First Bites: Tao Yuan – Brunswick, ME

My dearest readers, I assure you I have been eating well, but the writing aspect has clearly suffered, so I do  want to apologize for the lapse in blog entries. If you have not already done so, my best suggestion is that you follow my dining exploits via my Instagram account as it gets updated on a 24-48 hour basis. Even if you do not have Instagram downloaded on your smartphone or tablet, you may still access the pictures from the website.

The following pictures are from my dinner at Tao Yuan earlier this year, which unbeknownst to me, happened to be their last evening of service before going on a winter hiatus. Their staff is back in action as of February 4th. While I’ve personally enjoyed all of my meals at BaoBao Dumpling House, I’m aware of feedback that other diners felt the menu is too limited or they expected baozi to be served due to its namesake. For those guests, I feel as though Tao Yuan may align more closely to what they had in mind. I opted for the chef’s tasting menu at the recommendation of the bartender and he was right on the money. I urge you to take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the menu that Chef Cara Stadler has prepared because it’s really something special and I have great faith you will not be disappointed. I was so impressed by the progression of flavors, textures, and presentation from start to finish. Portions and pacing were all spot-on as well, so thankfully I didn’t feel like a stuffed pig by the end of it. If you ever find yourself in the Brunswick area, do not neglect a visit to Tao Yuan!

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Pemaquid oyster with lemongrass mignonette (my FIRST half-shell experience by the way!)

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Beef tenderloin, spinach, miso vinaigrette, satsuma orange, mushrooms, rice chili crisp

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Tuna poké with micro greens and cuttlefish chips

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Pork steam bun and Shao Mai (pork, shrimp, water chestnut, shiitake)

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Soup dumpling

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Wok-fried cauliflower with bacon, scallion, garlic, soy

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Scallops with Hong Shao pork terrine, fennel, crimini mushrooms, imperial jus

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Seared duck breast (sorry I cannot recall the other components)

Opal basil granita

Opal basil granita

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Flourless chocolate torte, toasted coconut sorbet, bing cherrry gastrique

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