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johnnyd

eG foodblog: johnnyd - Dining Downeast II

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If you dont mind my asking, how much did your sushi meal cost? Those huge chunks of toro sashimi have me drooling like crazy!

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Ahh! the broadbeans are here!  I wait a little longer before I buy so they get bigger.  I couldn't resist the baby yellow squash - we got a big handful.

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These blueberries are from Sanford, an hour or so southwest of Portland, by the New Hampshire border.  Might be from those blueberry bushes that grow four or so feet tall.  We ended up with a box of smaller ones from downeast.  I think they're sweeter.

There was also blueberry pie.  I pity the fool who won't buy a slice of blueberry pie!  :cool:  We bought two.

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The top oval sign reads m.o.f.g.a  which is the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association, a non-profit group who endeavor to help growers in Maine.

You said pity the fool.

Nice pie. :raz:

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Which reminds me!  It's time to call on fatdeko!  Founder and Chief Curator of the Casco Bay Institute for Applied Intoxicological Studies, indefatigable eGullet contributor in the Spirits and Cocktail forum, I sought his irrefutable guidance in the creation of a destinct cocktail from Maine.

To do this, you'll need indigenous ingredients - he surmised.

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Wow, you also said indefatigable, I think that's a first. I mean, pity the fool and indefatigable in the same blog.

Great blog!


Edited by markemorse (log)

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You said pity the fool.
Proper credit must go to the irrepressable chrisamirault who aptly chose Mr.T to offer due respect for one of New England's most popular foods - quoted here:
Clam bellies are the foie gras of the Atlantic. I pity the fool who won't eat them.
More fried clam love can be found in the eG New England forum: The Best: Fried Clams

Speaking of which, we had a hankering for a few after walking around the Old Port so we stopped into Gilbert's Chowder House, 92 Commercial St.

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Market price today was $17.95 for fried clams, fries, coleslaw and lemon. Service was cheerful as always, even in the face of a shift-change on a busy summer, Saturday afternoon.

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Now that's some grade-A fried clams. This link visits a popular Cape Elizabeth place called The Lobster Shack for a look at another famous seafood spot.

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Note the local gangmembers: a member of the Wharf Cats (mid-left side) patiently watching a member of the Sea Gulls, neither of which will think twice about stealing the clams off your paper plate. :unsure:

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Thank you for all the wonderful pictures of the blue ocean and sunny skies. And the lobster! :wub:

I have to ask about this:

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

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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.

I love papaya with lime, especially for breakfast, but I´m curious about the 'undeniable effect' it has on your body :huh:

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Outside of Yosaku is a statue of film Director, John Ford, who grew up in Portland, Maine.

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I thought he might help Carrot Top, Dejah and I think of a title for a movie with a giant, mutant lobster.

Mr. Ford, looking out to sea from his bronze director's chair, surrounded by granite blocks representing his academy awards, offered no advice.  :hmmm:

Claws.

Or, in this case, Claw.

With all these photos -- and knowing that Portland, Oregon, is several miles inland from the Pacific -- I wonder just what it was about the Willamette River Valley that reminded the settlers so much of Maine. Must be the trees. The Pacific Northwest has its own scenic charms, but nothing that looks remotely like Portland and Casco Bay, IMO. That tourist promotion slogan the State of Maine came up with about a decade ago is spot on: "There'll never be another Me."

Question from left field: Are there any three-digit addresses in the City of Portland?

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I love papaya with lime, especially for breakfast, but I´m curious about the 'undeniable effect' it has on your body huh.gif

Hello Chufi! Papaya is one of those foods that puts nutrients into my blood right away and I can feel it pronto. I seek it out when I feel I need a vitamin boost - it's amazing. I suppose the molecular make-up of papaya flesh is easy for digestive enzymes to break down and make use of immediately. Papaya supplements have been promoted a lot lately - why not just have a real one? It goes to show yet again that the real deal out-classes anything "processed" in the food world.

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Papaya is also good for fiber. No need to worry about constipation when you got papaya for brekkies in the morning.

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If you dont mind my asking, how much did your sushi meal cost? Those huge chunks of toro sashimi have me drooling like crazy!
I hear you, Bueno. I could eat sushi - all japanese cuisine, really - breakfast/lunch/dinner if I had the chance.

I stashed the receipt somewhere in case someone asked this very question but I can't find it, so here goes: I think the toro cost $7 or $8 today - it fluctuates between $6 - $9 depending on supply and grade (chu - otoro, etc.). Tak is a broker for sushi-grade tuna on the East coast so you can bet it's top-shelf. The bincho is consistently good too - $6, I think today. Bonito and Kampachi $5 - $6. The Tsubu Gai was $12.50... that I remember.

Mrs johnnyd and I have a favorite custom-designed sashimi sampler that includes Maguro, Toro, Bincho and Bonito. We call it The Tuna Plate.

edit to add: I found the receipt!

$7.50 - Toro sashimi

$6.50 - Kampachi sashimi

$5.00 - Katsuo sushi

$4.50 - Bincho Maguro sushi

With apps and a couple IchiBans, we spent $60.50 before tax and tip.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

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That's very simple. Soon after Boys' Day is over.

By the way, Yosaku is the title of a very famous enka (Japanese ballad), where Yosaku is a woodcutter.

Seeing how Tak is more energetic than most 60+ year-old people I know, every day is boys day for him. :biggrin: And many thanks for informing me of the origin of "Yosaku", I appreciate that. Domo!

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There was this one time--no, really it happened--when Mr. T came to town and I was a freshman in college and I was tripping in an auditorium full of middle school kids and Mr. T said--and I quote--"Thank God For Jesus!"

"Well, Duh!", I thought. "Who else you gonna thank?"

Except I said it out loud.

There was a scuffle and I'm pretty sure I had to leave early.

myers

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I wonder just what it was about the Willamette River Valley that reminded the settlers so much of Maine. Must be the trees. The Pacific Northwest has its own scenic charms, but nothing that looks remotely like Portland and Casco Bay, IMO.
I can't figure that out either, MarketStEl. But the story goes that the mayors of Boston and Portland at the time were pushing for their city to take the name of the new settlement in Oregon. A coin was tossed and Portland won. On a recent visit there, I didn't see any resemblance to Boston either, so it was all an exercise in 19th century chutzpah... or it could be the trees.

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Question from left field: Are there any three-digit addresses in the City of Portland?
There are indeed, but only on three or so boulevards (I think). Portland is geographically constrained by the peninsula it sits upon. Larger numbered addresses are consigned to the harbor and river bottom.

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An indigenous Maine cocktail contains:

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Cold River Vodka - uses potatos from Freyburg, Maine.  The distillery founders include a neurosurgeon from Freeport (who grew up in Presque Isle).

Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy - is actually made in Somerville, Mass but ranked #1, #2, #6 and #9 in the top-ten selling liquors in Maine last year. Why four times, you ask? Different sized bottles! 98,000 cases sold.

Moxie - considered the USA's first mass-produced soft drink.  It was designated on May 10, 2005, as the official state soft drink of Maine.

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Finestkind! :raz:

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That's Nan'l.  He's from Maine too.

Myers christened this the Local Anesthetic because

a) It was created at Local 188, where fatdeko tends bar,

b) It uses local ingredients

c) The main ingredient, Cold River Vodka, is owned by a, well... a neurosurgeon.

How does it taste?  Freakin' strong as a November gale, that's for sure.  Sweet, cloying I'd say.  Redeemed, however, by this fine vodka that comes out of the background once the sugar dissipates.

Looks great, but clearly more likely to be a General Anesthetic than a local. :wink::raz:

Great blog, Johhny! I particularly enjoyed your fish(ok, lobster) tales.

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I thought that was a Canadian Down East locution! I spent an enchanted summer in Dalhousie, New Brunswick when I was a girl. The locals used it all the time, and even after we moved it's a part of my family vocab.
Hey there, maggie! The term is used in Downeast Maine far more than around here (the "Other Maine", some call us) so we're in the same territory - Acadian roots that never were completely wiped out by The Purge, and have happily begun to re-emerge. I hear Hurricane Katrina re-settlement actually caused a few Louisianians to move (back) up to the area once called Acadia in the Canadian Maritimes.

Coincidentally, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in the middle of my last blog. So far, nothing drastic has happened yet... :unsure:

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Looks great, but clearly more likely to be a General Anesthetic than a local. wink.gif tongue.gif
That can't be truer! Guess why we decided on a heaping plate of fried clams? :laugh:

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One pier down from Gilbert's is Portland's premier fish market, Harbor Fish Market.

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We popped in to see if anything looked good. I always check the lobster prices - 1&1/4lb soft-shell lobsters are going for $5.75/lb...

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Those are Damariscotta oysters in the foreground. Hmmmm......

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We bought four at $1.30 each. They'll be a nice snack to end the weekend... especially in case I wimp out on my grand periwinkle project.

This is a sturgeon skin that's hanging at Harbor Fish. It's weird. It's scales are like armor.

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Our haul from yesterday's Deering Oaks Park Farmer's Market,

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From top: Local haricots verts, snap-cracklin' carrots, tiny blueberries, fingerling potatoes, mixed red & orange beet greens, three-inch long summer squash and baby peppers, four varieties of tomatos (two heirlooms - Brandywine and Cherokee Purple), and four ears of sweet corn.

We also got Thomas, our neighbor's cat, a bag of fresh (organic!) catnip. He turns into such a whore on that stuff!

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It's disheartening (as a consumer) to see the price of lobster so high making it essentially unapproachable for most. I just returned from a few days in the Hamptons, where lobster prices were even higher (go figure!). We had to make do with local clams, oysters, squid and line caught striped bass along with a variety of local vegetables, eggs, chicken and breads. I sure do love visiting the shore!

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Do let me know what you think of the brandywine's and the cherokee purples. I have a definite opinion on this one!

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What a great blog! I haven't been to Maine since the early 70's...time for a visit..you've brought back a lot of great memories..thank you!

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This morning we raced over to Scratch Bakery on Willard Square in SoPo (South Portland) before they closed,

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These are Necterine/Plum Sparkle muffins. They were out of bread but we picked up some nitrate-free, applewood smoked bacon that we love and drooled over their cheese selection for a while. Bought a baguette from 158 and made a BLT with our heirloom tomatos:

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We went to Whole Foods intending to take a picture of their lobster electric chair, or whatever it is, but were politely told that the WF police needs substantial notice in copious detail. So no deal. I did notice that the lobster tank (FYI: $10.99/lb) was completely empty. I was pleased to be able to find Zataar since Hanneford supermarket has not re-stocked theirs in six months. So many tasty, exotic and expensive things there...

Then we went to the Hong Kong Market to check out the five spice pork and Peking Duck that arrives by bus from Boston every Sunday morning. Thanks to eG member Ellie for the heads-up on that.

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It smelled terrific so we bought a slice of pork. The store has been open a few months.

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We also got some long-stem cilantro (it lasts longer - and I use the stems in my spring rolls) and bean sprouts. I was amazed to find frozen, whole durian there!

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I've heard enough about it but never seen it before. This place is really well stocked with items from all over Asia. Good thing too as there is a growing population of Asian people here in Portland.

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OMG! Those clams are sooooo making me homesick for New England! Thanks for the great blog, Johnny, it has been most enjoyable.

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This bronze statue of a lobsterman is a tribute to those who ply the Gulf of Maine in search of the World's Favorite Crustacean.

I have a few more things to share and then I will pass the baton to the next eGullet foodblogger

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