Excerpts from the March, 2005
Issue of the Rosengarten Report
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Anjon’s Gourmet Puttanesca
“If there’s a better balance of flavors in any jarred tomato sauce anywhere, I’ve yet to find it–and that’s why this puttanesca from an Italian restaurant in Maine grabbed the #1 ranking of all sauces in my marathon pasta sauce tasting. Wow! Now remember: this is a puttanesca tomato sauce, not a chunky mix of olives and capers. But what tomato sauce! It’s a deep red-orange, with wonderful imported olive oil afloat, and a pulpy-meaty, fairly thick consistency. What’s apparent immediately is the kind of cooked-in, oily, old-fashioned red-checkered-tablecloth tomato sauce flavor I crave. Toss it with pasta, however, and the just-right olive-caper-anchovy underbelly erupts. The best note of all is a kind of mild vinegariness that adds tremendous fun to the party. Unless you hate olive or capers, you cannot fail to be bewitched by this sauce–and I’m just warning you, you cannot stop eating it (on pasta, on bread, out of the jar, who knows what else).”
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Anjon’s Gourmet Marinara Sauce
“This killer company came roaring out of nowhere-well, Scarborough, Maine– to take some of my top prizes. Fairly dark red, and much smoother, less chunky than your normal “marinara.” No matter. The eatin’ texture is sexy and loose, with a great flavor exactly reminiscent of the best red-sauce restaurants of another era. A touch sweet, but good acid compensates.”
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Anjon’s Gourmet Vodka Sauce
“It’s the kitchen of Anjon’s restaurant in Scarborough, Maine that came through again! That must be one heck of a kitchen. This vodka sauce had, by far, the most complex flavor of any – with real tomato depth, a whiff of garlic, good acid and good cheese (Pecorino Romano). One of the redder ones in the tasting, caused by higher tomato content – which means that, despite it’s quality, this is not the most “classic” of vodka sauces.”
The Maine Revelation of my tasting.
“Anjon’s Restaurant, in Scarborough, Maine, not only supplied the #1 pasta sauce of the tasting — Anjon’s Gourmet Puttanesca — but supplied sauces that did extremely well in every category in which they competed. Which got me wondering…who are these people?
In 1954, Ann and John DiSanto bought an old seafood shack on Route 1, just northeast of New Hampshire, right near Portland, Maine, and decided to convert it into a family Italian-American restaurant. They called it “AnJon’s” — a conflation of their names. Ann and John got it up and running in 1957, and it has been a local institution ever since — practically unknown to the rest of the country, but much beloved in this corner of New England.
In 2002 — as part of the very pasta-sauce boom I’m describing in this article! — their descendants decided to go global by producing and marketing a line of Anjon’s pasta sauces. The restaurant’s chef today, Ann’s son Rocco DiSanto, makes every sauce himself in big pots on his restaurant range—then puts them in jars himself, by hand! I’m telling you, you can taste the care, love and tradition.”
“We’ve been going to Anjon’s for our “special dinners” for over 8 years. When we’re at our home in Old Orchard Beach and we want to have the most delicious food and an ambiance that makes us feel like we’re at a relative’s home, we go to Anjon’s. And, while ALL of the dishes served are excellent, we are VERY partial to the “Anjon’s Scampi”. Excellent food; excellent service; and feeling like it’s Sunday dinner at Momma’s house, THAT’S ANJON’S.”
~ John & Dana M., South Cairo, NY
“I used to make my own sauce, but after tasting Anjon’s, I never looked back (and with 3 kids, why should I?). As a sauce fanatic and gourmand, Anjon’s is clearly superior to ANY jarred sauce on the market! You don’t even need pasta — it’s great right out of the jar. Whenever we come home to Maine or when family visits us in NY, there is always a stop for your sauce. Thanks for a truly wonderful product!!!”
~Heather from Smithtown, New York
“I am a HUGE and loyal fan of your pasta sauces and after having them will not eat anything else on my pasta. My favorite part of the meal is eating the sauce right out of the jar after I open it. I simply love it! I even have my parents in Rhode Island hooked and they stock up every time they come to visit to bring back to RI (and there are plenty of Italian restaurants in RI!)”
~Amey from Scarborough, Maine
“What I like about Anjon’s, is that it tastes “special”. When I want to serve guests an outstanding Italian dinner, the antipasto is prepared, the bread is fresh and the wine is red. But…best of all…the coveted jar of Anjon’s is opened and served with pasta (It’s true don’t overheat it!). I like the zesty flavor. Guests compliment me, saying I have my own trattoria! Thank you Anjon’s”
~Carole from Tucson, Arizona
“Just wanted to follow up on our conversation the other day to reaffirm that your family’s Pasta Sauce is by far the best on the market; and yes, you can drink it, as it is just so good!
When our family buys the Anjon’s Marinara Sauce, we always pick up a minimum of 6-10 jars, just to make sure we never run out. I’ve actually given jars to my staff and patients in the past, just to prove that their current pasta sauce is just horrible in comparison. Needless to say, they are converts after they try yours!
Thank you for making our family dinners great! Happy and healthy New Year to you and all your family. Buon appetito!”
~Barry from Scarborough, Maine
“I moved away from Maine 2 years ago and have yet to find a sauce as good as yours. I am so glad that you ship your pasta sauces!!! My friends and family love it too!
~Jill from Chestertown, Maryland
“I am a documentary filmmaker who has traveled all over the world. I’ve made many films about food. Rarely does a food product surpass expectations. Your pasta sauce is indispensable and delicious — better than we could ever make at home. I often eat it with a spoon, without pasta. Thank you for improving our life.”
~ Barry from Hollywood, California
“For many years, my own sauces were wonderful to family and friends. After my gourmet newsletter recommended these sauces and I tried them, I was amazed how delicious they all are. Now my UPS driver brings me a case at a time and I have more time for other things I enjoy cooking.”
~ Sandy from Gray, Georgia
“Anjon’s was recommended to be the best sauce in America, we tried it and now we believe it. Anjon’s is the best. Don’t cook your own if you don’t have to, they do it better.”
~ Don and Sharlene from Denver, Colorado
“I am in the ‘testimonial picture’. It was a fun night at Anjons and we were treated like family. Being full blooded Italian, the food was like home and you can’t beat fresh pasta, herbs and the homemade bread. The veal was outstanding. Glad to live so close. ”
~ Michele from Old Orchard Beach, Maine
“The food and service are amazing here! We have been coming here for years and have never once had a bad experience. Looking forward to our next visit! ”
~ Nancy from South Egremont, Massachussetts
“Johnny, Your sauce is simply “The Best”; as well as your restaurant. My inlaws reside in Florida for the winter, my mother in law (God love her) brings along with them their supply of Anjons sauce. We have been long time friends, and Guests of The Disanto family & Anjons…your food and sevice as well as atmosphere continues throughout the generations to be amazing! Buon Appetito! ”
~ Cinde & Kevin from Scarborough, Maine
“Love your gourmet tomato sauce. My husband is on a low sodium diet and it is the only sauce he can have.”
~ Jennifer from Windham, Maine
“We had frequented Anjon’s a few times while on vacation in August 2006. The food and service were phenomenal! …just like your Italian “grandma” would make. We can’t wait to visit your restaurant again on vacation in August 2007.”
~ John & Liz from Brooklyn, NY
“Not only is it one of the few sauces carried by my favorite Health Food stores, it definintely tastes far better than any of the dozens of brands carried in our local supermarkets. Having tried them all, Anjon’s definitely stands out. It seems lighter, more flavorful, and not heavy with sodium and other additives. You can definitely taste the difference! Many thanks for a great product!”
~ Charlotte from Scarborough, Maine
“Anjons has the BEST sauces! I am in car sales and my family doesnt get much home cooking, so I bring home anjons sauce and cook some pasta. They all love it! I also bring my gram some of the lobster fra diavlo sauce when I visit her in mass. She is from Italy and she says it is the best jarred sauce she ever had. She also said she would never eat jarred sauce till she had this sauce. I had to put it in a plastic container the 1st time she tried it. If it was in a jar she would have never had the pleasure. Now she asks me to pick up a jar for her when I visit. Its delicious! ”
~ Joanne from East Waterboro, Maine
“Just wanted you to know that you are and always have been THE best Italian Restaurant ever! I was there last evening and have been going there for over 25 years. I will continue for another 25 if at all possible. I have submitted a testimonial to add to your many. You have never disappointed me whenever I’;ve been there and I thank you for continuing your high quality of food and service. ”
~ Murielle from New Durham, NH
“We love Anjon’s pasta sauces. Each summer when in Maine, we buy multiple jars for our own use as well as for friends. Then we order again in mid-winter when our supplies run low. The flavors are superb–and are made even more appealing by the fact that both sodium & calorie counts are low. What a great combo! ”
“I have enjoyed your restaurant and have been a fan of your marinara sauce for some time. This past June (2007) my cousin was visiting from out of state and I took her to your restaurant for lunch. She is an admitted pasta sauce ‘snob’ who has spent years perfecting her own tomato sauce. Well, I was very pleased to hear her positive comments about your sauce and about the food in general. She is a tough critic and she was won over. My family and friends always enjoy your restaurant. I think the key is that the food and service are always consistently pleasurable experiences. To us, Anjon’s represents a meal and atmosphere that you can count on in an every changing world. Thank you. ”
~ Anne from Saco, Maine
“Anjon’s prepares fabulous sauces–we especially enjoy the puttanesca and marinara. Discovering the low sodium levels was the best bonus.
Multiple jars go home with us each summer–so we’re never without! Thanks for real quality. ”
~ Patricia from Champaign, IL
“I grew up in Portland, Maine and was used to the wonderful Italian cooking that this area offers. I now live in the South, and had given up Italian food altogether because there was not a restaurant or a sauce to be found that wasn’t disappointing. I can’t tell you how happy I was to find Anjon’s on line. Anjon’s sauce is so good, it brings tears to my eyes. Thank-you, Anjon’s! ”
~ Cheryl from Madison, VA
“Once you taste Anjon’s homemade marinara sauce, you’ll never go back! I’ve been enjoying their pasta sauces for 20 years and I’ve never found another brand or recipe that comes close–even in Italy.”
~ Phil from Cape Elizabeth, ME
“Johnny, your red sauce is without a doubt the best we have ever eaten. Two things we miss since we moved to the west coast are your incredible dishes and Maine seafood.
Let’s hope we can get those sauces onto the shelves here in California. There is nothing out here that in any way compares with what you create.”
~ Paul and Susan from Orange County, California
“Good evening, we just returned to our hotel after a wonderful dinner at your restaurant after a long shopping day in Freeport. We have been in Old Orchard Beach for the week on vacation from Upstate NY (Utica) and visited your restaurant for the first time tonight. I want to complement you first on the delicious meal that we enjoyed, and secondly, on the wonderful service. Your son, John, was our waiter, and he was very attentive, and a very warm and pleasant young man. He represents your restaurant efficiently and has a youthful eagerness to please.
As you can see by our last name, we are 100% Italian and couldn’t have been happier at your restaurant, it was very wonderful in every way and very relaxing. We will definitely return when we visit OOB again next summer. Best regards, and keep up the good work, it sure explains why you have been in business since 1950′s!”
~ Michael, Terri, and Michael Paul from Utica, New York
“I bought your sauce at Shaws, I AM HOOKED! ”
~ Heather from Medway, Massachusetts