The Wrap: Portland college students taste-test African meals, Silly's reinvents itself, and elevating cash …

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A style check of a central African dish served at Portland excessive faculties for lunch final month was “overwhelmingly positive,” in accordance with Portland Public Schools officers. Photo credit score: Food Corps/Cultivating Community


Continuing a cultural initiative launched last fall in Westbrook schools, Portland’s three public excessive faculties hope to broaden college students’ palates and broaden their worldviews by providing them a style of central African delicacies.

On March 24, college students from Deering, Casco Bay and Portland excessive faculties got the chance to taste-test a Central African dish of smashed kidney beans, spiced beef and cabbage slaw that faculty kitchen employees had ready. June McLucas, meals service director for Portland Public Schools, mentioned the particular taste-test occasion was an “overwhelming success,” with many college students voting that they “loved” the brand new dish.

The recipe was developed to fulfill federal college lunch vitamin pointers by Maine chef and college vitamin advisor Samantha Cowens-Gasbarro and Kahadija Ahmed, proprietor operator of the Food For All African Mobile Market. As they did in Westbrook, the 2 skilled Portland highschool cafeteria employees to cook dinner the dish.

School officers famous that Portland hosts the state’s largest, most various pupil physique, making the undertaking notably acceptable right here. About one-third of the scholars come from properties the place a language apart from English is spoken.

“All our students should have the opportunity to enjoy a wider variety of culturally diverse menu items,” mentioned Superintendent Xavier Botana. Botana and his colleagues mentioned they hope pupil enthusiasm over the African meals will result in their elevated curiosity and participation within the college lunch program.

The undertaking is funded by Full Plates, Full Potential, and led by McLucas and the native meals justice nonprofit Cultivating Community. It can also be supported by a number of group companions that embrace FoodCorps, Cumberland County Food Security Council, Good Shepherd Food Bank, and the University of Southern Maine.

Silly’s closes once more

After reopening at 68 Washington Ave. in October 2020, the longtime Portland restaurant closed final month, apparently leaving the brick-and-mortar enterprise mannequin behind.

In an announcement on Silly’s web site, proprietor Colleen Kelley, mentioned the lease had run out on the restaurant’s Washington Avenue location. “I will be moving Silly’s to a food truck, which I think is a better fit for me at this stage in my life,” Kelley wrote. No phrase is but obtainable on when the Silly’s meals truck will start working, and Kelley couldn’t be reached for remark earlier than press time.

Silly’s first opened on Cumberland Avenue in 1988 underneath authentic house owners Dierdre and Stephanie Nice. In 1997, the restaurant moved to 40 Washington Ave. Kelley bought Silly’s in 2002.

In August 2019, Kelley closed Silly’s, together with its short-lived offshoot, Simply Vegan by Silly’s, which opened within the 68 Washington Ave. house in 2018. At the time, Kelley gave numerous reasons for the closures, together with the necessity to look after her father and “the new hipster artisan Washington Avenue that I don’t really fit into anymore.”

Kelley reopened Silly’s within the fall of 2020 within the house occupied by the previous Simply Vegan by Silly’s.

Sarada Krishnan, government director of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance at her espresso farm in Jamaica. Krishnan shall be at Coffee By Design on Diamond Street on Tuesday, April 12 from 1 p.m. to three p.m. Photo courtesy of Sarada Krishnan

Coffee By Design hosts discuss with feminine espresso specialists

On April 12, Coffee By Design is internet hosting girls espresso producers and authorities from coffee-growing areas world wide for an off-the-cuff meet-and-greet at their East Bayside location at 1 Diamond St. in Portland from 1 p.m. to three p.m.

The guests, all members of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, signify espresso growers, firms and organizations in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ethiopia, Rwanda, the Philippines and elsewhere, in accordance with occasion spokesperson Gillian Britt. Sirada Krishnan, government director of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, and Stephany Davila, a third-generation Guatemalan espresso farmer and founding father of the Coffee Farmers Alliance, shall be among the many guests obtainable to talk to friends, Britt mentioned.

Krishnan and her feminine espresso colleagues are attending the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston (April 8-10) earlier than coming to Maine. Britt mentioned representatives of the U.S.-based espresso group Sustainable Harvest can even be available for the April 12 occasion.

Ukraine Strong espresso from Coffee By Design, which is utilizing the particular mix to boost cash for aid efforts in Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Coffee By Design

Fundraisers for Ukraine

Coffee By Design this month can also be promoting a brand new particular mix, Ukraine Strong, and giving $5 from each pound offered to Partners for World Health, the Portland-based nonprofit group that distributes medical provides to locations that want them. The coffeehouse describes its Ukraine Strong mix as a medium roast, with candy notes of orange and chocolate. The mix is on the market in one-pound luggage for $18.50, or two kilos for $35.

Also, this Thursday, Broken Arrow restaurant, at 545 Congress St. in Portland, will host a charity dinner with one hundred pc of proceeds going to World Central Kitchen, the worldwide starvation aid effort now centered on feeding Ukrainian warfare refugees. Yarmouth chef Christian Hayes flew to Ukraine final month to participate in World Central Kitchen’s work.

Broken Arrow is providing a four-course menu for $49 for the occasion, that includes tuna crudo with natural aioli, winter greens, goulash and spaetzle and ending with poached pear with mascarpone. Buy tickets to the dinner on the Broken Arrow web site.

Lobster Shack to open for season

Cape Elizabeth’s Lobster Shack at Two Lights reopens this Saturday for the 2022 season. The well-liked restaurant’s web site says it plans to supply each indoor and out of doors seating, and that its season runs by means of Oct. 23.

The Lobster Shack’s Facebook web page introduced the reopening Tuesday, noting that it is going to be open seven days every week from midday till 7 p.m.

Owner Katie Porch mentioned her restaurant sometimes reopens for the season in late March, however pushed it again a few weeks this 12 months. “We wanted to give people the best chance to sit outside,” she mentioned, noting that the Lobster shack closed in late September final 12 months as an alternative of October due to COVID-19.

New brunch spot coming to Portland

A brunch-focused New England restaurant chain plans to open its first Maine location as The Friendly Toast involves Portland later this 12 months.

The Friendly Toast shall be situated within the house at 211 Fore St. previously occupied by Sebago Brewing Company. The New Hampshire-based chain was based in 1994 and has eight different areas in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

The press relations supervisor for The Friendly Toast couldn’t present any extra particulars on the brand new location yesterday, or a timeline of when it’d open.

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