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Vena’s Fizz House is now Vena’s Bar. Every Thursday – Saturday, 6-11 p.m., so what are you waiting for? Get there soon and make your favorite mocktail boozy.

Hotel bars are legendarily known as launchpads for debaucherous behavior. Especially in Portland.
When it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee, start with the brewing method that best suits your taste.
Women who whiskey, mark the next Portland Spirits Society event on your calendars now – April 15th is a women’s bourbon tasting at Salvage BBQ.

At this year's Signature Event, Opus Ten paired a Mexican Chocolate Martini with a pulled pork slider. The rest is history.

Photo: Vena's Facebook
Biscuits are the best for breakfast sandwiches. Need some convincing? They're waiting for you at Biscuits & Company.

Easter = brunch. Try T
he Brunswick Tavern, Saltwater Grille, Natalie's, or The Harraseeket Inn.

Cinco de Mayo = best taco spots.
Bintliff’s American Cafe is changing its name to Bayside American Cafe. Have no fear, that's all they're changing.

Tempo Dulu is a Southeast Asian-inspired restaurant coming in May to The Danforth Inn. Here's a sneak peak at the menu.  

Photo: Biscuits & Company
Red's is open for the season.

Pastry Chef Brant Dadaleares 
is the bonbon master.

You're no Brant Dadaleares 
but you can pretend
Of course, you could just let Shanna O'hea make the treats. Get your fill at Academe’s Easter Buffet.

It sounds too good to be true, but if you’ve got what it takes to wow the owner of the Center Lovell Inn in 200 words or less, she might be passing it on to you.
Go all out for Easter this year – make a weekend of the holiday with Camden Harbour Inn’s Easter Celebration Package.

If you want to really wow Mom this Mother’s Day, start planning now for a getaway to show how much you care. Set her up with the “Pamper & Relax” package at Portland Harbor Hotel, and we’re pretty sure there will be no questions about who her favorite is.

Your next vacation might go toward a good cause if you book it through the Hospitality for Habitat program

Photo: Bangor Daily News
Managing work and family life can be a challenge for restaurateurs. Anyone needing inspiration can learn a thing or two from the owners of Lolita, who have found the perfect balance.
No surprise here – Portland got lots of love this week from the James Beard Foundation, which announced award nominees on Tuesday.
Down East named Maine’s top places to live in the March issue. This month, they have a roundup of the best new restaurants in Maine. It’s not online yet, so pick up the issue and use it as your personal dining guide for the coming months.
Think you have what it takes to hit the streets with your own food truck? You could be on the road in no time if you invest in any of the several local trucks that are for sale.
You might have seen this in yesterday's Eat Drink Lucky - here’s what Californians think of all the state specialties we hold in high regard here in Maine, where we eat them in our lighthouses, naturally.

Photo: Maine Magazine
From the Antiquarian Bookseller
From the first American cookbook to the newest release on craft cocktails, you can find them all at Rabelais – along with plenty of details on the history of the books you’ll see in the shop. Owner Don Lindgren is a wealth of information that we can’t begin to cover in this newsletter, so be sure to stop in and hear for yourself the fascinating history of food and drink books from around the world.
For those who don’t know, give us an overview of what you do at Rabelais.
We carry a large selection of new books, out of print books, and rare books. Since we moved to Biddeford our real emphasis is on rare material. We have six centuries of books in the shop – dating back to the 16th century. We have a very large collection of older and unusual books – all the big cuisines, English, French, American, and smaller collections of books on Asian cuisine and Latin American cuisine. Some of those books are harder to obtain so we don’t have as many of those as we’d like.
Where do you find the books that you bring into your collection?
We buy all over the country, and a little from all over the world. Our favorite way to buy is from very serious collectors, because they’re the ones who have been out looking and digging for years. If they started collecting 30 or 40 years ago, they’re going to have things that are very hard to obtain now. They also tend to be very focused and have very concentrated collections. We’ve gone to London for the auctions. Every four or five years they might have one in the U.S. but they have a couple of them every year in London.
Is everything for sale?
All of the new books, all of the used books and rare material is for sale. We buy it specifically in order to resell it. It’s our goal to find the right home for any of the things we buy.
Our reference collection isn’t for sale. We have a big reference collection, it’s a couple thousand books on the history of food and bibliographies of cookbooks themselves, and that’s what we use to research the books we buy. I have a small collection of books on the history of Maine cooking, and those aren’t for sale. They’ll be for sale someday, but not until I feel the collection is the best it can be.
Are you focused exclusively on books?
Beyond books themselves, we also sell all of these sort of peripheral things that are part of the food or drink historical record. The category of “ephemera” really covers all printed materials that really weren’t meant to last long, they were made for a special occasion and then their use was over. Things like menus, trade cards, advertising broadsides.
How’d you get into the book business?
I am by trade an antiquarian bookseller. I worked in a bookshop when I was in high school. It was actually one of the first Barnes & Noble stores that wasn’t in New York City. Then when I went to college I walked into the first bookshop that I ran into and asked for a job. It happened to be a really great bookshop that was partially an antiquarian bookshop, so that’s where I was exposed to that. Later on I ended up working for some very high end antiquarian dealers.

What brought your focus to food & drink books specifically?
When my wife and I moved to Maine we started looking at ways of changing what we were doing. She had been interested in food before that and we saw what was going on in Portland eight or nine years ago and thought it would be a good fit. We saw the “for rent” sign next to Hugo’s, where Eventide is now, and decided one day that we were going to do food instead of the other stuff. I sold off all of my other inventory or swapped it with other dealers for food books and then bought every collection I could find that came on the market.
Do you have an all-time favorite book?
One of the types of cookbooks that’s most rare is manuscript cookbooks, which means that they’re entirely handwritten. Most families have something like this, so the idea of a manuscript book is something that’s common to us but having the books last a long time and survive is less common.
I don’t have a single favorite, but the books that I really love are the Elizabethan cookbooks, and we’ve had a number of Elizabethan printed cookbooks and we’ve had two just post-Elizabethan era manuscript books. The English books have a different feel, they’re not quite as controlled, and it's a time for me that was just a really interesting historical moment.
Who is your typical customer?
We have a very big email list, and out of that list we have several institutions that have culinary collections. There are also a lot of private collectors on our list, but the reality is it’s a very tiny number of people that are the people we sell to regularly and they’re mostly people who have been very serious collectors for a very long time.

If you're interested in perusing their collection, are on the hunt for a specific title, or want to begin your own quest into the world of food writing through history, Rabelais is open to the public "by appointment or chance" until summer hits. Check their website for details - their schedule varies depending on travel opportunities to obtain new material. You can also find Don talking cocktails with the Maine Historical Society on April 17, or visit Rabelais on May 13 for a demonstration of American Cookery as revealed by the Apgar Collection, which is currently housed at Rabelais.

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