After the sad news last month that The Lost Kitchen in Belfast was closing for good (and that Matthew Kenney’s The Gothic would be taking its place in its Main Street building), some good news is now coming forward from Chef Erin French. French announced on her Tumblr page that she has purchased a vintage 1965 Airstream trailer, and that she intends to renovate it into a mobile kitchen, which she will take to different locations throughout the year for special pop-up dinners; no exact opening date has yet been announced, though French plans to be up and running this summer.
Also taking her show on the road is James Beard Award-nominated Chef Krista Kern Desjarlais of Portland’s Bresca, which closed last month. Desjarlais plans to open a summertime snack shack called Bresca and the Honey Bee at Outlet Beach on Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester. Desjarlais plans to serve garden salads, homemade ice cream, creative sandwiches alongside burgers and hot dogs. It’s a bit of a departure from the elegant Italian-inspired dishes she’s served up at Bresca for the past six years, but the chef cited health reasons for the switch from her small, chic downtown Portland restaurant to a daytime, family-centric lakeside shack.
The Kennebunkport Festival, an annual extravaganza of tastings, dinners, cocktail hours and other foodie-centric events, kicks off on Tuesday, June 4 and runs through Sunday, June 9, in and around Kennebunkport. Restaurants, hotels, galleries, tents and private homes will open their doors for more than 50 events throughout the week. Though most of the small dinner events are sold out, there are still tickets available for cocktail receptions on Tuesday and Wednesday, a late night party on Wednesday night, the Pop the Kennebunks gala event from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, a Grand Tapas Party with small bites created by more than 30 Maine chefs set for 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Brews & Tunes event from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and the Grand Finale set for 7 to 10 p.m., also on Saturday. For a full listing of all events, visit the Kennebunkport Festival website.
There are some terrific wine and beer dinners coming up this month, throughout the state. First up is the first-ever specialty dinner at Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor, set for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, and featuring six locally-sourced small bites created by Chef Bryan Young and Tim Cunningham, paired with beer from Allagash Brewing. Olde Oak Farm cheese, Smith’s Smokehouse meats, Glidden Point oysters and Savour Chocolatier chocolates are some of the artisans to be featured; this mix and mingle event is $49. The following week is the first Graze Farm Dinner, set for 4-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester; ingredients sourced directly from Pineland Farms will be served by chefs from Black Tie Catering. There are multiple dinners throughout the summer and fall, including dinners set for June 24, July 10 and July 24; admission for all dinners is $95.
Finally, on Sunday, June 23 there are two big fundraising dinner events in southern Maine. The first is the eighth annual Taste of the Nation event, set for 3 to 8 p.m. at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, a fundraising event for the Share Our Strength young hunger aid organization. Participating restaurants include Fore Street, Five Fifty-Five and Petite Jacqueline from Portland, the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport and Shepherd’s Pie in Rockport, among many others; general admission is $125 and VIP admission is $200. That same day, chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley from Hugo’s and Eventide Oyster Company in Portland will cook the first of six scheduled dinners at Flanagan Farm in Buxton, to benefit Maine Farmland Trust. The June 23 dinner is set for 6 to 9 p.m., and the cost is $100, which includes alcohol and gratuity. The other dinners at Flanagan Farm for 2013 include chef Cara Stadler of Tao in Brunswick on July 14, Brian Hill of Francine Bistro in Camden on Sept. 23, Rob Evans of Portland’s Duckfat on Oct. 7, Krista Kern Desjarlais on Nov. 10 and Melissa Kelly of Rockland’s Primo on Dec. 8. For more information, visit the Flanagan Farm website.