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John Golden

John Golden writes about food and has a highly opinionated blog, The Golden Dish.

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Posted: March 23, 2015

Wine dinners & bean suppahs: Fine food from local chefs at Maine dining events

A gala fete to benefit the Portland Symphony Orchestra and a church-style Bean Suppa were the highlights of dining out last week,

Written by: John Golden

If you’re getting tired of going to the same old fabulous restaurants in town (who is?), then it might be a relief to go to organized dining events and fundraisers around town, where area chefs work their magic in a whole new environment.

Last Wednesday, the Portland Symphony Orchestra wine dinner and auction was held at the Harraseeket where five of Greater Portland’s highly regarded chefs fashioned an ambitious menu to serve 250 guests. And a cafeteria-style menu of church supper delights at the Deering Grange Hall was put on by Rosemont Market’s offering of their second Bean Suppah.

The well dressed crowd at the PSO wine dinner and auction at the Harraseeket held on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The well dressed crowd at the PSO wine dinner and auction at the Harraseeket held on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

At the PSO dinner Harraseeket chef Troy Mains prepared a host of hors d’oeuvres like wild mushroom empanadas to soupcons of mussels with saffron followed by a four-course dinner starting with Central Provisions’ Chris Gould’s winter citrus salad with jasmine, black sesame and pistachios.

The dinner was beautifully served by the Harraseeket staff and included  braised salmon in red wine by Guy Hernandez (Lolita); braised North Star lamb as prepared by Sam Hayward and staff of Fore Street; and a wondrous dessert by Hugo’s star chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley who offered an unusual sweet called “winter in the woods” a sort of impressionist convergence of graham cracker, smoked vanilla, pine snow and caramelized white chocolate.  Wines were all from Washington State wineries.  The consensus was that Fore Street’s lamb and Lolita’s salmon were the best dishes and Hugo’s had mixed reactions though hitting the high fives for novelty.

First course at PSO wine dinner: winter salad

First course at PSO wine dinner: winter salad

Top, clockwise: Hugo's  dessert, Winter in the Woods; Fore Street's braised lamb with mushrooms and cornbread pudding ; Lolita's salmon braised in red wine over Moroccan chick peas with cumin

Top, clockwise: Hugo’s dessert, Winter in the Woods; Fore Street’s braised lamb with mushrooms and cornbread pudding ; Lolita’s salmon braised in red wine over Moroccan chick peas with cumin

Rosemont’s Brad Messier whipped up a true church supper  menu  that highlighted baked beans, mac and cheese, country ham, oatcakes, Cole slaw, corn bread, braised collards, scalloped potatoes, various salads and steamed root vegetables and some very outrageously fashioned desserts. The baked beans weren’t true New England style laced dark brown with molasses but had great flavor nonetheless; the ham was a braised pork shoulder that was put through the smoker and all the sides were sensational.

Rosemont's Bean Suppa at the Deering Grange Hall

Rosemont’s Bean Suppa at the Deering Grange Hall

some of the dishes at the Bean Suppa

Some of the dishes at the Bean Suppah including sensational oatcakes

Clockwise: mac and cheese, baked beans and scalloped potatoes

Clockwise: mac and cheese, baked beans and scalloped potatoes

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