It’s become one of our favorite events of the year: the Maine Restaurant Association’s Annual Awards Banquet.
Imagine wandering the room during the pre-dinner reception, eating amazing appetizers from some of the state’s best restaurants and chefs including the new chef at The Nonantum Resort, a spectacular place on the water in Kennebunkport, and the chefs at the Harraseeket, one of our very favorite inns, restaurants and taverns in Freeport.
Last year Linda and I ate far too many apps and couldn’t eat much of the wonderful dinner served later in the evening, so this year we (ok, she) did a better job of just nibbling the appetizers. And you can’t really blame me for pigging out on braised rabbit empanada, and lobster and duck egg gnocchi with leaks and king trumpet mushrooms. Yup. These were just two of the apps! Yummy!
The event is held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, so we reserved a room for the night there. This is our home away from home in the greater Portland area, centrally located so we can walk to many venues, with great rooms and a super friendly staff (including Richard who checked us in), typical for the Lafayette Hotels owned by a Bangor family. It’s hard to beat the view out over the harbor from our room on the 8th floor.
We’ve gotten to know lots of people in the restaurant industry, so it was a lot of fun to catch up with them that night. And we were very pleased when Chef Josh Berry won the Chef of the Year award. Josh is the chef at Union Restaurant in the wonderful Press Hotel in Portland. We wrote about Chef Berry, Union, and the Press Hotel last year.