Saturday, May 31

Eat, eat revolution

Power up that tube, gamer, we got some virtual good times on draft.

For those lacking kitchen skills, but who enjoy potty-mouthing like chefs, there's Hells Kitchen. If you've got more of a humanitarian bent, there's Food Force. And, what would video gaming be without competitive eating? After all this, you'll probably want to hit Wii Fit.

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One night farm stand

Don't think sex and the city. Slate weighs in on the behavior of rural teens.

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Friday, May 30

Obit: JR Simplot

You're dead, that's the end of you. There's no tomorrow, via Esquire.
The big fry, J.R. Simplot, is dead. His Idaho company once owned a plant in Presque Isle in the 1980s, which eventually sold to McCain, the top toxic waste emitter in the state, via SJ. Simplot, on the other hand, left a different sort of legacy in Maine:
In the 1970s, his business practices attracted the attention of law enforcement and led to penalties for tax fraud and manipulating Maine potato futures, via AP.
So long, spud.

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Golden braises Bresca

What a relief to report that Bresca is a superb addition to Portland’s dining roster.I say relief because there had been heaps of braise initially, and I was afraid it wouldn’t deliver. Essentially proprietor Krista Kern is the flowering of a remarkable chef holding court in the tiniest kitchen in Portland, via MT.

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Week in Review, May 30

Grub worms devoured lawns (1), a former brew master served sandwiches in Falmouth (2). Farmers were threatened by the turnpike (3), a horse was inexplicably shot (4), and a chef pretending to be a health inspector phoned a rival (5). A man defended a Sydney farmer whose cows got loose (6), potentially threatening traffic on I-95 (7). "I take it seriously, but I don't see it as fatal," Sam Hayward said about the economy (8).

A freight train severed the limbs two teenage girls, who regularly ate breakfast together (9, 10). Fiddleheads posed a health risk (11) and harvesting blueberries was called the "best work on the migrant tour (12). Fidel Castro called McCain a dropout and said an Obama speech on Cuba was a "formula for hunger" (13). The Burmese junta rejected what it called "chocolate bar" food aid (14). Anglers in Northern Maine fishing camps caught "flippity-flops" (15).

Maine offered free fishing this weekend (16). "That's a trend we need to reverse," said Rep. Mike Michaud about the lack of fish produced in the US (17). Tom Walsh prepared to buy a hot dog factory (19), a man sold organic frozen tea treats out of his minivan (18), and aging boomers – hooked on recycling, and organic foods mainstream – were said to be primed to change the business of death (20).

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Papercraft steak



Papercraft: atelier
fare
, via BB.

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Thursday, May 29

Keffiyeh kerfuffle over coffee

Dunkin' Donuts iced a Rachel Ray commercial after she appeared wearing a scarf Michelle Malkin thought looked like a keffiyeh, via BG.

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Wednesday, May 28

Fiddleheads, oysters, crab, rhubarb season

Spring's almost over, so get your fiddlehead on. And watch out, says the raw milk-fearing CDC, caution is urged with the late season ferns since some septic systems might have overflowed in the County. Still hungry? The little green question marks might be on the Arrows menu, since they're a fave of Clark Frasier.

And now, from Gay Island, oysters. The Maine Mouth not only has an original post (if you're patient, the site will even load in less than an hour), but she's boasting a scoop on briny bivalves. See the NYT story here. In sum, as Rowan Jacobsen says, "Everything is super-hyper-regional."

Further offshore, there's crab – the other "other white meat." For a briefing on Jonahs, see also the current issue of Saveur. And, in case that's doesn't do it, there's Gourmet's guide to almost-sustainable lobster.

Now, nothing says "locavore" (what a "new-fangled" word!) quite like rhubarb-ginger crisp. The problem is the only local Ginger I know works at Freedom Farm. Otherwise, it's a hike to Amherst, Mass. for local ginger.

Anyway, forget local, I'm headed out for some kimchi, gray squirrel, and space beer.

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Au Bon Pain (Boston, Mass.)

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H.P. Hood (Congress St.)

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Tuesday, May 27

Post Hugo's

File under, "As if you needed confirmation."

Overall, we were both under-impressed and still hungry and the end of the meal. With all the options in the area, i will not contemplate returning, via "sixelagogo."

Same here:

OK everyone, lets be honest. This place is an exquisite ripoff. Who ever made biscuits the size of a quarter and served one per person ? Someone will say you can have more if you ask. Big deal. Once was enough for us, via "emilief."
Apparently, for most, salt doesn't qualify as a substantial meal.

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Monday, May 26

Erik D. goes to Hannaford

And kills a casual conversation with a cashier:
"What will you do with the chicken livers?"

"We're stuffing duck necks with them."

"Oh."

– Overheard by Jon Levitt, via BG.

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Osmaris mardax

In defense of the small fish. MPBN follows scientists on their search for smelt.

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The Grill Room

Outside of a few cold sides, the opening of The Grill Room was one of the most flawlessly executed restaurant openings I've witnessed, via TA.

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Summer's here. Time for...



Photo: From
Way Away
.

Saturday, May 24

Urban apiarists

Two proposed ordinances in SoPo and South Berwick have been stirring urban beekeepers and their neighbors.
The interest in backyard beekeeping is spurred in part by the threat of Colony Collapse Disorder, which hasn't hit Maine yet, via MPBN. Beekeepers seem at least part spurred by the possible collapse of the food system because of the lack of pollinators. EB's decendent Martha White seems to think it's quaint.

But some neighbors appear to fear swarms of angry bees driving neighborhood children from pools and into anaphylactic shock. This seems a little misguided, driven by the same kind of thinking that says unleashed dogs are completely harmless. But bees do swarm homes, even foreclosed ones, and there are preventative measures, like pheromone traps. Good fences, on the other hand, not so sure.

The city is filled with pollen and Rosaceae-family tree blossoms. So, for the budding back porch apiarist, here's a brief How To on splitting a hive. More best practice guidelines can be found at Maine Beekeepers.

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Friday, May 23

Week in Review, May 23

“Our food system is paramount to everything," said herring advocate Howdy Houghton. "Tell me one person that doesn’t eat!” (1). Alewives, a spring lobster bait, returned to Webber Pond in Vassalboro (2). The Herring Alliance called fishing management out of whack (3), French fishermen protested fuel costs (4), and 30 pages of the Farm Bill were apparently lost between the Congressional signing and President Bush's veto (5).

A free-range pig was on the loose at Colby College (6), high school seniors had a raging food fight that damaged stage curtains (7), and a dining service manager said, "We salvage food here on a regular basis" (8). Then, there was dog beer (9).

An appeal for crackers in Working Waterfront (10) went unacknowledged (11). The reopening of the Chebeague Island Inn (12) had similar effects (13). Browne Trading, Fore Street, and J's Oyster Bar got a mention from Rogues Gallery founder Alex Carleton (14), Novares Res opened and Norm's East End Grille had free happy hour food (15), and you needed booze to enjoy the sashaying young men at Gauchos (16).

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Wednesday, May 21

Tourist Day weekend

For some, Memorial Day marks the invasion of Massholes. For others, the Tourist Day weekend means eating outside. Or hitting the road. All this tourism pretty much equates Maine with lobster. Sigh.

One company zaps them with water. Others use the CrustaStun. Then, there's this recipe for lobster rolls. And a user's manual to lobster shacks. This is The Way Life Should Be.

No word on whether sustainable lobster will save the industry in apparent decline – at least if repossessions and boatbuilding are indicators. For cheapskates, there's still chance to catch a late flight to PEI, where lobstermen are giving away lobsters for free in protest of low prices.

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Biopiracy




Photo: Ines Doujak,
via WC.

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Bars rule

A few suggestions from Justin Ellis:

Entertainment: No riding mechanical animals of any kind. This includes bulls, horses, moose, pandas and alpacas. [Huh?]

Beer: Isn't it time to ban all beer not brewed in the Northeast? Buy local(ish), via PPH.

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Tuesday, May 20

Hangovers

This isn't the reason for the shortage of blog posts. It's the excessive research that has the same net effect.

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Benny, clam fryer

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Emilitsa

Lively and pungent garlic and lemon flit in and out of many dishes, while oregano evokes a dry, fragrant hillside overlooking a sea far different from the northern Atlantic. In fact, everything on these plates at Emilitsa seem infused with another world, via PPH.
It's not a Mediterranean love shack. It's Emilitsa – on Congress Street.

The last time the trumpets emerged and the cherubs were swaddled in sexual innuendo, it spelled a four-letter word.

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Friday, May 16

Fragaria ssp.



Photo: Local foodie.

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Thursday, May 15

Week in Review, May 15

The Icehouse closed, but its owners kept fighting Portland City Hall (1), no reporting on the ice cream war cited North East Ice Cream, LLC (2), and Chicago ended its ban on foie gras (3). Food companies were compared to defense contractors (3.5) and a proposed outdoor smoking ban led a health expert to compare cigarettes and smack: “If heroin were legal it is unlikely you would allow people to shoot up at the entrance to Hadlock Field” (4).

A Vinalhaven buoy ended up in the Dominican Republic (5), 2008 was expected to be a bad year for red tide (6), and the Chebeague Island Inn reopened (7). A Scarborough produce buyer described buying brussel sprouts in LA for Steve Corry's Food Network spot (7.5). The middle class was hit by rising food costs (8), setting off a new kind of Victory Gardens (9) and killing off Mimosas (10).

Not every Maine farmer was happy about the Farm Bill (11), which Maine representative Susan Collins opposed (12) and President Bush planned to veto (13). Bush's comments about India caused critics to blame the US for the global food crisis (14). Portion sizes increased (15) and Congress suggested the need for another Green revolution (16). A Levant dairy farmer said, "Nine percent of U.S. farms are getting 60 percent of government subsidies" (17).

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DIY goes GYO

Yawns are reportedly going GYO, says TMS. Translation guide from the British:
GYO.
Cragger.
Yawns.

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Wednesday, May 14

Homegrown Herb and Tea

A man walks into a bar. He's trades energy. But not like oil futures.

Jay Levine, an energy trader who moved to Portland from New York, comes in every day and sits at the bar with his laptop. He said he finds Richards' store "extremely comforting and very inviting. There aren't that many places that exude this kind of aura," via PPH.

That's Homegrown Herb & Tea. Nice.

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Spices of Life



Photo: Stacey Cramp.

Opens at Rabelais, May 30th, 5 p.m.

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Mims, the interesting

Brian Duff roasts and steams his way across Mims Brasserie. From a sort of ponytailed chef to a sort of pothead waiter to the food:
Pan-roasted chicken also offered a dualistic experience. It came with a breast that might have benefited from a more interesting sauce. The leg offered more skin, crisp in spots, still soft in others, that made the dish a bit more interesting, via tP.

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Apocalyptic foreboding now

The New Yorker takes a look at authors on the dark side of the global food crisis. These are the kinds of books that fall into the category, Food Kills:
“Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,” by Raj Patel (Melville House; $19.95); “Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood,” by Taras Grescoe (Bloomsbury; $24.99); and “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” by Michael Pollan, the poet of the group (Penguin Press; $21.95).

All of these authors agree that the entire system of Western food production is in need of radical change, right down to the spinach.
A vein of criticism that follows Upton Sinclair and other veritable meat writers.

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The Ice Cream Man


Not the music man. The recent problem on Councilor Donoghue's stomping ground is really about the lack of ice cream shops on Munjoy Hill (most seem to require a car and a trip to the beach).

Figure, you get a ice creamery outside the Old Port and these trucks will have another problem. The Los Angeles taco kind: parking in front of storefronts. Or the New York kind: turf war. For now, it's just the inane melody that, unfortunately, gets stuck in your head.

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Tuesday, May 13

A little kitchen Rx

The mortar and pestle isn't just for the pharmacist. It's a recipe for fresh ground spices.

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Pig out

On the obscure book finds about bacon at Rabelais, via F+W.

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Monday, May 12

Fort Kent, Me. (1942)

Buckwheat ployes are about as Acadian as it gets. And Portland is flirting with some ouvert crepefication, none of which recreate Mrs. Gagnon's buckwheat pancakes (left, via LOC).

The Merry Table Creperie on Fore Street opened (review here), and Zarra's Monumental Coffee House is reportedly featuring crepes.

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Five Portland chefs

[Photograph of Lee Skawinski, Sam Hayward, Rob Evans, Krista Kern, Steve Corry taken by Heath Robbins has been removed]

Yankee Magazine
(Thanks SQ!)

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Sunday, May 11

Local is not necessarily better

At least when it comes to the issue of food-miles and carbon output, according to one recent study, via NPR.
Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more GHG reduction than buying all locally sourced food, via ES&T
More on meat and cragging, from the BBC.

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Friday, May 9

Candy wrapper dressing

Knitfitti has invaded Munjoy Hill. Which means more visibility for Portland's masked bandits and Internet craftstars.

Next stop for crafty foodsters: Candy wrapper clothing. With Skittles and Clif Bars (left, via MAKE). Wouldn't you just love to see me in a candywrapper bowtie?

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In defence of provincialism

So here's a perplexing argument. Don't look into the ambiguities, vagaries, contradictions of local, just buy really, really fresh produce from a farmer you know:
What I'm suggesting is that, just as with exercise, it's more important to DO it than it is to understand the whys. And then, the more local, green, organic, socially responsible or community-oriented (the list goes on) our choices become, gradually and naturally, the information will be absorbed, via PPH.

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Thursday, May 8

Week in Review, May 8

A TV host looking for great Maine chefs found a rerun (1) and, in Edgecomb, Roger Bintliff attempted to rebrand Maine as an East Coast version of California's Napa Valley (2). Dan's Restaurant allows customers to negotiate the meal price, a gimmick that had already been featured on NECN (3), might make it on NBC (4).

"I think that we will survive this crisis," the owner of When Pigs Fly told a Homeland Security Committee. "My fear is that… next year we will not be so lucky" (5). Amato's Bakery used 1.1 million pounds of flour last year (6), all across Maine, people went hungry (7), and cats were fed tuna on Peaks Island (8). Police reported suspicious fires behind Bruno's Restaurant (9) and anglers witnessed back decks floating down the Penobscot River (10).

Food prices sparked riots in Somalia (11), New Zealand was called the Saudi Arabia of milk (12), and the founder of Baskin-Robbins died (13). Big Daddy's opened (14). No one baled hay for the fun of it (15) and John Golden returned from the Hamptons (16). "That's like putting a piranha into a neighborhood swimming pool," said an Sebago Lake angler (17).

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Tuesday, May 6

Fiddleheads, canned and fresh

The furled ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) is in season.

Found by the pound at Browne Trading, Paul's Food enter, Free Range Fish & Lobster, Harbor Fish, Hannaford, and Whole Foods Markup. See also last year's prices.

The W.S. Wells & Son cannery also put up the ferns for all-season consumption, via SM and NYT.

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Sunday, May 4

L'amour est dans le pré (Love in the Meadows)

Before "Farmer Wants a Wife" and "The Farmer's Wife," there was French television's "Love in the Meadows." For local loves, see also FarmersOnly.com.

Photo: Julien Knaub/M6/
FremantleMedia France.

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Keeping tabs on the history of eating

In the history of the countercuisine, the link between eating acid and the kind of cosmic oneness that led to whole foods, man, is like, Wow. How else do you connect the war in Vietnam with the increase in rice consumption in the US? It's in a book called Appetite for Change, by Warren Belasco.

But the BBC dredged this dude last week with the death of Albert Hoffman, the man who unwittingly discovered D-lysergic acid diethylamide. He says LSD changed the way people eat:

"It was as a direct consequence of my brother and myself taking LSD that we introduced natural and organic foods in the UK. At that point people were looking forward to the day we all live on vitamin pills. Today you can't open a newspaper without reading about organic foods," via BBC.

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Friday, May 2

The Food Times

Honesty


Newspaper blackout
poem: Austin Kleon.

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Welcome to Evangeline, please turn off your cellphones and crying babies

Family dinner. "Starting May 5, Evangeline will host a rustic three to five course supper of whatever he cooks that day, for about $30, a carafe of wine included," reports Nancy English.

Some dining tips: Ballcaps or cellphones irk the ex-Bandol badboy, but he tells Nancy English there's only a slim chance he'll pull "an EMT" during service. "On the irascible scale, I'm at a 2, compared to the 11 of my youth," he says.

Also, it's good to be aSomeone Important. More on that from Marya.

"When I was there," writes the Golden Boy, "it was rammed by a crowd of familiar faces, a mix of local mavens and would-be swells."

While Evangeline declined comment to TMS, the rag got an exclusive with Bresca server Chiara Liberatore.

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Thursday, May 1

Week in Review, May 1

Floods on the St. John and Fish rivers threatened horses (1). Fort Kent flood victims were given bottled water (2) and others brewed coffee and watched TV (3). A homeless man in Bangor was accused of homicide, a killing allegedly precipitated by an argument over beer (4), and the Rev. Peter Panagore described a whale eating fish in a pond (5).

Agflation spread across the world (6), food delivery costs soared (7), and President Bush promised food aid (8). In Augusta, state Republicans liked the Ground Round and said, "Even though we offer lunches and dinners, we love to dine in local establishments"; a Democrat said, "Most people will eat lunch on site, but we might be out and about for dinner and fueling the local economy" (9). Turkey season began (10).

"We work for nothing and we live in hell," said a Levant dairy farmer (11). Dunkin Donuts was accused of 19th century labor practices (12). Dysart's, one of the state's estimated 2,500 year-round restaurants, added healthy food and raised prices (13). "If the truck stops," said a trucker, "the economy stops" (14). An Ellsworth farmer used 932 gallons of fuel, at $3.59 a gallon, to burn his blueberry fields (15). Montville was full of counterrevolutionaries (16), Maine had the fifth youngest farmer population (17), and Victory Gardens reemerged (18).

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Dinner





Photo: Noah Krell, via tB.

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Reviews this week

Where's that tax rebate going? Phoenix Todd "Tofu is too fun" Richard says The Cheese Iron.

Other profiles in the Switch this week include Bogusha's and the new Demillo's, the one on dry land.

Free Range Fish and Lobster, on Commercial St, took away the take-out, and added beef.

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