Monday, March 10, 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.
Worth magazine, which describes itself as " the definitive wealth management and lifestyle magazine for high net worth readers," has named Hugo's restaurant in Portland one of its "Top 10 Iconic Restaurants" in the country.
The restaurant - owned by Mike Wiley, Andrew Taylor and Arlin Smith - is in some heady company. Also on the list are Le Bernardin, Le Cirque and La Grenouille in New York; L'Espalier in Boston, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.; The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.; the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia; Spago in Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Canlis in Seattle.
The magazine says the list was made on "reputation and influence," and identifies 10 restaurants "that have excelled for at least 25 years."
It makes one wonder how much research the people who make these endless lists actually do before they publish something. While the magazine does note Hugo's has evolved from its "humble Irish pub roots," there is no context. A quarter century ago, Hugo's was owned by former Portland restaurateur Johnny Robinson (it's named after his son). While the restaurant, located at 88 Middle St., was a popular place back then, it was a completely different animal. Hugo's only started gaining widespread notoriety after chef Rob Evans bought the place in 2000, kept the name, and started cooking his way towards a James Beard Best Chef: Northeast award, which he won in 2009.
Fans of Back River Gin know that it hasn't always been so easy to find.
In the early days, it was truly an artisanal product, made in small batches at Sweetgrass Farm Winery by husband-and-wife team Keith and Constance Bodine. Finding it in local stores often depended upon when the Bodines could make it down to Portland next, so if you were really hankering for a Back River martini, sometimes you had to make the two-hour trek to their out-of-the-way place in Union.
Then the awards started coming in. The Bodines began distilling other spirits, including whiskey and rum, and expanding their wine offerings. Last year, they completed a 4,000-square-foot addition to their distillery so they could make more whiskey and meet the increased demand for Back River Gin.
On Monday, James Beard Award winners Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier will launch their new venture, MC Spiedo Ristorante & Bar, in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
The chefs, owners of MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit and former owners of Arrows, will be giving the Today Show audience a sneak preview of the place Friday. They are taping the segment today, and it will air during the fourth hour of the show tomorrow with co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
It's been a long road for chef Chris Gould, but tonight he finally opens his new Old Port restaurant, Central Provisions, in the historic building at 414 Fore St.
Here's a glimpse inside for a quick first look (check out those gorgeous floors):
If you're a fan of DennyMike's sauces and seasonings, you're familiar with the glass packaging that looked more like a whiskey flask than a bottle of barbecue sauce.
People I've talked to about these locally-produced rubs and sauces usually rave about them, but they also usually have one complaint: The 8-ounce flasks used for the barbecue sauces don't hold nearly enough sauce, and they cost too much for what you get.
Well, it appears Dennis Sherman, the creator of these award-winning products (and they've won a lot of awards), has heard his customers, and he's making changes to both packaging and pricing.
Those 8-ounce flasks are being replaced with a more standard 14-ounce round bottle. The rubs (Fintastic is my favorite) will still come in a 3-ounce size,but will now be in a container that can be used as a shaker.