Gastronomy is defined in Wikipedia as the art or science of food eating that also involves the discovering, tasting and the experience of eating. Last weekend Rick and I made a reservation at 91 South, the restaurant located at the PineCrest Inn in Gorham, Maine. Our clients, Matt and Amy Mattingly are the keepers of the Inn and their hospitality includes a love of food and wines that results in an extraordinary experience and gastronomic discovery!
From the moment you approach the entrance your senses are engaged. The aroma of roasting spices was the first sensory stimuli start to our evening. The soft lights and sound of live jazz guitar music were next, followed by a warm welcome from Matt and Amy with only a short admonishment for waiting so long to dine with them. Sorry, no excuse!
We walked by the kitchen on our way to the dining room and were briefly introduced to Chef Noah Gaston. On the website the cuisine is described as ‘global comfort food’ with ‘innovative fusion’. Chef Gaston describes his cuisine and passion for food as ‘…the primary gateway into another culture and a form of art…at 91 South we fuse them to bring it all together’. And all together it came, from the variety of wines personally selected by Matt specializing in small vineyards from across the world to the food that we discovered as some of the best we have experienced anywhere. The innovative menu is your next portal to 91 South’s food discovery. Here are a few examples:
maine caprese (*v . gf . vg) tomatoes . mozzarella . olives . basil . blueberry vinaigrette
savory salmon (*v . gf . vg) peppercorn and juniper berry encrusted salmon .roasted cauliflower mash . garlicky broccoli rabe . green peppercorn . cognac
five hour beef shank ( gf .) creamy brie mashed potatoes . fig and apricot jus . roasted asparagus
The * items can be modified to vg=vegetarian, gf=gluten free and v=vegan. This is a very thoughtful added choice for today’s diners.
I know now we should have taken photos of our plates as they were presented to us to accompany this blog because we all know you eat with your eyes first. The presentation is right on backed up by wonderful aromas and taste. After finishing our meal with pumpkin cannoli (Wow!) we were able to chat with Chef Noah. We had to ask about his unusual and flavorful spices we tasted in all our menu choices. He specializes in collecting and blending spices from around the world. These aren’t your ordinary grocery store spice selections. He mentioned some spices that were new to our knowledge. An example is a blend of roasted spices that is served with slices of fresh warm bread and aromatic virgin olive oil. A double dip and you experience happy mouth bliss!
Thank you Matt and Amy for creating the PineCrest Inn and 91 South Restaurant in Gorham, Maine, just a short distance from Portland, Maine. Thank you for Chef Noah Gaston and your attentive and knowledgeable staff. Thank you for the soft guitar music of Ken Karby and…there must be more. Oh yes, 65 wines offered by the glass. Guess we will have to come back!
Gastronomy can also involve the writing about food and the sensory qualities a dining experience can bring. I hope I have expressed our enjoyment and the next time you are in southern Maine, the PineCrest Inn and 91 South will be your lodging and culinary destination.