It’s a bit bleak outside. It looks nothing like spring nor does it feel that way either. I am still wearing wool. All the same, we muster on in the kitchen. Here are a few sights from behind the scenes in the River Driver’s kitchen. We hope they cheer you in to spring even if you are still watching snow fall or wallowing in the mud. Our kitchen is our happy place which bodes well for our fare, and in turn our diners who get to savor these happy dishes!
Fri 30 Nov 2012
Thu 8 Nov 2012
We think we’re pretty lucky here most days. We get the view and the FOOD!
Even better is the view and Wednesday night Pasta Night! Really, authentic, homemade Italian dishes, amazing setting and did I mention homemade, authentic Italian food? I took a littte trip down to the kitchen last night and thought I’d provide a little behind the scene look at Pasta Night.
On the menu: Homemade Gnocchi in a spinach pesto sauces with Shitake Mushrooms, Zuppa Toscana and Linguinin Bolognese.
For this event, I took one for the team and sampled our new Kitchen Manager’s Gnocchi dish.
Yeah, I know it is a tough job but someone has to do it. We are featuring Italian dishes every Wednesday night. it is the perfect time of year to sit by the fire, sip a glass of really good something and savor the deliciousness of Italy. Be sure to get our specials every week wither by joining our mailing list or following us on Facebook!
Mon 29 Oct 2012
I love that saying “just desserts”. Of course, I like it spelled desserts instead of the original,correct spelling deserts. Interestingly enough, this saying does mean to get what what is deserved good or bad, but the original meaning of the word desert, pronounced the same as the arid region, has seemed to fall out of fashion in English. Most people think of “just desserts” when employing the phrase to indicate a comeuppance for bad behavior. But I digress, I digress from the more important connotation of the phrase…getting DESSERT.
I am a bonafide sweet tooth. There are just a handful of desserts I will pass up…most notably meringues, parfaits and poached fruit. This week I had a chance to visit with a few of the River Driver’s desserts. These can change seasonally except for our signature Peanut Butter Ooey Gooey Cake but all the same I thought I would share with you the most delicious rendez-vous to be had in Millinocket and the North Maine Woods!
I also have to mention that not only can you get your “just desserts” at the River Driver you can have them accompanied by espresso, cappuccino or cafe au lait. We brew amazing Carrabassett Coffee as well should the espresso bar not float your boat.
The desserts at the River Driver’s are, simply, amazing. You’ll always find something new and different, and you’ll always find variety for every sweet tooth…parfaits included. Stay tuned for another dessert edition when our baker conjures up her next creations!
Tue 14 Aug 2012
New England’s anniversary is coming right up! We have designed a great day filled with FREE events for all ages! Aside from all the special events on Thursday 16th we are catering a River Style BBQ! Join us from 6pm-8pm with Katahdin in the background for the following menu!
Dinners are served with choice of two side dishes
Adobo Marinated Flank Steak $10
Cuban Style Citrus & Herb Chicken $10
River Drivers’ Pork & Beans
Tangy Garden Slaw
Roasted Red Pepper & Smokey Bacon Potato Salad
Giant Rice Crispy Treats $1
Ooey Gooey “Our Specialty” $2
Thu 10 May 2012
It is raining here today and a little chilly. Muck boots are a must and maybe even a little wool for warmth. Alas, we are on the cusp of summer, BBQs, bare feet, and bathing suits are fuzzy in the distance but closer none the less..At the River Driver’s we welcomed Persophene a bit early this April with a fabulous wine dinner featuring some truly divine Fess Parker wines…~sigh, so good.
Two favorites for this taster were the Big Easy and Frontier Red, both Fess Parker Californian wines.
If you get the chance to give these a swirl or swig…by all means take it! Not only were the wines memorable but the dessert was, not only delicious, but beautifully presented in a cheery, spring fashion.
Hope to see you one of our next events where we get to enjoy the patio and toast the Moutain!
Thu 19 Apr 2012
Come Fly with Us Wine Dinner
Friday April 27th–Make it a get away for just $99.00 pp (includes one night of lodging and wine dinner) 207.723.5438
It’s April. and frankly…a beautiful spring here in the Maine Woods. We felt so inpired by the this incredible weather we planned a wine dinner in which, yes, we hope to start our wine story on the patio! The theme for our first 2012 wine dinner is Come Fly with Us. We’ve planned a departure out of Maine which features a sample of fresh Maine seafood, and a wine with interesting ties to the state. Once we leave Maine, we are headed for an exsquite, delicious connection in California, and because the wine is so delicious here…well, we stay for an additional layover to enjoy another glass! Luckily, we have plenty of time to make our flight to Italy, and here, we savor Limencello cupcakes and a celebratory glass of champagne. Book your ticket today! 207.723.5438
Our Menu for the Wine Dinner: Reservations 207.723.5438
Deaprt from Maine
Fresh and Smoked Maine Seafood
Smoked shrimp, mussels and salmon, fresh Oysters on the half shell & warm salmon cakes accompanied by selection of aioli and sweet garnish
(white and red wine)
California & Layover
Spring Artichoke three ways
Fresh Artichoke and Baby Spinach, Roasted Artichoke and Asparagus Salad, Pecorino Stuffed Artichoke
Creole Surf and Cajun Turf
Jumbo Creole Shrimp on rice with
Cajun Rubbed Skirt Steak
Depart for Italy
Mon 4 Apr 2011
Posted by newenglandoc under Uncategorized
I want to talk about lemons. Inspired by a friend’s recent blog post, Kitchen Chronicle, I felt the time had come to honor the citrus in my life. I sense the distance in them. They have traveled far and without them where would I be? A splash of lemon in most anything can brighten, zip, or energize a dish from fine to fabulous. Even water can benefit from a little lemon…Now there maybe those out there who are repulsed by the notion of lemon in anything…this blog is not for you. We lemon lovers, well, we live on the edge, perhaps a tart edge, but hey, lemons can make all the difference on a cloudy, blustery, damp March day in northern Maine.
Spring comes late to the North Country. As I write this we still have ice on the lake, ice you can walk on, ice that is at least still 8-10 inches thick. The yard is muddied, strewn with patches of deep snow. The snow is crusty and rotten; everything is brown with dirt. Times are desperate. Here is where we haul out the big guns and blast our way towards the fresh, light, zippy taste of summer, with of course, lemons leading the way.
My dear friend Andrea blogger of Kitchen Chronicle passed this recipe along in her blog a few weeks ago and I knew immediately that is was the antidote to my moody, muddy, March. I made it right away, in my version of the recipe I sprinkle dried lavender leaves on top. You can find the recipe for the Lemon Polenta Cake on her site. http://kitchenchronicle.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/lemon-polenta-cake-or-early-spring-cabin-fever/ Go ahead and move to spring, it is time…the lemons will help.
We know this is a tough time of year…cabin fever, mud, slush all seem to bar the way on our slog towards the warmth and light of summer. But slog away we must, at least outside, but not in our kitchens. The River Driver’s is most exicted to finally haul out the spring reciepes for our Easter Brunch Buffet. Come join us for all the fresh tastes our kitchen has to offer, hold the lemons, have the lemons…we aim to please.
Easter Brunch Buffet, April 24th, reservations required, seating 10am-2pm. Find the menu on our Special Events tab in the header.
Fri 4 Feb 2011
There is an adventure brewing in my kitchen, a culinary Everest, the K2 of cuisine and like any good adventurer, I have packed, prepared and pondered the implications of my endeavor. This is not for the faint of heart, and as I wield my whisk, assemble my pots, and assess my ingredients, I am reminded of Shackelton’s call to the Endurance Expedition.
MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES. BITTER COLD. LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS. CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. Ernest Shackelton
Am I going to lose a limb? Probably not. Will there be blood, sweat, tears? Um, maybe some tears and um, maybe a little sweat. Will there be triumph, success and honor? You bet! My adventure will certainly push the bounds of comfort, civility and strength. Modern conveniences will be left behind and I will test myself with the simple tools of cooking: flame, pot, and the sensitive tip of my pinky finger. I will scald milk, cool milk, and add active, live cultures. I will sterilize jars, incubate and in the end, if I am lucky I will have my very own homemade yogurt.
Working with milk is always a challenge…for me at least. Things like custard, flan, cheese, these things are mysterious. They usually involve a lot of stirring, cooling, and the ,oh so scary potential for, boil over or scorch! Scald, curdle, these terms require some thought and attention. Nuance is the key to the dairy world. We wait for bubbles, and foam. We watch and stir and stir and stir some more. We adjust heat up and down. We think about proteins, sugars and fats. We marvel at the process as a liquid forms a solid. We contemplate physics and maybe even the laws of thermodynamics. We become part of something bigger than ourselves. In the end, we are the proud parent of delectable dairy delights, all the stirring, waiting and attention pays off in to creamy, smooth, often sweet heaven.
Shackelton understood this concept, this concept of stirring and waiting, watching and hoping. He understood risk, the possible loss, the potential for failure and age old adage by the skin of one’s teeth. Like Shackelton, I too, risk, wait, stir, hope and rely on my wits. Sometimes it is all honor and recognition, sometimes it is not. Sometimes I just escape the recipe by the skin of my teeth. My yogurt in its first incantation,…not so good. Had this been the Endurance we would not have returned. My second attempt…perfection. Will I go there again, to that scalding, stirring, waiting world of dairy, yes. Whisk in hand I will take on cheese, and custard. I will not cower in the face of casein and like any true adventurer muster forward with culinairy will.
At the River Driver’s we take our food adventures seriously. We are resourceful, creative and do what we can with what we’ve got. We do not believe adventure means hardship, hardtack and hazard. You can adventure during the day and adventurously dine at night with us, the River Driver’s Restaurant.
Wed 22 Dec 2010
Two years ago my doctor told me to cut down on my complex carbohydrates which, of course, I covet like a pirate his gold. So with my health in mind, I moved myself down to one slice of bread a day and one starch. And you’re thinking, what about cookies, muffins and scones, rice, bagels, and oats? I know, shocking. However, the real monster, the bane, the absolute siren of the carbohydrate world is, for me, homemade bread. If I could exercise some self control when it comes to lovely loaves of golden gluten I might only eat one slice but normally, that is not how it goes down…it goes down as the loaf! Alas, when bread is involved, portion control rarely makes its way into my consciousness; instead it lies half asleep in my subconscious, haphazardly ignoring all that is carborhydratesque until it too late. These episodes typically end in self inflicted guilt wounds and a healthy dose of rigorous exercise to exorcise the bread demons; penance, if you will, for my gluten gluttony. Forsooth, bread and I are destined forever to engage in an unsanctioned metabolic dance; we are star crossed lovers, the Romeo and Juliette of the wheat world. To eat or not to eat that is the question. Okay, enough with the yeasty drama and Shakespearian overtones. I refuse to be completely banished from my most rewarding culinary endeavor, baking bread. And like a wheat frenzied sadist, I bow to the bread every weekend and make it myself, from scratch.
Yikes! The word “scratch”. People are amazed when they discover I make my bread from scratch. “Not in a bread machine?” they ask. “No. I actually make it. You know with my hands.” Over and over again the response which I am hoping for: awe, admiration, amazement…is sidelined by downright plain confusion. “Why?”
I find baking bread to be a completely liberating experience. Although some would say it is the antithesis of liberating, all bound into rising times, measurements, and the finicky steps of preparing the dough, the process of making bread is quintessential chaos…at least for me it is. Flour everywhere, hands covered in dough, and frankly, I don’t care. This isn’t a photo shoot, or a contest. Martha Stewart need not apply. I don’t care about the mess, the dishes, the impending clean up that couples any culinary adventure. I don’t care if the loaves are perfectly round, even or shaped. The art is in the texture, the taste, the absolute heavenly aroma. When making bread, I just dig in and let go of all the “I shoulds” and immerse myself into the “what ifs”. In the end, regardless of looks, I find I have created something beautiful, something people love, something nurturing, something archaic and traditional. I love that, love being tied to universal sustenance…our daily bread.
Yeast or no yeast, leavened or unlevened, baked or fried, people understand bread. We have placed it at the very crux of many ceremonies, religious services and holidays. Challah, Vanocka, Jule Kaga, Hoska, Panetonne are all breads used to highlight a festive season or high holiday. They originate from all over the world and from many different cultures. I say, “ Let’s celebrate. Let’s share. Let’s break bread together.” I think you get my overall message here; ‘tis the season of peace and good tidings. Bread may not solve all ills of this world but it certainly sweetens the deal, and it sure is hard to argue with your mouth full.
To me homemade bread says, “I care. I took the time. I believe in goodness and community.” It is no surprise then that at the River Driver’s Restaurant our bread is homemade. A simple addition to every meal, our bread epitomizes our commitment to quality dining in the north. Of course, there is more to our menu than bread, but while we can wow you with our delicious entrees and desserts, our bread sets the stage for your eating pleasure. This holiday season we are wishing you peace, joy and good tidings. Make bread. Eat bread. Share bread, even it is gluten free or you can only have one slice!