Ben Simpson with his favorite beer, in can and cake form, on his 96th birthday. Photo courtesy of Carlton Robie

When Carlton Robie realized his grandfather’s upcoming birthday corresponded with the number of calories in his favorite beer – 96 – he wanted to do something special, so he reached out to the people behind the Miller Lite brand.

They took it from there, ordering a cake in the shape of a Miller Lite can from Cakes for All Seasons in Biddeford and putting together a basket of merchandise that Robie and his family dropped off for his grandfather, Ben Simpson, on his birthday Dec. 2.

“I was just amazed,” said Simpson, who lives in Sanford with his wife.

Lisa Parker, owner of Cakes for All Seasons, said it took about 10 hours to make the 37-pound chocolate buttermilk cake, frosted in dark chocolate ganache and covered in rolled fondant, with a message on the back, “Cheers to 96 years with 96 calories.” Miller Lite picked up the $475 tab.

Robie, 22, of Kennebunk, said Miller Lite’s response was “above and beyond” what he was hoping for when he reached out.

“It was super special for me just to be able to do something for him,” he said.

A week later, Simpson is still working on the leftovers.

BACK TO BAKING

Popular South Portland bakery Scratch Baking Co. planned to reopen Wednesday after shutting down for a week because a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are healthy and sure ready to get back to it this week,” read a Facebook post Monday.

Look out for Scratch’s holiday menu coming Friday.

The outdoor dining area at Terlingua’s new location. Photo by Pliny Reynolds

BACK TO BBQ-ING

Terlingua has reopened in its new location, the former home of Silly’s, at 40 Washington Ave. in Portland.

The restaurant is currently offering takeout and outdoor dining, in an open-air back deck and garden area, noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The new location is also home to a market selling grab-and-go meals, smoked meats, taco kits, dry goods, batch cocktails and more.

Its former home, at 52 Washington Ave., is now home to Radici pizzeria, and Silly’s reopened in October as Vintage Silly’s at 68 Washington Ave.

ANOTHER OTTO

Otto pizza opened its newest location last week at 27 Main St. in Andover, Massachusetts, bringing its total number of pizza shops to 15 – now with eight in Massachusetts and seven in Maine, according to its website.

The Andover location has a walk-up window and will deliver throughout town, a news release said. It is closed to dine-in service for now, because of the pandemic, but will eventually have a large dining area and full bar with 12 taps featuring regional craft beers.

SEAFOOD AND SPLIT IT

If you order seafood from certain restaurants on Dec. 16, you could pay half price for your meal.

For Split the Seafood Bill Day, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute will cover 50 percent of restaurant bills (excluding alcohol) for the first 200 people who submit a reimbursement form, along with a photo of a seafood dish you ordered and a photo of the receipt, by Dec. 18.

Why do this? As the research industry explains on its website, “Just as working waterfronts are part of the cultural and economic bedrock of the Gulf of Maine region, restaurants play a critical role in our communities. Our Culinary Partners … are businesses that commit to making Gulf of Maine seafood available on their menus at all times. These businesses are dedicated supporters of the local seafood industry, but right now, these restaurants need our support.”

Participating restaurants, also known as “culinary partners,” include Andy’s Old Port Pub, DiMillo’s, Eventide Oyster Co., Sea Dog Brewing Co. and several more, from Kittery to Camden. For the full list and more information about how to get reimbursed, go to gmri.org/projects/split-seafood-bill-day.

CAFETERIA COOK-OFF

Maine school districts have until Dec. 18 to register for the Department of Education’s 2021 Farm to School Cook-off, a competition among teams of school nutrition professionals and students “to promote local foods in school meals,” according to a DOE news release.

The format has changed because of the pandemic, with a virtual cook-off planned for March, when teams will submit videos of their meals along with information about the ingredients and techniques used to make them. The top three teams will advance to the final cook-off in May in Augusta.

For more information, go to maine.gov/doe/farmtoschool.


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