Category Archives: Food and Drink

A lobster cruise: The luckiest catch in Maine | CNN Travel

cnn travel story
Portland, Maine (CNN) — Captain Tom Martin turns the handle that draws up the lobster trap sitting on the ocean floor 45 feet below the surface to see what he can see.

It’s a guessing game every time: Will it be big enough — but not too big — to keep? Will it be a pregnant female, which he can’t keep?

“It’s easy to get hooked on it,” Martin says. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years, and I still enjoy going out to pick up the traps and seeing what’s inside. It’s like playing a slot machine — you never know what’s going come up in the trap.”

Martin, the owner of Lucky Catch Cruises of out of Portland, Maine, will only catch a few lobsters on this fall day at traps he and his crew have lowered into Casco Bay after passing by the 1890s-era Spring Point Ledge Light and Fort Gorges, a Civil War-era fort. His traps are within view of Portland Head Light, a working lighthouse first lit in 1791.

When many people think of Maine, those iconic lobsters he’s pulling up in traps immediately come to mind.

There are endless ways to enjoy Maine’s favorite crustacean on a visit to the Pine Tree State, whether it’s the Lobster Shack at Two Lights, lobster done fancy at Eventide Oyster Co. or any of the dozens of lobster shacks along the coastline.

But it all comes back to the lobstermen and women who catch lobsters year-round, harvesting a record 130 million pounds of lobster worth $533 million in 2016, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Read the rest of this story and for video and more photos.


A Perfect Weekend Away in Southern Maine | Vogue

Ellen Leduc

When most people think of Maine, the first things that come to mind are the foods with which the state is practically synonymous: lobster and blueberries. Then the mind might wander a bit to visions of quaint coastal towns, rolling Atlantic waves, and dense forests with their heady scent of pine mixed with fresh sea air. And while Maine is certainly these things, it has so much more to offer, especially in Portland and its surrounding towns. Portland was once thought to simply be a small, weather-worn costal city playing second fiddle to big shots like Boston, but this has thankfully changed. This gem of a city is now a major destination for those looking for incredible food, small-batch breweries with cult followings, and amazing independent shops that will tempt you to blow your weekend budget in a ten-minute period. And if Portland isn’t enough, the rest of southern Maine presents ample attractions like cute costal towns and hikes offering vistas that make breaking a sweat very worthwhile.

Read the rest of the story.

“New” Potatoes – A Taste of the County | Aroostook County Tourism blog

There are many food seasons for foodies to enjoy in the county!  Fiddleheads, local strawberries, fresh peas, beet greens…YUM!

But the very best of all, and you are welcome to come to Aroostook and join us – new potatoes!

All along Route 1 and other roads as you drive throughout the county, you will see simple farm stands with the (usually) hand painted sign saying “new potatoes”.  These kiosks are typically on the honor system.  You simply put your money into the container and grab a bag.

Read the rest of this blog entry.

Whether Decaf Or Regular, Coffee Seems To Be Good For Your Liver | HuffPost Healthy Living

See, coffee is health food!

Drinking decaffeinated coffee is just as helpful as drinking regular coffee is for maintaining a healthy liver, a new study finds.

Regardless of whether they drank decaf or regular, people in the study who drank large quantities of coffee on a daily basis had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes, the researchers found. This suggests that a chemical in coffee other than caffeine may help the liver, the researchers said.

Other studies have found that drinking coffee is associated with lower risks of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

“Prior research found that drinking coffee may have a possible protective effect on the liver,” lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a statement. “However, the evidence is not clear if that benefit may extend to decaffeinated coffee.”

Read more of this story by Laura Geggel on HuffPost Healthy Living.

Cruise ships ordering up Maine lobsters by the thousands | Portland Press Herald

Cruise ships are continuing to stoke their passengers’ appetites for Maine lobster.

Celebrity Cruises ordered 1,600 lobsters for delivery Friday to its 2,000-passenger boat, the Celebrity Summit. When the ship returns to Portland later this month, it plans to buy another 1,600 lobsters. That’s on top of the 640 lobsters the company bought last month, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Two years ago, Pingree wrote to the chief executives of several major cruise ship companies urging them to buy local lobsters while in port. At the time, there was a glut of lobster, depressing prices for the entire industry.

Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines responded by buying Maine lobsters. Others have as well.

Erik Elvejord, a spokesman from Seattle-based Holland America Line, which brings approximately 35,000 passengers to Bar Harbor and Portland each year, said they continue to make an effort to buy local lobster during stops in Maine.

“It was a positive thing for both sides of the equation,” Elvejord said. “There’s no question that people enjoy eating their lobster, and it’s great to get great local fish, and certainly help out the local lobstermen.”

Read more of this story by Jennifer Van Allen in the Portland Press Herald.

Potato Harvest Schools Maine Teens in Hard Work | The Associated Press via ABC News

A fall rite of passage in The County. I did this as a kid. Crazy hard work for just a few pennies a barrel. Family legend says that my grandfather on my dad’s side could stack three full barrels of potatoes one on top of the other single-handedly. – Keith

In the gentle hills of northern Maine, far from the rocky coastline and lighthouses, teenagers trade warm classrooms for cold potato fields every fall, just as they have for generations.

Schools shut down — sometimes for weeks at a time — while their students haul in the harvest or monitor conveyor belts for potatoes that don’t measure up as farmers rush to fill their stores before the ground freezes.

But as farm operations consolidate and heavy machinery make them more efficient, farmers wonder how much longer there will be a place for the harvest breaks that as little as 20 years ago saw kids hand-picking potatoes for 50 cents a barrel.

“Eventually it’ll probably fade away,” said Wayne Garrison, the 72-year-old co-owner of Garrison Farms, which hired eight high school students to help harvest its 700 acres of potatoes. “I’d hate to see it go, I really would.”

Up until the 1940s, Maine was the nation’s potato capital and Aroostook County — a place so vast that it’s about the same size as the combined states of Connecticut and Rhode Island — is still home to roughly 50,000 acres of potato farms. Nearly a dozen high schools here emptied for this year’s harvest — fewer than the old days, when virtually all schools shut down.

Read the rest of this story by David Sharp of The Associated Press.

Culinary boom in Portland, Maine | The Boston Globe

The “culinary boom” in Portland this story tells about really began in the 1980s and probably earlier. Sometimes it takes a while to build a boom that people from away notice. — Keith

PORTLAND — There was a line of people waiting to nab a precious seat and a basket of fries at Duckfat. At Eventide, a handsome, square-jawed photographer from Travel + Leisure magazine shot lobster rolls as the lunch crowd slurped oysters. Later that night, there wasn’t a seat to be found at Central Provisions as diners grazed on small plates of bluefin tuna crudo.

This is what it looks like when a small city becomes an innovative and nationally recognized hub of cuisine. You can finish lunch feeling like an over-stuffed throw pillow, but walk a few yards, and you spot a shop that sells doughnuts topped with vanilla glaze and sea salt. I dare you to pass by and not try a bite. That one bite then turns into a sweet potato doughnut, which naturally leads to gelato.

Why did I leave those poly-blend slacks with the elastic waistband at home?

“We have a lot of people coming in asking where they should go to eat,” said Johanna Corman, an owner of the recently opened soda bar Vena’s Fizz House in Old Port. “I don’t know what to tell them. How do you pick just one?”

That’s easy: You don’t. Portland is a gastro-tourism paradise. Set aside as many days as you can and stuff yourself silly. Before I could cram another heirloom tomato salad in my maw, the person sitting next to me was telling me that I must try the pizza at Slab or the wood-roasted clams at Lolita Vinoteca + Asador.

Read more of this story by Christopher Muther in The Boston Globe.

Let’s celebrate the Maine lobster | Bangor Daily News


Maine sits pretty when it comes to eating local

“Eat local,” they say—but where is local eating the easiest?

A Vermont-based group has released its annual ranking of states based on the availability of local food to the average citizen. It’s the third annual Locavore Index compiled by Strolling of the Heifers (here’s a hint for the complete story on where that quirky name came from: It’s a play on Pamplona’s running of the bulls).

So which states make it easiest to eat local? Here are the top 10:

1. Vermont
2. Maine
3. New Hampshire
4. Oregon
5. Hawaii
6. Rhode Island
7. North Dakota
8. Wisconsin
9. Montana
10. Iowa

Here’s the whole story by Jason Best, a regular contributor to TakePart.

Eat lobster, of course

I found this on the Down East magazine Facebook wall. Hmm, I want some!


Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 13 – Porter beer from Maine in my apartment

Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Porter in my California apartment. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Porter in my California apartment. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

Stopped by the Trader Joe’s the other day and came across a display for Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Porter.

Yes, Maine beer in California. More importantly, now Maine beer in my California apartment.

Porter is not my go-to brew, but I was interested in this Maine-brewed beverage found in a Trader Joe’s in Northern California. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

Porter is not my go-to brew, but I was interested in this Maine-brewed beverage found in a Trader Joe’s in Northern California. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

As you can tell from these photos, I didn’t take much time in tasting the beer. I’m not a huge porter fan. I’m more for pale and amber ales and European lagers and other lighter beers. Guinness is the only deep dark beer that I enjoy.

However, I found the Kennebunkport Brewing Co. – brewed and bottled in Portland by Pubgsley Brewing LLC – was much lighter than I would have expected and flavorful. I enjoyed it – as the photos below might suggest – and I intend to purchase more of the beverage.

The porter is brewed and bottled by Bugsley Brewing LLC in Portland, Maine. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

The porter is brewed and bottled by Bugsley Brewing LLC in Portland, Maine. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

I had to give it a try. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

I had to give it a try. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

The Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Porter was light and flavorful. I most definitely will consider purchasing the KBC Porter again. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

The Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Porter was light and flavorful. I most definitely will consider purchasing the KBC Porter again. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

I have to say, BevMo and Trader Joe’s are keeping me in touch with Maine brews. And I am impressed.

This is an occasional multipart series of photos of things related to Maine that can be found in Keith Michaud’s California apartment. All photos in this series are shot by and are the property of Keith Michaud.

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Making resolutions as important as keeping them

We all make ’em, but we hardly ever keep ’em.

Resolutions are the genuine expression of our deep desire to mend our ways in the coming year. They are the codification of frustrating, seemingly unattainable goals of losing weight, eating better, drinking less, taking our loved ones and friends less for granted, being better at whatever. And much, much more.

I’ve written before about setting – and failing at – resolutions. There was “Resolving to avoid resolutions this year … or not,” “Vowing to be a better blogger … I promise,” and “Resolving that these will be the best resolutions – ever.” I’m not sure if that makes me uniquely knowledgeable about resolutions – or really, really not.

It is part of human nature, I suppose, to set challenging goals. That gives us something to reach for and added satisfaction when we accomplish meaningful goals. We don’t only hit the mark, we exceed it.

And even if we know that most of our resolutions never will be accomplished, the mere exercise alone is worthy of our time. It is essential that we each take a few moments from time to time to reflect on the past and present, and look to what the future could hold. It is essential as humans to find a hope in what we do and how we do it. Setting resolutions is a way to remind us of the very hope upon which we desperately depend.

We do tend to sent lofty goals, when small steps are just as effective. We can always build upon the small successes that come with small steps toward improvement. Grand changes are not always necessary. Ending world hunger and bring about world peace do not have to ride solely on the shoulders of a new year’s resolution. It is best to pick a few reasonable changes. Instead of ending world hunger, perhaps volunteer at the local food bank or offer to deliver meals to seniors and other shut-ins. Or arrange a canned food drive at your school, office or church. Instead of bringing about world peace, vow to be more tolerant and understanding in the coming year. Or even sign up for classes to become a mediator.

None of us alone can make a significant difference in the world. But each of us pulling together, doing what we can, can make great strides toward a better world. Each little effort causes a ripple effect that moves and encourages others to do little things, which moves and encourages others. A little effort will beget a little effort that will beget more little efforts that in time will merge and culminate into a significant pulse, a surge, a movement toward change. We saw that in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and we saw it in the Occupy Movement.

Frustration with a situation often moves us to make change. The Occupy Movement is about frustration – frustration in the stalled economy and the fat cats that let it happen and have profited from a diminished middle class; frustration in the political system that turned its back on everyone; frustration in unemployment, home foreclosures, the lack of affordable health care, the lack of tolerance … the lack of hope.

I’ve never been a “kick the bums out” sort when it comes to political change. Our electoral system is flawed in many ways, but it is the system we have. When we want change we must use that system to make those changes. Our voice and our vote are our weapons. But I am growingly frustrated with the way politicians – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, conservatives, liberals, all of them – disregard what always should be the core goal – the greatest good for the greatest number. It should not be the greatest good for the richest 1 percent.

Where to start when you “kick the bums out” is a particularly sticky point. After all, do you start with Wall Street bankers and lawyers? Or with Washington politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats? Or with the leaders and shareholders of mega-corporations that would rather lay off workers and relocate their jobs overseas than to take slight cut in profits?

Perhaps we should kick them all out and start with a fresh slate, one that puts in power the people with the most to lose and gain in the future. Perhaps we should turn over the running of Wall Street, Main Street and Washington to the children who will be living in this world for the next 70 or 80 years or more. Perhaps they can make more sense of things than those currently running the show.

I don’t suppose that will happen. I can only live in my world and do what I can to make it better, hoping all the time that what I do and how I do it will cause someone else to believe that they too can do just a little bit to contribute to the whole, overall, cumulative change for better.

My resolutions are not spectacularly original, but they are mine.

Resolution No. 1: Be a better person. Not sure this requires much explanation. We tend to know when the things we say or do or don’t do hurt people in our lives. There really is no need for that sort of behavior.

Resolution No. 2: Be a better person to myself. Not sure this requires much explanation, either. This includes exercising more, eating better, drinking less, getting more rest. Pretty normal stuff.

Resolution No. 3: Travel much, much more. Much, much more. I won’t be able to afford grand trips, but I can put together an impressive collection of day-trips. I’ve lived in Northern California since 1983 and for some unfathomable reason I have never been to Yosemite National Park. Amazingly, there has been no state legislative action to kick my butt out of the state for this incredible oversight.

Resolution No. 4: Recover a least a portion of that which was lost during two and a half years of unemployment. This is “the big one,” because I doubt I will be able to regain that much at all. I pretty much have spent the money set aside in 22 years of journalism for retirement. Cashing in an IRA was a painfully necessary thing to do a year or so ago after the unemployment benefits dried up. I’m employed, but making half of what I was making when I was previously working. I turn 50 in six months and I have no idea if I will ever be able to retire.

I’m not sure I’ll remember these resolutions much past the end of, say, this week. But at least I gave the future – and hope in general – some thought.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

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Lunch out in Stockton

Here we are at the Beach Hut in Stockton.

Here we are at the Beach Hut in Stockton.

Went to the coffeehouse to work for a while today with the girl, then for a walk along the waterfront, and then to the Beach Hut in Stockton for a late lunch. Now were sitting back to watch a couple of videos. … She’s pretty cute, isn’t she!

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Navigating the poverty line: Pressure on Portland’s social safety net grows as dramatically does ranks of unemployed | Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND – It was about 6 a.m., dark and cold, when Brian Gailliot got on the welfare line Friday.

Portland’s General Assistance office wouldn’t open until 8, but the line was already 30 deep when he arrived. A man and woman at the front had been sitting there in folding chairs since 10 p.m. Thursday.

“There’s just not enough work,” said Gailliot, who currently works part time for a temp agency, eats at the local soup kitchen and sleeps in a friend’s apartment. “I haven’t had my own place for a year and a half.”

One in eight Mainers lived below the poverty line in 2010, according to recently released U.S. census data. Maine’s poverty rate hit 12.5 percent in 2010, up from 11.4 percent the year before.

On the streets, the prolonged economic slump is translating into dramatic increases in the number of unemployed people who have exhausted savings and unemployment benefits and are seeking help for the first time at Portland’s food pantries, soup kitchens and welfare offices.

Click to read more of the story by John Richardson in the Portland Press Herald.

Bartering lands me some hot peppers

Some of the hot peppers I received from a friend who recieved them in lieu of payment for a graphic design project.

Some of the hot peppers I received from a friend who recieved them in lieu of payment for a graphic design project. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

A friend the other day was paid in vegetables for some graphic design work. Bartering made a comeback during The Great Recession and may be part of the new economy for some time to come.

Fortunately for me, she had too much and I ended up receiving some of the overflow – a paper bag of farm fresh tomatoes, bok choy, squash, green beans, and a lovely bunch of peppers. The tomatoes are part of my lunch, the bok choy is soup now sitting in my freezer, the squash and green beans will go with a roasted chicken this evening, and the peppers are hanging over my kitchen sink drying.

Some of the hot peppers I received from a friend who recieved them in lieu of payment for a graphic design project.

Some of the hot peppers I received from a friend who recieved them in lieu of payment for a graphic design project. (Photos by Keith Michaud)

I’m hoping to dry the peppers enough to chop up and put into a pepper mill to use as seasonings. This is the first time I’ve dried peppers, so it will be interesting to see the outcome. Here’s a bit of information on drying peppers from Scott Roberts, a self-described chilihead.

Some of the hot peppers I received from a friend who recieved them in lieu of payment for a graphic design project.

Some of the hot peppers I received from a friend who recieved them in lieu of payment for a graphic design project.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

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25 things to do this fall — festivals, foliage and fun | Bangor Daily News

As you bid goodbye to summer — so long flip flops, air conditioner and iced beverages on the patio — you say hello to an even more fleetingly beautiful part of the year. The crispness in the air arrived last week, and the leaves have just barely begun to change color.

Summer may look pretty fantastic after four months of winter, but autumn feels just lovely after four months of summer. Enjoy it while you can by trying any of the 25 things to do this fall that we’ve assembled for you.

Click for more on the story by Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News.

Will write for food! … Or walk your dog!

Hey there! Hey there! I’m still trying to line up a freelance gig or two for the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are in need or know someone in need of a writer-editor-blogger-dog walker-house-sitter-dishwasher. Cheers!

Thank-you note to my scouting niece

The Girl Scout Cookies are freed from their bondage.

The Girl Scout Cookies are freed from their bondage.

[I received a fun package yesterday from my scouting niece Sophie. Actually, she is my only niece, but she is in a scouting organization, so she’s also my “scouting niece.” Regular readers may recall that I have lamented in the past that the packages my family sends me from time are full of sugary treats. At my age, who needs the extra pounds. Oy! So, I made my family promise to not send me any more sugary treats. But then the Girl Scouts – well, mostly their mothers – started hitting me up to help fill their cookie quotas. So, I had to send my sister a note to clarify that in no way was my earlier dictate to reflect the Girl Scout Cookie Season. That, I made it clear to her, was not the case. Girl Scout Cookies were OK for my diet. … I have a feeling I will be gaining a few pounds in the next few days. – KM]

Dear Sophie:

I received a package yesterday that you and Mommy sent to me. Inside were very yummy Girl Scout Cookies. I wanted to thank you very, very much. I am sure I will enjoy them. Thank you.

Now, I just have to decide which cookies to start with.


Uncle Keith

P.S. Please say “Hi” to your brother Max. I miss you both very much.

A package is opened.

A package is opened.

A cookie is liberated.

A cookie is liberated.

The first bite …

The first bite …

And another ...

And another ...

Just one more bite left …

Just one more bite left …

And now my had is free to grasp another cookie.

And now my hand is free to grasp another cookie.

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Sugarhouses open for Maine Maple Sunday, producers predict a banner year | Bangor Daily News

Sugarhouses open for Maine Maple Sunday, producers predict a banner year | Bangor Daily News


WHOOPIE WATCH: Maine outdoes Pennsylvania with 1,000-pound whoopie pie | Bangor Daily News

WHOOPIE WATCH: Maine outdoes Pennsylvania with 1,000-pound whoopie pie | Bangor Daily News

Maine outdoes Pennsylvania with massive whoopie pie | Portland Press Herald