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Valentine’s Day brings special menus in Portland

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of








Couples in Portland will consider themselves lucky this Valentine’s day because a handful of many great local restaurants in Portland will be preparing special dishes just for this special night!  Some of the best restaurants in the city will be featuring dishes prepared just for the night only, and here are a few of our favorites!


Five-Fifty Five, 555 Congress St-  Offering a chef’s tasting menu for $88 a person with additional wine parings for an extra fee.  They will start with peekytoe crab bisque then allow you to move on to dishes like vaoduvan curried shrimp, beef tenderloin, organic scottish salmon, and pine nut crusted rack of American lamb!  Call 207-761-0555 for reservations or visit


Grace, 15 Chestnut St-  There will be an amuse for every table and many specials just for this special night.  Guests will choose their own reservation time and style of eating.  Call 207-828-4422 or visit


Hugo’s, 88 Middle St-  Hugo’s will offer a new menu just for the night with 7 courses priced at $80 per person and wine pairings for an additional $55 a person.  This will be running between the hours of 5-10pm.  Call 207-774-8538 or visit for reservations!


Petite Jacqueline, 190 State St-  Petite Jacqueline will offer a three-course tasting menu for $55 a person.  Wine tastings and champagne flights will be available.  Reservations are recommended.  Call 207-553-5687 or visit


The Salt Exchange, 245 Commercial St-  Salt Exchange will actually be running their Valentine’s Day special all weekend from 4-9pm.  The theme is “Midnight in Paris” and guests are advised to dress accordingly!  The menu will include great items like local oysters with lemon sorbet, fish and meat courses such as pouched Maine lobster, grilled swordfish and duck three ways.  Dessert will include choices like chocolate dipped strawberries and red velvet cake.  All six courses will cost $65 a person.  For reservations call 207-347-5687 or visit


Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and enjoy these fantastic specials by some of Portland’s best restaurants!






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Brunswick Ice Bar- February 6-8, 2014

Ice Bar 2014 Brunswick Ice Bar 2014 is starting tomorrow at the Inn at Brunswick Station, and running until Saturday night.  The event runs form 5-10pm nightly and will feature two bars this year, live music, entertainment, specialty cocktails, and great local beer served up on the one-of-a-kind ice bars!

The ticket grants you access to the ice bars on the tavern patios and complimentary appetizers!  Cocktail offerings will include: Cosmos and Dirty Vodka Martinis with Svedka Vodka; Hot Toddies and Jack Honey Shots with Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey; and Orange Freeze Martinis, Dreamsicle Martinis, and Orange Cake Shots with Svedka’s Orange Cream Pop Vodka. Gritty’s and Sam Adams beers will be served as well. Ticket prices include hors d’oeuvres that will be offered throughout the evening, including buffalo wings, pigs in a blanket, and a fruit and cheese display.


DJ Larry Moore will provide entertainment on Thursday and Friday, and the Scott Davis Blues Band will perform on Saturday!


Tickets are only $10 and they can be purchased online here!-

Inn at Brunswick Station contact- 207-837-6565



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Maine Restaurant Week- March 1-10, 2014.

Maine Restaurant Week 2014

Maine Restaurant Week 2014


It’s that time of year again that everyone in Maine loves.  It’s Maine restaurant week 2014!  This is a statewide event that allows customers of these great local restaurants an opportunity to try the best they have to offer in great three course offerings at special prices.

This year is the sixth installment of this always-growing and popular event.  A can’t-miss event with dozens of local restaurants participating, hundreds of amazing and talented restaurant professionals, and more.  This is the very best way to support Maine’s local restaurant industry.

This year to kick off the week there will be The Incredible Breakfast Cook-off on Friday, February 28, 2014.  

Sponsored by WBLM and Sea dog Brewing Co this event begins at 7Am at Sea Dog in South Portland, with the winner being announced at 8:45AM.  Guests who buy tickets for the cook-off will sample each breakfast prepared and vote for their favorites.  The last five years the title has been held by The Good Table, and this many will be looking to take the crown from them.  Included in the ticket price are coffee, tea, juice, and all other breakfast items.  The best part is that all the proceeds are donated to charity!  

Courtesy of Maine Restaurant week's facebook.

Courtesy of Maine Restaurant week’s facebook.

Purchase your Incredible Breakfast tickets here: 


Closing out the week will be:  The Signature Cocktail and Dessert event on Sunday, March 9, 2014.  

This closeout even is a celebration of some of the best cocktail shakers and dessert makers in all of Maine.  After having your cocktail and dessert samples you can vote and decide the very best Maine has to offer in 2014 from these talented professionals.

Order Signature event tickets here:

Photo Courtesy of Maine Restaurant week's facebook.

Photo Courtesy of Maine Restaurant week’s facebook.


For full details, more events, and a full list of restaurants participating this year near you visit


Restaurant Sign Up–  Restaurant owners and managers call (207) 775-2126 with any questions, and you can sign up online here!


This is a fantastic and fun way support the great Maine restaurant community!



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