Thursday, August 29, 2013

Monhegan Brewing Company

Perhaps inevitably, even the remote island of Monhegan has acquired its own brewery. This can only be a good thing. A coffee roaster, a brewing company, a local cheesemaker. These are improvements to American society - both a look backward and forward, and a welcome change from the uniform suburban wasteland of my youth in the 20th century.

And of course, the beer is always good - certainly better than the homogenized swill that I drank at frat parties in college. That is also good. A society which improves its taste in food will improve its taste in other things.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monhegan House

 The Monhegan House on Monhegan Island has always been a place to find cheap lodging and get a really nice breakfast. However, after they revamped their restaurant a bit, it is now a great place, maybe the best place, to get dinner while on the island.

These little appetizer delights (above and below) were absolutely delicious. Corn patties with crab, sardines wrapped around tomatoes...yum.

The main dishes were also reasonably sized, with three large scallops (topped with pineapple!)

and this lobster gnocchi, which was one of the better things I've ever tasted ever.

The desserts were also small, and I left the Monhegan House feeling exactly as full as I should be, and full of delicious memories.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Maine vs. Connecticut Lobster Rolls

I spent time in Maine this summer and got to sample Maine lobster rolls, which were my first love in the lobster roll world. I used to love the mayonnaise freshness of these. When researching A History of Connecticut Food and the Insiders' Guide to Connecticut I came to love the hot lobster roll, invented here in Connecticut. On this trip to Maine I wanted to give the cold roll another chance. I tried four different ones, at both fancy restaurants and roadside trucks. And there is no question - the hot Connecticut lobster roll is superior.

Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with a cold lobster roll, and I still liked it. I mean, it's lobster. It's rich and delicious. But the use of hot butter is more natural, reminding us of the way we eat steamed or boiled lobsters. With mayo on it, why not eat crab or shrimp? It also dulls or at least changes the taste. Worst of all, it tempts restaurants to use frozen or refrigerated lobster rather than fresh. With a hot lobster roll freshly steamed or boiled or poached lobster is necessary. If someone uses preserved lobster for a hot roll, you can taste/feel it immediately.

I was willing to put aside my CT partisan hat for this contest (as I occasionally have for other dishes) but in this case I have to come down firmly on the side of the hot lobster roll as the superior dish. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pai Men Miyake

Pai Men Miyake in Portland, Maine, is one of the best ramen/yakitori shops I've been in.

The yakitori was great. My favorite was the beef tongue above, but the hen of the woods mushrooms (at bottom) was enchanting.

But what amazed me was the pork buns, which featured pork belly, a spicy pepper relish, and gochujang mayo. Soooo good that I would say that they were as good (Amy says better) than Momofuku's pork buns. And everyone knows what a fan I am of those.

And the ramen soup (below) was amazing, as well. If you are in Portland, this is the place to go. Right across from the Longfellow statue.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Amy Nawrocki as seen by Larry Locke

Filmmaker Larry Locke gives my wife the star professor treatment in his new faculty biography series. I am positive he got some of the photos in the video from this blog!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Smoke of Ambergris

Poet Amy Nawrocki reads her award-winning ekphrastic poem "Smoke of Ambergris" at the Providence Public Library during the Loft Anthology Gala during June 2013.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Flying Chicken

Stopped for lunch at The Flying Chicken in Troy, New York, last week. The fried chicken was quite tasty, and the macaroni and cheese was simply fantastic - one of the best I've had that I haven't made myself.

Amy liked the fried dill pickles, although I wasn't such a big fan. She also had biscuits and gravy, also delicious. Overall an excellent lunch stop. They probably get a lot of crazy business when Rennsalear is in session, but during the summer it was very casual.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Davidson Brothers Brewery

Had dinner at the Davidson Brothers Brewery in Glens Falls, New York, recently.

I was quite taken with the fried green beans and chipotle dipping sauce.

And the peanut butter pie was also delicious.

How was the beer? Also good. In fact, we drank it too fast and forgot to take photos of it! I especially enjoyed their porter. Not enough porter is made. I have loved it ever since trying Yuengling porter back in the day. Make more porter. That is my request.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Hyde Collection

Stopped in Glens Falls, New York at the Hyde Collection to see the Georgia O'keefe exhibit. Great house with nice works, and a fine little space to have temporary exhibits. The Florence Griswold Museum just got its space for these sorts of exhibits, and I think the Hillstead Museum in Farmington should go in the same direction.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Litchfield Saltwater Grille

 Stopped by the charming Litchfield Saltwater Grille the other day. Delicious.

We were so hungry I forgot to take a picture of the main course (I had lobster).

Find out more in the Insiders' Guide to Connecticut!