Food trucks are one of the year’s biggest food trends, rolling from neighborhood to neighborhood in cities across the country, laden with everything from Red Velvet cupcakes, saucy poutine and Korean bulgogi to spicy breakfast tacos, goat curries and organic soups. Driver/chefs use Twitter to update eaters on their ever-changing locations as well as to request help with parking spaces — in exchange for grub, of course.
Continue reading “Maine Taste Goes Mobile” »
My father lived in Turner when I was growing up. Family friends had dairy cows. Neighbors had dairy cows. My step-brothers and I used to slip under electrified barbed wire fences to chase after them in the fields. I love barn smells, I know how to navigate a farm without totally ruining my boots and I’m still tickled by the sticky feel of a giant, bristly, pink tongue on my hand.
Then, one day, I became lactose intolerant.
Continue reading “I heart Holsteins” »
The Boston Globe did a nice piece on Scratch Baking Co. on Preble St. in South Portland, profiling the five-year-old business and the 1,200 bagels it produces any given Saturday. In addition to the chewy treats, born of starters with names like Lulu and Hans, co-owner Allison Reid and her team also bake breads, cheesecakes and other goodies, as well as sell wine, cheese, sandwiches, and coffee — likely served to you by the same guy who co-founded Vermont’s famed Magic Hat Brewing (producer of one of my all-time favorite beers — No. 9).
Continue reading “Ms. Bagel and her starter loves” »
On March 4, lobstering pros from Tasmania, West Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the Caribbean are scheduled to arrive in Maine for the Maine Fishermen’s Forum and then spend the remainder of their sojourn at a series of community meetings and suppers and hosting talks along the coast — culminating in a trip to the Boston Seafood Show on March 14.(images courtesy of Maine Fishermen’s Forum)
Continue reading “Maine hosts giant lobsterman field trip” »
The Maine Restaurant Association has chosen Chef Rick Hirsch, owner of Damariscotta River Grill (in Damariscotta, of course) as its 2010 Chef of the Year. Chef Hirsch will accept the award on March 30 at the organization’s annual awards event in Portland.
Continue reading “Chef of the Year: Rick Hirsch of Damariscotta River Grill” »
Maine Restaurant Week is March 1-10, which is actually more than a week, but no one is complaining. Restaurants from Old Orchard Beach to Bethel and Thomaston to Bangor are offering three-course menus priced at $20.10, $30.10 and $40.10 during the 10-day period. In addition to the special pricing, there is a Breakfast Cook-off March 5 and a Bartender’s Bash (to benefit the Preble Street Resource Center) on March 1, the latter sponsored by Cold River Vodka.
Continue reading “Portland Museum of Art, Restaurant Week team up” »
They have been making lobster stew in Cundy’s Harbor for much longer than a decade (trust me, half my family lives there) but Cal Hancock’s recipe is what put this quiet spot on the New Meadows River on the national culinary map. Hancock Gourmet Lobster was born in 2000 and is spending 2010 marking its anniversary by offering reduced Second Day shipping rates, showcasing its now expansive product line — including Port Clyde lobster mac & cheese, lobster pot pies and Orr’s Island oyster stew – and chronicling all of the fun on the company’s blog. Continue reading “Hancock Lobster: Beyond the Crustacean” »
Martha Stewart undoubtedly has a soft spot for Maine. After all, she owns Skylands in Mount Desert Island (Seal Harbor, to be specific, and formerly home to Edsel Ford) and her magazine & blog frequently features photos of her cooking and entertaining there, working in the garden and changing up the decor. On Friday, Jan. 22, she will show major Maine love when an episode featuring Hugo’s acclaimed chef Rob Evans airs on the Martha Stewart Show.
Evans, who got the call from Stewart’s people on Jan. 12, was named Best Chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation last year. The Martha Stewart Web site indicates he’s going to prepare prosciutto consomme with shrimp and bacon-poached egg “perfect for special occasions.” Here’s hoping he also brings his bacon-dusted pig ears, fried monkfish liver and rice-crusted Maine scallops to the masses.
There was a time when the Maine shrimp industry was in big trouble. Officials limited the wintry fishing season to matters of weeks versus months when fisheries officials sounded the depleted-stocks alarm in the 1980s, but since the mid-aught-decade shrimp have been thriving in the Gulf of Maine. Last October, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section (because there is such a thing) elected to allow for a second consecutive six-month fishing season for Pandalus borealis, allowing shrimpers to fish and trap the crustaceans from Dec. 1, 2009, through May 29, 2010. Projections of robust stock prompted officials to decide there was plenty to go around.
In Maine during the winter you can find the tiny, pink, head-on hermaphrodites being sold (cheaply) by the pound out of the back of pickup trucks and at roadside stands with hand-scrawled signs. But if you’re not accustomed to driving around with a cooler in your back seat just in case, there are other ways of getting in on the short-lived bounty. Port Clyde Fresh Catch offers 12-week subscriptions via their Maine shrimp CSF. Pick-up is available at a number of winter farmers’ markets across the state and at pick-up points in Rhode Island and New York.
Maine shrimp are so delicate that people often eat them raw, but you can also saute or steam them ever so quickly for an easy scampi, pasta salad or chowder. After spending about an hour peeling five to 10 pounds of crustaceans, that is. Trust me, it’s worth it.
I know Maine has a lot of wonderful breweries. I, for one, am a huge fan of Allagash and literally clap with excitement when I see it in bars outside of the state, often to the embarrassment of my drinking companions. But Sam Adams is releasing its new Barrel-Aged Collection in only three states (and Denver) and Maine is one of them. So if you’re into extremely limited edition beer, you’re living in a good spot. New World Tripel, American Kriek and Stony Brook Red will come in 750-milliliter bottles (just like a typical wine bottle) and priced at priced at $9.95 each. But it’s the brewing process that makes it special. Continue reading “Love beer? Anything goes” »
One hundred and fifty folks with roots from Machias to Hinkley and Winterport to Saco gathered on a recent Saturday night in Arlington, Va., to share a traditional Maine “bean suppah” — an annual event organized by the Maine State Society, a group that serves as a “home away from home” for Mainers in the Washington, D.C., area. Tables full of people with family links to the state paid $8 each for dinner, apple cider and dessert. The yellow eye beans were from an East Corinth farm, the hot dogs (both natural casing and reds) came in from W.A. Bean in Bangor, the brown bread was from– where else? — Burnham & Morrill in Portland and the dinner rolls were brought in from Lepage’s Bakery in Auburn.
Less than an hour after the food was on the tables, the brown bread and red dogs were gone from the kitchen. People who came in late sighed in dismay — but folks at adjacent tables were eager to share what they had left. Children roamed the church basement and people ranging in age from 20 to 80 shared stories of being born in Maine and having relatives or spouses from the state — much of it centered on food: the best lobster pounds and the best places for Italians and blueberry pie. Once the gingerbread, prepared by Society volunteers, was gone, the “entertainment” started in the form of bad jokes (”Pumpkins were the original Transformers, kids. Throw them up in the air, they’re pumpkins. Once they hit the ground, they’re squash”) updates on Society activities and introduction of new members (of which I am one).
Then they started with the door prizes.
On the stage at the front of the room were piles of merchandise, from books to art prints to food and t-shirts. Everything was donated, including several boxes of candies from representatives of the visiting Massachusetts State Society– whose introduction sparked a spattering of tongue-in-cheek boos. Children were recruited to deliver each prize as attendees’ numbers were called: stuffed toys from the Maine Potato Board, art books from photographer Jake McGuire, shirts from Pat’s Pizza, blueberry popcorn from Len Libby — and the “highlight” of the night — 3-packs of Beach Cliff sardines. Cheers filled the room each time a number was pulled. And when the last can of sardines left the stage — everyone stood and began the clean up. Just another Saturday night for folks from Fort Fairfield to Holden … Lincoln to East Boothbay.
Linda Bean has landed in Florida.
The lobster maven’s plan of opening 100 Perfect Maine Lobster Roll outlets across the country expanded to its third state last week when the newest location opened on restaurant row in DelRay Beach, Fla. Continue reading “South Florida Braces for Maine Lobster Rolls, Whoopie Pies” »
The Phoenix Cafe gets around. And if you’re in Palmyra … or Pittsfield … or Palmyra again, you can eat there. If you can catch it. Continue reading “Coming to a Sidewalk Near You” »
It’s cider season. But producers in Maine and across the nation aren’t able to distribute unpasteurized cider on the wholesale market because of federal regulations requiring pasteurization, which some producers claim destroys the amino acids in the beverage, thereby stripping it of its “basic building blocks” of nutrition. Continue reading “Cider Under Fire” »
More than 60 years ago, Earl Shaffer became the first thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail — an iconic path that depending on how you view it has its beginning or its end in Maine. A thru-hiker is one that tackles the trail as one continuous path. There have only been 10,000 people reported to have completed the entire trek since it was founded in 1921. Shaffer, an outdoorsman, poet and self-described loner from Pennsylvania, started in Georgia in April 1948 and crested Mount Katahdin in August of that year.
Continue reading “The Appalachian Trail’s First Thru-hiker on Display in D.C.” »
I tried Atkins about seven years ago. You know, the diet that makes you crazy because it keeps you from eating nearly everything worth living for, i.e. pasta and bread? It took my best friend telling me I was skinnier but a “little scary to be around these days” to know that losing 10 pounds was not worth depriving myself of one more plate of pumpkin ravioli. I’ve never looked back.
Continue reading “Maine’s Bread Community Comes Together in Skowhegan” »
Experts are predicting that this year’s crop of wild superfruits could exceed 100 million pounds. To capitalize on another projected bumper crop, the wild blueberry folks are going after the
cultivated berry industry. A new logo and focus on “premium” are pieces of a three-year marketing plan to expand wild fruit’s market share which right now is estimated at only a quarter of the U.S. blueberry market.
Continue reading “Blueberries Leap Beyond the Muffin” »
Growing grapes in Maine is not an easy task. Some would say it’s impossible because of the short growing season and myriad pests and weather issues. But while the hills may not be alive with Pinot noir, there are plenty of Concord grapes, which are one of the few fruits native to the U.S. They grew wild all over my father's property in Turner, along the banks of the Androscoggin River. Growing up, I would crawl around in their thick, craggy darkness and emerge purple-stained; the grapes are slip-skin and separate easily from the flesh, leaving behind sticky trails of juice. My step-brothers and I would pick them and then try to make grape juice. It always turned out strong enough to peel paint even after we added sugar. Lots of it.
Continue reading “How To Become a Locabib” »
I used to regularly drag my ex-boyfriend to the farmer's market near my old apartment on Saturday mornings. There he joined the throng of other bewildered, sleepy young males, following their girlfriends morosely through what is normally the movie theater parking lot, burdened with bags of greens, apples and bread and undoubtedly wishing they were still in bed at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m.
Continue reading “The Freshest Grocery Store on the Web” »