Maine's top lobster chef a new grad

PORTLAND, ME -- Being a good lobster chef is one thing. But, if you're the best in Maine, world-renowned for its lobsters, you've really added to your list of credentials.

If you're planning to visit Maine, you may want to dine at whatever restaurant winds up hiring Mackenzie Arrington (right), who just graduated from the the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

He won the title of "Maine Lobster Chef of the Year 2009" after a weekend cook-off competition at Harvest on the Harbor, part of a food and wine festival on the city's waterfront.

Arrington's dish was a roasted lobster tail on braised cabbage and cornbread.He finished ahead of Melissa Bouchard, chef at DiMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland, who prepared maple butter poached lobster tail served with sweet potato and Fuji apple bisque and frizzles of green onion, and Rick Skoglund, sous chef at the Samoset Resort in Rockland, who prepared butternut-mascarpone lobster ravioli with balsamic pomegranate spinach salad.

The chefs were selected from a field of professionals who submitted recipes over the summer. Their dishes were samopled and voted on by about 200 attendees.

Arrington grew up in Boothbay, ME, son of chef Margaret McLellan. He was awarded $1,000 in prize money.
Maine Lobster Council
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McDonald's closing up in Iceland

There are currently just three McDonald's fast-food restaurants in Iceland. After next week there will be none.

The north Atlantic island nation, still struggling with the effects of a financial crash that hit it last year when its banks collapsed, will join the list of European countries without a McDonald's. The others are Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Jon Ogmundsson, managing director of Lyst, which holds the McDonald's franchise in Iceland, said the rising cost of importing ingredients and no sign of economic recovery meant the business no longer is financially viable.

He said the cost of McDonald's ingredients, which the company insists be imported, mostly from Germany, had doubled in the last 18 months as a result of severe depreciation of the Icelandic krona and high import taxes.

"I've sold more hamburgers in the last few months than ever before, but the cost is prohibitive. It just makes no sense," Ogmundsson told Reuters. "For a kilo of onion, imported from Germany, I'm paying the equivalent of a bottle of good whiskey."
Official Iceland Travel Guide
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Ohio drinkers to get an earlier start

The world will change just a bit for drinkers in Ohio tomorrow.

That's when October 18 rolls around and a new state law goes into effect, allowing the sale of wines and liquors to begin two hours earlier than now.

Restaurants, bars and carryouts will be allowed to begin sales at 11 a.m., courtesy of the state's need for revenue. The change was part of the state budget bill that recently was passed by the legislature.
Dowd's Guides


Keeping up with NY's changing leaves

This is the sort of map you can access to keep up with the fall foliage progression statewide.

It is available from the state's I Love NY website.

The site provides a text foliage report as well as providing additional information on demand about scenic views and foliage forecast.

The latest report says, in part:

"This weekend, look for nearly complete color change and peak conditions at Whiteface Mountain in Essex County, with leaves of deep, rich red and gold. To the west, in the Mt. Arab and Tupper Lake areas of Franklin County, spotters are calling for 85-90 percent color change marked by an abundance of brilliant yellow and orange leaves accented by sporadic reds, which are quickly overtaking any remaining green. Old Forge leaf peepers in Herkimer County are predicting peak foliage, with bright shades of red, orange, and gold contrasting beautifully with the evergreens. Foliage will range from peak to just emerging from the early stages in Warren County.

"The best colors in the county will be found around the Upper Hudson River Gorge area, with 95 percent color change. In the Middle Hudson River Gorge areas of North Creek and Warrensburg, look for near-peak foliage with around 80 percent change. Predominating colors in both areas are bright red, yellow, gold and orange.

"Further to the southeast, the Lake George area should see color changes of up to 30 percent, with a nice display of red, bronze and yellow leaves set within the still predominantly green backdrop."
I Love NY tourism site
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