The owners of Rockin’ Rickey’s Tavern announced on Facebook last week that the Portland watering hole will close Dec. 21, saying only that “it is time for new endeavors.”

The bar at 94 Portland St., next door to the Bayside American Café and across the street from the Portland Post Office, opened in 1975. The owners plan a “last call” party, date and time to be determined.

Local chocolatiers on national radio program – sweet!

Portland chocolatier Dean’s Sweets will be featured in a national radio story. Photo courtesy of Dean’s Sweets

Dean and Kristin Bingham, co-owners of Dean’s Sweets, are featured on the national business radio show “Marketplace” beginning this week, in a three-part story focusing on holiday sales through the eyes of small retailers.

In the first part, which aired Monday night, Kristin Bingham described the pressures of making, marketing, and selling specialty chocolates for the holiday season. The second part is scheduled for mid-December, and the third part just after the holidays. The Binghams were previously featured on the show last November in the “My Economy” segment.

“Marketplace airs at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on Maine Public Radio and is broadcast by more than 500 public radio stations nationwide.

Dean’s Sweets has retail shops at 475 Fore St. and 54 Cove St. in Portland.

Portland winter market opens Dec. 7

Portland’s indoor winter farmers market is scheduled to open Dec. 7 and will run every Saturday through April 18. Just under 20 vendors have signed up so far, according to Mary Ellen Chadd, the market’s volunteer co-manager.

The winter market, located at 631 Stevens Ave., in the former Maine Girls Academy, is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On opening day, a silent auction fundraiser will raise money for the market’s Low-Income Food Access Program.

Rabelais cooks up a holiday sale

Try not to drool. Rabelais, the Biddeford shop that specializes in rare and vintage books on food, drink, farming and gardening, is having an online-only holiday sale. Between now and Dec. 1, get 25 percent off the list price of anything on the website (the discount is not good in the store), using the coupon code GARGANTUA (get it?) at check-out. The food lovers on your list will thank you.

Bicentennial cookbook needs your recipes

Maine’s birthday cake will sport 200 candles next year, and plans are underway to celebrate the state’s food traditions as part of the celebrations.

Karl Schatz and Margaret Hathaway, the husband-and-wife team behind “The Portland, Maine Chef’s Table” cookbook and the “Food Lovers Guide to Maine,” have teamed up with Don Lindgren, owner of Rabelais (see above), to work on “The Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook: 200 Recipes Celebrating Maine’s Culinary Past, Present, & Future.”

Schatz and Hathaway are looking for recipes from chefs and notable Mainers, as well as classic recipes from sources such as community cookbooks, to feature. But most of the recipes will come from everyday folks like you. So start rummaging through that cluttered kitchen desk drawer, or your mom’s tattered recipe cards, for recipes you’d like to contribute.

David Cheever, vice chairman of the Maine Bicentennial Commission, called the cookbook project “a fun way to observe our commemoration of statehood in a true community fashion.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to nonprofits fighting hunger and food insecurity in Maine.

Send your recipes, family photos, and family food histories to maine200cookbook.com. The deadline is Jan. 10.

One-time Portland chef returns to the kitchen

In this archive photo, Erik Desjarlais sits by his handmade products in the window of Weft and Warp. Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Staff photographer

Erik Desjarlais, former chef/owner of Portland restaurants Bandol, Ladle, and Evangeline, left restaurant work a few years ago to start making knife rolls and aprons for chefs. His business, Weft and Warp in Freeport, did well, but he eventually sold the store, and later his knife roll business, too. He still makes the occasional apron, under the business name Fitswell, but only by request, and when he has the time. “I don’t want to let it go completely because I know people still rely on it,” he said. But running his own business “got to be a little overwhelming, honestly. It’s the ownership part I got tired of.”

Then Desjarlais got a job offer he couldn’t refuse. A business he loves, and that is within walking distance of his home – the New Gloucester Village Store at 405 Intervale Road – offered him a full-time position as baker. “It’s always been my favorite place,” he said. “It’s wonderful. And they were hiring a baker, so I said, ‘why not?’”

Desjarlais, who is married to Krista Desjarlais, chef/owner of The Purple House in North Yarmouth, last worked as a baker in the ’90s. In addition to baking breads in the New Gloucester store’s brick oven, he’s making cookies, puff pastry, mini pies and tartlets, and Danish dough. “The thing I’m most excited about is the sourdough miche,” he said.

Desjarlais said he’s been putting in 14-hour days, but “It’s not a bad thing. It keeps me focused. And I love baking, apparently. I’ve never been happier in a kitchen.”

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