Editor’s Picks: November 2022

From mouthwatering chicken sandwiches to professional wrestling, here’s what our staff loved this month.

The Maine mag editorial team has been hard at work behind the scenes, writing, editing, event planning, and Gramming while simultaneously planning out our editorial calendar for 2023. With Thanksgiving just days away and the quick slide into the holiday season just beyond, we’re feeling ready to sit back and relax outside of work hours, whether it be reading for pleasure or hitting a new bar or restaurant. With that in mind, we sat down with a few members of the editorial staff to see what they’ve been up to while off the clock.

What We Ate:

Photo by Greta Rybus

Once November rolls around, and it starts getting dark at 3:30 p.m. (no joke), all I want to do is binge watch horrible TV while cuddled under a weighted blanket with a cup of hot cocoa. This weekend, I made a conscious effort to do something that would make me happy—and what sparks more joy than a classic diner experience? Now that the summer crowds have petered out and the regulars have begun dining again, I made my inaugural visit down to Palace Diner in Biddeford. Despite the hour-and-a-half long wait for one of the dining car’s coveted few seats (Palace Diner is the oldest diner in Maine and operates in one of two Pollard diner cars left in the U.S.), I can certainly say I made the right choice. The monstrous fried chicken sandwich—complete with mustardy cabbage slaw, jalapeños, and a colossal swipe of mayo—was a crispy, juicy delight that I can’t stop thinking about. Don’t sleep on the buttermilk flapjacks or the corned beef hash, and be sure to bring some cash (the diner is cash-only)!

—Becca Abramson, editorial assistant

Where We Went:

My partner and I recently started attending pro-wrestling events held by Limitless Wrestling in Yarmouth. It was something we had joked about for years, a passing curiosity, but after discovering the existence of these monthly performances held in a neighboring town, we knew we had to check it out.

I was hooked instantly. From the flamboyant costumes, the storylines, the level of audience participation, and the impressive physical displays, there was no doubt I’d be returning again and again (dragging as many of my friends along as I could). In the first ten minutes, I watched a man hoist someone twice his size over his head and throw them out of the ring. I booed along with the crowd when the referee broke up a particularly intense grapple. I marveled at the synchronized backflips performed during a three versus three tag team match. It was the first sporting event I’d ever attended where I wasn’t constantly glancing at my phone.

If you’ve ever had the slightest curiosity about the world of pro-wrestling, or if you’re just looking for a unique way to spend your Saturday night, catching a show with Limitless is the way to go. It’s a blast. There’s a cash bar and hot pizza. Even if you don’t find yourself in regular attendance, it will absolutely make for an entertaining story.

—Olivia Ryder, production manager

What We Watched:

For someone who loves culture—from novels to modern art to @fuckjerry Instagram reels that accurately describe the wonder and horror of being alive—I don’t watch enough TV. No, truly. I once had an editor tell me my homework was to watch more episodes of, well, everything. This is the golden age of television, after all. But I think my favorite thing about our current relationship with the boob tube is that even if I choose to follow only a handful of shows a year, they’re sure to be quite good. Enter The White Lotus. In my knitting circle (did I mention I’m 80?), my friends talk about what they’re watching, and if their comments are interesting enough, I’ll check out an episode, maybe two, and then decide I’d rather be sleeping. With Mike White’s satirical comedy, I was hooked immediately. Even my husband, who almost exclusively watches opera and film noir (we’re 80!), watched with me. This month we’ve been slowly peeling back the layers of season 2, which for those of you who also need to watch more TV, is set in Sicily instead of Hawaii and follows a mostly new cast of characters (though thank god Jennifer Coolidge is back). I have several episodes to go—I was that kid who savored their Halloween candy until it expired—but I’m already enthralled by the sharp social commentary, the characters’ despicable behavior, and the blossoming mysteries.

—Rachel Hurn, editor

In early November, my boyfriend and I went to the premier of Teton Gravity Research’s newest film, Magic Hour, at the State Theater in Portland. We met working in a ski town out west, so going to an event like this usually makes us both super nostalgic and a little homesick for the mountain ranges we used to hike and ski regularly. Most ski films are the same: incredible athletes head to (often but not always) off-the-grid locations with jaw dropping terrain—typically accessed via helicopter—and ski as hard as they can. It’s addictive to watch, and this film was no exception. Switching between shots taken from the air to go-pro clips that made me feel as though I was the one skiing pillow lines out in the powder, I couldn’t look away. With a fun mixture of story lines and locations, Magic Hour kept me enthralled, and the near constant cheering from the crowd serves as a testament to Maine’s enthusiastic ski community. All I can say is, I can’t wait for temps to drop and snow to fall, because I’m itching to get on the snow as soon as possible!

—Hadley Gibson, associate editor

What We Cooked:

Photo by Olivia Benissan

During the winter months, I love to cook. I find it both relaxing, stimulating, and it can feel indulgent while saving money. I’m fortunate that my father is the owner/head chef of Mé Lon Togo, a West African fusion restaurant in Rockland. If I were to recommend one dish for the month of November, it would be his Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s so good that one customer returned three nights in a row! This stew is hearty, only requires basic chopping and sautéing skills (and patience…), and the ingredients are relatively inexpensive with a lavish tasting result. Fortunately, you do not need to travel all the way to Rockland to try it––though I highly recommend it––because Chef Jordan has agreed to share his recipe!

Since wine is essential to this dish, it’s important to pick the right one. Because my father isn’t always around to help me select the perfect bottle, the next best alternative is popping into his favorite natural wine shop/bar, Maine & Loire on Washington Avenue in Portland. It’s a family-owned shop that sources organic, natural wines from around the world and hosts regular classes and free tastings. I was able to walk in and find exactly what I was looking for despite not knowing much about wine, thanks to the help of the friendly and knowledgeable staff. For this recipe, my father recommends a red that is full of body but has the brightness and fruitiness of a younger wine; something juicy with notes of berry. A sturdy Dutch oven is a kitchen essential that my father recommends for the cooking enthusiast (and this dish). When the cast iron is hot, it maintains its temperature well and evenly cooks the contents. You can prepare a variety of dishes and use it on the stovetop or in the oven. He often uses the Le Creuset 5.5-quart Dutch oven he purchased nearly 2 decades ago at Rooster Brother, a kitchen shop in Ellsworth that is the ultimate store for cooks.

Ingredients:

3 lbs beef shoulder
4-ounce package of pancetta, cubed
Carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fingerling potatoes
2-3 shallots, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz. button mushrooms
Bay leaves
Fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage, bundled
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
½ bottle (about 3 cups) of red wine
3 cups beef stock
Olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Prepare ingredients: chop vegetables and cut beef shoulder into cubes.
  3. Place a 5 or 6-quart coated Dutch oven on the stove top. Add a generous splash of good-quality olive oil and turn the burner to medium-high. Once the pan is hot, add the beef and pancetta.
  4. Once browned on the outside, remove the meat and reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add shallots and minced garlic, and lightly brown.
  6. Add browned beef and pancetta back into the pot along with carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Add bay leaves, herb bundle, black pepper, and sea salt.
  7. Then, add wine and beef stock and stir the ingredients. Be sure to scrape the flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Cover the pot and add to a 375-degree oven for 4-5 hours, checking occasionally. Stir occasionally and adjust seasonings to taste. The beef and vegetables should be cooked through and fork-tender, and the broth should be slightly thick and savory with a slight tang from the red wine once the dish is done. Bon appétit!

—Olivia Benissan, social media coordinator

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