Jason, my Chef de Cuisine at Lacroix and myself took a 16 hour train to Portland, Maine at 6:30 in the morning. I attempted to book a flight last minute resulting in $1700 per ticket, which the Rittenhouse Hotel obviously wouldn’t fund on their account. J and I were taking the cheaper route: A $400 trip between the two of us . After we reached Boston with a 3 hour layover, I was pissed for not taking my King Ranch Truck up North instead.
By this point we were starving, annoyed, and trying to make the best of the downtown residential neighborhood of Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and Old State House in Boston. We went to Fenway Park and ate some hot dogs and ventured to Boston Common’s park and walked around the city. By that time, we headed to Boston’s North Station and we were off to Portland. When we finally arrived in Maine, it was pouring outside and the production assistant was waiting to drive us to Sheepscot Harbor Village and Resort in Edgecomb, which was an hour and 45 minutes north of Portland.
Steven Horn, the producer of the Chef’s Kitchen hosted a dinner every night at 8 o’clock at Bintliff’s Ocean Grill for the chef’s who were filming. The chef’s included :Roberto Donna from Galileo, Chris Lee from Guilt, Pastry Chef David Carmichael from Guilt, John Mims from Le Bon Temps, and Evan Deluty from Stella. The first night we arrived around 8:30 just before they plated the entrees. I ate lobster mac and cheese and skipped dessert.
The last thing I wanted to do was sit around, so J and I decided to hit the local bar. There isn’t shit to do there in April so we drank, and drank, and drank some more patron. I was completely shit-housed. J and I were just shootin’ the shit but there is absolutely nothing to do but drink. The town was dead.
The next morning I taped the half-hour show with Hope Cohen, the host of Chef’s Kitchen at the ass-crack of dawn. On air I made Foie Gras bon-bons, which had 5 different kinds of fillings. I made green jolly rancher fluid gel, dehydrated honey (from my own collection), smoked balsamic vinegar, blackberry and oregano, and muscat grape purée.
After the show, J and I were hungry and decided to bike to Reds Eats in Wiscasset, the best lobster shack that makes rolls. Nearly 40 million pounds of lobster are harvested each year from Maine which is insane, and the lobsters are so fucking good. We had lobster rolls, fried clam bellies, fries, and 2 sodas which emptied my pocket. It came out to about $70 but was so worth it. After the awesome food, we biked back to Davis Island and decided to drive around and explore. We got lost and spent half an hour trying to find the Oyster farms.
The oysters are beautiful, clean, fresh and have a great depth of texture and flavor. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any because we were thrown out of the oyster farm. The farm wasn’t open to the public around the time we arrived. We snuck in at the bottom of the hill where the farms were located, however, the owner’s daughter freaked out and told us we had to leave.
We headed back just in time for dinner. The food was better at Bintliff’s the second night. J and I split the Maine clam chowder, wings, and ribs. Evan downed a 5th of vodka and went into rage mode against Steven while I kept texting friends to see who won the Flyers game since there was no television in sight. It was a pretty beat night and we ended it early.
We had another 16 hour trip back home to Philly, which left bright and early. If the trip wasn’t long enough, our fucking train gets back to Penn Station and breaks down. We are sitting in the pitch-black for a good hour or so. If there was anything else that could have pissed me off, there was unattended “suspicious baggage” on the train and the cops had to escort the luggage off. I could have flown to fucking Vietnam and back in the amount of time it took to get home.