Best Culinary Bookstore

Bon Appetit has recognized Rabelais as one of the 7 Best Culinary Bookstores in America.

Husband-and-wife owners Don and Samantha Lindgren preside over this bookstore-cum-foodie hub, where the shelves are stocked with cookbooks old and new, rare and commonplace. Here, you’ll find The Kitchen Directory and American Housewife (c. 1841) alongside the just-published Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook.

The Honey Exchange

This week’s Food & Dining section in the Press Herald features an interview with Phil and Meghan Gaven, owners of The Honey Exchange on Stevens Ave.

“This is a spring honey from a hive in Ferry Village, and this is the fall honey from that same hive,” Meghan Gaven said. “So the same bees in the same place, just different times of year, made these two different colors and flavors of honey.”

A recent selection at the tasting bar included a honey made by a police officer/beekeeper in Wells and a basswood honey from Pennsylvania that is “everything I like about honey but with the volume turned way up,” Phil Gaven said. “It’s real crystalline and brilliant.”

Farmers Market: Raw Milk & Hard Cider Sales

According to reports from the Press Herald and Portland Daily Sun, the Recreation and Health Subcommittee has endorsed a change that allow the sale of raw milk and hard cider at the Portland Farmers Market. The issue now must be approved by the City Council to take effect.

Raw milk and certain locally-sourced alcoholic beverages could soon be found at the Portland Farmer’s Market alongside local beets, honey and other produce.

The city council’s Health and Recreation Committee yesterday endorsed a proposal to allow fermented beverages such as beer, mead and hard cider to be sold at the twice-weekly farmer’s markets as long as they meet existing standards.

The committee also endorsed a separate measure allowing unpasteurized milk to be sold there.


Cooking with a Bottle: Stout Cake, Pumpkin Pie Soda Beef, Reisling/Blueberry Wine Fondu, Cidered Norman Chicken

For the November edition of our collaborative O-Rama food writing project the challenge was to come up with a seasonal dish, perhaps one that one of our readers might want to cook for Thanksgiving. And to keep things interesting each of the recipes had to utilize as a key ingredient a Maine-made beverage.

There are certainly plenty of options to choose from, from the historic/iconic Moxie to one of Maine’s many beers as well as the state’s less well known ciders, meads and wines. As you’ll read in the individual pieces sourcing the right beverage became a bigger part of the task than anyone had imagined. Appetite Portland searched in vain for a bottle of Old Mean Tom and had to make due with her second choice. Vrai-lean-uh ended up cooking her dish 3 times with different ciders to get just the flavor she was looking for and Jillian at From Away ended up at Bootlegger’s Beverage Warehouse and Redemption to find what she was looking for.

The award for the oddest select by far goes to Edible Obsessions for using a Pumpkin Pie Soda from Maine Root. All of resulting recipes sound delicious and well worth trying out in your own kitchen. If you do end cooking up one of these dishes at home please write in and let us know how it went. Also, if you have an unusual Maine beverage recipe of your own, post it as a comment so everyone else can give it a try.

Appetite Portland – Evil Shenanigans’ Orange Chocolate Stout Cake

Music cranked, measuring cups clanked. I slipped into baking mode and relaxed. Zesting the orange made me particularly happy. Bright fruit tickled my nose as I danced around to Guster and began whisking. A lick of the batter had me hoping again. Bitter notes from the bourbony beer and the sassy citrus blended well. That extra kick of vanilla I was hoping for from Tom became beside the point. read the full article

Edible Obsessions – Pumpkin Pie Soda Braised Beef

[Pumpkin Pie Soda from Maine Root] started appearing on shelves about a month ago and will probably be around for another few weeks. It’s definitely one of the odder drinks that I’ve had in my life. It’s an orangish hue, the only thing defining ‘Pumpkin’ thing about it (there’s no actual pumpkin in it, mind you, just ‘spices’) because the flavor is more akin to some bastardized Dr. Pepper bred with a root beer. Actually, describing it like that makes it sound more appealing than it really is. It’s just straight out weird to me. read the full article

From Away – Lobster Fondue with Oyster River Reisling and Bartlett Estate Wild Blueberry Wine

Fondue is a food I can’t imagine hating. I suppose if you are lactose intolerant, detest the Swiss, and are a germaphobe – well, this is not for you. Please, leave. It’s kitschy! And European! And melty cheese and wine, inarguably two of the best things on earth. read the full article

Vrai-lean-uh – Norman Chicken with Kennebec Cider

This recipe requires very little hands-on work. You brown the chicken, then basically abandon it for half an hour, then come back to make a really simple sauce from the cooking liquid. Chicken thighs are cheap, flavorful, and relatively hard to mess up (they don’t dry out like chicken breasts do), and the finished dish is rich and hearty. It would be nice with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts.
read the full article

Review of Schulte & Herr

Mainely Eating has published a review of Schulte & Herr.

All of us eagerly samples each other’s plates, and it was hard to say which dish came out on top. The beef roast was so tender it fell apart, and the potato dumplings were soft and delicious. The Belgian waffle was crisp with a soft center, everything a perfect waffle should be. The sauerkraut and Bratwurst was amazing slathered in mustard. We all had to hold back from demolishing my daughter’s scrumptious plate of meat and cheeses.

2011 Thanksgiving Resource Guide

As usual a number of Portland area restaurants plan on serving a Thanksgiving dinner. Here are the ones I know about so far. I’ll update the list as more info comes in:

For those of you hosting your own meal at home be sure to checkout:

  • You can pre-order your free-range turkeys from Aurora Provisions or Rosemont Market (deadline to order is Saturday afternoon). Both markets are also selling pies, rolls, quick breads, side dishes and just about other item you might need for your Thanksgiving dinner. Aurora Provisions will be open 9-11 Thanksgiving morning for any last minute needs.
  • Two Sisters Farm is selling their organic free-range birds in Woolwich. They are 10-20 lbs and are $4.75 a pound. Call (207) 443-5459 for more info.
  • Standard Baking, Scratch Baking, The Cheese Iron, Foley’s Bakery, Bomb Diggity Bakery, and many of the other bakeries in the area are good sources for pies, breads, etc. They probably produce some holiday themed options in addition to their usual offerings.

Community Dinners:

  • The Wake N’ Bakery Cafe in Westbrook is hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner for those in need.
  • The Wayside Food Programs is serving a free Thanksgiving community dinner at the Portland Club, 11:30 – 1. They have enough volunteer for Thanksgiving day but are still in need of help to prep on the day before and with donations to help pay for the meal. Call (207) 775-4539 if you’d like to help out.

Wine and Beer Buying Advice:

Turkey Buying and other Advice:

Is there a local restaurant, market, bakery, or Thanksgiving event that’s missing? Post a comment with the info and I’ll add them to the list.