Cliff House Maine in Cape Neddick has installed two igloos where diners can eat fondue and drink wine while enjoying a winter view of the Atlantic. Photo courtesy of Cliff House

Have you seen those funky heated igloos some restaurants and hotels around the country have installed so their customers can enjoy wintertime dining with a view? They’ve arrived in Maine.

Cliff House Maine, the luxury hotel at 591 Shore Road in Cape Neddick, has installed two cliffside igloos on Bald Head Cliff, just outside the hotel’s restaurant, Nubb’s Lobster Shack. One igloo is reserved for hotel guests, the other is open for public bookings; both have stunning views of the Atlantic. The igloos, open Thursday through Saturday, rent for $250 each and fit two to six people. Each igloo comes with three beverage options: hot chocolate and mulled cider; one bottle of wine for two to three people; or two bottles of wine for four to six people. Guests also choose from a sweet and savory fondue menu, such as a New England beer and cheddar fondue.

To reserve an igloo, call reservations at (877) 407-2254 or the concierge at (207) 361-6245.

Leap into this deal

If you were born on Feb. 29 – Leap Day – and get to celebrate your birthday only once every four years, this year you’re in luck. A few local establishments are offering specials in your honor.

Sebago Brewing Co. is planning a couple of special offers, at all of its locations, featuring its Frye’s Leap IPA. Here’s the first: To celebrate the extra day in February, the brewer will give away an extra beer with every purchase of a six-pack of Frye’s Leap. The offer is good at any Sebago Brew Pub or tasting room.

Here’s the second: Sebago’s brewers have created a limited release, super-hopped version of Frye’s Leap called “Super Leap.” The new beer is dry hopped at four times the rate of the classic Frye’s Leap, reflecting the fact that Leap Year comes once every four years. On Feb. 29 only, a 14.7-ounce glass of Super Leap can be had for $6.50. If you’d like to compare the two versions of the beer, 5-ounce pours of both Super Leap and Frye’s Leap will sell for $5.

Extra day, extra beer: Buy a six pack of Sebago Brewing Co.’s Frye’s Leap on Leap Day Feb. 29 and get one extra beer free. Photo courtesy of Sebago Brewing Co.

Cliff House Maine redux

Nubb’s Lobster Shack at the Cliff House plans to celebrate Leap Year with an ice bar featuring whiskeys from Wiggly Bridge Distillery in York and Jim Beam Bonded that were bottled four years ago on Feb. 29. The Leap Bar will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Leap Day. Entry is free to Cliff House guests, but the resort is selling a limited number of tickets to the public for $45 per person. The ticket price includes one drink, games, music and a live ice-carving demonstration. The hotel’s new igloos (see above) will be open for warming up. Buy tickets through

For fans of Olive Garden

I don’t write much about chain restaurants, but I know that people who love Olive Garden really love Olive Garden. The chain has announced a couple of Leap Year deals, one for people born on Feb. 29 and one for everyone else. If you were a Leap Year baby, the restaurant will give you four – count ’em, four! – Dolcini desserts (little desserts layered with cake, mousse, pastry cream and berries) to make up for all those birthday celebrations you’ve missed.

And anyone who dines at an Olive Garden on Feb. 29, regardless of his or her birthday, can get one take-home entree for $2.29 (get it?). Choose from fettucine alfredo, five cheese ziti al forno or spaghetti with meat sauce.

And at the other end of the culinary spectrum …

If you’ve ever dreamed of learning to cook from a Michelin-starred chef, here’s your chance. Mads Refslund, one of the co-founders of Noma, the Danish restaurant that was ranked The World’s Best Restaurant four times by the prestigious list World’s 50 Best Restaurants, will be at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk May 20-22. The inn is selling one-night and two-night packages, but locals can buy a la carte tickets to a couple of the events. A five-course dinner prepared by Refslund on May 21, for example, costs $250 and includes wine pairings. A May 22 cooking demonstration and lunch can be purchased a la carte for $150. In the demo, Refslund will share his techniques for working with live seafood and his approach to no-waste cooking.

For more information, or to buy tickets, go to

The Whiskey Barrel rolls out into The Yard

The Whiskey Barrel, the country music-themed bar at 82 Hanover St. in Portland, announced some major changes Monday, including a new name. According to the owners, the bar had so much interest from entertainers outside of the country music genre that they have decided to rebrand altogether and become a place that offers all kinds of live music, along with more food options. The bar plans to add a full kitchen this spring, where it will make gourmet smash burgers, lobster rolls and even some vegan options. Televisions will be added for sports fans, along with a roof deck and courtyard for summer block parties. This new version of The Whiskey Barrel will now be known as The Yard.

The ultimate Maine surf and turf

Catering company Fire & Co. and Highroller Lobster Co. are teaming up for a surf and turf dinner Friday. Photo courtesy of Fire & Co.

Maine lobster with beef from a 4-H cow. Ayuh, that’s what we call surf and turf around heayah.

Last year Ryan Carey, owner of Fire & Co. – the wood-fired catering company that owns Noble BBQ on Forest Avenue in Portland – sponsored a 14-year-old 4-H high schooler raising beef cattle. He bought the student’s cow at auction at the Fryeburg Fair, with his winning bid of $7,800 going right back into the 4-H program. The meat is going to a special event – a pop-up communal, multi-course dinner called “Fat of the Land: A Night of Wood-Fired Steaks and Lobster” in collaboration with the High Roller Lobster Co., which will supply the surf for the surf and turf, as well as the dining room.

There are two seatings, one at 5:30, the other at 8 p.m. High Roller Lobster Co. is on 104 Exchange St. in Portland. Tickets are $80; buy them through

Two Fat Cats roam

Two Fat Cats bakery has announced that its original India Street location will close on March 1 in preparation for its move to Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood. The new location, at 195 Lancaster St., is expected to open in April.

Call before you go

A reminder to call before you stop by your favorite eateries this time of year since many of them close for renovations or a winter break. We saw a little panic on Twitter recently because MDI Ice Cream in Portland has been boarded up. Take a deep breath. Owner Linda Parker says the closure is only temporary. She’s having the floors and doors replaced, and hopes to reopen by the beginning of March. Also, Thai Esaan, at 849 Forest Ave. in Portland, announced last week that it closed Tuesday and won’t re-open until March 11. The owners are taking a winter holiday.

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