French Press & Pumkinhead

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on the closing of The French Press Eatery (see earlier news here)

James Tranchemontagne, a co-owner, said he ran out of money to keep the business going. The expansion cost an estimated $130,000.

“We have known for the last two months that it was touch and go,” he said. “It’s a wicked bummer. Food is my life. It’s everything you put your heart and soul into. For it to fail it’s hard.”

and a What Ales You article on Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale,

The spices immediately bring pumpkin pie to mind, although I don’t taste any actual pumpkin. There is a slightly sour aftertaste. It is a golden color, without much of a head. Although I like pumpkin pie, I don’t like the Pumpkinhead — mostly because, to me, that malt and hops flavors don’t survive the spices.

For additional reporting on the closure of The French Press Eatery see this article in the American Journal.

French Press & Pumkinhead

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on the closing of The French Press Eatery (see earlier news here)

James Tranchemontagne, a co-owner, said he ran out of money to keep the business going. The expansion cost an estimated $130,000.

“We have known for the last two months that it was touch and go,” he said. “It’s a wicked bummer. Food is my life. It’s everything you put your heart and soul into. For it to fail it’s hard.”

and a What Ales You article on Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale,

The spices immediately bring pumpkin pie to mind, although I don’t taste any actual pumpkin. There is a slightly sour aftertaste. It is a golden color, without much of a head. Although I like pumpkin pie, I don’t like the Pumpkinhead — mostly because, to me, that malt and hops flavors don’t survive the spices.

For additional reporting on the closure of The French Press Eatery see this article in the American Journal.

Gordo's Lobster Cakes & Halloween Ale

Gordo’s Lobster Cakes received 3½ stars from the Eat & Run review in today’s Press Herald.

If you’re looking for a different way to eat lobster, this cake is lighter and less messy than other alternatives. It’s a good to-go food. I can see it becoming a novelty item for tourists. I’m not so sure how well locals will take to it.

The only other sandwich the cart sells is a lobster roll ($10), which I heartily enjoyed. It was held together with a little mayo, and contained some chopped celery and fresh basil. Carolyn Smith says she doesn’t measure the amount of lobster meat she puts in the roll, but she tries to be generous.

Also in Thursday’s paper is a What Ales You column on Gritty’s 2010 Halloween Ale.

“This is the 21st year of Halloween Ale, and we start on Friday the 13th,” Ed Stebbins, Gritty’s brew master, said last week. “We always brew the first batch on a full moon or Friday the 13th.”

Halloween Ale is an extra-special bitter with 6 percent alcohol, and Stebbins promises “no pumpkins were harmed in the brewing of this beer. I promised my mother I would never put spices or fruit in any of our beer.”

Gordo’s Lobster Cakes & Halloween Ale

Gordo’s Lobster Cakes received 3½ stars from the Eat & Run review in today’s Press Herald.

If you’re looking for a different way to eat lobster, this cake is lighter and less messy than other alternatives. It’s a good to-go food. I can see it becoming a novelty item for tourists. I’m not so sure how well locals will take to it.

The only other sandwich the cart sells is a lobster roll ($10), which I heartily enjoyed. It was held together with a little mayo, and contained some chopped celery and fresh basil. Carolyn Smith says she doesn’t measure the amount of lobster meat she puts in the roll, but she tries to be generous.

Also in Thursday’s paper is a What Ales You column on Gritty’s 2010 Halloween Ale.

“This is the 21st year of Halloween Ale, and we start on Friday the 13th,” Ed Stebbins, Gritty’s brew master, said last week. “We always brew the first batch on a full moon or Friday the 13th.”

Halloween Ale is an extra-special bitter with 6 percent alcohol, and Stebbins promises “no pumpkins were harmed in the brewing of this beer. I promised my mother I would never put spices or fruit in any of our beer.”

Review of Bazkari Catering

The Bazkari Catering food cart received 4½ stars from the Eat & Run review in today’s Press Herald.

When I tried Bazkari for lunch the other day, I sampled the Bazkari Chicken Pie for $4.50. This was a cold dish featuring a top and bottom layer of creamy mashed potato and flavored with lemon, yellow pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Between the potato layers is a thick layer of Bazkari’s chicken salad made from Ana’s chicken soup along with vegetables, mayonnaise and extra virgin olive oil.

Although I don’t think of mashed potatoes as cold food, this chicken pie was fantastic as I ate it outside on a warm July day. It was plenty filling for one person.

Also in today’s paper is an interview with Dave Geary about his thoughts on extreme beers and other topics.

Beers of Maine: Sebago & Gritty's

Brews & Books blogger Josh Christie has continued his survey of Maine beer with an article about Sebago Brewing and Gritty McDuff’s.

For decades (two decades for Gritty’s, one for Sebago), the two breweries I’m looking at today have been staples in local pint glasses and refrigerators. Neither has quite the distribution around the US as an Allagash or a Shipyard, but it’s almost impossible to go to a bar in Maine and not see at least one tap devoted to Sebago and another to Gritty’s. Both also operate stellar brewpubs – bars with some of the best pub fare available in Maine.

Beers of Maine: Sebago & Gritty’s

Brews & Books blogger Josh Christie has continued his survey of Maine beer with an article about Sebago Brewing and Gritty McDuff’s.

For decades (two decades for Gritty’s, one for Sebago), the two breweries I’m looking at today have been staples in local pint glasses and refrigerators. Neither has quite the distribution around the US as an Allagash or a Shipyard, but it’s almost impossible to go to a bar in Maine and not see at least one tap devoted to Sebago and another to Gritty’s. Both also operate stellar brewpubs – bars with some of the best pub fare available in Maine.

Hotdog and a Beer

Baja Dogs, a new food cart in Monument Square, received 5 stars from the Eat & Run column in today’s Press Herald.

The first menu item I tried was the signature Baja Dog ($3), a bacon-wrapped grilled turkey dog on a bun. It was smothered in chopped tomatoes, onion, mustard, ketchup and crema Mexicana, a sour cream-like sauce that Heathers buys at Bodega Latina. After asking me if I wanted some heat, Heathers added some jalapeno.

This dog was so good, I wished I had ordered two…

Today’s paper also includes an interview with brewer Alan Pugsley.

Writing this column has already had a benefit: Alan Pugsley gave me a personal tour of the Shipyard Brewery last week. Pugsley’s the person who brought English-style brewing to Maine when he helped David Geary set up his brewery, which began selling its beer in 1986.

Soju Review & Allagash's Rob Tod at The Bear

Soju received 3 stars from today’s Eat & Run review in the Press Herald.

…I opted for chicken breast teriyaki ($7.50) from the Japanese side of the menu and kimchi bokum, a pan fried pork, from the Korean side ($8.50).

Both were satisfying, but I far preferred the chicken teriyaki. Served over a bed of steamed white rice and a healthy mix of carrots and sprouts, the tender chicken tasted sweet and slightly sesame — subtle and not overwhelming.

Also in today’s paper the weekly What Ales You beer column went to The Great Lost Bear for last week’s craft brewing showcase where he got the chance to talk to Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing.

“When I started in 1999, Maine already had breweries making great beer, British and German style,” Tod told me when I got him to join me on the Bear’s patio. “Geary’s and Shipyard and some others were already making great beer, so I wanted to try something different.”

Soju Review & Allagash’s Rob Tod at The Bear

Soju received 3 stars from today’s Eat & Run review in the Press Herald.

…I opted for chicken breast teriyaki ($7.50) from the Japanese side of the menu and kimchi bokum, a pan fried pork, from the Korean side ($8.50).

Both were satisfying, but I far preferred the chicken teriyaki. Served over a bed of steamed white rice and a healthy mix of carrots and sprouts, the tender chicken tasted sweet and slightly sesame — subtle and not overwhelming.

Also in today’s paper the weekly What Ales You beer column went to The Great Lost Bear for last week’s craft brewing showcase where he got the chance to talk to Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing.

“When I started in 1999, Maine already had breweries making great beer, British and German style,” Tod told me when I got him to join me on the Bear’s patio. “Geary’s and Shipyard and some others were already making great beer, so I wanted to try something different.”