Thursday, January 31

Week in Review, Jan. 31

Taking free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches off the school lunch menu for delinquents irked Madawaska residents (1), frappacinos were favored over Folgers (2), and caffeine undermined the metabolism of diabetics (3). Starbucks got rid of its breakfast sanwiches (4).

Haitian ate dirt because of rising food prices (1) and eating sandwich wraps spurred the economy (6). A woman tunked (7). Wild blueberry pickers harvested 77 million pounds last year (8). In Britain, a woman faced jail time for discarding an apple core out a car window (9), a wild boar was shot on school grounds (10), and McDonald's began awarding diplomas (11). A rare dolphin was beaten to death (12) and a fisherman found a letter inside a fish (13).

The trawler Lady Luck went down with six tons of ice (14), ice was the new cool thing to chew (15), and a Hannaford official said, ""Refrigeration is a pretty big chunk of what goes on in any supermarket" (16). President Bush admitted to having a drinking problem (17) and Mike Huckabee admitted to frying squirrels in a popcorn popper (18).

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Tuesday, January 29

Bud Light, dude

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Recycled plywood

Straight from the horse's mouth:
"Last week, the Portland City Council was scheduled to consider liquor and entertainment license requests by Erik Desjarlais, owner of Ladle Soup House on Exchange Street, who wants to open a 'French-inspired' restaurant called Evangeline where Uffa operated for many years. That license hearing has been postponed until next month to give councilors an opportunity to review Desjarlais' criminal record, via tB.
Looks like Desjarlais might be spending V-day at a one-year anniversary party.

Elsewhere:
"Spartan Grill has moved into the Public Market House on Monument Square. Owner Mike Roylos plans to serve up gyro, falafel, Moussaka and other yummy Greek treats. ¶Diners at Bintliff’s American Cafe on Friday night were told it would be the last dinner service for a while. The 98 Portland St. establishment has been well known for breakfast and brunch since 1990, but has served dinner for only the past few years," via tF.

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Monday, January 28

Whipple Pond

Sapporo

Slightly tough octopus, a cooked shrimp, slightly fishy albacore tuna and large cube of fried green tea ice cream saturated gets Sapporo, 230 Commercial, a 3-star review from Nancy English. "This big, efficient sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant caters to a wide range of tastes, but its offerings themselves cover too wide a spectrum, some not as good as they should be," via PPH.

Ankole


These longhorns, the Ankole in Africa, are increasingly replaced by the Holsteins, via NYT.

“The American cow, once you feed it, it is a factory.”

Sunday, January 27

Edible sewer

From the toilet to the tap, the "groundwater replenishment system," reclaims wastewater for Orange County, Calif. residents, via NPR.

From the human waste lagoons to the garden, human waste gets turned into fertilizer, via Harpers.

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Saturday, January 26

Bees

[Addendum: Local beekeepers, via PPH.]

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Friday, January 25

Burrito!

What a name. Sounds like dumb. But the Westbork place has good food, says JimmyB:
Get on a plane or glide to Maine on your skateboards, find your way to Burrito in Westbrook and experience burrito perfection, via JB.
With tofu, mushy rice and a lack of heat, says Type A:
Cleaner and less grungy than Granny's ever was, the decor is cheery with lots of color, though this time of year the small space heater is not quite enough to take the chill out of the air, via TA.

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Mercurial tuna

Sushi grade tuna is full of mercury, via NYT. One scientist said don't eat it more than once every three weeks. Here's what the presidential candidates have to say about it (including one candidate who says sushi wasn't in the Garden of Eden), via NYT. Meanwhile, Maine is challenging a clean air mercury emission rule because it's not stringent enough, via MPBN.

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Thursday, January 24

Week in Review, Jan. 24

A mysterious blob invaded the sewers outside a Lewiston pizza parlor (1) and reported criminal activity involving a butcher knife was actually a police training (2). The Federal government was beginning a program to monitor all farm animals in the US, except pigs (3). A book based on the Three Little Pigs was deemed too offensive (4).

An ad about horses misled readers (5), two horses, originally destined for the slaughterhouse, went to Graceland instead (6), and the Green Elephant served vegetarian food, the kind of cuisine perfected over two millennia of Buddhism (6). A high-spirited women received Hershey's bars after a newspaper story described her love of chocolate (7).

Despite plans to stop plastic bag distribution at Whole Foods (8) , some customers said plastic was fantastic (9). Starbucks was about to introduce a
$1 coffee (10) and $20,000 coffee bars were installed (11). A diner found a pearl in an oyster (16), a legislator introduced a breakfast bill (13), and winter farmers markets proliferated in Portland (14) and in the Midwest (15). In Ohio, beet juice was used to prevent icy roadways (16).

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Rachel's

Rachel's L'Osteria gets whacked by a slap-happy Type A, whose only omission about the sins of Rachel's are the gigantic portion sizes:
Neighborhood restaurants, serving average comfort food, certainly have a place in our local communities, but to charge the prices that Rachel's does, they should, at the very least, hire professional waitstaff, via TA.

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Russell French

A chat last week with Russell French, food photographer (photo at right) and man who wouldn't know a cryptozoo from a bowl of glue:
Yesterday, I photographed some cereal. We used Elmer's Glue for milk, and because we're not selling milk, it's OK to do that. If you use milk, milk kind of looks thin and blue. It doesn't photograph well. That's a good example of about as far as we push it, via PPH.

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Tuesday, January 22

Plywood Report

Novare Res ("to start revolution") will be a European-influenced beer cafe at 4 Canal Plaza with (and I quote) "no widescreen TVs projecting the current sports game, pin-ball or video-gambling machines, or eye-sore flashing neon lights promoting a bland, watered-down, mass-produced product," and 25 beers on draft, via PCC (Thanks anon!)

Wharf Street's Digger's and Liquid Blue closed this month, and The Iguana, also of Barf Street, is expected to close in a few months. Cake will also close, but Oasis, which closed in 2006, is back at the Threeways location, via tB.

Crab Louie on Commercial St., is now One Eyed Jacks Pizza. [Addendum (thanks anon!):] And an optimistic Evangeline hopes to open the Feb. 1 (more on that here), a day before Fransisco's at the Blue House Cafe serves its last dinner service.

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The Scribbler

The alimentum of Maine, The Portland Culinary Scribbler, a foodie e-lit mag of sorts, made its debut last week:
The time is right for a break and I remember the bottle of wine and medallion of cheese I've put aside for a quiet moment
- Don Lindgren, via TS.

Caribou, Me. (1940)














You own this picture. It's public domain. Part of the Library of Congress, which is almost on Flickr. That means you can tag pictures like this one (food, for example) and you don't even have to know Boolean to search the LOC collection. More from the Maine collection on the FSA label below, including this prize-winner.

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Monday, January 21

Sam and Don

In an otherwise forgettable i(heardaboutthatlastyear)Herald article about the foodie bookstore we've come to love, Rabelais owners Sam and Don weigh in on what's out there in blog-o-land, via PPH:

Portland Psst!: A daily read for Samantha, who wonders how this blog keeps up with all the gossip in the food scene. "Portland Psst! is either 25 people all over town or one person who's incredibly industrious." Don adds that the "somewhat ironic, snarky tone" appeals to them too.
Portland Food Map
eGullet
Michael Ruhlman's blog
The Ethicurian
Yarn Harlot
Robert Gibbons

Winks all around. Twenty-five wink, in fact.

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Geary's London

Last year, Times critic Eric Asimov gave Geary's London Porter the three-star rating:
Hit all the classic porter notes... It was dry and tangy, softly carbonated, with earthy coffee and espresso flavors, the kind of ale that I imagine I could enjoy immensely through an evening with friends., via NYT.
Local Beerblogger Jason has got this to say in his most recent post:
It’s not a standout in this style, but well worth trying. At only 4.2% ABV, I could definitely see drinking a few of these at a sitting, via BB.

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Sunday, January 20

Seaweed















John Ryan, a Maine seaweed harvester. Photo: Jon Edwards, via Orion.

Organic

Bee Wilson, the author of "Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats," questions the logic of organic food in last week's Financial Times:
When you buy an organic egg you are not just buying the means to make an omelette, you are buying a dream. It is the dream of something delicious, which will simultaneously be good for your body and good for the hens and people who produced and packed it. It is the dream of being self-indulgent and virtuous at the same time - which essentially encapsulates the main yearning of our consumerist world, via FT.

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Saturday, January 19

Food campaign, part 3









The most important issue facing the nation: Does meat-eating lead to impotence? "A Whopper at the drive-through can lead directly to a flopper in the bedroom," says Celery Clinton in this pro-vegetarian PeTA video on the presidential candidates.

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Friday, January 18

Five fifty-five

Type A is "a huge Five Fifty-Five fan" so it's no surprise that Erin feels that she "died and went Heaven" after a recent brunch that included spotty coffee, cauliflower and mascarpone soup that existed in perfect harmony, and delectable duck and egg, via TA.

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Thursday, January 17

Tourism

The latest tourist info is not just super-cryptogastrotourism with promotional videos of Sam Hayward, Rob Evans and Steve Corry explaining why Maine is the beacon of local, authentic food. The Way Life Should Be is apparently way off the deep end of agri-tourism:


Brought to you by Maine Office of Tourism, Nancy Marshall PR (another one of the Nancys of Maine) and the Press Herald.

Almost as weird as Nebraska's Beef Council. Tagline: "Discover the power of protein in the land of lean beef."

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Week in Review, Jan. 17

A deer broke into a Bangor bank (1), venison appeared increasingly on roadways (2) and hunters cheered a proposition to hunt more moose (3). A winter farmers market developed (4), Hannaford bought Mister Market, (5) and pie was to be served on biodegradable plates made from sugar cane stalks and silverware created from potatoes (6).

"My mom was a meat-and-potatoes type of person, because that's what my father liked," said a cookbook author. "Our neighbor was the opposite. She was Bloomingdale's and all the fancy French cheeses" (7). French newspapers were required to have warning labels on stories about wine (8). Europe is “the world’s largest market for fish,” worth about $22 billion a year (7), the Taliban threathened to bomb restaurants (9), and Croatia might be kept out of the European Union because of its protected fishing grounds (10). The fishermen's pier in Port Clyde was about to expand (11).

"I think Maine agriculture is at a critical stage, dealing with the energy crisis, climate change, and the interest in local foods," said a beef producer. "We need to be capitalizing on those and moving forward" (12). A vegan documented a spelt bagel maker (13), the "pork was perfect" at a "meat house" (14) and Pineland Farms was called a phoenix (15). A woman sliced mushrooms "fft fft fft" (16).

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Food print

The Times of London reports on the increasing used of “food print,” as in how big is your foot print, via CHOW.

The term was coined by researchers at Cornell University in New York state, who found that a person who followed a low-fat vegetarian diet would need less than half an acre per year to produce their food. A high-fat diet with a lot of meat, on the other hand, needed 2.1 acres.

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Micucci

"Creepy Steve" Lanzalotta, of not-so-Diet Code-fame, gets his pizza profiled, via PPH:
"The pizza has a thick crust that is both light and satisfyingly chewy. It's topped with a juicy, sweet tomato-based sauce with oregano and scattered pockets of mozzarella.... 'It's very authentic,' Lanzolotta said. 'We have 80- and 90-year-olds who are addicted. They say things like, "This tastes just like my mom used to make."

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Wednesday, January 16

Salmon

Whether it's wild or farmed, get to know your Atlantic salmons, via FSS.

Photo: Kidman/CDRC.

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Michael Pollan round-up

A Pollan clerihew, via Brett:
What's irritating about Pollan
Is he thinks it's his callin'
Not just to tell us what to eat
But that we should kill our own meat.
The Berkeley dude won't cross a picket line - even for the Daily Show, via PW.

He's firebombed woodchucks in Suburbia, via USAT.

The only thing he eats at chains is tuna. Maybe that's why his next article is not going to be about food, via SFC.

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Tuesday, January 15

Shh!

Kathleen Fleury, who knows about goats, is about to fix up the lamest dining listing ever, and is not this site's publicist (Really, that one's not a lie), has this to say:
"Psst! Want to know where to go for the dish on Greater Portland’s restaurant scene? Look no further than your computer screen. Go to www.portlandpsst.blogspot.com and dig into the picante posts of anonymous food blogger Portland Psst! While sticking mostly to what’s going on in Maine restaurants, the blog also covers noteworthy local and national food and drink news, from new food lingo to store openings, restaurant reviews to specialty Maine products. Even if you disagree with his (or her) opinions, you’ll at least get your fill of snarky gossip and sharp-tongued critiques," via DE.
Most of the traffic at Type A comes from Psst!
Portland Psst! has a dedicated readership; of all the sites that link to this blog, the highest percentage of repeat visitors came from this source.
The source of the traffic here (about 500 pages hit a day, including some loyal Press Heralders) comes from right here, or from people searching Google on "how to kill a pig," "bresca," or "portland psst." Thanks for all the press.

A shout-out of thanks to the Portland Phoenix for including my blog in their story on our online food culture. (Although I do disagree with the characterization of Mr. or Ms. Portland Psst, whose blog I find consistently amusing, if not always enlightening), via AV.

Always maybe enlightening. Get it here. Scooped fresh.

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Nuts














Excuse me, my kid's allergic to PB&J, can't you get him wild-caught salmon lox on wheat-free, nut-free bagel with dairy-free spread?

If you haven't heard about the "Erin Brockovich of food," head over to The Times. Wait, wasn't Brockovich a phony? So is much of the food allergy scare set, says Harper's (above). Including that peanut butter kiss of death.

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Monday, January 14

Goat meat

Chevon gets a boost from ex-New Yorker Kathleen Fleury over at DownEast, who mentions the world's most popular proteins, the burgeoning business of goat meat. The burgeon: Thyme for Goat, a Maine goat meat conglomeration mentioned in a PPH story last week.

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Stuff the ballot box

Over at Leena Eats.

And at the Portland Press Herald. Vote Psst! the best day trip in Maine.

Melamine











Photo: Ariana Lindquist/NYT

Sunday, January 13

Bresca

Krista Kern got profiled in MH+D last summer by Christopher Locke, who added an "S" to her last name (thanks JimmyB!). Locke writes, "Who's afraid of Krista Kerns?" and he has this to say about the decor at Bresca, a place with baseboard heating, Edder Vedder playing on stereo, and tulips in the window:
On one particularly cool spring evening, I sat at Bresca’s narrow bar and enjoyed a sumptuous glass of red wine from Sicily. I noticed a string of unassuming black-and-white photos [Aren't they color?] stretching across the wall like Christmas cards. The photos are clearly austere yet elegant European city scenes, each one holding an intriguing bit of mystery. ¶“The pictures are things that I love and motivate me,” Kerns admits. “I took, maybe, 400 photos just walking around Paris and Rome on days off, and the feeling I had when I took them was that I had worked for so many years for others and that it was finally time to do my own thing—and nothing was going to stop me from doing it,” via MH+D.
Take note, pastarazzi.

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Portland

Organic Gardening rates the Emerald City one of the nation's greenest, in part because residents drive two hours north every fall to the Common Ground Fair.
"Green is growing all over this coastal city--it has acres of parkland and trails... All city-owned diesel vehicles run on a mix of 20 percent vegetable-based biodiesel fuel and 80 percent regular diesel, and must adhere to an anti-idling ordinance."

Saturday, January 12

Switchgrass

A native prairie grass could kick corn in the pants. It delivers five times more energy than it takes to grow. "This is an energy crop that can be grown on marginal land," said a lead researcher, via SA and NPR.

That means the fuel tank may have less food in the next century. Corn refined ethanol, slow to catch on, has been used as a gasoline additive for years, although producing a gallon of biofuel takes more energy than it creates, via Slate. Recent spikes in ethanol production have caused increased food costs, or agflation. But can farmers be weaned off corn subsidies?

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Pastarazzi

"Machaus" posts this term for food photobloggers on Urban Dictionary, via FWA. It was coined the week of Nov. 29. [Addendum] Erin defends her love of flashbulbs and Miss Manners, via Type A.

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Whaling

Maine's commercial whaling industry was largely a short-lived response to the failing menhaden fishery. Here's an 1885 bulletin.

But Japan's whaling continues. This year, an Australian ship pursues Japan's whaling fleet near Antarctica in an effort to end the annual slaughter of Minke whales, via NYT.

The whales are caught "for science" but the meat is for human consumption. The debate has no shortage of drama. There's a man who rams whaling boats, has been called a terrorist, and behaves like Captain Nemo (a profile of Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson here). In recent weeks, this YouTube video calling the Aussies racists has topped the most popular video charts. The video links kangaroo killing, an Australian commercial against Kirin beer and last year's racial violence.

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Coffee

A podcast on the science of coffee by Andrea Illy, as part of a series from the New York Academy of the Sciences, via BB. All in the betterment of that good cup of coffee.

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Friday, January 11

The Hill

What makes it "better on top"? Apparently, restaurants have a lot to do with it. Here's what the Financial Times had to say last month:
Munjoy Hill itself has also become decidedly hip. Funky, new restaurants such as The Front Room and The Blue Spoon have opened up, as well as new pubs such as [The] Snug and gourmet coffee bars like North Star Café, via FT.
That means if you haven't bought a place there, it's too late. But down the hill...
"Bayside is another rough area on the fringe. But a new Whole Foods just opened there so I think that within three to five years that area will be transformed," via FT.

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Thursday, January 10

Week in Review, Jan. 10

A dog that once ate seven pounds of food after learning to open the fridge died (1). A woman named Goad continued chronicling goats (2, 3) and "the mere mention of some lobsters receiving individual condos and whole body massages became, I guess, a clarion call in their underwater world" (4). Starbucks on Exchange Street removed portraits painted on its windows.

Maine groundfishermen sued over rules for herring trawlers (6). A lobsterman advocated for locally-managed fisheries (7). "Fishing may be hot or it may be cold," said a fisherman (8). Maine shrimp appeared on menus in New York (9) and Local 188 (10). Rising hop prices added up to bad news for boozers (11). Rising school lunch prices were still a pretty good value (12).

Stops at a New Hampshire restaurant were not mandatory for presidential candidates. "But if they want to win, I'd make an appearance at the Merrimack,"said a Democratic organizer (13). FohBoh, a social networking site for foodies, was launched (14). The site had one member from Maine (15). The number of hungry Mainers increased (16).

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Wednesday, January 9

Pollan haiku'd

In defense of Michael Pollan's new book, Edible San Francisco published haiku:
Offal meats. Taste great.
Eat more. Less waste.
—Chris Cosentino, chef, Incanto, via ESF.

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Five fifty-five

Five things about the Triple Nickel, via MH+D.









Photo: Benedetta Spinelli

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Plywood Report

Wild Oats, on Marginal Way, is finally closing. Discount oil's gone. Ditto the meats.

Chef Rob Evans at Hugo's suddenly realized very few people wanted six-course tasting menus and even with a bar menu, "customers who ate there were still sitting in plain view of all the well-heeled tourists dining at tables covered in white linen," so he's going a la carte in May and the bar tables with go au naturel, via PPH. Chef Evans is also consulting for a seafood restaurant in Hull, Mass. named Legasea and sailing on a weeklong cruise, via PPH.

Erik Desjarlais is getting tired of being asked when Evangaeline, in Longfellow Square, is opening, via bB. He's not a soothsayer. He's a chef. And he says, Soon.

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Agenda

The 2008 Ag. Trades Show in Augusta. From Blue Seal Feeds and Boer Goat Breeders, Farm Credit of Maine and Farm Family Insurance to Hammond Tractor Company and Hannaford Bros., Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners, here's the state's promotional event of the year. Jan. 15 - 17, Augusta Civic Center, via GRGM.

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Tuesday, January 8

A soupe aux pois












A SOUPE AUX POIS.
Par Albert Larriou
Sur les bords du Saint Francois,
Jadis qu'il plouve ou qu'il vente
J'allais jouer dans les bois,
Jusqu 'au soir a la brunante!
Au retour, mere en eomi, me grondait,
mais sans colere,
Puis me disait: "Petit Pierre, Viens
manger ta soupe aux pois!"
That's a song about pea soup recorded by the Federal Writers Project in Old Town, Maine. The FWP employed unemployed writers during the Great Depression and was sort of the written version of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which created documented rural life and later promoted the war effort. The 1940 photo (above) was taken in the home of a potato farmer by Jack Delano in Wallagrass, Maine.

This month in Saveur, Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad, takes a look at America Eats, the unwritten opus of the FWP. Two writers are apparently working on collections related to the WFP, via CHOW.

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Number 55

Maine makes the Saveur 100 this year, coming in a #55. It's the only state on the list (though the chefs on Montreal get a nod). Nancy Harmon Jenkins skimps on The Way Life Should Be and mentions the excessively familiar: Portland as the Sucka Free of the East, Fore Street, Morse's Sauerkraut, Black Crow Bakery and Maine shrimp.

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Sardines

Charting the demise of Sally, a giant Eastport sardine dropped from the roof of a Bank Square building on New Year's Eve 2007, via tB.

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The Skinny

No, not the Congress Street bar that's not called The Skinny. The Skinny Bitches are a vegan cookbook duo, via NYT, who may be giving Michael Pollan a run for his money.

Not everyone likes the term skinny and Starbucks baristas object to the whole skinny line. "People will not want to order a drink with a name that they associate with an unhealthy appearance," via SBG.

Mocha schadenfreude grande skinny lattes, once the pride of an ailing Starbucks, may be headed to McDonald's, which has plans to install coffee bars at its stores, via WSJ.

But big box brews don't necessarily mean local coffee shops will go under, via WSJ and Psst. Although the proliferation of watery lattes may get the ultra-gourmet coffee brews a slinging. $11,000 machines anyone? via NPR.

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Monday, January 7

Plywood Report

Bleachers pulled the plug on its 118 Preble Street location, via MT. The sports bar did seem to have some identity (right) and theft problems, via wen, earlier this year.

Little Lad's, 482 Congress, appears to be cranking out their hippie crack (herbed popcorn), but the store front looks as good as gone, via WoM, and the phones don't get answered.

Ladle is taking a nap. And Granny's may be reopened by the owner of Maine Beer and Beverage.

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Beer

Pete, a middle-aged dude, just got started sampling Maine's microbrews at beerlocavore.

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Food campaign, part 2

One blogger says John Edwards is the only major candidate who has articulated a food policy, via FD.

Ron Paul apparently wants to lift any raw milk bans, via TNR, and Dennis Kucinich has policies on mad cow disease, genetically engineered food, and organic farming, via MP.

For vinophiles, there's a guide to the races here.

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Videosnacking

Heat up that Hot Pocket. Turn on the YouTube.

Office lunch + The Internets = Video snacking.

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Sunday, January 6

Gauchos

Before saddling up for a $30 meat feast on Commercial Street, here's what a brand new poster on Chowhound has to say about Gaucho's cookery:

"I am troubled by some of the negative comments of other diners. I hope that anyone who may happen to have a bad experience would talk to the floor manager about recommendations and suggestions. Personally, I enjoy different preparations of meat. I enjoy sampling the difference in flavor and texture of a rare piece of flank steak over the same cut that is cooked well done," via CH.

Sounds like a shill. A real fake. Goat's got this to say:

We had pork loin, chicken, bacon wrapped turkey, chirizo, bacon wrapped filet, salmon, chicken hearts, prime rib, sirloin, flank, shortrib, lamb and probably something else I'm forgetting. The only item that was half way decent was the flank, which was medium rare and had good beef flavor.... Personally, I would rather go to a traditional steakhouse and get one great cut of meat then go to a place that gives you bad cuts of fifteen different types of meat, via CH.

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Chaba Thai

Soft scallops, not-so-crispy "crispy duck," delicate fried tofu get Chaba Thai II on Forest Avenue two and half stars from Nancy English. "But Chaba II's hit-or-miss dishes won't allow me to put them in one category... It's a mixed bag," via PPH.

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Saturday, January 5

DIY smoker

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Pom's Thai Taste + Noodle Shop

"It was exceptionally tasty and also quite filling. The ingredients were fresh and plentiful. Portland has long had many good choices for Thai, and the addition of a downtown Pom’s now means we have one more," via PPH.

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Friday, January 4

Clone-free milk*

Cloned animals (like Liz and Liz II, at right) will probably get the Federal A-OK next week:
While many consumer groups still oppose it, the FDA declaration that cloned animal products are safe would be a milestone for a small cadre of biotech companies that want to make a business out of producing copies of prize dairy cows and other farm animals - effectively taking the selective breeding practiced on farms for centuries to the cutting edge, via WSJ.
Cloned Holsteins may lead to "clone-free" milk on the supermarket shelves, via WP. But despite the popularity of "hormone-free" or "kinda organic" milk, manufacturers tend to oppose this what's-not-in-the-food labeling. Pennsylvania recently considered prohibiting the rBST-free label, under apparent pressure from Monsanto, via NPR and PI.

If Oakhurst Dairy is any indication, a big asterisk may follow any label on cloned-free milk or meat. Oakhurst's Stan Bennett lost a suit to Monsanto over his No Artificial Hormones label, via MoJo.

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Thursday, January 3

Hot gossip report

StarEast Cafe had its grand opening at Woodford's Corner. Don't run on Dunkin'. Run on burnt coffee.

Longfellow Square's Evangeline hired Joe Ricchio (right) to tend bar, some French-trained guy to maitre d' and has been taking resumes for waitstaff. The 190 State St. restaurant was rumored to be opening Jan. 19, but chef Erik D's been too busy for a blog update or a post on Ladle's projected closing date.

DuckFat's chief executive fry man reported headed to Pat's Cafe, 484 Stevens Ave. Andrew will head the Meat Market's floundering upstairs restaurant. Double-fried potato goodness?

For a year-end plywood review (stuff you've already heard that would put your grandmother to sleep), head over to the TMS.

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Week in Review, Jan. 3

A woman accused of stealing 32 containers of caviar from Browne Trading Co. was held at Cumberland County Jail, where the menu included chicken fricassee over mashed potatoes with peas and carrots (1). A journalist praised booze in the newsroom (2) and a 16-year old basketball star who recovered from a potato harvesting accident, said, "The day I lost my arm I was extremely upset about it, definitely" (3).

"Dimebags" of herbs were sold at Fat Baxter's (4) and 7,000 applicants wanted to become a hotel chain's Chief Beer Officer (5). The Patriots win resulted in free egg rolls (6), stuffed pepper soup at Shaw's was called "tops" (7), and a woman kept moose, wild boar, buffalo, duck, caribou, pheasant, grouse and salmon in her freezer (8). Two dams would be removed to make way for salmon (9).

A professor said the scale of smelt fishing would have appealed to Melville (10), a bait dealer had 5,000 shiners and 1,500 smelt on hand for the start of the season (11). "When I got here it was still dark," an ice camp owner said. "Then as it got light, it sounded like wolves howling in the distance when all the ice augers started up" (12).

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Passage to India

“I have more seafood than most Indian restaurants,” says Khasru Alam, who grew up in Bangladesh and moved to the U.S. in 1998. “I bring a lot of Bangladeshi food into it, but Indian and Bagladeshi food are not very different,” via TMS.

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Wednesday, January 2

Agenda

Flaming cocktails! David Wondrich, author of IMBIBE! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar, visits Rabelais on Middle Street, via RB, from 5 - 7 p.m. Drinking starts at 7 p.m, RiRa, 72 Commercial Street.

Hot plates! Stephen Quirk, over at MeCA, depicts the kitchen at Bresca (right), Zu bakery, and West End Deli in "The Kitchens Project." He's documented blog life and, like Wondrich, has apparently drawn his inspiration from history. Opening at June Fitzpatrick Gallery, 5 - 8 p.m.

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Tuesday, January 1

Passage to India

"Passage to India is a welcome addition to Portland's food scene, serving the best Indian cuisine I've had locally," via Type A.

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Starbucks

Starbucks is everywhere. But does that mean better business for mom-and-pop coffeeshops? via Slate.

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Pollanation

The Michael Pollanation of the national food debate moves forward with the release of In Defense of Food. The new pro-vegetable manifesto essentially responds to The Omnivore's Dilemma and advocates three things: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants, via NPR.

The book also includes Pollan's take on nutritionism, the idea that food marketing utilizes science (aka, "This 'whole wheat' bread may save you from yourself"). Grocery stores also stack the deck against the Pollan mantra. For a great visual on the placement of cheap, carbohydrate-high products at the center of the supermarket head to Wired. Illus.: Salon.

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