Friday, February 29

Inventory of non-perishable goods II

Illus: Zoe Wright.

Coming to Space, as part of The New Constructionists March 21.


Pandalus borealis

Here's where to get Maine shrimp served in Portland, according to Nancy English:
The Front Room

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On the big road

Today, from the AP, trucking advocates appeal for help:
"The government stepped in and helped the farmers when they were in trouble. Why? Because the farmers feed America, the farmers put food on the table. But who do you think delivers that food?"
Two years ago, via Salt.
Jesse Haskell grips the black steering wheel loosely in the palm of his left hand and rests his muscular forearms on his thighs. Jesse drives wearing a Red Sox hat, wraparound sunglasses, and a dark blue t-shirt. Five times this week, he'll drive a milk truck from his family's farm to milk processing plants.
In an increasingly specialized industry, Haskell is a jack-of-all-trades: a dairy farmer and a milk hauler. En route, he samples milk and truck stop fodder, shoots the breeze with farmers and inspection agents, and searches for that elusive Mrs. Right. The family's dairying business is a serious commitment, 60 hours a week, but don't get Haskell wrong, he knows how to have fun on five hours sleep.

"The Milk Haul" is an upcoming show of black and white photographs by Julia Thomas (photo above) and a short reading by Peter Smith April 25, 7 p.m. at Rabelais Books, 86 Middle Street. Milk and cookies will be served. Copies of the published article in the winter issue of Gastronomica will be available.

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Thursday, February 28

i'm starting to forget about you

eric hou

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Every time you click here

A journalist kills a kitten:
"We will, sooner rather than later, become a no-kill city and this is the greatest step in that direction," Councilman Tony Cardenas, who co-authored the bill, said as he held strangled a kitten at a City Hall news conference, via NCT.
Two guys were fired for that one, via E+P.

And, in Maine, someone else fired – with a .22 at Bob, a female cat, who
had a small entry hole in her chest and the larger wound where the bullet exited. It destroyed a third of her right shoulder blade and the surrounding muscle, via SJ.
Move along, folks. Nothing funny about this. Even if those cats are eating endangered birds, via NYT. Photo: Ann Bryant/SJ.


Food fight

Stefan Nadelman



Six word memoirs are, like, hot!

Shorter wine reviews: the more I read.

Now, what's with Portland restaurants?


Sorry, I'm nuts


Week in Review, Feb. 27

Bitches were terrorizing little children on Willard Beach (1), a Maine exchange student lost 50 pounds in Egypt staying with Coptic Christians (2), and chefs Sam Hayward, Steve Corry, Rob Evans, Krista Kern, and Lee Skawinski were photographed for an article in Yankee magazine (3). "This is just one snapshot," said a lobsterman. "But if next year is the same, and the year after that, we've got a problem" (4).

At an agricultural show, French President Sarkozy told a man who wouldn't shake his hand: "Then piss off, dumb ass. Go!" (6). Rosie’s regulars received popcorn that related to poison cocoa butter, leap years, and Albert Einstein (7). Three martinis led to multiple collapses (8). Starbucks shut down for three hours to trains its employees (9), scientists created a robot named Justine that made coffee (10), and a Justin Ellis reader said that a "Bandol Scandol Foils Foodie" (11).

Wheat prices reached record highs (12). Nevada schoolchildren practiced elk calls (13), a 75-foot Westbrook boat was towed to Gloucester (14), and bottom trawling could be seen from outer space (15). "I really don't like fish," said a kid. "I don't like to eat them. I don't like to touch them" (16). Valentine bandits (17) and fishiness permeated Portland (18).

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Wednesday, February 27

Martha's props

Tony's Donuts

Hand-cut donuts cool on a wooden dowel. Rick Fournier downs another cup of coffee from a large Styrofoam cup.

The pink neon lighting his shop window - Tony's Donuts - has been glowing since 5:45 a.m. and he's been winding up since four o'clock for trouble.

Trouble is what Fournier calls his cache of regulars. Trouble is also brewing less than a block from Tony's, inside a Citgo station, where one of southern Maine's 36 Dunkin' Donuts locations pumps out Coffee Coolatas and Munchkin boxes.

Tony's (video above by DownEast) is a neighborhood business that doesn't have a problem with chain businesses. Do you?

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White people fodder

White people like expensive sandwiches, kitchen gadgets, veganism, and mushroom hunting, via NPR.

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Attention, WhoFooMa lobster shoppers, you're all weenies:
"Killing a lobster yourself is one of the last reminders in our modern lives of the personal connection we all have to the animals we eat," says Trevor Corson. "If we hand that moment over to the Crustastun, what we're really doing gets whitewashed," via WP.

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The PPH profiles Westbrook's "own little restaurant row." How quaint it sounds.

Includes mention of the Baker's Bench, the F&T (effin tee), Fajita Grill, Portland Pie, and the Main Street Cafe.

No links to anywhere on The Internets, not even to blogger John Morgan, chronicler of the Westbrook Diarist, quoted in the story. W00t!

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Tuesday, February 26


Three stars for Walter's, on Exchange Street, for their bad fusion cuisine, via PPH:
"Crispy painted duck breast" ($19) was not crisp, but the sticky rice cakes were. This dish, like the ravioli, was sauced with so much sweetness that the slightly sinewy, mild duck had little chance to shine. Coconut-milk sauce with Thai red curry is drizzled on this meat, along with "adobo soy sauces," a sugar-syrup-based sauce made with lemongrass, ginger, chipotle, soy and garlic.
At least there's some redemption to the story. With a little reporting, Nancy English uncovers, OMG, some misleading menu items, namely the local "wild caught" oysters from Connecticut.

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Bagel Man

Bagel reviews, via DE and TA, miss this rogue (at left), who makes the finest in misshapen round sourdough loaves on Benjamin Pickett Street in SoPo. He's talked about pizza and beer for too long.

Photo: Noe Dewitt, via Alex Carleton.

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Liquor licenses approved for the Cobblestone Grill, on Fore Street, and G & R DiMillo's, in Bayside. Una, Fore Street, was also granted an extension, and Evangeline, in Longfellow Square, received a license in a 8 - 1 vote, via PFM. Only the opening of the second DiMillo's in town made the news, via PPH.

For some reason, someone using a computer at the state tax offices is also looking into DiMillo's. Probably just for dinner.

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Food campaign, pt. 4

What's on Hillary's plate?
Lamb is Hillary's favorite meat. This in itself indicates a certain palate sophistication, because lamb has a more complex, gamey flavor than easier-to-like beef, veal, or pork, via Slate.
What's in her staff's belly?

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Monday, February 25

On Psst!

Yikes! Spike in traffic. One last thing, for Sean Chung, here are the reasons Psst! exists:

1. As an alternative to largely uncritical, glossy food media, where, because everything is so delightful, the Food/Dining In sections resemble Yeti papers, Abominable Snowmen blogs, straightup, downrightnarsty cryptojournalism. Part of this form of spying means quoting The Most Important People. Often. About their shoes.

2. A year ago, very few active food web sites devoted to Portland updated with any regularity; one had not been updated in years. And yet content was out there on The Internets, just not in one place. Psst! formed to aggregate content, to review the new, or lesser known, restaurants, to review food news.

3. The most read section of the West End News is The Dumpster. For The Forecaster, it's Police Beat. Tabloid news drives Press Herald page views. Remember The Ham Sandwich Incident? Skinny Dip sandwiches? The most commented posts here follow suit. It's no secret, gossip loves company.

Thank you and goodbye.



Space food, via NYT and NPR.

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The Spoiler

Blog Bandol won't tell you when Evangaline's going to open. When little Ladel's nap is over. You won't even find out about a delayed liquor license. No reviews. A real snooze. But wait, kids, here's The Skinny on Psst!

Sunday, February 24

Portland Pie

Um, the wings were good when Maggie and Sam went to Portland Pie for dinner, a short story written for Ms. Eisenstein's sixth-grade English class. It was supposed to be a pizza review for the Sun Journal:
But it turned into an investigation of buffalo wings rather faster than I had expected, because I went in with my 13-year-old brother, Sam, who has an obsession with them that surpasses all my attempts at understanding.

It might be annoying if it wasn't so funny.
Wings. Chicken wings. Cut by poor people in the South, via CO. Get it?


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Steve Corry abridged

Triple nickel chef Steve Corry talks about the benefits of The Press to a member of The Press:
Goad: Have you noticed a big difference in business because of the exposure you've gotten?

Corry: Yeah, business was up....
For example:
Corry: Food + Wine has given us legitimacy to do what we want to do, as opposed to what the customers want us to do.

Goad: Especially in Portland, because people here can be so finicky.

Corry: Absolutely. It's conservative New England, and Mainers don't like change all that much. They're set in their ways.
So, for example:
Corry: We were talking about buying a whole goat and bringing it in.... The day before I went to Yosemite, the goat showed up at the back door. "Here's your whole goat." I said, "I have to go, I'm leaving in the morning," and they confidently said "Don't worry about it, it will be on the menu when you get back."
But, more importantly, back to The Press:
Goad: You're in The Magazine again in March, a short piece about your relationship with Taylor Griffin and the Rogers Collection. Tell me about that, and about that Spanish ham you'll soon be serving.

Corry: That's so hard to get a hold of. Jamn ibrico. It's the most expensive ham in the world, unfortunately. They're wild pigs. They eat nothing but acorns. This breed of wild pig actually has meat, muscle, that's marbled like beef.
Jamn ibrico, in case you are wondering, is like marmalade made from jamon imberico squeezed through the porous design of The Internets.

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Bowdoinham, Me.

Photo: Jonathan Levitt, via GD.

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Saturday, February 23

Stephen Cooks

Plywood Report

Commercial St. scuttlebutt has it that Gaucho's is closing, via CH. Wishful thinking? Market Street Eats moves from 30 to 36 and the new place will have bathrooms, via tF. The existence of Hamdi is acknowledged, via PPH. An earlier review here.

Erik D., still mum on Evangaline's expected opening date. (Photo at left by Melanie Fiander). Doh! He's apparently slinging pastas at Bresca after the recent dismissed its sous Jay Pelletier. More on that in comments.

G & R DiMillo's Bayside
plans to open up inside the old Bleachers and Una on Fore St. puts in a dance floor, via PFM. Little Lads' storefront, not its hippie dust nutritional yeast popcorn factory in East Corinth, reportedly reopening under what's been called new management in two weeks.



Photo: Earl Dotter, via "Farmworkers feed us all," via AP.


Thursday, February 21

Week in Review, Feb. 21

An odor committee said Rock City Coffee Roasters coffee roasting was not objectionable (1). The town also had a smell problem with its sewers and the "almost unbearable stench" of a fish processing plant (2). A lobster boat meant to carry tourist was designed (3) and fishermen worked to protect piers from a tourist invasion (4). Lobster fought over bait bags (5) and kids sang over sandwiches (6).

Around Welsh sheep farms, teens were hanging themselves (7), Cuban farmers expected reforms (8), and the Chinese government gave farmers refrigerators (9). A curry crisis took hold in England (10) and Chinese food was expected to be in short supply in Israel (11). McDonald's was looted in Kosovo (12).

A woman abandoned a 10-lb turnip because she thought it looked like a bomb (13) and the TSA also worried about the dangers of too much baby food (14). Maine schools sat on discounted beef (14), Obama mocked McCain's attacks on pork barrel spending (15), and the Feds refused to say where bad beef was sold (16). Celebrity chef Mario Batali summed life up: “Brought it to a boil, often” (17).

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You know the meal at Guacho's is no good when the queen of crypto reviews the place using the word "interesting" and focusing on the interior decor:
It was an interesting meal for a few reasons, not the least of which is the interior design of the space. It’s cozy with brick walls, very spacious (we all thought it would make a great dance club) and the bar area is large and classy with plenty of wood and attractive lighting, via TMS.



E. Coli risk,
via ethicurean.

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StarEast Cafe

A lonely guy goes to a lonely place - and likes it.
Overall the experience at StarEast was more a pleasantly odd surprise than a disappointment, via tP.
The Forest Ave. cafe serves hummus, flatbread, and kabob.

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Pom's Thai Taste and Noodle House

This new noodlery on Congress Street had a significant disappointment: Pad Thai, via Type A.

Wait, before you click on her site, remember that the suburbs are ugly and the people's opinions in them are too, especially as they cruise down Congress looking for parking, via Vigorous North. Type A is a former Cape Elizabethian turned Falmouthian.

Note: Comments concern everything but Pom's.

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At least it was free

via BBC.


Wednesday, February 20

Brea Lu

Pub Dounder's early morning sidekick, Dan Zarin, who serializes breakfast cereal, reviews Brea Lu on Forest Avenue, a place with bad coffee, skimpy omelets and college kids with hangovers. What could be worse?
"The too-bizarre-not-to-be-good peanut butter, mushroom and cheese omelet... turned out to be just bizarre enough to taste both creepy and disgusting – no small feat for a plate of eggs," tB.
Enough said.


Tuesday, February 19

Urchin diver

Photo: Bob Chamberlin/ LAT

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Monday, February 18

The Frog and Turtle

Nancy English recently visited the notion of a "gastronomy" on wikipedia – and then, along the same lines, she concludes The Frog and Turtle is "gastropub," where even mundane chicken pot pie comes out on top. More from the four-star rating:
A salmon dish ($17) with too much salt and not-quite risotto was the one miss, but even so, once the over-salted watercress was evaded, the texture of the wild salmon was fabulous, via PPH.
More on the gastrowhat, via AV.

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No. 1 recall

Following a Humane Society video (leftright) about the slaughtering of downer or crippled cattle in California, there was a massive recall of beef by the largely ineffectual USDA, via WP.

Some of the meat was destined for school lunches and most of the cheap meat has probably been eaten. If you haven't seen this, you aren't paying attention.

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Saturday, February 16

Senator beer

Kenya's Senator beer has long been known as "Obama," via WP. And recent victories in Maine and elsewhere means lots of empty kegs, via CNN. Hopefully, the Obama will be on tap in Portland soon.



Is veganism really just a coverall for unhealthy eating?
Thanks to "Skinny Bitch," women who hate their bodies no longer need rely on their own self-loathing to stoke the flames of what seems like motivation but is actually self-flagellation -- penance for the sin of being too fat, via Salon.
More women take on the latest self-hate book about food freakiness here.


Thursday, February 14

Week in Review, Feb. 14

A bouquet of strawberries and kale was an expression of love (1), the review of Thanksgiving's on Valentine's Day was called ironic (2), and sweets made with seeds from a tropical South American tree were called "local" (3). Presidential hopeful Obama picked up little boys at Nicky's Crusin' Diner (4), lamb chops provoked love (5), and dumped lovers went to Bubba's (6). A man attacked his girlfriend with a fork (7).

"But while a few former flames out there are guilty enough for the guillotine, Valentine’s Day isn’t about beheading," said a Bangor columnist. "It’s about nibbling, noshing and other oral gratification" (8). A group of students declared their love for tap water (9). The love of Pho appealed to cheapskates (10).

Diet sodas led to weight gain (11), prechewed food apparently transmitted HIV (12), and Las Vegas was the fattest city in the U.S. (13). An Italian woman, who rode around in a Cadillac, had her nails done once a week and fed an army, died (14). Making hot cross buns kept bakers busy (15), and a chocolate making couple said, “We’ve never had more sleepless nights and we’ve never been happier” (16). Psst! was linked to aluminum foil and the Valentine Vanguard (17).

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Wednesday, February 13

Tuna Melt

Not just any sandwich. This is Chef Rob Evans (still a nominee for Best Chef New England) we're talking about here.
A tuna sandwich is a great, inexpensive way to eat fish. But tuna packed in water cannot compare to the flavor offered by good-quality imported Italian tuna packed in virgin olive oil, via Esquire (thanks FWA).


V-day still

Photos: Steve Legato/NYT & John Lee/SFC

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Gitmo coffee and Baghdad burgers

New charges against six 9/11 suspects was gathered from information the men disclosed to FBI and military questioners without the use of coercive interrogation tactics (if coercion excludes Starbucks coffee), says the WashPo.

The admissions made by the men – who were given food whenever they were hungry as well as Starbucks coffee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – played a key role in the government's decision to proceed with the prosecutions, military and law enforcement officials said, via BB.

There's also "a combined Subway-Pizza Hut, a Wal-Mart-like big box store called the Nex and a gift shop" at Gitmo, says this In These Times article, via NYT. 

Overseas, except at remote outposts, troop chow is plentiful and it's served in dining facilities and Burger King, Pizza Hut, and KFC, via MoJo and WP. No surprise then that US troops are bulking up, gaining an average of 10 pounds on their deployments, via USAT

What's fishy is one obscure California supplier – of lobster – is under investigation. 
Many of Ocean Direct's prices for supplies to Iraq are about 15 percent to 20 percent higher than wholesale market prices, pricing data show. In June 2006, Ocean Direct supplied raw coldwater lobster tails to the government for about $21 a pound, while the average price for the same product on the wholesale market at that time was between $17.60 and $18.75 a pound, said independent analyst John Sackton, who runs a market-data Web site called

Ocean Direct is the sole supplier of lobster tail to U.S. forces in Kuwait and Iraq. Army data from 2005-06 state that the troops consume some 2,786 cases of lobster tail per month at 40 pounds per case, ringing up a monthly bill from Public Warehousing to the U.S. government of at least $2.3 million, via WSJ.

At least those troop greeters in Bangor, once banned, are still doling out cookies, via AP

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Tuesday, February 12

V-day video, pt. 2

Fox News digs deep in this investigation of the first vegan strip club. In Portland. And you thought Mark's Topless Donuts was edgy. More for that vegansexual lover here.

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Monday, February 11


Mixed reviews for the food and kudos for professional service (in Portland, no less) at the long-awaited Greek place on Congress St.:
I would need to have an incredible meal to feel the need to go back to Emilista. The meal gave me a few reasons to go back, but not at the prices that I paid, via CH.
And from Falmouth, there's this glorious gem:
My expectations were exceeded on the night I dined at Emilitsa. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the exceptional service and the upscale decor, via TA.


V-day video

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Sunday, February 10


Go to a bar for food and you're bound to suffer some disappointments, at least at Ri-Ri.

Nancy English found its "potato-centric menu exactly right." The Commercial Street chain's execution deserved only three stars with bland oysters, "savory excellence of the beef," "leek punching up the generous blank canvas of creamy smooth potatoes." In short, English sheds "outerwear for the innerwear of red wine, baked oysters and soup." What?


Saturday, February 9


Photo: Lise Safarti/NYT.

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More on the CSAs of the sea, via DE and Mb.

Mainebiz (not online) says the southern part of the state may be getting a subscription style program later this year.

Down East works to establish its math skills and the expert in statistical issues (see here). Buying the seafood in a Catch a Piece of Maine share costs only slightly more than one other mailed lobster delivery service. (The issue also include sea chips, steamers and some other stuff that's impossible to find on the unnavigable website).

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Friday, February 8

Spice gun

Design: zhu fei.


Tortillas in the tank

It's official. Corn-based ethanol just plain wastes energy, via WP and SA.

In Mexico, rising corn prices, attributable to ethanol production, have meant protests and the threat of illegal immigrants, via HC and LAT. More from bloggers here.

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Cumberland Avenue

Photo: Natalie Conn.

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Plywood Report

Planned for March: Oktoberfest International Tap House in the Digger's space, on Fore Street. Next door, Club Onyx. Across the street: Cobblestone Grill in the old Cake, via tB.

The Grill Room on Exchange St., via PFM. (PFM also reports that Emilitsa opened, albeit without the Greek coffee.)

The former Sheraton Hotel, "the city’s own twin towers by the Maine Mall," will have a cocktail lounge, via tF.

[Note: A post attributing the delay of Evangaline's opening to three driving related offenses was deleted after Erik Desjarlais posted a comment: "The Council meeting is not the catalyst for the delayed opening." Psst has nothing personal against the poor guy.]

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Destination: Clinton

Bill Clinton stumped for Hillary at Becky's, via WCSH. At a stop a couple of years ago, he went to Lang's, according to a framed certificate on the wall there.

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Anonymous free speech

Just because you read it online, doesn't mean it's true - or defamation. An anonymous poster was challenged for telling a Florida business woman that she had, among other things, "fat thighs, a fake medical degree, 'queefs' and poor feminine hygiene," via AT. That's free speech, said the court:
Doe 6's messages were "unquestionably offensive and demeaning," they could not be counted as defamation since they could not be considered assertions of fact.

Without a cause of action, Krinsky could not overcome Doe 6's First Amendment right to speak anonymously on the Internet, the court said.

The decade-old controversy over pseudonymous posting in invest or chat rooms took a major twist last July when the U.S. regulators revealed that Whole Foods Market Inc CEO John Mackey (see here) had been posting in Yahoo! Finance under a fake name for several years, via Reuters.


Thursday, February 7

Week in Review, Feb. 7

Taking free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches off the school lunch menu for delinquents irked Bill Nemitz (1) and Uncle Billy's wasn't trying to be fancypants (2). Vivian's Drive-In had juicy hamburgers (3). A chef and former columnist known as the "Cellar Dweller" was indicted for selling fake real estate (4), avoiding jail food was a perk of work release (5), and a woman allegedly stabbed her boyfriend with a kitchen knife (6).

Type A went to Boston (7). Meredith Goad visited a woman making dumplings (8), Japanese officials found insecticides in Chinese dumpling (9), and the FDA considered adding a China field office (10). "Sometimes they call me 'rabbit,' " said a rabbi inspecting kosher food in China. "I start hopping. They don't get it. I let it pass. It doesn't pay to explain" (10).

Coca-cola wanted to acquire Honest Tea (11), Kraft made worm-killing food (12),pork processing employees suffered from weird ailments (13).The New York Times served watermelon in honor of Black History Month (14) and two ravens sat guard on the US-Candian border: "They're waiting for some fruit or meat to be confiscated," a border guard said. "Then they take the top off the bucket and steal the food" (15).

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Wednesday, February 6

Lubec, Me.

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Super Tuesday

If voting doesn't decide it, what about drinking habits?
Hillary Clinton seems to be attracting a higher share of working class and older voters, while Obama polls higher with higher-income and better educated. Clinton is the “beer-track” candidate who appeals to blue collar Democrats and retirees; Obama is a “wine-track” candidate beloved by yuppies, students and professors, via Harpers.



Invest in vegetables shares at a CSA fair, Sunday, Feb. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at First Parish Church House on Congress Street, via PPH.

Change animal welfare laws (LD 2171) Monday Feb 11, 1 pm, Cross Building, Augusta.


Tuesday, February 5



Monday, February 4

51 Wharf

Beefing up on its Barf Street coverage, Pub Dounder heads to 51 Wharf Street:
Dance clubs are fleeting, ephemeral things, like summer flings, coke highs and hickies. They open and close more frequently than restaurants, pubs, or even dive bars. Lo, come this summer, the longest continuously operating club on Wharf and Fore streets will be 51 Wharf, via tB.

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Sunday, February 3

Stupid bowl

Q: Most avocados sold in the U.S. are purchased during the three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

A: Nope, says Snopes. (Cinco de Mayo chalks up 14 million pounds.)

Q: Double-dipping is OK, okay?

A: Nope, says Paul Dawson, the man who disproved the 5-second rule, via NYT.