Posts Tagged ‘Camden’

Glendarragh Farm Lavender’s new Camden store is heaven scent

June 7, 2010

I’m a huge lavender fan, not just for the scent, but also the taste. Lavender Earl Grey tea, lavender shortbread, lavender chocolate, lavender chicken… if the ingredients list lavender, I’m a goner. No surprise, then that my nose drew me into Glendarragh Farm Lavender’s new store in downtown Camden, and trust me, for lavender fans, this place truly is heaven scent: lotions, sachets, bath salts, soaps, teas, sweets, sachets, dried lavender, lavender plants; it’s all here perfuming the store and the street outside its front door.

The name Glendarragh, Gaelic for “Glen of the Oaks,” honors owners Lorie and Patrick Costigan’s Irish ancestry and refers to the oak forests that line the fields and pathways of theit 26-acre riverfront family farm in Appleton, where they grew multiple varieties of both French and English lavender. With the move to Camden, the farm is no longer regularly open to visitors except for special harvest events.

And did I mention it sells a lavender cookbook?

Dine out for a doggone good cause

May 30, 2010

Dine out Thursday and help Pete and his pals, Humane Society of Knox County photo.

If you’re in the Greater Camden/Rockland region on Thursday, June 3, consider dining out at a participating Dine Out for Pete’s Sake restaurant (see participating restaurants, below) to help the Humane Society of Knox County.

This is a great organization that not only places local strays and unwanteds, but also takes dogs in from overcrowded shelters around the country. Its policy: Animals are not euthanized unless severe physical or behavior problems exist that cannont be resolved, they’re never euthanized for time or space

It’s success in its mission, so successful that it takes in dogs from more challenged shelters. Recently, 13 chihuahuas arrived from Los Angeles Animal Services, which receives over 300 chihuahuas a month but it doesn’t have enough homes for them all. (Adoption fee for these special dogs is $325. See more on the website.)

To help support these and other animals being cared for by the shelter, have lunch, dinner, or both at one of these participating restaurants (There are some excellent choices). FYI: My guys, Bernie and Dooley, give this event four paws up.


Amalfi on the Water
Big Fish
Blue Sky Cantina
Brass Compass
Harbor View Tavern
Home Kitchen Cafe
Prism Restaurant and Gallery
Thomaston Cafe


Amalfi on the Water
Athens Pizzeria
Badger Cafe and Pub
Big Fish
Blue Sky Cantina
Cafe Miranda
Harbor Gawker
The Haven Restaurant
In Good Company
Mc-Hales Restaurant & Pub
The Offshore Restaurant
Park Street Grille
Peter Otts
Pizza Hut
Prism Restaurant and Gallery
Rockland Cafe
Silver Lane Bistro

Foodie news: Beard semifinalist nominees released; Maine chefs in the running

February 18, 2010

Maine chefs are no strangers to the James Beard Foundation’s annual awards, and the 2010 semifinalists include both familiar faces and new entries to the competition. Notably, Sam Hayward, a former Best Chef in the Northeast winner, is nominated for Outstanding Chef and his restaurant, Fore Street, is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant. Contenders for the Best Chef in the Northeast honor include Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, of Arrows (a talented duo who have been previously nominated). Nominees will be named on March 22; winners announced on May 3.Here’s the full Maine line-up:

Outstanding Chef:

• Sam Hayward, Fore Street, Portland

• Outstanding Restaurant:

• Fore Street, Portland

Best Chef Northeast:

• Penelle Chase, Phoebe Chase, Megan Chase, and Ted Lafage, Chase’s Daily, Belfast

Krista Kern Desjarlais, Bresca, Portland

• Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit

• Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden

Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn reopens, launches new menu

February 10, 2010

Natalie’s Restaurant at The Camden Harbour Inn reopened tonight, after a seasonal siesta, with a LOVE-themed party featuring tastings from its new menu. Suffice to say, one bite was nowhere near enough. Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn makes Camden a winter dining destination, a fine choice for a romantic winter escape.

But let me tell you more about the new menu.

While listening to a Beatles tribute band, I tasted a sampling of appetizers:

• house-cured salmon gravlax, poached quail eggs, white dressing, endive ($12)

• crispy veal sweetbreads, rosemary, Aleppo pepper aioli, serrano ($10)

• seared diver scallops, scallop and spinach springroll, reisling saffron limeleaf nage ($14)

and entrees:

• grilled double chop rock of lamb, stuffed piquillo peppers, coffee cumin lamb just ($32)

• seared duck breas and leg confit, red wine braised porcini mushrooms, potato souffle, sauce salmis ($30)

• slow poached Maine lobster, whipped cauliflower, bacon, black truffle ($market)

So, you probably want to know which one was best. Truth? I can’t decide. Each time I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. If I had to pick faves, hmmm, I guest the sweetbreads and the scallops appetizers, followed by the duck breast, although that lobster was damn good.

Bottom line: Lawrence Klang has turned out a fabulous seasonal menu worth a special visit to Camden.

Camden in winter? Sure!

January 29, 2010

Read my Boston Globe story about some of the wonderful reasons to visit Camden in Winter.

207 winter escapes

December 16, 2009

Looking to escape the holiday craziness? Want to chill and enjoy winter’s chill? Steal away to one of these inns I recommended on the WCSH-TV show 207. Quite a few have special packages, so be sure to check the web sites.

The Crocker Pond House, Bethel: Perfect for those who might want to do some early-season skiing at Sunday River. Lovely, owner/architect designed Shingle-style home in rural woods. Skate on the pond, cross-country ski on the trail by the river, snowshoe the trails from the backyard. Family friendly. $125 two nights, $150 one night, includes full breakfast.

Belfast Bay Inn & Suites, Belfast: Smack downtown, so it’s well situated for browsing Belfast’s boutiques and galleries and for strolling around to admire holiday decorations. Suites are elegantly furnished, and most have near-full kitchens that are well equipped. The owners have thought of everything; they even deliver a full, hot breakfast to your suite in the morning. $158-228

Inn on the Harbor, Stonington: Talk about away from it all! The inn is built over the island-dotted harbor, providing a front-row seat on any boating activity. Wonderful preserves for winter walking, artisans’s studios to visit. In winter, meals are available. $65-$110, $135 for a two-bedroom apartment with full kitchen; includes light breakfast.

West Quoddy Station, Lubec: It might not be the end of the world, but you can see it from here. A once-abandoned Coast Guard Lifesaving Station on West Quoddy Head that’s been renovated into efficiencies and a rental house. Walk the trails, stock up on Monica’s chocolates and Quoddy Mist sea salt. Studios and one-bedroom units: $80-95; four-bedroom house with full kitchen, $200.

Camden Harbour Inn, Camden: A hip, contemporary, luxurious oasis in Camden. Victorian on the outside, chic inside, without a hint of Victorian frou frou. Short stroll to downtown shops and restaurants. $175–$375, including a full champagne breakfast and all-day snacks.

More Foodie News: Maine Fare

August 21, 2009

Plan ahead for Maine Fare, a celebration of local Maine foods and beverages highlighting both heritage and sustainability, Sept. 11-13, in Camden and Rockport. Planned events include panels, tastings, classes, dinners, and a marketplace.

The keynote panel, Can Maine Feed Itself, addresses whether Maine’s farmers, foragers, fishermen, and producers can feed the state’s population. It’s slated for 2 p.m., Friday, Sept.  11, at Brewster Point, in Rockport. Admisison is free and it’s open to the public.

Panel moderator will be Craig Lapine, president of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the executive director of Cultivating Community (a Portland-based group focused on community and school gardens), and an activist committed to growing sustainable communities. Confirmed panelists include: Eliot Coleman, author and co-owner of Four Season Farm; Seth Bradstreet, commissioner, Maine Department of Agriculture; Russell Libby, executive director of MOFGA; Tim Cunniff, Vice-president, Backyard Farms, LLC, Portland; Glen Libby, chairman of the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association and a member of the New England Fishery Management Council; Marada Cook, Crown O’ Maine Organic Cooperative; John Piotti, Executive Director, Maine Farmland Trust, Majority Leader, Maine State Legislature.

Innteresting meals and deals at Camden’s Hartstone

March 25, 2009

pic_postcard_08Tired of wine dinners? Camden’s Hartstone Inn is serving a five-course spring food and beer pairing on Friday, April 10, for $55. Here’s the menu:

• appetizer: maple-roasted quail with a spring herb quinoa (Andrew’s Northern Brown Ale)

• soup: cream of asparagus soup with crisp pancetta and a Boursin custard (Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone)

• intermezzo: Maine Blueberry Sorbet

• entree: seared walibut with creamed peas and spaetzle (German Hefe-Weizen – Kulmbacher from Kapuziner)

• dessert: chocolate-almond torte with almond macaroons

Of course, after a meal like that, you’ll probably want to spend the night. Packages including dinner and breakfast for two begin at $195 for one night, $280 for two nights. On two night packages, guests also receive a 25 percent discount on spa treatments.

Hartstone Inn Overnight Stimulus Package: This is practically a steal. Sunday through Thursday nights until May 1, lodging in best available room plus five-course dinner and full breakfast is $175 for two. As the man said: Book it, Danno!

Wine dinner at Camden’s Hartstone Inn

March 10, 2009


Hmm, I seem to be focused on food and wine lately, but here’s a good deal. Really, four courses with wine pairings for $55 per person? Not too shabby. It takes place Friday, March 20, at Camden’s Hartstone Inn, where Chef Michael Salmon does wonders in the kitchen. Here’s the menu.

• Savory Crab Cheesecake with a Lemon-Walnut Crust and Tossed Greens (Pascal Toso – Sparkling Wine)

• Celery Bisque with Maine Lobster, Wild Rice and Crisp Pork Belly (Dry Creek Chenin Blanc)

• Cranberry Sorbet

• Braised Beef Short Rib “Wellington” with a Phyllo Crust and Winter Squash Puree (Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon)

• Tangerine Crème Caramel with Plumped Apricots and Candied Rind

Lodging packages in conjunction with the wine dinner begin at $215 per double for one night, $280 for two nights (that’s two people, one room, including the dinner).

Check out the Hartstone’s menus for the next few weeks, including its bistro nights, here.

Maine chefs and restaurants earn Beard nod

February 14, 2009

Once again, Maine chefs and restaurants have gained national attention in numbers that are proportionately far greater than its population. Check out the list of Maine-based semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s annual awards. Nominees will be announced March 24, with the awards gala slated for May 4.

And the semi-finalists are…

Outstanding Chef: Sam Hayward, Fore Street, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurant: Fore Street, Portland, ME

Best New Restaurant: Emilitsa, Portland, ME

Best Chef Northeast: (Wow! five out of 20 are Maine chefs)

Penelle Chase, Phoebe Chase, Megan Chase, and Ted Lafage, Chase’s Daily, Belfast, ME

Rob Evans, Hugo’s, Portland, ME

Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit, ME

Rich Hanson, Cleonice, Ellsworth, ME

Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden, ME

Haven’t had a chance to try these restaurants yet? Better make plans now, before the rest of the state/region/nation starts booking the tables. Many are participating in RestaurantWeekMe.