Friday, October 31

Beta vulgaris


Week in Review, Oct. 31

"There’s no state law preventing anyone from wearing 'Vote for the Goat' buttons or 'Ban the Bear' underwear," Al Diamon said (1). Barack Obama refused to comment on whether his rallies would interfere with early bird specials in Florida (2), Maine clubs planned hunter's breakfasts (3), and the GOP was said to target Maine sportsmen (4). The Economist said "McCain has a chance of winning [Maine's] snowmobile-loving, hockey-playing northern district" (5), and the former head of the Maine Dems said, "I think you need appetizers, chips, things that won't spoil because it's a long night" (6).

The failure of financial modeling was compared to charting the decline of Atlantic cod (7), the College of the Atlantic planned to hold an international conference on sustainable food systems next fall (8), and the University of Maine looked to secure pouring rights once its contract with Coca-cola expired (9). “We can’t compete,” said a hardware store owner. “That’s why we diversify. That’s why we have a natural foods market. That’s why we sell flour and mustard and spices" (10).

"People have a good mental picture of Maine that makes them smile," a soda maker said (11). "Apples were big in Maine, very, very big” (12) and special shirts that would benefit lobstermen were planned (13). A man robbed the Lewiston Dunkin Donuts (14), a critic ordered egg noodles instead of succotash at Fuel (15), and "locally-grown" had no consistent meaning (16). "I'm enjoying it in terms of an intellectual sabbatical," said Portland's food cartographer (17).

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Wednesday, October 29

The Wednesday Snooze

OK, if you don't want to touch the LN2, light up with some sugar-lite Halloween candy (PPH). See also, the Day of the Dead.

Connect the dots. It's clearly a connection: Vietnam War, John McCain, and, of course, bánh mì (tP). See also, Kim's simplified.

Where to find vegetables in the winter (TMS). See also, how to become a carnivore.

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Try are fish



Tuesday, October 28

Ruhlman at Chautauqua

Things change when hundreds of people work on perfecting Hollandaise, says Michael Ruhlman:
Food connects us to the earth in this digital Internet-y age. It keeps us grounded in the things that matter. Great cooking, in the end, has real power because it connects us to our past, our future, and all of humanity – if we let it. I believe that America’s increasing appetite for food and cooking know-how is, in part, the beginning a spiritual quest for the bigger things: a search for meaning, order, and beauty in an apparently chaotic and alien universe. Resisting mediocrity is hard. Mediocrity presses in on us. America is a mediocrity factory. Don’t accept it, via

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In defense of the induction oven

Herve This, the godfather of molecular gastronomy, suggests one item in the home kitchen:
What equipment do you consider essential for home cooks?

A good oven, certainly. Induction is fine, because induction is more efficient than a gas stove. That's all, via G&M.

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A scawllop a day

Anne Ravana pronounces scallops like she's from away, listeners of MPBN say.


Monday, October 27


Photo: Natalie Conn.

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Standard Baking's brioche

Standard Baking Co's sugar brioche got a mention on Ideas in Cooking Food (Thanks Stephen! Or Stephen?)

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Saturday, October 25

Typewriter tavern + other plywood

The Brass Compass Cafe in Rockland reportedly had topless waitresses, which photographer Jim Bazin liked a lot but not enough to take pictures, via MF&L.

The Bramhall Pub/ Roma, 769 Congress, has been sold to John Cloutier. And 51 Wharf planned to expand, via tB.

The Miss Portland Diner planned to open on Oct. 31, via PFM.

One Eyed Jack's Pizza went on vacation until Oct. 31.

The Typewriter Tavern plans to hang an Underwood and a new sign outside the old Awful Annie's. Johnny Lomba will be slinging $2 PBRs and $3.50 Brooklyns.

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Patrick O'Rorke '04

Signage: Patrick O'Rorke

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Discounted tickets

Munjoy Hill residents get a 2-for-1 discount at today's Harvest on the Harbor festival.


Friday, October 24

Week in review, Oct. 24

A $95 caviar dinner was planned at Eve's (1), a $150 champagne dinner was planned at Evangeline (2), and a bottle of champagne was broken on an Aegis destroyer (3). Sales of thrillers and cookbooks were reportedly on the rise (4). Because of falling commodity prices, the price of grocery store items was expected to decline next year (5). A $285 scent dinner at Natalie's with Chandler Burr sold out in seven hours (6). "It's rather amazing the interconnectedness that has built up in the economy," a marine scientist said (7).

John Myers, a write-in candidate for Portland City Council, said that "seeing men in power in their cups is a thing to behold" (8, 9). A fifth-grader swallowed moose tongue and said it was tasty (10) and a wild boar was hit by a car in Massachusetts (10.5). “He was jumpy and skittish for a couple of days, but he’s come back remarkably well,” a goat farmer said (11).

The head of the infectious disease bureau of the Boston health commission said she didn't care if her food came from Maine or Mexico (12). An eggplant recipe from Iran was published on the same day that six inches of snow fell in northern Maine (13, 14). Mice without certain stomach bacteria were unable to digest Cheerios (15), a team of surgeons slid a stapler down a woman's throat and stapled her stomach from the inside (16), and psychologist found that people thought more warmly of others when holding a warm cup of tea or coffee (17).

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Cucurbita maxima

Photo: Stacy Brenner.

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Thursday, October 23

The Station restaurant

The Station, 272 St John Street, plans to open a restaurant on Oct. 27. No word on a name yet. Emo's?


Harvest on the Harbor Portland Maine

All the Harvest on the Harbor hype in one place:
If you were thinking the economy might keep folks away from this blowout culinary festival in our own little foodie town, think again. (Portland Press Herald)

"Part of our job is to show them, 'Hey, we do have great restaurants up here, so come on up and give it a try,'" Ethman said. (Portland Press Herald – nope, not seeing double)

"Culinary tourism is so prevalent across the country, it's an event whose time has come in Portland," said Barbara Whitten (Boston Globe).

"You can go to a wine festival anywhere, but what will separate this one is the strong emphasis on locally-grown Maine food," said Barbara Whitten (The Maine Switch).
Hey, does anyone know if Ocean Gateway has wireless?

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"Blooming Potato"

Design: Lauren Fensterstock
Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. at Bowdoin.

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The proof is in the pudding

Wednesday, October 22

I would totally go with the kitchen crew

Maine's one of few states where inmates can vote. Eating in jail isn't necessarily about politics; it's all about improvisation – from stacks of macks to baking bread with spread. The best story about food behind bars comes from South Portland's juvenile detention center. Blunt Youth Radio's Joey and Jake investigate the pee in the pudding (story starts at 14:04):
I ate somebody's urine. It all started when I went to dinner at the cafeteria and someone told my friend not to eat the pudding. Then my friend told me after I ate it that someone had peed in it. I survived that day, but I couldn't stop thinking about it so I went to the cooks to see if they had an answer, via TAL.

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Jordan's Fine Meat Products

Photo: R. Hyde.


Tuesday, October 21

Pom's Thai Taste

The Bollard reports on the prohibition on singing at Pom's Thai Taste. Not only does the relaunched website has an RSS feed and easy permalinks, there's one link for the entire, hard-to-find, limited edition Fishing in Public series.


On hunger in Maine

Naomi Schalit, the author of a 7-part series on hunger in the Kennebec Journal, discusses the process of documenting what ordinary people eat. The series drew criticism online for portraying a woman on food stamps who also spent money on cigarettes. She appeared at a lecture with The Washington Post's Anne Hull at Colby College: Listen here.

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Michael Pollan at Bates

Michael Pollan talks about "In Defense of Food: The Omnivore's Solution" on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Bates College Chapel, College Street, Lewiston. The food guru appeared last night on Fresh Air.

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Monday, October 20

Maison Lahlou couscous factory (Algeria)

Photo: Samantha


The Real Dirt film

Portland Food Coop presents The Real Dirt on Farmer John, a film about a Angelic Organics screens at the Meg Perry Center, Congress Street, October 23 at 7 p.m.

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If the Dogfish is dead, does that mean Portland's going to have fewer restaurants per capita? via CHOW.


Romanesco (Brassica oliferacea var. botrytis)

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Sunday, October 19

Freshly dipped plywood

Truffle maker Dean's Sweets plans to move in to the empty storefront between Rabelais and the Pepperclub – with a retail store and small chocolate production kitchen.

Also on Middle Street, Duckfat, a so-called hole-in-the-wall, underwent a deep cleaning. And across India Street, Micucci's sign got some fresh orange paint.

Elsewhere, Rockland planned a sustainable market basket Farmer's Fare. And rumor has it the Port Clyde Dip Net isn't just done for the season: It may close for good.

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Saturday, October 18

Margaret Chase Smith

Margaret Chase Smith, a former Republican candidate for President from Maine, was once asked about going head-to-head with Russia's Nikita Khrushchev in a kitchen confrontation. Smith said, "If it was making blueberry muffins, I would probably win," via NPR.

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Fingerling potatoes

Photo: Stacey Cramp.

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Rick Barbata

Rich Barbata, the owner of the short-lived Rick's Restaurant, is also a personal chef, says the Munjoy Hill News:
Rick buys the ingredients, cooks in your kitchen and cleans-up following the cooking. Having cooked for large groups in the past with varying tastes and special diets, Rick likes the challenge of pleasing different palates.


Friday, October 17

Winter CSA

It's almost World Series time, which means two things: time to plant garlic and sign up for a winter CSA share. Here are a couple of options in the Portland area:

Wolf Pine Farm from Alfred offers a share for $400.

Fishbowl Farm from Bowdoinham has a share for $440.

And last year, Freedom Farm from Freedom and Thirty-Acre Farm from Whitefield teamed up for a share buying club.

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Watershed Farm (South Montville)

Photo: Lily Piel

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Week in Review, Oct. 17

The Dairy Queen in Biddeford burned (1) and a grass farming workshop was scheduled (2). A cheesemaker had a homebrewing class (3), the ales were said to be "pretty good" at an Octoberfest (4), and a food bank had an inspectathon (5). A mobile mechanic changed oil at 2 a.m. in a Shaw's parking lot (6). A food scientist sciecialist said, "You could say he's quirky" (7).

Five thousand lobsters were sold in Stonington to benefit the lobster industry (8) and a woman baked her first nectarine pie for the first time in Hancock (9). It was national school lunch week (10) and USM students' parents made recipes for the cafeteria (11). A shortcut on a farm road saved time (12).

Todd "Prospective First Dude" Palin drew crowds with free hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, apples and cold drinks (13), and Todd "Tofu is Too Fun" Richard made some pumpkin (14). A scientist said that a moose with 50,000 ticks "means they're not foraging for food" (15). "I'm not wacko," said a woman stocking up just in case. "My father lived through the Depression and he always drilled it into my head: never, never, never get caught unprepared" (16).

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Amy Cutler

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Wednesday, October 15

Matt's Coffee

Matt's Coffee might use beans from halfway around the world, but he roasts with native woods. Matt keeps a blog here and his wood stack photo contest was mentioned earlier on Portland Food Map. (Sorry, no link).
Matt Bolinder roasts his organic beans without the assistance of fossil fuels, such as propane or natural gas. Instead he uses a vintage Italian roaster, which burns nothing except good, old-fashioned Maine wood, via TMS.

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The Times for Maine goat

“A lot of folks said nobody in Maine is going to buy goat meat,” said Marge Kilkelly, who does marketing for the group. “We’ve found just the opposite,” via NYT. [More on that here.]


Tuesday, October 14

Serve your country food

Home canning: How to find jars

This is what they say to customers buying Mason jars at Maine Hardware, where employees like to romanticize the last frontier of urban stills right here in Portland, where cooks make hard cider and Jersey lightning:
"You going to make some white lightning?"

"You bet."

Anyway, in the latest issue of The Bollard (paper-only), there's a lengthy, evocative essay about how canning up produce can help you feed yourself and fight The Man at the same time. It suggests going to the hardware or grocery stores. Shaw's, Maine Hardware, and Hannaford in Portland all carry Ball/Mason jars and lids. But Whole Foods Market does not. As has been said, "It's not all love and burlap."

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Pedal powered take-out

Veloport is a pedal-powered take-out delivery service that operates with 13 restaurants Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thomas, the bicyclist-in-chief, can be reached at 542-0040 [updated] or 210-6043, via PFM.


Letters say Parker's review skewed

Responding to N.L. English's review of Parker's restaurant in the Maine Sunday Telegram on Sept. 29, it would appear that his or her expertise in restaurant critiques leaves a lot to be desired, via PPH.
Being a critic sounds tough, especially when the one time you say a meal ends with a "weak cup of tone deaf coffee" you get skewered. The reaction to bad reviews explains some of the reason why the views are always glorious and the restaurants are always delightful. After all, no one really like being skewered. Especially not twice.

N.L. English, the food critic for your newspaper, has provided yet another reason for people of Portland to stop reading your paper, and consequently contributes to the reason the Portland Press Herald is going broke.

English slammed Parker's restaurant, and thereby slammed the good, hard-working people that it serves. Perhaps this reviewer's ability to be objective has been altered by the many upscale restaurants her reviews often favor, via PPH.


Jordan's Fine Meat Products

R. Hyde


Monday, October 13

How to make acorn flour

A short primer on shelling, leaching out the tannins, and preparing acorn flour. And another guide on making black walnuts edible.


Sunday, October 12

Heidi Julavits' Maine

Heidi Julavits describes Maine in an unauthoritative essay in the recent guide book, State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America.
In Maine, meanwhile, 2005 was business as usual—just a lot of fat people hanging out in the rain with their cats, drinking coffee brandy and trying, without cheating, to kill a bear, via Slate.


Caribou, Maine (1940)

Photo: Jack Delano

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Friday, October 10

Farmer in chief

An open letter from Michael Pollan to the Farmer-in-Chief, via NYT. More on the magazine's Food Fights issue here.


Big Mama's Diner

Big Mama's Diner, 5 Dana Street, is reportedly closing [add] on Sunday Oct. 12. Buy up those souvenirs. Juice joint on the way. More on that here and here.


Maine food stuff

So, you're stuck at work and tired of reading Psst! Now, there's one more way to waste your time: Add the Facebook application Maine Stuff!! (developed by a Mainer living in Texas) to the list:
The social juggernaut that is Facebook has both fans and foes of the various user-made applications you can add to your profile. Some people like to be zombies, or throw sheep at each other; personally, I find it highly irritating. But one application that I did gladly add to my profile was the Maine Stuff! application, which allows you to send to each other such beloved Maine items as whoopie pies, fiddleheads, Gifford’s Ice Cream, Humpty Dumpty potato chips and Jordan’s red hot dogs, via BDN.

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Week in Review, Oct. 10

"We have had double the number of people coming in, lots of people looking for produce," said the coordinator of Plant a Row for the Hungry (1). McDonald's Chicken McNuggets sipped barbecue sauce in New York (2), accelerated electrons were used instead of chemical products to eradicate fugal spores on organic seeds (3), and a biologist said, “I have never seen so much natural food in the woods” (4).

Young Republican ate wings, while Democrats had boxes of Chinese food in Bangor (5). At Slainte Wine Bar, viewers played "Palin Bingo" while drinking beers (6), campus police found two 30-racks of Coors Light and several red cups as evidence of a drinking game (7), and the winners of the annual wife carrying contest on Saturday will receive the female's weight in beer (8).

"I can do the math and it doesn't lay out," said a Portland lobsterman (9). The state did not have enough inspectors for the 666 school cafeterias (10), bikers planned a 100-mile farm tour on Sunday (11), and farmers in the Western Mountains hoped to have a website (12). Eat Maine Foods social network site was said to be an inspiration for locavores (13).

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Thursday, October 9

Mark's Hot Dog stand

Photo: Kelly Creedon/Salt
Audio: Annie Godfrey Larmon/Salt


Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx wrote a short story about two cowboys and a primer on apple cider. This is how her writing is described in a lengthy new essay in The New York Review of Books by Joyce Carol Oates:
Proulx’s grimly naturalistic tales are often laced with flashes of bawdy humor or goofiness, as if to suggest that, from the Olympian perspective of the Rockies, the mishaps, follies, and tragedies of humankind are of minuscule significance in a world in which “demons [are] sprinkled croutons in a salad."

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One Eyed-Jack's Pizza

One Eyed-Jack's Pizza, on Commercial Street, which has the best fish tacos in town, gets a once over from the perspective of "a thick-crust girl." Great.
My cousin's taco was gigantic. I had never seen a taco as large and stuffed with hunks of chicken, red-cabbage cole slaw, scallions, cilantro and chili lime sauce. My cousin said it was a messy meal (sauce streamed out of it), but it tasted great... [My cheese pizza] looked and smelled delicious, though, and thankfully, it turned out to taste great, too, via PPH.

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Circle of Blue

Photo: J. Carl Ganter/
Mediavia/Circle of Blue.
At Kindle, USM, Oct. 17-19.

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Portland Food Map

More on the origins of Portland Food Map (earlier Psst here) from its developer:
Even though I had all the best intentions of trying the new restaurants, I usually forgot all about them when hunger kicked in and I was walking out the door. PFM started out as a list of places I had been to or wanted to try. The list quickly grew into a directory of all restaurants, markets, bakeries, coffee shops, etc., via MF&L.
When is there going to be an RSS feed for PFM's latest news?

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Wednesday, October 8

Open Creamery Day

The Press Herald has a preview of next Sunday's Open Creamery Day. While some of the small dairy farms make yogurt and sell milk, the article focuses on the big cheese.
Artisanal cheese making is thriving in Maine, and the rest of the world is beginning to take notice. Last year, Maine cheeses won 17 awards at the national competition. This year, there were fewer Maine entries, but local cheese makers still took home seven awards, via PPH.

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Back Bay Grill

After a recent post by Hilary Nangle on the Back Bay Grill:
With all the hype about Portland’s foodie-fave restaurants... sometimes out-of-sight/out-of-mind Back Bay Grill gets overlooked. It shouldn’t, via HN.
Brian Duff goes in for a look in The Phoenix.

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Monday, October 6

Spam is best straight from the mailboat

Photo: Kate



WMTW reports that the building Margarita's is in, on Brown Street, caught on fire and the building sustained water damage.

Portland City Council is voting tonight on a beer and wine license for "Boreralis Breads, at 182 Ocean Avenue." Borealis Breads, also known as The Van Gogh of Dough, is based in Waldoboro and Wells.

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Sunday, October 5

Allen's Coffee brandy

Allen's Coffee brandy is again Maine's top-selling liquor. It's also known as:
The Champagne of Maine

Fat ass in a glass (usually when mixed with two parts milk in a Sombrero)

Allen's liquid panty remover

Gorilla milk

Keep me up all night

[Updated 12/20] Ice shack antifreeze

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Serious eater visits Flatbread

Fresh intel on Flatbread, via Dustin, a Serious Eats friend. Oh wait, nevermind, kind of looks like a shill.
The preparation, the fact that things were organic and local, the setting, etc., etc., were all great, but the fact remains, how does the actual pizza taste? And, Adam, the pizza tasted wonderful... The sauce, the dough, the toppings—everything—just tasted great.
OK, brother man, how about those tangled origins of this New England pizza chain? And what about the dreaded aspects of Flatbread? And really, if you're looking for sustainable, organic, hippie vibes pizza, there's also the West End's bonobo, which doesn't have quite the organo-Epcot feel of Flatbread and has some sort of season to its pizzas (three new winter pizzas are on the menu now). Also, up in Bowdoinham, Mother Oven bakery serves up those whole-wheat-infused-with-love pizza pies on Friday nights.

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Hanging Deer

Photo: Jocelyn Lee.


Saturday, October 4


The new Granny's, Grandes Burritos, at 420 (huh-huh) Congress Street, went under, via PFM. Jon St. Laurent, the owner of Uncle Billy's, has apparently dedicated himself to catering.

Thai Chef Buffet, which is looking for a Japenese cook for its all-you-can eat Italian and vegetarian and Thai food buffet, plans to open Oct. 9 at 10 a.m.

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Friday, October 3

Week in Review, Oct. 3

A man was stabbed outside Denny's on Congress Street (1), Maine has 13 buffalo farms (2), and apple drops were said to be as good as the ones on the tree (3). A Newport restaurant supplier kept aisles with Sno-cone machines, Fryolaters, and hot dog steamers, as well as "a fake palm tree or two for ambiance" (4). Forty-three percent of the debris found during a coastal cleanup was food related (5).

The farming season was a "curious misfit" with the school year (6) and a Brazilian beauty queen, who reportedly had a tryst with McCain, said, "I called him 'John' but he was my dear and my coconut dessert" (7). The Portland Conservative Candidates Caucus supported the repeal of the beer, wine and soft-drink tax (8), Kate's Butter won an award (9), and climate change was forcing polar bears to resort to cannibalism (10).

[One item deleted] Three dollar fries at The Grill Room were called the tastiest fries anywhere by a shill columnist (13), and Rachel Ray suggestively shucked corn with a rubber band (14). A Greenville restaurant lost its liquor license over a sandwich that had been free for skinny dippers (15), and a guy playing horseshoes and drinking beer said: "Payback's a-coming" (16).

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Thursday, October 2

Everytime I go to the circus...

Lobster shares come to Portland

More on lobster shares, this time from a Freeport lobsterman and his wife, Gina Leduc and Jim Kuntz, who are delivering 3 lb. weekly shares of lobsters ($306) to Bath and to Portland. He hauls traps by hand(!). Read about their work in Bath in TMS. [Updated] More on this initiative and the Port Clyde Fresh Catch from the PPH.

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Sarah Palin's vegetarian speechwriter

As it was recently observed, food fanatics are more generally more conservative – vegetarians compared with omnivores, vegans are more conservative than the lacto-ovas. But that's only in temperament and generally not in political positions.

The politics of food has recently come to the fore with the recent VP selection on the GOP ticket. Sarah Palin, a small town, gun-toting, antiabortionist has a speechwriter, who, no joke, is apparently a fanatical vegetarian: Matthew Scully. (He probably just needed to make some money with or without a stated aversion to hunters.)

Maybe this evokes Maine because Palin shot a moose, but in what may be an insight into her abilities, one Mainer pointed out that:
Shooting a moose is like shooting a barn, requiring very little skill. They often suffer from brain parasites and are not that smart or wily to begin with, via NYT.

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Old Port Sandwich Shop

One of the PPH's Eat and Runs orders a sandwich in person (they are old school) from the Old Port Sandwich Company, at 89 Market Street, and has this to say:
I sampled one of the cold specialty sandwiches called "Almost Thanksgiving," which includes turkey, cranberry sauce, lettuce, tomato and mayo for $6.69. You get to choose your own bread, and I chose wheat. The turkey was piled high, the bread was fresh and soft, and overall it was a very nice sandwich, via PPH.
It seems to be part of the paper's intensified local coverage of lunch hours, a series which so far includes the death of the lunch hour and what people on their lunch hour say about the financial crisis.

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Amateur Female Jello Wrestling (New York)

Steve and Renee's

Prof. Duff whips up a frenzy of nostalgia for Steve and Renee's, a strip mall eatery in an effort to become a framed piece of writing on the wall at 500 Washington Ave.:
The bright-orange squash delivers the sort of sweet, creamy glycemic spike that makes babies stop crying. The peas have an old-fashioned mushiness. The cranberry sauce is nice and tart, with more gelatin than chewy berries. The potatoes are thoroughly whipped and the stuffing is dark, dense and best when soaked with gravy, via tP.

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Wednesday, October 1

Five-fifty five

The quest for kim chi continues. This time with a little Five-fifty five bar menu, which maybe isn't the kind of place you expect to serve up some raunchy, little fermented flecks of stinky Napa cabbage and they don't really.

What the menu lists as "Kim-chee" here is a salty, house-made fermented bok choy with a light acidic taste and a strong flavor of chili. This isn't classic kim chi funkiness, nor is it classic kim chi with a fancy, fresh twist – the "kim cha" cha if you will.

The kim chi is a crunchy dollop of pickled Asian vegetables on a cook-to-temp grass-fed hamburger. The meat, which is delivered fresh on Wednesdays from Cold Spring Ranch, a farm with pasture-raised beef cattle in North New Portland, is leaner (both in portion size and flavor) and "greener" than most burgers elsewhere.

The kim chi burger ($11.95) is also topped with little black trumpet mushroom ketchup, Pineland Farms cheese curd, and a "wonder bread" that doesn't ball up in your mouth quite like the real Wonder Bread but tastes pretty much the same. It comes with crispy, shoe-string French fries. On a whole, it's a light, satisfying meal that won't, unlike the restaurant's name suggests, run you into the triple digits.

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