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About The Author


Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: October 22, 2014

Snacktime: Eat and burn on Halloween, Pocket Brunch returns, and more

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Some like it hot

Shutterstock photo

Shutterstock photo

Go “North of Hell” on Halloween Night with Joe Ricchio and chef Brian Hill at Francine Bistro in Camden. This “not for the faint of heart (or other regions)” dinner — seatings at 6 and 8 p.m. — promises “to both test your endurance and purify your soul.” Your $35 ticket gets you five “hellishly spicy” dishes such as Rocket Fuel Tuna Tartare with Papas Bravas, Calamari Fideos with Black as Hell Pasta and Squid Diablo or She Crab Bisque served in a very Angry Pumpkin. There will be drink specials, music, and the Prince of Darkness himself, Joe. Tickets via

Coming soon (ish)

The proposed dinner menu for Isa.

The proposed dinner menu for Isa.

More restaurants for Portland? Yes, indeed. Four liquor license applications were heard at Monday’s Portland City Council Meeting:

Isa, a “40-seat bistro serving casual and affordable fare” is in the works at 79 Portland St. The owner is Suzie St. Pierre of Kennebunk, who describes the menu as “American with Mediterranean influences.”

Tiqa is under construction on the ground floor of the new Marriott Courtyard Hotel at 327 Commercial St. The Mediterranean restaurant will have 276 seats, including a 111 private dining room and 15 seat “chefs bar.”

UnWINEd will take over the former Madgirl space at 569 Congress St. The “simple concept wine bar” will have serve “appetizers and petite plates” along with wine and beer, served in “a relaxed atmosphere with calming acoustic music, leather couches and scattered tables and chairs.”

Noteworthy wine dinners

Ted Axelrod photo

Ted Axelrod photo

Vinland, 593 Congress St., is hosting a dinner with four organic winemakers from Northern Italy — three of whom are women — on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. The cost is $90 per person. Tickets via

Winemaker Giorgio Rivetti from the Piedmont region of Italy will be the special guest at a four-course dinner at The Corner Room, 110 Exchange St., on Nov. 2 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $65; for reservations call 879-4747.

Hugo’s, 88 Middle St., is hosting a wine dinner with importer and author Terry Thiese on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. The five-course tasting menu is $165 per person; for reservations call 774-8538.

Dirigo brunch

Courtesy of Pocket Brunch/Facebook.

Courtesy of Pocket Brunch/Facebook.

The super hot pop-up Pocket Brunch returns on Sunday, Nov. 2 from noon to 3 p.m. at Novare Res Bier Cafe with a 6-course brunch themed “Dirigo: North to South”. Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. and In’finiti Fermentation & Distillation join Novare Res for this Maine-made meal. As of this writing, there were 25 tickets left, but Pocket Brunch events usually sell out fast, so get ’em now if you want to go. Tickets are $75.

Craving a Bag Burger?

Ski season is right around the corner (yep, it’s true) and O’Maine Studios, 54 Danforth St., in Portland, is hosting Mountain Flavor, a food and drink preview on Nov. 6 from 6 to 10 p.m., Chefs from Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Saddleback and Mt. Washington Valley will be serving up Bag Burger sliders (the famous burger from the Bag & Kettle at Sugarloaf), Bloody Marys, chowder, ribs and more. If you’re itching to get back on the slopes, and you think O’Maine Media Kitchen is a pretty cool idea (read about it in the Portland Press Herald), you may want to kickstart their Kickstarter by dropping $100 for two tickets.

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