Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maine Restaurant Week - Signature Event

The Maine Restaurant Week's Signature Event is an absolute foodgasm of epic proportions. The Event combines bite-sized desserts from well known pastry chefs with the signature cocktails from the state's leading mixologists. The competition was fierce as each representing team brought their A-game.

Jacob and I started in the first room; him with camera in hand, and I with Academe's "Sage Against the Machine," a deliciously infused cocktail that cleverly combined Absolut Raspberry, Triple Sec, Sour Mix, Muddled Sage, Lime, and St. Germain's Elderflower Liquor. The freshness of this cocktail won my heart, and came away with first place for the evening.

As I meandered around the Masonic Temple, munching on a delicious selection of cheeses, risotto balls, and various other h'ordeurves provided by Camden Harbour Inn, I came across a new name. Kristin F. Simmons had a table that instantly caught my attention. Whether is was the Parisian inspired cake, the tiny lemon meringue samples, or a combination of the two, I could not get these desserts out of my mind. Without further ado I cast my vote. I caught up with Kristin, herself, and we chatted about her cakes. Right then and there I decided, this woman will someday be making my wedding cake, whether she knows it yet or not!

Other highlights of the evening included a brand-spanking new cocktail from my favorite Portland restaurant and bar, Sonny's. The boys informed me that the drink had not even been added to the menu, but assured me that I could expect it by the weekend. It was called "Kali Ma " and it was absolutely amazing. A combination of Pimm's Cup #1, Strongbow Hard Cider, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg whites, this cocktail definitely stood out among the rest. It was smooth, easy to drink, and absolutely dangerous. While I am disappointed that they did not win, I have faith that they will have several new fans due to this winning combination.

My second dessert ticket of the evening went to Portland's Havana South and their spicy chocolate truffle. It gave me a tasty kick in the mouth without overdoing it, and was a tiny treat that definitely left me wanting more.

Other key players in tonight's event were Walter's, People's Choice Dessert Champions, with their "Kitt Katt Bar with Sea Salted Caramel," Katie Made's "Dark and White Chocolate Raspberry Cake," Brian Boru's twist on a Hot Toddy, and the "Double Pear Martini" from The Salt Exchange.

All in all it was a fabulous night. As I wandered down the street with my full belly and slight buzz, I thought to myself, "I wish every week was restaurant week."