VIA Campaign for All-American Toast

According to a recent press release VIA, the Portland-based marketing agency, has kicked-off a Facebook campaign to identify an all-American toast.

Realizing that there is no country-specific toast option for U.S. revelers – in the manner of Proust, Salud, Cheers (British), Slainte, Le Chaim and others – VIA decided to do something about this problem just in time for the summer Olympics, where there will hopefully be numerous opportunities for both cheering and ‘cheers’-ing. To accomplish this goal, VIA has selected 10 options to be the new ‘Toast of America’ and created a Facebook app to allow people to vote for their favorite, or make a suggestion for another one.

Drought’s Impact on Food Prices

There’s a front page article in today’s Press Herald exploring how the drought in the rest of the country will be impacting food prices at restaurants and markets here in Maine.

But Tom Barr, one of the owners of Nosh Kitchen Bar and Taco Escobarr in Portland, noted that food prices have already been fluctuating a lot over the past couple of years, for a variety of reasons. He and his partners monitor rising prices, and just charge what they need to in order for the restaurants to survive.

“Basically the philosophy we take is you have to achieve certain margins to keep working,” Barr said, “and as long as we keep putting out quality (food), people keep coming.”

And in the Op/Ed section is a funny (and fictional) piece about the creative economy,

“Do you know that Portland has a higher chefs-to-accountants ratio than any other U.S. city with a population under 160,000? Do you know that 42 percent of the lobstermen who tie up at the docks are also taking Web design classes at SMCC? Do you know –” she started to tremble — “do you know that the Kokomo Tribune said our food carts were second only to Singapore’s and Berlin’s? No, you don’t, do you?!”

Reviews of Becky’s and Duckfat

The author of Bitches Who Brunch was recently in town for a wedding but found time to also sample the food (and milkshakes) at Becky’s,

But it was that blessed milkshake, served in an ice-cold metal tumbler, that was the crème de la crème of Becky’s. Topped with a hefty dollop of whipped cream, my chocolate shake was thick and creamy and absolute perfection.

and Duckfat.

But, the milkshakes. Oh, the milkshakes! They were amazing and available in all sorts of ingenious flavors that you would never think to be delicious in a shake. Like honey and cardamon. Or grapefruit and ginger. Or Tahitian vanilla bean crème anglaise and gelato. The shakes and sodas are made in house at Duckfat.

Farms Adapting to Changing Weather Patterns

The Forecaster contains a report on how farms in Cape Elizabeth are responding to changes in Maine weather patterns.

On one end, the spring is lasting longer, [farmer Penny Jordan] said, and on the other, the snow is coming early, in October and November. This has forced her farm to learn how to adapt quickly to the changing climate.

“I know what the normal used to be, but that no longer seems to apply. You have to respond in the moment,” Jordan said. “It becomes even more important to respond to that moment because you don’t know if you’re going to have another moment.”

First Review of Portland Pottery Cafe & Beer News

The Portland Pottery Cafe received 3½ stars from the Eat & Run review in today’s Press Herald.

The egg sandwich comes with a fried egg, cheese and a choice of bacon, ham or sausage. It’s served on an English muffin or bagel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the egg wasn’t overcooked. The yolk still retained a little runniness, which is the way I like it. (It actually could have been a little runnier, and I would have been happy.)

The sandwich plus a medium coffee cost me $5 and change.

Also in today’s paper is the latest What Ales You column which includes a report on some recent press for Maine brewers and details on a collaboration between Maine Beer Company and Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Vermont to produce Collaboration Time I.

The beer had a large, long-lasting tan head and a caramel aroma. The rye adds a bit of spiciness, but I didn’t taste a lot of wheat. The malt is the dominant flavor, with the hops in the background, making it to my mind a wonderfully complex brown ale.

Immigrant Kitchens: Mexican Chilaquiles

In the latest entry on Immigrant Kitchens Lindsay Sterling learns how to make Mexican Chilaquiles from Azminda Cansino (read the recipe, see the photos and watch the video).

For days I looked forward to this. “Life is good” shirts and spare tire covers didn’t look sarcastic anymore. We’re going to get to learn chilaquiles, whatever they are, and I know they are going to be out-of-this-world amazing because real immigrant food always is. On Wednesday an hour before we were to cook, I was in downtown Portland when I got a foreboding email from Azminda. “I have two drawbacks,” she wrote. Her blender broke, and she couldn’t find green tomatoes at Hannaford, Shaw’s, or Walmart. Of course she couldn’t, poor thing! I had to save our cooking session

Tipping Advice

Today’s  Portland Daily Sun includes some advice for servers on getting better tips and the history of tipping.

Interestingly, “the how-to-get-better-tips-tips” do not apply to men. Unless at Mardi Gras or a special event or occasion, I wouldn’t expect to see red lipstick on my friends Jacques or Greg (well, maybe Greg), and the same industry research mentioned above says male servers actually receive nine percent less than their female counterparts if they draw smiley faces on guest checks.