Monday, December 31

Food campaign

With the New Hamsphire primary just around the corner, it's tough to juggle all the candidates as they weigh in about The Issues: Ethanol subsidies, imported Chinese food and the obesity epidemic. Here's a look at food on the campaign trail:

Meat is popular with all the major candidates, according to an Associated Press survey. Some foods were not popular.

On the Democrat side, Barack "Chili" Obama boiled over about beets; Bill "Diet milkshake" Richardson and John "Hamburgers" Edwards were not into fungi; Hillary "Soft scrambled eggs" Clinton, apparently pandering to the Mommy vote, would eat anything, but said she's a lousy cook.

Republicans Rudy "Steak on the grill" Guliani refused liver; Mike "Ribeye on the grill" Huckabee cuts out carrots, John "Baby-back ribs" McCain doesn't do well with vegetables, Mitt "Hot dog" Romney excised eggplant, and Fred Thompson doesn't turn down a thing.

For those concerned solely with bacon, here's what the candidates think.

And all this pork is a problem - around the waistline.

Elsewhere, Obama's going to mend the "food fight," and Clinton, the first to criticize contaminated dog food, bedded up with Big Meat and CAFOs. She's also been compared to meat: "At once divisive and universal, delicious and disturbing, funny and dead-serious, meat polarizes us unlike any other food; it’s the Hillary Clinton of the freezer aisle," via megnut.

Huckabee called Romney "dog food." But when the Huck, a weight-loss winner, was offered any restaurant in New York, he opted for Olive Garden. Only after a reporter turned down TGIFriday's, via NYT. He lost the foodie vote. As for Romney, he's just plain bananas. Long shot Ron Paul argued against subsidies and Dennis Kucinich's a quirky vegan.

The bottom line: Anything's better than the current president, who is plain crackers.

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Sheep meat

Forget the woolens, loose the shears, raise hairy sheep.

Maine's Michael Piels began developing the single-purpose Katahdin sheep in 1957, via KHSI. And recently, low wool prices and synthetic fibers means sheep herders can make more money on lamb, via KJ and UKG.

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Sunday, December 30

Ice fishing











Bowdoinham ice camp owner Steve Leighton talks about shanties, smelt fishing and boozing, via PRX. Ice fishing season starts Jan. 1 and the ice is thin, via WCSH. Photo: Scott Peterman.

Review roundup

Here's the skinny from Accidental Vegetables on:

Vietnamese noodles at Thanh Thanh 2, 82 Forest Avenue. "Lovely."

Dumplings, noodles, duck, tom yum at Pom's Thai Taste + Noodle House, 571 Congress Street. "Ready to kick ass in the Thai restaurant wars brewing in Portland."

Good beer but unappetizing-looking burgers at the cavernous Empire Dine + Dance, 575 Congress Street. "Unless they get their act together I don't have a good feeling about their long-term success."

Portland Magazine
says the Green Elephant, 608 Congress Street, makes vegetarian curry noodles that are a "dream of a dish that will set a meat lover raving instead of complaining." Blah, blah. This review is the quintessence of crypto-journalism.

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Karen Hess

Food writer Betty Fussell profiles food historian and co-author of The Taste of America, Karen Hess:
To the Hesses, anyone famous was phony.... She called Julia Child a “dithering idiot,” Craig Claiborne “disgusting,” Pierre Franey “a hack,” Mimi Sheraton “stupid” and Alice Waters “so stupid.” This kind of rhetoric got our attention, but it sabotaged what should have been our shared message that good food was a good thing, via NYT.
The Times also mentions Peg Bracken, author of The I Hate to Cook Book.

Ribollita

Tender calamari, fat tortellini, corseted salmon, creamy, intergalactic flan with hypnotic caramel, and legendary pomegranate sorbet results in a three and half star review for Ribollita, 41 Middle Street, via PPH: "Ribollita is casual and friendly, but there are no slouches in its kitchen."

Saturday, December 29

Chestnut

American chestnuts genetically-modified to include wheat genes, via BG.

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How to open champagne










Photo: Sarah Karnasiewicz/Saveur

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La chasse

"The next morning, still reeling from horse and champagne, it was time for the hunt," via SmartSet.

Hunting for chanterelles
, bistouille and wild boar in France.

Photo: Luke Fisher

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Thursday, December 27

Week in Review, Dec. 27

The owner of Falmouth's Foreside Grille bought a Chestnut Street church, a move that was said to transform the place "from the Bible to bacon" (1). A man, who dubbed himself the "Shopping Ninja," ditched his bow and arrow for supermarket coupons (2). A horny guy said Indian pizza, head cheese and "pretty woman with the meat" would make next year a very good year (3). Low shrimp prices, bountiful supplies and high fuel costs led to a prediction of a "fairly good season" (4).

Chinese restaurants were a Christmas favorite (5). "My family had the traditional holidays of turkey and large meals," a Bangor woman said, "and Charlie's family it was Chinese Buffet, Chinese delivered, or pizza" (6). University officials advised recipients of gifts marked "Keep Refrigerated" to check their temperatures (7). A fruitcake festival was held in Independence, California (8), a Tewksbury pig farm ran into manure problems when luxury housing was built (9), and environmentalist said a state board regulating migratory eels was like the Wizard of Oz (10).

A $1,000 bagel sold in New York (11), feed for organic dairy cows came from China (12) and a farmer said all milk came from cows (13). "Cows lose tags like crazy," said a cowboy. "They get caught in tree limbs. You get an 1,800-pound bull that doesn't want to be tagged" (14). Maine grew 1.7 billion fewer pounds of potatoes this year (15). A Cumberland farmer died (16).

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Wednesday, December 26

Fore Street

Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be another pat-on-the-back review about the restaurant where Sam Hayward used to cook, Type A samples pan-seared oyster mushrooms, Artic char, dry-rubbed pork loin, fresh beets and macaroons at Fore Street. "If you are seeking creativity, try Five Fifty-Five or Hugo's. If you're seeking simplicity done right, Fore Street is a sure bet," via TA.

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Bull Feeney's

"Bull Feeney’s is an Irish girl’s dream come true." That's the result of slow service, slobber, canned seafood soup, a barely warm burger and "a Car Bomb shot," via TMS.

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Oyster night

"Consider the oyster," a report on Slow Food Portland's Oyster Night (which despite the title was not written by David Foster Wallace and remains decidedly un-snarky), via Grist:
The event was held at One Longfellow Square, a small, storefront performance space in Portland. I went with my friend David, a Slow Food member, and we arrived just as a few oyster farmers were beginning to shuck massive quantities of oysters while other folks decorated the tables and set out various sauces and baskets of bread. The Hot Club of Portland (a trio consisting of a standing bass, guitar, and violin) tuned up, and Slow Food members and volunteers arrived, bought tickets, and started lining up to sample the four featured oyster varieties.

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Monday, December 24

Reindeer










Photo: Isabelle Bonjean/Edible

Plywood Report

Gaucho's, at 100 Commercial Street, said to open Dec. 27, via eG, with a new faux marble salad bar.

Binga's Wingas, on Portland Street, has closed due to continued vandalism. Still no word on what's happening the owner's four-story Washington Avenue building.

Empire Dine & Dance, 575 Congress Street, opened development in the Arts District, via tF. Still, no word on the new tenant for 110 Exchange Street.

On the Maine State Pier, Fore Street's Dana Street and the Rosemont's John Naylor had teamed up with Ocean Properties, which lost a bid to develop. Olympia Cos' won the bid and has plans for two restaurants. Which ones?

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Shopdropping












Photo: James Estrin/NYT

Sunday, December 23

Girth control

For all the promiscuity this holiday season:
We get the orgasms without the organisms. ¶ Why not try the same with food? Keep the fun and lose the consequences. We invented birth control; why not girth control? In fact, we're already working on it, via Slate.

And for lexicographers focusing on selective food refusal, or girth control, there's a word:

vegansexual n. A person who eats no meat, uses no animal-derived goods and prefers not to have sex with non-vegans, via NYT. (See also here).

Portland Pie

Jimmy Britt ventures way outside the normal everything-is-great-at-the-restaurant -where-I-do-PR for a look at Portland Pie's new 51 York Street location:
The place is warm and inviting. Kind of like Gritty's, with its wood and brick, but much cozier... The only gripe I have about Portland Pie and just about every other pizza place that serves slices, is the inconsistency of slice size, via JB.

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Goats

The Muslim fast Eides ul Adha ended, via NPR. For one Texas butcher, that means he'll be making a killing off halal-slaughtered goats.

In Maine, despite the University's Goat Meat Project, slaughtering conditions here appear to remain quite "primitive," via KS.

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Thursday, December 20

Week in Review, Dec. 20

Scientists said cooking made brains bigger (1) and a umami editorialist said, "My main talent in the kitchen is an ability to survey the contents of the refrigerator and pantry and come up with something tasty" (2). Chefs Thomas Keller and Mario Batali made meals that were as fatty as McDonald's (3). An eighth grader in Lewiston said Burger King served healthier food (4) and a recent study showed the chain served food with the most trans fat (5).

An ethanol processing facility opened in Maine (6) and Syrian hamsters were called the "Andy Capp of the animal kingdom" (7). Rising sea temperatures threatened coral reefs and lobsters (8), the world's food supply appeared to be dwindling (9), and a fruitcake writer described his grandmother's mouthwatering fudge (10).

The Village Cafe auctioned off its kitchen (11). Despite getting no votes on a blog, Eve's at the Garden was still called one of the best restaurants in Southern Maine (12). Web gurus made bacon flowcharts (13) and pork martinis developed in the U.K. (14). "It's a conversation piece that, after the party, makes it much more memorable," a cocktail expert said, "'Remember the egg nog?'" (15). The President pardoned a moonshiner (16).

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FishPhone

First, there was Google searches via textmessages. (Save 10 cents here).

Now, there's FishPhone. Got questions about whether that ocean perch is sustainable? "To find out about your seafood choice, text 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the fish in question." Courtesy of Blue Ocean.

Empire

Here's a true story about the Empire Dine and Dance, 575 Congress Street:
A librarian, a realtor, a construction worker, a solider, a chef and a musician walk into a former bar. The realtor says to the solider: “Do you think we can turn this dump into a destination?” The solider replies: “It’s got the makings of an Empire,” via TMS.
Here's a bad joke:
Vegan food reviewer.

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Eels

Live eels! Part of Christmas eating series on caviar, stollen, chocolate from Nancy English.

Siam Orchid

Siam Orchid, a small chain serves Thai lunches to lawyers and bankers in the basement of One City Center:

I placed my order for pineapple fried rice with chicken ($6.25) and saw chef/owner Manonh Phanthavong toss the ingredients into a deep, long-handled wok... And it tasted like it came from a wok too, with everything still crisp, all the vegetables tasting very fresh, via PPH.

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Wednesday, December 19

Duff

OCD, yeah you know me. I be "teenagerski."

"When it comes to personality the largest might be the mysterious proprietor of Portland Psst," via tP. w00t!

This week, Professor Brian Duff, presents his analysis of "The Internets." You see, teenagers invented "The Blogs" right after Al Gore took initiative in creating "The Internets." Here in Portland, the food blog scene is headed by the frame-laden, image-less, comment-free Portland Food Map. Cutting-edge stuff. Kind of like CompuServe. Ane *'s.
"Whereas the PFM [pronounced "pff-hmm"] is comprehensive and responsible, Psst [pronounced "pissed"] is completely obsessive and a touch unhinged [Woo! Woooo! Woooooo!].... She is repetitively [repeatedly?] annoyed at professional food writers for not being critical enough — unless they criticize Miyake, in which case that annoys her too. [Raw uni. If you didn't try it, you missed out]. She casually insults particular Portland writers as “vapid,” “stupid,” and “vegan” and occasionally unleashes cruel fat-jokes of the kind one finds in junior high schools, via tP.
Gossip is for the school yard and people love it. "This blog always has the Portland restaurant scene info before anybody else. Credit to them," via CHOW. Head over to eater.

No, really, thanks for the press. Too bad there wasn't time for a first-person account of the web of gossipmongers - w00t, w00t! - who make Psst possible. There's still hope that Ellis will want to schedule an interview with "Portland's gastronomical sage." And I be a sHe with a capital "H."

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Meatpaper

Meatpaper's second issue, profiled in the New York Times, features the images of Robert Bolesta, posted here. Both of the Journal of Meat Culture's editors were once vegetarians and one says: “We find over and over again that bacon is the conversion meat. Bacon is how vegetarians change their minds.”

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Red lobster

This might explain the rise of the Green Party and the veritable lack of Communists in Maine: Lobster and Commies don't mix, via CHOW.

Prominent German leftist Sahra Wagenknecht, who has groomed herself to resemble Communist icon Rosa Luxemburg, erased photographs taken at a lobster party, showing her consuming lobster, "rich man's food." She defender herself, saying she deleted them because she didn’t like the way she looked on the photos, via UKG.

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Tuesday, December 18

Tourtiere

Chicken pot pie. Mince meat pie. Venison-apple pie. Beef top round with baked tomatoes pie. And then, there's tourtiere, via ATM.

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Farm Bill follies

Senator Susan Collins voted against the Farm Bill, which passed last Friday, largely over disproportionate subsidies for small family farmers, via MPBN. She was one of the few Senate Democrats Republicans opposed - and had favored amendments that would have capped subsidies, via MS.
"Democrats not only kept subsidies flowing unfettered to giant farms. They also prevented the savings these amendments would have generated from being invested in food stamps, conservation, organic agriculture and other chronically underfunded programs, via EWG
Another loss was the defeat of amendments that would have banned fatty foods and sugary snacks in schools, via WP. That doesn't mean elected officials will suffer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have left her progressive instincts at the barn door when she drove a starch-, sugar- and fat-bloated bill that all but left out organic farmers through the House last summer, but when it comes to food for Congress, it's out with high-fructose corn syrup and in with uncaged hens and hormone-free milk, via SFC.

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Scratch Baking Co.

The best place to become a regular, according to DownEast. The choice is a good one, a surprise since the magazine's online dining listings are limited to The Cedars (an elder care facility), Becky's (as if no one's heard of it) and The Village Cafe (now closed):
Because it turns out that becoming a regular actually takes discipline, courage, and persistence. And, when it comes down to it, I’m a lazy, slightly shy person who has been known to give up rather than be defeated, whether the pursuit is Scrabble or chatting up a barista. ¶So it’s somewhat remarkable that I have become a regular at Scratch Baking Co., 416 Preble St., South Portland, via DownEast.
Scratch, formerly One-Fifty Ate Willard Square, has some of the best almond horns every day and damn good pizza on Fridays.

Photo: Stacey Cramp.

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Homeland insecurity

Booking that flight home for the holidays? Don't pack a fifth or a fruit pie.

After being confronted by Nuremberg (NUE) airport security, a 64-year-old Görlitz (Germany) man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after consuming a liter of vodka rather than disposing of the booze, via Speigel. In Buffalo (BUF), official confiscate a gallon a day in booze. They say it's disposed of in an earth-friendly manner, via BN. Glug, glug.

At Boston's Logan (BOS), about 300 pounds of contraband fresh fruits, vegetables and meats are burned each week, via BG. In Cleveland (CLE), watch out, pies in the skies are wicked dangerous, via USAT. And at PWM, lost cookies provoked a big scare, via MT.

Little Tiger

A profile of Dori Hart, of South Portland's Little Tiger Baking, via PPH. More sweets here.

Monday, December 17

Milkman

Home milk delivery rebounds in the Boston 'burbs, via NYT. "The milkman, who seemed to disappear along with black-and-white television, is making a comeback," via USAT.

Portland's horse-drawn milk delivery in 1938 to Madison's Mr. Garland in 1987. Now, there's Harris Farm.

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Sunday, December 16

Food inches

Reduce food miles to food inches, says backyard gardener Roger Doroin, via NYT.

On "sustainability"

Joining all-natural 7-Up and guaranteed electronics. Sustainable doesn't mean anything:
When pesticide makers and genetic engineers cloak themselves in the term, you have to wonder if we haven’t succeeded in defining sustainability down, to paraphrase the late Senator Moynihan, and if it will soon possess all the conceptual force of a word like “natural” or “green” or “nice," Michael Pollan, via NYT.

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WhoFooMa Trattoria

Whole Food cafeteria Trattoria, a place with overcooked chicken, a vast array of disgruntled service employees, no booze and decent French fries, gets two stars, via PPH. "With the enormous range of food steps away, I imagined the corner of Portland's Whole Foods Market that serves hot meals would be worth trying out. For the most part, I was wrong."

This over-reviewed place seems to hit the spot for some: It's been called the "hottest lunch spot," via tP and the "ultimate eat-and-run spot," via PPH.

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Saturday, December 15

Venison

Remove the gamey label from venison and call it "free-range, grass-fed, organic, locally produced, locally harvested, sustainable, native, low-stress, low-impact, humanely slaughtered meat," says Steven Rinella, the author of "A Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine," who wants to turn around the image of real men killing wild animals:

Hunters need to push a new public image based on deeper traditions: we are stewards of the land, hunting on ground that we know and love, collecting indigenous, environmentally sustainable food for ourselves and our families, via NYT.

The problem with hunting is it gets associated with the NRA and the Dick Cheneys of the world, who shoot aides in the face during "canned" partridge hunts, via HS. Then, there's the kind of people who go to Yellowstone National Park to experience "nature," people who have got to be smoking something illegal and think human intervention is unnatural. The hippy problem, says the Sportman's Alliance of Maine:

The least important tourist, in my mind, is the backpacker wilderness seeker granola eater who spends almost nothing here, but demands that we place a lot of land off-limits to suit their fine sense of the environment and protect their experience. Send them to Spain, via KJ.

In Maine, this could be called simply the Roxanne Quimby problem.

Suburban development has essentially turned the zoo inside out and the continuing Romance of The Hunt seems to be more of an illusion designed to embolden men sissified by aisles of shrink-wrapped meats than a viable argument for "wild" and "ethical" meats.

As for vegan soy-nuts, killing the glut of deer starving in their pristine suburban wilderness can be complicated. Hunters for the Hungry, a national organization, had 65 meat cutters in Maine donate 7,700 pounds of game meat to the Department of Agriculture and local food pantries, via PPH. There's a lot of ways to hunt. What gets bagged in the hunt for socially-responsible venison?

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Friday, December 14

Hefeweisen

Hey fratty! Ubiquitous American pilsners are so passe. Hefeweizen, that summer beer, makes its rounds on campus, via MC.

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Thursday, December 13

The Last Supper












Kate Philbrick, via BPC.
Friday auction in Westbrook 6 to 8 p.m.

Flask

Like OMG! Another thoroughly vapid review of Flask Lounge, the non-gay bar at 117 Spring Street:
"I ordered the Tuscan panini, with a side of sweet potato fries. The sandwich was fresh and crunchy, and the fries were delicious, as was the garlic mayo... The lounge also has several large flat-screen televisions, which are often tuned in to the New England sports teams," via PPH.

Week in Review, Dec. 13

Whiting's Look's Gourmet capitalized on lobster bisque embedded with the idea of "community development venture capital" (1). "It's not just food. It's Maine," said a lobster salesman selling $3,000 shares in his company (2). The Coast Guard stopped two fisherman for an expired raft and expired batteries and said, "We want them home safe for the holidays" (3). Harbor Fish Market was not about to fall into the ocean (3.5).

A hydrologist held a tea party in an aquifer battle with Nestle (4, 5) and a Portland woman touted the value of Austin, Texas's bottled rainwater (6). Bottled water for kids was the next big thing (7) and the best water in the state was Richmond's "au naturel" (8).

A goat appeared as Miss February (9) and Highland cattle appeared in a Southern Aroostook County calendar (10). Scientists tested mallards, black ducks and other dabbling and diving ducks (11). A vet explained that foie gras doesn't choke birds (12). "You don't chase chickens around in the wild," said a fish farmer. "You don't chase cows, so why would you only focus on wild fish?" (12)

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'shrooms

Regret the Error's year in review newspaper corrections include this sporific gem:
A story on Page B4 on Wednesday about foraging for edible mushrooms contained a photo of Amanita muscaria, which is a poisonous and hallucinogenic mushroom. It was a copy editor’s error, via the Portland dePressed Herald.

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Wednesday, December 12

Allagash

The 18th most popular microbrewery in the U.S.:
Allagash Brewing Company: Allagash started out brewing a Belgian Wit beer, Allagash White, and has expanded to a variety of bottle conditioned beers. This involves a second fermentation in the bottles after the initial fermenting in tanks. It adds an air of complexity to the beers, and the novelty of drinking a "living" beer, via Travelhacker

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Umami

Umami, the fifth taste, has been getting a lot of press. Scientists says it's a real taste, via NPR.

To understand the taste of umami, imagine a perfectly dressed Caesar salad, redolent of Parmesan cheese, minced anchovies and Worcestershire sauce; or slurping chicken soup; or biting into a slice of pepperoni-and-mushroom pizza. The savory taste of these foods, and the full, tongue-coating sensation they provide, is umami, via WSJ.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) was developed from kombu in Japan last century - and umami seasoning made its way onto the tables of Japenese kitchens, via NPR. The seasoning got a bad rap because MSG was used to make lousy processed food taste like something: Umami. Some allege that it causes headaches, heart palpitations and nausea. And, for many, it's still synonomous with crappy Chinese fast food:
I see there are many secrets to Chinese cooking, and these days MSG isn’t one of them, via tP.
But stirfries without bonita, kombu or fish sauce won't have the same umami-ness. Some other non-MSG sources include ketchup (originally derived from fermented fish), uni, and Duckfat's fries, via T&L.

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Monday, December 10

Ruski's

"Where else can you eat breakfast, play darts, and see people drinking Miller High Life before 11 am?"

Ruski's Restaurant and Pub, 212 Danforth Street is one of those places, via BPC.

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Fish-flavored fish

This spring, after 10 months of testing, the aquaculture company HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries created what it calls “sea-flavored” tilapia, the first farmed fish manipulated to taste like a wild fish. “It met 10 out of our 10 taste parameters,” says HQ’s president, via NYT.
Other food stories in the Times' Magazine's annual "Year in Ideas": culinary Orientalism, the edible cocktail, telltale food wrapping and vegansexuality, via TFS.

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Hot fudge

"Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae," Kurt Vonnegut, via CM.

Meat couture













Alex Lucka, via CH.

Sunday, December 9

Hypermiler

Local is important, but how it's packaged, grown, processed and transported matters too. A NYT piece today attempts to sort out the ethical maze of the carbon footprint debate - weighing local grain-fed meat, container-shipped produce and that farmer with a 25-year old pickup. And the article's author Andrew Martin says it's also about how you travel to market:
Some people walk or take the subway to buy their groceries and then compost what they don’t use. But, let’s face it, most of us drive and toss the leftovers into the garbage disposal or the garbage can. In doing so, we may be contributing nearly a quarter of the greenhouse gases associated with our food, via NYT.

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Saturday, December 8

Underground

Love + Butter, a Boston-area "supper club," has pulled the plug on its website shortly after this story ran in the Boston Globe.

What does that mean for underground restaurants? Deathmatches?

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Friday, December 7

Shipyard

"The Shipyard Ale Society is a super-ultra-mega clandestine secret society made up of like-minded Shipyard enthusiasts, nay, Shipyard Fanatics," meeting the first Wednesday of the month at the Great Lost Bear, 540 Forest Ave, via JF.

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Thursday, December 6

How to kill a pig













Photo: Alison Lepage, via LF. [Updated Oct. 14] Google seems to think this is authoritative. So here are two more links that might be more informative: How to buy and cook a pig's head and how to make a pig's head salami. For more on Maine's restaurant scene, click on the header image.

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Plywood: Business ed.

PFM spills the beans on the sale of Maine Roasters Coffee to the Freaky Bean.

A former Agway exec will head up Madison's Backyard Farms, via BDN.

Robinhood Free Meetinghouse pumps out biscuits, via tF.

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables owners' house burned, via EA.

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Leonardo's

A review of Leonardo's, on Forest Avenue, via PPH.

Week in Review, Dec. 6

The White House served farm-raised Atlantic salmon (1), cod and haddock fish ate artificial bait made from the waste of the herring industry (2), and a man wrote a tribute to meat upside down cake. (3). Compressed air was no longer used to remove pig brains (4) and most of the meat recalled in the U.S. probably ended up on the plate (5).

Two twenty-something lobstermen were called "pioneers" (6), food distributor Native Maine wrote about "locovores" (7), and sustainable Jello shots developed (8). Gritty's Brew Pub proposed a malt silo (9). The image of a spider monkey beating on a skull with femur bones implied hallucinogenic, mind-altering or psychotropic qualities to government employees (10).

Hannaford's Guiding Stars were licensed (11), Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni liked overpriced candles (12) and corn chowder was inexplicable in season (13). Shrimp season began despite the high seas (14).

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Wednesday, December 5

Co-op

Portland Food Co-op, via tP.

Martha

How to incarcerate a gingerbread version of Maine's part-time convicted felon, Ms. Martha Stewart, via CH.

For more beef on Martha and Mario head to NYM.

Illus.: Jason Lee.

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Bresca

Bresca, a place that has more than ironed out its kinks, gets a glowing review in DownEast:
Kern’s cooking, honed over twenty-five years in big-city restaurants, is a welcome riposte to overcomplicated, over-sauced, and oversized plates long on the ingredient du jour (Out! Out! Damned truffle oil!), via MS.
And an even more succinct note on chef Krista Kern's simple, straightforward menu from Chowhound newbie "Pilar01":
Bresca may be JUST what Portland needs. A European style restaurant that is actually capable of preparing food properly. I have given up on Fore Street, Hugo's, Cinque Terre and 555. They all have the self assurance, but don't deliver. Portland needs less restaurants with indifferent food, via CH.
Agreed.

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Plywood

Duckfat and Hugo's reportedly headed to Boston, via WoM. The Downtown Lounge closed for "renovations," via PFM. Those renovations might be coming as the result of an alleged incident with Portland's Finest that owner Norm Jabar suffered from behind the bar at 606 Congress Street.

Granny's Burritos, 420 (dude) Fore Street, rumored to closed because of a drug problem, via Psst. See also tP. Congress Street's Pom's Thai Taste Restaurant & Noodle shop looks about ready to opened and Empire Dine & Dance, who the hell knows when that'll open.

Also, as earlier Psst said The Front Room's Harding Smith would change the name of The Front Room; he's actually going to take over Natasha's on Exchange Street and name it The Grill Room. Evangeline bought a duck press and installed some wash sinks, via BB.

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Tuesday, December 4

Shipyard


A profile of the 16th largest craft brewery in America, Shipyard Brewing, via F&DE.

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Foodie books

Rabelais' recommendations, via JB. More ideas, via Zagat.

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Dog nuts

Justin Ellis is nuts about bacon and donuts. His spelling of the fried treat puts him in the Krispy Kreme kamp.
Doughnuts – No, this reporter does not run on Dunkin. This weekend I had the pleasure of having brunch at the Frog and Turtle in Westbrook. You may remember that the Frog and Turtle is the offspring of Uffa! ANYWAY, aside from having a scramble with two types of meat –I'll let you guess – I OD'ed on the doughnut bar. They have a rotating list of doughnuts made in–house, a move so delicious and possibly sinful that I felt wrong trying to eat all three doughnuts I ordered, via MT.
Anyway, Hanson Gregory, a Maine sailor, claims to have invented donuts. Now, places like Duckfat call them beignets, as if that somehow elevates them to the realm of haute cuisine. For the local, hand-cut, there's Tony's. For Bollardheads, there's Mark's Topless Donut Shop [Update Feb. 25, 2009. Mark's is closed] .

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Sunday, December 2

Bonobo

A review of Bonobo's interior with a few lines about rancid wine, cream-sauce pies and anchovy-topped Caesar salad, Nancy English gives the "unpretentious" Pine Street pizzeria 4-stars, via PPH: "The craftsmanship here assures you of an exceptional thin-crust pizza."

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Duckfat

A uninsightful review of Duckfat, via Type A, who opts out of the Belgium fries: "The splurge is worth it when the food is this good."

Saturday, December 1

Shrimp

Shrimp season opens Dec. 1, via MDMR. But that doesn't mean there will be local shimp until next week. The National Weather Service says, SEAS 6 TO 9 FT. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM IN RAIN...SLEET...AND SNOW.

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