Snow Day in Portland

Recently Chris and I decided we’d take a day trip up to Portland, ME. It’s about a 2 hour drive from where we are and Chris just got a new car so he’d been dying to drive it around a bit.

IMG_9165.PNG.jpg

Not including a slight detour for some lunch, it took us about 2.5 hours to get there because what we thought was a snow sprinkle turned out to be windy, freezing rain for most of the day. But that didn’t deter us!

The way I like to experience a new place is to plan a few things ahead of time, but leave lots of flex room for walking around and changing my mind.

Chris and I were both a bit sleepy after lunch (thanks, pasta) so our first stop in Portland was Bard Coffee.

I got a standard coffee and Chris got a fancier one that they gave to him on a tray. The interior had a sort of minimalist vibe with high ceilings and simple furniture, which was balanced out by a really cool wallpaper print.

img_9166-png

They also had non-dairy milk available for no extra charge, which is always a plus in my book. The weather outside was more severe than it was in Boston so a hot coffee was just what we needed.

Word for the wise: don’t wear heeled booties to Portland in the winter. I didn’t even think twice about it when I left the house because there wasn’t a speck of snow on the ground in Boston but Portland had whole streets shut down because of the snow and ice.

After finding to our dismay that we would not be doing a walking tour of Portland, we got in the car and headed over to a place called The Holy Donut, which we were told by friends we couldn’t miss out on. Luckily, by the time we got there there were still some donuts left.

The donuts, which are made with potatoes, were unlike any I had tried before. It was somewhat later in the afternoon so the donuts had been sitting out for a number of hours and I didn’t want to set my expectations too high.¬† They were still amazing. I expected them to be hard and stale but they were a magnificent combination of fluffy and crispy.

IMG_9167.PNG.jpg

There were also some interesting flavors that I had never tried on a donut before. We got one of everything they had left: Churro, Maple, Lemon, Pomegranate, Chocolate, and Wild Berry. My favorite was the lemon. It didn’t have that super sweet lemon-like flavor, but more of a mouth puckering meringue taste.

The shop’s interior was very much no-frills with old coolers and furniture but it almost gave it an authentic old school feeling.

IMG_9102.JPG
Note my poor shoe choice

Our next stop was slightly outside Portland but was one Chris had been excited about all day: The Maine Beer Company. We were worried the tasting room would be closed because of the storm, like so many other places but we called ahead to make sure.

Maine Beer Co.’s Peeper Ale is a beer that I’ve only noticed in the Boston area in the last 8 months or so but it, along with other MBC beers have really become popular. Aside from having good, sustainable beer, Maine Beer Co. also donates a portion of its profits to environmental and animal charities, hence its slogan: “Do What’s Right”. A beer after my own heart, I tell ya.

IMG_9168.PNG.jpg

Chris and I wanted to try all of the beers so we decided to split their $18.00 variety flight. They had a few board games available to guests so Chris taught me Texas Hold Em while we sampled and read about the beer. Side note: You’ll never find me at a table in Vegas.

IMG_9169.PNG.jpg

We started to get hungry so we finished up and made a quick stop before heading to dinner at the LL Bean Store. I always knew LL Bean was from Maine so I was expecting a pretty big store. I was wrong. It was an entire LL Bean campus. There was every LL Bean product you could think of. Fortunately for my wallet, neither of us felt much like shopping so Chris snagged a quick picture with the boot and we headed out.

IMG_9103.JPG

Our last stop of the day was a highly recommended spot called Duckfat. It was a cozy little restaurant with craft sodas and awesome food. Chris and I shared an order of poutine (the small was big enough for 2 to share) and a cup of their lentil soup for starters.

For an entree I got a roasted delicato squash panini with pickled cauliflower, turnip & leak slaw, boursin, and brown butter-sage mayo. It was refreshing to see a more interesting vegetarian option than the standard veggie burger or caprese sandwich that you usually find in restaurants. Chris got the house smoked turkey panini wit buttermilk fried shallots, swiss, frisee, and herb mayo. His was good but we both like the squash sandwich best.

Satisfied and full, we wrapped up our left overs and headed home. For a cold, wet day it was still a pretty successful trip. I’d love to see the city again in the summer.

 

Vacation Recap Pt 1.

Sometime in January when I was feeling particularly stir crazy, I decided to get myself some vitamin D and book a short trip to Florida. My plans this summer don’t really allow for anything crazy this spring but I thought I’d treat myself to some sunshine after a stressful and busy holiday season. Here’s a recap of my trip last week.

I have family in Florida so luckily I didn’t have to worry about lodging. At a “cool” temp of 70 degrees, everyone was in pants and sweaters but I was loving it.

DSC_0682DSC_0692DSC_0684

My first night, we went to dinner at a place called “Manny’s Steakhouse” which, all dreams of veganism aside, has the best steak I’ve ever had in my life. There’s always a crazy wait to get a table but once you do, it’s totally worth it. I got the filet mignon with (endless) salad and a loaded baked potato. Plus all their drinks were 2 for 1. We are definitely not in Massachusetts anymore.

The next day we visited a little town on the Gulf Coast called Tarpon Springs. In Florida it has a reputation of being a “Little Greece” because there’s a huge sponging industry there, which apparently is big in Greece?

The town was adorable and the streets were lined with cute little gift shops and Greek restaurants.

DSC_0703.JPG

DSC_0714

DSC_0716.JPG

Our first stop was a brief lunch of olives, feta, pepperoncini, fresh bread, and saganaki. (And 2 for 1 Bloodies, obv.)

DSC_0695.JPG

12788575_957862614296266_1305589442_o

Afterwards, we walked around and shopped for a bit. My grandmother insisted I get a sponge (I felt weird because they’re more of an animal than a plant) and I picked up some hand crafted olive oil soaps – sandalwood, lavender, eucalyptus.

One of my favorite parts of Tarpon Springs was the decorated bicycles found along the main road.

DSC_0727.JPG

DSC_0728.JPG

DSC_0702.JPG

That last one is covered in sponges- go figure.

I have a rule that I can’t buy unnecessary clothes out of season but I had to make an exception when I found this adorable jumper. When in Rome, right?

FullSizeRender.jpg

By the end of the afternoon we were ready for dinner so we grabbed a table at a place called Hellas.

We started with saganaki again & paired it with a traditional Greek salad. For entrees, I got the mousaka (kind of like a Greek lasagna) and my grandparents split the catch of the day. I’ve never been a seafood fan but this fish smelled amazing and it was filleted and seasoned at the table.

DSC_0720

DSC_0721

And of course, for dessert – baklava.

DSC_0722.JPG

After dinner home we headed home, well-fed and content.

DSC_0726

chelsea