The Ice Cream Guy

John’s small-batch, spoon-licking, cone-filling
dairy delights are what summer is all about

by Jennifer Drawbridge
photography by Douglas Merriam

John's in Liberty

John Ascrizzi, owner of John’s Ice Cream in Liberty, is in the memory business. “We’re a tradition for people. They come in for cones and ice cream sandwiches and they get their cakes for their parties, their birthdays, and” (because Ascrizzi’s shop is open all year round except for January) “for their Christmas cakes and Easter desserts.”

Ascrizzi has a great, gravely, New York accented voice, and he’s not one to throw around words like artisanal and bespoke. But for almost 20 years, he’s been churning out fresh, small-batch ice cream featuring local ingredients and fresh produce from rhubarb to ripe plums. MORE

Lobster Magic

Add sweet, tender morsels of lobster to a dish and
you’ve immediately elevated it to something special.
And that’s exactly what some of Maine’s star chefs are
doing with aplomb, devising winning ways with lobster that go beyond the typical boiled dinner. Bathed in butter and exotic spices, grilled over fruit woods or nestled in or paired with paella, curries, brioche buns, gnocchi and sparkling consommés, lobster is climbing the culinary ladder in style.

by John Golden
photography by Ted Axelrod

“The best thing about cooking in Maine,” says up-and-coming Chef Oscar Nicholas Krunkkala, formerly of the Thistle Inn, Boothbay, and now chef at Liquid Riot, a brewery and restaurant in Portland’s Old Port, “is thatwe have everything right at our fingertips. I can literally in the same day purchase lobsters that have been out of the water for less than an hour and pick produce right out of the ground myself.”

While the food-savvy flock to the state’s shores for gourmet fare, including lobster dishes, the typical Maine tourist still seeks out those harbor-front lobster pounds and shacks for classic boiled dinners. Add buckets of steamed clams or mussels and it’s the Maine experience in spades.

So when we asked various Maine chefs to share the coveted lobster preparations available at their restaurants this summer, the contributions were impressive. More

6 Great, Summer, Maine Beers

Few things in life are more enjoyable than a cold beer outside on a hot day. That said, some beers are far better suited for the heat than others. We’ve gone to great lengths to test out beers from all over Maine to come up with these six recommendations for the next time you pack your cooler.

written and photographed by Tom Minervino

Summer 6 Pack

Maine Oyster Tasting

It's in the Gonads

by Christine Burns Rudalevige

Getting your hands on a Maine oyster is easier than it
was five years ago. There are more oyster farmers growing high-quality oysters, more raw bars opening and more fishmongers stocking Maine mollusks with increased regularity. Tasting the differences among them—most
of which are the same species, the eastern oyster—takes strategy and effort.


Here are the tasting notes for 16 of our panels favorite oysters.

Street Wise

With two of Portland’s most successful restaurants in his portfolio, veteran restaurateur Dana Street might well see
his latest venture, Scales, tip the balance even more
assuredly in his favor.

by Tom Minervino
photography by Douglas Merriam

Dana Street. Portland

Dana Street has heard the narrative before. It’s one that’s appeared everywhere
from national magazines to local blogs and it goes something like this: He is Portland’s seminal restaurateur, and Street and Co., his first restaurant, started Portland’s foodie craze, while his second, Fore Street, took it from trend to juggernaut.

According to Street, that’s not how it happened. Read More

Exploring the World of Scotch

Taste the Legend

by Claire Jeffers
photography by Amy Wilton Photography

Drouthy Bear

Andrew Stewart knows a lot about Scotch, which is fitting because he too is from Scotland. Owner and operator of The Drouthy Bear in Camden with his wife, Shannon, Stewart has a lot to say about his beloved spirit, and ZEST was lucky enough to be there to receive a guided taste.

Stewart grew up just 15 miles from where Johnnie Walker (maker of the famous Scotch whisky brand) lived, Read More


Eschewing trends while staying true to local ingredients, Melody Wolfertz has shaped
In Good Company into that appealing midcoast dining spot where spirit-feeding camaraderie and inventive cuisine go hand in hand

by Todd Bross
photography by Amy Wilton Photography

Melody Wolfertz

For many chefs the kitchen is their safe place. It is for In Good Company’s Chef/Owner Melody Wolfertz.


Her kitchen is, or was, a safe. Of the bank variety. As is their wine cellar.
Read More

> What are women drinking? Craft beer and craft spirits.

[ Brain Eating ]

Brain Eating illustration

The Science Behind Taste,
Hunger and Why We Either Love or
Hate Certain Foods

by Kristy Townsend, PhD   
illustration by Jessica Roux

We each held the small purple pill in our hands, sitting in front of a dining room table spread with lemons, pickles, pineapple, raw cranberries, grapefruit and olives. In a few minutes, the “Miracle Berry” tablet would be dissolving on our tongues, rendering our sour senses incapable of detecting the acidity of these foods. We would then devour... Read More!

[ Maine Wine Tasting ]

Fruit wines and French-American
hybrid grapes are
putting Maine on the map

by Chris Peterman, American Sommelier Association, Maine
photography by Erin Little

Many people don’t even know that there is any wine production happening in Maine today at all. Not only is wine being produced in Maine, but a healthy amount of it to boot.

In an effort to get a better grasp on what makes Maine wine unique, a panel of wine industry professionals was assembled for a tasting and evaluation.

Maine Wine Tasting Panel
Clockwise from the left: Tabitha Perry, Susan Grenier, Bryan Flewelling, John Myers, Arlin Smith, Stewart Moore, Stella Hernandez and Chris Peterman.

The panel:
Bryan Flewelling, wine director for each of Smith’s restaurants
Susan Grenier, director of wine buying at Leroux Kitchen in Portland
Stella Hernandez, proprietor of Lolita in Portland
Stewart Moore, of Central Provisions in Portland
John Myers, beverage director of The Honey Paw in Portland
Tabitha Perry, owner of Crush Distributors
Arlin Smith, proprietor of Hugos, Eventide and The Honey Paw in Portland

Maine wineries represented:
Oyster River
Prospect Hill

Read the results!