Sunday, May 31

The Sunday Read: Latina Justice

From a 2001 lecture by Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's Supreme Court nominee:
For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandules y pernil - rice, beans and pork - that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events. My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla, - pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo - pigs' feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs' tongue and ears, via NYT.

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Henry Cunningham and his prize ram (1942)

Photo: John Collier/FSA

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Friday, May 29

Week in Review, May 29

[Comments unrelated to post have been removed.] An investigation into black-market tuna in Ogunquit resulted in $100,000 in fines for fishermen and restaurateurs (1). The Portland Public Market House, in Monument Square, may add "a butcher, a flower shop, a home-made clothing shop and a soup restaurant" (2), a pulled-pork lunch cart may also be coming to the square during the Wednesday Farmers' Market (3), and the Portland Public Market is being renovated by PowerPay (4).

More people may be picking fiddleheads because of the economy (5). A Depression-era Maine chowder contained only potatoes (6) and lobstermen apparently were reportedly complaining again about the cost of lobster equaling the cost of bologna (7). An adaptation of Nickel and Dimed was staged in Winter Harbor (8), the Bagaduce was called a classic lobster shack (9), and a Waterville donut maker said, "I don't really care for the sweet stuff" (10).

California chef Thomas Keller called Maine lobsters at his back door "a local product" (11). Hugo's chef Rob Evans, who cooked with Keller, said, "Everyone's awareness of food is elevated. We have local farmers and artisan food producers bringing us ingredients" (12, 13). Hugo's sous chef Ben Hasty said, “Local produce is so much healthier and there is so much more pride in it” (14). Chef Evans also said he liked Cumberland Farms' Red Baron Pizza with Malden salt and a glass of wine after service (15).


Wednesday, May 27

Deathmatch: Sausage fest

Another night at Deathmatch Land:
18 Guys + 10 Courses of Sausage + Pantera = The Sausage Party.

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Three ham Italians, $10.99

A field report from Colucci's Hilltop Market:
This afternoon three burly men stood smoking outside Colucci’s, directly below the sign advertising 3 HAM ITALIANS $10.99. They coughed and lifted cigarettes to their lips, their bare arms moving through shadow to light and back again. “You have mustard on your leg,” one said to another as I passed. Everyone looked down. Mustard-leg was, I realized, holding a small white poodle on a leash, via Mary Philips-Sandy.

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Photo: Natalie Conn/TSB

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Tuesday, May 26


New bar review site: BellyUp.

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Sunday, May 24

The Sunday Read: Let Them Eat Cash

For Harper's subscribers, Frederick Kaufman explores the problem of world hunger. "Let Them Eat Cash" is worth the news stand price.
I clicked on my microphone and said I had a question for Mr. Gates: Despite all he was doing to end world hunger, might not programs like Purchase for Progress in the end perpetuate market conditions that actually promote world hunger? An uncomfortable silence settled on the room, and for the first time that morning Bill Gates stopped smiling, via Harper's.

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Friday, May 22

Week in Review, May 22

Wal-Mart touted its local foods (1) and a Portland blogger met a rabbit dressed in a Wonder Bread vest at the store (2). Frito-Lay's touted its local Maine farmer (2). "One of the positive things for many years had been that food costs in America were a smaller percentage of your annual budget than in most developed countries," said hunger activist Joel Berg. "But we've lost that advantage" (4).

The new Sea Dogs brew pub in South Portland served frozen burger buns on dirty plates (5). "Think about how refrigerators work," a strawberry grower said. "The condensers pull heat from the food inside, lowering the temperature inside" (6). Fuji apparently had no Korean fare the day Nancy English visited (7), finding anything edible at GRO proved difficult (8), and The Times could find no Sriracha in Maine (9).

Sector management was said to increase fishermen's revenue (10), scientists used brewer's yeast to develop HIV treatment (11), a farmer called homegrown food better than store bought (12). A man said the governor needed a double-edge meat axe to deal with the state budget (13) and one plan to raise revenue included adding liquor stores (14).

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Thursday, May 21

Local jingle

Bring on the ice cream jingle for the the twenty-first century...
You could get an almond croissant from Standard Baking while still in your jammies. In the midst of making dinner and notice you need a tomato? Have no fear, here comes the Buy Local truck doing its dusk run, selling vegetables from neighboring farms. Out of coffee? No problem, flag down the truck and buy a bag of beans when you hear that ram-a-lama-ding-dong, via Tips from a Dweller.

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The Bearded Man

The Notorious R.O.B. is booking reservations.

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Best Made Co.

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Wednesday, May 20

Roadside signs




(via Brad)


The Salt Exchange

The Salt Exchange, 245 Commercial St., plans to open June 2 to have a tasting with chef Jacob Jasinski's tapas menu on May 25. On the menu, so far:
Cold plates: Pate Campagne, local oysters, "hand-harvested baby spinach, ceasar salad, lobster, and assorted cheeses.

Hot plates: Sheep's milk ricotta gnocchi, artichoke, spring pea risotto, calamari, soup and brioche, lamb, and strip steak (Thx Portland Fodder!)
See also, the restaurant's blog. [June 9: Now open.]

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Tuesday, May 19

Feed/Tote Bag

Design: Julia Ventresco


Sunday, May 17

Sunday Read: Hot Buttered Rum

The Food of a Younger Land, Mark Kurlansky's book on the America Eats project, includes notes about Maine's game suppers, baked bean recipes, and clam bakes. The book also has an essay by Donald McCormick, which gives a recipe for "Kenneth Roberts' Maine-Style Hot Buttered Rum" following this short introduction:
Rural Maine has never recovered from the widespread reaction to the excessive drinking of the early days of the district and the state. The temperance movements of the latter half of the eighteenth century, the influence of the New Deal and others, put liquor in disrespute. State controlled liquor has been voted back, but this has had no effect on many residents.... In any event, it must be admitted that no state tradition of convivial elbow-bending are sufficiently widespread today to merit attention.

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Friday, May 15

Week in Review, May 15

Soon after a moose fell from the sky in Clinton, a wrecker towed it away (1), and a hamburger researcher wrote, "While these standing meals were pleasing, we often feel things most deeply... while peering through a car windshield" (2). Shrimp aided climate change researchers (3) and based on an analysis of books, researchers determined that James Bond was not a gourmet (4). Analysis also showed that award-winning cookbooks did not sell well (5).

Backyard chicken farming not only did not save money, but it was also said to be a bogus trend (6). Three new farmers markets opened in the Portland suburbs (7). Another market near Mercy Hospital was in planning (8), the Portland Regency planned to offer 12 outdoor tables (9), and organizers of a Woodstock-style concert at a Livermore dairy farm planned to serve beer inside a tent (10).

The chef at John Dory used whore's eggs from Maine (11). Three prostitutes in Bangor were fined for working with Cinnamon's Sweets (12). Two teens were accused of punching Portland police officers after an alleged vodka theft (13). Maine had the oldest and whitest population (13), and a Stillwater resident wrote, "should President Obama win a second term, I’ll eat my hat" (14).

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Photo: Karen Lewis

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Thursday, May 14

Coming soon: Duckfatter

Chef Rob Evans and Nancy Pugh plan to open another Duckfat on either Wharf Street or Commercial Street by 2010.

They're also looking for a place to open a Duckfat in Burlington, Vt., hoping to cash in on the college-town vibe where french fries and beer are considered staples. "Duckfat, we feel, is our future," Evans said. "It holds great potential in the future for us, doing more of them and setting them up around New England," via PPH.

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Portland's Best Bars

In the May issue, Esquire presents a list of best bars. The winners (who have a sort of 2007 ring to them): Rosie's and The White Heart.

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Advertising: VIA,
via Mainebiz.

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Luna Rossa

The official word on Luna Rossa, a traditional Italian, 200-seat restaurant at 188 Middle St., which "should be open by early summer":
Despite the recession, people still want to have fun if they can do it locally and at a reasonable price, said Ryan Byther, the restaurant's owner. "They want a taste of the good life," he said, via PPH.

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Wednesday, May 13

El Rayo Taqueria

El Rayo Taqueria plans to open next week, at 101 York St., a former Citgo and head shop. It looks like a upscale El Camino, minus the Quiten Tarintino, and plus a whole row of new, diner-style bar stools (est. capacity: 25). The phone number is 780-TACO and photos of the exterior can be found at Portland Fodder. [Updated] Opened for lunch May 21. Find the menu here.

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Inside Out There

Photo: Brigit Ganske/Salt
May 21, 5-8 p.m. at 561 Congress St.

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Tuesday, May 12


This may be the only reason to read the Portland Daily Sun. Maine Food and Drink Ambassador's Margo Miller reviews the scene outside Miyake (but not its food?):
Food Factory Miyake is one of 8 sushi restaurants in Portland, several with trained sushi chefs, but it’s the only one with folks routinely pacing Spring Street or sitting in nearby bars, waiting for that cell phone call telling them that a table has finally opened up, via PDS.

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The other Portland food maps

Recent map releases:
The Portland Press Herald provides map of coffeeshops within the Old Port district: Bard, Starbucks, JavaNet, Mornings in Paris, Portland Coffee Roasters, Arabica, and Dunkin' Donuts. It's not just coffee brandy that's weathering the recession, the article says, it's coffee too.

The tourism office also released a Maine beer map, albeit an incomplete guide to the state's brews.

For those tired of closed-source, comment-free mapping, MaineToday also offers a tutorial on writing a GoogleMap review.

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Monday, May 11

George Danby/

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Sunday, May 10

"Beyond the McIntosh"

Corby Kummer won a James Beard award for "Food Related Columns" for three articles that appeared in The Atlantic. His profile of John Bunker, a Maine pomologist, artist, and author of Not Far From the Tree, was among those cited.
His vocation arrived in a bushel basket, when he was managing a food cooperative in the town of Belfast. A man named Ira Proctor walked in one day to ask if the co-op would sell some of his apples on consignment. Bunker had never seen their like: apples the shape of a perfect McIntosh... but colored a lustrous dark cordovan, purple-black with firm, cream-colored flesh. The flavor was refreshing, smooth, and all apple—not cloying and mealy, as Macs can be, and not firm and juicy but as flavorful as cardboard, like Red Delicious.... The name was Black Oxford, Proctor told him, for the county where it grew: it originated in Paris, Maine, around 1790. Bunker took them all, and resolved to grow some for himself, via The Atlantic.
For a full list of Beard-approved reading material, here's a link to this year's nominees and winners.

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Moms say the darndest thing

Surprise, I am writing you an email.


I am guessing that you are wondering how come I’m doing this — it’s just because I am locked into my computer room and cannot get out... via Postcards from Yo Mamma via the New Yorker.


"Piece of Mind"

Comic: Zack Barowitz/

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Friday, May 8


Paciarino is now open for dinner "Thursday, Friday and Saturtay," starting at 6 p.m. tonight. They're also online:

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Week in Review, May 8

Restaurant owners opposed legislation that would require them to post calorie count information on menus in Maine (1). Chef Rob Evans, who elevated the egg to a whole new level, offered a cooking class (2, 2a). A SPACE organizer called a weekend class "Food and Farm 201" (3), South Portland's only beekeeper got to work (4) and moderate talk radio appealed to listeners who did not like spicy foods (5). “They are big and fat and fuzzy,” an organic blueberry farmer said. “They vibrate while collecting the nectar and collect lots of pollen" (6).

A London woman, who barked, drank liquid hand soap, and forced an international flight to land in Maine, was held without bail. (7) Maine colleges dispensed hand sanitizer and local food at commencements (8), students were encouraged to eat their homework (9), and students also
wanted to see more robots in school cafeterias (9). An instructor said, "Today, we've got people who can't produce enough compost for the demand" (10).

Last year, 177,695 people received food stamps (11), horses at one equine rescue ranch went through $25,000 worth of grain (12) and Allen’s Coffee Brandy sales increased, to
1,063,000 bottles (13). A dead calf, of unknown origin, was found by the roadside in Waterville (14).

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Mail art:
Carlo Pittore

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Thursday, May 7


Find them at:
Harbor Fish Market
Rosemont Market
Whole Foods Market
Paul's Food enter
Commercial Street (across from Benny's)
Portland Farmers Market (Uncle's)
Aurora Provisions
See also, the fancy, truffle-oil touting chef meets the stiff-panted fiddlehead picker.

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Yankee lists the croissant at the Rosemont Market.

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Photo: Ashley Earl/MeCA '09

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Tuesday, May 5

Maine Root

The WSJ recently taste tested Maine Root:
It had a foamy head when we poured it, which looked all the more appetizing for hardcore root-beer fans. It was light and sweetened with organic cane juice but still had the taste of a classic root beer.


Monday, May 4

Best Chef Northeast: Rob Evans

Chef Rob Evans, of Hugo's, won the James Beard Foundations Best Chef Northeast 2009. Congrats!
[Update 5/5 via PPH] "I think we've got a good scene happening in Portland," Evans said, minutes after receiving the award. "It's not only good for me, but it's good for Portland. It solidifies Portland's standing as a strong food town."

[And via Down East, Evans says:] “We’re still high as a kite. Last night we were on cloud nine for sure. It’s like we entered an exclusive club or something. It’s really exciting.

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Nasturtium officinale

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Back-to-the-land, again

In a lengthy piece on the state's new back-to-the-landers, Andrew Marshall of MOFGA says one reason younger, more urbane, educated, out-of-state, organic farmers (AKA Greenhorns) are changing the state's agricultural demographic:
There's this sort of hipster element of this underground urban youth culture where food is becoming really important. They want to make a right livelihood. They want to make a difference in their communities, and they're doing that by growing good food, via The Times Record.

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Sunday, May 3

Sunday Read: Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx, who camped along the beach at Reid State Park as a kid, recently spoke with the Paris Review about some of her early work on blood sports and the outdoors, as well as her recently republished book on apple cider. The interviewer asked her about social change and Proulx said:
Storytelling trumps social issues. As I said, I'm primarily a reader, so of course I try to make the stories I writing interesting and entertaining. I don't write to inspire social change, but I do like situations of massive economic or cultural change as background. We think of change as benign, but it chews some people up and spits them out. And fiction can bring about change. A prime example is probably the muckrakers of teh early twentieth centruy where realist writers reamed out abuses in child labor, vile food, poverty, corruption, big railroads, and oil companies–and took heat for it.

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Saturday, May 2

Mentha piperita

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Friday, May 1

Week in Review, May 1

Swine flu entered Maine (1, 2, 3) after apparently originating at Smithfield pig CAFOs in Mexico (4) although few newspapers confirmed its origins (5). The head of the Maine Center for Disease Control compared the flu to a blizzard (6). "If you haven't been a hospital patient for a while or visited the hospital cafeteria, you don't know what you're missing," said the chef at Mercy Hospital. "The menu has been updated. Hospital meals now include at least three or four hot entrees and several sides: items such as hot buffalo chicken salad and homemade pesto minestrone soup" (7).

A Bowdoin student planned a soup performance piece called "Let's Do Lunch (a work of art)" (8). Vassalboro revised its nudity ban because of a topless coffee shop (9) and Bard's iced coffee was cheaper than Arabica's (10). Earl Anthony Morse was the new head chef at Eve's (11) and the Portland farmers market planned to open May 2 (12).

Plastic lures were said to cause weight loss in fish (13), scientists explored the fishless lakes of Maine (14) and electronic bidding took hold at the Portland Fish Exchange (15). State officials were working to keep wild bears wild (16) and Chef Lydia Shire said, "I'm an incurable carnivore. I love to think of all the happy carcasses that met their demise here" (17).

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