Letter from the Editor

I am often asked where I like to eat out around Maine or what makes a restaurant appealing to me. I often plead the fifth on the first question because, as my father used to say quoting the Latin, de gustibus, non est disputandem, or, “In matters of taste, there are no disputes”. What appealed to me when I was 25 is not what appeals to me 30 years later. Tasting menus can be onerous, my heat tolerance has dialed down, I’m not very “cocktail,” and my preference for ever simpler food has come to the fore. Which makes me pretty useless if you’re a millennial coming into town as a destination diner raring to tie on the feed bag brunch, lunch, drinks, and dinner.


That said, I’m happy to share my basic ideas about what makes for a great eating place.


There are a few things that are absolute musts. A clean, well-maintained kitchen, room, and bathroom. A happy staff, front and back of the house. Delicious food. A varied crowd such that I am not the oldest or youngest in the room. Not too much of anything—portion on the plate, loud music, distracting décor, upsell on the wine, overweening service, “priceyness.” This last I judge by a simple yardstick. Can the restaurant’s farmers and artisan purveyors afford to eat here every so often?


Finally, I often hear customers compliment chefs; very rarely do I hear the opposite. This is a shame because it is only through sincere, face-to-face (vs. online) comment that you make things better. Believe it or not, that is what the good chef wants. And that is because the root of hospitality, the “chef gene”, is the desire to please people, deeply, wholly, honestly.


What do you think makes for the best restaurant or dining experience? 


Share your thoughts with me.


Michael Sanders

No. 03 / Winter 2018
Michael Sanders

No. 03 / Winter 2018

Editorial in this issue

Ten Things You Don't Know About

Ten Things You Don't Know About

How restaurants survive the Maine winter

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Discovering Hygge

Discovering Hygge

Scandinavian Comfort at Home

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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

A Maine Farmer Goes to Washington

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Maine Farmland Trust

Maine Farmland Trust

Helping New Farmers with an Old Problem: Finding A Farm to Call Home

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The Last Bite: Blueberry Glögg

The Last Bite: Blueberry Glögg

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What Chefs Know... About Winter

What Chefs Know... About Winter

Adding bright flavors to cold weather cooking

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American Seafood

American Seafood

A modern seafood master chef and historian explores the fish that made America

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Keeping Warm—Inside and Out

Keeping Warm—Inside and Out

Winter booze to keep you toasty

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The View From Away

The View From Away

Punctuated Equilibrium

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Salt Water Farm Cooks for Winter

Salt Water Farm Cooks for Winter

Cold comfort in the kitchen and at the table

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Eat Rabbit, Not Bunny

Eat Rabbit, Not Bunny

Discovering the Other, Other White Meat

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Warm up to Butternut Squash

Warm up to Butternut Squash

Easy prep ideas to get you started

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In The Dirt

In The Dirt

Winter Reflections for Spring Success

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Recipes in this issue

Brown Sugar and Butter Apples with Spice and Cold Cream

Brown Sugar and Butter Apples with Spice and Cold Cream

Smoked Haddock, Fingerling Potatoes, Crisp Apples and Thick Cut Bacon

Smoked Haddock, Fingerling Potatoes, Crisp Apples and Thick Cut Bacon

Dirty Chai Chocolate

Dirty Chai Chocolate

Paprika Rabbit

Paprika Rabbit

North Woods

North Woods

Butternut Pecan Bread

Butternut Pecan Bread

Cod and Root Vegetable Stew with Parsley Oil and Rye Bread Crumbs

Cod and Root Vegetable Stew with Parsley Oil and Rye Bread Crumbs

Maine Potato Vodka Martini, Ice Cold and Up

Maine Potato Vodka Martini, Ice Cold and Up

Social Smørrebrød

Social Smørrebrød

Rabbit Tagine

Rabbit Tagine

Red Sky Dark & Stormy

Red Sky Dark & Stormy

Blueberry Glögg

Blueberry Glögg

Roast Beets, Sour Cream, Dill, Parsley and Orange Segments

Roast Beets, Sour Cream, Dill, Parsley and Orange Segments

Extra Crunchy Cocoa-Caramel Corn

Extra Crunchy Cocoa-Caramel Corn

Pumpernickel Bread for Smørrebrød

Pumpernickel Bread for Smørrebrød

The Dead Letter Office

The Dead Letter Office

Braised Butternut Squash with Figs and Rosemary

Braised Butternut Squash with Figs and Rosemary