October 11, 2013

Showing Off Portland Food

The title of this post has two meanings, and I'm going to bury the lede here by telling you about my friends' recent visit. Two chefs from the other Portland came to visit me, and you know I love to play food hostess. 

A walking tour of yEast Bayside impressed - with a tour and tasting at Maine Mead Works, cornhole and beers at Bunker Brewing Co., the Rising Tide Brewery Figue release party and Small Axe's Lightening Smokestack burger snacks, and some cider and kombucha to ease us back down at Urban Farm Fermentory

Dinner choices were deliberated over carefully, with a late night 'feed me' (their 7-course tasting menu) from Bar Lola acting as a form of entertainment in and of itself. We were all served different courses, so 21 dishes in all, and it was a treat to eat with people who love to talk about food even more than I do.  

Desserts at Bar Lola

Eventide Oyster Co. served us a perfect dinner with their small courses allowing us to sample and share. Our server gave genuine thought to variety of Maine oysters we asked her to select for us - thoughtfully adding an extra when we mentioned that two of us had tried the Pemaquid variety the night before, but the third hadn't. 

The limpet special, small sea snails served in the shell with jalapeno, citrus, and ginger was unexpected - bright yet creamy. When we went the oyster bun route instead of the lobster roll, our server brought my guests a brown butter lobster roll, because she wanted them to sample their version of the Maine staple. A fabulous dining experience in every regard, as usual. 

Lobster rolls at Bite Into Maine at Fort Williams park were another winner. The best lobster roll I've had with a view of the lighthouse and the Atlantic? Check that off the list. 

While football games necessitated that we spent close to seven hours at Binga's (admittedly not the first spot I take out of town guests, but mine were happy to have good East Coast wings again), Silly's takeout was the perfect way to wrap up a day of drinking. 

My other Portland food project that has been occupying a lot of my time, taking me out to meet with Krista Desjarlais of Bresca and the Honey Bee (on Sabbathday Lake, pictured above), to Rosemont Market to meet with Joe Appel, and out to Smiling Hill Farm to meet Silvery Moon Creamery cheesemaker Dorothee Grimm, is my upcoming book Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine.  

The book is published by The History Press and due out June of 2014. In 40,000 words, I'll tell the history of the Portland food scene and highlight some of its interesting players. I've been interviewing farmers, fisherman, chefs... all of whom bring something different and interesting to our vibrant food scene. 

Everyone has been very open and generous in the interview process, and I'm so grateful. Now to write and write (and interview some more) and to continue to go on adventures with my friend Greta who is graciously lending her serious talent to the photos. 

Thank you all for your support - if the Blueberry Files weren't thriving, the publishers never would have reached out to me. I'm looking forward to sharing my take on our great city's food scene with you.

If you have anything/one you'd like to suggest I include, please leave a comment, send me an email (blueberryfiles at gmail dot com) or a tweet.