Another day, I ventured up to Rockland to facilitate a stream and culvert workshop. The drive up was deceivingly long but I suppose that had something to do with my 4:45am departure time. As I drove into work and loaded up the ginormous truck I was to drive up for the Fish and Wildlife Service, I saw the moon still high and the stars shining brightly. Had I thought of it, I probably would have wished to stay awake the entire 2-hour drive. Wish granted, although stopping in Thomaston was a necessary for a quick nap and coffee . Upon arrival, I was (say it with me) early! So I chose to drive in giant circles in my giant truck upon the large swath of ice that had covered the parking lot below the Lighthouse Museum. The crackle was oh-so-rewarding. After the workshop wrapped up, I drove into Rockland for a little exploration of their shops. Next week, I will return to the area for yet another workshop and will visit the breakwater as well.
But enough of that and on to the rest. March 4th brought the opportunity to drive up to Brunswick with friends to Frontier restaurant. We went to see a band called Native Isles, which is one half made up of a friends' siblings. I had been here a time or two in the past and particularly enjoyed the view. Located in the old Cabot Mill (atop what was once the pre-revolutionary Fort Andross, built in 1688) it is right on the Androscoggin River. There is a small hydroelectric dam which the water flows over, downriver and under a classic green-ish metal bridge which leads from Brunswick to Topsham. I heard that in 2009, a young moose found himself stuck on the small island below the damn. Eventually he found his way out of the mess but not before delighting oodles of tourists and locals.
Frontier itself is a large, open room with beautiful hardwood floors (see above picture), large windows along the river-facing wall and a happy ambiance. The food is a little on the expensive side but I settled on a falafel wrap (with tomato, romaine, red onion, housemade tzatziki, and Pineland Farms feta in a pita) and regular fries (for once, the regular fries are much better than the sweet potato fries!). Other friends chose the pulled pork sandwich and fried chicken sandwich. The fried chicken was an excellent item, as it had spicy elements and the most delicious fried-ness (buttermilk/rice flour fried all natural chicken breast with sweet & spicy slaw plus spicy rémoulade on a brioche bun). The pulled pork was good too (all natural braised pulled pork, Frontier barbeque sauce, lettuce, tomato, and crispy fried onions on a brioche bun). I got to take the leftovers of that one home (which I scrambled up with eggs and Swiss chard the next day. Good choices!) We listened to Emma, Tyler and the other two band members belt it out and then headed home, full and full of culture for the night.
Later that week brought an evening out at Liquid Riot. Plantar fasciitis has me laying off the Pub Run part of the night for a bit but not off the meeting of friends afterwards. It was a snacking-type of night and we ordered lobster rangoons, chicken fingers and their house meatballs. The meatballs are only $5 and the best deal in the place! The type rotates but these were 100% beef on top of mashed potatoes with mushrooms. The chicken fingers were a new favorite as the breading knocked it out of the park. They, however, were $8 for four or five not-terribly-large pieces. Boooooo. Not being a huge fan of lobster, I left the rangoons to the goons I was eating with. I did taste them though and will admit to having better ones...After Liquid riot, we went back to visit Miles, the wonder dog. It was decided that he should wear Bean boots and looked smashing.
A few days after this, a protein infusion called BBQ was necessary. It was a very chilly night so we walked quickly to Salvage BBQ, throwing icicles high in the air and listening to them smash on the pavement along the way (one of my favorite winter activities). We got there around 9pm on a Friday and found a table for the four of us. It's a walk-up-and-order-type-of-place which is nice, as you save on tipping (I won't be poor forever right!?). We ordered the mac and cheese (oh god cheesy yum!), pinto beans, cornbread (toasted muffins cut in half and served with real butter), a brisket sandwich, a half rack of North Carolina chopped pork ribs and the chicken (1/2 beer and citrus brined, oh so tender and flavorful). I now love this place and will need to visit more often for the mac and cheese, ribs and chicken. The atmosphere is part Texas honkey tonk bar, part dinner with the old 50's furniture sets, and part outdoor picnic with its long wooden tables and benches. The bar serves great beer and cocktails and the Christmas lights just downright make me happy. I've lived in my current apartment for over two years now and my Christmas lights have yet to come down...
Being the social and environmentally conscious person I am, I also did some digging about Salvage's food sources. I learned that all of their meat comes from out West or Canada, as local farms can't possibly supply enough volume to meet needs. However, it is all humanely raised with no antibiotics, though not organic. Perfect, absolutely not but I will take it and be grateful that such a high-service restaurant is committed to their animal's well-being and their customer's health and happiness.
As for the other pictures, it was a full weekend of attention to detail and my favorite flower show. The Portland Flower Show was once again held at the Portland Company Complex at 58 Fore Street. I advise you to visit this venue for one event or another before they turn them into condos (I've heard a dirty rumor and HOPE it isn't true...). This sprawling site is a former railroad foundry, which was started in 1846 to build railroad equipment for the connection between Portland and Montreal. Before it was converted into a wedding/events venue, the foundry completed 628 locomotives, 160 ships and made equipment for the Panama Canal. On the ground level floor, you can still see railroad tracks encompassed in concrete. Just stepping on these rails make me feel like part of some small piece of New England's industrial history.
But enough of that cheese, after the flower show, I had the urge to walk around the Eastern Promenade. Ok, I had a date and we had a lovely time but on to the next. As my good friend from Connecticut knows, I have something called "Nature ADD." It's not an official diagnosis but I feel that it's a valid assessment of my inability to walk more than 50 feet outside without noticing something. Some things that caught my eye this day included:
Large foam chunks floating in the ocean, which I felt compelled to jump from rock to rock until they were fished out.
A heart randomly found within a utility pole.
The most beautiful and incredibly shy Rhodesian Ridgeback pup.
A green crab carapace, shed when it was no longer needed by the growing crustacean, aside billions of blistering blue barnacles. Ok, not billions, blistering or blue but barnacles none the less. I think I need to go read some more Tin Tin books.
Rockweek entrenched within a large block of ice which had blown up on the shore.
This lovely graffiti rose placed upon the emergency phone. Does the phone still work? Has anyone ever had to use it? I hope yes and no, in that order.