Spring really started to pop just after my return from Texas. At one point, I met a very kind and positive man for a walk on the Western Prom and dinner at my favorite, Local Sprouts. The weather was perfect and the gnocchi was a heavenly dish, despite my lack of love for mushrooms. As I get older, I'm finding that my fungus tolerance is rising. Olives, not so much! But the gnocchi: the basic dish is traditional Terra Cotta potato gnocchi with picked local/organic chicken, house mushroom sauce and local spinach with Sonnental Farm asiago on top. I crave more vegetables in my dinner though so I requested lots of extra sauteed veggies. These are always fresh, crispy and extra tasty. It is a heavier dish but so filling and I never regret this order (now I've gotten it three times in one month).
As Local Sprouts just so happens to be my home-away-from-home-office, I have also gotten their Sprouts Bowl for dinner a time or two. This dish makes me feel very healthy and incredibly full in a good way. The bowl starts with brown rice and beans, covered in sauteed vegetables and mesclun greens and topped with my choice of egg and tahini miso dressing. Alternates are tofu or tempeh instead of the egg and balsamic or herb vinaigrette instead of miso dressing. I want another serving right now...
One night, I was in need of social interaction but didn't have a buddy to go out with. I took my book and walked across the street to LFK. There was a seat open at the bar so I sat down and ordered a drink that made me think of summer, the Screaming Phoenix #2. What was #1? No idea but I bet it was tasty. The #2 had El Jimador Reposado (quality tequila), orange juice, pineapple juice, Aperol (orange aperitif) and peach bitters. As I sat here and read, I was distracted by a man next to me. To be fair, my internet wasn't working and I asked him to research the name of Hitler's wife. I was reading Life After Life (Kate Atkinson) at the time and Hitler's wife was a good friend of the main character at one point. From there, the man and I started talking about many different things and a drink spilled over into dinner at Pai Men Miyake. Brussels sprouts, sushi, pork buns (previously mentioned in some other blog, Caution: known to cause food-gasms...it's a thing) and pan-seared pork gyoza (dumplings). Dessert was their special that night, beignets with orange drizzle and powdered sugar. The dessert was very good but I remember beignets as a non-dense piece of love and these were quite compact. Definitely not bad but different.
As for reading, I've moved on to The Goldfinch. Very fitting title for my line of work but I have a feeling it's not about the ecology of songbirds...I brought this book to an outreach event recently at a Seadogs baseball game. I was there to talk to upwards of 500 students to provide an educational component to the game to make it worth getting out of school. In attendance were the pelts (coyote, bobcat, raccoon, beaver, red fox, skunk, deer), beaver skull, raptor talons (osprey, hawk and snowy owl), two mounts and our encased big brown bat. It was a great day of sunshine, dead animals and baseball. My favorite point here had to be the blind boy who came by. I pulled out all the stops and let him touch everything I brought! What a great experience for both of us!
I've written and visited them time and again but Novare Res constantly fills me with love. I was there last night for their 7th birthday party and have gone for dinner and drinks or just snacks and drinks. Below are some photos of their food selection. The turkey sandwich with a side salad is great as is all of their cheeses and meats. Over the past couple visits, I've also stumbled (pun not intended) upon two new favorite beverages. One is by the local and fantastic Urban Farm Fermentory. Their Bearded Lady is a amalgam (cider/kombucha hybrid) brewed with something to do with bourbon and vanilla. It was de-lic-ious. The other drink was Cherry Funk Ale from Prairie Artisan Ales. This one is a complex sour ale aged on cherries. This Oklahoma-made brew will become a regular choice whenever I find it!
Finally, one night, I was asked to attend a charity night at B. Good, a local restaurant on Exchange Street. I've been here a time or two before and it's pretty good! I love how straightforward their food is. You can find every ingredient in their dishes at http://www.bgood.com/ingredients-portland-maine/ I had the all-natural turkey burger with avocado, cheese, jalapenos and more. It was perfect. Little hint too: while the sweet potato fries are pretty good, B. Good's regular fries are the best choice. If you're looking for a healthier option than meat, bread, etc, they have quinoa bowls.
This blog post is well over-due so I'm going to post it now instead of waxing on more about how beautiful today was, how happy I am to be breathing in the lilac on my counter and how much I'm looking forward to walking my friend's dog to the farmer's market tomorrow for fresh vegetables, people-watching and book-reading. Happy Memorial Day weekend and never forget what it's really about!
To fuel my writing, I threw together a toasted leftover cheesy bagel, sauteed spinach, jalapeno sausage and an egg over medium with the yolk destroyed.
While toasting bagel, turn your skillet and cook your meat (bacon, sausage, etc) in olive oil or it's own fat...
Share the pan space with your greens (kale, swiss chard, spinach, etc) and wilt
Remove both and crack egg in your pan. I love to kill the yolk to spread out the goodness but do what you do.
Pile all on top of your bagel. Since my choice bagel was cheesy already, I didn't add extra but if you don't have a cheesy bagel, you probably need cheese. Put slices on half-toasted bagel or in with egg.
Eat it while writing a blog. Full circle.
Intro photo: graffiti on a rock, Reiche playground