A benefit dinner for the Alewive’s Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth, hosted by the Sea Glass restaurant, featured great food for a great cause.

 

George

What an excuse for gluttony! On May 16, the Sea Glass restaurant at Cape Elizabeth’s lovely Inn by the Sea hosted an auction and five-course wine dinner to raise money for Alewive’s Brook Farm, just down the road from the inn.

The Jordan family has been on the farm for three generations, and more than 80 supporters gathered at the Sea Glass to scoff up silent auction items and enjoy an elegant dinner. The money raised that night will be used to help build a new farm stand, including equipment to allow processing of some foods.

Sea Glass gets a lot of fresh seasonal produce from Jodie Jordan, as well as all of its lobsters. As the inn’s Rauni Kew told us, “They are a terrific family, and deliver here to the inn as needed — sometimes seven days a week!”

It was not surprising that the inn stepped up to help the Jordans. If an inn could have a conscience, this one would. They spend a lot of time and money on habitat and other projects that help everything from Monarch butterflies to Cottontail rabbits. They also patronize Maine artists — Martha Baum’s stunning coastal scenes are currently featured in the dining room.

Regular readers of this column know that we love the Inn by the Sea and have enjoyed several fantastic dinners at the Sea Glass. But this dinner may have been the best yet. Certainly, Executive Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich put his best food forward for this special event.

Promptly at 7 p.m., Chef Kaldrovich sent out a spicy crab cake. And yes, it was spicy! But the grilled watermelon provided some coolness and the avocado crema sauce added even more taste. The Italian Lamberti Prosecco was perfectly paired with this dish.

With her first bite of the second course, marinated beets and chilled lobster salad, Linda exclaimed, “Oh, I’m in heaven!”

“The lobster?” I inquired.

“Nope, the beets,” she replied.

A bit later, she asked, “Who would ever think to scatter granola on a salad?” Of course, I hadn’t even noticed the granola, I was so focused on the chilled lobster. As the superb wait staff (led by Susan at our table) brought new wine glasses and silverware, other servers delivered a beautiful plate of herb-grilled salmon. The generous portion of salmon was nice and moist, with a tasty pomegranate reduction and a lot of braised cannellini beans that I especially enjoyed. The French Sacha Lichne Single Blend Rose provided a perfect pairing. I don’t normally like Rose, or I thought I didn’t. But this was really good.

The evening was flying by, with lots of great conversation at our table where we were privileged to be joined by three generations of the Jordan family: Jodie, whose father purchased the farm in 1958; his daughter Caitlin, who now manages the farm; and his 5-year-old great-nephew Sam, who had just helped plant potatoes — for his third year! Yes, they start ’em young in the Jordan family.

If nothing more had come from the kitchen, we would have had a very fine dinner. But the fourth course was the best: slow-braised beef short ribs. Of course, this is one of my very favorite dishes, anyway, but the Sea Glass has perfected it. Just the smell, as Susan delivered my plate, was wonderful. A delicious mushroom sauce, grilled broccoli and parsnip potato latkes added a lot to the dish. The ribs, easily cut without a knife, were so tender and tasty, and the Argentina Alma Negra Red Blend wine was my favorite of the night. Because we were staying at the inn that night, I was able to enjoy two glasses of this.

By the time the steamed lemon pudding dessert arrived, created by Pastry Chef Karen Voter, I was so sated that I forgot to take photos of it. Trust me — it was very pretty! And it didn’t remain on my plate very long.

I waddled the short walk up to our stunning two-story suite, overlooking the beautiful grounds, Crescent Beach and the open ocean, and dropped into a deep sleep. I may have dreamed of short ribs.

Linda

Alewives’s Brook Farm is hardly my idea of a typical farm. Jodie is a lobsterman/farmer and his daughter Caitlin runs the farm. It was such a pleasure to be able to sit with them at this benefit dinner for their farm.

During our table conversation I was stunned to find out that there are more farms in Cape Elizabeth than in my rural town of Mount Vernon. Caitlin named four full time, year-round farms and several more with a niche market and shorter season. I’ve never thought of the Cape as a farming community, but now I will.

Chef Mitchell Kaldrovitch works his magic to turn these fresh products into indescribably delicious dishes. I would have a hard time choosing between my favorite two dishes. The Marinated Beets and Chilled Lobster Salad was outstanding, and I heard murmurs of agreement around the table. The vinegary red and yellow beets were well balanced with a granola dust for a touch of sweetness. Not normally a lobster lover, I devoured the chilled lobster and arugula. All this was atop a citrus creme fraiche. Bad news for George, not a speck left on my plate.

My other favorite was the beef short ribs. Just the aroma as it arrived had me swooning. The ultra-tender beef cameo with a mushroom sauce and the parsnip potato latkes. Whoa!

Young Sam was such a sport about all the fancy plated dishes put in front of him. He would try a bit of the different things and at one point said, “Jodie, do you like that?” They had put in a special order of chicken tenders for him, but more and more dishes arrived before he received them on the fourth course. Thank goodness the chef came through with Sam’s chicken! His grin reached from ear to ear.

Throughout the meal there was true Maine conversation for this special dinner. The talk bounced between fishing, golfing, farming and great restaurants. I loved it. Great people, great food and a great cause.

The Inn By The Sea looked a bit different on this visit when I gazed out the double-decker windows in our beautiful downstairs living room. Apparently we had not been here at this time of year, and I was taken by the grass that was neatly manicured and greener than green. Massive beds of tulips were on the verge of popping open, and the shrubs and perennials looked great.

I looked about our two-story space to realize that you could fit three regular sized hotel rooms in it! The comfortable lounging area, desk and kitchen on the first floor open to a private deck. The upstairs bedroom looks out to the water through the two-story windows. The bathroom is an extended space that has separate rooms for the shower, toilet and sink/tub area!

The inn doesn’t miss a detail. Ginger cookies arrived shortly after we checked in and, yes, they were awesome with freshly brewed coffee for breakfast! We didn’t have time to enjoy breakfast in the Sea Glass dining room because we were anxious to get to Massachusetts to visit our new granddaughter. What a great weekend!

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed in the “Best of Maine” section.