CSA Fairs & PA Whoopie Pie Perspective

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on the CSA fairs that took place across the state this weekend,

Lee said Sunday’s Portland CSA fair was double the size of a year ago. Among the farms offering CSA programs for the first time were Emma’s Family Farm of Windsor (meat only), Frith Farm of Scarborough (first year in operation) and Green Spark Farm of Cape Elizabeth (second year in operation).

and an Associated Press article about the Pennsylvanian perspective on the Maine’s efforts to denote the whoopie pie Maine’s State Treat,

“We’ve had this thing going with the whoopie pie here for years and years and decades,” John Smucker, CEO of the family-run company that owns the Bird-in-Hand Bakery, said as kitchen workers put together a batch of red velvet whoopie pies. “And all of a sudden they try to enter into the picture. … It’s just a bunch of nonsense.”

Talk about a food fight.

This Week’s Events: Cocktail Competions, Gabrielle Hamilton, Maine Restarant Week, Baxter Brewing, Marshall Wharf

Monday — two competing cocktail events are taking place: the 2nd Annual Cold River Bartenders Bash and Maine Restaurant Week’s The Signature Event. Tickets for both events are still available and if you time it just right you can make it to both events.

Tuesday — The 3rd Annual Maine Restaurant Week starts today. Visit the MRW website for a complete list of participating restaurants and the MRW menus they are offering. Also on Tuesday,  Cheryl Lewis, the chef at El Rayo, is teaching a Latin cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen.

WednesdayBlack Tie Bistro is teaching a cooking class and Grace is holding their monthly wine club.

Thursday — Rabelais and Grace are co-sponsoring a book signing and wine dinner with Gabrielle Hamilton the author of Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. Hamilton is the award-winning chef/owner of Prune restaurant in NYC. Also on Thursday, The Great Lost Bear will showcase the beer from Baxter Brewing in Lewiston.

Friday — Maine Restaurant Week’s Incredible Breakfast Cook-off is taking place at Sea Dog Brewing in South Portland, there will be a wine tasting at the West End Deli, all 25 taps at Novare Res will be dedicated to pouring beer from Marshall Wharf Brewing in Belfast and First Friday Art Walk is taking place.

Saturday — the Winter Farmers Market is taking place, there will be a wine tasting at LeRoux Kitchen and Wine Wise is teaching a class on Aromatic White Wines of Europe.

Sunday — the annual CSA Fair is taking place at locations across the state including Woodford Church on Woodford Street. This is your chance to meet the farmers in person and sign-up for a CSA.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

First Review of Venue Music Bar

Venue Music Bar received 3 stars from the Taste & Tell review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

This music performance space offers good bar standards such as a juicy burger and fresh haddock from a next-door seafood market, but you might need to endure a sound check if you dine around 7 p.m.

Review of Flatbread

From Away has published a review of Flatbread.

My salad was a revelation. I am not even exagerating. It’s totally sublime. Baby spinach, golden beets sweet as heliotropism itself, goat cheese that isn’t too rank and tangy – you know how goat cheese can be, with an orange-hued Japanese-inspired dressing, all gingery and delicious. I want to live inside it, or at least, very nearby.

Maine: The Food Issue

The new Maine magazine began showing up in subscriber’s mail boxes this week. It’s the magazine’s Food Issue and it includes 31 Maine chefs sharing their passion for food and dining, an A-List of 6 Sunday dining spots, a 3-day guided tour of mid-coast oysters, an article about Rod Mitchell from Browne Trading and a Q+A with yours truly about Portland Food Map. The articles aren’t available online yet but you can pick up a copy at your local newsstand.

Stanley T. Bennett, 64

Stanley T. Bennett II, Chairman and CEO of Oakhurst Dairy died Wednesday. Bennett was the grandson of the dairy’s founder.

Bennett, who was diagnosed last summer with pancreatic cancer, was remembered Thursday as a champion of agricultural initiatives and a generous supporter of nonprofit organizations, especially those that support children or a clean environment.

He took over as president of Oakhurst in 1983, after his father’s retirement, and oversaw a continuing expansion of the business and aggressive investments in clean-energy technology such as solar power.

For further details see the obituary that appeared in The Forecaster, and for more insight into Bennett read the tribute to him published in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Winners of the Young Food Writers Competition

Slow Food Portland has announced the winners of the inaugural Young Food Writers Competition. Zoe Popovic (grade 4), Ellie Sapat (grade 7), and Ali Perkins (grade 12) were the first place finishers in each of the 3 age brackets.

The winning essays will be read at this year’s Slow Food Portland Writers Night which is taking place on March 10 at SPACE Gallery. You can buy tickets for the event at Brown Paper Tickets.

Lunch Review of The Cookie Jar

The Cookie Jar received 4 stars from the Eat & Run review in today’s Press Herald. The article had this to say about the chili,

It was outstanding. It was full of flavor and texture and packed with corn, different varieties of beans, chilies and peppers. It was fiery hot, in a sweat-inducing way. It cleared my sinuses. But it wasn’t offensively hot. It didn’t burn going down. The heat lingered and offered a late bite.

Review of Hugo’s

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Hugo’s.

In recent years Hugo’s has introduced both a bar menu and an à la carte dinner menu, which have made the restaurant more accessible to locals. But this winter they are offering a midweek tasting menu that is not be missed: $42 for six courses. That is half the regular price; a third of what you would pay for a comparable meal in New York; and about equal to an appetizer, an entrée, and a split dessert at any upscale restaurant in Portland. For most incomes dinner out at a formal restaurant is a rare treat and a splurge. Right now Hugo’s midweek menu offers the most splurgy satisfaction for your money.

MRW Specialized Filters for Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

The Natural Foodie column in today’s Press Herald highlights the ability to easily locate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dining options on the Maine Restaurant Week website.

“The first year we didn’t offer it and we had a great number of e-mails, Facebook requests and calls asking for special diets,” said Jim Britt of gBritt PR, which organizes Maine Restaurant Week. “We put out a request to restaurants, and they agreed they’re seeing a continually increasing number of requests from guests for vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian dishes.”

Maine Restaurant Week is scheduled to take place March 1-12.