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Exceptional Eating

Local advice

Foodie Author

Kathy Gunst

Kathy finds her true inspiration in the kitchens and gardens of Maine. This award-winning author and accomplished chef covers everything food. Cooking, gardening, foraging, writing, teaching and storytelling. If it's connected to food, Kathy does it. She even participates in the White House food initiative promoting healthier lifestyles.


When I tell people I live in Maine, they usually respond with "Do you live near Portland?" We hear Portland has great restaurants!" And indeed they are right. Portland is a hot restaurant city. So are Camden, Rockland and many other spots throughout the state. The trouble of course, is keeping up with it all— not to mention paying for all that good food.

Maine Restaurant Week to the rescue. From March 1-10, dozens of Maine's best restaurants will offer special prix-fixe menus. Depending on the restaurant, the most you'll pay is $22, $32 or $42 for a three-course dinner.

The way I see it? This is a great 10-day period to try some of those restaurants you've been hearing others rave about. Have you tried Carmen at the Danforth? Chef Carmen Gonzalez is a force of nature. This Puerto Rican native has a refined Latin style that translates beautifully to the dining room of The Danforth Inn. Her pulled pork in a rum-based barbecue sauce on top of crispy green plantains with a green papaya slaw is extraordinary. The bacaloa (salt cod) fritters are crispy and moist. And the warm roasted beet salad, with crispy bacon, escarole and Cabrales cheese redefines root vegetables.

I also want to get back to Francine Bistro in Camden, and try Solo Bistro in Bath. In Portland, I plan to try Petite Jacqueline, David's, Back Bay Grill and Bar Lola. It's going to be a busy 10 days of eating.

Editor's Notes

Maine Restaurant Week 2013 is March 1-10. This successful event celebrates the culinary scene of Maine. Patrons get to try a variation of menus, while dinners are often 3 course meals and are prix-fixe, or price fixed.

Carmen at the Danforth is an acclaimed restaurant located at the Inn of Danforth in Portland. Carmen Gonzalez is the resident chef who is receiving national attention for her Latin-American style of cooking. The Inn is a peaceful and stylish place to stay. Check the web site for information regarding the reopening date of the restaurant, as it is currently undergoing renovation.

Camden is located in MidCoast Maine and has always been a popular place to visit and live. Positioned next to the water, it has a beautiful harbor where the annual Windjammer Festival takes place. Camden is also home to the 2000 HGTV Dream Home.

Rockland is also in the Mid-Coast region and is filled with culture, shopping and activities. It is a major port for ferries traveling between the many islands offshore and it hosts the Maine Lobster Festival each year.