By Jeremy Austin Staff Reporter
Over the course of Spring Break the Farmington Flyer Staff Reporter, Jeremy Austin, had the opportunity to dine with some old friends for hibachi at Sea40, a Japanese cuisine restaurant located down in Lewiston.
Nestled into the Lewiston Mall beside FunZ Trampoline Park and a newly renovated and expanded Bull Moose, Sea40 is a classy establishment that’ll prove for a satisfying evening out. To start, Austin ordered a glass of Allagash White. A wheat ale brewed with orange peel, coriander and other spices, the taste is a very smooth yet solid flavor similar to that of other beers like Shock Top and Blue Moon. The others at the table ordered what was called a “fishbowl,” a concoction of various liquors (mostly vodka and Blue Curaçao) mixed with primarily pineapple juice and dyed blue, that was quite literally inside of a plastic fishbowl. Pieces of lime floated at the bottom, and—like any classic cocktail—there was a “well-proofed” gummy worm sitting on the bottom. Multiple straws were placed inside—color-coded to establish ownership to minimize the spreading of cooties—and the drink was passed about the table. While it was delicious, there was an admittedly lacking “punch” from the alcohol content.
The chef that evening provided quality, food-related entertainment that began with a lot of fire. The evening included several attempts at catching sake (Japanese rice wine) in the mouth shot from a ketchup squirt-bottle across the table and griddle and a volcano of fire made rings of onion. While Austin did not participate in the sake-catching of the evening, he did try his hand at catching pieces of sautéed mushroom in his mouth. He is proud to say that he successfully caught a piece. The chef prepared the food almost theatrically as well, and the staff reporter can confirm that it’s indeed a mesmerizing experience to watch.
A salad and soup were brought out as appetizers before the main courses, which were both quite tasty. The salad was a simple mix of lettuce, other greens, and some onion covered in Thousand Island dressing. The soup—called Clear Soup—was light and herby in flavor. The entrée was served with fried rice and vegetables in soy sauce, and a two-piece shrimp appetizer also fried in soy sauce. Austin ordered the red snapper, though other entrées to choose from included vegetable, chicken, steak, shrimp salmon, scallop, filet mignon, lobster, and various combinations thereof. The snapper was cooked thoroughly, and tasted absolutely wonderful.
Towards the end of the evening, several chefs came over to sing “Happy Birthday” to a friend of Austin’s, who was celebrating her 22nd birthday. They brought over a plate of deep-fried ice cream, and this friend was so gracious as to let Austin have a sample. It was delicious – though this didn’t really surprise the staff reporter. The total bill for the evening for Austin was around $40, making Sea40 an affordable dining destination as well as a delicious one.
By Jeremy Austin and Eryn Finnegan Staff Reporter and President
The Fish N’ Chips had crispy, flaky skin, while retaining flavorful juices inside. (Photo by Jeremy Austin)
The Flyer’s dam good food recently visited Calzolaio Pasta Company, a higher-end restaurant located in a tall, dark red building lined with fairy lights and surrounded by a river cutting the road off from the parking lot. A fifteen minute drive from the UMF campus in Wilton, ME, Calzolaio is a place with an expansive menu and creative flavor combos, but runs high price-wise, so be ready to splurge.
By Jeremy Austin & Eryn Finnegan Staff Reporter & President
After a long trip, these voracious writers, stomachs fiending for a scrap of food, searched for a quick, cheap alternative to the fast food, which they spent too much money on already. They stopped at the ever-familiar truck stop on Rt. 4 Wilton Road, nestled between the credit union and the Farmington Ford/Mercury dealership: The Big Stop, a restaurant attached to a Circle K and an Irving. It’s a wonderful place to pick up a hot batch of mozzarella sticks -bursting with gooey cheese, or a large slice of the rich chocolate cream pie.
Stepping into the Big Stop, one nearly forgets they have also stepped into an Irving gas station. The two entities are separated enough to allow for an immersive dining experience. Soft yellow lights warmed the dining area as the sun set outside, and the smell of grilling meat and fresh, generously salted french fries wafted from the kitchen doors and out to the bar where they waited to be seated. After missing out on breakfast sandwiches with donuts replacing the bread, the duo was ready to devour anything on the menu that looked remotely appetizing and nutritional. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as their eyes scanned the spiral bound menu, but it was quickly evident their sandwich craving had not fully subsided.
Fortunately, a hot reuben and a delicious-looking whiskey BBQ burger came to save their hungry stomachs. The reuben was quite delightful. Its sauerkraut, corned beef and Swiss cheese all working in perfect harmony with every bite. The sandwich was served on marble rye bread and, although still hearty in its own right, was panini-esque in nature. Thousand Island dressing was served on the side in a small plastic cup, which the reuben (or the fries it came with) could be dipped in. Either option is highly suggested.
The Whiskey BBQ Burger was a standout item on the menu, boasting sizzling, steaming grilled patties and homemade whiskey barbecue sauce. this burger paired with a steaming batch of fries is a fist pump of greasy, indulgent, tasty victory. Sauteed onions spilled onto the plate with each bite, the tomatoes were juicy, and the whiskey BBQ sauce gave a small burst of heat just intense enough to keep me wanting more.
In terms of ingredients, the burger and fries were standard, but the fact that they were cooked perfectly elevates this classic pairing. The flavor of the onions, tomato, burger, and sauce all in one bite offered a reminder that these recipes and ingredients are cooked together for a reason: they balance each other out by offering spiciness, sweeness, and saltiness simultaneously.
Bookending these lively entrées were mozzarella sticks and slices of chocolate cream pie. The mozzarella sticks, though small in number, were big in flavor. Each bite left behind thick tendrils of cheese as we pulled the sticks apart: the mark of a true artisan mozzarella stick. The slices of pie were about the width of Eryn’s face, but that didn’t stop these reporters from stuffing their faces until their lips had been replaced with crumbs, smears of chocolate frosting and whipped cream. Jeremy’s fiance, who had decided to accompany them on this culinary adventure, was clearly unimpressed by these animalistic behaviors.
Overall, while their appetites at the time may have influenced their ratings, the writers were pleased with the food and the service that the Big Stop provided. The writers give The Big Stop a rating of six mozzarella sticks out of six—they would most certainly be eating there again.