Maine Restaurant Week started Monday and runs through Wednesday, March 10. While eastern Maine diners might be dismayed to see just four restaurants in the Bangor area and none east of Bangor are included on the heavily Portland-centric list, the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce has come up with its own celebration of dining in the area. For the entire month of March, 26 different eateries will participate in the first-ever Dine Around. Deals in the offer range from The Lucerne Inn’s Two for $50 (an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert for $50) to the Weekday Special at Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro, which is a four-course meal for $25. Visit www.ellsworthchamber.org for a full list of participating restaurants.
For midcoast restaurants that are participating in Maine Restaurant Week, there are a number of opportunities offered up for diners. Natalie’s at the Camden Harbor Inn will construct an ice bar on the Inn’s front porch this weekend (provided the weather isn’t too warm). Bartender and “mixologist” Tom Laslavic will create specialty cocktails on the martini luge, and DJ Owen C will spin electronic music. The bar will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. March 4-6. Also at Natalie’s, a five-course Mediterranean meal will be offered at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 6, featuring the combined talents of executive chef Lawrence Klang and renowned food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins; the cost for the meal is $65; for reservations, call 800-236-4266. Additionally, Natalie’s will offer the regular three-course Maine Restaurant Week meals, priced at either $20.10 or $40.10. In Portland next week, literate foodies will have a chance for a brush with greatness. Judith Jones, the legendary food editor of Julia Child, James Beard, Jacques Pepin, Nina Simonds and more, will give a talk at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in downtown Portland. The cost for the lecture is $15; members of the Portland Museum of Art get in for $10. For tickets, visit www.portlandmuseum.org.
Though we tend to associate lobster with the big, meaty Maine species of the family, there’s plenty of lobster all throughout the world — from the small, pink Norwegian lobster to the scampi lobster of the waters around Australia and New Zealand. Seven lobstermen from Tasmania, West Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the Caribbean will meet with Maine lobstermen beginning Thursday, March 4, during the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Lobstermen’s Exchange. The fishermen will visit lobstering operations in Rockport, Cutler, Jonesport, Somesville, Stonington, Vinalhaven, Phippsburg and Portland, culminating in a visit to the Boston Seafood Show on March 14. For more information on the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, visit www.mainelobstermen.org.