Thursday April 17th 2014

Pancake Race & bowling with chefs: Maine Restaurant Week returns March 1-10 with new events

By: Shannon Bryan

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Hear that? It’s your stomach growling. While the rest of your body can do little more than shiver from the cold, your belly is growing restless. It knows that winter means Maine Restaurant Week is coming. And your belly is hungry. So, so hungry.

It’s true, Maine Restaurant Week returns March 1-10, bringing along its slew of participating restaurants and prix fixe menus (check them all out here:www.mainerestaurantweek.com/restaurants).

Popular events like the Incredible Breakfast Cook-off (you can see French toast for miles!) and Signature Event dessert and cocktail competition (which highlights the two best meals of the day — dessert and cocktails) will certainly be back.

But there are a few new events this year — events centered on pancakes and bowling chefs. (Finally! Organizers must’ve read my letter of recommendations.)

First, there’s The Pancake Race. I’m not certain of the details here, but let it suffice it to say that this four-person relay involves a skillet, some pancakes, some running, and some flippin’ coordination. Registration is open now for the March 4 event, which takes place on Fox Street in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. Cost is $40, costumes are encouraged, and organizers will supply the skillets and aprons. Killing it on the 100-yard course? That’s your responsibility.

Also new for 2014: BOWL BIG Bowling Tournament. This event combines our love of ten-pin with our appreciation for Maine’s hard-working restaurant professionals. A total of 23 teams will be allowed to register for the March 2 event at Bayside Bowl, and each team will be paired with a local restaurant employee. This could be your big chance to score 300 AND get that secret Brussels sprout recipe, all in one night (because people who bowl together, stay together and become best friends and share secrets and cook for each other all the time). It’s $100 to sign up a four-person team, and all proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Tickets for all of these events are ON SALE NOW: www.mainerestaurantweek.com/events
So start signing up and start deciding where you’re going to take your belly to eat. (It’s been good to you. Take it somewhere special.)

Something bright and drinkable! The Sweet & Tangy Screw with Basil Mint Caviar cocktail from Azure Cafe in Freeport at last year’s Signature Event. Meredith Goad/Press Herald photo