Lobster & Whoopie State Treat

Today’s Press Herald includes reports on a group that’s trying to “put Maine lobster where it isn’t“,

They hope to redirect the state’s signature seafood into the mouths of gastronomes in the form of gourmet pies, pizzas and bisques.

The lobstermen have just launched the Calendar Islands Maine Lobster Co., based on the Portland Fish Pier, teaming up with renowned chefs Jonathan King and Jim Stott, owners of Stonewall Kitchen in York.

Today’s paper also reports that a compromise has been reached on designating a state dessert,

The State and Local Government Committee voted 8-3 Monday to amend L.D. 71 to say that the whoopie pie would be the state’s official “treat.” Committee members said they wanted to avoid a battle with supporters of blueberry pie and other worthy desserts, but still wanted to give whoopie pies a designation.

Comfort Food

The new issue of Down East includes an article on where to find some of the best comfort food in the state. The Merry Table, The Porthole, Hot Suppa, Gritty’s, Nosh, Boda and Standard Baking were all mentioned.

How do you define comfort food? Is it a bowl of your mother’s fish chowder Or a warm doughnut dusted with powdered sugar? Comfort food is as individual as every Mainer — and as specific as our state itself. Herewith, a comforting collection of Down East meals for all times of the day.

This Week’s Events: Valentine’s Day, Home & Garden Show, Mycology Lecture

Valentine’s Day — Many restaurants that would usually be closed on Monday are staying open tonight. If you’re still stumped on where to go read through all the advice from the Portland food blogging community. Also several have announced special menus for tonight:

Wednesday — Bresca is holding a sparkling wine dinner, Black Tie Bistro is teaching a cooking class, Havana South is hosting their monthly wine club event and Sebago Brewing’s Full Moon Cask Beer Night is taking place at their brew pub in Scarborough.

ThursdayBlack Tie is holding a wine tasting and Sunday River Brewing is the focus of the weekly beer showcase at The Great Lost Bear.

Saturday — a series of chef-led cooking demonstrations are on the schedule for the Maine Home, Remodeling and Garden Show, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — the next 20/20 wine charity event is being held at the East Ender, mushroom expert and author David Spahr will be giving delivering a lecture at the Urban Farm Fermentory, and the 2nd day of chef-led cooking demonstrations are on the schedule are taking place at the Maine Home, Remodeling and Garden Show.

JBF Semi-Finalists — If the past few years are any guide then this is the week that the James Beard Foundation will announce the semi-finalist nominees for this year’s JBF Awards. I’ll post info on any Maine semi-finalists once they’re announced.

Maine Foodie Tours — Maine Foodie Tours continues to operate their Old Port culinary walking tour each Saturday during the Winter months.

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.

Review of Pai Men Miyake

Edible Obsessions has published a review of Pai Men Miyake.

For as much as my friend raved about this dish and as much I raved about the dish while we were eating it, I know anything I were to write about the flavors that were there would do it absolutely no justice. It is, without question, the most remarkable sweet and sour sauce I have ever had in my entire life. In fact, I would like a teleporter to take me back to every time I had something labeled with ‘sweet and sour sauce’ just so that I can smack my former self and say to me, as I dump the nuclear red sauce on the floor, “Lies! This IS NOT sweet and sour sauce. Don’t eat their lies! The future will show you a true sweet and sour sauce!!”

Review of District and East Ender

The Golden Dish has published a combined review of District,

The restaurant is a combination dining emporium hangout. I’ll go there when I’m in the mood for a very decent dinner in a fun, casual setting. Entrees tend to be over $20, a price point perhaps too high to qualify as absolutely moderate. Their hamburger, however, may rate as one of the best in Portland.

and the East Ender.

The East Ender is seriously casual but offers serious cooking in convivial surroundings. If ever the eastern waterfront gets fully developed as a residential neighborhood, the East Ender would certainly live up to its name.

Review of Benkay

Vin et Grub has published a review of Benkay,

Sammy got the pork dumpling soup, which I must admit looked pretty good.  The delicate wonton skins were almost falling off the meat, which for me is appetizing just to think about.  The broth is traditionally richer than Miso broth, and there were lone pieces of kelp, cabbage, and green onions floating about.  Sam really liked it, and I must say I enjoyed looking at it.

Under Construction: Petite Jacqueline

The renovations over at 190 State Street, the future home of Petite Jacqueline, seem to be well underway. A new banquet wraps along the left wall and the front window. The bar has been left in the same location. As you can see from the floor plan submitted with the liquor license the overall layout is remaining largely the same. The owners are hoping to open this March.

Review of Hugo’s

From Away has reviewed Hugo’s 6-course tasting menu,

We ventured into the icy night for our first experience with this type of dining and were in turns, surprised, amused, impressed and satisfied. No menus. No choices. No volition. The diner is at the mercy of the chef and his kitchen. It’s a relief to the indecisive diner and a delight for an adventurous eater. And I am mostly both.