Bartenders and more

The new issue of The Maine Switch includes a feature article on Portland’s favorite bartenders.

Here in booze-loving Portland, we’re lucky to have an abundance of excellent bartenders. Which explains why when Switch reached out to readers, friends, bar flies and the Twitterverse asking for the names of the city’s favorite drink mixers, we were flooded with responses. We took the top suggestions, stirred them with our own bar experiences and these nine individuals rose to the top. Here they share outlandish bar stories and hangover cures, plus pepper us with drinks both beloved and loathed.

As well as a restaurant review of The Frog and Turtle, a guide to Maine beer and an interesting piece on the Maine Local 20 Project. Maine Local 20 is an effort by MOFGA to determine how well matched Maine’s food production and consumption are.

In contrast, we don’t grow nearly enough carrots to supply our local needs, which explains why the vast majority of carrots on grocery store shelves are trucked in from California. Right now, carrots are grown on roughly 30 acres of Maine farmland, but this would need to jump to about 700 to 800 acres to support Maine’s carrot habit. Even though Maine has a short growing season, carrots are a root crop that stores well and could be stockpiled for the winter.

June Bollard

The June issue of The Bollard includes another installment of the Land of Forgotten Cocktails series by bartender John Myers, and a breakfast review of The Farmer’s Table.

We left The Farmer’s Table full and in good spirits. There are still a few kinks Chef Landry’s team needs to work out, but I’m confident they’ll get there. I’m also hopeful he’ll change up the menu as the seasons change, and maybe include something for those of us with a penchant for maple syrup.

Steven Lovenguth

Today’s Portland Daily Sun includes an article about Steven Lovenguth, the bartender/mixologist at Walter’s Cafe.

Sangria is the project of the moment; it’s summer after all, but what’s next? Lovenguth loves Bloody Marys and his special spice mix is the centerpiece of the one served at Walter’s. But lately he’s been trying to shake Mary out of her rut, so he’s been taking her around the world. Japanese Mary has wasabi and soy, Mariner’s Mary has Clamato and a little clam garnish, Greek Mary has a little Ouzo, Danish Mary has Aquavit flavored with Caraway.

April Bollard

The April issue of The Bollard is now out. The new issue includes another installment in the Land of the Forgotten Cocktails series and a Breakfast Serial review of Kath’s Cafe and Catering on Brighton Ave.

I was a fan of the Blue House Café, and our family quietly mourned its passing…But Kath and Tim have done an admirable job maintaining the comfortable atmosphere and high standards that will keep us coming back.

February Bollard

200902bollardThe February issue of The Bollard includes another installment in the Land of Forgotten Cocktails series by mixologist John Myers, a survey of Portland hotel bars (Port of Call, Top of the East, Eve’s at the Garden, Great American Grill, Armory Lounge) and a review of Steve and Renee’s Diner.

It seems the traditional diner is a dying breed. The temptation to go upscale with lobster benedict, caramelized onion frittata, and almond-encrusted brioche pain perdu must have a powerful appeal, given the prices they can command. To be fair, I readily admit a fondness for a snooty brunch now and then. But when a straight-up, no-frills diner breakfast is in order, there’s nowhere better in Portland than Steve & Renee’s.

Cold River Vodka

Wine Enthusiast has listed Cold River Vodka in a recent article on the Top 50 Spirits of 2008.

“The lovely, austere and enticing bouquet offers scents of black pepper, charcoal and limestone. Entry is sweet and lightly spiced; at midpalate luscious tastes of caramel corn, charcoal, quartz and cocoa bean make for wonderful North American unflavored vodka drinking. Concludes smooth, complex and layered. A coming superstar.”