One of my all-time favorite types of trips to take is simply staying in a city, walking until I drop, eating more than normal, and discovering all the perfect coffee shops/restaurants that the city has to offer. Since I’ve lived in New York and near Washington D.C., I’ve gotten to experience those cities to the fullest. Now that I live in a fairly small town in Maine, the opportunity to explore a city is now more of a treat than the norm…which I happen to be okay with for several reasons, a few being cheaper cost of living, nearness to people I love, and opportunity for my man.
Thankfully, we have a very lovely city only about an hour and twenty minutes away: Portland, Maine! We have gone to Portland to visit several Co-ops and the gigantic Whole Foods, but we hadn’t really checked it out like we have other cities. So last weekend, we splurged for a nice weekend in the city. We find that getting away together every once in a while is really important. This gives Mr. Foodie and I opportunity to invest in each other, whether it be in good conversation or the ability to treat ourselves to a nicer cup of coffee.
So I want to preface this by giving some insight into a little bit of “life.” We almost didn’t make it because Mr. Foodie got the flu right before we left! We ended up taking him to minor emergency when we should have been leaving because he was what I call a “pumpkin,” unable to move, probably because of his high fever. Once the doctor had diagnosed him, we got him some medicine and decided to get on the road since our trip was non-refundable (of course it was non-refundable, no matter what this money-savin’ girl tried, we could not get it rescheduled!). We got to explore some, but not as much as I had originally planned. To top things off, I ended up getting sick as well on the last day we were there! We laughed a lot over our pathetic attempts to go out when we both really just needed to sleep for 24 hours. All that to say, we worked as a team and somehow got to explore these places because we love each other. So stay tuned, I’m sure we will go back to the places on our list that we didn’t make it to!
If you ever find yourself in Portland, Maine, you should really stay at the Westin Harborview. This level of luxury is unusual for two frugal-minded people like Mr. Foodie and I. But we decided it was worth the spend since we only stayed two nights and it was in such a terrific location!
Standard Baking Company met our expectations with their Miche, Raisin Walnut Rolls, Croissant, and Pear Tarte. Took us back to our Paris trip. We think you NEED to try any of their delicious carbs and that this should be on the top of your priority list if you visit Portland.
I have had my eye on this Salty Chocolate Chip Cookie at Tandem Coffee and Bakery for some time now. Since I follow other bloggers, I saw a post of this cookie and fell in love at first sight. It definitely blew my mind. I think one day, when I’m pregnant, Mr. Foodie may have to drive all the way to Portland to stock up on these bad boys.
One of the restaurants we have tried and returned to last weekend was the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro. Lest you think we’ve turned vegetarian, let me assure you that we had bacon the following morning! We do enjoy trying all kinds of food, and this restaurant has incredibly creative asian inspired food. I was immediately sold with the green tea noodles in miso broth.
Another winner was Local Sprouts Cooperative. Their breakfast burrito was perfectly spicy with lots of local eggs. If you think you can eat this burrito without your tongue going slightly numb and your nose needing a tissue, you’d be wrong. But don’t worry if you don’t like spicy, they have plenty of other breakfast options! We sat in front of this local food map that I think is the epitome of creative. I think I’ll steal this idea when we have a little farm shop one day….
And now fellow foodie thinkers, for your weekly ideas:
We made Potato-stuffed Poblanos with Monterey Jack cheese per request of our neighbors (which if you don’t know by now, is my brother, his lovely wife, and their cutie pie baby girl). My brother got this recipe from a magazine called Vegetarian Today and was wanting to try it out…and he knows I’m up for trying new recipes! Unfortunately, I can’t find the recipe online anywhere…probably because it was in a magazine (duh). But I found a close enough one that I think will give you similar results: Pepper jack stuffed poblano peppers at Kitchen Serendipity.
Remember I said we’ve been trying to use up what’s in our pantry? Well, I had a ton of barley, so Mr. Foodie made this Bean and Barley Soup. It was a perfect menu item since we’ve been trying to get past some winter sickness this week.
For breakfasts, we’ve been having a fried egg with avocado and sharing a grapefruit almost every day. Grapefruits are in season in the winter and are one of our favorites! I know some people have an aversion to the bitterness, or they THINK that they have an aversion. But let me tell you, once you stop THINKING that it’s weird to eat a somewhat bitter fruit, you will most likely enjoy a grapefruit as much as you would an orange. Some of them are actually more on the sweet side anyways. Choose grapefruit that are heavy for their size, as this means they are ripe and ready to eat.
But on the two days that we didn’t have egg, avocado and grapefruit, we had these Skinny Double Chocolate Banana Muffins. These were delicious and the recipe called for whole wheat flour alone, no white flour! But you would never know…the chocolate totally made these a treat for us! I liked that no granulated sugar was in the ingredients either, only chocolate and honey.
If you are looking for a more hearty dinner idea, this Polenta, Sausage and Spinach casserole was bomb. In this recipe, Bev uses polenta in a tube for a shortcut. But she also has this recipe called Polenta Pie, which is a bit more laborious since she makes the sauce from scratch. I made mine somewhere in the middle: making my own polenta and cutting it into rounds, but using a basic jarred marinara sauce instead of making my own. Feel free to use either recipe or make it your own way, we loved the combination of the polenta, sausage, tomato sauce, and spinach!