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Why You Should Go to Maine This Time Next Year


Maine, Arrows, East Meets West

Chefs pulled ingredients for their dishes from the Arrows Garden.

More than 20 chefs from around the US flocked to Ogunquit, Maine, this past weekend for the East versus West festival, hosted by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrows restaurant. It was a great excuse to try food from top regional restaurants, and with the walk-around tasting costing only $35, it was also an absolute steal. Besides marking your calendar for next year, here are five delicious bites I tried that you can look out for around the country:

1. Pemaquid oysters on the half shell, topped with a seaweed salad, from chef Parke Ulrich at Waterbar in San Francisco. Oysters rarely need much adornment but this one was brilliant. “I love any chance to use East Coast oysters,” Ulrich said.

2. Lobster with caramelized radicchio and a sweet squash broth from F&W Best New Chef 1997 Josiah Citrin at Mélisse restaurant in Santa Monica, California. This dish was so stellar that it won Saturday night’s lobster cook-off, and a version of it is featured in Josiah’s new cookbook.

 3. A barely poached egg with braised pork skin and lobster (what else?) from F&W Best New Chef 2005 Tony Maws at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Maws is a master when it comes to eggs. See his recipe for Poached Eggs with Cubanelle Pepper Puree.

4. Cold smoked-duck-breast cabbage salad with crab apple preserves and a juicy mini duck sausage from Justin Walker, executive chef at Arrows. The dish was delicious, of course, but the experience of eating it was enhanced by a love-at-first-sight story told by Walker's wife. “It was the classic chef-waitress romance,” she said. The couple now raises goats and makes chèvre for the restaurant.

5. Crispy-edged ribs from chef Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut (and the nonprofit Wholesome Wave), which he grilled, impressively, with a hangover. He served the ribs with one of his famous chopped “use-a-spoon salads."
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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.