Maine chefs kick out the jams

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Pancake relay races, bowl-o-ramas, dessert and cocktail smack downs — it must be Maine Restaurant Week.

Crosscurrents of styles and cuisines from one hundred restaurants and chefs turn this edible event into an extravagant excess of fun.

Midway through the state-wide dining deal, where three-course meals are drastically reduced in the name of winter doldrums, there’s still time to partake in the panoply offered from Rangeley to Kennebunk.

Our picks: Portland’s hyper-local Vinland on Congress Street. The intimate gastro gallery that went viral after opening in late December, welcomes you with a sampling of Maine’s nearest and dearest.

What does reindeer lichen taste like anyway?

Now’s your chance to find out. Thirty four greenbacks nabs you a three-course, lovingly sourced dinner of turnip and yogurt soup, pollock and burdock topped with leek hay followed by a chevre tart with mead poached cranberries.

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91 South in Gorham pulls out all the stops with starters like mushroom pot pie, cauliflower salad with toasted walnuts; lemon creme fraiche and grilled salmon with pearl couscous tangerine butter and pickled golden raisins for $55.

On the lower end: the always popular Sea Dog Brewing Co. in Bangor serves up a good-with-beer spread of pork empanadas, BBQ ribs and a brownie Sundae for $25. Take your team out for this one.

Down south the Italian hotspot Abbondante in Kennebunk throws down a pizzetta, eggplant parm and meringata for the same price.

Got room for more?

Sunday night’s dessert and cocktail competition in a Mercedes-Benz dealership takes the cake for the most inventive food bash this year.

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Mercedes dealership turned drink & dessert depot.

Mixologists from 40 Paper in Camden take on the touted team from Sonny’s. And in the sweets dept, who wouldn’t want to witness SoPo’s beloved Scratch take on Portland’s institution Standard? Monday looks like a call in sick day for sure. Cheers!

Details here.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.