Monday July 01, 2013 | 06:00 AM

The idea was to have a very summery New England style backyard dinner. And that was the scene last Thursday of the latest pop-up soiree of oysters, chowder, lobster and more that  attracted a huge crowd (at $75 per head) out for a fun evening of good  eats and plenty to drink..

Our hosts were  Chef Damian Sansonetti, whose newly opened Blue Rooster in the Old Port became an instant hit, and Andrew Volk, the drinkmeister of the forthcoming Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, the cocktail lounge on Market Street in the Old Port that will open  with much fanfare later this summer.

The original plan was for an alfresco dinner, weather permitting, which, ultimately it didn’t.  Tents were set up over the lawn in front of the barn owned by one-time mayoral hopeful, Jed Rathband, in the far reaches of East Bayside, Portland’s kinetic neighborhood  so cutting edge.

The rain arrived right on cue just as dinner was being served.  But we were well protected under the tent and the food and drink were superb. 

The crowd who assembled for dinner was a definite who's who of  Portland trendies and foodies

The crowd gave their seal of approval as our hosts addressed the diners before the meal began

Andrew Volk (right), getting ready to mix and shake one of his masterful cocktails

Chef Sansonetti prepping for the first course to over 75 diners

The meal began with pickled oysters, smoked aioli, arugual and cucumber

A superb New England chowder  in a chilled corn veloute, with maine peekytoe crab, bacon and green thumb potatoes followed

This luxurious clam roll included fried whole clam bellies, salt and vinegar chips and deviled egg with lobster americane mayo over fennel tarragon slaw

Adding some inventive turf to the surf was a slider of local grass-fed beef tartare, pickled peach mostarda and tendon puffs

These Vermont cheddar biscuits accompanied the next course of house-made heritage pork sausage, baked beans, potato salad and tomato and bread salald

No New England dinner is complete without the finale of whoopie pies and maine blueberry trifle






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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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