Sunday, March 9, 2014
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.
At the Portland indoor winter farmer’s’ market this past Saturday I randomly surveyed the farmers on how they store their crops that they bring to market. I was surprised how few use old-fashioned root cellars but rely instead on controlled refrigeration or walk-in coolers. According to most, the optimal temperature for the roots and other crops is 33 degrees with enough moisture so that the vegetables don’t dry out.
Freshly dug winter carrots from Buckwheat Blossom Farm
Another method is to keep these crops in farm-house basements with fans circulating the air and even adding a touch of heat as Jan Goranson of Goranson Farm does in addition to standard refrigeration.
Lately I’ve been hearing rumors about the goings on at Outliers Eatery, that gorgeous roadhouse at the summit of York Ave, which opened last spring to great acclaim. It won an AIA award for interior design excellence; and the restaurant’s chef, Jonathan Dexter, formerly of Street & Co. has wowed diners with his meticulously prepared food using the best of locally available ingredients.
One of the most distinctive confections in the American baking repertoire is chess pie. It’s basically a delectable custard pie with a distinctive crackly, candy-like top covering a silken custard underneath. A mix of sugar, butter, cornmeal and flour imparts these characteristics.
It’s also one of those pies by way of the American south. Several theories exist on how it got its name. One explanation is that southerners called it “just pie." That eventually morphed to “chess”; another explanation is that it was typically kept in old-fashioned pie chests--and hence its derivative name.
The pie has many variations that rely on the use of either lemon, chocolate or buttermilk as the main flavor ingredient. I’ve seen some versions with apples or grapefruit.
That irreverent hot spot, Nosh, was where I went this Saturday for a light lunch. But it was almost three in the afternoon and dinner wasn’t far off so I tried to get something that filled me up enough without going overboard. That admittedly is hard to do at this flavor palace known for its huge portions.
Great space and big food define Nosh Kitchen Bar
Most of us embraced the arrival of Pai Men Miyake’s noodle house in a big way when it opened in 2010. While the Fore St. Miyake Restaurant is the bigger and more expansive venue as Chef Masa Miyake’s haute palace of Japanese fusion cooking, Pai men has kept, in comparison, a lower culinary profile.
The bar at Pai Men Miyake
But it has morphed way beyond being just an outpost for ramen, dumplings and imaginative vegetable preparations. On any given night the menu soars with specialty dishes that are so different from what you can get anywhere else in town.