Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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.
The American Homebrewers Association will be hosting a rally Thursday night at Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland.
The AHA's rallies are a chance for homebrewers to connect with each other and get VIP treatment at local breweries.
Homebrewers at the Allagash rally will get a VIP tour of the brewery, meet the brewery's staff, participate in a Q&A session, win prizes from the brewery and the AHA, and - most importantly - sample some limited-release beers that will only be available at this event.
Homebrewers at the rally will also score a free 10-ounce Allagash chalice.
Warm yourself up on Fat Tuesday with some great Cajun fare at the annual Cajun Cookin' Challenge at the University of Southern Maine's Woodbury Campus Center.
Restaurants cook up their best gumbos, etouffes and other New Orleans-style fare, and Fat Tuesday revelers vote for their favorites.
Restaurants participating this year include Po' Boys & Pickles, Bintliff's American Cafe, Gritty's, the Great Lost Bear, Congress Street Bar & Grille, Bayside Bowl and USM's dining staff.
The event will run from noon to 3 p.m. It's free, but a suggested donation of $3-5 will help the campus' non-profit community radio station cover the cost of hosting the party. (Last year, more than 500 people attended.)
Chefs are flocking to five U.S. cities, including Portland, where they have the freedom to open their own restaurants in places where the rents don't rival Manhattan, according to StarChef.com, an online magazine that covers the world of the working chef.
The magazine compares Portland to Brooklyn, saying our city by the sea "has the same young, vibrant energy but in a smaller, more manageable package." In addition to a good hipster quotient, the magazine cites Portland's welcoming population, ocean views and cool summers.
Damien Sansonetti, the former chef at Bar Boulud in New York and 2009 New York Rising Star Chef, and his wife, pastry chef Ilma Lopez, are named as two chefs who left the big city to answer "the siren call of Portland" and now have two restaurants here.
Justin Walker, executive chef at Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, was the guest chef last night at the latest Flanagan's Table dinner.
Flanagan's Table, in case you haven't heard, is a farm-to-table dining experience, held once a month in a Buxton barn, that benefits the Maine Farmland Trust.
The five-course dinners feature rotating guest chefs from some of the finest restaurants in Maine. Among those who have cooked there: James Beard award winners Rob Evans and Melissa Kelly, Brian Hill, Masa Miyake, Krista Kern Desjarlais, Jason Loring, Cara Stadler, and the chefs from Hugo's and Long Grain.
Kate Shaffer, the chocolatier behind Black Dinah chocolates, worked out of her home kitchen on Isle au Haut during the early years of establishing her business.
When it got to the point that she was producing 150,000 truffles a year out of that home kitchen, she and her husband, Steve, decided it was time to build a commercial kitchen on their island property.
Now, it's time to grow again.