Editor’s Picks: January 2023

From local canned cocktails to Hulu favorites, here’s what our staff loved this month.

Here at Maine mag, our sights are set on spring—can you believe we’re working on the May issue already? While our minds are turned toward blooming flowers, warm breezes, and Maine Maple Sunday, our bodies are stuck in reality, and the editorial team has been keeping it quite cozy this month despite the unsettling lack of snow—that is until today. From streaming new shows to visiting a hidden music venue, here’s what members of our staff have been up to.

What We Read:

Photo courtesy of Random House Group

Being pregnant with morning sickness (which should be more accurately named morning-noon-and-night-sickness), one seeks peace, quiet, and something to escape into—why not a good book? Author Taylor Jenkins Reid hooked me with Malibu Rising and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but Daisy Jones & The Six is a different kind of read (and my favorite by far). Written as a documentary script, this story is told through the retelling of events from each Fleetwood Mac-inspired character, making the band’s journey feel palpable. Daisy Jones & The Six is jam-packed with drama, love stories, comedic relief, and all things rock-n-roll, including an entire collection of lyrics from the songs mentioned throughout the story. When you get to the last page, don’t be sad! The novel is coming to life on Amazon Prime as a limited series in March.

—Caili Elwell, digital strategist

What We Drank:

Photo courtesy of Three of Strong

While I don’t have anything personal against the concept of Dry January, I think most self-indulgences are okay in moderation. This month, I was thrilled to find out that Three of Strong—Portland’s only rum distillery and one of my favorite places to hit up for always-friendly service, on-tap cocktails, and $5 bottomless bowls of popcorn—launched a canned version of their in-house draft Maine Mojito. The ready-to-drink 4-packs are made with mint, lime, and Brightwater Silver Rum, are available throughout the state and at Three of Strong’s East Bayside taproom, which means you might as well grab a growler of Hibiscus-Lime Rum Punch or a bottle of small-batch spirits to take home while you’re in town.

—Becca Abramson, editorial assistant

What We Ate:

One of my New Year’s resolutions is that in 2023 I won’t go out to eat more than once per week. Not that I was eating out that often before—I just tend to view eating out more as a last resort when I didn’t feel like cooking, as opposed to a special occasion (scarcity theory and whatnot, right?). Earlier this month I decided to use my one meal of the week to check out Trudy Bird’s Ølbar, a Scandinavian-inspired restaurant that recently opened in North Yarmouth. From the wrought iron taps at the bar to the small-plates menu filled with mouthwatering bites like charred cabbage garnished with pork belly and a cider glaze, the atmosphere and design had me hooked. Plus, Toots Ice Cream’s newer location is just down the road, so it’s easy to stop by and wash down your hearty meal with ice cream.

—Hadley Gibson, associate editor

Where We Went:

Photo: Lincoln Sample

Last month, I bought tickets to a concert in Boston with a big, popular band in a big, modern venue. I paid $15 for a Bud Light and stood at the edge of the massive group of people, my view partially obscured by a beam in the middle of the room. I thought longingly back to the show I had caught in Portland only a few days prior—Butcher Brown at Sun Tiki Studios—and while I tried to enjoy the Boston show, it was impossible not to compare the two back-to-back experiences. 

I’d never heard of Butcher Brown, a jazz-funk fusion band, before getting tickets, but after some Spotify reconnaissance I decided their show would be a fun way to spend a Friday night. The band was amazing, the live performance has stuck with me as one of the best I’ve seen, and the quality of the venue played an enormous role in that. I’ve gone to a few shows at Sun Tiki since being introduced to the space, but this show was what solidified the venue as my personal favorite. Tucked next to a dive bar alongside Forest Avenue, the repurposed tanning salon doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it’s a great little venue with an affordable selection of drinks, a stage you can see from anywhere in the room, an almost comical number of bathrooms, and, most importantly, an incredible sound system and light setup that makes you forget how small the space actually is once the show starts. It’s a real hidden gem. 

—Olivia Ryder, production manager

What We Watched:

Apparently one of my New Year’s resolutions is to watch more TV. In November I wrote here about how I don’t watch enough, but that I had managed to get addicted to The White Lotus. Well, another show has entered my consciousness—and made it a lot harder to finish the 800-page Don DeLillo novel I’ve been reading since Christmas. Fleishman is in Trouble, on Hulu, is an adaptation of a best-selling novel by author Taffy Brodesser-Akner, who also wrote the majority of the show’s episodes. I really am more of a book person, so if a book I read and liked gets turned into a show, I’m much more likely to check it out (Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Conversations with Friends are good examples. I also recently saw that an adaptation of Adam White’s drama The Midcoast is currently in the works at Hulu. Eee!) I tore through Fleishman the novel—Brodesser-Akner also happens to be a magazine writer and is now a staff writer at the New York Times, so I especially appreciated her allusions to the journalist life. And the plotline itself is compelling, with a mysterious beginning (much like White Lotus) that you spend the rest of the season desperate to solve. A quick rundown: Recently divorced doctor, Manhattanite, and 41-year-old Toby Fleishman dives into the world of app dating when his ex, Rachel, suddenly disappears, leaving him in charge of their two children. I won’t reveal much more. But everyone I know is watching this show right now and for good reason.

—Rachel Hurn, editor

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