Looking for a fun road trip to kick off summer? How about a drive-in movie in a lovely coastal Maine town?

Nina June, an Italian restaurant in Rockport, is co-hosting, in partnership with the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Institute, a screening of “The Truffle Hunters,” a documentary about the lives and culture of the elderly men who hunt for white Alba truffles in the forests of northern Italy. The film will be shown at 8:30 p.m. June 3 at the Shotwell Drive-in Theater, 40 West St., a new Rockport drive-in. Tickets cost $20 per car. Buy them online at shotwelldrivein.eventive.org. Check out the trailer at sonyclassics.com/film/thetrufflehunters/

Changes coming to Tao Yuan and Bao Bao

Staffing issues are driving some changes at chef Cara Stadler‘s restaurants this coming summer. Stadler says she’ll open Tao Yuan, her fine dining restaurant in Brunswick, just two or three nights a week, at most.

“I’d like to do more” she said, “but right now I have half the kitchen staff that I had last year, and less than half the front of house staff.”

Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland is switching to dinner service only this summer, and Bao Bao and ZaoZe – the weekends-only cafe and market affiliated with Tao Yuan – will both go to counter service. All of the changes are expected to take place in June.

New chefs at Ada’s and Owl & Elm

Brendan Levin, the new chef at Ada’s. Photo courtesy Ada’s

Ada’s Portland, a handmade pasta and prepared foods market at 642 Congress St. in Portland, has hired a new executive chef. Brendan Levin, a Texas native, has more than 20 years of experience, including stints at Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, South Carolina, and Lure Kitchen and Bar in Portsmouth. Levin’s culinary influences include travels with his father to Cuba, Latin America and East Africa. The chef graduated from the New England Culinary Institute and lives in Kennebunk with his wife and two children.

When the Owl & Elm pub reopens in Yarmouth on June 2, Erik Desjarlais will be the new chef. Desjarlais is remembered in Portland as the chef/owner of three well-regarded restaurants, including Evangeline in Longfellow Square, which closed in 2010. A few years later, he started a business sewing chef’s aprons, knife rolls and leather goods. He thought he was done cooking, burned out as a chef. He returned to food in his most recent job, managing the New Gloucester Village Store and helping to overhaul its menu of prepared foods and pizzas.

Now he’s come full circle.

“I had a decade to try on other hats, and it just circled back to food,” Desjarlais said in an email. “An opportunity arose at Owl & Elm. I always enjoyed the food there, and the owners Caitlin (Henningsen) and Keith (Johnson) have built something pretty special. Everything just kind of fell into place naturally.”

Another Otto

Otto has opened a new shop in Boston’s South End, its 10th location in Massachusetts. The new place is at 345 Harrison Ave., at the corner of Harris and Washington, across from Whole Foods. It has a slice counter as well as indoor and outdoor seating.

Summer farm fun 

Now that Maine is opening up again, local farms are gearing up for a summer of activities for both adults and children.

Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth is launching its first-ever children’s program this weekend, a “Create a Starter Garden” event for children 5 years and older. Participants will learn about edible plants, and how to grow seeds, seedlings and tubers; ask a farmer questions; and leave with a starter garden to transplant at home.

“We’ve got to start educating these young people on where their food comes from,” Penny Jordan said.

The program costs $12 per child. Time slots are available Saturday, Sunday and on June 5. Children are required to wear masks, and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To register, go to jordansfarm.com and click on the activities link.

Jordan told me the farm is also working on a special event for strawberry season, which begins in late June.

The Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport launches The Great Farm Experience Auction online at noon on June 3. Up for bid are a CSA share; a two-hour home garden consultation; a beekeeping experience; a cheese tasting with Sarah Wiederkehr from Winter Hill Farm; a date night picnic on the farm; a tour of Love Point Oyster Farm and an oyster tasting; a sourdough bread workshop; and – this will probably be the most coveted item – a private omakase dinner for up to 10 people in your home, prepared by chef Masa Miyake. This last one is a $3,000 value, with a starting bid of $1,500.

Barrel bonanza is brewing

Allagash is selling some of its barrels and will donate the proceeds to anti-hunger programs. Allagash Brewing Co.

Allagash Brewing Co. is holding its second annual Barrel Bonanza June 5 to benefit Maine anti-hunger programs. Oak bourbon barrels that the brewery has used to brew Curieux will be sold, with prices starting at $75 per barrel.

All of the proceeds will benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank, the Falmouth Food Pantry, Full Plates Full Potential, Wayside Food Programs, and other organizations working to fight hunger in the state.

Barrels can be picked up in time slots from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. To pre-order, go to shop.allagash.com/collections/the-allagash-barrel-bonanza. But you’d better hurry – last year these sold out fast, and this year many of the time slots are already sold out.

Allagash says the barrels are “perfect for the backyard, she shed, non-binary nook or mancave project of your choice! (Not intended for use in or around Niagara Falls, or by anyone from the Donkey Kong family.)”


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