The Future is Dark: Ink & Charcoal May Be The New Foodie Fad
You may have seen squid ink pasta on a menu before, but have you been served an inky black cocktail or a curiously dark burger? Inked menu items are popping up all over Portland and there are a few that may surprise you.
Southern Maine has no shortage of Italian restaurants and adventurous food spots to try something new, both of which have introduced squid ink to traditional and not-so-traditional plates.
The Portland Press Herald investigated the squid ink brioche bun that tops Mami's Big Mami Burger in Portland. “It’s like an umami bun,” Chef Austin Miller said. “It has a light, oceany, briny flavor, and it goes well with beef.”
Over at the approachably swanky Five Fifty-Five on Congress St. in Portland, bar manager Keenan Davis is playing with a different kind of ink in his cocktail, the "Midnight Sour". It's a new take on the old whiskey sour that blends cognac, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, Benedictine, egg white, lemon and cuttlefish ink in simple syrup, Portland Press reports. Davis says the dark appearance often surprises customers who expect an overwhelming flavor, but the drink still tastes like a whiskey cocktail.
Aside from ink being added to the ingredients list, food blackened by other means is appearing more in Maine. Activated charcoal is added to an orange-tasting cocktail at Provender Kitchen & Bar in Ellsworth, giving customers a surprising, but refreshing experience, Chef and Owner Daron Goldstein told the Press Herald.
Even the cocking times and methods are being played with to serve apparently scorched food that is somehow delicious. Keep your eye out for charred veggies popping up in the appetizer section of menus everywhere. Chefs and bartenders in Maine have spoken: Color is out; black is in.