The fourth annual Share Our Strength fundraiser, Taste of the Nation, is fast approaching. The food and drink event takes place this year at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, overlooking the ocean.
The June 18 event features 13 chefs from greater Portland’s best-known restaurants, including Rob Evans of Hugo’s, who was recently named the best chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation. Others are Harding Lee Smith of The Grill Room, Larry Matthews Jr. of Back Bay Grill, Jeff Landry of Farmers Table, Lawrence Klang of Natalie’s, David Turin of David’s, Steve Corry of Five Fifty-Five, Lee Skawinski of Cinque Terre, Mitchell Kaldrovich of Inn by the Sea, Earl Morse of Eve’s at the Garden, Jay Vilani of Local 188, Brant Dadaleares of Fore Street and Esau Crosby of Solo Bistro.
Share Our Strength Southern Maine raises money for local food programs. Last year the organization donated more than $40,000 to Preble Street Teen Center, East End Kids Katering, Maine Equal Justice Partners and Cultivating Communities.
Tickets this year are $75 and $125 and include food, drinks and live entertainment. For more information, go to sosportland.org.
Portland Buy Local held its second annual Indie Biz Awards earlier this month. Fore Street was named “Flavor of Portland,” Micucci’s was awarded “Portland’s Best Kept Secret,” Becky’s Diner got the “Portland Totem” award and Coffee By Design was named “Community Hero.” The Portland Farmer’s Market won the “Soul of Portland” award.
The Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Brewer’s Guild just released a Maine Beer Trail map. The trail includes 19 breweries and brew pubs in the state. To check out the brochure, go to mainebrewersguild.org.
Maine Ambassadors of Food and Drink have started Tuesday night Wine Flight training in preparation for the Oct. 17 running and walking event. Each Tuesday night, participants meet in Monument Square and are given a map, which sends them to various culinary hot spots around town before ending at a hosting establishment for a glass or wine or beer and appetizers. A season pass is $210, individual passes are $15. For more information go to maineambassadors.com
Willard Scoops is open in South Portland at Willard Square. The new ice cream spot is getting rave reviews from customers; it’s across the square from Scratch Bakery.
Also in South Portland, the new Sea Dog Brewing Co. restaurant is open at 125 Western Ave., formerly home to Eggspectations. The restaurant opened earlier this month and is offering mug club membership for $50.
Ricetta’s in South Portland is celebrating its 20th anniversary in June. The brick-oven pizza place is offering 20 percent off select, original-menu dishes at both the South Portland and Falmouth restaurants. Plans are under way to celebrate the 10th anniversary next year of the Falmouth restaurant, too.
El Rayo Taqueria is open at 101 York St. in a former gas station that was also once home to Harborview Pizza. The restaurant is open seven days a week, serving up tacos, burritos, quesadillas and soups. It also has an extensive drink menu, which includes tequila flites and sangria, and outdoor seating.
Additional information was added to this story on May 28, 2009.