Tuesday, March 31

Poster: Federal
Art Project

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The best lack all conviction while the worst...

Handmade, artisan foods don't mean worth eating:
Serious eaters should not and cannot assume that just because something is handmade or homemade by someone with the best of intentions that it's going to be good. And that means the disappointment we feel when we taste it will be that much more profound, via Ed Levine.
The same has been said about growing heirloom tomatoes, the socalled pug of the vegetable kingdom, which aren't necessarily better because of their genetic purity, via SciAm.

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Monday, March 30

The A.T.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail, which runs through Maine to Newfoundland, is really all about food–and not just at Shaw's:
One of the daily joys of long-distance hiking is eating. In fact, you may never again enjoy food as much as you will on the A.T. This is principally because you will be hungry every minute, via WashPo.
According to the visionary plan set out by the Benton MacKaye, the trail's concept was always about food:
The organization of the cooperative camping life would tend to draw people out of the cities. Coming as visitors they would be loath to return. They would become desirous of settling down in the country - to work in the open as well as play. The various camps would require food. Why not raise food, as well as consume it, on the cooperative plan? via AT (thx, vn!).

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Sunday, March 29

Ralph Frizzell's WPA mural


Gro (listed on the building permit as Over Grow) at 437 Congress St., will be serving juice, chocolates, raw food energy bars, and the like beginning April 1. Here's a raised glass of wheat grass in hopes that the place will be profiled in this week's TMS.

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Press Herald readers poll

Readers of the Press Herald say:

McDonald's: 62

Becky's Diner, Portland: 55

The results are in.

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Sculpture: Robert Indiana


Friday, March 27

Week in Review, Mar. 27

"The most important part of the day is the meal," said a firefighter (1). A study of firefighting recruits in Massachusetts showed that almost all were overweight or obese (2). The punctuation police were suspected in the shut-down of One Eyed Jacks, a space now occupied by Olive Cafe (3). Police nabbed a pastry thief outside Zarra's (4), students were caught drinking (5), and Anthony Mastropasqua of Tropa Wine Co. went to Java Net (6).

Bayside food manufacturer Schlotterbeck & Foss announced that it may be leaving Portland (7, 8), a cafe was planned for the old Portland Public Market (9), and food "from away" was more expensive than local foods (10). A new pet food shelter opened (11) and state food pantries apparently needed nonfat dry milk (12). Maine farmers opposed mandatory animal identification (13), E. coli season dawned (14), and moose were just as likely to be hit on the turnpike as they were in the County (15).

"There were big fish, there just weren't a lot of them," said a fisherman (16). An author imagined Maine's woods inhabited by leopards and strewn with ancient beer cans (17). "Back then, a lot of people were into the land, natural foods," a baker said (18). The ending to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was created in Maine during a conversation that took place on a pay-phone mounted to a tree (19).

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Thursday, March 26

Foie gras, it's what's for dinner

Vive le foie gras. A Maine legislative committee kills a bill that would have made force-feeding ducks a civil violation. Does this warrant a foie gras deathmatch?

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A homemade life

Photo: mav.


Wednesday, March 25

Plywood: Restaurant Grace

Eric Simeon, formerly of Aq Kafe, Park Blue, and Washington Square, has been named the new executive chef at Restaurant Grace, via gn.

For more photos of the restaurant's interior, click here.

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Yelp's reviews get reviewed.


"They are well fed"

Drawing: Kenny Cole


Why it's better on top

Why it's better on top, according to the Washington Post's travel writer: Charcuterie at Coluccci's Hilltop Market and the mere sight of Duckfat's "practically abstemious" sandwiches.

The roundup of things to do on Portland's Munjoy Hill also includes Homegrown Herb and Tea, the North Star Music Cafe, Hilltop Coffee Shop, the Rosemont Market, the Front Room, four coffeeshops, "great bagel shops," Fore Street, 555 and Evangeline. (Previously, the FT shills for the Hill).

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Tuesday, March 24

The seafood market

Take a seat for this market report on seafood from the National Fisherman:
Maine’s coastal economy has been likened to furniture: a stool losing its legs as groundfish, herring and other fisheries get more restrictive. The breathtaking autumn 2008 dive in lobster prices threatened to kick out the last leg.

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Big Mac

CT Scan:
Satre Stuelke

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Monday, March 23

Tails of Manhattan

Two weeks ago, Abe Moscowitz dropped dead of a heart attack and was reincarnated as a lobster. Trapped off the coast of Maine, he was shipped to Manhattan and dumped into a tank at a posh Upper East Side seafood restaurant, via NYer.

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Portland's foodie hot spots, according to the Miami Herald. Rabelais, Evangeline, and Hugo's. (Earlier review by Tom Sietsema here).

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Friday, March 20

On and Off the Midway

Photo: Leslie Bowman/

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Thursday, March 19

Raising chickens, pt. 1

Newspaper readers didn't like Ray Routhier's suggestion to use chicken feed with antibiotics. Not only that, the article had no contact information for buying a chicken license, suggesting that perhaps it might better to do without. If you must keep your chickens legal, $25 licenses are available from the city's Inspections Office beginning tomorrow March 20. More on how to raise layers here.

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Community-supported shrimp peel

The Boston Globe finally got around to covering Maine's CSFs, although it's not just whole, head-on shrimp any more. This week, the fishermen in Port Clyde started to peel shrimp for customers as well, a lucrative step forward.
"There is a lot more money in the other end [than] in the catching end," says Glen Libby, via WW.

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Wednesday, March 18

A daily tintype, 2007

The cupcakification of Maine's whoopie pie

Is Maine's whoopie pie the new cupcake? The New York Times thinks so.
Now whoopie pies are migrating across the country, often appearing in the same specialty shops and grocery aisles that recently made room for cupcakes, via NYT.
The pies have questionable Maine roots with historian Sandy Oliver saying one theory is that they came north via the Yummy Book, a recipe packet published by the Massachusetts company that makes Fluff.

The article raises another question, is the Times Maine's paper of record?

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Tuesday, March 17

Irish bars in Portland

Irish pubs may be a thing of the past, but Irish-themed pubs in Portland seem to be doing brisk business this morning. Culled from two MeTos (1, 2) and one Examiner, here are the bars:
Bull Fenney's, 375 Fore St.
Ri-Ra, 72 Commercial St.
Brian Boru, 57 Center St.
Ruski's, 212 Danforth St.
The Snug, 223 Congress St.
Awful Annie's, 189 Congress St.
, 24 Preble St.

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Monday, March 16

Oh boy, it's soy

Soybeans are often seen as a meat replacement. And in places (like Maine) where the taste of dashi and fermented beans are not the norm, Paul Levy wonders if soy will ever gain wide acceptance:
There are other drawbacks to soy as regular human food: its flavour (which old Chinese sources disparage as “beany” – a consequence of oxidation of polyunsaturated oils by lipoxidase), and the fact that, like other legumes, its carbohydrate components (raffinose and stachyose) cause flatulence, via TLS.

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Saturday, March 14

Atlantic Unbound: Food

food.theatlantic.com is live. Corby Kummer, who's covered Maine potatoes, sardines, and apples, heads up the channel. Food reporting and contributions from the smart set.

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Friday, March 13

One Man's Meat

Illus.: Leanne Shapton

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Week in Review, Mar. 13

Five-Fifty Five reported $1,300 in missing wine (1), Katahdin restaurant's new owners complained about noise at the upstairs music venue The Dooryard (2), Westbrook teens paid the city $832 for calling police to a party (3), and mead makers brewed up a batch with watermelon that tasted like Jolly Ranchers (4). Chef Erik Desjarlais reportedly won the hearts of locals with lard (5) and Rogues Gallery and Dogfish planned to release a Squall Ale (6).

Tending one's garden lead to socialist revolution (7). "The food tastes better, not only because it's fresh, because you grew it yourself," said a Victory Gardener (8). Local Sprouts created a community-supported kitchen in the basement of the Public Market House (9) and Maine sea vegetables were cooked at the James Beard House (9). The lobster festival was soliciting 2,480 hours of volunteer service (10), flower show goers sipped beers (11), and Green Drinks was planning a lunch event with a similar theme (12). Restaurant Week specials were extended (13).

“We’re a smaller company surrounded by giants and crushed by rising prices,” Barber Food new CEO said (14). The closure of Great East Musssel farm appeared to mean smaller local bivalves at restaurants (14), lobstermen used 60,000 tons of bait, 15,000 tons more than the herring quota in the Gulf of Maine (15), and knives would be necessary to survive the apocalypse (16). Free Range Fish and Lobster said, "Let's not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs" (17).

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Thursday, March 12

Houlton Farms organic milk?

Is there an upside to falling dairy prices? Maybe. With an organic milk processed in-state.
Houlton Farms Dairy, which markets locally under its own label, has been approached about ramping up production to include the organic processors. “There would be a Maine-labeled product,” via BDN.

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Howard Johnson's South Portland (1951)

via Averyl Hill


Wednesday, March 11

Slow food vocab

Something apparently got lost in translation:
The vocabulary of Slow Food is its most peculiar feature – there are 'convivia', 'presidia', 'arks' and 'terra madre' – an apparent lexical cross between Stalinism and religion, via UKG.

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Dinner at Paciarino: Coming May 2009

Paciarino's not only defined in today's BoGlo, there's also information about upcoming nightly dinners:
They'll start serving dinner in May. De Savino says, "It will be appetizers, salads, and maybe some roasts, but we will still specialize in pasta." In the fall there will be cooking classes, via BoGlo.
Espresso machine: coming soon. Liquor license: further out.

Unrelated: Coverage of Greenville's Skinny Dip sandwich controversy.

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Open season

Comic: Big Fat Whale

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Tuesday, March 10

Spring break

Nothing to do with wet T-shirts or breastaurants, just a little break for Portland chefs.
Hugo's has closed for a March 8-25 break.
Evangeline closes between March 16-30.
Bresca, closed March 15-30.
Other breaks of note?

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How to remediate lead soils

So if you live on the peninsula, lead's likely to show up in backyard chicken eggs, on your leafy greens, and maybe in root crops, but not so much in fruit trees.
Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh, soil scientist from of USM's Department of Environmental Science, [discusses] using plants to mitigate the problem of lead and heavy metals in soils destined (hopefully) to grow food. She will discuss her experiences with phytoremediation, via PPM.
Tonight at Zero Station.

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Monday, March 9

Cold Case

Sunday, March 8

Veranda Thai

In the West, the symbolic cornerstone of Thai cooking is pad Thai, which really isn't Thai at all. That said:
“Whenever we try Thai food,” says Nick Srisawat, “we try pad Thai first, because that is a way to judge how good a restaurant is. That’s true all over the world—except in Thailand, via Gastronomica.
But a review today gives no indication on how the dish measures up at Veranda Thai. Anyone tried the pad Thai here?

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Saturday, March 7


Barava, a Somali restaurant, opened today at 653 Congress St., the former location of Uncle Billy's. According to one tipster (thx b and jh!), they're serving all-you-can eat family recipes for $10/person today.

Update: The Mahamud family's restaurant is definitely a sit-down alternative to Jubba Internet and Pazzano's. With chicken soup, shawarma, falafel, and a range of flatbread (muffo, anjeera) options in addition to goat zigni and sambusa on the regular menu, it's bound to be less intimidating for those unfamiliar with East African cuisine. Their sign will be going up next week. [And a week later:] Photos to prove it.

Update: Now closed.

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Maine Potato Week (1917)

via Maine

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Friday, March 6

Week in Review, Mar. 6

Restaurant Week was not a good fit for Bull Feeney's (1), the tables were packed at Cinque Terra (2), and the blogosphere was said to be remarkably quite on all things Restaurant Week (3). A reviewer drank Irish "whisky" (4). A dog lived in jail with his food and water dish (5) and a hunter said that game parks provided an experience that closely resembled hunting in the wild (6).

Organic, local food models left little room for a viable, sustainable food alternative (7). Stonyfield Farm Organic Milk was no longer going to be shipped from Washington County to New York state and back to Maine because of declining consumer spending on organic milk (8). One BDN reader said that a disruption in food transport could lead to major food shortages everywhere (9).

A new documentary told how residents of Malaga Island were moved to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded, a site that is now Pineland Farm (10). The expansion of Poland Springs was said to be good for rural Maine (11), Shapleigh residents banned the harvest of water (12), and fishermen in Port Clyde sued to stop herring trawlers (13), a move the Gloucester newspaper attributed to the "deep-pocketed" Pew Environmental Group (14). At the Fishermen's Forum in Rockport, fishing gear recovered from large whale entanglements was on display (15).

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Farmer's Table opens tonight

Farmer's Table reportedly opening tonight, via PB. [Update:] Menu starters include five onion soup ($6), New England squid ($7), brie fritters ($9) and entrees include ginger-braised pork loin ($18), roasted half chicken ($16), seared skate ($17) and locally-crafted pasta ($13), all via an overexposed image of the menu here.

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Cholesterol, New York, 1984

Photo: Irving Penn/
Hamilton Gallery

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Thursday, March 5

Portland Food Coop

Portland Food Coop meets tonight about its buying club. 7:30 p.m. More on the agenda here.

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Cheap eats, church supper edition

The PPH rounds up a couple of potlucks.


Wednesday, March 4

West End Deli

west, end, deli, portland, maine

Etching: Marge Niblock

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Is conventional the new organic?

Organic food has replicated largely what it set out to oppose, or so said Julie Guthman. Now, apparently food safety's on the line.
Arthur Harvey, a Maine blueberry farmer who does organic inspections, said agents have an incentive to approve companies that are paying them.

“Certifiers have a considerable financial interest in keeping their clients going,” he said, via NYT.
Related: Keeping the world kosher.

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Monday, March 2

Don't DIY

The economic case for not growing- or shooting-your-own, or at least doing the DIY food production in moderation:
The back-to-basics craze hit the mainstream because we had too much money and time on our hands (up until last year). Hunting, gathering, and backyard farming make for good recreation, casual dinner-party bragging, and too many yellow squash, but they're not always smart home economics, via Outside.

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