Wednesday, December 31

Maine Mead

Maine Mead Works, at 200 Anderson, will begin tastings this winter, via PPH.

In the piece, owners Eli Cayer and Ben AlexanderAnderson say some 80 other meaderies in the U.S. Maine honey-wine enthusiasts might also want to try Asmara restaurant on Oak Street and Fiddler's Reach Merrymeeting Mead.

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Tuesday, December 30

In defense of Starbucks

Starbucks drove independent coffeeshops to make better brews and the company also fostered higher-quality home-brewed drinks, says Robert Thurston.
So coffee lovers should salute Howard Schultz for the level to which he has taken the world; but the niche he invented is almost full, and he cannot meet the growing demand for truly high-end coffee, via FT.

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Sunday, December 28

White House vegetable garden

A recent Times piece on President elect Barack Obama's kitchen cabinet mentions Roger Doiron:
A farmer in Maine is asking the president-elect to plow under an acre of White House lawn for an organic vegetable garden, via NYT.
While Doiron (who owns four-tenths of an acre in Scarborough) is more of a suburban gardener than a farmer per se, not everyone appears to be as excited as Kim Severson about the prospects for watercress watermelon on the White House lawn, as Alex Avery tells NPR:

"I think the idea to put an organic farm on the White House lawn is as shallow a stunt as is the intellectual rigor of the organic movement as a whole."

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Luna Rossa

Luna Rossa is apparently a new Italian eatery planning to move into 188 Middle Street via anon. [Updated] More on the restaurant here.

Elsewhere in pastaland, the Front Room's Harding Smith has also been working on a pasta-themed restaurant, reportedly named the Corner Room, at the old Salt building at the corner of Federal and Exchange streets.

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Saturday, December 27

Sunset Packing Company (West Pembroke, Maine)

Label reproduction via Tides Institute, via HN.

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Friday, December 26


Emilitsa is the best new restaurant in Portland this year, according to the Phoenix's Brian Duff. He also makes mention of the battle of two Portlands (without noting any collaborations of the Portlands in images or in food) and DFW's Consider the Lobster. Here's his kicker:
A city should support the quirky along with the novel, and so more people should try Chef et al., another notable new spot this year.
Quirky might want to wait until Chef et al. undergoes a McDonald's-style renovation, says Chowboarders.

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Thursday, December 25

Week in Review, Dec. 25

"The McDonald's dining experience is such a beautiful marriage between nostalgia and tastiness, I could not do without it," said a Lewiston journalist (1). Stacy Peralta's Burger King "Whopper Virgin" ads, which depict native people trying the burger, were called "culturally tone-deaf" (2, 3). A woman waxed nostalgic for Waterville's drug store, the A&W root beer place, and a Dairy Queen of the 1960s (4). A convenience store in Dixmont reopened, bucking a trend in mom-and-pop business closures across the state (5).

Some shop owners in Berlin objected to the killing of wild boars (6), one Windham resident called beef slaughter the "ultimate canned hunt" (7), and another Windham resident said food prices should decline in tandem with the drop in diesel prices (8). Clint Eastwood is not a vegan and he reportedly looked aghast when learning what a vegan is (9). "He was a man's man," a man named Hemingway said. "He was good at everything he did" (10).

A woman killed 12 exotic birds while cooking pork chops in a nonstick pan (11). A Dixfield woman's whoopie pies fueled athletic teams (12) and a Falmouth blogger's chocolate cravings caused a crisis (13). Because of public outcry, saltwater fishing licenses won't be required until 2010 (14). Panty hose and a small knitting hoop were said to be a good gift for the outdoorsman (15).


Wednesday, December 24

Where communion wafers come from

Rhode Island's Cavanaugh Company makes some 80 percent of the communion bread made in the United States. The general managers tells The New York Times:
“It’s not that we don’t have respect for what happens to it, but that transformation is out of our hands and takes place in a church. The best thing we can do is make sure the bread is perfect in every way possible.”


Port Clyde, Maine

port clyde, maine shrimp, fresh, catch

Photo: Natalie Conn.

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Maine ice wine

Even if the deer and turkey don't get what's left on the vine, well, then, most Maine ice wine appears to fall under the cheap shill category.
Unfortunately, in America, there are few rules to say what a winery has to do to put "ice wine" on its label. That's the kicker, and this semantically loose attitude misses the whole point. No magic happens if all you have is a bunch of frozen grapes — the grapes have to undergo a much more intense process, via TM.


Outside the Front Room

Two women talk about climbing into a car parked next to a snowbank.
Woman 1: "Do you want me to pull out?"

Woman 2: "Do you know how many men I've said that to?"

Woman 1: "None. That's why you have four kids."

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Maine shrimp

Photo: gillian.k

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Tuesday, December 23

Beach Cliff sardines

Saturday, December 20

In Memoriam: Jim Cook

How to make rugelach

The grown-up Fig Newton's are on sale at Standard Baking Company. Here's how to make rugelach at home.

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Alcoholic energy drinks

The caffeine and stimulants in Sparks and Tilt are being pulled after 13 states' attorney generals complained. If these kinds of alcoholic energy drinks impair the health and well-being of young drinkers, as the AG's office said, is Allen's Coffee Brandy going to be targeted as a risk to everyone else? One judge told the Press Herald: "I see it in bar fights, domestic assaults, OUIs and worse crimes.''


Friday, December 19

Masa Miyake

Photo: Jonathan Levitt,
via GrassDoe.

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On avant-garde cooking

This BoGlo illustration has a few science concepts for the kitchen, including one that debunks the usual meat salting techniques, but the page seems to misuse the molecular gastronomy term. For a more thorough explanation about how chefs and scientists are pushing the bounds of the scientific understanding of cooking, listen to this discussion between Ferran Adrià, Corby Kummer and Harold McGee at the New York Public Library (mp3).

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How to make tourtiere

A pork pie from Quebec, via the Ellsworth American.


The Hermit of Maine, 1936 (Freeport)

Photo: Paul Carter

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How to cure a hangover

Slog too much nog (and yes, it's better with booze)? Got a bad case of "carpenters in the forehead"?

Here's a helpful guide on curing a hangover. Locally, check out Hair of the Khan.

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Thursday, December 18

The Garden

The Garden, a film about community gardens in Los Angeles, shows at Space tonight at 7 p.m. $7 Here's more on Portland's community gardens. And here's what the Phoenix's had to say about the connection between LA (the one in California) and Portland.

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The Norm

How can a can of iceberg lettuce became a meal at a four-star restaurant? The story of Norm's.
Take the spicy peanut noodles, for instance, which would be almost painless at $7.95. Lots of shaved iceberg lettuce adds crunch and cold to mouthfuls of peanuty and spicy noodles tuned up with fish sauce and curry powder. What does it matter that a lot of it came out of a can – including the coconut milk that sweetens the dressing – when it tastes good and it's cheap? via PPH (Thanks CW!).
Ah, me loves the cheap beer and wine.

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555, Portland, Maine

Photo: Katie Selva

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Tim Horton's, eh?

Tim Horton's, the Canadian donut and watery-coffee chain, opened its first location in Portland at the old Friendly's in the Westgate Shopping Plaza, at 1422-ish Congress Street.

The donuteers also reportedly have a something to do with a possible deal at 183 Middle Street across from Starbucks, the former location of Shoemaker LLC.

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Organic food champions, the Maine Organic Farming Association, now have an RSS feed.

Next up for a syndicated feed: Portland Food Map updates.

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KFC vs. PeTA (Bangor, Me.)

bangor, maine, hot, bikini, chicken, kfc

Photo: Kevin Bennett/BDN.


Hannaford hot line

What passes for a review of a fajita on Hannaford's prepared food line:
It tasted fine, via PPH.

Wednesday, December 17

The Wednesday snooze

Maine Root and Allagash Four make the BoGlo.

Kate's Butter and low lobster prices make the Times.

Locally, the Press Herald covers the Portland food coop and the Phoenix uses flash photography to capture the late-night freegans.

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Aroostook: Potato Houses Of Northern Maine

Photo: Al Wachlin Jr.,
via BDN.

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Borealis Breads

The bald-headed Baldacci heads to Borealis for a ribbon cutting with the "Van Gogh of Dough" today. Flatbreads and salads will be made by former Sweet Leaves Teahouse chef Josh DeGroot, reports the PPH.

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Tuesday, December 16

Slainte liquor license

Slainte's license was denied, reports The Bollard. (Previously on Psst!). [Updated 1/12] Actually it was issued and then denied, which means Slainte's still in business, says The Bollard.


Food fight: Portland, Oregon vs. Portland, Maine

A post about Portland, Maine being the new Portland, Oregon has brought on a cross-country I'm-better-than-you match headed, in part, by blogs at the alt-weeklies the Portland Mercury and the Portland Phoenix. With a call for a Portland-to-Portland food writing escapade, here are some rounds to consider:
Powell's vs. Rabelais?
Fruit tree project vs. gleanings?
Plate and pitchfork vs. 20-mile meal?
The Oregonian vs. Portland Press Herald?
Portland Food and Drink vs. Portland Food Map?
Tour de coups vs. Borrowed Sweet/Overland Apiaries?
Gabriel Rucker vs. Steve Corry?
Scott Dolich vs. Rob Evans?
McMenamins vs. Allagash?
People's vs. Portland Food Coop?
Pinot noir vs. mead?
Family Supper vs. Deathmatch?

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Doodlebug (Bangor, Me.)

Illus: Lawrence


Monday, December 15


How to find the good stuff, according to Milk author Anne Mendelson. And it's not an "organic" label.

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Empire (Showhegan, Me.)

Road rambler William Least Heat Moon's latest "Roads to Quoz" includes a short description of the Empire, in Showhegan, as the cornerstone of a long-lost America with its hot coffee and booth service. Read an exerpt here.

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Saturday, December 13

Bonobo pork tasting

Jan. 12, $20,SOLD OUT via NE.

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The Kitchens Project: Evangeline

Photo: Stephen Quirk.


Friday, December 12

Week in Review, Dec. 12

A seven-year old in Ellsworth called 911 to say his mother had eaten the last strawberry Pop Tart (1), a beer purchase helped track a criminal in Greenville (2), and the "cookie lady" died (3). Police took a 21-year old out to McDonalds after he reportedly stole a cart full of food in Newport (5).

"I think food prices should go down," an Auburn second grader said (6). Mayonaise was called nuclear (7). Several national brewers were accused of using St. Nick to promote drinking events despite a socalled "Santa clause" (8), and a report on hypocrisy said that even "if every animal-rights activist is exposed as a covert meat eater, it still might be wrong to eat meat" (9).

A researcher added seven percent cranberry to ground beef and found that it not only retarded bacterial growth but also tasted good to 50 UMaine test subjects (10). Five to eight percent of the university's food came from local sources (11). Harpoons were increasingly being used to hunt swordfish (12).


Losing your shirt over the credit crisis

Topless waitresses at the Brass Compass Cafe in Rockland. Oh wait, just kidding. They're just trying to sell lobsters – after "the credit crisis paralyzed the lobster market," via BoGlo.

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Thursday, December 11

Sec. of Food

We need a cabinet post dedicated to better eats, says Nicholas Kristof. Even without the name change, there's an empty Sec. of Ag. position – with at least one set of prospects.

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Photo: Amy Steenstra,
Bakery Photographic
, Dec. 12.

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Binga's Wingas Yarmouth

Bill's Pizza (in Yarmouth) becoming a new Binga's after a recent fire, via tF. There's also an employee benefit on Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at The Stadium.

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Brewtown #4

Right up there with restaurants per capita. According to the Beer Examiner's examination of 2007 census data and the number of breweries listed in Portland, the city has 4 breweries for 62,825 people, or 1 brewery for every 15,706 residents, making it #4.

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Wednesday, December 10

Root cellar revival

Start digging. There's a root cellar revival, says MPBN.

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The lobster glut

The Times covers the "lobster glut." And quotes Trevor Corson as saying the low prices won't last long:
“It’s gotten to the point where for the fishermen, it’s not worth their while to catch lobsters, so the supply will decrease.”

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Mother Nature

jennifer leahy, salt institute, mother nature

Photo: Jennifer Leahy, via Salt.
Dec. 11, 5 p.m.

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Tuesday, December 9

Food trends 2008

Eat your offals in. Recession dining is #1, says TIME.

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Maine shrimp season (Pandalus borealis)

Craig Pendleton is a media-savvy Maine shrimp fisherman. He started a shrimp season page over at Eat Maine Foods and he recently spoke to MPBN about the extended season. This year's shrimp season runs from Dec. 1 to May 29, 2009.

Shrimp shares (CSFs) are back again this year in four locations from Port Clyde Fresh Catch. Even a Times style columnist is on to C.S.F.'s.

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Poster from the WPA

Design: Herbert Bayer/USDA,
via LOC

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Monday, December 8


Not just wood-fired pizza in Portland. Now, there's wood-fired bread. Coming Dec. 17 to Borealis Bread on Ocean Avenue.

And Loco Pollo, which planned to have lobster tamales (not tomalley), finally opened. The decor includes some Aztec-style designs and its owner, Corey Jones, reportedly drives a Hummer.

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Friday, December 5

Portland Food Map

Down East has named Portland Food Map as its best food guide in its list of bests:
[Anestes] Fotiades doesn’t editorialize (much) but does link to available reviews so you can decide whether the new tapas place is really worth your time and money, via DE.
The magazine has also posted a review/profile of Evangeline.

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Patti Sandberg

Repeal Day

Bottoms up to the Keg Party! Today is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the Volstead Act (though Prohibition wasn't repealed in Maine until 1934). Make mine a Jack Rose, please.

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Week in Review, Dec. 5

A New Gloucester man shot himself the day before deer hunting season with firearms ended (1), a Portland man was attacked with a meat cleaver (2), and a man harvesting periwinkles – a shellfish reportedly called "wrinkles" – disappeared in the Sparkplug (3). State budget cuts would trouble shellfish harvesting in Washington County (4). "Once I started paying attention," said a Maryland scientist, "I couldn't find any acorns anywhere" (5).

Shaw's shuttered its Bangor store citing the economy (6), a McDonald's in Bucksport hosted a bingo night (7), and it was reportedly less expensive to cook for yourself than to eat Spam (8). The trend toward home cooking was also said to be a boon to health (9) and Dar Williams, singer and author of Tofu Tollbooth, told the Bangor Daily News: "I see that the local food movement is flourishing and that young minds are thriving and that renewable energy is on the rise" (10).

Kids tended to drink less soda in four Maine schools regardless of whether their school banned the high-fructose corn syrup-laden drinks or not (11, 12). "The servings are big, and the food's not bad," said a UNE political science professor about Andy's in the Old Port (13). Colby College had the sixth best food (14) and a new mussel company bought a raft called Mumbles (15).


Recipe journals

Thursday, December 4

RIP Mim's

Mim's closed last Sunday, says NE, but no one noticed or cared until yesterday. This mimosa's for my homies.

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Miss Portland reviewed

The Miss Portland's long-awaited reopening has been met with long waits, and spotty service – even the PPH says so. No longer smoke-filled cars lined with Formica for late-night journaling, the latest breed of diner has inspired some lukewarm reviewing. In this month's Bollard, Dan Zarin has this to say about the "Miss P":
We found the food to be pretty good, though certainly not great. The service during out visit was deplorable, via Dead Tree Version.
While over at Portland Magazine, on the other hand, things are looking up for the "Ms. Portland":
The whole atmosphere at Miss Portland seems as transforming and energetic as the medical and office high-rises that have spurted up next door, via PM.

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Wednesday, December 3

Island Sheep

Take Back the Tap

FLOW, a documentary about water rights, screens this week at 3:15 and 7 p.m. with a panel discussion on December 6 at 7 pm at the Movies on Exchange. There's also an effort, in conjunction with Food and Water Watch's Take Back the Tap, to have restaurant owners serve tap water instead of bottled water. Bridget Huber writes in last week's Phoenix:
So far, six Portland restaurants, Local 188, Downtown Lounge, Norm's East End Grill, Norm's Bar and Grill, Ruski's, and the North Star Cafe, have joined in. [Amy] Dowley expects many others will follow suit: "What you give up in profits you make up for in customer relations, and you reduce a lot of waste," she says, via tP.
The article quotes a Nestle spokeswoman on the "Eco-Shape" bottle, which Wired has listed as one the biggest little green lies.

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Is PWM the new PDX?

Portland's long been compared to San Francisco. Now, the all-knowing market watchers at Epicurious are saying:
Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon): Abundance of great chefs, restaurants, and local foodies? Check, check, and check. Want examples? Visit Five Fifty-Five, Hugo's, and Fore Street to start, via MW.
That refrain of restaurants is sounding a little stale. While the other Portland might lack seafood and the battle of quality microbrews is a close one, really, how can this Portland have a farmers market without a bread vendor?

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Tater Raisin' Folks

maine potato film

Photo: Brenda Jepson, via BDN

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Monday, December 1

How to make bacon

Hopefully, this is the first step toward a butcher shop/charcuterie.
A couple months ago a friend of mine offered me a smoker which I heartily accepted with visions of making my own hams and bacon this fall. My vision didn't really entail standing outside at 10:00 at night in 20 degree weather trying to keep a fire hot enough to bring a 17 pound ham up to an internal temperature of 155 degrees, but reality seldom enters into my enthusiastic visions around food preparation, via Local Foodie.

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Tinder Hearth Bakery (Brooksville, Me.)

Heidi Julavits mentions a former Deer Isle-Stonington-chess-champ and her Liberty-School-grad partner who started a bakery in Brooksville in May. It's all part of her discussion of the difference between farro and spelt.
If you have encountered spelt, it has most likely been in the spiritually uninspiring form of those cellophane-wrapped, beige bread products, sold in health-food stores, that taste like wet cardboard. Artisanal bread baked with intensely nutty-tasting whole-grain spelt flour, as is done by Tim Semler and Lydia Moffet of Tinder Hearth Bakery in Brooksville, Me., is much less of a spiritual buzz kill, via NYT.

[Updated 12/3] Photos can be found here.