The Citrusiest Summer — Gulping Down Orange Brews

The summer swelter is in full effect, and it's doing strange things to my palate. I'm tired of lagers, and have to venture into stranger and stranger beers to keep my palate engaged. So, I'm kicking off an extended jag of tasting beers with fruits. Last week, we sipped some blood orange beers, so this week we'll try a few different beers that incorporate regular orange. This marriage of flavors might appear unusual at first,…

The Brains Behind Portland's Soon-To-Be Dizzy Birds Rotisserie

If I had known as a child that growing up with a dad who worked as a chef would inform food choices for the rest of my life, I might have paid better attention. I admired my father because no other person in my limited universe could cook the way he did. I fortuitously recently met Tom Peacock quite by accident. His wife, Barbara Peacock, is a well-known photographer I had met with to discuss…

Flesh, Pulp, and Blood Orange Beers

The torrid heat of August is upon us, and it's given me a royal thirst. After a month of drinking lagers, my palate, brain and liver are crying out for  variety, so I'm launching into an exploration of fruited beers. This week, we'll explore beers brewed with the Citrus × sinensis, also known as the “blood orange.” This hybrid orange has a vivid, reddish flesh, rich in antioxidant chemicals known as anthocyanin. The unique combination…

Chaval Redefines Neighborhood Dining in the West End

Anyone who has lived in Portland since the turn of the century knows that the restaurant community has seen an immense amount of growth over the course of the past 17 years. Look around, and the signposts are everywhere. Some will quickly identify the closing of the Village Cafe in 2007 as the proverbial tidal shift between two Portlands (“old” and “new”), while others stretch back to Fore Street’s emergence as a dining destination in…

A Life in the Food Scene — Photojournalist and Food Writer Diane Hudson On Portland Past and Present

Cookbook writer, restaurant critic, food writer, photo journalist, painter, world traveler, and lover of all things Maine, Diane Hudson is not cagey about her thoughts and opinions. She's also a woman with more wisdom in her pinky finger than I possess in my entire brain. I felt privileged to spend some time with Diane over coffee and donuts at the new HiFi cafe.  I think you’ll find her candor refreshing and her insight provocative. Tell…

Maine Lager Redux — Local Beers Are Worth Coming Back For

  I'm a bad beer writer, loyal reader. Last week, I promised “No more lager.” I intended to keep my promise too! I thought I had enough lager for the summer and craved new flavors. That was before I chanced into a local establishment with a wide variety of Maine lagers that either slipped my mind, or recently entered the market. In seconds, I was drooling, my mind spinning, and my liver throbbing. I knew…

Diversity of Flavors: The Shawarmageddon starts at Baharat

Diversity is easy to love if your group can dominate. But when supremacy is challenged, the dominant class gets itchy for a fight (or flight). Hence the white guys currently abandoning multicultural democracy to flirt with authoritarianism, and abandoning egalitarian family life for an existence online with their fellow gamers and trolls. The better alternative, some say, is to incorporate diversity, be transformed by it, and fuse it into a new and coherent identity. But…

The Clink: Checking in with Hidden Cove

“Before we get started, you wanna have a look at the place?” Dick Varano didn’t grow up with eyes on opening a brewery. The Braintree native comes from an Italian family, and he’s been a restaurateur for thirty years. Owning a winery in Italy? Sure. Opening a successful brewery in Wells, Maine? Well, OK! Varano opened Hidden Cove in 2013 out of the old pizza place he owned, just across the street from Varano’s, his…

West Coast Lagers: Taking a Break From Maine Beers

It's been a mild ride this summer, loyal readers. We've been focusing on lagers, those even-tempered, highly quaff-able beers that are lower in alcohol and hops. We've sampled many lagers from Maine, and the Northeast in general, so it's time to broaden our horizons! This week, we're sampling lagers from the west coast. Next week, I'm taking some sorely-needed time-off. What will I sip when I return? I don't know! If you're so inclined, visit…

Công Tử Bột Elevates Without Sacrificing Authenticity

For better or worse, inner Washington Ave. and the neighborhoods it connects have experienced a great deal of change in recent years. While rising rents and the inevitable displacement of lower-income families represent the darker side of change, a shining light can be seen in the drive and passion shared by those who are actively working to revitalize the Nissen building and its neighboring storefronts. In just a few short years, the landscape has morphed…
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