Jonesboro man semifinalist in Pillsbury competition

Chris Caston, a resident of Jonesboro, has been named one of 60 semifinalists in the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.

Caston is competing in the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts category with his recipe for Cardamom Apple Coffee Cake. Recipes are limited to seven or fewer ingredients and must take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time.

Pillsbury recently instituted new rules for the contest that allow the public to vote for the semifinalists they want to see compete for the $1 million grand prize. You can vote for Caston at until 1 p.m. Eastern time Sept. 26.


Eat well, lodge in wilderness at Maine Huts & Trails event

Have a gourmet dinner without the guilt — all you have to do is hike or bike three miles to reach it.

Maine Huts & Trails is hosting its first Harvest Dinner at the Stratton Brook Hut at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 to show off its staff’s culinary skills. The dinner will feature local, seasonal fall foods, and will be accompanied by beer and wine.

Hors d’oeuvres will include lobster, meatballs, bruschetta and crudites. The main course will include vegetable soup, salad, fresh gnocchi and braised beef. Dessert will be an apple crostada.

The dinner costs $120 for members and $130 for nonmembers, not including tax. The prices include the dinner, an overnight stay, and breakfast and lunch the following day.

For more information about the dinner or to sign up, email [email protected] or call 265-2400. For more information about Maine Huts & Trails, go to


Beer, wine go head to head at inn’s five-course dinner

The Inn at Brunswick Station, 4 Noble St., will hold its second annual “Beer vs Wine” dinner from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 1.

Gritty’s beers and Joel Gott wines will be paired with food prepared by chef Kevin Cunningham.

Each dish will be paired with both a beer and a wine so that guests can debate which goes best with each course. The first course will be a butternut squash cup, followed by a potato leek soup and a salad of local greens with goat cheese, dried cranberries and candied pecans. The entree will be an apple-braised pork shank with a carrot parsnip fritter. The meal will end with a dessert of pumpkin panna cotta.

The five-course dinner, including beverages, costs $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Reservations can be made through Open Table at by selecting the proper date and time and mentioning the Beer vs Wine dinner in the comments section.

Local restaurants line up to cook for Taste of Brunswick

More than 14 Brunswick restaurants will be preparing food for “Singing for Their Supper” at the Taste of Brunswick Sept. 28.

The event, which will feature music the Alternate Routes and other local bands, will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Town Mall in downtown Brunswick. There will also be a beer tent sponsored by Sea Dog Brewing Co.

“Singing for Their Supper” is a benefit for Midcoast Hunger Prevention. For more information, go to or call 729-4439.


Learn to turn (your food product here) into cash

If you’ve ever thought of turning your homemade chowder, jam, fudge or other specialty food product into a full-time product, you can learn what you need to know at a five-part series of workshops called “From Recipe to Market: Cashing in on Value-Added Opportunities.”

The workshops will begin Oct. 3 and run every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 9:30 through Nov. 21. They will feature information on licensing, how to prepare and package food products safely, how to assess potential profits, and how to find the resources needed to support a developing business.

You must have a specific food product in mind and will be expected to attend all sessions. The sessions will be held at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office in Cumberland County, 75 Clearwater Drive.

The cost of the program will be $50 per person; scholarships are available. Registrations must be received by Sept. 25. To register, call 781-6099 or email [email protected].edu.


Benefit dinner to feature Fore Street chefs, farm crops

The chefs from Fore Street will prepare a five-course dinner, with drink pairings, on Oct. 13 at Dandelion Spring-Straw Farm, 30 Brick Hill Road.

The dinner, which costs $100 per person and will feature only food grown on the farm, is a benefit for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in honor of its late executive director, Russell Libby. The event will begin with a farm tour at 2 p.m., followed by dinner at 3 p.m.

Seating is limited to 100 and is by reservation only. Tickets may be purchased by calling 568-4142 or going to


Author to teach appreciation of wine in course at SMCC

Layne Witherell, author of “Wine Maniacs: Life in the Wine Biz” will be teaching a five-week course on wine appreciation at Southern Maine Community College beginning Oct. 2.

All classes will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Witherell will give tips on how to select quality wines at the local grocery store as well as how to choose from the wine list at a restaurant. Wine tastings will be included in each class.

The cost of the course is $250. For more information, go to


Old, new events await you at Harvest on Harbor festival

Tickets are now on sale for this year’s Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival, which will be held at Ocean Gateway Pier Oct. 23-26.

This year the festival is once again hosting some new events in addition to old favorites like the Grand Tasting, the Lobster Chef of the Year competition and Top of the Crop: Maine’s Best Farm to Table Restaurant.

Among the new events this year are “International Maine: Taste the World” and a wine tasting in which guests will get the chance to blend their own wine. The brewers from Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle will be featured at a beer tasting.

For more details, go to

Two new eateries, American and Mexican, on the horizon

Papers filed at Portland City Hall give a sneak peak at two new restaurants in the works — one that will serve classic American cuisine and another that will be a Mexican bar and grill.

The King’s Head is expected to open soon in the Merrill’s Wharf building at 254 Commercial St.

Owners Rick Binet of Waterbury, Vt., and Justin O’Connor of Portland said in documents filed with the city that the 78-seat restaurant will “focus on fresh ingredients highlighting local/regional/sustainable cuisine” and have an atmosphere that focuses on maritime and historical themes.

The King’s Head will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. A sample menu shows that entrees will include dishes such as a grass-fed lamb burger with hand-cut fries for $18 and a braised seafood and shellfish stew for $30.

Over at 865 Forest Ave., across from Baxter Woods, you’ll soon hear the sounds of a strolling mariachi band wafting through the neighborhood.

Casa Fiesta Mexican Bar and Grill will have outdoor dining and be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The restaurant is modeled after an existing Casa Fiesta located at 500 Mariner Way in Biddeford. It’s owned by a Pennsylvania-based corporation called Casa Fiesta Forrest LLC, and will be managed by Jesus Ayala of Saco.

The sample menu features mid-priced Mexican fare, from Steak Ranchero for $12.99 to Texas fajitas for $16.99.

Italian restaurant now open at Middle Street location

Piccolo, a new modern classic Italian restaurant from husband-and-wife team Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez, opened last week at 11 Middle St., the former location of Bresca.

Piccolo will serve dinner five nights a week, from Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 to 10:30 p.m.

For reservations, call 747-5307.

B.good franchise reschedules Exchange Street opening

The b.good burger franchise that’s going into 15 Exchange St. has pushed back its opening to Sept. 26.

Its grand opening will feature live music, games and free shakes from the b.good shake truck, “Harvey.” Everyone who signs up to be a part of the “b.good family” at will receive a free burger and fries.

B.good restaurants are known for their fast food-style burgers and fries made with local ingredients — or, as the chain’s motto puts it, “food made by people, not factories.”

The Old Port restaurant’s burger meat, cheese and some of its potatoes will come from Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Its produce will come from Spiller Farms in Wells, and shakes will be made with ice cream from Gifford’s, a Maine brand.

Customers will also be able to order a local beer brewed by Rising Tide, Allagash, Shipyard and Baxter. The Maine b.good restaurant will be the first in the chain to serve local craft beer.

The restaurant’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Boston-based b.good chain was founded in 2004 by Anthony Ackil and Jon Olinto. The chain has about a dozen restaurants, most of them located in Massachusetts.


Kids’ class on making bagels set for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday

“Measuring Up! — Cooking for Kids” will hold a class from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday for kids who want to learn how to make homemade New York bagels and cream cheese.

The class is limited to 12 participants and costs $25 per child. To register, call 885-0611.

Measuring Up is located at 25 Plaza Drive, Unit 8.


Oscars New American opens this month at 305 Route 1

Oscars New American is scheduled to open this month at 305 Route 1.

On the restaurant’s Facebook page, chef/owner Nick Krunkkala calls the restaurant “a farm-to-table concept focusing on local ingredients. We make everything in-house from our bread to our ice cream.”

Apparently some of the desserts in the works include black pepper ice cream and cranberry mascarpone stuffed doughnuts.

— Compiled by Meredith Goad, Staff Writer


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