Thursday, July 31

Boothby's Blonde

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Honey, is that vegan?

There is no more contentious question in the world of veganism than the one posed by honey, via Slate.


Wednesday, July 30

Pot du creme

The countercuisine descends from a long line of rich hippies smoking dope, or something like that:
The people I met in the high-end ganja business had an affinity for higher modes of thinking and being, including vegetarianism and eating organic food, practicing yoga, avoiding prescription drugs in favor of holistic healing methods, travelling to Indonesia and Thailand, fasting, and experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs. Many were also financially savvy, working long hours and making six-figure incomes, via NYer.
Illegalized ganja ushered in organic foods, and where there are hippies, as Christine Mulke wrote, there is eventually good food. So what exactly will the legalized ganja biz bring to food?



Washington Street's Hamdi – minus the banana, the juice, and the tea – gets its due.
My own Somali-prepared goat arrived: a pile of boiled, bone-in mysterious goat parts you could reasonably get at directly only with your teeth. It came with a mound of rice... topped with peas, carrots, and pickled onions, and along side a couple bites of iceberg. Thick translucent salad dressing came in a bottle labeled "Tablecraft Chef's Condiment Dispenser," via tP.
And it's not just Portlanders that can't seem to fully embrace "African cooking." One Village Voice critic told The New York Times, "One of the things that may put American diners off West African restaurants is that Africans vastly prefer tough, tough meat.”

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Lobster Festival (Rockland, Me.)

The Rockland Lobster Fest opens today, via MM. This year, it's perfectly timed to a deathly warning from the FDA, who say, Watch out for tomalley. (Psst from 2007.)

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Suzuki's (Rockland, Maine.)

Photo: Jon Levitt.

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Tuesday, July 29


Boston's The Daily Candy hits Portland's sweet spots: Five-fifty five and Rabelais. [Reprinted here.]

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The taste of it

Coke as a marker of economic stability in Africa. What's Allen's Coffee Brandy a marker of?


Monday, July 28

Fox family

Fox Family potato chips reviewed by HN.


Friday, July 25

Working Lands

Photo: Bridge Besaw/
Domaine Gallery
July 26, 11 a.m.

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Dying green

John Richardson over at the Press Herald writes about green burials.
After a lifetime of recycling, composting, turning down the thermostat and trying to eat local organic food, some people might not want to leave their bodies to be filled with a chemical preservative and buried in steel and concrete, or even cremated in a gas-fired furnace, via PPH.
A similar story from last fall:
"This is the generation that brought us the first Earth Day ... that brought organic food into the grocery store," he said. "I think they'll bring the same environmental consciousness to bear to the end-of-life issues as they approach them," via PPH.


Week in Review, July 24

The owner of Sangillo's accidentally drowned (1) and a local food activist fell off a ladder on Harborside and died (2). Recreational boaters were allowed to discard food and cigarette butts overboard (3). In Caribou, a man tried to fight Tim Horton's customers (4) and a man who fired shots into Ginza Town pleaded not guilty (5). President Bush called the stock market "drunk" (6).

Great Eastern mussel farm closed (7). “Cheese adds a melted effect to these recipes," said a celebrity clam chef (8). The Lobster college planned to reopen (9), the kneading conference expanded (10), and Maine's largest tomato grower planned to expand (11). Blueberry season began (13), the Egglympics were held in a Reny's parking lot (13), and farmers at the Portland market were called the agricultural equivalent of gutter punks (14).

McDonald's placed fake iced coffee of the desks of Fox News anchors (15) and soy foods reduced sperm counts (16). Gastrosexuals were the new metrosexuals (17), molecular gastronomy expanded to use MSG (18). An alpaca was named Triumph (19). A Falmouth deli owner had a landscaper plant $5,000 worth of garden plants (20) and more "lazy locavores" hired others to do their dirty work (21). "Last year they were really big and good," a strawberry picker said. "This year they're smushy"(22).

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Thursday, July 24




Back to the garden

Red Door Media, a Damariscotta documentary company, has some posts about Maine farms: Broadturn, Thirty-Acre Farm, and Fedco Seeds for its earnest, not-so-aptly named upcoming film: Back to the Garden.

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Dijon Stewart


Wednesday, July 23


Maine Fare nixed. Harvest on the Harbor coming soon. Plus: WTF on the MLF.


The elitist in the kitchen

In a recent essay, William Deresiewicz, an Ivy 'tard, describes the locus of his alienation in the center of the American home.
I’d just bought a house, the pipes needed fixing, and the plumber was standing in my kitchen. There he was, a short, beefy guy with a goatee and a Red Sox cap and a thick Boston accent, and I suddenly learned that I didn’t have the slightest idea what to say to someone like him, via AS.


Fort Fairfield, Maine

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Tomatoes, arugula, and cucumbers

Rag roundup

Broadturn Farm, Nezinscot Farm, and Cinque Terre in an Aug. 2008 feature in Gourmet. (Not online).

Sardines – Look's Gourmet and Beach Cliff – make the pages of Portland Magazine. So does a Monday night at Evangeline.

Wine Spectators 2008 Dining Guide recognized 24 restaurants, including Bay Bay Grill, Cinque Terre, Five Fifty-Five, Hugo's, Rachel's, and Vignola, via PFM.

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Saturday, July 19

How to drink Down East

Rubus ssp.


Friday, July 18

Night of Lobster (1946)

The rower put out his oars and went on to the next buoy. It was like clockwork. He found it, pulled, and the ritual of falling lobsters began again. Four “counters” this time. The lobsterman rowed on and picked up the next trap just where it should be. More good ones. Clockwork it was. The sound of the oars in the tholepins made it more that way, via Gourmet.

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Shroom 'wich

"The Forager" makes an appearance at One Fifty-Ate. (Thanks Johnny D!).

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Week in Review, July 18

"I and my college roommate thought we were the only two nuts in the world who collected beer cans," said a Bath collector (1). A horse hit a police cruiser in Madison (2), Belgium's InBev took over Budweiser (3), and popcorn costs spiked (4). "Our guys pay for their rent," said a football coach. "They have to feed themselves. In order to do that, they need a paycheck" (5).

A South Portland beekeeper's hive sparked nationwide interest in suburban bees (6). Parade floats at Yarmouth's clam festival tended to have a Disney theme (7) and mashed potato wrestling returned to Fort Fairfield (8). "Generally speaking, people in their 20s don't cook," said a Winterport cooking teacher. "They don't have the training. They eat out all the time" (9).

Starbucks planned to close 600 stores, twonone of which were in Maine (10), a chef described preparing halibut as making love to food (11) A fishing ban sparked a revival in sea life (12), salmon disappeared from Sebago Lake (13), and human waste may increasingly be used as fertilizer (14). An opponent to a Harmony pot festival said people would be defecating in the woods (15) and a hay farmer said, "We have a wonderful grass crop" (16).

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Thursday, July 17

Sustainable farm-raised seafoods

Aquaculture is becoming the next big issue at the dinner table.
While WhoFooMa might be taking a stab at the ethical issues, the fish case is often a perpetual mystery. Not every fishmonger comes clean with source or freshness. And many are left wondering, what's a native fish and how do you pronounce scallop anyway? And where do you find more information on seafood?

One way is to check the Fish Exchange weekly list to see what's being landed. But one of the best lists is this easy visual resource on Maine's commercial fishing season that lists the water temperature and the fish in season (Thanks MM!).

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Happy holidays!


Passive-Aggressive Apps

Have you ever noticed how sun-dried tomatoes and top-grade peyote look exactly the same? Not a suggestion, really. Just saying, via NYer.


Wednesday, July 16

Portland SOLE food

Word on the street is that the East Coast Portland is second only to San Francisco in restaurants per capita. We’re not talking Applebee’s, either.
As if that hasn't been said before. Like much of what The Ethicurean found on a recent trip to Portland.

Ali heads to Hugo's for cocktails and a recipe, Fore Street for dessert and the illusion of transparency, Gilbert's for frozen shrimp and Styrofoam cups, and an unnamed restaurant that serves seafood from who knows where. The emphasis is on blue jeans and the "sustainable, organic, local and/or ethical." [Another take on the story here.]

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"I never had a lobstha"

Signage: Commercial St.

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Tuesday, July 15

The slings and Arrows of outrageous misfortune

"You know, that's the same water that goes into the dishwasher."

– Waiter describing tap water at Arrows in Ogunquit, via CH.


Bean hole supper

On a suburban safari in South Portland, Amy Sutherland considers that really slow food – salt pork, molasses, salt, pepper and beans – the bean hole supper :
Lobster bakes get all the culinary glory in Maine, but far from the coast, deep in the state’s dark, dense woods, I found another food tradition just as emblematic of the state — the bean hole supper. Though the name prompts some to snigger, bean holes remind us that Maine is far more than its tattered coastline and cold waters, via DE.
Not sure SoPo qualifies as rugged, black-fly ridden North Woods, but at least someone come up with an inventive use for those useless lawns.

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Broccoli and other tales of food and love

Foodie literature isn't just about recipes and cookbooks – from Proust's Madeleine to Madame Bovary's Savoy cake. Contemporary fiction is no exception.
Since [Nora Ephron's Heartburn], novelists including Jan Karon, Laura Esquivel, Diane Mott Davidson and others have made food an essential ingredient of their books and included recipes for the avid reader. We can now, happily, add Lara Vapnyar to that list, via Hartford Courant.


Eastport, Me.

A murder mystery writer has this to say:

Overall, Eastport is a place where the customers have a key to the local breakfast joint, and they open it up to make their own coffee every morning, via NPR.


Stratton Island Research Station

Photo: Paul


Monday, July 14


The author of "The Toothpick: Technology and Culture," Henry Petroski, comes to Maine, the historic home of 90 percent of the nation's toothpick, July 14, Maine Historical Society, 12 p.m. The book's considered the furthest reach of social histories about less and less – a criticism itself that is becoming quite popular:
The popular history of a humdrum object–that faddish genre in which the most boring items on your dining-room table (salt, cod, potatoes, bananas, chocolate) are revealed to be secret juggernauts of profound social change–has recently become so popular that it’s probably time for someone to write a popular history of it, via NYM.

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Sunday, July 13


Caroline Pam (Sunderland, Mass.)

Photo: Gareth


Saturday, July 12

Rag roundup

Hodgman's Frozen Custard stand makes the Yankee top 5, via MT.

Erik D's day one makes MH+D, via PFM.
"This is it," says Desjarlais with a grin and a slightly wild look in his eyes. "It’s like jumping off a building!"

Taunton Bay Oyster Co.
planned to expand, via Mb.

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Umbels under the radar

Two underrated summer herbs from my favorite plant family Apiaceae:

Lovage, more intense and better than celery salt.

Chervil, more subtle than parsley for omelettes and scallops.

+ an unrelated sweet:

Stevia, 300X as sweet as sugar.


Friday, July 11

Iceberg wrangler (Newfoundland)


Week in Review, July 11

George H.W. Bush went to Fore Street but the former president did not have reservations and was told to go to Hugo's instead (1). Two Fat Cats reportedly used two pounds of fresh fruits in its pies (2) and police were angry about a federal report that said a man found dead in Old Orchard Beach had a bottle of rum stuffed down his throat (3). "That boy, I say that boy is about as sharp as a sack of wet mice," said a reporter describing a dog (4).

Local growers gained a corner on the market because of high fuel costs (5), the CSA movement expanded (6), and escargot was in short supply (7). Maine anglers caught lake trout and salmon (7), sector fishery management for New England was delayed until 2010 (6), and a lobsterman said, "Fishermen, you know how it is, you think you can fix anything” (7).

A dive motel's bar was converted into a cafe for young Christians to hang out (8), three brothers started an organic farm in Harrison (9), and a feeding ban reduced city pigeon numbers (10). A supermarket one-block away from a Portland scrap metal yard was a haven for bike kleptos (11), rules about chimneys starved Mainers (12), and a former Howard Johnson's detective said, "There are very, very few honest people" (13).

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Thursday, July 10

Neon Diner

Photo: Jon


Plywood scrawl

Prost! opened on Fore Street, but to avoid the problems associated with Wharf Street, last call was a 12:30 a.m., via TMS.

Loco Pollo took down its brown paper but did not open.

Becky's "late night menu" (10 p.m. - 3 a.m., cash-only) includes hamburgers and bacon egg and cheese sandwiches at $3 apiece.

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Want to get out of Portland? Tired of the jet-setting at Type A? Try Hilary Nangle instead.


Dress for dinner


Tuesday, July 8

Soda-luncheonette slang and jargon

A glossary provided by the Federal Writers Project in New York City, as recorded in Pat Willard's new book, America Eats:
84 Four glasses of water
81 A customer
86 Supply is exhausted
82 Two glasses of hot chocolate
51 Mistake
49 Look at that beautiful girl
14 See "49"
14½ A beautiful girl, a little on the plump side
95 An expression describing a customer who leaves without paying
66 See "49"

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Juventino Rosas (New York City)

Photo: Dulce Pinzón.

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Seventy-dollar smoker

The Brinkman box smoker: $70.


Portland greendrinks

Greendrinks meets tonight at the GMRI, 5:30 p.m.

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Monday, July 7

F/V Providian


Locally Known

Locally Known, the brainchild of a 24-year old with aspirations to become the next big thing – the Earthbound Farm of the East Coast – has been trucking greens from Bowdoinham to Whole Foods Market, via BG. It's not just the shortened travel time that's different about Ben Dobson's farm:
Locally Known said it is not trying to steal the market from local farms that supply small health food stores and nearby restaurants. Instead, it is focusing on major supermarket chains.

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On the food beat

Food has become the political and economic issue. The question is: Are food writers prepared to cover anything but the glittering, glistening beauty of the [_____] for wimpy lifestyle sections in the vein of Martha Stewart?

Paul Roberts says the food chain is the beat of the future, via NPR.


Saturday, July 5

Free Range Fish & Lobster

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Alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus)

There's not too much worth reading over at Plating Up. One recent addition includes Melanie Hyatt who mashes up fish and pop culture slang in Desperate Alewives.


Friday, July 4

Flo's (Cape Neddick)

Via se.


Week in Review, July 4

A fired Maine state game warden may have been set up by Marine Patrol officers, who have planted short lobsters in previous trap molestation cases (1). Grocery aisles has less jumbo products (2), fuel was reportedly being poached on farms in Britain (3), and a reporter stood in the rain clutching a beer as he tracked Chellie Pingree (4).

A loose husky killed hundreds of chickens in Wales (5) and in the suburbs, zoning laws were an impediment to community farms (6). Lobster print tableclothes were spotted on an island in Casco Bay (7). A cooking demonstration was held in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Falmouth (8). Bees left Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport, prompting a call to police (9).

A man had invitation only pizza parties in St. Albans (10). Wheat acreage in Maine reportedly tripled in the last six years (11). Home brew cost as little as 60 cents a pint (12) and even though organic food wasn't just for white folks (13), it was still said to be bad for the poor (14).

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Wednesday, July 2

Strawberry ice cream at Red's Dairy Freeze

Now is the time to head over to Red's Dairy Freeze in South Portland for their famed strawberry soft serve. More on ice here.


Lobster boats throttle down

High fuel prices mean one thing:
"It's going to go back to basics: real small horsepower. Everybody I know is hauling back on the throttle. They're not running wide open like they used to," via WW.

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White Barn Inn short

It might not be fair use, but it's a relief to quote this review in full:
If you want a $400 meal with impeccable service and great food from 5 years ago, get in your time machine, head to Primo circa 2003, and then light three 50 dollar bills afire via the candle on your table. Or go to the White Barn Inn. You'll pay the same amount, via FWA.

The Last Supper 2.0

Photo: Luciano


Saffron (Crocus sativus)

Everything you ever wanted to know about saffron, via 3QD.