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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: February 20, 2015

Run with pancakes, bowl with chefs & more: Maine Restaurant Week 2015 kicks off March 1

Written by: Susan Axelrod
Clockwise from top: Lisa Kostopoulos of The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth serves her signature creme brulee French toast to a guest at the Great Breakfast Cook-Off; a contestant gets ready to flip at The Pancake Race; bartenders shake it up at the Signature Event. Press Herald/MaineToday.com file photos

Clockwise from top: Lisa Kostopoulos of The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth serves her signature creme brulee French toast to a guest at the Great Breakfast Cook-Off; a contestant gets ready to flip at The Pancake Race; bartenders shake it up at the Signature Event. Press Herald/MaineToday.com file photos

Maine Restaurant Week has traditionally started with breakfast, and this year it will end with coffee and dessert. The annual celebration of Maine food and drink has expanded to two weeks this year: March 1-14. Nearly 100 restaurants around the state are participating – from 3 Crow in Rockland to Shipyard Brewing in Eliot – each offering specially priced three-course meals that highlight what they do best. Lunches start at $15 and dinners are priced at $25, $35 or $45, depending on the restaurant. It’s the perfect time to try some place new or celebrate an old standby – and not break the bank.

There are some fun food-related events, too. Maine Restaurant Week kicks off on again with The Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off on Friday, Feb. 27 at Sea Dog Brewing Company in South Portland and wraps up with Coffee and Dessert Pairing on Sunday, March 15 at Coffee by Design in Portland.

In between are the Chef-Am Bowling Tournament and the Pancake Race – both launched last year – the Signature Cocktail event, which this year asks bartenders and restaurants to pair “bites” with their drinks, and of course, the chance to enjoy prix-fixe menus at dozens of Maine restaurants at special Maine Restaurant Week prices.

In addition, Snowlion Repertory Company will present “The Maine Dish: A Feast of Plays about Food” at Portland Ballet Studio Theater March 5-8. The “Feast” is twelve courses, each written by a different local playwright. For details and tickets: snowlionrep.org.

The following is the schedule of events for Maine Restaurant Week:

The Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off

Friday, Feb. 27, 7-9 a.m. | Sea Dog Brewing Company, 125 Western Ave., South Portland | $25 | brownpapertickets.com
Maine’s title for “Best Breakfast” is up for grabs at this breakfast competition. Attendees taste the sweet and savory offerings and vote for their favorites. Proceeds benefit Preble Street Resource Center.

Chef-Am Bowling Tournament

Sunday, March 1, 2-5 p.m. | Bayside Bowl 58 Alder St., Portland | $140/team | brownpapertickets.com
Teams of four will be paired with a local restaurant professional for an afternoon of baker-style bowling, food and guaranteed hilarity. Proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine.

The Pancake Race

Tuesday, March 3, 6:30 p.m. | Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, 1 Industrial Way, Portland | $40/team | 207-775-2126
Costumed teams of four will race while flipping flapjacks on the course. Winners to receive bragging rights and a golden skillet trophy. Proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine.

The Signature Cocktail Pairing Event

Sunday, March 8, 6-8 p.m. | Prime Mercedes-Benz, 137 U.S. 1, Scarborough | $50 | brownpapertickets.com
New this year, Maine’s master cocktail shakers will pair their entries with a bite from their restaurant. Attendees get to select the best cocktail as well as best cocktail and food pairing. Proceeds benefit Preble Street Resource Center.

Coffee and Dessert Pairing

Sunday, March 15, 2-5 p.m. | Coffee By Design, One Diamond St., Portland | $35 | brownpapertickets.com
Taste desserts from some of Maine’s top dessert makers and sample coffees selected specifically to enhance each dessert. Learn about brewing techniques, roasting, flavor and body.

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