October 19, 2019
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From bagels to brunch, South Portland chefs experiment with morning eating


Josh and Katie Potocki of 158 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland know a thing or two about brunch and breakfast, considering they’ve made chewy, flavorful bagels from their eatery and bakery since 2001. Find their cozy business, tucked away in a seaside neighborhood in South Portland, and try a salt bagel topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon, dill and capers. Sit outside in the leafy, quiet backyard while it’s still nice out. I defy you to find a more pleasant way to start the day.

That is, until you’ve tried the Potocki’s latest venture, a joint project with Portland chefs and creators Joel Beauchamp and Nate Meiklejohn. Pocket Brunch, a once-a-month culinary experience, brings together brunch — that elusive, lazy weekend meal, so often just a retread of breakfast food — and some of the Portland area’s most adventurous chefs. It’s held at the beginning of each month in a different location each time, with a different chef each time. The next one is set for Sunday, Sept. 2, with chef Jason Loring of Nosh Kitchen Bar and Taco Escobarr, both in Portland. The exact location will be disclosed shortly before the event.

“It’s an opportunity for these two chefs to get a chance to be creative,” said Katie Potocki, referring to her husband and her friend, Beauchamp. “And it’s a chance to try something different and bring different people to the table to cook.”

“It can be really experimental,” said Beauchamp. “Brunch doesn’t have to just be eggs and bacon. It can be anything.”

Pocket Brunch starts at 11 a.m. with a cocktail and pastry hour, with specialty cocktails created by a guest bartender. There’s an egg course, a meat course, soup, salad and dessert. Artisan bacon and coffee are included. It’ll take a few hours, but that’s the point: slow and leisurely, with plenty of time to savor each unique course. Last month’s Pocket Brunch riffed on classic brunch dishes; chef Rocco Talarico offered up everything from pork belly with black pepper custard and quail eggs to buttermilk fried frog legs paired with lavender lemonade jelly. Cocktails ranged from a smooth and smoky Bloody Mary to a Lawn Dart, a concoction made from tequila, gin, lime juice, agave syrup, green chartreuse and a green pepper and jalapeno puree.

The Sept. 2 Pocket Brunch theme is “curiosity.” The Potockis and Beauchamp promise a meal that’s experimental and even bizarre, but nevertheless delicious. Tickets are $50 and are available online at pocketbrunch.com.

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