Monday, July 26, 2010

Locally Featured Road Trip: Portland, Maine

Welcome to Portland
It should come as no surprise to you that I have a pretty severe crush on the great city of Portland, Maine.  I know I have waxed on about how great the food is, how eclectic the "scene" is, how beautiful the scenery etc.  Today, in honor of Locally Featured Monday, and summer road trips, I thought it might be a perfect time to really look at the city, and the great commitment they have to the local food and slow food movements.

Tea Time at The Danforth Hotel
Over the past several years, Portland has risen to food notoriety to a level rivaling most "major" cities in their creativity, expertise, and use of what is around them.  As an article by The New York Times described almost a year ago, Portland is a place where rules don't exist when it comes to form or classic techniques.  As varied as the artists and musicians who have made this city their home, the chefs here are young and constantly experimenting.

Pete Kilpatrick
It really is true that Portland is an artists community, evidence of this shows everywhere you look from the sports pub that displays paintings and photographs for sale on their walls, to the musicians that appear all over the street corners.  Cooking is just another creative outlet, with each ingredient showing the same potential as a pain brush.  When these ingredients are fresh, and the cooks mind creative, Picasso can live in every dish created.

Salade du Crevettes at The Merry Table Creperie
It stands to reason that these kitchen artists are well aware of this fact, and since they have no shortage of brain power, it is here that the local food movement enters into the equation, to assist in getting them the right ingredients.  Portland has long embraced using food as local as possible, and savoring the food that they have, long before it became widely talked about. They joined The Slow Food movement officially in 2005, and have been active users of sites like Eat Maine Food, and Maine Foods Network which link the people of Maine, and the chefs as well to the farms in the area who can supply the produce and dairy that they need and want.

Evidence of how important eating quality food, savoring every bite, and creating the dishes that are worth it can be noted all over the city.  It is shown in the early morning deliveries to the restaurants to ensure that their dinner service will feature the freshest produce possible.  It is evident in the way small restaurant owners treat their patrons, for the regulars a hug, the new comers a friendly hello and perhaps a thank you for a kind deed.  It is obvious even down to the hot dog carts that dot the roadways during the hot summer months as they offer organic lemonade with their fare.  This is a city that has taken the time to slow down, to enjoy their lives and the beauty that exists there.

I really feel that Portland is a city that sets a great example for how we all should live, and that is evident in their love of good local food, prepared and enjoyed in appropriate time.  They take care of one another, and genuinely support each others craft.  Isn't that really the basis of the slow food and the local food movements?     

2 comments:

Steve said...

Check out the Peanut Butter Jelly Time sandwich shop on the "little known" second floor of the Public Market House on Monument Square! Breakfast and sandwiches to die for!!!!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Awww what a fun weekend!

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