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eG foodblog: johnnyd - Dining Downeast II

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I steamed the other two lobsters. We had to use hamburger rolls for this classic roll, but one has to adapt, yes?,  I am starving after so huge a day anyway.


I used the tomalley as a spread


then poured melted butter over the lobster roll-base and capped it.  It was awesome.


That's a lobster roll, baby  :wink:

OH MY GOSH! You can't get any fresher than that.

I have food envy :hmmm:

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Twice a week or so, I drive Mrs. johnnyd over the SoPo bridge to work in Portland. Our neighbor's cat, Thomas, greets us as we leave every time.


He was found in a dumpster in Old Orchard Beach years ago. Thomas keeps order among the other street cats around here, and is great at tormenting the dog next door who is put out on a leash every morning.

We always stop at our corner gas station cum variety store for coffee and maybe a take-out breakfast item. These places are the life-blood of towns in Maine - everywhere, really - but I've always appreciated their essential place in the community as a source for fuel, fast food, beer, cigs, help with a jump-start, snow plow hire, small boat tips, tall tales, big-fish stories, and gossip.


Wes and Pete are there every morning. They have an opinion on, well, everything, and not always the same opinion, as you can see.

This, I think, is a New England novelty. Set me straight if it's offered elsewhere. Behold the Breakfast Pizza.


This has scrambled egg, cheese, sausage, ham and bacon. Usually there are two or more pies on the pass but we were "late" at 7:45 (the place is jammed at 5 in the morning). I ignored it for a year or two then tried it on a whim. It is the most delicious creation known to man.

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Hey, don't forget to show us buckets and buckets of fried clams.
There is a place on the way out of town that eG member CSASphinx suggested I try as their fried clams are his favorite: Susan's Fish & Chips
How does one keep track of ones traps? Do fishermen have territories? Is poaching another fisherman's traps common?

That is a mystery. I'll have ask Jeff. We wandered around a patch of ocean off Clapboard Island for most of the day but I was too busy baiting bags to notice any pattern.

On territories, there is a fascinating book out there called The Lobster Gangs of Maine by Anthropologist, James M. Acheson, that delves into the territorial machinations of lobstermen from neighboring towns. Then there is the maxim, "No one 'owns' the ocean," that plays into it all.

Poaching is hard to conceal despite the fact there are thousands of islands and hundreds of square nautical miles of ocean. You'd think you could get away with it. When I was downeast, things would "happen" to a boat or some gear and it never took long to figure out who was behind it. Naturally, repercussions were felt by nearly everybody. There is also that mysterious reasoning that goes along the lines of "Maybe the seagulls took it?" :wink:

how do you manage to get those pictures while working?

The force of the foodblog makes one do things one doesn't normally do...

They kind of curl up and then sproing free to get motion
The tail of a lobster is the main propulsion unit. They actually swim backwards.
hope you comment on how the locals felt about the soap opera that preceded the Whole Foods that opened up there this winter
I've been wanting to get a picture of that ever since. Stay tuned.
Though, I do wish for more food photos to go along with the phenomenal contextual photos for the food.
So do I. Still regrouping from my sea saga but don't worry, I've a long list of food-centric objectives and a few surprises. The one thing I've had to delay is my attempt at creating three dishes with my friend, chef Josh Potocki, involving sea snails, or periwrinkles - known around here as just wrinkles.

I found a million of 'em at low tide one day and I thought, hmmm... possibilities here, so I saw my chum Josh and we were going to do something last night but the massive rainfall run-off on Monday makes the shoreline a bit on the unsafe side from a bacterial perspective - even for me.

For those who missed it, check out my trip out to The Bangs Island Mussel Farm in Casco Bay last May. Great pics and a good look at shellfish aquaculture.

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As usual, through a fantastic blog here at eGullet, I have found yet another place that I want to visit at length! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful state! I think I might just burst into tears of joy if someone set that lobster roll down in front of me! Kitchen pictures, please!!!


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I've seen breakfast pizza in England too. I thought it looked good, but didnt have time to buy a slice.

I keep thinking of your friend standing jacketless in the rain with it running down inside the overalls and pooling in his boots. Oh my - c-c-c-c-c-cold.

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I keep thinking of your friend standing jacketless in the rain with it running down inside the overalls and pooling in his boots. Oh my - c-c-c-c-c-cold.
It was actually okay, temperature-wise - 68-70°F and very little wind - but the rain was coming down like I saw when I was in Brasil. Tropical.

Jeff is a tough one - however, while we were off-loading our lobsters a big pool drained off the roof and down his back. His unprintable comments about his sodden nether-regions had us laughing our asses off.

My boots are still soaked inside. Mrs johnnyd thinks there's a herring stuck in there somewhere...

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Speaking of sea urchins, is there a market in Portland where you can buy fresh urchins? Ever since a friend told me of pulling sea urchins out of the Aegean and eating them from the shell with a dine Greek white, I've a hankering to do that myself. And, as I will be in Portland next week....

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is there a market in Portland where you can buy fresh urchins?

Charles, there has never been a serious retail market for urchins here in town. They are also out of season. Urchin roe are still growing - it's winter when they are at their fattest. I guarantee the greek urchins are a whole different style to the ones here in the cold water. Had you visited in winter, I could have looked up a few processors who would have gladly given you a handful.

I Stopped off at One Fifty Ate out near Spring Point to shoot the breeze with chef Josh Potocki about the sea snail dilemma. He runs a highly regarded little bakery and lunch spot tucked between Southern Maine Community College and Ferry Village.


The back garden,


He used to work at Street & Company, (33 Wharf St Portland) and more recently, Bar Lola (100 Congress St Portland).



He's pretty psyched to have his own gig now. We are going to revisit the wrinkle affair a little later in the week.

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Kitchen pictures, please!!!
Snapped and loaded. Will post after my afternoon appointments. :smile:

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My Babies.

Left end: Wusthof 8" chef's knife purchased my first day BOH w/house discount in 1981. Tip broken off by line cook who "needed to borrow it for a sec" on second day. Had it filed down to 7 & 1/4" by crazy sharpener guy from Buxton, ME. two years ago. The name of his business is Never a Dull Moment. :raz:

2nd from Left: Brand new Wusthof 8" chef's knife - a wedding present from dear old friend. Nobody touches it w/out serious permission

3rd from left: Reliable 6" utility blade, $4.99 at local supermarket

4th from left: Cheap utility butcher blade for $3.99 at local supermarket

5th from left: japanese fish knife that I bring out when called for

Last: My beautiful SHUN that I bring out on special occasion. No touch-y :angry:

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Time to fill one of three pepper grinders. The current combo is:

2 tblsp tellecherry black

1/4 tsp whole coriander seed

1/4 tsp cardamom seed

One of the others have white peppercorn only, the remaining one a crazy seven pepper blend. Good for egg dishes.

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We are pretty pooped tonight so we rooted around the fridge (fridge pics later) and defrosted a rib eye, prepped some young asparagus with leeks and fired up some roast chef white potato.



That's a dried oregano stalk that was picked as it was about to flower. I find them intensely flavorful at that point. It is added to the potato.


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While everything's cooking, there is serious business afoot...


This cribbage board was hand-made by Mrs. johnnyd's grandfather. I should respect that beauty and put a little polish on that brass, shouldn't I? :wink:

The fact that she's winning this tournament is, er... not important. :angry::biggrin:

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While the rib-eye is flashing in the last of my duckfat


I decided to knock out a lobster ceviche using monday night's bounty


I put in fresh lemon juice, a bit of minced fresh poblano pepper, a tiny clove of garlic, and cilantro. Topped with extra lemon zest.




And that's tonight's dinner. A shot of A1 sauce would have finished it off wicked. :wink:

Mrs johnnyd finished off her potato with a SoPo flourish,


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High and Low Tide.

It is at the end of those stretch of rocks that I found masses of periwinkles that Josh and I thought might make a dish with garlic, butter and parsley. I am waiting to see if the green light goes on for shellfish harvesting before picking up a few to try.

Even though the tidal differential is 10 feet, causing Casco Bay to flush like a giant toilet bowl twice a day, there is still rainfall run-off that is draining into the Bay.

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You know, when I think the words "Casco Bay" I think of wool, because of those beautiful eponymous woven capes. Yet I don't recall seeing sheep in your last blog, and you don't seem to eat a lot of lamb. So, what's up with that?

Edited by Abra (log)

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You know, when I think the words "Casco Bay" I think of wool, because of those beautiful eponymous woven capes.  Yet I don't recall seeing sheep in your last blog, and you don't seem to eat a lot of lamb.  So, what's up with tat?

Those capes seem to be the result of a clever marketing scheme. I'm a fellow "from away" married to a Maine girl for 35 years & have spent a lot of time there & have never heard of those capes. So I googled. They seem to be made by http://www.cascobaywoolworks.com/history.php whose website says "Casco Bay Wool Works has a wonderful and charming history of producing its high quality, hand crafted capes and shawls on the magnificent rocky coast of Maine" but fails to say another word about that wonderful & charming history.

Anyway we're getting away from food here. Maine is not without sheep but they aren't often found near the coast, is my impression. I'll leave it to johnnyd to recount what Mainers do with their sheep.

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adultsheepfinder.com....what kiwis do with their sheep, anything in common?? hehehe

ps...sorry can't seem to be able to post a link and I have butted into the topic anyhoo, but where you live johnnyd is similar to my husb's home in many ways....enjoying it immensely, just please go diving.....

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I was introduced to papaya as a child in Brasil. I thought it was gross.


Now I have utmost respect for this tropical fruit in it's undeniable effect it has on my body. I spritz some fresh lime on it which goes well with the occasional peppery seed. If I had to live on an island with nothing else, I'd survive just fine.


Except I wouldn't have JP's bagels from One Fifty Ate or killer coffee from Coffee By Design, Portland's premier micro-roaster since 1993. CBD supplies many of the city's best restaurants.

CBD is a client of mine (one of my many hats: I sell print & web ads for a local news magazine) and today I was due in to see the founder/owner, Mary Allen Lindemann.


She is a passionate small business operator typical of Portland. She was happy to let me take a few snaps while the morning's roasting was in full swing.





Richard, one of the production team, explained that sometimes there is more than just coffee beans in those huge sacks. They have a special machine that roots out this stuff:


Besides the battery, and a lot of stones there was a tooth, a couple big corn kernals, a ring and a nail. :blink:

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Yet I don't recall seeing sheep in your last blog, and you don't seem to eat a lot of lamb. So, what's up with tat?
Oh, that's easy! We ship 'em off to New Zealand! :wink: There appears to be a shortage there for some reason.

Actually, I eat a lot of lamb but only when I find it on sale as it's pretty pricey. I've made a lot of Rogan Josh - lamb curry with yogurt, tomato and spices - since Spring. I'm also experimenting with some persian ingredients like dried lime and pomegranate molasses.

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Time for a tour of Chez Johnnyd


The mini lazy susan spice rack on the bottom shelf is indispensable. I use it for small-batch condiments that don't need refrigeration. I highly recommend it

Up one level are canned tomato variations, tamarind paste, a brick of indonesian peanut stuff, pickled things, cans of sardine & anchovy, and a collection of nuts, currants and raisins.

Top shelf,


Asian foodstuffs - which were driving me crazy until a rare moment of brilliance when I just stacked them on edge, like books. Soba, rice noodle, spring roll wrapper (I make a lot of those), Nori, and a collection of bizarre snacks my brother Bill sent me once in one of his mischeivious moods. Our family has a thing for sending each other jokes, it's great.

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Top: Vanilla extract & beans, crystalized ginger, preserved apricots, dates... probably something I've forgotten in the back there.

Mid: Sugars - big, honkin' rocks of demerara, coarse granule demerara, regular domino brown, superfine (in my handy Ming Tsai dispenser) and honey.

DownLow: Coffee (Green Mountain in front) and various teas - about eight kinds.

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Spices to the left - grains & legumes at right.

Someone gave me about two pounds of cardamom pods if anyone local wants a free handful. Let's do PMs.

Top of cabs: Huge lobster steamer, huge bamboo steamers in decorative bag - purchased at a flea market for $10, and a wire chicken made in Portugal to keep eggs in.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

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To the immediate right of the stove, oils. First red tray is stuff I need within reach of the burners like mirin, soys - some hot sauce seems to have gravitated there - the bottle next to tabasco is some electrifying piripiri from Cape Verde Islands.

Second red tray are vinegars - several balsamics, some 25yr. Jerez de Frontera, Rasberry, cider, rice, champagne, red wine, and generic white.

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I like open-access to my plate area. Works in a restaurant. Works at home. On right side of shelving is a long, spice sampler my Mom brought home from Turkey. Left side of shelving, above the thermostat, a chrome egg-slicer that I just liked the look of.

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