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Rocky Ground Cider hard ciders
If I’m being honest, what drew me to Rocky Ground Cider’s array of alcoholic apple ciders were the beautiful bottles: some deep green, some light green, all with a watercolor-esque logo depicting white and pink apple blossoms. But once I uncorked the bottle and tried the contents, I was hooked. Complex, earthy and pleasantly not sweet. Offering both still and sparkling ciders, the makers of Newburgh-based Rocky Ground Cider forage heirloom and wild apple varieties across central Maine. All of their ciders are naturally fermented for up to a year in oak barrels. I recommend trying Dahlia, which is a dry and earthy sparkling cider made from 72 varieties of apples. For a still cider, try Blue Raincoat, which is slightly tart and made mostly from heirloom apples from an orchard in Mercer.
Rocky Ground Cider is available at a number of stores in the Bangor region, including Damon’s Beverage and Tiller and Rye as well as Burby and Bates. On the coast, their ciders can be found at the Blue Hill Co-op, Ellsworth’s John Edward’s Market and the Belfast Co-op, among other stores.
— Lauren Abbate
Mama D’s curry in Bangor
A true obsession of mine, the Thai curry dishes at Mama D’s are some of my favorite meals in Bangor. I originally stumbled across the restaurant’s yellow curry dish — which is a sweet, creamy curry with coconut milk, pineapple, potato and bamboo shoots — when it was on the $10 lunch menu. And I just kept returning for more. I also enjoy their Massaman curry, which is similar, mixed with coconut milk, potato, carrot, onion and peanuts. Both dishes are mild, but you can add some heat to them on a five-star scale.
Other curry options on the Mama D’s menu include a traditional Thai curry called Spicy Pad Ped, which packs a little heat, as the name implies. There’s also a curry dish that features sliced mangos and bell peppers, as well as a green curry mixed with eggplant, green beans, zucchini and Thai basil leaves called Gaeng Kieow Waan. All curry dishes come with a side of white rice. And if you’re looking for an appetizer, I suggest sampling the crab rangoons, which are filled a delicious mixture of cream cheese, crab, scallions and yellow curry powder.
— Aislinn Sarnacki
Apple pie at Frank’s Bake Shop & Catering
There are certain things about which I will not compromise — my integrity, the wellbeing of my pets, loyalty to friends and apple pie.
That’s right, I said it: apple pie.
I’m a pie fan to begin with and apple is my favorite. But is there anything more disappointing to the pie pallet than a slice of mediocre pie consisting of under cooked apples, little to no spices, gelatinous filling and a cold, soggy crust?
Thankfully, I can get my uncompromising pie fix at Frank’s Bake Shop & Catering [199 State Street, Bangor, http://www.franksbakery.com] where their pie is truly the apple of my eye — not to mention taste buds.
The bakery is run by the grandchildren of Frank Soucy who founded the bakery in 1945 with his sons Joseph and Frank Jr. Today the bakery turns out an array of sweet and savory baked goods made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients.
And the apple pies? Oh those pies! Hand rolled, shaped and crimped by hand and bursting with Maine apples cooked to perfection inside that crust. Each bite has the perfect blend of apple flavor with cinnamon, sugar and other spices.
And if you are not sure you can eat an entire 8-inch or 10-inch pie on your own, don’t worry. At Frank’s, they happily sell pie by the slice.
But when a pie is that good? I’ll take a whole one, please.
— Julia Bayly