Is the whoopie pie an Amish original or did New England bakers first devise the sweet snack? That debate will never end but, either way, it seems to have made its first appearance in the 1920s. What is a whoopie pie? Classically, it’s two chocolate cake discs about the size and shape of the top half of a hamburger bun sandwiching a sweet, creamy white filling. These days you can find whoopie pies in dozens of cake and filling flavor permutations — gingerbread? blueberry? candy cane? — and sometimes they’re even gussied up with real, dairy-based fillings. Call us Luddites but we cling to the original chocolate version the way our fingers cling to the whoopie’s sticky chocolate cake. Continue reading
USA Today’s 10Best has got a mess o’ polls going on right now, many focused on regional food specialties across America. In each category, a team of experts has selected 20 candidates, and it’s up to you to choose the winner. For instance, in the category of Best Po’ Boy in Louisiana, one of our favorite spots, Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans, is currently leading the vote tally, which will continue to accumulate until May 9th. Continue reading
Larry Olmsted’s been writing a wonderful series of stories for USA TODAY called Great American Bites, where he showcases the best, most interesting regional foods and restaurants America has to offer (much like we do here at LAF!). As 2015 comes to a close, Mr. Olmsted takes a look at the best of the best: ten eateries receiving his highest, OMG!, rating. Continue reading
Sharon McDonnell, a travel writer for the Napa Valley Register, arrives in Maine for lobster and desires full immersion. So she digs into a lobster roll at Two Lights Lobster Shack just outside of Portland, heads out on a lobster boat with a newly licensed lobsterman who waited seven years for the right to trap the creatures in Maine’s cold waters, and endures a purification process before visiting a lobster processing facility. Along the way, she tells us what she learned about the life of these prized sea bugs. Read her story here.
Whole fried clams in crumbs. Fried clam strips. Fried clams in batter. Clam chowder. Clam cakes. Steamed clams. Yep, it’s time once again for that ultimate festival for clam-lovers: the 50th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival in Maine. Over 100,000 visitors are expected in Yarmouth the weekend of July 17th through 19th. Continue reading
“Brown Eggs Are Local… And Local Eggs Are Fresh.” So says the website of the Central Maine Egg Festival. We guess that rule applies to Central Maine; don’t know if that’ll work in the rest of the country. Anyway, the town of Pittsfield, in Maine, is host to the egg fest, which begins Monday the 13th and will continue through Saturday the 18th. Continue reading
Shoreline candy shops are a dime-a-dozen, and few are worthy of any serious attention (though, for sure, we’ve purchased our share of pastel-colored taffy, and tooth-achingly sweet fudge). An exception is Monica’s Chocolates, located a few hundred feet from the Canadian border in the Maine town of Lubec. Lubec is probably best known to travelers as the point at which one crosses by bridge to Campobello Island. Let it hereafter be also known for world-class chocolate. Continue reading
The food at The Lobster Shack is good, in fact very good, but you can find better along the Maine coast. It’s not an undiscovered gem. In fact, there always seems to be a long line at the order counter. And the prices are a little higher than what you’ll find further up the coast, reflecting its proximity to the city of Portland. So why do we think The Lobster Shack is required eating for the visiting LAF pilgrim? Continue reading
The Maine Human Rights Commission yesterday considered and denied a request from Governor LePage that the commission reconsider its finding that Moody’s Diner of Waldoboro was guilty of discrimination against an employee on religious grounds. They also voted to take no further action against Moody’s, such as taking them to court over the matter. The woman who was found to be the victim of discrimination intends to sue Moody’s in federal court, “out of reach of Maine politicians,” according to her attorney.
Maine means lobster for many of us, but Maine is also a great place to try all manner of seafood, including the fine smoked versions turned out by Grindstone Neck. Located on the picturesque Schoodic Peninsula, Grindstone is not a restaurant, but a seafood smokehouse, owned by a local restaurateur/innkeeper. There’s a retail store on the premises, but you’ll have to take your purchases elsewhere to enjoy them. Continue reading
The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled last year that Moody’s Diner, of Waldoboro, Maine had discriminated against an employee on religious grounds, retaliated against that employee for pursuing the matter legally, and altered the conditions of her employment as a result. As the parties were in the process of trying to settle the matter out of court, Maine Governor LePage stepped in. He wants the Commission to reconsider the case, and is withholding revenues due the commission in order to coerce the commission into acceding to his wishes. The Commission will discuss the possibility of reopening the case on Monday.
The great, old far-Downeast restaurant Helen’s of Machias, Maine (blueberry pie! fresh seafood!) burned down last July. The owners have been rebuilding a new Helen’s, which will be smaller and will seat fewer people. Opening is planned for mid-April. You can see the construction progress in this video.
Why does ice cream taste better in New England than anywhere else in the country? We don’t have an answer, but as long as we keep travelling the area, we’ll keep tasting. There are boutique, one-shop stores offering superb hand-crafted renditions, and there are small companies that also turn out a product superior to the national brands. Gifford’s is one such Maine-owned ice cream maker that buys its cream locally and sells all over New England. Gifford’s premium ice cream has an honest flavor that we never tire of. Continue reading