Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Maine Restaurant Week Breakfast Cook-Off

We went. We ate – a lot. We had fun. The stage was set for a great Friday morning. Walking through the door coffee and OJ was waiting for us and we arrived just in time for kick-off.

My husband-to-be and I had a game plan. We went straight to the back of the Sea Dog Brewing Co. restaurant where the early morning event was being held. That way we avoided the crowd. It worked! We were second in line at the Dysart’s table. They served a stuffed French toast topped with either a Maine blueberry or raspberry pure/syrup type thing. It was yummy, but we were hoping for something better. The Crab Benedict from Sea Glass @ The Inn By the Sea

Next stop was the Good Table. They served a crème brulee French toast with a light fruit salad that was out-of-this-world amazing. One of the highlights for both of us, in fact Chris announced that this dish would be getting his vote right away, after only one other sample, it was THAT good. I agreed that it was perfect, but I was keeping my option open.

The Maine Diner was next. They were trying to serve Maine blueberry pancakes, but none were ready. We decided to move on. By the look of the half cooked cakes we decided that there were too many other awesome bites to try that we happy to pass this one up. I hope they were good!

Corned beef hash was being dished out that the Miss Portland Diner table. It was salty. So salty, in fact, that I can’t remember anything else about it. Chris however thought it was good enough to eat his and my portions, although he agreed that it was too salty.

We stopped next at Moody’s Diner for some homemade cinnamon rolls. Light, fluffy and delicious. Moody’s and I have a history that I wont get into here, but after a sample of the wonderful cinnamon roll things are much better between us.

I, the lone seafood eater in our couple, went over to the Sea Dog Brewing Co. table for my next bite. They were serving a Maine lobster benedict on a mini crescent roll. It was great! Very rich though, so I was glad that it was a small bite. The lobster was cooked perfectly and the crescent and egg were to a T. The sauce was a bit think for my tastes, but over all very good.

The Crab Benedict from Sea Glass @ The Inn by the Sea

For our next stops, Chris and I split again. Chris went for the Porthole’s eggs Florentine with a smoky bacon cream sauce while I went next door to the Sea Glass Inn’s table for their offering of crab benedict with avocado puree. The eggs Florentine was a disaster, it was too big to eat with out a knife (which we did not have) and the Swiss cheese atop the English muffin was had melted, but then became hard as a rock. Chris said the egg was cooked well, as he managed to eat that part and I tried the spinach was cooked as it should have been. Its too bad that overall we did not like it at all. This will not prevent us from heading to the Porthole in the future, as we generally enjoy eating there.

The crab benny from Sea Glass was awesome! One of my favorites – right up there with the Good Table’s French toast. The egg was as perfect as the avocado puree was cool and refreshing. The crab cake stated like a yummy crab cake. Overall I loved it and for a time it had my vote, but alas there was more to try.

We then meandered over the front of the restaurant to sample what we had missed by heading to the back to begin. We started with the Bayou Kitchen table where they were serving huevos rancheros with either a black bean or beef chili toped with homemade salsa and sour cream. This one knocked my socks off! Even though I was full I could have easily eaten several more plates of this dish. It was very different from everything else served and it was done perfectly. The flavors were really bright and homey. Just what I look for in a breakfast! Chris enjoyed it as well, but he was sticking to gun voting guns.

The Sausage Biscuits with Gravy from Becky's Diner

Becky’s diner was serving biscuits with gravy. I thought they were terrific, but Chris felt “eh” about them.

The Ham Strata from Congdon's Doughnuts Family Restaurant

Finally, our last stop was the Congdon’s Doughnuts Family Restaurant table. They severed up a ham strata and doughnuts. The strata was so good and super cheesy (just the way I like everything). At this point, we were both full and I think we would have enjoyed it more and more of it had it not been our last stop. The doughnut was light and fluffy with great flavor!

So to recap: the only spot we found lacking was the Porthole and the highlights were the Good Table (the actual winner of the event), Sea Glass and the The Bayou Kitchen. Chris voted with the majority for the Good table, while I cast mine for the Bayou Kitchen. I have never eaten at the Bayou Kitchen before, although many have recommended it. Now I am itching to get in there to try some other stuff.

The Cook-Off was great fun and I really hope they do it again next year. It was a great way to see what local restaurants have to offer and definitely gave Chris and me some ideas to try. A great way to kick of a Friday, that’s for sure!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Islander Written and directed by Ian McCrudde (2006)

Somehow when this movie came out in 2006 I missed it. Oops. I was in grad school at URI at the time … can you really blame me? Nevertheless, I stumbled upon it recently and finally found time to watch it. Overall a lot of fun, there are some great aspects of it, some silly and some that I could have done without.

The story is great … a lobsterman caught up in a turf war gets carried away with anger and makes a big mistake. He pays for it dearly then tried to return to the community where he grew up. This isn’t easy, Mainers do not forgive and forget readily, so he is left to work hard to establish himself and get back on his feet on his own. There are a few that never accept him, but many learn to accept and move on.

Some from the area did not like this flick one bit and felt that it painted lobstermen in a negative way. I disagree, alcoholism and violence are present along with poor decision-making, but in what field of work is it not? I think that just as this movie shows the negative side of lobstering it equally shows the compassion, hard-working nature and forgiveness of many of the characters.

The accents are funny. I literally burst out laughing at some of the attempts. Generally the lead, Thomas Hildreth, butchers the Maine accent pretty badly, but there are moments when he nails it and he sounds exactly like one of my cousins. Loved that! Many of the other actors never really get it, but their efforts and exaggerations were humorous.

Some of the added drama could have been left out here. The story itself is compelling enough that the added side drama was not needed. I think the story would have been more effective if the audience was left to feel what the islanders must have been feeling, confusion to some degree. This man did something bad, dose that make him a bad man? Should be welcomed back because he was one of them, not “from away?” Is the decision to turn ones back on him right or wrong? All of the questions seem to be answered by the story, not left for the audience to ponder.

Like I said it was fun to watch, even though it is certainly not a fun story. I hardly think that someone “from away” would think it was fun or funny at times like it did. It is still a great movie with beautiful scenes, good minimalist acting and a great story. It would recommend this one to other, Mainers and otherwise. Watch it. Laugh at the accents. Think about what it is that make people “good” and “bad”. Take in the beautiful Maine island and ocean.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NO on 1

Today was a big day for Maine – voting day! The big question on the ballot this time around is question one. This question states "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

This issue, it appears, has really drawn people out the polls. Today we saw huge numbers of people making it out to vote, much more than expected. I am now waiting to watch the results roll in, hoping the “no” camp can pull it off.

The part about this issue is that it is an issue at all. My view is that if the State is going to recognize marriage between a man and a woman than, of course, a same-sex marriage should also be recognized. In my opinion marriage is a vastly a religious practice and it may not have a place in the government.

At this point, it makes more sense to me to separate church and state. For the purposes of the government and health care and other legal realms all couples should be required to join themselves in a civil union. Then beyond that, for religious or family reasons those couples can get married. I’m sure there are tons of problems hidden in this idea, but to me it seems like the fairest solution for the issue at hand.

There you have it, my opinion on civil unions and marriage and all that. Here is to hoping that the “no” voters came out in force in Maine today. I would be proud to reside in a state that recognizes gay marriage!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Five Fifty-Five

I have long been a fan of 555 in Portland. It is a great place for terrific food with a cozy atmosphere. However, my appreciation has grown considerably since Monday, 10/5/2009 when the doors were open for a sampling of the new bar menu. Fun drinks together with complementary snack samples. An absolutely great time.

Here is what we noshed on:

-Mini Cheeseburgers – mouthwateringly awesome

-Cauliflower Soup – Good, but too much smokiness for me

-Mini Pulled-Pork Sandwiches – Very good, but with slightly more pickle flavor than I care for

-French Fries with Basil Dipping Sauce – So yummy, salty and perfect

-Chili – Good flavor with just the right amount of heat

-Flatbreads – The bacon on top made them awesome, as bacon generally does

-Oysters – No thanks

-Mac & Cheese – The famous 555 Mac and Cheese! By far the best sample of the night. It had great flavor, perfect creaminess and the noodles had just the right texture. Honestly, I have thought of this Mac & Cheese since … a lot.

Now I’m obsessed with the Mac & Cheese and can’t wait till I can get my butt over there again to have a whole bowl of it to myself! If you, yourself are looking for a fun, fancy time in Portland – check out 555, no doubt.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Garage Sale

Today was my first garage sale. Let me tell you, it was an experience! It was so interesting to see all the different types of people showing up and even more interesting to see what people did and did not choose to buy.

We were selling many of the trinkets that my grandparents have collected over the past 50 years. Items ranged from 600 National Geographics, different varieties of chairs and puzzles to seemingly endless collections of Christmas and Halloween decorations. It was eye-opening to see what people were interested in and the things that people passed by.

In the end I think it was a success. We sold a lot, but we also still have a lot left. I guess we will be having another one in the spring!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lars and the Real Girl

Perhaps, no definitely, one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It’s bizarre, quirky and fun. Def. a real “feel-good” movie. Lars and the Real Girl is about a lonely man who decides, simply, not to be lonely any more. The cast is outstanding: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider … just to name a few.

At first when I read the plot (guy falls for sex doll) I thought this might be a laugh, but is prolly a little to over the top for my taste. I stand corrected. This movie was hilarious, terribly sad, heart-warming and heart breaking. The range of emotion felt while watching this film was intense. Literally LOLing throughout, this movie has some really funny aspect to it. However, it turns out, that isn’t why this movie captivated me as it did. The underlying story line of compassion and community are really was struck me with this film.

It is, in fact about a guy who falls for his sex doll. The best part (according to me, at least) is that he doesn’t even sleep in the same room with her! Lars’ bother and sister-in-law put her to bed each night, while he sleeps in his garage apartment. At first everyone is appalled that Lars is in love with a doll, but it doesn’t take long before the community embraces his doll as one of them. The reasons for Lars toting around this doll are explored throughout the movie as well as how much the community takes her in.

Absolutely, I recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good film to make them laugh and cry. This is not a light comedy, but at the same time it does not at all get bogged down with some of the more serious aspects of the story.