Portland may seem like the big city if you come from Mars Hill or East Blueberry, especially when it comes to food, where we are blessed with both variety and high quality in our choices. That goes equally for the food events, such as this springs Restaurant WeekME and last weekends 20 Mile Meal. But it's small in & that you keep running into a lot of the same people. For instance, during restaurant week I first ran into the Tollef Olsen & Paul Dobbins of Bangs Island Mussel / Ocean Approved (seaweed)
tagging along the next day as they escorted freelance writer Chris Ladd, working on a Boston Globe article on their Kelp beds in Casco Bay. What was then a test site on a temporary permit is now the first commercial seaweed aquaculture bed in the US.
On the trip out and back we passed their rope growing mussel operation. A process that produces plump juicy mussels because they don't need to grow thick shells an so put more energy into the mussel itself.
Another Restaurant week participant was Maine Mead Works, located in Bayside.
I ran into Eli Cayer again at 20 Mile Meal, where they were again serving his and partner Ben Alexander's delightful nectar. Also serving was Steve Melchisky & Maine Coast Vineyards from Falmouth, which had a horrible year with their grapes and all the rain, but are looking to add to their acreage in the near future. His Rose hit the store shelves in September.
Check R.S.V.P. or Whole Foods.
Another guy who's been making the rounds this summer trying to alert the public to the great food he's serving is Earl Morse, Executive Chef, at the Portland Harbor Hotel's "Eve's At The Garden" restaurant. He's been at both Taste Of The Nation and Antiques In The Garden and was on hand serving a chicken sausage with local mushrooms and a tangy sauce.
One of the real treats at 20 Mile Meal and a seasonal dish was Bob Smith, from Edible Rind, in Scarboro, quest cooking for Aurora Food, in the West end, with fried green tomatoes.
Upcoming food events are
Harvest On The Harbor, Oct 22, 23, 24 check their website for event times &
The 5th Annual Caviar Dinner at the Portland Harbor Hotel, Oct 23 pairing Earl Morse and Rod Mitchell of Browne Trading Company. You can combine both by taking advantage of the Harbor Hotel's package of the Champagne and Caviar Dinner, two nights at the hotel and two tickets to the thursday Grand Tasting kick off event of Harvest On The Harbor.
You can find Bangs Island Mussels & Ocean Approved products at Harbor Fish Market, Browne Trading Co, and Whole Foods Market.