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Maine Restaurant Week Finale: The Signature Event

Photos: Ted Axelrod

UPDATED March 13 to add the recap from Edible Obsessions - see below.
After nine gloriously frenetic days of Maine Restaurant Week, bleary-eyed but still-smiling chefs and bartenders assembled in the pristine repair bays at Prime Mercedes Benz in Scarborough on Sunday afternoon for MRW's Signature Event. Five hundred guests milled about, sampling the mini cocktails and desserts and texting to vote for their favorites while a panel of judges, including Andrew Volk of Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, John Meyers of The Grill Room, Erin Dow of Maine Today Media, Forrest Butler of Royal Rose Syrups and Ira Rosenberg of host Prime Motor Group, also sipped and compared tasting notes. The experts chose "Entendre," created by Christina Klein of Sonny's as the winner: Double Cross vodka, Cocchi Americano and lavender and rose-hip infused simple syrup with lemon juice and mint. Last year's winner, Tom Laslavic of Natalie's at the Camden Harbour Inn, was runner up with his "Simply Gold" cocktail. The People's Choice Cocktail winner was "Double Cross Mezcalita" by Erin Beaupain of Zapoteca and voters named the warm "Feuilletage Beignets with Peppered Strawberry, Creme Chantilly and Sweet Balsamic Redux" by David Turin and Bo Byrne of David's Opus Ten as "Signature Dessert."

Peruse our gallery of pictures and the hangover observations below or for more variety, head over to Meredith Goad's recap of the event, including video, for The Portland Press Herald, plus photos on her Maine a la Carte blog. Finally, The Edible Obsessions blog has a pluses and minuses recap of the "adult wonderland of booze and sugary treats."

· All Coverage of Maine Restaurant Week [~EMAINE~]

· A for effort goes to Academe Brasserie in Kennebunk for whimsical entries in both cocktail and dessert categories. At back-to-back tables, Shanna O'Hea recalled everyone's favorite childhood treat with her chocolate chip cookie balls speared with pipettes of cold milk, while her husband, Brian and bartender Adrian Trudeau served up "Not So Old Fashioneds" The drink also involved a tiny pipette, this one filled with chai maple syrup and speared into a tiny cube of cherry gelee in a glass with a Jim Beam cocktail and Cara Cara orange sorbet.

· Lisa DeSisto, CEO and publisher of Maine Today Media, was one of many guests spotted reveling in Shanna O'Hea's bonus treat - scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough offered on miniature whisks.

· Looking especially dashing with a bright blue scarf flung around his neck, Raymond, Brunsyanszki, owner of Camden Harbor Inn, came straight from the airport following meetings in D.C. to show his support for bartender Tom Laslavic, before taking off again for Boston. Geoffroy Deconinck of the Inn's restaurant, Natalie's, was nearly incognito working the room out of his chef whites.

· The longest line was not for a cocktail or dessert, but for the impressive sushi bar set up by Whole Foods and Genji Sushi.

· Quietly showing his molecular chops over in a corner, chef Christopher Bassett of Azure Cafe in Freeport was piping a basil-mint-sodium alginate mixture into a bowl of calcium lactate, making bright green "caviar" to bob in the bottom of bartender Zeus-Hannah Suzette's cocktail, "Sweet & Tangy Screw."

· Biggest surprise went to The Great Lost Bear for both the fetching chauffeur outfits on the women serving drinks and the tasty, Hendrick's Gin-based "Driving Miss Dizzy" — proof that a beer bar can make a cocktail.

· Numerous guests were overheard commenting that the Mercedes dealership was an unexpectedly perfect venue for the event; who knew a space where cars are repaired could be so spiffy and spotless?

David's Opus Ten

22 Monument Square, Portland, ME Visit Website