Maine Food Insecurity

Forecaster Columnist Edgar Allen Beem has written about hunger in Maine.

How bad is the problem of hunger in Maine? Mark Swann, Donna Yellen and Elena Schmidt, all of whom work on the front line of poverty at Preble Street Resource Center in Portland, contributed an article to the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of the “Maine Policy Review” on “Hunger in Maine.” They noted that “45 percent of Maine school children are eligible to receive a free or reduced lunch.”

Under Construction: Buck’s Naked BBQ

According to the Forecaster, Buck’s Naked BBQ is planning to open their 3rd location in the Old Port at the former site of Havana South.

The Caisses said they had been looking for a new space for about 13 weeks.

“We’re highly motivated to get it open for the holidays,” Alex Caisse said. “All the guts are there, we just have to put our touch on it.”

Their existing restaurants, in Freeport and Windham, are each specialized to accommodate the clientele of the area, and the Wharf Street location will follow suit, they said.

This Week’s Events: L’Espalier, Kitchen Tour, Open Winery Day, Fresh from the Farm Dinner

MondayBroadturn Farm is hosting a dinner catered by Aurora Provisions to benefit the Scarborough Land Trust’s Broadturn Fund.

Wednesdaychef Matthew Delisle from L’Espalier will prepare a 7-course dinner at Five Fifty-Five, there will be a cider and cheese tasting at the Public Market House and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Friday — white russians will no doubt be consumed in mass quantities at this year’s Viva Lebowski festival taking place at Bayside Bowl? It’s the first day of Cask Fest at Novare Res.

Saturday — the Cape Elizabeth Kitchen Tour is taking place, there will be a wine tasting at Kitchen & Cork, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place. It’s the last day of Cask Fest at Novare Res.

Sunday — it’s Open Winery Day in Maine, the 13th Annual Trail to Ale is taking place, Dan Agro is leading mushroom walk on the grounds of Evergreen Cemetery, the 5th Annual Eco Appetito is taking place and Kitchen & Cork is hosting a baking contest.

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.

Maine Home Cooking

Food Historian, Sandy Oliver, has authored a splendid new cook book, Maine Home Cooking. The book is packed with classic and more contemporary recipes as well as bits of food history, and guidance Oliver has gathered from home cooks all over the state. The publishers sent me an advance copy, and I had a lot of fun this weekend making the recipe for salmon in peas found in the chapter on classic Down East dishes.

For more information see this article in the Portsmouth Herald.

Review of Cockeyed Gull

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of the Cockeyed Gull on Peaks Island.

Chief asset is its waterfront location, with indoor and outside deck seating affording a spectacular view of Portland’s cityscape. For those wanting an easy evening (or brunch) adventure year-round, the trip to Peaks is fun — with the right attitude and the right company. Approach the menu with caution, and know that the results can be uneven.

Sampling Forest Ave

The latest A Slanted View column in the Press Herald explores the ethnic markets that line Forest Ave.

Which brings us to the Woodfords Corner section of Portland’s Forest Avenue. Clustered along a three-block stretch is a culinary profusion of Iraqi markets, Vietnamese restaurants (two across the street from one another!), an African supermarket, an Eastern European shop … it’s a United Nations of food. Even Haggarty’s, the Brit-Indi specialist, is now also serving “Middle Eastern Cuisine.”

Last week, illustrator Katie Wilber and I purchased samples of exotic delicacies from some of these venues. Then we made a buffet dinner, with my family joining in. Here’s some of what we enjoyed.

Bunker Down Fest

There’s an article in today’s Press Herald announcing Bunker Down Fest, a party/fund-raising effort to keep to the credit/debit/EBT card program at the market up and running.

The gathering at the East Bayside brewery will include the chance to eat well, rub elbows with local farmers and chefs, play games and listen to local music. Farmers are donating fresh vegetables, cheeses, chickens and whole pigs for an omakase-style spread prepared by some of the town’s best culinary talent. The protein on the menu will include smoked and roasted pork, charcuterie and spit-roasted local broilers.

The event is scheduled for September 29, 2-8 pm at Bunker Brewing in East Bayside.

Grace Interview

Love & Lobster has published an interview with Grace.

L&L: We love your fun cocktail names and Maine-themed menu.  Does your menu change often?  Do you take special requests for rehearsal dinners and weddings as well?
GRACE: Our menu changes constantly. We try to utilize as many local ingredients as possible and work with farmers and other local purveyors in order to do so. We do have a lot of special requests, from signature cocktails to cakes in the shape of a stack of pancakes for one couple that got engaged over a special breakfast.