It was lunchtime and staring at a five pound lobster had more than whetted my appetite. I had met Kerry Altiero the night before at our gathering at Rusticana. Kerry is chef/owner of Café Miranda and that was our luncheon destination. Café Miranda is named after a dog Kerry owned. Her ashes, food bowl, collar and picture grace a shelf on one of the walls. Kerry’s approach to food is whimsical and artistic. Just take a peek at his menu. I love their motto: “We do not serve the food of cowards.” Plate after plate after plate of delicious food appeared at our table until we couldn’t eat one more bite. Lucky for me, I was headed back there for dinner the following evening.
I finally got a chance to show Mainers how to properly consume a lobster. Truth be told, they showed me, and it’s not what you see depicted in that shot. Ken and Ellen Barnes hosted a Lobster Bake for us at the Captain Lindsey House Inn and invited some locals to bring some side dishes and share their stories. Fiddleheads are a Maine delicacy, the coiled leaves of an Ostrich Fern. They’re served steamed or boiled and are delicate and quite tasty. Captain Dan Cosby from Crate to Plate told us you can lease one of his lobster traps for a season and have live Maine lobster shipped to you from your trap. Pat O’Brien from Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars was sampling his wares. Soon enough, Ken pulled the lobsters out of the water and served them with grilled sausage and corn on the cob. Believe me, it doesn’t get much better.
We all returned to our appointed inns for the night to prepare for our last day in Rockland. For a lucky few, we were getting ready to set sail on the Schooner Stephen Taber.
Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery was our next destination. Keith and Constance Bodine purchased their property in 2005. Not only does Keith produce Blueberry, Apple and Peach wines, he distills Gin, Apple Brandy and Rum, too. The Cranberry Gin was a real treat and the Cranberry and Peach Smash were both delicious.
The following day five of us were setting out from Rockland on a three day wine cruise aboard the historic Schooner Stephen Taber. We went aboard to meet Captain Noah Barnes and his crew and learn the basics of life at sea over the next three days. The Stephen Taber is gorgeous. Noah is Ken and Ellen Barnes’ son, and he and his wife Jane took over the Taber from them. She’s been in the family for more than 25 years.
I joined two other writers for the first of two “tastes” for dinner. I was delighted to hear we were returning to the Café Miranda. Linda, Allan and I sat at the counter so we could visit with Chef Kerry and watch him cook. He loves what he does and doesn’t believe in being bound by tradition. His menu is extensive and covers everything from Asian to Italian and more. He started us off with the f.b.o.m., fabulous bowl of meat, with Thai spiced ground turkey, vegetables and cellophane noodles in a lettuce wrap. We ate fiddleheads and mussels and when we mentioned we heard his macaroni and cheese was outstanding he prepared us some of that, topped with roasted kale. Kerry is a wizard and it was a treat watching him at work.