NPR: Maine Mead Works

The Salt food blog from NPR has published an article about Maine Mead Works.

“Mead has the quintessential terroir,” says Alexander, 36, who began developing his mead in 2007 after becoming fascinated with its history as the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world. “You can get good honey anywhere, and it always has this sense of time and place.”

That idea resonates especially well in Maine, which has one of the strongest locavore movements in the U.S. Spend a little time in Portland, and you get the sense that every new food product on the market better be made with native Maine ingredients or no one’s buying.

Rum Diaries

The October issue of Portland Magazine includes a feature article on the history of the rum industry in Maine.

The rough and rowdy history of Maine rum turned violent in the 1850s, as under the growing temperance movement spearheaded by mayor Neal Dow, ‘the Napoleon of Temperance,’ alcohol production and sale of liquor was prohibited. However, it was discovered four years after the passage of the law that Dow himself was keeping large stocks of brandy set aside for ‘medicinal’ purposes–necessary to maintain the temperaments of solid, respectable citizens, of course. But for the working population of the city, alcohol was often their only escape, and many of the rioters decried Dow’s attack on what they viewed as their culture.

Ned Wight from New England Distilling in Portland was interviewed for the article.

Ned Wight, whose Eight Bells Rum hit shelves in September, agrees that it’s not all about the sea. Much of the rum produced in Maine was likely produced in stills in the back of public houses, produced not for bottling and off-site consumption but to be drunk on the premises by the patrons. “To me, that’s the real essence of Maine’s connection to rum, less than sailing or piracy.

First Review of Zen Chinese Bistro

Portland Magazine has published the first review of Zen Chinese Bistro.

But the Peking Duck ($25), plenty enough for a satisfying dinner for two, is what knocks us out. A half duck deftly sliced comes on a gorgeous platter with fresh moo shu pancakes, delicious plum sauce, sliced cucumbers, and scallions. Theatrically, one of the servers shows up at our table and carefully creates the wraps for us–a welcome touch!

Wall Street Journal: Saigon’s Pho

The Wall Street Journal has published an article by Portland author Kate Christensen about the Pho at Saigon on Forest Ave.

But now, I just got out my laptop and Googled. I found a Vietnamese place called Saigon that delivered, and on the menu was beef pho. I gasped with joy. Within a half-hour the paper bag arrived, containing two huge plastic containers of broth, piping hot and smelling incredible. We squeezed in lime juice and added cooked rice noodles, then thin slices of raw sirloin, which cooked instantly in the steaming soup, then slivers of onion and chili, crunchy mung bean sprouts and fresh basil and cilantro. We fell on it with chopsticks and spoons, too impatient to wait for it to cool. The broth was rich and beefy and very clear, full of the delicate flavors of cinnamon, black pepper and a familiar yet mysterious mix of other spices I’d come to associate with this warming soup.

the article includes Saigon’s recipe for Pho.

Pocket Brunch Interview with Joel Beauchamp

Bangor Daily News blogger Alex Steed has published an interview with Joel Beauchamp about Pocket Brunch.

What is the significance of not revealing the menu ahead of time?
This was a huge decision for us. On our end, Pocket Brunch is about being creative as possible without someone standing over us and telling us not to do this or that. We didn’t want to attract people who had limitations to what they were interested in eating. We wanted people to know about us by word of mouth about the quality of what we are doing. We do some weird stuff, which is fun. When else do you get to do that? Josh doesn’t get to do weird stuff over at 158.

Maine Lobster Competition Preview

Today’s Press Herald provides a preview of the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition. The cook-off will take place later this month at Harvest on the Harbor.

Bouchard, the executive chef at DiMillo’s on the Water, is coming back for seconds in the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition, after her maple butter-poached lobster tail failed to claw its way to the top in the 2009 contest.

“This is our year,” said a determined Bouchard, who will join forces with another DiMillo’s chef, Cliff Pickett. Pickett competed for the title in 2010 with a steamed Maine lobster and sweet corn tamale.

Tickets for the competition are on sale at the Harvest on the Harbor website.

NYT: Common Ground Fair

The New York Times has published an article about last weekend’s Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine.

Organic food may not be feeding the world yet, but it was feeding thousands of people at the Common Ground Country Fair last weekend.

They lined up at 10 a.m. to pay $4 for Steve’s Organic French Fries, made with organic potatoes fried in cold-pressed safflower oil for the vegetarian crowd. Although “beef tallow is better,” said Steve Aucoin, 61, who has been selling fries here since the first fair, in 1977.

Porthole Reapproval Process Examined

Today’s Press Herald examines the City’s approval for The Porthole to reopen just 2 days after it had been closed for critical health violations.

A string of emails shows that city officials scrambled to reopen three waterfront businesses soon after they were closed this month for health code violations, including a “serious rat infestation.”

The emails show that the city’s health inspector originally estimated it would take a week or two for the Porthole restaurant, the Comedy Connection nightclub and the Harbour’s Edge banquet hall to come into compliance.

They were cleared to reopen within two days.