The Wrap: new recruits, Italian truffles and a keg of beer for yourself
Looking for a fun road trip to start the summer? How about a movie driving in a pretty coastal town in Maine?
Nine June, an Italian restaurant in Rockport, is co-hosting, in partnership with the Camden International Film Festival and the Points North Institute, a screening of “The Truffle Hunters”, a documentary on the life and culture of elderly men who hunt for Alba white truffles from the forests of northern Italy. The film will premiere at 8:30 p.m. on June 3 at the Shotwell Drive-in Theater, 40 West St., a new drive-in in Rockport. Tickets cost $ 20 per car. Buy them online at shotwelldrivein.eventive.org. Check out the trailer at sonyclassics.com/film/thetrufflehunters/
Upcoming changes to Tao Yuan and Bao Bao
Staff issues are causing some changes to Chef Cara Stadler’s restaurants this summer. Stadler says she will open Tao Yuan, her fine dining restaurant in Brunswick, only two or three evenings a week, at most.
“I would love to do more,” she said, “but at the moment I have half the kitchen staff I had last year and less than half the front desk staff.
Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland is only going to dinner service this summer, and Bao Bao and ZaoZe – the Tao Yuan-affiliated cafe and weekend market – will both go to the counter. All changes are expected to take place in June.
New chefs at Ada’s and Owl & Elm
Ada’s Portland, a hand-prepared pasta and food market at 642 Congress St. in Portland, has hired a new executive chef. Brendan Levin, originally from Texas, has over 20 years of experience, including stays at Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC, and Lure Kitchen and Bar in Portsmouth. Levin’s culinary influences include trips with his father to Cuba, Latin America, and East Africa. The chef is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute and lives in Kennebunk with his wife and two children.
When the Owl & Elm pub in Yarmouth reopens on June 2, Erik Desjarlais will be the new chef. Desjarlais in Portland is remembered as the chef / owner of three well-known restaurants, including Evangeline in Longfellow Square, which closed in 2010. A few years later, he started a business tailoring chef aprons, rolls knives and leather goods. He thought he was done cooking, burnt as a chef. He returned to food in his most recent job, managing the New Gloucester Village store and helping revise its menu of ready meals and pizza.
Now he has come full circle.
“I’ve had a decade to try other hats, and it came back to food,” Desjarlais said in an email. “An opportunity presented itself at Owl & Elm. I have always enjoyed the food there, and the owners Caitlin (Henningsen) and Keith (Johnson) have built something quite special. It all kind of fell into place naturally.
Otto has opened a new store in the South Boston neighborhood, its 10th location in Massachusetts. The new location is at 345 Harrison Ave., corner of Harris and Washington, across from Whole Foods. It has a slice counter as well as indoor and outdoor seating.
Summer farm fun
Now that Maine is reopening, local farms are gearing up for a summer of activities for adults and kids alike.
Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth is launching its very first children’s program this weekend, a ‘Create a Starter Garden’ event for children ages 5 and up. Participants will learn about edible plants and how to grow seeds, seedlings and tubers; ask a farmer questions; and leave with a starting garden to transplant at home.
“We need to start educating these kids about where their food comes from,” said Penny Jordan.
The program costs $ 12 per child. The time slots are available Saturday, Sunday and June 5. Children must wear masks and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To register, go to jordansfarm.com and click on the activities link.
Jordan told me that the farm is also working on a special event for the strawberry season, which starts at the end of June.
Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport launches the Big Farm Experience Auction Online at noon on June 3. a two-hour vegetable garden consultation; a beekeeping experience; a cheese tasting with Sarah Wiederkehr from Winter Hill Farm; a night picnic on the farm; a tour of Love Point Oyster Farm and an oyster tasting; a sourdough bread workshop; and – this will probably be the most coveted item – a private omakase dinner for up to 10 people in your home, prepared by Chef Masa Miyake. The latter is valued at $ 3,000, with a starting bid of $ 1,500.
Barrel Bonanza is getting ready
Allagash Brewing Co. holds its second annual Bonanza Barrel on June 5 to benefit Maine’s anti-hunger programs. Bourbon oak barrels that the brewery used to brew Curieux will be sold, with prices starting at $ 75 a barrel.
All proceeds will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, the Falmouth Food Pantry, Full Plates Full Potential, Wayside Food Programs and other organizations fighting hunger in the state.
The barrels can be picked up in the time slots from 8:30 am to 11:30 am. To pre-order, visit shop.allagash.com/collections/the-allagash-barrel-bonanza. But you better hurry – last year they sold out fast, and this year many slots are already sold out.
Allagash says the barrels are “perfect for the backyard, it’s a non-binary nook or mancave project of your choice!” (Not intended for use in or around Niagara Falls, or by anyone in the Donkey Kong family.) “