Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Havana, Fit For A 1st Meal

When I made plans to take the Canon In The Parks Video Workshop, in Bar Harbor this past weekend, I put in a call to Michael Boland, co-owner of Havana, to see if I could shoot in his kitchen, on Sunday night. He said, "Great, come on in!" When I arrived about 6:15 the place was starting to fill up.
When I entered the kitchen Executive Chef Jason Casey was preparing a paella on the 10 burner gas range. The same entree he had served the president a couple of weeks before.
The secret service had picked out a nice quit table in the back dining room for the first couple, who started out with the Farm Salad and World Mixed Grill ( complete menu descriptions and 75 photos on Flickr)
This has been an especially busy year for the restaurant that many think is Bar Harbors finest with many night seeing well over 200 diners served by it's wait staff from the very efficient kitchen.
About a half hour before the 1st couple arrived the street was blocked off a few blocks to either side and by prior arrangement only reservations were accepted that evening. With restaurant stay at the secret service checkpoints to greet the surprise diners and a quick pass of the "wand" they were allowed to enter and find their tables. Once the President and Mrs Obama arrived no other reservations were accepted. The first lady decided on the Latin Lobster Thermidor for her entree.
The well stocked wine cellar is affixed to the side of the back dining room and has a large window between them.
After I finished, having taken roughly 450 images of the kitchen, dining and exterior of Havana, Michael graciously offered me a meal when I mentioned I had eaten an apple tart from the bakery in Southwest harbor that morning and little else since. After much debate as I had seen all the wonderful food coming beforehand, I choose a House Salad, the Annatto Filet Mignon to go with a glass of Malbec. Flan and a coffee was it for the night and I left after the last people came thru the door and the kitchen was closed.

All in all a good weekend with two fun classes and a good hall of images, both at H avana and in the Arcadia National Park itself. One of my favorite was a shot of two pieces of tuna just before they went on the grill.
Then to watch as it was transformed in color as it cooked.
If you missed it above I put 75 images up on my flickr site, look for the Havana "set' on the right side of the page.
318 Main Street, Bar Harbor, Maine
if you can't get from wherever you are, remember 
right here in Portland
same website.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Misc #1

I've been alternately bored and busy this summer and a little slow posting new images... partly because while I've gotten some nice shots I don't  always get a complete story, or I could just be lazy. So let's start with lunch.
Most days this or some variety os same is what I have for lunch. Cukes, tomato, feta cheese, a roll... mostly from Rosemont Market, lots of salt, pepper and olive oil and a glass of wine. The last couple of years it was retsina, but Boutari hasn't seen fit to bring theirs into the state so now it's whatever I have around. Malbec, a Bordeau, sometimes a spanish Cava.  This is an olive oil Mucucci's is now carrying which comes from Chile and is a very good match for salad. 
Supper can also look like this.
I've also spent a few days at the farmers marketin Monument square just to see the progression from past years. It stretches farther out of the Square down past the book store and Free St.

lot's of people having lunch and looking and even buying crafts.

If you saw my last post about the Celebrate Maine Festival/BBQ down in Eliott, Toby and I came back thru Berwick, Sanford and Bar MIlls on Rte 202.  When you get to the Saco River you'll see lots of kids and some adults jumping off the old bridge abutment and a rope swing nearby.  Last weekend I went back down to get some pictures.

Two days ago a magazine called looking for images from brunch at several local restaurants. While I had been thinking of shotting a brunch somewhere I hadn't actually done any.  So wednesday morning I popped into Bintliffs for a quickie and Lee at Vignola plated some of his menu for me that afternoon. 

This weekend I head to Bar Harbor for a couple of Canon still and video workshops.  Sunday night I'll be invading the kitchen at Havana, trying to find traces of the Obama's and giving you at look what it takes to feed the 1st Couple.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Celebrate Maine Festival/Mainly Grillin' & Chillin' BBQ Competition

Sunday back down to Eliott on Sunday for the BBQ competition, 44 teams cookin' their best chicken, ribs, pulled pork and brisket. Prize money and braggin' rites on the grill, smoker, oven or whatever, all sanctioned by both the New England BBQ Society and the Kansas City BBQ Society.

Some of the fanciest wheels were driven by Danny and Gloria Sager, from MD, who are doing 14 competitions this year.

Another less fancy set up was a large wood burning set by redneck Oven run by Mike Gardner from Exeter, MA, but originally from Bay City TX.
Noon was the first turn in time with chicken the first category up.
A table of six judges get six unmarked boxes with six pieces each which they first inspect for beauty. Then one piece from each box is placed in front of each judge on what looks like a bingo card with 6 sections on it, one for each entrant. They then poke, prod and play with each piece taking a small bite, maybe a second. they then right down a score and discard the mostly uneatin food. Repeat!!!
A half hour and it's a new category.

Matt and The Barn Burners played a couple of rowdy sets providing a nice soundtrack to the afternoon.
If you weren't a judge you had several ways to eat some BBQ including M&M BBQ, Bucks Naked BBQ and Green Mountain Smoke Shack. Some of the teams also had samples after competition closed at 1:30.
Right after we arrived I tried my hand at match making, but when Buddy, an English RedTic coonhound)  couldn't come up with some ribs Daisy (my very selective BlueTic/Beagle mix) gave him the cold shoulder!
One of the main sponsors of the festival and BBQ competition was DennyMikes sauces & rubs. Afterwards he handed out Chef Paul Kirk and Artie Davis's cookbooks (both are from the heart of BBQ country, Kansas City) to the volunteers and judges.

"I Smell Smoke" won Grand Champion for highest combined score!

Category winners were:
Cruzen2Q * Chicken * Cascade, MD
I Smell Smoke * Ribs * Malden, MA
Eatin Smoke * Pork * Swampscott, MA
Eatin Smoke * Brisket

There's also plenty to do and see at the Raitt Farm during the year.

Look for DennyMike's Award Winning Sauces & Rubs at stores near you or online at