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Food

Monday, September 03, 2018

Maine Week-Portland Deserves the Foodie Acclaim

It's no surprise that Portland was recently recognized by Bon Appetit magazine as the Restaurant City of the Year. Lisa and I have been heading up to Portland for memorable meals since the James Beard-award winning Fore Street opened over two decades ago. Another long-time love is Duckfat, always our first stop for those heavenly fries, innovative salads and grilled panini sandwiches, all washed down with an extra-thick milkshakes or Maine craft brew. Duckfat was once again our first stop in town last week, before checking in at the brand new AC Hotel Portland Downtown on the waterfront, a short stroll from the restaurant . Our 24 hours of gluttony continued with IPAs on the picnic tables at Rising Tide, dumplings at Bao Bao, and the best bagel and lox I had all year (including a stop at my old stomping grounds, Manhattan's Upper West Side at Barney Greengrass) at the deli, Rose Foods. Thankfully, we were headed the next day to Maine's North Woods to paddle and hike off all those luscious calories. 

 Photo by Jake Jermanok

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/03/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Row 34, A Great Addition to Portsmouth

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a smaller version of Portland, Maine, with its own great dining scene, one that I discuss in an upcoming story for Yankee Magazine. A 75-minute drive north of Boston, it's ideal for dinner or an overnight. Lisa and I stayed at the Ale House Inn for a night in October and had a fun visit. This past Wednesday, I met my friend, Joel, in town from Seattle at Row 34. This is the sister restaurant to Row 34 in Boston's Seaport District, a favorite that I always put on itineraries for clients headed to Boston and New England. We sat outdoors and dined on lobster rolls and a shrimp banh mi. They also feature their Row 34 oysters, farmed locally in Duxbury, Massachusetts, by one of the co-owners, Skip Bennett. If you can't find a room at the Alewife Inn, check out the Residence Inn, just down the block from Row 34 and within easy walking distance of the historic buildings at Strawberry Banke and other excellent dining spots like Franklin Oyster House

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/31/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Strolling the Poblado Neighborhood in Medellin

The Intercontinental Medellin, where I stayed in town, is only a 5-minute taxi ride down the hillside to the upscale neighborhood of Poblado. I started the day at the Santa Fe Shopping Mall to find souvenirs, then headed south along the wide boulevard of Carrera 43A, stopping at one of the outdoor restaurants for hot out-of-the-oven arepas stuffed with cheese and corn. At Poblado Park, I turned right and headed slightly uphill to the narrow streets of Via Primavera. Carrera 35 is home to fashionable clothing shops, restaurants, breweries, and a charming bakery and café, Como Pez en el Agua, where I stopped for an almond croissant and cappuccino. That night I would return to the area for dinner at OCI.Mde, one of the city's finest restaurants. Earth, Wind & Fire was blaring on the radio (always a good sign) as I walked in and ordered the best caipirinha I ever tasted, paired with an appetizer of fresh tuna sashimi dipped in a tangy soy sauce. Dinner was braised short ribs, cooked 12 hours in a cashew sauce. When it arrived on the table, it was so tender it fell off the bone. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/19/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dining at the Source: New Culinary Experiences to Discover on PEI This Summer

One of the most memorable meals I've ever had as a travel writer was at the Inn at Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island's western shores. I arrived via kayak, courtesy of a four-day inn-to-inn sea kayaking jaunt; paddled onto the grassy shores and walked across the sloping manicured lawn. After washing the salt and rust colored sand from my body, I arrived for dinner expecting the usual PEI meal of lobster and mussels. Little did I realize that I was in for a culinary epiphany. The first course was pan roasted oysters in a soothing soup, creamy but not overwhelmingly rich like chowder. Then came a splendid salad of mixed greens where the waiter announced matter-of-factly that "everything is grown on the property, including the edible daisy." A seared rainbow trout topped with tomato risotto and black olives was followed by the meat course, a roasted leg of lamb, butchered by the farmer down the road. Dessert was a peach, strawberry, and mint compote, made on premises, of course. 

Before calling for a wheelbarrow to be escorted out of the restaurant (after all, I spent the day paddling 8 miles along the island's fabled red clay cliffs and the night feasting), I had to first meet the talented chef who shrewdly took advantage of all his homegrown goodies. Standing tall in the kitchen was Michael Smith, who at that time was a recent transplant from Manhattan, once sous chef at Bouley and awarded four stars (extraordinary) by the New York Times.  Of course, he would soon move on to his successful television show "The Inn Chef," and release his best-selling cookbook, "Open Kitchen-A Chef's Day at the The Inn at Bay Fortune." 
 
PEI is still home to a bounty of chefs, farmers, and fishermen who make the destination a foodie paradise. This summer, Experience PEI and Culinary Adventure Co. have teamed up to create an Island-focused collection of four culinary adventures. The Bar Clamming Adventure lets guests slip into a wetsuit and snorkeling gear, and wade into the water in search of bar clams, the biggest clams on Prince Edward Island. The Floating Lobster Boil features a sunset cruise around the Charlottetown Harbour, freshly cooked lobster, and stories from a third-generation lobster fisherman.  
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/18/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Woodstock Inn & Resort Debuts the Red Barns at the Kelly Way Gardens

When we caught up with Woodstock Inn General Manager, Gary Thulander, over dinner last month at the property, he was very excited about the opening this spring of the Red Barns, renovated rustic barns down the road from the property that will showcase the wealth of produce already growing at the surrounding Kelly Way Gardens. Certified organic by the Vermont Organic Farmers Association, the gardens boast more than 200 varieties of produce including 55 varieties of tomatoes, 75 berries and orchard plantings, 50 herbs and edible flowers, a mushroom glen, annual and perennial flowers, honey, and hops. Taking advantage of this bountiful harvest, the Red Barns will combine rustic charm with a state-of-the-art cooking and dining facility to offer the Red Barn Dinner Series this summer. Join Gardener Benjamin Pauly and Executive Chef Rhys Lewis on Sundays in July and August for an evening of dining that features the local artistry of Vermont's cheesemakers, farmers, beekeepers, and dairymen while celebrating the abundant produce of the Kelly Way Gardens. Dinners will start at 5 pm and cost $55 per person. Reservations are a must. You can also enjoy tea in the gardens, Tuesdays in July, August, and September, free to inn guests, or a sensory stroll through the gardens on Thursdays. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/11/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Up for Breakfast in Manchester, Vermont

Guest Post by Amy Perry Basseches 

Breakfast and brunch are the only meals you can get at Up for Breakfast (UFB), and you better believe they do them well. Open since 1989 in their unique and tiny second floor location (which has never thought of expansion -- it’s just right this way), UFB is a casual and cozy spot with great food. Open 7am-12:30 pm (1:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays), don’t miss it, at 4935 Main Street. Consider getting there on the early side for a table, no wait. We literally go on every trip to Manchester. I favor the Eggs Vegetarian (complete with artichoke hearts and fresh Hollandaise); my husband Josh likes the Wild Turkey Hash, or sometimes one of the amazing daily specials (or a special homemade sausage like pheasant with hazelnut and cognac).
 
Every time we visit, we see the same servers. It’s a family-run place. Owner Bonnie Bruce is well known in town. On a personal note, there was a front page story in the Boston Globe in 2016 about her family (not about UFB). The next time I went for a meal, I pulled her aside to say I had read the article and wanted to share a quiet moment with her. We ended up sitting and talking in the storage room off the small kitchen for quite a while. 
 
If your travels take you to Southern Vermont, let us know. ActiveTravels would be more than happy to help with lodgings, restaurant, and (indoor and outdoor) activity recommendations.
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/12/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Holiday Stocking Stuffer No. 3, Real Food Fake Food, Now in Paperback

In 2012, Boston, a city that prides itself on its fresh seafood was rocked to its ocean-loving core when a two-part expose published by the Boston Globe revealed that a significant number of fish were mislabeled at area restaurants, grocery stores, and fish markets. Diners were served cheap Vietnamese catfish instead of the succulent and more expensive grouper, haddock instead of cod, tilapia in place of pricey red snapper. Indeed, 24 of the 26 red snapper samples tested were some other species of fish. The two reporters went on a fish collecting spree, sending samples of their findings to a laboratory in Canada for DNA testing. The outcome? A whopping 48 percent of the seafood was mislabeled. In his latest book, Real Food Fake Food, writer and friend Larry Olmsted delves much deeper, telling us that that most kobe beef sold at restaurants is indeed wagyu; extra virgin olive oil is rarely that, usually cut with soybean and peanut oil; grated parmesan is almost always fake; and that grass-fed beef was probably drugged and raised in a crowded feedlot. It’s no surprise this book already made many “notable books of the year” lists. For anyone who wants to start off 2018 on the right foot, grab a copy and then buy that olive oil from a trusted supplier Olmsted recommends, like Oliviers & Co. One taste of their olive oil and you’ll never go back to the fake stuff again. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/22/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 23, 2017

Dining and Lodging in Las Cruces, New Mexico

For authentic Mexican fare at an affordable price, it’s hard to top the restaurants in Las Cruces. I loved the ambience and history of dining at La Posta de Mesilla while sipping a house margarita and soaking it all in. Tacos al pastor was the signature dish at nearby Andele, perfectly charred meat topped with homemade salsa from their salsa bar. The huevos rancheros were so good at the homey La Nueva Casita I went there twice. Other highlights include the overstuffed lava burger, washed down with a refreshing pecan ale at the Pecan Grill and Brewery; fish tacos at the spanking new Dragonfly on Main Street (perfectly located for the Saturday Farmers Market); a tasty Greek salad with grilled chicken at Tiffany’s; and the frozen custard hot fudge sundae, topped with local salted pecans, at Caliche’s. I stayed at the Hotel Encanto, an easy drive to all the restaurants and sights in Las Cruces. After a long day of sightseeing and writing, it was great to unwind at their long pool shaded by tall palms and overflowing with monarch butterflies. A little bit of paradise in the desert. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/23/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Waltham Named One of the Top Food Towns in the Country

We head over to nearby Waltham all the time for the authentic Mexican fare at Amuleto, the best pastrami in town at Moody’s Provisions, and to dine at the award-winning Italian restaurant, La Campania. So it came as no surprise that Waltham made the cut in RewardExpert’s ranking of 2017’s Best American Foodie Towns. RewardExpert analyzed 100 cities and towns with populations less than 100,000 and evaluated them on nine key metrics. I also like their other picks such as Portland, Maine, Traverse City, Michigan, and Healdsburg, California. Have a look. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/13/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 30, 2017

Adventures in New Brunswick Week—A Bounty of Seafood Leads to Exceptional Dining

I won’t soon forget dining on halibut so tender and sweet at Alma's Parkland Village Inn that, of course, it was just caught that day by the father of the girl working the front desk. It was remarkable to look out over the Bay of Fundy at low tide and see that the entirety of the water from our 2-hour paddle that afternoon was gone, replaced by the ocean floor that reached over a kilometer long. New Brunswick is blessed with some of the finest restaurants in the country thanks to the bevy of seafood caught nearby. St. Andrews Rossmount Inn was once again at the top of its game, serving oysters on the half shell, poached lobster, and halibut ceviche, all more sublime than the last. We ended the trip at another one of my favorite restaurant in the Maritimes, East Coast Bistro in Saint John. Chef Kim was hosting one of her signature cocktail and themed dinners, this time focused on the cuisine of Japan. I was the lucky recipient of just-caught yellowfin tuna, encrusted with black sesame seeds on a bed of soba noodles, and paired with tender asparagus and snap peas. It could easily rival any dish in my hometown of Boston. Other highlights included the wonderful smoked salmon jerky at Oven Head Salmon Smokers and the fish and chips nearby at Ossie’s Lunch in Bethel, the mussels at Saint John Ale House, the Rye IPA on tap and pickled eggs (apparently good for hangovers) at Holy Whale Brewery in Alma, and the tasty strawberry rhubarb cobbler at Calactus in Moncton. It’s the adventure that keeps me coming back to New Brunswick, but once here, it’s hard not to rave about the freshly caught seafood and the talented chefs creating memorable meals. 

I want to thank Heather MacDonald-Bossé of Tourism New Brunswick for designing another fantastic itinerary to the province. I also want to wish all my friends in Canada a Happy 150th birthday! Enjoy the festivities. To my American readers, have a Happy 4th and keep active. I’ll be back on July 6th. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/30/17 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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