Friday, December 13, 2013
If you read my column this morning, you'll know that New York chef Carmen Gonzalez is planning to open a small restaurant in Portland at The Danforth Inn. (You can read about it here.)
Gonzalez is a little nervous about moving into Red Sox Nation territory. After all, her poodle's name is Jeeter with two e's – named after you-know-who.
Gonzalez goes to as many Yankees games as she can, and was lucky enough to be there last July when Derek Jeter had his 3,000th hit.
"I was not only there, I was three rows from third base," Gonzalez said. "And then I was upstairs in the Yankee suite, next to Derek's suite where his girlfriend Minka and his family were. So I'm really close to the Yankees, and I do go a lot, and I have been privileged sometimes to sit in their suites. It's really cool."
Make that Mink the ex-girlfriend. At she was last time I checked.
Gonzalez is known in the chef community for her love of the Yankees. When she was filming season 2 of Top Chef Masters, the chef gave her phone to the pr person assigned to her during production and told him his job was to keep track of the Yankee scores for her. Every time the team scored, he gave her a thumbs up.
Gonzalez worries what kind of reaction she'll get when she rides around Portland on a vespa sporting a Yankees flag, wearing a Yankees ballcap and holding a dog wearing a Yankees bandana.
"Yeah, I love my Yankee boys," she said, "and it's going to be very interesting."
And here's two more fun facts about Carmen Gonzalez:
1. She will cook lobsters but hates killing them, so she always has her staff do the deed for her.
2. Gonzalez has been to Portland many times now, visiting friends and planning the new restaurant she's opening with Kimberly Swan in The Danforth Inn. Gonzalez has eaten all around town, but I've had some trouble getting her to admit to having any favorite restaurants here - perhaps she doesn't want to come out of the gate alienating any colleagues?
One thing she will cop to - she had to, since she posted it on her Facebook page – is her love for the egg, cheese and bacon bagel sandwiches from 158 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland.
"I am addicted to that sandwich," Gonzalez said. "It's really sick because I know I'm going to Maine and I don't care about anything. I'm already thinking about that."
Gonzalez said Andrew Knowlton, the Bon Appetit columnist, told her about the cafe when they bumped into each other on a plane to Puerto Rico. (They were both attending the same food and wine festival there.) She told him about an upcoming trip to Portland, and he said "you have to go to this place to eat breakfast."
"You know, when we live in New York and we live for our bagels, when somebody tells you that you have to go try this bagel sandwich, you go 'Oh, OK.' So that was the first time I heard about the sandwich, and I am literally so addicted that it's not even funny."
– Meredith Goad
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod