The dilemma downtown

Posted July 28, 2009, at 5:33 p.m.

Construction of a new parking facility on Columbia Street in downtown Bangor is a necessary inconvenience. But for Montes International Catering, it’s killing business.

Owners Carmen and Arturo Montes say the eatery has experienced a significant drop in customers since Columbia Street was shut down about a month ago. New customers have no idea the place is there, while returning patrons often opt for easier, more accessible choices downtown. So, a note of support for an excellent local business: Navigate your way to Montes. It’s still possible to get to Columbia Street by coming up Cross Street, or by coming down Middle Street from High Street. As always, Montes makes big, creative salads, an assortment of wraps and sandwiches both hot and cold, and an ever-changing selection of to-go dinners, available after 3:30 p.m. Oh yeah, they also make a softball-size whoopie pie that was a reader favorite in Bangor Daily News’ contest. Montes’ recently renovated dining room is open until 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. To place an order, call 945-3990, or visit www.montesinternational.com.

There are two notable food-related discussions and workshops in the midcoast area this week. The first, at 6:30 tonight at Rockland Public Library, features nationally renowned chef and author Matthew Kenney, a Searsport native, who will be discussing raw foods. Kenney was named one of Food & Wine’s 10 Best New Chefs, and has been nominated twice for the James Beard Rising Star Chef award. He has written several cookbooks, including “Everyday Raw,” “Raw Food Real World” and “Matthew Kenney’s Mediterranean Cooking.” Kenney will discuss his personal journey with raw foods, talk about making some simple raw food dishes and share a treat he has prepared. Then, at 10 a.m. and again at noon Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Lily Pond House on Union Street in Rockport, holistic nutritionist Holly Noonan will give two talks on ancestral foods. The average person’s diet has changed more in the past 30 years than in thousands of years of human existence. Noonan will discuss the health effects of this radical shift in diet, introduce some ancestral food recipes and offer options for getting the ingredients locally. In the second talk, Noonan will compare American diets to those in other cultures around the world. The cost for both of Noonan’s workshops is $35. For more, call 236-2112.

You are what you eat. It’s a simple expression that has gravely important implications as you watch “Food, Inc.,” the sobering but immensely entertaining new film that traces what we eat, how it comes to our table and why we might want to make some changes. It may not be playing in the multiplex, but several smaller local theaters have scheduled screenings of the film: Look for it at 6 and 8 p.m. Aug. 4-6 at Reel Pizza Cinerama in Bar Harbor; at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8-11 at The Grand in Ellsworth; and nightly right now at Railroad Square Cinemas in Waterville, where it is scheduled to remain until Aug. 6.

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