One night, sometime in the past three weeks, it was decided that we needed a ladies evening. Nothing too crazy but the Outliers happy hour was our target. Apparently, they have a special $5 cocktail and $5 small plates. The cocktail was delicious, with vodka, guava, lemon, aperol (orange liqueur) and soda. It made me feel as if spring will actually stick around for awhile. I'm saying that despite the lovely surprise gale that happened yesterday with a snow accompaniment. Wrong day to ride the bike...
Not too long after that, it was National Pi Day. It is hands-down one of my favorite days of the year. This is because Portland Pie Company has 10 inch pizzas and pints for $3.14, not even $5!!! My good friend Molly joined me as we ate pizza to our heart's desire. And then we each took three home...I had leftovers for, wait for it, five days! I don't need to lay on the praise for Portland Pie Co as I have a couple times before, but if you want great, cheesy and flavorful pizza, go here. And if you want a rocking dessert, get the chocolate lasagna. I dream about this one.
Then, one particularly windy day, I needed a dose of lighthouse. I went to the Portland Head Light and Fort Williams first and ventured to the building ruins (built in 1899 and decommissioned in 1963) for the first time. These are found to the left of the beach and have an incredible view. I loved the wind action of the waves crashing against the rocks. Had it been any lower tide, I would have climbed down to search for urchins and sea stars. I next ventured to Spring Point light to eat a pulled pork sandwich from Scratch Bakery for lunch. It was good but I prefer the soon-to-be-talked-about burrito from Great Lost Bear. I looked for sea glass to my hearts content and found some prize pieces.
But let's talk about the raised heart rate section of the blog. So, who are we kidding? The real reason people work out is so they can then eat cake in a jar. This is just what a couple friends and I did after butt-kicking boot camp class one perfect evening. Of course, you can't eat dessert without finishing your dinner first so I happened to destroy a pulled pork burrito (with rice, beans and cheese in a large tortilla) at the Great Lost Bear. If you like pulled pork whatsoever, get this meal! It's all balanced out by a fresh salad (if you so choose) so it's all healthy right...? Let's face it, GLB's cake in a mason jar isn't the greatest dessert on earth but it sure does taste good!
Next, work is what I live to do. It's so much fun for me and I really love to do it. Even on the days I have to wake up at 3:30am. This particular day, I drove up to Bar Harbor with a colleague from US Fish and Wildlife. It was a long and beautifully foggy drive but we made it, facilitated a successful and full workshop about culverts and wrapped up around 1pm. We had plenty of time before we felt like heading home so Serena, a colleague from Natural Resources Conservation Service, and I headed into town for lunch. Since it's not summer, the town was pretty minimal, but we happened upon This Way Cafe. If only I lived closer to this place, it would be on my list of frequent visits. The bar tables and stools were made of giant wood cookies, shellacked with a thick clear seal and the drinks, even water, are served in Mason jars. The result is very nice. This is a place that will celebrate its five year anniversary this year.
We ordered lunch and, to get the full experience, I ordered a jalapeno pineapple margarita. When the meal arrived, we stopped talking and I started making the noises I reserve for really good food. I ordered a BLATT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, turkey) with chipotle mayo on grilled marble rye bread. Oh lord was it good! A side salad with strawberry vinaigrette was the perfect addition. My companions ordered a fish sandwich (boiled haddock on grilled challah bread with tasty sauce, so I hear), and the Emmy (grilled pita with avocado, lettuce, tomato, fresh mozzarella and pesto (with the best-o). There were ZERO complaints!
Before and after lunch, we walked down to the harbor. There had to be about 10 loons on the water. Some were gregarious enough to come close enough for me to exclaim "I've never been this close to a loon before!!!" At one point, the loons started calling and I found myself jumping up and down, waving my arms like a small child. My colleagues wished they had caught it on camera.
After lunch, we ventured into Acadia National Park. It was my first time here and we went to a long sandy beach that blew me away. We were the only ones on the beach at times, as it was close to 30 degrees F. I touched and ran away from the water and sprinted down the beach, again like a small child. It was an incredible feeling to be cooped up in a workshop all morning and then released to such open beauty that was this cove of ice covered rocks and eroding sand.
Driving back from Bar Harbor that afternoon was a struggle. We had been up over 12 hours by this point and found ourselves singing Disney songs to keep entertained/awake. It may have been one of the most fun parts of the day.
Finally, the weekend came and I found myself alone at the farmers market with a book in hand (as usual). I did my shopping of Swiss chard, honey hand cream and tomatillo salsa and then headed to Urban Farm Fermentory to sit at the bar and read. Do you know about this spot yet? If you like kombucha, cider, mead or any combination of the aforementioned, visit UFF. There are well over 100 different recipes created by Eli and his crack team and they change and rotate with the day/week/season/whim. All flavor (ranging from raspberry to juniper to ghost pepper) additions are grown local and harvested for potent flavor and medicinal value. Some of my favorite kombucha variations include blueberry, ginger, chaga chai, apple, jalapeno and rhubarb. I love simply going to UFF to people-watch at the farmers market as well. So many different visitors come and I love to watch them all. It's a great social experiment with no hard and fast results.
And finally, Sunday brought the Tiki Challenge at Maine Craft Distillery. There were five bartenders serving up their five newly-created cocktails for our drinking and judging pleasure. Over 100 people showed up to an event that was free and booze-full. My favorite drink from the Central Provisions bartender won the first round as his drink was made with time-consuming (but OH SO worth it) home-made thick coconut syrup. The drink also had lemon and pineapple juice, Maine Craft D gin and pink peppercorn syrup and topped with crushed pink peppercorns and zested lemon peel. It was an incredibly creamy and light drink but hit the spot. I would happily get this at any bar that served it.
The last couple weeks have been filled with good friends, good food and good drinks. The next post will likely be sent from Texas. Yee haw and adios!
P.S. Opening picture is from tonight's dinner, Taco Tuesday at Local Sprouts Cafe. sunny side up local egg, Cabot cheddar, organic Maine greens, house-made salsa, aioli and Chad's Obsession hot sauce on a fresh corn tortilla.