Melissa Kelly, Best Chef Northeast

Melissa Kelly has won the 2013 award for Best Chef Northeast from the James Beard Foundation for her work as the chef/owner of Primo in Rockland.

Kelly’s win brings Maine’s total up to 4 or 5 depending on how you count it:

  • 2004 – Sam Hayward (Fore Street)
  • 2009 – Rob Evans (Hugo’s)
  • 2010 – Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier (Arrows)
  • 2013 – Melissa Kelly (Primo)

Kelly was also won Best Chef Northeast in 1999 when she was at the Old Chatham in New York.

This Week’s Events: Speckled Ax, Barbara Damrosch, Kitchen Tour, De Struise, Sweet Weekend

TuesdaySpeckled Ax is celebration their first anniversary with free brewed coffee in the morning and espresso shots all day, the last Cloak & Dagger dinner is taking place, and there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont Market.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place.

Thursday — Wayne Davis of Ocean Aerials will be giving a talk on offshore fishing and fish spotting at GMRI.

FridayBarbara Damrosch will be at Longfellow for a book signing, it’s the first day of the Portland Kitchen Tour, it’s the first day of Sweet Weekend, and there will be a wine tasting at Rosemont.

SaturdayUrbain Coutteau from De Struise will be at Novare Res, 16+ De Struise beers will be on tap; The Kitchen Tour and Sweet Weekend are continuing, the Deering Oaks Farmers Market of 2013 is taking place. Gusto’s food truck will be at Rising Tide as part of the brewery’s weekly food truck series.

Sunday —  In’finiti is holding a De Struise Brouwers Brunch, call (207) 221-8889 for reservations.

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: Cinco de Mayo


The May edition of Pocket Brunch took place Sunday afternoon at Caswell Farm in Gray. Oaxacan guest chef Max Mejia and the Pocket Brunch crew put together an 8-course Cinco de Mayo backyard fair. As usual, the Bearded Lady and Tandem Coffee were providing cocktails and coffee for the event.

Here’s the menu:

  • Shrimp – pickled shrimp with Mexican cocktail sauce and crispy ramps
  • Ceviche – weakfish, tomato, jalepeno, cilantro and onion.
  • Sopes – sopes, pork belly, quesa seco and peanuts
  • Gazpacho – pineapple, mango, orange, jicama and habenero ice
  • Esquite – corn, lime mayo, cheese, fried corn silk
  • Chilaquiles – tortilla, chorizo, potato, sour cream, chile sauce and fried egg (shown below)
  • Carmes – a choice of chicken confit and mole sauce or pork country ribs and pumpkin seed sauce
  • Dessert – arroz con leche with blood orange sorbet and saffron salt

David Zwickerhill has published a set of photos from the event.



Under Construction: Wine Bar in One City Center

According to a report from Maine a la Carte, a new wine bar is in the works for the former Dante’s space in One City Center.

She declined to name the tenant because the lease is not yet signed, but did say that the wine bar would not have a full kitchen; the menu will be limited to “olives, cheese nuts – food to accompany wine and beer.” Wine courses may also be offered, she said.

A separate source emailed yesterday to pass on the news that Once City Center is planning on re-purposing some of the retail space in their food court as office space and so has given notice to some of the food vendors.

Review of Outliers

The Golden Dish has published a review of Outliers.

My entrée, described simply as beef shoulder tender, was another kitchen triumph.  The beef was rendered absolutely soft and succulent by its sous vide process, producing intense flavor while keeping it buttery soft, juicy and lean.  Served in a wine reduction, with fingerling potatoes, this was another very satisfying dish.

Review of Bresca

Eat Maine has published a lunch review of Bresca.

Lunch at Bresca is a treat. The space is welcoming, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the service is friendly. While it’s possible to come for a salad and head back to work, it’s also a place where you can slow down, meet a few friends, and share an afternoon of amazing food and delicious wine.