On to Maxwell's Strawberry Farm in Cape Elizabeth I went after breakfast. It was a beautiful day and I wanted strawberries before the season finished up. I brought a large plastic container and set to work in the rows. By 9:45am, there had to be close to people already filling the green and red lines with laughter and talking. Families littered the farm and I grew terribly homesick as I listed to the children say "Mommy, look at THIS one!!" time and again. I filled my container, paid and biked North to Two Lights beach. There's nothing that makes me miss my dad more than going on a long bike ride in a beautiful place, to places we once visited together.
As I sped down the hill, Tour de France style (it was opening day after all), I heard the sound of the lighthouse siren. The waves were crashing in an intense pattern that, had there been no scary, deadly rocks ahead, would have been great conditions to body surf. I jumped from rock to rock (which reminded me of a magical place from my childhood called Enchanted Rock) and found a spot to sit and eat some red goodies. There was striking orange lichen on the rocks next to me. After I ate numerous strawberries, I walked down closer to where the water was gushing in from the tide. I did a little yoga on a flat surface and, as I was doing downward dog, I heard little sounds that made me want to investigate. I got down on my tummy and put my face just inches away from the water. In that tide pool, there were dozens of barnacles feeding, opening and closing. These arthropods (related to crabs and lobsters) extend their feathery-looking feet out of their mouth-body to pull water towards them. This ocean water holds their breakfast, lunch and dinner (depending on the tides of course) as they are filter feeders and eat plankton. Imagine waiting, your feet in the air, hoping to attract food to your mouth. I don't think that would be a very efficient way for humans to use their feet...
After getting back to town, I met a friend and walked down to the farmers market. This is one of my favorite Saturday rituals as it's both a social and food event. Plus I love the peace reading a book in the the park brings me. The dog population is often healthy down here as well. Keep an eye out for a very talented cellist as well. His name is Austin (represent Texas roots!) and he plays Pink Floyd sometimes...
When I got home, I made up a lunch of stir fried snow peas, carrots and fingerling potatoes to balance out my morning bagel. After a nap and some good old fashioned Saturday down time, I met my L and S for ice cream at Captain Sam's and a walk to the East End, where we were going for a party with new friends. It turned into a sausage party (no insinuation here) as everyone seemed to bring sausages of some kind. They were all terrific, as were the BBQ burgers and chicken burgers. No BBQ (or grill-out I should say) is complete on July 4th without apple pie. We were blessed to have such a dessert in residence.
Once the fireworks started, we walked around the corner to view them going off over the Eastern Promenade. Despite background conversations about dissertations, whether there was a drone flying overhead or the ridiculous amount of boats on the water, I sat there, open mouthed, like the 8 year old child I am in my head sometimes. Fireworks get me every time.
A few days later, I was back at work and it was one of the hottest days of the year so far. This warranted a cold drink with my good friend at Pai Men Miyake. The sake lemonade with chilled sake, house made yuzu mix, mint and soda did the trick cooled my hot body. It was only $7 and worth every sip. I love Pai Men as it as a great view for copious amounts of people watching, its often shaded outside tables and killer food that I dream about all day. We ordered the pork buns, Brussels sprouts for appetizers and the Paitan and Miso soups. I thought that the ramen would be too much as it was a warm day but the combination of lemonade and cool/shady atmosphere balanced everything wonderfully.
Speaking of Brussel sprouts, girlfriend and I attended the Portland Flea-For-All event Flea Bites last week. It was a fun evening of food trucks and good home furnishings. I'm still on the lookout for a bookshelf and swing by Flea-For-All from time to time. J and I looked around and then went outside to get our burger on. Neither of us eat many burgers during the year but this one, from Mainely Burger, was totally worth it. I got the Beast, with cheddar, sauteed onions, bacon, pickles and BBQ sauce. Apparently, you can also get it between two grilled cheese sandwiches, instead of a bun. Sounds like the most delicious way to die of a heart attack! We also got Brussel sprouts, which are always good. It was a beautiful night to be outside and we walked to Novare Res afterwards. One beer here with more friends and we finally made it to Lincoln's. I secret bar, hidden on Market street. It was great for the $5 anything to drink aspect (I got a snakebite and friends got vodka or whiskey drinks) but the atmosphere was much too loud and dark for my taste.
Switching gears, yesterday started out with a bang and ended with ice cream, which heals all wounds. I bike partway to work and then swim three days a week. This means I get up awfully early to get down to Kennebunk at 7am. This early arrival a good thing as I decided to get into a fight with both my bike as well as the ground. Guess who lost. (Get it, "switching gears"...I entertain myself)
Fast forward nine hours later to when I was finished with work. I survived the six classes of kids, found out I had a bad sprain from a doctor who is a saint for seeing me with no appointment and no prior information and put way too many miles on my poor car. But then I drove home and made a stop by an old haunt: Garside's Ice Cream. When I first moved to Maine over four years ago, I worked at an ecology school in Saco. Garside's was our place to go after a long week with the kids, or just after a long day at the tide pools. I haven't been here in two or three years and I don't know why I've stayed away so long! I ordered an old favorite: coffee and mint chocolate chip hot fudge sundae. Ibuprofen might be the medical cure for an injury but I believe an old friend might be a cure for the frustrations of a new and very unwelcome injury. Moral of the story: Go to Garsides, on Route 9 in Saco (go towards Camp Ellis) and don't fall off your bike.
This weekend brings foot-healing and muffin-baking. The batch I attempted last week failed utterly because I tried to make them too healthy. This time, I succeeded! They are the largest or most decadent tasting but these strawberry/rhubarb muffins are pretty fantastic.
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. light brown sugar
2/3 c. applesauce
1/4 c. cooking oil
1 c. (total) chopped rhubarb and strawberries
Mix dry ingredients. Make well in the center; set aside. Beat egg, brown sugar, applesauce and cooking oil. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Put into muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins
p.s. apologize for sideways photos. This computer is certainly on its last leg/microchip