Friday, August 29

36 Dunkin' Donuts in a 3-mile radius

Photo: Anna Low.
Sept. 5 at Rabelais.

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Week in Review, Aug. 29

Food was suspected in sickening half of the inmates at the York County jail (1). More students were expected to enroll in free lunch programs (2), UMaine- Farmington reduced food waste by 65,000 pounds and water used by 288,288 gallons in going trayless (3), and food stamps were increasingly used at farmers markets (4). A man observed an invasive flowering plant (5) and a Portland importer sliced up his prized jamon iberico (6).

Slow Food Nation opened in San Francisco (7, 8) and the Democratic National Convention was held in an arena named for Pepsi (9). Researchers linked childhood ear infections and heavy breathing with obesity (10). China Villa served takeout said to be "unusually fresh" (11), Chef et al was called a "great little spot" (12), and swimmers, who plunged naked into a Greenville lake for free food, faced fines (13).

Wyman's CEO drove a pristine BMW minivan (14). The nomination of an organic blueberry farmer to the state's pesticide board was defeated (15). The board was said to regulate, not promote, pesticide use (16) and others urged another organic nominee (17). Community supported fisheries expanded to Mount Desert Island (18).

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Wednesday, August 27

Duck Yao (Worcester, Mass.)

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For the working man

Tuesday, August 26

McCain Foods backs McCain

The big Canadian food manufacturer, which has a plant in Easton, Maine, launches a new ad campaign backing presidential hopeful John McCain. The slogans include:
McCain brings 'smiles' to millions.

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Lobster woes

From MPBN, two stories about rising costs for lobstermen and a shellfish disease.

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Craterellus fallax (Black trumpet)

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Ebenezer's Lovell, Maine

The Fryeberg area has at least one secret:
If you can’t get to Belgium, Ebenezer’s is the next best thing to visiting a Belgian bar. Monk’s bar in Philadelphia is a good approximation, but Ebenezer’s is the real thing. In Lovell. Honest, via BB.


Monday, August 25

Duckfat dethroned?

While MH+D missed out on a critique of the sophistique red walls at Evangeline, at least they found the beefy frites. Adding to the fry-love, last week the Maine Mouth dished out this delicious bit:
However much I love fries and gravy and cheese, I still have to say that the plain fries at Evangeline might top the rest, via MM.

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Going high-tech in The County

A market report on Aroostook County's international seed potatoes, consolidation, and an organic Internet salesman:
As Maine potato farmers watch their profit margins continue to shrink as costs for everything from fertilizer to diesel fuel escalate, farmers like [Daniel] Corey are finding ways to cut expenses and improve efficiencies, whether that means finding new markets to exploit or investing in new, high-tech systems to streamline operations, via Mainebiz.

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Sunday, August 24

Virtual dish

In lieu of my attendance at the upcoming Deathmatch (I know, a real bummer), please accept the following contributions (Thanks Jeff T.!).


Malus X "Sentinel" (Cumberland Ave.)

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Saturday, August 23

Watersy politics

Chef Alice Waters, co-founder of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, said at the Aspen Ideas festival that Barack Obama had the foodie know-how to be the next President. The candidate admitted to not knowing as much about food as he should, she said, but Obama had read Micheal Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”:
“I know that he’s paying attention in a certain way and therefore we have that certain possibility of really offering him advice.”
Waters then suggested forming a set of agriculture and food advisers – a “Kitchen Cabinet” – and holding press conferences at a freshly-formed compost heap on the White House lawn

Like many local food advocates, though, Waters appears to harbor genuinely conservative values, writes John Schwenkler in the Boston Globe:
Set against books like National Review editor Jonah Goldberg's best-selling "Liberal Fascism," which glibly suggests affinities between the organic food movement and Nazi totalitarianism, it is easy to treat views like Waters's simply as a liberal phenomenon. But this is not as it should be: For in her deference to tradition, her focus on community, and her understanding of the role of the family in society it is Waters, not Goldberg, who is giving a voice to genuinely conservative values.

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Vaccinium corymbosum (Eastern promenade)

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Going bust in The County

The County, a place with a distinctive regional Acadian heritage and the highest concentration of farmland east of the Mississippi, should serve up some good, solid, authentic cuisine. At least that's what Jessica Battilana thought:
So in mid-September I headed up to Aroostook County. ... I can't lie--some of the journey was incredibly disappointing. There I was, in one of the richest agricultural regions in the country, sitting down at a restaurant and discovering that, rather than serving green beans from their neighbors down the street, they're buying them frozen, from Sysco, via F&S.

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Friday, August 22

Prunus persica (Congress Street)

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Week in Review, Aug. 22

Mainers were the fattest residents of New England (1). A fake restaurant won a Wine Spectator award (2), two teens debunked mislabeled sushi in New York (2), and Maine's most popular restaurant proposed adding panko-breaded calamari and baked wings (4). An unnamed woman who farms south of Portland was said to sell vegetables with "flawless natural skin... without wax boosters (5)."

The owner of a feedlot in California at the center of a recent beef recall watered his flowers while wearing an In-N-Out Burger T-shirt (6) and officials said, "Hundreds of people were getting free crabs" (7). Eighteen percent of Maine farmland was foreign owned (8), volunteers sold 2,000 smoothies (9), and bottled water consumption was highest in the U.A.E. (10). Hydrox cookies staged a comeback (11). A ranger allegedly assaulted partygoers in Acadia (12) and a Dunkin Donuts' drive through was closed for an hour because of a stabbing (13).

Potatoes were wet but would still be harvested (14), Alaska's largest dairy closed (15), and a hornworm squasher and writer said, "If you volunteer at a farm, don’t necessarily expect to work on your tan while channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder" (16). Camping Lite offered s'more delivery (17).

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The Omnivore's 100.

One hundred. Mmm.


Farmers market

WhoFooMa sponsors a once a week – Friday's 2 to 6 p.m. – parking lot farmers market with the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project. The Lisbon farmers reportedly grow black-eyed pea greens, okra, purslane and malokia, but last week, it looked like mostly tomatoes and lettuce.

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Thursday, August 21

Iris Park

Photo: Elizabeth



It's fall. Shipyard ships out its Pumpkinhead Ale with a release party tonight, 5 to 8 p.m. at Bull Feeney’s, via BB.

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Bottle battle

The bottle bill turned 30 – and the workers at bottle redemption centers haven't gotten a wage increase in more than 15 years. Not only that. The $1.2 million that customers do not redeem gets split by the state and manufacturers. But the debate didn't stop the Bangor Daily News from recommending an expanded system:

Just as the perceived value of the bottle bill grew when the state faced a solid waste crisis, perhaps a new carrot-and-stick initiative tied to products whose manufacture uses lots of petroleum — like plastic bags — would appeal to that same Maine frugality.

And all this bottle and bag business coincides with a proposed tax hike on beverages that the The Fed Up With Taxes coalition, a beverage and restaurant association, opposes.


Lobster caught in downturn

After a recent puff piece reporting the beauties and economic bounties of lobstering, NPR is now reporting that Maine lobster catches are down.

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Wednesday, August 20

"A can of beans"

Video: Stephanie Schmidt + Cecily Pingree, showing at Angela Adams, Aug. 21, 6 to 8 p.m.

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Lobster Mac & Cheese

Hancock Gourmet makes the pages of the Grey Lady. Another recipe here.

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Pint-sized cattle

The next British invasion: the minicow.

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North of Houlton, they call this stuff fries. An earlier psst here.


Tuesday, August 19

Juicer, deconstructed

Photo: brittny

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The cost of lobster

Slate's Daniel Gross weighs in on low lobster prices, including $5.49 from an unnamed "seafood store in downtown Portland."
At root, the global forces that are driving up the price of food don't significantly affect the vacation lobster business in Maine. Commercial and consumer demand doesn't vary much for off-the-boat lobster. Sure, many lobsters are sold to processing plants. But unlike other seafood products—think of canned tuna, or clam sauce, or frozen fish fillets—lobster is not produced or marketed on a mass global scale, which also means there are no speculators trying to make a killing on lobster futures, via Slate.

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A call for carts

I scream, you scream, but where is the hipster ice cream? Ditto the chic street vending carts.



Type A taste tests take-out at Haggarty's on Forest Ave (this link possibly sponsored by the samosa manager at WhoFooMa).

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Monday, August 18

Poland Spring's water wars



The what room

That line out the door is a good indicator, says Dan Zarin. Of what?
Front Room is inconsistent and the service is terrible even when it's empty, via CH.

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Spacebagging, v. To drink box wine without the box, an effectual way of transporting wine and reducing its carbon footprint. Bonus: The bag comes with a helpful spout (Thanks to my lil bro!).

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Green lobster

Are Maine lobster green enough to be marketed as whale-free – the dolphin-free branding of the north Atlantic?
A consultant's report submitted this week says Maine lobster could indeed qualify for the certification, as long as the fishery overcomes a few weaknesses, via PPH.
In light of Alaska's dismissal of the Marine Stewardship Certification, the MSC said:
"More typically fisheries clients are groups of fishers and their associations or seafood industry and commercial entities, who are better placed [cha-ching!] to directly benefit from all the advantages third party certification can bring [cha-ching!]."
For more on the real, made-for-TV version of the lobstering conflict, head to the Lobster Wars (Thanks Jason!).

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Now that it's in season, it's time to ask: Is watermelon the natural Viagra, or are the agricultural experts developing seedless varieties of melon just really good marketing sexperts? (Thanks alex m.!)



The Taste of Place author Amy Trubek signs copies of her book at Rabelais, 3 to 5 p.m.

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"Farmworks feed us all"

Sunday, August 17

Vaccinium angustifolium

In The New York Times, Nancy Harmon Jenkins compares the maintenance of low-bush "wild" blueberries to raising wild lobster (although blueberries are not fed vast quantities of herring or other berry bushes). She also point to the mechanization of the fields:
Nowadays, if you go Down East to the vast blueberry barrens of Washington County, around the towns of Milbridge, Cherryfield, Addison and Jonesboro, you’ll find farmers mechanically pruning the acreage by flailing until each craggy little bush is but an inch and a half high.
Increased mechanization has also coincided with the decline in the number of migrant workers. Still, as Jeff Clark writes in Down East:
Blueberry company executives, wreath factory owners, and Aroostook farmers have all been quoted as saying that migrant farmworkers are vital to their continued success. ... “We need the farm-workers and love them,” says a spokesperson for one of the biggest broccoli growers in The County. “We’re definitely supporters of the migrant population. But right now we want to keep a low profile and just paddle our own canoe up here.”

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Hamburger pillow

Design: Wary


Mousse Cafe

Mousse Cafe and Bakeshop, a poorly named joint in a ill-fated location (One Monument Way) opened with typical breakfast fodder, hamburgers, and $9 Kobe hot dog from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. [Update] More on the naming process from TMS.

A new "blog" from MaineToday, In a Snap (pronounced, "inner snap"), previews the restaurant and calls the second week of apple season at the farmers market the first sign of fall. While the blog's content may be questionable, at least there's something fresh more than once every two weeks.

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Fortune Garden

I can't recall decent Chinese food, except ingredients from the Hong Kong Market truck, but apparently, just in time for those Olympics over in you know where, there's decent take out on the Forest Ave. dining circuit, says Nancy English:
Dining on plastic plates from meals served in aluminum containers, you can enjoy a good Chinese dinner at Fortune Garden, via PPH.
Seriously? This isn't just a cheap shill?

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Friday, August 15


Roguepalooza at Novare Res tonight and Saturday – with Eric Michaud hosting the largest collection of Rogue beers on tap outside of the other Portland, via BB.


Cake Wrecks


St. Peter's Festival

It's not quite on the culinary par with the Greek Heritage fest or on a drunken par with Gloucester's greasy pole, but St Peter's Italian Street Festival off of India Street runs 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and a little shorter on Sunday – with a ton of Italians and drop cookies.


Week in Review, Aug. 15

"It's the worst I've ever seen," said a hay farmer. "The second crop is ready to cut and the first one isn't in yet" (1) Potatoes faced an increased threat from water-borne late blight (2). Julia Child was a spy (3), Mr. Frostee had imposters (4), and a former ag secretary told Rumford officials, "Anyone who wants to hurt this country through food could do it" (5).

A mycologist offering $40 classes warned against eating wild mushrooms (6) and food stamp recipients would get an average of $23 more per month (7). Beef price escalated (8), melons needed baths (9). John McCain suggested his wife join a Buffalo Chips contest, where topless women often perform fellatio on bananas (10), Florida crowned its Strawberry Queens (11), and the blueberry festival in Machias planned a pie eating contest (11).

Sustainable lobster would mean more reporting by fishermen (12), a gardener harvested his first tomato (13), and Safeway expanded it's storebrand organic label (14). "And I care about what I buy," said a shopper, "but milk is milk" (15).

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Tuesday, August 12

Plywood: Summer edition

Fasulo's on Washington Street is now Ari's East End Market.

A new Mexican place run by the original owners of Aurora Provisions is being planned for the old Icehouse.

Miss Portland Diner put up a sign.

Owner's of Falmouth's Foreside Grill planned a place named Grace at the old Chestnut Street Church.

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Getchell Bros.


Maine Mead Works

Mead all about it: 200 Anderson Street.


PBR: the new king of beers

From Heffy's to Gansett: The US of cheap beer.


Back to the landers 2.0

Freshly weaned off the liberal arts degree, young folks are giving up that summer vacation to farm:
Some romanticize the career, focusing on the beauty of the fruits or the joy of being in harmony with the land. They may not consider the bugs, hot weather, backbreaking work to pull weeds and harvest cucumbers -- not to mention the long hours and low initial wages, via WP.


Friday, August 8

Aroostook County (1942)

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B & M Baked Beans

A young, marginally-successful writer in Portland describes his job at B&M Baked Beans in Eat, Memory, a new collection from The New York Times:
The assignment came with a special tool, fabricated in the millwright's shop. It looked like a framing hammer with a steel spike welded to the end. It made a satisfying sound as it pierced the cans.

I had a great time for the first hour. Then I came to a bad can. I should have known what it was. It looked different than the others, misshapen and bulging in the middle. If you've ever shot a can of shaving cream with a BB gun, you know what happened next.

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Week in Review, Aug. 8

Rain kept farmers waiting (1) and a "tool carved in the form of a shapely female leg" was part of Maine folk art tour (2). High school coaches drank with football baseball players in photographs found online (3), a New York food cart chef opened a kitchen in Belfast after falling in love over Scrabulous and moving to Maine (4), and the pig scramble was popular at the Monmouth fair (5). A biscuit maker said: "I love my dogs and dogs like to eat" (6).

The FDA warning on tomalley was said to "tip the scales" on lobstermen (7). Maine has not a serious effort to eliminate raw milk (8). A Machiasport resident questioned the bounty of soy (9), Kosher meats were called dark (10), and a Kneading Conference attendee said, “The statement that only conventional agriculture can feed the world is a myth” (11).

The Lobster Festival was compared to Christmas (12). A hot doggery turned 100 (13), the state celebrated Farmers Market Week (14) and Tomato Tasting Month (15). The owner of No View Farm could foresee an increase in locally-grown foods (5). "The food was good, the prices were good," said a regular customer at a Hermon restaurant that closed because of high food prices. "Where am I going to go now?" (17)

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Thursday, August 7


Photo: Jon Levitt.



Carrot top

Carrot tops are edible, says Harold McGee. There's also advice on adding oil to a hot pan and eating moldy cheese.

Wednesday, August 6

Mangold Golden Tankard

Photo: Charles Jones.


Allagash toast

Allagash beer tasting in tribute to MOFGA and hop grower Hugh Malone at Evangeline, Aug 12, 6-8 p.m. $10. Call 878-5385. Sold out.

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Lobster love The Internets

The Ready Brothers' Catch a Piece of Maine subscription program use the Internets to market lobsters, via NPR. Even in slow economic time, boy, is Maine idyllic:
It's a nice sunny day off the Maine coast near Portland. The air is sharp with the smell of sea spray off some jagged rocks nearby...

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The Grill Room

Prof. Duff opts for a few lines about Tolstoy and opts out of reviewing his cocktail, which is a shame because there's some speculation that the bar (or rather, Mr. Myers behind the bar) is really the greatest thing going for this Exchange Street restaurant.
[Harding Smith] pairs the hanger steak, cooked nicely to an even pink, with a great chewy chorizo, a big pile of oil-sauteed spinach, and white beans. The wintery flavors were great on a chilly summer night on the patio, and were not drowned out in the mildly spicy chimichurri sauce. Other grilled meats were equally well prepared, via tP.

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Common Ground

Supernaturals golo

Wal-Mart and Hannaford attempt to go local:
For the largest supermarket chains, though, where for decades produce has meant truckloads transported primarily from the West Coast, it’s not always easy to switch to the farmer down the road, via NYT.


Masala Mahal

Masala Mahal, the new Indian grocery in SoPo, gets a reheat from the PPH. Earlier article from TMS here.


Tuesday, August 5

The Desert

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Red tide recedes

Clams are in the open season in some flats in Maine, says the DMR. The Bangor Daily News says this year has arguably been one of the worst on record (See report of closure). Just keep this in mind when you buy into the illusion of local fried clams from that purveyor of magical, seaside views.


Lobster bait

Ian McPike explains to Working Waterfront what goes into a lobster before lobster goes into a pot. And it's not just herring in the trap, it's also herring covered in salt.

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The Margarita

Brunswick's El Camino has one of the nation's best cocktails, Mike Paterniti tells GQ (Thanks AD!).


Saturday, August 2

John Calande

Chow Maine profiles Cape Elizabeth's John Calande III, who provides focaccia and "hippie bread" to Evangeline and baguettes for Bresca, via PFM.

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Friday, August 1

Primo (Rockland, Me.)

Photo: Stephen Quirk.


Week in Review, Aug. 1

A permaculturalist grew yacon (1), a man made one-plate wonders (2), and CSAs in Maine increased from 75 to 115 over the last year (3). Kraft sales boomed (4). "There's great potential on the East Coast to stop importing food from the West Coast," said a Locally Known spokeswoman (5).

A former potato farmer drove around the state looking for fresh produce (6). Community Supported Fisheries expanded to include Belfast (7), the Baldaccis sold the family restaurant (6), and radishes were sold in Kennedy Park (8). Fast food took off during hard times (9), LA planned to ban certain fast food restaurants (10), and the Big Mac was an economic indicator (11).

The KFC gene connected Polynesian and South American chickens (12). Mold grew on raspberries (13) and WTO trade talks collapsed over food and farming issues (14, 15). Lobster prices fell, but only in New England (16) and a kneading conference organizer said, "We hope to return the Skowhegan area to its heritage as the breadbasket of Maine." (17).

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Thinking about the barnyard (discretions)

An ethical theory about eating factory farmed animals but not dogs is inconsistent.
Similarly, there is no ethical theory (at least not one that takes animals themselves as morally relevant subjects) on which one could consistently hold that it is a moral transgression against an animal to use it for one’s own sexual gratification, but that it is at the same time morally permissible to slaughter that animal and eat it, via 3QD.