A consummation devoutly to be wished . . .
March 24th, 2015
Dear Friends and Customers of Solo Bistro:
The snowbanks are shrinking, and with today’s balmy 39 degrees, the snow from Saturday’s snow squalls will have melted through the icy latticework that this morning it still frosted along the secondary roadsides of Arrowsic. Those blackening banks themselves will soon collapse in dirty dissolution, unmourned but not unnoticed in their dilatory departure!
Meanwhile Easter approaches apace, and though the prospects for even crocuses look poor, Solo Bistro will be serving a festive brunch on Easter Sunday to brighten the culinary landscape! Reservations are coming in and are definitely recommended!
And speaking of bright spots in the culinary landscape, who can fail to rejoice at the weekly arrival of the famous $17.99 Wednesday Special in this lingering winter?
There’s warmth and even heat at work in this week’s Wednesday Special! We will start with a miso and sugar kelp soup, full of vitamins and minerals and redolent of the sea. The main course will bring echoes of Chef Ray’s Caribbean childhood to the table in the form of fried fresh Gulf of Maine pollock with pickled Spanish onions, carrots, and habanero peppers, accompanied by sweet cornmeal johnny cakes, and a basil mango aioli. For dessert, yellow cake with orange marmalade. The Kennebec may be steely gray and clogged with cakes of its own, but Wednesday Special diners will depart filled with the comfort of the palm-fringed, clear blue waters of the Caribbean lapping in their hearts!
Friday Night Jazz March 27
Bill Barnes, guitar, and Spike Hyssong, bass, return to the New Space, ready to get their groove on this Friday at Solo Bistro from 6:30 to 9:30 PM!
As always, we look forward to seeing you on Front Street in Bath, where the sun will set in glory as the sun has set before, and diners will again delight, al-fresco, in delicious food and drink downtown!
Pia & Will Neilson, Owners
Fin Fish Travel Team
March 18th, 2015
Restaurants in the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Culinary Partners Program must attend periodic seminars on fisheries-related topics. At the most recent such seminar, one of the participants inquired about frozen-at-sea “North Atlantic Haddock” that was identified as a “Product of China”. Most attendees were surprised to be told that both denominations were likely correct, with the fish probably caught somewhere around Norway or Greenland, processed and frozen aboard the trawler, then transported to China, slow thawed, further processed, refrozen, and shipped to the US, including Maine, where they typically cost a dollar or two less per pound than fresh haddock caught in the Gulf of Maine! The freezing and thawing technology is quite good, so there is not necessarily a quality issue with the fish, but it is somewhat counter-intuitive that the economics would work out the way they seem to do! Moreover, a small but significant percentage of fish caught or farmed in the US apparently also goes to China for processing before coming back to the US for sale!
At any rate, at Solo Bistro, the fish, fowl and meat is always fresh! And while our first priority in purchasing is quality, proximity and quality often go hand in hand, so our outputs tend to travel farther in inspiration than our inputs do in actuality, as with this week’s $17.99 Wednesday Special . . . .
We open with a local sugar kelp salad from just up the coast. This is sugar kelp season, when it is at its sweetest and most tender. A green onion vinaigrette and sesame seeds will make for a delicious and nutritious appetizer! For the main we cross the Sea of Japan for a little Korean barbecue – pork bulgogi (technically dwaejigogi if pork instead of beef, one hears . . .). It will be accompanied by sautéed bok choy and jasmine rice, and whatever the name, with Chef Ray Franklyn in the kitchen, it’s going to be good! We return home for dessert with Chef Ray’s go-to comfort cake of late, carrot with cream cheese frosting!
Friday Night Jazz March 20
Il Professore returns the New Space with his tremendous knowledge of jazz for guitar from his transcriptions of Monk to the music of the Malecon and the tunes of Tijuana. Gary Wittner will sing and play his way through a college level course on Guitar Jazz for Diners that is guaranteed to make Rocks for Jocks and Physics for Poets and all their ilk feel like organic chemistry and upper-level economics rolled into one! Come learn a thing or two about truth and beauty this Friday at Solo Bistro from 6:30 to 9:30 PM!
As always, we look forward to seeing you on Front Street in downtown Bath, where the flavors are widely-travelled but the food is not.
Pia & Will Neilson, Owners