Page 21 - WCM 2022 Winter
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 cheese atop a thick slab of delicately grilled eggplant with roasted tomato and garlic. At this point we moved on to MOMA, a silky smooth Sangiovese/ Cabernet blend from Emilia-Romagna’s Umberto Cesari winery. It so nicely accompanied the Fruti di Mare, one of the chef ’s favorites.
Seafood and pasta with spicy marinara has always been a go-to dish for me in Italian restaurants, and this was one of the best I’ve had. Jumbo shrimp, Maine sea scallops, and Bangs Island mussels from Casco Bay held their own fresh flavors, but melded beautifully with the robust, but not overwhelming, spiciness of the sauce. The house-made tagliatelle pushed it over the top for me. Chef Eric’s passion for Maine seafood might be equaled by his enthusiasm for locally cultivated and foraged mushrooms. He sent out a Funghi Pizza from Ancora’s new wood-fired oven, which showcased local Lion’s Mane, Lobster and Oyster mushrooms with a shallot confit, garlic cream, and porcini sea salt. Super delicious, but we
took a box for most of it (complete with careful directions for reheating, lest we do it the injustice of eating it cold) to save room for the Panna Cotta, a house specialty made with a rotating seasonal fruit. This one featured pomegranate, and every bite was tangy, flavorful and amazing. I really can’t say enough about this upstart establishment, except that I know I’ll be back for more.
Needless to say, It has been a trying time for restaurants everywhere. I want to express my deep gratitude to the good folks at Maurice, Loon Lodge, and Ancora for taking the time with me to share
their passion for fine food and the dining experience. They are all heroes. They and so many others in our communities continue to step up to the challenge of feeding hungry tourists and locals alike, bolstering our local economies, and creating these kinds of divine sensory experiences that can stay with us for a lifetime. I encourage you to support and appreciate them, take the time to savor every bite, and enjoy the journey. ✲
A great seafood pasta with spicy marinara is considered by many (or at least our writer!) to be a litmus test for fine Italian Cuisine. Ancora Italian Kitchen showcases fresh Maine sea scallops, Bangs Island mussels from Casco Bay, and a house-made tagliatelle to craft a world class version with just the right amount of heat.

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