Let’s start with the most fun thing that crossed my desk this week: Larry the Lobster, a 70-foot inflatable lobster that will sit (crawl?) on top of the Taste of Maine restaurant in Woolwich this summer.

The family-owned restaurant just off U.S. Route 1, which overlooks a beautiful marsh, already claims to be the home of the “World’s Largest Lobster Roll.” Now a lobster that looks like he’s been nuked by North Korea is scheduled to go up on the restaurant’s roof on May 2 in celebration of the Taste of Maine’s 40th anniversary. Larry, if he were real, could feed the entire town of Woolwich and then some. Let’s hope no high winds come along and send Larry flying, or some hapless tourists driving up Route 1 might just have a heart attack and drive off into the marsh.


Now that we’re all craving lobster (you’re welcome), the other big red crustacean news this week was that Cousins Maine Lobster successfully bid for a spot in Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth this summer. That means Bite Into Maine, the first lobster truck to land a spot in the park, will now have competition. The Cousins Maine truck, part of a national franchise launched in 2012 by two cousins from Maine, will be right by the Portland Head lighthouse, giving the entrepreneurs easy access to hungry tourists willing to part with their money for a taste of Maine, although their sandwich will probably not be named Larry.


Remember a few years ago, when Blue Rooster let 13 cooks around town design a hot dog for them every week, all summer long? Tipo, the Italian restaurant at 182 Ocean Ave. in Portland, is doing something similar with pizzas created by nine local chefs. Courtney Loreg, chef at Woodford F&B, kicks off the series today with a kale–Caesar salad pizza with artichokes, and a new pizza will debut every Wednesday night in April and May. Here’s the rest of the lineup:


April 11 – Pete Sueltenfuss, The Otherside Delicatessen

April 18 – Brant Dadaleares, Gross Confections Bar

April 25 – Lucy and Ian Dutch, Dutch’s

May 2 – Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House

May 9 – Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy, East Ender

May 16 – Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, Hugo’s/Eventide/Honey Paw


May 23 – Ilma Lopez, Piccolo/Chaval

May 30 – Jason Loring, Nosh/Hunker Down


The Bier Cellar in Portland is opening a second location in Gorham. The new location, at 593 Main St., will be a plus for Gorham’s resident beer lovers, who already have four breweries nearby. The Bier Cellar specializes in local brews, and also offers other choices.


The owners of the Blue Mermaid Island Grill, a popular restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, got fed up gentrification there and have moved their business across the Piscataquis River to Kittery, at 10 Shapleigh Rd. They’ve already bonded with famed brewmaster Tod Mott, whose Tributary Brewing Co. is right next door, and plan lots of collaborations, including the launching of the Blue Mermaid food truck at the brewery on April 14. Blue Mermaid is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.



How many Veranda Thai restaurants can the Greater Portland area handle? We’re about to find out. Veranda Kitchen & Bar has opened at 675 Main St. in Westbrook, the first location outside of Portland. The same family also owns three restaurants in Portland: Veranda Thai and Veranda Noodle Bar, both on Veranda Street, and Veranda Noodle House on Commercial Street.


Eat fabulous food and help sick children at the same time at the annual Fabulous Femmes Chef dinner, a fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. The dinner is scheduled this year for April 22 from 5 to 10 p.m., with participation from these “fabulous femmes”: Briana Holt of Tandem Coffee, Tara Rook of Chaval (where the fundraiser will be held) and sommelier Erica Archer from Wine Wise will provide cocktails, wine and passed appetizers. The chefs preparing dinner are Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan Restaurant and Bao Bao Dumpling House, Krista Kern Desjarlais of The Purple House and Bresca & The Honey Bee, Ilma Lopez of Chaval and Piccolo, Kim Rodgers of Big Tree Hospitality and Melissa Kelly of Primo Restaurant. Alysia Zoidis of East End Cup Cakes will provide cupcakes for the road. The chefs hope to raise more than $14,500 for the children’s hospital. These seats usually sell out fast. Tickets are $250. Buy them online at fabulousfemmes.bpt.me All proceeds go directly to the hospital.


And here’s a chance to help hungry kids. Chef Rob Evans (we’ve missed him, haven’t we?) is planning a fundraiser, along with his team from Duckfat and brewers from Oxbow Blending & Bottling, to benefit Full Plates Full Potential. The dinner, called Fire & Fowl | Farmhouse & Feast, is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. May 6 and features craft cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a “fire-driven full-course dinner” and dessert. The event will be held at the Duckfat Beer Garden, 49 Washington Ave. Tickets cost $150. Find them online at fullplates.org/events/fireandfowl/



When it rains, it pours. For years Portland went without a decent bagel, and now we seem to be swimming in them. The latest? Union Bagel has opened its second location at 46 Veranda St. in Portland.


Have you always wanted to travel to China but can’t afford the trip? Chef Cara Stadler is launching another “Gastronomic Tour of China” on Sunday, a dinner series that each week focuses on food from a different province of China. Each dinner, at Stadler’s Tao Yuan Restaurant in Brunswick, costs $38. The menus will be posted online at tao-yuan.me, along with a guide to the cuisine from each region.

Here’s your itinerary:

April 4 – Shannxi


April 15 – Xin Zhang/ Mongolia

April 22 – Shandong

April 29 – Guangdong /Hong Kong

May 6 – Beijing

May 13 – Shanghai

May 20 – Yunan


May 27 – Hainan


“Babette’s Feast,” which premiered in Portland this winter, has now opened off-Broadway at the Theater at St. Clement’s, 423 W 46th St., New York. New York Magazine has listed the production as a critic’s pick.


Saddest news of the week: Lawrence Klang, who was executive chef at Tempo Dulu in Portland and at Natalie’s restaurant in Camden, died unexpectedly last week. His obituary says that he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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