Throughout the year, Portland Downtown is proud to offer a variety of community-based internships and volunteer opportunities . This summer, we are delighted to welcome Nora Ibrahim to our team. Nora is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern Maine and – over the next few months – Nora will develop her Professional Writing skills alongside Adam MacDonald , our Marketing & Communications Coordinator.

Nora loves exploring downtown and she's excited to share her adventures with you , our loyal friends & fans. Join us each week as Nora shines a spotlight on a cool local shop, restaurant, or point of interest. First up: the lovely Baristas + Bites on Fore Street!
Spotlight on Baristas + Bites
Words and Photos By Nora Ibrahim

Today's adventure was wandering through the streets of downtown Portland. Although the weather was cold, I found myself in front of a local barista shop called Baristas + Bites . And on a cold summer day, nothing's better than a richly flavored organic coffee. As I walked into the shop, I was greeted by the warmth and energy of the baristas who held a contagious smile.

The barista took my order and instructed me to follow the short hall to the buffet of different kinds of blends. Now, I'm definitely not a coffee expert, but I sure know what flavor I'm craving. Luckily, I found exactly what I was looking for! The coffee was the same as the one I have tried in Mannheim, Germany.
The taste is quite elegant and calm. You can get a hint of bitterness broken down from (by option) the organic, raw cane sugar. Later on, I wrote down a few things the barista informed me about the shop. I learned that the shop was quite new in this area and the owner is a single woman who started this magnificent project. Also, all the ingredients they purchase are from local farms.

When I visited the shop the second time, I selected iced coffee instead of hot. A short while later, I received my order and sat on the leather stools that faced Middle Street. The seats were noticeably comfortable, and the tabletop was spotless.
Upon sampling the coffee, the first word that came to mind was “gentle.” The intensity of the coffee flavor revealed itself after the first sip. In addition to that, a familiar taste was found in the structure of the particles; this flavor is similar to that of date paste. Many may add additives (like creamer or sweetener), but this one was perfect on its own.  

The barista informed me that the coffee came from Coffee by Design . It is a mixture of Italian dark roast and “El Mundo” light roast.

Overall, considering the quality and prices on their menu, it's definitely a place I recommend. Not only that, I personally have high respect for local shops who are ethical and support local farms!

You can find Baristas + Bites at 469 Fore Street near Dean Sweet's and Lovell Hall . Happy exploring!

Pianos in the Squares
A few of Portland’s well-traveled squares are about to get more colorful and musical!

Beginning Friday, you'll find vibrantly decorated pianos in Monument Square, Congress Square, Longfellow Square, and Bramhall Square. Passersby (amateur, pro, and everything in between) are welcome to 'tickle the ivories' – creating "pop-up" concerts for all to enjoy!

Pianos in the Squares kicks off this Friday, June 29th with special performances in each of the four locations. All are welcome to join the fun (and dancing is encouraged!)

Schedule of Ribbon Cuttings and Performances

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM Monument Square - MAMM (Rock)
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM Congress Square - Joshua Hatfield (Pop Covers)
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM Longfellow Square - Kafari (Jazz)
12:30 PM - 1:00 PM Bramhall Square - Ophelia Hu Kinney (Chinese classical)

RSVP ON FACEBOOK (not required)

Pianos in the Park is brought to you by:

City of Portland Parks, Recreation, and Facilities
Friends of Congress Square Park
Portland Downtown