May 1, 2013

Food & Dining Dispatches

Compiled by Meredith Goad, Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK

Owners of 50 Local to open new restaurant

David Ross and Merrilee Paul are poised to open a third restaurant, Abbondante Trattoria & Bar, at 27 Western Ave. in Kennebunk.

Ross and Paul, the husband-and-wife owners of 50 Local and Owen's Farmhouse, are opening the new spot May 22 in conjunction with the Kennebunkport Resort Collection. The restaurant will serve, according to a press release, "generous portions of thoughtful Italian preparations."

The restaurant will grow its own organic tomatoes for a sauce recipe that's been in Ross' family for generations. The pasta will be homemade too. The food will range from classic Italian comfort food such as spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli and lasagna to more adventurous dishes such as tagliatelle with hazelnut brown butter, rabbit confit, spinach and chevre.

A wood-fired oven will turn out simple classics like margheritas, along with pizza salsiccia, which is made with sausage, pickled chilis, provolone and roasted peppers.

The restaurant, located in a refurbished old barn that is the former home of Grissini, will also have some features that seem to be must-haves in new places these days -- a long communal table, a stone fireplace, an outside terrance and bistro seating.

Abbondante will also have its own market where you'll be able to buy the pasta, sauce and other gourmet Italian products to take home.

PORTLAND

Sweet Weekend in the Old Port returns in May

Old Port dessert merchants are sponsoring another Sweet Weekend in the Old Port this year, May 10-12.

At last year's event, scores of candy, cupcake and ice cream lovers turned out to walk the brick streets of downtown Portland as if it were a Candyland board.

Here's how it works: Go to any of the 10 participating businesses (listed below) and ask for a Sweet Passport. You can pick up your passport anytime beginning May 3. Throughout the Sweet Weekend, walk around the Old Port and get your passport stamped as you sample the treats that the bakeries, confectioners and ice cream makers have laid out for you.

There's no purchase necessary to get your passport stamped, although it might be a struggle to get out all those the doors without giving into temptation at least once. And be aware the shop owners might ask you to do something silly, like solve a riddle, in exchange for the stamp.

At the end of your stroll, trade in your passport for a Sweet Rewards Card. The card is good for one free treat at eight of the participating locations, and you can use it until July 14.

Questions? Email SweetWeekendOP@Gmail.com or go to the event's Facebook page, facebook.com/SweetWeekend.

KITTERY

Weathervane recognized for its charitable efforts

Weathervane Seafood Restaurants is the Maine recipient of the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Neighbor Award.

Weathervane raised more than $100,000 last year for Make-A-Wish, the foundation that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, through events such as the annual Weathervane Annual Charity Golf Tournament.

The restaurants also have a close relationship with The Jimmy Fund, serving clam chowder at the finish line of the charity's annual marathon for the past 20 years.

Each year, the restaurant association chooses a handful of its local nominees to receive a national award. This year's national winners were the Arby's Restaurant Group in Atlanta; El Gaucho Hospitality in Seattle; Irish Pub in Philadelphia; and Steve Paternoster, owner of Scalo Northern Italian Grill in Albuquerque.

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