Sunday, November 30

Rainbow United Methodist Church supper

Photo: NEConn/TSB

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Friday, November 28

Don't be a turkey

Every fall, writers and editors have to knock themselves out to come up with a gimmick—fast turkey, slow turkey, brined turkey, unbrined turkey—when the meal essentially has to stay the same. It's like redrawing the Kama Sutra when readers really only care about the missionary position, via Slate.
But there are some who forgo turkey and want a more chaste version of the holidays. These pesky vegans are irking the Press Herald's M.D. Harmon:
What motivates those who try to make their friends and neighbors feel guilty about giblets? Why not just tuck into the baked beans (wthout pork) yourself and let other people get stuffed with roast beast? via PPH.

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Wednesday, November 26

Allagash black

Two good ways to prep for the family, via BAB.

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Tuesday, November 25

Lobster for Thanksgiving

Just another story about eating lobster on Thanksgiving, via NPR. (Also from the AP).

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Mr. Biggs


PFEX replaces its auctioneer

The troubled Portland Fish Exchange loses at least one aspect of its human touch – beginning with auctioneer Paul Dewey, who made $50,000 annually (according to a 2007 Press Herald report that's not online):
Late last month, the man who for two decades has overseen the movement of countless tons of fish through Portland was replaced by, you guessed it, a computer.

And while Dewey, 76, has stuck around to help the often-befuddled fish wholesalers adjust to the changing times, his last day, Dec. 1, is fast approaching, via PPH.

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Monday, November 24

Maine Food and Lifestyle

The second issue of the 2008 Maine Food and Lifestyle includes articles on Portland's Green Elephant and Boyd Street garden. Oh, and of course, just in time for the holidays, lobster gazpacho, via MF+L.

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Urban chickens

chickens Maine

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Sunday, November 23

Fire at Binga's

Binga's Wingas, at 795 Congress St., reportedly burned this afternoon. [Updated: 11/24] Photo links under comments. The PPH's coverage says the fire started at Binga's and one cook tells WMTW:
"I was cooking hamburgers, smelled smoke, opened back door -- the alley-way was engulfed in flames, the back porch was on fire -- got the fireman, it all happened really fast."
[11/26] Binga's plans to reopen in the summer of 2009, via tB.

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Dogfish Head, Maine

According to the New Yorker's Burkhard Bilger:
Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, the pub that [Sam] Calagione opened in 1995, sits on the main drag of Rehoboth Beach, on Delaware’s southern shore. The pub’s name comes from a peninsula in Maine where Calagione spent summers as a boy; its location was inspired by his wife, Mariah, who grew up nearby, via NYer.
Calagione also apparently spent a month at the Shipyard.

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Saturday, November 22

Week in Review, Nov. 22

Mainers struggled to find enough adequate food even before the economic slowdown (1). Food need increased at Waterville's child care center (2), Caribou's food pantry (2), the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry (3), and the food pantry on Indian Island (4). An Oakland woman struggled to feed herself, her husband, and Blackberry, her pet cat (5). "I went to school, I graduated and I did what I was supposed to do," a man named Chic told the Sun Journal. "But none of that matters right now. It's not helping me put food on the table" (6).

The financial crisis also troubled horses (7) and a man seeking to finance a company manufacturing a devise that tracks the temperature of perishable foods (8). The economic crisis reportedly spurred a "run on a food bank" (9). Rising toilet paper and snack foods costs also reportedly put pressure on child care centers (10). The Oak Hill General Store, in Standish, remained closed after media reports cited a "Osama Obama shotgun pool" (11) and a fertile crescent was seen in the soils and in Democratic voting patterns (12).

A superintendent said that there is no dishonor in applying or receiving free or reduced lunches (13) and a dentist argued that food stamps should not be used to purchase soda (14). Kennebec County inmates produced 48,000 pounds of produce in 2008, most of which was donated to area food pantries (15). A UMaine student dressed as Marie Antoinette in a hunter-orange dress seesawed in an effort to collect "food closet" donations (16) but he ended his 24-hour attempt early because of the cold (17). "The food is just so awesome here, it really is," said a man at the Wayside Soup kitchen. "It's better than any restaurant I ever ate in my life and I'm a chef by trade" (18).

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Kids who hunt, trap and fish don't mug little old ladies

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Friday, November 21

Slow food fast Portland Maine

Jessica Rhys writes in this week's dead tree version of The Phoenix (sorry, no link) about the Slow Food fest, Terra Madre, and waxes poetic about not so fast food in Turin and how Maine's way ahead of the curve when it comes to local, organic yadayas.

The article doesn't mention that she's part of the Maine School Garden Network or that Terra Madre 2008 was held last month. There's little about the local chapter or other participants from Maine, who, according to Slow Food, included: Amanda Beal, Mary and John Belding, Ben Hasty, Scott Johnson, Craig Lapine, Dana Morse, Leslie Oster, and Bob Smith.

[Updated 11/24] Rhys also shies away from the double bind of promoting a political agenda through consumption. This year, Carlos Petrini said:
"People who sniff a cheese and talk about how it has the most wonderful aroma of horse sweat. Think how incredibly boring we would be if we were still just a gastronomic society."

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When the economy sours, journalists tend to like to find unique economic indicators, often with food. This includes sushi, Big Macs, lattes, and Spam. And locally, this phenom occurred with a recent Punky's review memo, sort of:
Beefy guys will enjoy the fact that they can get a whole Italian at Punky's for a very reasonable $4.75, or a half for $3, and still have money left over for something fried to go with it – onion rings, mozzarella sticks, fries, chicken fingers, yadda yadda yadda. The long-haired elite types are welcome at Punky's, too. Brown rice jambalaya was a recent special for just $5.14, and there's a new falafel roll-up on the menu for $6, via PPH.

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Grandma feeds the chickens

Photo: Anonymous,
via VoxPhotographs.

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Thursday, November 20

Late night eats

The Bollard's Zack Barowitz hits Portland's weakest spot: Chinese food after midnight. The review includes Lang's Express, the Wok Inn, two Denny's, and Bill's Pizza. But no Becky's.
Every town needs a place for people to sober-up on greasy food and coffee before hitting the bridges and turnpikes. For this informal survey of late-night Portland eateries, I awoke at midnight on four consecutive weekends and set out — with the good judgment of sobriety, some morbid curiosity, a little envy, and a growing sense of disgust — to find the drunken diners and eat what they eat. It felt like second-acting a bad play, via tB.

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Olive Cafe

Olive Cafe opened on Commercial Street with a mix of garlicky Lebanese chicken schawarma and falafel (both for under $79) and leftovers from its former occupants, One Eyed Jack's Pizza, fish taco and pizza. There's also coffee and a TV at 127 Commercial St.

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Wednesday, November 19

Woman making fishing net, Vinalhaven (1946)

Photo: Carl Mydans, via LIFE.

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Who doesn't need a copy of Swallow Magazine? Please, please, please, someone in Portland carry this magazine.

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Make Thanksgiving lobster day

Get a bug not a bird. Brought to you Lobster Celebrations.

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Slainte has an underage drinking problem, say the Portland police. The City Council has given the bar's owner Ian Farnsworth until Dec. 15 to respond to police before pulling the bar's liquor license, via tB.

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Food, Hunger, Justice

Nov. 19-Dec. 6, Maine College of Art, Aurora Provisions, Rabelais Books, and Local 188.

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Monday, November 17

The Widow Clicquot

More on The Widow Clicquot by Portland's Tilar Mazzeo:
Facing a dearth of primary materials about the widow's personal life, Ms. Mazzeo often resorts to intelligent guesswork. She admits that "telling the story of another woman's life, I have learned, is as much a matter of sympathy as scholarship." The result is an intoxicating business biography, via WSJ.

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Harvest Dinner

Tomorrow night, Nov. 18, Evangeline will be hosting a “Harvest Dinner” of sorts. Up Back Farm, Sparrow Arc Farm, Browne Trading Co, and The Cheese Iron. $55 prix fixe. 791-2800. More events here.

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Pollan Nation

Bates College has posted the entire transcript from a recent Michael Pollan talk (thanks Justin Henry!). Three bloggers took on the event:
Pollan's dietary advice boils down this seven-word incantation: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." To which I would only add, "And get over yourself already," via VN.

[H]ere is an opportunity I had to combine two of my great interests: food politics and knitting, via RBB.

Maybe those of us jammed into the chapel tonight were listening to this country's future Secretary of Agriculture. I can't think of a more perfect candidate for the job, via CTCA.
The event was also covered by the Sun Journal.

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Photo: R. Hyde. (Previously.)

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Thursday, November 13

Maine shrimp

Working Waterfront's new issue has a piece on the lobster crisis and the rebound of island farms. They're also working on a cookbook about Maine shrimp.

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Wednesday, November 12

Prohibition walking tour

It's not just the Land of Forgotten Cocktails.

Portland now has a Prohibition walking trail of sorts. (This follows a recent event about search and seizure laws).

Stops include: Empire Dine + Dance, the Neal Dow House, Shays Grill Pub, the Asylum, the Porthole, and Shipyard Brewing Compang.

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Design: Kathrine

via (S+S)


Andrew Zimmern in Maine

Watch the trailer for an upcoming Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern in Maine and look at photos here. [Updated] Johnny D also posts about Grow! Forage! Kill! in two magazines. And for more press than you can find on Monday night at City Hall:
Last summer, Zimmern and crew ate their way along the coast of Maine. (BoGlo).

Maine is a place, according to the Travel Channel, "where many residents find most of the food they eat right in their own backyards, literally" (PPH).

This summer, I ate a Junebug. Actually, I ate three of them, three different ways (The Phoenix).

[Updated 11/21] There's also a food blogger who had never heard of the show who blogged about the show over at MF+L and what didn't make the cut over at eG (with even more of Katie Selva's photos].

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Sebago Brewing Co.

NECN gives you a reason to dip your pretzel in that creamy Parmesan dip at South Portland's Sebago Brewing Co. And a reason never to watch a food review on TV again.

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Columbia Falls cranberry bog

Photo: Jacqueline

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The deviled egg

Richard Lewis has lunch with John Gutfreund, the King of Wall Street:
Who ever dreamed up the deviled egg? Who knew that a simple egg could be made so complicated and yet so appealing? I reached over and took one. Something for nothing. It never loses its charm, via Portfolio.

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Lobster is the new bologna

Lobster has fallen to layman's prices, which means...
Lobster, she says, is "like the new chicken, because it's so cheap." (PPH)

The critters are currently fetching about the same price as bologna along the Portland, Maine, waterfront according to a recent news report... (FWST). See also (FT).

Along the Portland waterfront, seafood shops are selling lobsters for as cheap as $3.89 a pound, which is about the price of bologna at the deli counter (AP).

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Moules frites

Tuesday, November 11

1,111! One thousand, one hundred and eleven!

Today is 11/11 and this is the 1,111th post. Thanks to all the readers and tipsters out there!

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Going solo at the Fives

Steve Corry, the chef at 555, advertises with Single Edition for eating out alone, via MF+L. It almost sounds like free drinks for bar loners:
Q: How has the Portland, Maine hospitality industry changed to better accommodate the increasing numbers of single diners and travelers?

[Steve Corry:] I can't comment as to what the city has done to better accommodate single diners and travelers, however I am happy to share the restaurants approach. Since day one 555 has welcomed single dinners and actually provides them with a somewhat higher level of service. The way we see it is that if someone is willing to come in alone to dine with us then he/she has an elevated level of expectation that we will strive to exceed. Single diners are immediately viewed as friends of the restaurant so to speak.

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Monday, November 10

Things to do when you're a drunk playground critic

Invisible Guides is a new local, user-generated review website with an inexplicably complex tag cloud navigation. In short, sign up and get a login. Write a review. Maybe get listed in a guide book about Portland. Here's what it takes to review the Reiche School playground:
Maybe it was because I was drunk, but I just HAD to climb over the fence and up the spider web. Don't let those agile little elementary school students fool you - it's hard to do. Especially wearing high-heeled boots, via km.



Sunday, November 9

Miyake's pork belly

If the sake-cured sea bass, the raw uni roe on the half shell, and the chef's omakase weren't enough:
Working at Hugo's, I consider myself a bit of a pork belly expert, but man, the pork belly there is exceptional, all rolled up like pancetta, sliced thin and crispy, via esme.

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The vegan butcher shop (Chinatown, NY)

Butchers may be far and few between. But it's even harder to find a veggie one. Stephany Anne Goldberg, over at Table Matters, a newish blog from Jason Wilkins (of Smart Set), goes in for a look:
When I was first told of the place, about six years ago, I pictured a dark, cold room with raw hunks of tofu hanging from steel hooks in the ceiling and, behind a seitan-stained counter, a man with a giant belly hacking off the choicest pieces according to customers' taste.

The actual May Wah Vegetarian Food store is a tidy fluorescent place with walls covered in wood paneling and freezers filled with faux meats of every flavor and design, via TM.

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Deathmatch rehash

More on the summer 2008 Deathmatch. This time from [updated link 11/12] MH+D.

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Chicken not so supreme

#584 Schwan's stuffed chicken Kiev has been recalled after a customer complained about finding rubber in his chicken, according to the USDA. The line of chicken supreme is made by Barber Foods in Portland's West End, which is why the prom sometimes smells like cordon bleu. If you're curious about this and other recalls, head over to Karen, a virtual food safety representative.

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Friday, November 7


Photos via 3191.
At Rabelais, 6 p.m.

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Comet Flies Over the Underbelly

This is a song about cheeseburgers and Dr. Pepper from Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, a Brunswick band playing tonight at the Tower of Song.

Download the song.

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Fernet branca

One of the few reasons to live in Massachusetts: Fernet.
Spirits rarely have anything like a wine’s terroir—the industrial process of distillation tends to strip out nuance. But in Fernet Branca, I find something even more rare. Call it tempoir: the taste of a time that’s long since passed us by, via The Atlantic.


Weir Posts, Boot Cove

Week in Review, Nov. 7

Because of refrigerators did not grow at the same rate as fruit trees, it was said that root cellars were becoming more popular for backyard gardeners (1). Sales of freezers were up (2). Needhams were called a vanishing treat (3). "It's hard to beat these old diners," said Chellie Pingree (4).

“There’s definitely some other sensation going on there with the wormwood,” said an absinthe drinker (5). A woman who spent $22,800 on make-up and complained about fruit fly research lost a bid to become vice president (6). A man who had reportedly walked from Florida to Calais said he got food from good people without asking (7).

Before his election, Barack Obama said, "Because you all know, that I know sweet potato pie" (8).


Wednesday, November 5

Miller High Life

Missed the celebratory Champagne in Paris? Can't afford caviar or the $150 Champagne dinner at Evangeline? Here's a toast to the champagne of beers.

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Knee Deep

There was a brief in last week's Phoenix about a film that screened at the 2007 Rockland film fest and doesn't appear to be screening any time soon. Knee Deep seems like a good one. It was spawned from this headline “Some In Town Support Man Accused of Shooting Mother (no link?)."


The Patty Wagon (Fore St.)


Tuesday, November 4

Election night parties in Portland

Obama's Campaign for Change: 8:30 p.m., Portland Harbor Hotel

Sen. Susan Collins: 7 p.m., Eastland Park Hotel

Tom Allen: 8:30 p.m., Wyndham Hotel (in SoPo)

Chellie Pingree: 8:00 p.m., Empire Dine & Dance

Charlie Summers: 7 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay

Portland Greens: 8 p.m., Brian Boru

Local Dems: ?, (been known to hang at Local 188)

Local Republicans: ?, Sangillo's (according to The Phoenix)

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Political memories

Len Libby's is closed. But other than that, tThis series of Election Night essays from N+1 is worth reading. From Alexander Chee:

My mother was a proponent of the first returnable bottle bill in Maine. I remember her putting me out in the parking lot at our local supermarket with bumper stickers and telling me to put them on people's cars. What if they don't want them, I asked, pretty sure this was sketchy.

They'll just razor them off, said my mom.

After the bill was passed, we would go to the beach as a family and collect the returnables, and whatever we earned we could spend on candy at Len Libby's, a local candy shop that is still there in Scarborough, ME.

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Election Day fodder

Diners are one of the epicenters of the political season. But on Election Day, there's lukewarm coffees and bake sales. And free stuff at Ben & Jerry's and Starbucks? What's on special at your polling place?


Carolyn Chute (Parsonsfield, Me.)

Photo: Erik Jacobs/NYT.
See also, PW.

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Monday, November 3

Grace restaurant (Chestnut Street church)

For more photographs and a brief history of the cost of renovation of Grace, head over to Mainebiz. See also, IAS and Psst!

[Update: Opens July 2]

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Maine Man

Photo: Carter Smith
(GQ, via Jay).


Go nuts and donuts

Donuts, including Tony's Donuts, via Down East. More on the subject of Maine donuts here.

And Portland's underground Deathmatch, via Port City Life. See earlier posts here.

Fresh steaming ad "review" about Vignola, via Portland Magazine.

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Foods Jesus Ate

What would Jesus eat? Allan Swenson has the answer, but he's not telling the Press Herald. He talks more about spy history than his new book: Foods Jesus Ate and How to Grow Them.
Out of this, I am starting a Bible Garden Club working with some of the seed companies I have relationships with, Territorial Seed Co. and Nichols Seed out West. We can sell packets of seed with the books, using cucumber, melon and lettuce, and saying these are the seeds you can grow.

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Sick Tree

Painting: Jeff Badger.


Saturday, November 1

Plywood roundup

Fat Baxters, The Rosemont Bakery next to Hilltop Coffee, will be closed for renovations Nov. 3-5. The Miss Portland Diner was open and kicking with gray hairs. And a cafe was planning to open nearby on Marginal Way. Up in Brunswick, Sweet Leaves Tea House appears on the verge of closing.

The former Maine Super Buffet, 1140 Brighton, also a location of the old Valle's Steak House, plans to become another Asian buffet, Kon's Asian Bistro. And One-Eyed Jacks Pizza, on Commercial Street, is becoming a Mediterranean-influenced restaurant called Olive, via PFM. The Front Lounge/Port City Music Hall has a blog with updates on its construction and renovation on Congress Street.

The Pavilion, 188 Middle Street, reportedly looking for a restaurant tenant. Still no word on whether the Deering High School alumni association got their money back. Also on the gossip front, anyone know this Anthony Mastropasqua, who shares a name with the owner of the Tropa Wine Co.?

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