Science of Sweet: Desjarlais, Lopez & Barker

Maine magazine has published an interview with Tara Barker from 40 Paper, Ilma Lopez from Grace and Krista Kern Desjarlais from Bresca about the challenge of being a pastry chef and their approach to their craft.

One of the most fascinating things about the modern restaurant kitchen is the average savory chef’s complete aversion to the art of pastry. It is as if that particular vocation is the culinary equivalent of learning a difficult foreign language, with even the tiniest errors resulting in failure. With so many would-be chefs rushing into the cooking profession, why is it that so few dare to tread the scientific world of the pastry chef? What drives those who do accept the challenge?

The article is a preview of the upcoming March food issue of Maine which should be making its way into subscribers mailboxes in the next week or so.

Interview with 555’s Steve Corry

The Bowdoin Orient has published an interview with Steve Corry, chef and co-owner of Five Fifty-Five.

But while Corry is inspired by his team, he has also developed an individual methodology in his approach to creating a dish.

“First, it has to taste good,” he told me. “Then you have start thinking about balance, which of course plays into tasting good. You also have to consider seasoning. There needs to be acid and fat. There should be a liveliness. Appearance is also important. Visually, the components need to work in harmony. There should be some definition to the dish. There should be a hot and cold component to the plate.”

Allagash Tour, Rising Tide Profile, Lil One

The Blueberry Files has posted a piece on her recent tour of Allagash Brewing,

We stopped first where the tanks are, continued onto the bottling and keg line, and ended in the barrel aging room. The tour script is friendly to non-beer nerds, and our guide was also willing to entertain any questions, no matter how basic, like… what does ‘coagulate’ mean? (No joke.) I wanted to know why the big bottles are finished with a cork and cage, rather than a bottle cap (because of tradition and in-bottle carbonation).

the Insurance Guy Beer Blog has published a brief profile of Rising Tide, and Urban Beer Nerd has posted some initial tasting notes on Maine Beer Company’s new brew Lil One.


The Chinese Laundry


The Golden Dish has published a report on last night’s kick start event for The Chinese Laundry.

The menu is strictly dim sum and from what I sampled last night I would advise not to miss her future pop-ups.

There were only two items served: steamed dumplings filled with pork and scallions and fried dumplings  with sweet potato and leeks.  There were a few sauces on the side including a very sweetly pungent hoison sauce with scallions.  Both were evocative examples of the genre.

This Week’s Events: Cajun Cookin’ Challenge, Chopped Champions, Valentine’s Day, Cloak & Dagger, Brush with Love, Flavors of Freeport

Tuesday — Rob Evans (there’s an interview with Evans in today’s Press Herald) will be competing in the finals for Chopped Champions on the Food Network, the WMPG 18th Annual Fat Tuesday Cajun Cookin’ Challenge is taking place.

WednesdayBunker Brewing is celebrating their 1-year anniversary at Local 188, and Cloak & Dagger is holding their Killing Me Sweetly dinner.

Valentine’s Day — nearly every restaurant in town will be open for Valentine’s Day. Here are the one’s planning Valentine’s Day menus or events:

Friday —it’s the first day of the Flavors of Freeport.

Saturday — there will be a wine tasting at Browne Trading, it’s the last day of the Flavors of Freeport, and the Winter Farmers Market is taking place.

Sunday — Chefs Nikos Regas from Emilitsa, Pete Sultenfuss from Grace and Mitchell Gerow from East Ender will be competing in Boston at the Lamb Jam, Two Fat Cats is holding a wedding cake tasting, and Petite Jacqueline is screening Ratatouille.

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.

Pocket Brunch: Party Gras


The February edition of Pocket Brunch took place today. The event kicked off at a private home for cocktails, coffee and apps before a jazz band led the assembled guest for a New Orleans style parade down the street to Bubba’s Sulky Lounge for the main portion of the meal was served.

Eric Simeon (who you may remember was the original chef at Grace) and Rhonda Crosson were the guest chefs alongside Josh Potocki and Joel Beauchamp. This was one of my favorite of the Pocket Brunch series so far.

  • Premeal – praline pig, bruleed grapefruit, banana foster bostock, suzette scones
  • Soup – Gumbo Z’herbes with greens and black-eyed peas
  • Salad – endive, chared okra, marinated oysters, blood orange and broiled oysters on half shell
  • Egg – artichoke hearts, white asparagus, stock-poached egg, creamed cress, parmesan hollandaise and country ham
  • Meat – local beef debris, grits 2 ways, crispy sweetbreads, green tomato pickle
  • Dessert – king cake

The meal was accompanied by cocktails by Nan’l Meiklejohn and coffee from Tandem Coffee Roasters.

Check out this big set of images from Zwickerhill Photography for more images from the event, as well as this post from Delicious Musings.


On a related note, yesterday Food Coma published a write-up of last month’s Pocket Brunch with Rob Evans.

Tandem Coffee at the Flea-for-All

Tandem Coffee is setting up an outpost at the Portland Flea-for-All. They’ll be serving pour-overs and selling bags of whole beans weekly on Saturdays and Sundays beginning today at 10 am. I’d recommend the Whahana natural process from Sumatra.

Chris Stiegler, former roaster at Mornings in Paris, has joined the staff at Tandem and will be manning the new weekend coffee station.