Last Thursday, like the Thursday before, gray skies gave way to rain but it failed to put a true damper on Share Our Strength’s Maine Taste of the Nation. Fourteen local chefs shared their time and talent for a great cause. Many thanks to them and to the SOS organization for a great evening.
The Beet topped oysters from Hugo’s were the first things I reached for and, I must admit, I went back several times throughout the course of the evening. The other three offerings were Pemaquids w/Sezchuan Pepper; Norumbega Oysters w/Saffron and Tabasco and Glidden Points w/Lime EVOO aioli. While I loved all of them it was the little burst of beets and horseradish, as the orb broke on my tongue, that won me over.
Sea Glass Inn’s Lobster Eclair was perfect. Though it had rained all evening, the moisture in the air never compromised the texture of the eclair shell and the salad, topped with chive flowers, was light and finished nicely with the slight tartness of the lemon.
Natalie’s was the Mrs. favorite of the evening and the one she ventured back to on our last visit of the tables. Similar to the burst of the beets from Hugos, the whole tomato gave a great textural play on traditional gazpacho and the avocado and cucumber cut the acidity very nicely.
Back Bay Grill put out the best lamb sausage I do believe I have ever had. Simply presented and simply delicious.
Steve Corry and the group at 555 had several offerings of on site made ice creams: Stout and Pretzel, Lime Mojito, Strawberry Milkshake, “Fire and Ice”–Vanilla, cayenne and shaved chocolate and Coconut with Curry Oil. The last two were our choices and, while the Fire was a bit too much for my partner, I had no problem scooping one up for myself. But, honestly, it was the Coconut and Curry Oil that nearly had me in tears as it brought back memories of Baba–a Malaysian restaurant in NYC that closed in the months after 9/11. I’ve had many plays on Coconut Curry ice cream since, but this was the closest I’ve had to their dessert that I’ve missed so much.
I could get into the not so great dishes, but the evening was too wonderful to dwell on the shite. We had a great time, were introduced to some wonderful chefs outside of the city limits and are already making far off plans to see what else those chef’s have up their sleeves.