Be afraid, Otto. Be very afraid. All the best pizza joints in Portland have some new, very stiff competition, and it’s on the corner of Washington and Ocean avenues. Monte’s Fine Foods has been open for about a month now, and it’s putting out some of the best pizza in the city. I hesitate to say the best because I haven’t tried the other new kid in...

The 94th annual St. Peter’s Italian Bazaar will be held 5-9 p.m. Aug. 9-10 and 4-8 p.m. Aug. 11, on Federal Street. Thousands of local residents will join many returning individuals and families to enjoy one of Maine’s warmest and beloved neighborhood street festivals, a gathering of generations proudly celebrating the heritage, family and faith of...

Ninety years ago, Amelia and Mary Pizzo spent their 10th birthday aboard a ship bound for Ellis Island. On Wednesday, the identical twins spent the afternoon with close family members, celebrating their 100th birthday together. They shared pizza and cake, and reminisced over photo albums and obituaries clipped from newspapers through the years. Tho...

Comic Chris Distefano has never been to Portland, so his first question about the city was: Does it have a lot of hipsters? Being a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, he has some definite opinions of hipsters. “You see these people trying to decrease their carbon footprint by struggling with a paper straw. Either use a plastic one or just don’t use one...

Piccolo’s executive chef, Damian Sansonetti, is chuckling in the background. Despite his efforts, I can hear him over the speakerphone. I’ve just asked his wife, pastry chef Ilma Lopez, what inspired her to put smoked walnuts on a dark chocolate budino ($12) – an addition that pitch-shifts the tones of the custard-like dessert from bittersweet to t...

Eleven local sandwich shops gathered in Portland’s Monument Square late morning Thursday to build what may be the unofficial World’s Largest Maine Italian Sandwich – 160 feet from end to end. Collectively, it took the sandwich makers about 25 minutes to build it, said Gillian Britt, one of the owner/producers of Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor fes...

If you’re a fan of the Maine Italian, head to Monument Square Thursday to get a bite of what is being billed as the World’s Largest Maine Italian Sandwich. At least eight local sandwich shops plan to meet there at 11 a.m. Each will construct 16 feet of its own signature Maine Italian. Together, they hope to construct a finished sandwich that is 144...

Every so often I get a little extra excited about a new restaurant or market, for one reason or another. Like in this case, when I imagine I am jumping up and down, clapping my hands like a little girl and totally embarrassing myself. That’s because soon I may be driving by Monte’s Fine Foods every day, a project that longtime Portland chef Steve Q...

When I opened the door to my Chicago apartment one April evening, I found my neighbor, Francesca, standing there, cradling a dish the size of a truck tire. I recognized it immediately. It was her pasta bowl: white porcelain decorated with tiny painted roses and crazed inside with spidery lines the color of strong tea. Once, the bowl had been her mo...

The Roma Café you remember is gone forever. You should know that from the outset. The original, an Italian-American restaurant that once occupied the lower floors of the Rines mansion in Portland’s West End, had a remarkable run. When its white tablecloths were taken to the laundry for the last time in 2008, the restaurant had been open (and mostly...