A chance meeting


The restaurant was closed at noon, but through the window I could see a carefully wrought balance of spareness and comfort, white birch logs mounted on the walls. From the sidewalk behind me a voice said, “Hi, I’m the owner.” A man stood with bags of shellfish and produce in his arms.

A memory of something I had read months ago, about a chef who used only Maine ingredients, took shape. A rigorous discipline to adhere to, particularly in winter. He was a poet, too, as I recalled.

“Please come in,” he said, I did, and our talk turned to Robert Bly and Dante, taking from the land and the sea and giving to others. The beauty of taking on an aesthetic discipline and creating within it.

That evening, back for mahogany clams and Casco Bay mussels, cocktails with beet infused vermouth, a shrub made with blueberry vinegar.

A Chance Meeting is the title of Rachel Cohen’s wonderful book. Also, it’s what happened to me outside Vinland, in Portland, Maine, when I met David Levi, chef and poet.

updated: 1 year ago