Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
johnnyd

eG foodblog: johnnyd - Dining Downeast II

Recommended Posts

OMG! Those clams are sooooo making me homesick for New England! Thanks for the great blog, Johnny, it has been most enjoyable.
I confess: they were pretty good!
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!
Yes! it's time for a visit! That goes for all of you! :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job JD, as usual!

I have been vacationing "without internet" for the last few weeks and was thrilled to get a full dose foodblog from Maine, start to finish in a single sitting. Fantastic!

Each summer I "rent" a full season of 24 (starring Canadians Keifer Sutherland and Elisha Cuthbert) and try to watch the whole thing in real-time, though I have not actually done it yet. This egFoodblog was equally dramatic and entertaining but no where near as exhausting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Peter! Keifer Sutherland was in town a few weeks ago - haven't a clue why. He played a few games of pool at my pal Bruce's place, Amigos, a mexican restaurant and bar, #5 Dana street, right in the Old Port.

Just got back from periwinkle (called wrinkles by some) harvesting. I'm going to cook those suckers up and see what they're like.

gallery_28660_4947_12066.jpg

gallery_28660_4947_14808.jpg

I went out to the end of the rocks...

gallery_28660_4947_57907.jpg

gallery_28660_4947_24052.jpg

gallery_28660_4947_23093.jpg

They weren't exactly hard to find! Studded all over the rocks, they were...

gallery_28660_4947_48212.jpg

I scooped up a few handfulls and a bit of rockweed to keep them company on the ride home.

gallery_28660_4947_17821.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Outside of Yosaku is a statue of film Director, John Ford, who grew up in Portland, Maine.

gallery_28660_4947_47763.jpg

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:

It's a rarely shared fact, known only to the cognoscenti, and even they do not share it but on those rare evenings when too much whiskey-and-moxie has been consumed, that John Ford was indeed inspired by the red beast of commerce and gustatory delight that we call the lobster.

Several of his films were initially titled but then re-titled into the more common ones we now know after long summer afternoons spent on rocky beaches where the entertainments meandered delightfully between tying down the tarp for a lobster bake and setting up two or three or more big lobsters on the picnic tables on their heads and showing how they can be hypnotized into posing with tails in the air, claws cutely holding up their bodies.

These titles are:

*How Green Was My Ocean (How Green Was My Valley)

*She Wore a Rubber Clawband (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon)

*Young Mr. Lobster (Young Mr. Lincoln)

*What Price Lobster? (What Price Glory?) and

*We Eat at Midnight (We Sail at Midnight)

............................................................................

I had a Chinotto the other day and was reminded of Moxie. It was like a kinder, gentler Moxie.

My grandmother used to always have Moxie in the house. She did not consider it a beverage but rather, a "tonic". :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OMG! Those clams are sooooo making me homesick for New England! Thanks for the great blog, Johnny, it has been most enjoyable.
I confess: they were pretty good!
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!
Yes! it's time for a visit! That goes for all of you! :smile:

:cool:

I'll be in Bath for Thanksgiving week. This is a finest-kind (:biggrin:) preview, and I'll think of you kindly while I'm baking pies for my keep and taking long walks around those tough granite outcroppings by the Kennebec.

:biggrin:


Edited by Lady T (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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!
Yes! it's time for a visit! That goes for all of you! :smile:

If Barrymore's -- or whatever the name of that bar just south of downtown on one of the main streets was; it was one of three gay clubs in the city (that's a lot for a city of 60,000) -- is still open, I fully intend to drop in and ask them to make me a cocktail with Moxie.

Or maybe I'll just save that for a meetup with you and yours. You've provided lots of entertainment, great food, great storytelling, and plenty of reminders of Portland's charm in this foodblog.

Let me know when you start filming on Claw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the wrinkle prep is going well - although, if I were a chef, I'd definitely get the new guy to do these...

gallery_28660_4947_12323.jpg

gallery_28660_4947_58060.jpg

Itinerant beastie found among the harvest...

gallery_28660_4947_8700.jpg

stay tuned. :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I tried to buys these at a nice fishmarket in NJ I was told they were illegal, then I promptly saw them at a Korean market. Still havent bought any because the Korean store just overwhelms me. They were very tasty when I had them in France but even better were the small whelks...which they also only have at the Korean market here...and they are frozen....

I am getting hungry again

tracey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see these, too, all of the time at my local Asian Market, so I am staying tuned for suggestions!

John, one of the things that has so enchanted me about your blog is all of the water. I'm a cabin nut (fortunately, I married into one) and I'm bereft when it comes to living landlocked.

I look forward to the periwinkles, and have loved coming home from our big water to look at your even bigger water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A most excellent blog, JohnnyD, thank you! I'll be passing through Portland this Tuesday for work, and your photos and words have me eagerly counting the hours till then.

Can you make any recommendations for a quick late lunch of fried whole belly clams? I haven't had the energy to stand in line in Ipswich this summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the sturgeon skin just for show, or is it edible?

All the frozen periwinkle I've found at Asian markets in the US have a terrible formaldehyde-like flavor to them. I've only had good periwinkle in Asia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dying to see how you prepare the periwinkles. When I was a kid, my mom and I would drive up to Cape Ann and gather them on the rocks. Then we'd head home, clean them in a few changes of water, and steam them. Finally, we'd pick 'em out of their little shells, flick off the operculum (the little door -- thanks, google :wink:), dip them in butter, and feast. The rest of my family thought it was nuts, but I loved it.

I didn't have them for a couple decades until recently at Au Pied De Cochon, where they were in an inky, licorice-y coating. I'm on tenterhooks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4947_39894.jpg

Well, I got most of the little bastards out of their shells (which wasn't too bad after a flashing in a salted rolling boil - 6 minutes) and found, to my delight, that the little hard disc on the foot that seals the shell aperture when they find themselves above tidal waters just, plain fell the hell off. I was informed that one takes each tiny bugger and cuts this item away. Not the case. This makes these critters more possible to consider as a Thursday night special in an adventurous restaurant... maybe. :unsure:

I sauteed them quickly in butter, garlic and parsley - I was afraid of overcooking these tiny gizmos.

gallery_28660_4947_8072.jpg

Casco Bay Wrinkle Crostini!

gallery_28660_4947_52635.jpg

MMMM!! :wub: Turned out GREAT!!! A touch of grit, but steamers have grit too, right? RIGHT?? :huh:

We also had those Damariscotta Oysters,

gallery_28660_4947_3618.jpg

gallery_28660_4947_32635.jpg

I set 'em a-top some seaweed, of course. The middle vessel has a killer mignonette I've been working on.

I made a rib-eye we bought from Whole Foods and some of our Market veg for the main,

gallery_28660_4947_13552.jpg

Could have used a cherry tomato for color but they're not ripe yet (we have a few growing outside).

One more post to go...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4947_7439.jpg

Many members have asked me about diving for sea urchins. I moved to Maine from Vermont in 1994 to do it.

It was the best job I ever had.

gallery_28660_4947_25391.jpg

Since I didn't get to dive this week as I hoped, I thought I would share a few memories of urchin diving. These are digital photos of prints I made during dozens of dives up and down the coast of Maine. I jiggied them a bit.

gallery_28660_4947_41265.jpg

A small dive operation can drop divers tight in shore. They swim in to a shallow water where the kelp grows thick and harvest urchins that feed off the kelp. The big boats use chase boats that drop divers in shore, keep an eye on them, then pick up full net-bags that are marked with a bouy. If anyone needs help they are there - usually :hmmm:

gallery_28660_4947_8726.jpg

If a boat is exploring a new reef or shore, we send out a "spec" diver who collects samples. We learned early on that the best sea urchins came from shallow water with a lot of turbulence.

gallery_28660_4947_13461.jpg

In the early '90s, there were so many down there it seemed like an infestation. It was just a matter of picking up as many as possible. Sometimes we didn't have enough room on the boat for them all.

After a while, the easy ones were gone and divers had to swim a little further and work a little harder to find them. All this time, there were (are) zillions of the critters in deeper water - their market value, however, is zero, as there is not the same nutritious bounty down deep to feed upon as there are up in the shallows.

gallery_28660_4947_41092.jpg

Sometimes we found a sea monster...

gallery_28660_4947_2730.jpg

Often we were the sea monster...

gallery_28660_4947_4629.jpg

In 1994 there were over 2000 licensed sea urchin divers. The fishery was the 2nd largest seafood product in Maine that year. Ten years later there are 200. They are still diving and finding a few - just not the quantities we found back then, There is competition now from Korea, Russia, Chile and other areas that keep the price low.

It's not the Wild West dealio it used to be. That's good because we lost a few good boys in those days.

This is johnnyd:

gallery_28660_4947_26966.jpg

I have been your designated foodblog pilot for the last seven days.

Thank you for your time.

:wink:


Edited by johnnyd (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Johnny, the end of your blog has brought a lump in my throat. I have thoroughly enjoyed your weeklong blog and can't believe it is over. Your pictures of the sea and its bountiful harvest has reminded me of home (granddaughter of a deepsea fisherman).

May the seas always be calm and may you always return home to land safe. - (Filipino fisherman prayer)

Doddie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TOTALLY have enjoyed this blog and your glimpse of life in the opposite corner of the country from me. And your coast, so different from SoCal's wide, sandy beaches. LOVED it. Thank you for taking us into your world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fabulous blog, sir. Many thanks for the lovely tour of your fair city.

(Even though that Moxie cocktail gave me The Fear. :wacko::laugh: )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you make any recommendations for a quick late lunch of fried whole belly clams?
You know, Gilbert's isn't bad - it's the bloody parking. There are handy garages nearby however. If you go there, try for a table outside. Just down the block is J's Oyster, a local favorite - some parking spaces right there, too. Then down another block is Portland Lobster Company right next to DiMillo's Wharf. PM me if you are in trouble, and post your opinions of your choice of fried clam venue on the New England Forum when you can! :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Johnny, Thanks for a wonderful blog.

I really enjoyed it, and I don't eat seafood, so that should tell ya, you did a great job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all, very, very much for your kind words of appreciation. I had a great time too. I will try to clear the deck of missed questions and musings so we can all go party in Madrid.

When I tried to buys these at a nice fishmarket in NJ I was told they were illegal, then I promptly saw them at a Korean market.
I hear you can buy scallops in the shell with roe-sac in Chinatown, but it's illegal to land scallops like that here in Maine. I can't find any licensing or notes on periwinkle harvesting on the Marine Resources of Maine website. I think local people totally ignore them. Whelks, however, are harvested and pickled in huge jars downeast. They sit on convenience store shelves next to the beef jerky.
All the frozen periwinkle I've found at Asian markets in the US have a terrible formaldehyde-like flavor to them. I've only had good periwinkle in Asia.
Sounds revolting. I hate frozen things that I don't freeze myself. I'm a huge fan of periwinkles now, and will continue to experiment with them, thanks to an idea brought on by a walk on the beach at low tide.
When I was a kid, my mom and I would drive up to Cape Ann and gather them on the rocks. Then we'd head home, clean them in a few changes of water, and steam them. Finally, we'd pick 'em out of their little shells, flick off the operculum (the little door -- thanks, google wink.gif), dip them in butter, and feast. The rest of my family thought it was nuts, but I loved it.
Changes of water? Hmmm. Steaming? Hmm, Hmmmm. I'll try it that way. Might de-grit them better. Thanks for the name of the little "door", operculum. My collander was littered with them. Glad for the elimination of a step in prep.

I swear the little snots tasted sooo much like escargots I think we have a viable fishery in it's nascent state. And you know what happens when I get hot about an underserved fishery! :biggrin:

I'll be back to finish in just a wee bit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for taking me to Portland, johnnyd! I really enjoyed it - your writing, the seafood, the clear blue skies, the fishing trips.

And I saved your braised pork recipe, that looked so good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
    • By Smokeydoke
      Greetings eGulleteers, I'm Smokeydoke and I'll be your tourguide for the next seven days on a culinary journey through Las Vegas.
       
      First a little about me, I'm a foodie first and foremost, but my real name is Kathy and to pay the bills, I work as an Engineer. My husband works at UNLV. In the past I've worked as a manager for a pizzeria and worked at a bakery. We live in the Southwest community of Las Vegas, more commonly referred to as Mountains Edge.
       
      Here is the obligatory shot of our kitchen. Sorry for the bad photos, I made a video but just realized I can't upload videos in eGullet, so I quickly converted them to jpegs.
       
            
       
      Here's my pantry#1, with my (in)famous shelf of twelve different types of flours. Below that are my oils, vinegars and sauces. And of course, pounds of TJ Belgium chocolates.
       
        
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×