Tidbits for Jan. 27

Posted Jan. 26, 2010, at 6:33 p.m.

One of the greatest movies about food ever made is “Big Night” — the hilarious, touching 1996 film about two brothers who cook the greatest feast ever, in order to save their beloved restaurant. Ellsworth restaurant Cleonice, run by acclaimed chef Rich Hansen, will re-create the five-course Italian feast featured in the movie. The “Big Night Wine Dinner,” Sunday evening, Jan. 31, will include all five courses, including two small plates, antipasti, pasta and an incredible dessert. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know that this is not a meal to be missed. To purchase tickets, call 667-7554.

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The end of January signifies one of the best things about dining in downtown Bangor: the international weeks at Montes International Catering on Columbia Street. For nine consecutive weeks the restaurant will shine the spotlight on a different cuisine. This week, the first week, features German and Hungarian foods such as wiener schnitzel, Black Forest cake and Hungarian beef goulash until Friday, Jan. 29. Successive weeks include Italian, Greek, Mexican, Moroccan and North African, Polish, Irish and ending with French, March 22-26. Check out www.montesinternational.com for each day’s menu or to order on-line. Montes has eat-in dining for lunch and takeout for lunch and dinner.

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The 44th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off will feature a finalist from Maine this year. Chris Caston of Jonesboro is one of the 100 bakers whose recipes were chosen by a panel of judges. His Chai Brownie Cupcakes with Creamy Froth are in the running for the big prize — $1 million. Caston, an inventory specialist, said he learned to cook from his father, and spent many hours in the kitchen perfecting his recipe. The final bake-off will be held April 11-13 in Orlando, Fla. Caston’s recipe, along with the 99 others, can be found at www.bakeoff.com.

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If you’re a longtime Tidbits reader, you’re probably aware of the intense love I have for wild Maine shrimp. Well, glory be, it’s about that time again, when trucks in parking lots across the state offer up for sale pounds of the tiny, delicately pink crusta-ceans. Though in the 1980s there was fear of overfishing, shrimp stocks have since swelled to very healthy levels, and last October, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section elected to allow a second consecutive six-month fishing season. Shrimpers can again fish and trap Pandalus borealis through May 29. Wild Maine shrimp are fantastic in scampi, soups or salads. Deep-frying is an option, but I’m of the opinion that it ruins their sweet flavor and tender texture. I enjoy eating them raw — sushi restaurant Suzuki on Main Street in Rockland, offers a variety of sashimi, nigiri and maki using ama ebi, the Japa-nese term for the shrimp.

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