Hey – it’s DD. Willow, Jess, Ali, Nick, Jamie and I united on a perfect fall day in late September to enjoy The Lost Kitchen, in Freedom, Maine. Willow was one of the lucky ones who got her message on The Lost Kitchen’s voicemail right after midnight on April 1st and scored an in demand reservation for 6 at The Lost Kitchen. Our reservations were at 6 pm, when the doors opened, and we got there a bit early. Parking is right next to the restaurant – you will see a sign. The address is 22 Mill St. in Freedom, Maine 04941. We put it in Google Maps, and we had no problem getting there.
You pass over a footbridge before you approach the old mill, which has some nice features you can read about.
Your first stop when you get there will be to the wine/beer cellar…there’s an ancient law that prohibits The Lost Kitchen from getting a liqueur license, but why would they? This experience just adds onto the ambiance and enhances this quaint, interactive dining experience.
We still had some time before the doors opened, so we took a walk around the grounds. We met a nice father, daughter, dog team in the yard of the mill – the father had a role in the rehabilitation of the mill, so he told us some stories!
We saw people moving in the direction of the door, and we were so delighted to finally discover what was inside of The Lost Kitchen!
Ali shares her story below…
“I have this memory, this piece of something wonderful. There was a restaurant in Belfast that I was fortunate enough to visit once. It was unassuming, lovely, and brilliant. I don’t remember much other than knowing that I had found something special, but before I could return it was gone, lost. Or so I thought.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved food. During summers as a small child, I would quietly eat my lunch with Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch at a small, wooden, school-style connected chair and desk. Deconstructed sandwiches – bread with butter, cheese, meat – nothing was touching. I didn’t like it when my food touched. And I waited. I waited to see if Mom would get distracted, because after my educational program was almost always a cooking show. Fast chopping, steam, colors, passion and a love a real love and joy of what they made. Adult Allison has the same love for food, but now has a better understanding of the process of creating culinary experiences. The food can touch. It can layer, fold, build and it continues to amaze me.
Erin French, the self-taught chef that had captivated me all those years ago had found a new home and a new start just three years ago. What she imagined might be a quiet café has become a magical experience. What once she thought she might have lost has most definitely been found, by thousands, by 10,000 this year to be exact.
This dinner is not just a dinner, it’s a dance. The lovely ensemble of ladies, who also grow and raise most of food that is served here, float in and about the room. Erin glides as she moves seared pieces of lamb about cast iron skillets and from stove top to oven. The lighting is soft but every detail of the warmth of the wood and character of the entire space is visible. It’s a dream, her dream, and you feel every bit of that.”
A board of pickled root vegetables with soft cheeses and deliciously airy bread appear. We quickly make room amongst the beer and wine glasses, the contents of which we’ve just purchased from the wine cellar below.
Then oysters. I am obsessed with oysters, but these are unlike any oyster I’ve had or will have again. Carefully perched on a bed of rocks, the brine is perfectly balanced with what I can only guess was a few leaves of baby dill and fresh horseradish.
Then dinner is announced. All these gems have preceded the menu of cauliflower soup, salad from the garden outside, main entree of crusted lamb chops and polenta, and finished with a desert course of ginger peach shortcake with housemade cream.
There is a story and a journey that brought Erin here. There are those far more adept in culinary narrative at the Boston Globe, New York Times, Martha Stewart, and Forbes that eloquently capture the tale. All I know is that in the course of all life’s adventures, I am glad this night, this experience I shared with my husband and friends, was one of mine.”
As always, Willow and I took a plethora of photos from the night, so here’s more of our experience. Willow has a seafood allergy, so she let them know that when she made the reservation, and Erin so kindly prepared her an amazing egg course while the rest of us had oysters.
After the delightful pork sliders, we were treated to some warm cloths and apple cider + thai basil sorbet to cleanse the palate. Erin allegedly fell in love with one of these and had them reproduced for the restaurant. You can even buy one in the wine shop!
After the sorbet, Erin took the floor for a passionate, warm welcome to all of us. She mentioned it was the great joy of her life to have us all there, and we could not agree more. After we all applauded her, the courses started coming out.
After the main course, we decided we needed another bottle of wine for the table – and the store is open all night. Our lovely attendant met us downstairs and helped us select another bottle of wine for desert.
We made is back just in time for coffee, which was being pressed while we were downstairs, and this delightful little dessert.
The highlight of the night, however, was meeting Erin. She is very vibrant and passionate, and we enjoyed being in her presence greatly. Her story is magical – from the Divorce-mobile and the losses she suffered only to achieve supreme greatness is quite empowering and powerful. If all of us can achieve what Erin has achieved in life, the world would be a much better place. I legit wanted to bottle her up and take some of her vibes with me. Her energy is amazing.
We hope you enjoyed our experience at The Lost Kitchen. Please share this so others can experience it too! And don’t forget to mark your calendars form April 1… or do, so we have a better chance of scoring a reservation next year 🙂
Have you been here? use the hashtag #lovemaineadventures to share your adventures with us!