Blueberry Season

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a report on this year’s blueberry harvest and some recipes for putting the blue fruit to use,

Allen Crabtree of Crabtree’s Blueberries in Sebago has a bumper crop of highbush blueberries this year as well.

“I have never seen so many blueberries,” Crabtree said. “We’ve had a pick-your-own operation since 2001, and this is by far the best crop we have had, the most berries on the bushes.”

The Food & Dining section also has a list of blueberry festivals across the state and a directory of pick-your-own blueberry farms.

There’s also a very interesting article on how farmers are trying to attract wild pollinators to to assist with the blueberry crop.

“It looks like a bee, but it’s the size of a housefly,” he said.

But size doesn’t matter when it comes to this hard-working, native pollinator, he said. “They’re about four to five times more effective as spring-season pollinators than honey bees,” said Van Horn, who has tended the organic blueberry fields for more than 35 years.

Portland’s Restaurant History

For anyone interested in the history of Portland’s restaurant scene (that’s all of us, right?), Epicuranoid has published a very interesting history of Portland’s restaurants in the 70’s and 80’s.

Long before The Old Port renaissance, Portland had a hopping restaurant scene.  There was a famous French restaurant named Marcel’s.  Several good steak houses like John Martin’s Art Gallery (where Asylum is now) and many restaurants that did all kinds of seafood baked, broiled & fried.  However, In the time before The Old Port boomed, the last great features of Portland’s restaurant landscape were Italian.  I refer to it as the old Italian guard because much like Boston’s North End today, the Italian restaurants dominated.   Only DiMillo’s was actually in the area we call The Old Port, but the city was littered with the likes of Verillo’s, The Sportsman’s Grill, The Roma, The Village Cafe, Maria’s and my old favorite, Giobbi’s.

If that’s wet your appetite for Portland food history, take a look at the restaurant timeline here on PFM.

Rise of Wild Beers

Allagash and their coolship beers are mentioned in an article on Gilt Taste about the new wave of interest in wild beer fermentation.

But one of the most sought-after beers in the room, an ale brewed in the Belgian lambic tradition called Resurgam, comes from Allagash Brewery in Portland, Maine. It is so rare it isn’t even announced with the others, instead moving quietly through the crowd, a whisper between friends.

Opening: Pocket Brunch

Josh Potocki from 158 Pickett Street Cafe let me know yesterday about a new project he and some friends are working on called Pocket Brunch. It’s a public underground traveling restaurant which specializes in multi-course Sunday brunches.

Two dates are scheduled so far:

  • a 5-course brunch this Sunday (July 29) with guest chef Rocco Salvatore Talarico
  • another 5-course brunch on September 2.

Tickets are available online via the website To add to the mystery the exact destination of each dinner is kept secret and is sent out to ticket holders in advance of each date.

Review of Fore Street

Diningsense has published a review of Fore Street.

The quail and the whole fish, as well as the warm service and our nice table, made this one of my favorite meals at Fore Street. The cuisine is not characterized by a dominant flavor profile so much as their oven-centric preparation method; this is not a problem, but our meal did reveal the limitations of a strict adherence to minimalist preparations. Most notably, the flavors of the dessert and the hake were more restrained than what one would find at a more experimental restaurant.

This Week’s Events: Latte Art Competition, Twilight Dinner, Rose Tasting & Walk, Farmers Markets

Tuesday — a discussion on setting up a Community Supported Fishery is taking place, and Bunker Brewing is having their 4th Growler Nite.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — Bard is hosting the July Latte Art Competition, Cultivating Community’s fourth Twilight Dinner of the summer is taking place at their farm in Cape Elizabeth (tickets available online), Browne Trading is holding a Rose wine tasting, there will be a wine tasting at the Bier Cellar (yes, really), and Sea Change Cooking is teaching a Mid-Summer Harvest cooking class.

SaturdayWine Wise is leading a Rose wine walk in the Old Port, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — the first Pocket Brunch is taking place.

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 Carmen at the Danforth

Carmen at the Danforth received 4 stars from today’s review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Carmen at The Danforth offers marvelous Latin-inspired twists on familiar items while introducing ingredients seldom found on Maine menus. The restaurant’s intimate, elegant setting in a historic inn in Portland’s West End makes it hardly a spot you’d expect to find this delicious and fascinating cuisine. But that’s all part of the magic.

Also in today’s paper: