Let's start with the most important thing: cake. I love picking out my own birthday cake from Scratch Baking Co. I started this tradition with myself a couple years ago. It really just assures that I get to eat whatever the heck I want on my birthday without settling for a sub-par sugar-bomb. Scratch always has the best selection with seasonal favorites as well as items they have everyday.
This year, I chose four types of (small) cakes:
Deep South Coconut Cream Cake: layers of yellow cake filled with coconut pudding, covered in marshmallow frosting and coated in sweet coconut. Oh goodness...
Ring Ding A Ling: rich chocolate cake, thick and delicious whoopie pie filling, c0vered in chocolate ganache and topped with colorful sprinkles to make you feel like a kid again. I got two of these because they're so good.
Aztec Cake: cupcake-esque with chocolate cake and espresso frosting(?). I don't remember all the details to this one but it was very good!
Mint Truffle Cake: You'd never know it was vegan...Very minty, rich and chocolate-y. I love all things mint so this one was a perfect addition.
This was a perfect birthday. A latte and a walk in the morning, then a cake run with a birthday bagel (eaten at the SMCC lighthouse, thank you!), followed by teaching about nocturnal animals at my favorite school and finally drinks, flatbread/hummus, and beer/cheese soup at Local 188. We all ended the night with cake, cake and more cake.
Side note: If you've never had a bagel from Scratch, your life might be empty. The bakers arrive at 3am every day to make them fresh and they always sell out. The flavors are sea salt, all seeds, sesame, poppy, wheat and plain. Once upon a time, I worked at Scratch Baking Co. I would arrive at 5am to make breakfast sandwiches and the aroma of these bagels still haunts me.
I attended a foodie event called Harvest on the Harbor a week or three back. It was not nearly as wonderful as the previous two times I've attended. The event was started in 2008 and was once held right on the harbor at what is now the Nova Star terminal. There was a great tent set up with countless tables filled with incredible food and drink.
This year, it was held in one of the back 58 Fore Street buildings. The atmosphere was ok but what I was put off by most was the lack of compost or recycling facilities. There were only trash cans. All the uneaten food and drink went into the trash with the used plastic cups. Disappointing to someone so set on lowering the trash stream amount.
The food vendors were also sub-par this year with very few stellar booths ringing out. One I can highly recommend though is Casco Bay Butter Co. These artisan butters are handmade and packaged in Scarborough. You can find their heart-stopping flavors (Get it? Butter. Arteries. Heart-stopping. Ha.) at Hannafords, Whole Foods, the Portland Food Co-Op, Scratch Baking Co and more. Try the herb butter, truffle butter and sea salt flavors. I may have visited this table more than 5 times just to eat butter on crackers.
Speaking of animal fat, I bought at Locavore coupon to Great East Butcher Co, $30 for $15. I went in with an empty canvas bag and left with about ten pounds of fresh pork chops and sirloin strip steak for not very much money at all! With pork chops being $3 per pound, I accidentally-on-purpose bought eight. Freezer-tastic. They have very slowly being eaten after I cook them on medium, in a pan with truffle olive oil (free from Harvest on the Harbor), rosemary, salt and pepper. This dish makes my apartment smell delightful for hours to come. I was also recently blessed with a pan of incredibly creamy and lust-worthy mac and cheese. This was so delicious that it blew my recipe away (see June 2014 archives). The noodles and cheese sauce was topped with buttery bread crumbs that MADE the dish. I can't wait to eat some more!
The leaves continue to change and fall all around me as I walk or bike place to place. On one school campus today, I stood under an enormous oak tree that was shedding leaves by the pile-full. Students ran around, trying to catch them in their hands or more humorously, in their mouths. It made me grateful that I wasn't the only one noticing what was occurring here. I have sent photos of red, orange and yellow leaves to my family in the color-less state of Texas. I can't imagine living anywhere else for now...