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John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.

In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.

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April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

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October 2013

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December 2012

November 2012

Monday April 21, 2014 | 07:00 AM

What’s in a name anyway?  It’s the taste that counts and Little Bigs, the bakeshop in South Portland, which is ignominiously next door to the Acapulco Tanning Salon, is doing it so big-flakey right.

 In case you haven’t followed the hype regarding New York’s cronut craze (a cross between a croissant and a donut that’s put into the deep fryer), Little Bigs came up with its own version called the crauxnot when it opened last August.  That caused a quick legal battle to ensure in a name infringement suit, and the South Portland concern had to change the name.  They’re now called--so tongue and cheeky--C&D, a shortened ampersand-acronym for Cease and Desist or Croissant and Donut.

Friday April 18, 2014 | 07:00 AM

There’s a lot of justifiable PTL cooing over a great many new restaurants that have taken root in Portland’s ascendant dining scene.  And they’ve been reported on in glowing terms, by yours truly included.  The names are now very familiar:  Piccolo, Boone’s, Hugo’s, Eventide, Central Provisions, Empire Chinese, Vinland, Petite Jacqueline, Miyake Diner, et al. 

But I’ve begun to wonder about our older establishments, the ones that started off as rising stars way back when.  Are they teetering on the down low as the newcomers garner all the attention or are they as good as ever?

From my view they are  our core dining options too, ones that have, if anything else, given our city its reputation as a mecca of innovative dining.  The only difference now is we have so much more from which to choose.

Wednesday April 16, 2014 | 07:00 AM

Now is the time for spring lamb.  Many farmers are offering pastured lamb now, though after butchering they generally freeze the lamb right away.  Rosemont Market will have it fresh from their suppliers such as Straw Farm and others who they deal with directly buying the whole animal for nose to tail butchery.

One of my favorite preparations is for lamb stew, and the recipe I offer here has been one that I’ve made for many years.  It’s cooked in a light tomato-based sauce; you can use fresh tomatoes when they’re in season but the canned or package variety produces very admirable results.  I like the Pomi brand in the sealed containers.  Pomi and San Marzano tomatoes are available in some supermarkets and at Whole Foods.

The best cuts for lamb stew are either shoulder or neck bone or a combination of both.  If you don’t want to deal with the neck bones, then just use a boned shoulder.  Have the butcher cut it into 2-inch stewing pieces.

Sunday April 13, 2014 | 03:49 PM

If you haven’t chosen a potato kugel recipe to serve for  Monday night’s first night seder, consider this recipe  from the inimitable Arthur Schwartz (aka The Food Maven), noted New York cookbook author, food writer and maven of all things culinary.

What makes his so different is that  he uses 12 whole eggs in the mixture, creating a potato pudding that is light and high rather than the usual leaden, gluey kugel traditionally made.

Friday April 11, 2014 | 06:47 AM

One of the results of chronicling as I do the ups and downs of our flourishing restaurant world is that I don’t often have the time to go to restaurants that had always been my personal favorites.  When I visit a restaurant it’s often the target of a future review.  Now that isn’t a bad thing necessarily especially if the restaurant is terrific.

That means I always have my camera with me and my recording app ready on the iPhone to record my tasting notes.

But just the other day I was at the bottom of Congress St. where at the base sits Saeng Thai House, that little family-run restaurant where grandmother, mother, daughter, father and other relations prepare these wonderful little meals of typical home-style Thai cooking.