Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Infatuated with Food in Maine?

The Best Local Bloggers Help You Digest It All

When it comes to food, Maine is an embarrassment of riches.

- We enjoy indigenous foods, including fruits, vegetables, seafood, and local food products used by home cooks and local chefs alike.

- Those who live in and around the "foodiest small town" in America (according to a 2009 article in Bon App├ętit) enjoy seemingly endless options in Portland area restaurants with award-winning chefs committed to advancing the state's local food movement.

- We have access to farm fresh foods, thanks to markets and private sellers offering their summer bounty and fall harvests. And, fresh foods and wares are available even now – in the dead of winter – as evidenced by winter farmer's markets in Portland, Brunswick, and other areas of Southern Maine.

If you love food and have a passion for your native or adopted state, you are in good company. The state has a robust online community of food photographers, authors, cooks, reviewers and food observers that range from the spoon-wielding foodinistas to the spatula-challenged.

Want to dig in? We've done the foodie footwork for you. We've unearthed an active crop of local bloggers that provide the recipes, dishes, reviews, and pure food hedonism to give you your food fix. Here are our Top Ten Maine Food Blog picks in alpha-order, and a taste of their offerings – consider it a digital amuse-bouche.

1. Appetite Portland

With unconfirmed local lore holding that Portland has more restaurants and bars per capita than just about any other U.S. city, that's a lot of dining. It's a task handled with aplomb (and occasionally a plum) by Appetite Portland, which has the lock on around-the-town dishes, recipes and oddities. Blogger Dawn Hagin is dedicated to documenting the "delights of this city’s restaurants and food stores" and presenting all that's good in the foodie city.

 Just a Taste...

East End Love Affair catalogues what's to love about Bar Lola, complete with course play-by-play. It's not a love-fest – it gives the delicious as well as the less than perfect.

Portland’s Winter Culinary Wonders offers a nice soul-warming sampling of winter fare from around the city, from Borscht (Karmasouptra) to Baked Beans (Front Room).


2. Baked in Maine 

This blog is strictly personal – that is, it features gourmet dishes from the blogger's kitchen and her experience facing the stove. In the spotlight is a palatable food triumvirate of the usable, the delicious, and the healthy, including no-frills food picks, tidbits, how-to's and recipe guidance.

Just a Taste...

Red Velvet Cupcakes with The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting - A post title that pretty much says it all.

Simple Brick Oven Pizza at Home (Greek Style!) offers all you need to know for a smashing Italian-style evening, brick oven or not (yes, a cookie sheet will do).

3. The Blueberry Files

From salads to comfort foods, blogger Kate keeps her eye on what's delish around the Portland area. Recipe picks mix it up with an appraisal of local fries and burgers. Being less than nutritious doesn't disqualify any dish from being dished about. (Hey, are those blueberries wild?)

Just a Taste...

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad - A great mashup of a local restaurant's salad recipe assembled at home with veggies from nearby Snell Family Farm.

IHOP Country Fried Steak - A rave review-slash-gush of a local eatery that slips under the radar on snootier sites.

4. Food for Thought

OK, no rewards for most unique blog name, but John Golden has been around the (butcher) block. His digital missives are part of the MaineToday.com family of blogs, and in his role as a bona fide foodie, he holds forth on the best ingredients, dining experiences and tastes that permeate the city.



Just a Taste...

The Secret to Perfect Macaroni and Cheese Recipes includes an evaluation of a version from a local restaurant that features chunks of lobster and shaved black truffles.

From the Sublime to the Sub Prime - Deep dishing on the top guns of the city's restaurant scene without fear or favor.

5. Food Madam

If you love the first meal of the day, you've hit pay dirt. The Food Madam is also author of The Art of Breakfast published by Down East Books, and is responsible for giving us Chocolate Ricotta Pancakes, complete with Grand Marnier syrup (gasp). She's serious about breakfast, but her blog covers all day parts. Recipes, flanked with plenty of hedonistic photos, complete the coverage. Let the drooling begin.


Just a Taste...

Homemade Gnocchi - Spoiler alert: they were a success.

Maine Blueberry Malted Waffles… We couldn't resist. A piece of art on the page and on the plate.


6. From Away 

 

Adapted recipes, cooking, eating and observing from the relocated and loving it. From Away dedicates an entire section to sandwiches, a household passion, with crazy close ups your inner Dagwood will get lost in.

Just a Taste...

Today’s Sandwich: Egg, Cheese, and Prosciutto (Ohno! Cafe) - In love with the sandwich? Welcome to nirvana on rye.

Homemade Cheez-It Crackers - Possibly the snack discovery of the year.

7. Plating Up

 

This is the "official" blog of Maine Food & Lifestyle, and its writers are advocates of regional cuisine and buying local. The MFL site and newsletter features cuisine-related highlights from all around the state, but the blog is strictly dishes –  recipes of prime delish always with a local angle.

Just a Taste...

Roasted Peaches and Plums with Cookie Crumble - Taste and nutrition in equal helpings.

New England Goulash - Geographically on message and culinarily delightful.

8. Portland Town

More visual documentary than reading material, this blog is penned and sanpped by a local Portland photographer. If you like to peruse original shots of food in its natural habitat and want to feel like you're part of the local scene, DoDa! (so called) is your man.

Just a Taste...

 Vignola, Beer & Cheese Event, What A Concept! - Case in point from a downtown dining destination.

Maine Lobster Chef of the Year - A visual delight for those who love lobsters and the sorts of dishes that they can turn into.

9. Starting to Cook
 

This humbly titled blog has a photography focus. Think "Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird" as seen through the lens of someone hungry. Desserts, main dishes, breads…it’s all here.

Just a Taste...

Maine Blueberry Muffins - They had us at blueberry: the secret to a better blueberry muffin revealed.

Zucchini Grinders -Vegetarians, rejoice.


10. Sweeter Salt

Our final entry, this inclusion is kind of irresistible. Local resident sweetersalt muses on the food and fashion life, while proclaiming a commitment to being anti-lettuce. She's forgiven, due in large part to her zest for life and her ability to extol the virtues of banana smoothies and white tanks equally. 

Just a Taste...

Quinoa Salad with Squash, Basil and Almonds - A breezy take on a tasty recipe.

What Kind of Plaid is That? - Pure anecdote accompanied by a full length snap in tartan. Did I say this was irresistible?

Finally, while not a blog, the newsletter from the town's authoritative food and book source Rabelais is a fantastic way to stay on top of local cuisine, cookbooks, food writing and local food events in the state and everywhere. Sign up directly on their site.

Got a favorite blog that speaks to your foodie side? We're listening - post a comment!

7 comments:

  1. And...this week CNBC listed Portland at #4 for America's top foodie cities? Check out Portland Food Coma, Joe Ricchio's funny and personal food blog. http://portlandfoodcoma.blogspot.com/

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  2. Thanks for the shoutout, but a list of Maine's food bloggers is not be complete without the wonderful Edible Obsessions: http://www.edibleobsession.com/. Blogger Uke is funny, thoughtful and endearing.

    Dawn, Appetite Portland

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  3. Appreciate the recognition. Thanks! We are certainly among delicious Maine company!!

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  4. i have been eating maine cuisine for the last 45years and the last 10 have been far from tasty.
    as far as seafood offered at ports and towns along the coast, it is far from good anyone can boil a lobster, all the other so called delicious seafood items are bland and could not come close to the food offered in cities like boston, new york, etc. my feeling is that the restaurants know that they are the only game in town and really are not concerned with tast and quility. i can't find a good loaf of bread or a half way decent piece of pizza, no good olives, no good pastry,it's like ireland after breakfast theres nothing.but evertone continues to rave about thier great food in maine.

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  5. All Maine foodies should be aware and try and attend this one time only unique event:
    Good vs. Evil: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert @ Merrill Auditorium on November 3rd, 2011.
    http://portlandovations.org/shows/2011-12/anthony_bourdain_eric_ripert/

    ReplyDelete