Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year in Review

It has been weeks since I posted something. Which is not to say I've been doing nothing. No, it has been an exciting year. And since it is the end of the year, I will just go ahead and make this final post of 2015 my year in review. Everyone seems to be doing it, why not join in.

2015 was scary as hell. Sure, I managed to eat well and have fun, but there's some scary sh!t going down in the world. On a personal level, I impressed myself on a few occasions, made several general observations and have one major take away.

First, the NOT funny: It's been a rather ridiculous year for serious stuff.
Isis seems to be running rampant and successfully spreading a particularly heinous brand of fear throughout the world.
Mass shootings happened more frequently than badly behaving professional athletes.
Guns are a major problem in this country that seems to be invisible to the powers that be, either that or the NRA is essentially as powerful and scary as Isis and we're all f@#ked... perhaps a bit of both.
The cops are using excessive force to the extent that I had to have a "talk" with my 4-year-old about the fact that while she can run from the cops on Subway Surfers, the graffiti game on her tablet, in real life she shouldn't run, but drop what she's holding and yield. She's 4.
I also toured her kindergarten for next year and realized I was judging the shallowness of the closets and worrying there wasn't enough room to hide in there, should they ever need to.
THEY SHOULDN'T EVER NEED TO.  And I shouldn't need to think that way.
This is not an acceptable way to live. This should not be the norm, nor should we accept things as they are and just brace for when these things happen. We must go back to the drawing board and figure out concrete ways of preventing these atrocities from happening in the first place. Pretty high on my priorities for tomorrow and every day after.

Thankfully it wasn't all gloom and doom.
The Supreme Court weighed in that marriage is about love, not which sexual organs two people have.
The Pope came to visit, and that was all pretty exciting.
Donald Trump is pretty amusing... oh no wait, that was actually Anthony Atamanuik doing his Trump Dump show at UCB, which was easily one of the funniest things I saw this year. The real life Trump is frightening, unleashing the worst in people, and making it seem acceptable to be racist, sexist, orange and a bit of a D-bag. He's not gonna make America great again, but he will make my relatives in England a bit amused concerned that he has a genuine shot at this. Let's be sure to do something about that pretty early in 2016, shall we?

Other highlights from my year:
I finally made it down to Austin, TX. The food, specifically the BBQ, exceeded my very high expectations, as did Billy Idol.
In other braggy music highlights, I got to see Pearl Jam for the first time in Central Park, which really just made me want to see a full Pearl Jam concert, and soon.
Adele continues to blow my mind with her insane voice and likable personality.
Speaking of likable personalities, Amy Schumer is my best friend that I've never met. Well, that's not true. I once rode in an elevator with her and tried desperately for five floors to think of a way to impress her, make her laugh and genuinely convince her that we needed to hang out all the time. Alas, it didn't work, but I think we connected and I'm sure we'll meet again. Oh yes, we will be friends. In the meantime, she wrote the funniest version of my movie I could have imagined. So in a spoiler alert to myself, I don't really need to write a movie, she did it. The good news is, she did a much better job than I would have. So there's that.

Star Wars is back and better than ever. In a related story, I can isolate one incident from this year to deem myself a fantastic mother and everything I always wanted to be when I was 7. Our 4-year-old has been watching Episode IV, A New Hope with us. Weirdly, she doesn't mind any part of it except the hand severing scene in the Cantina. She's cool with the garbage monster (which I most definitely was NOT OK with as a child), fine with Darth Vader, uninterested in the sand people and unimpressed by the sudden destruction of Alderaan. But back to why I am so awesome... One day she asked if she could wear Princess Leia buns to school. I was only too happy to comply as I had requested, nay, begged for Princess Leia buns when I was younger, but was denied. Now as a mom, I was able to deliver and let her go to school and impress the other Star Wars fans in her class, thereby making me the mother-of-the-year. Let us not look at any other stories of me letting her eat food from the floor, or purposely popping a balloon of hers once in anger. No, we will take the one Star Wars story and run with it, thank you very much.

In other news, my husband turned 40 and I spent about a month of every minute of my free time making him a 28 minute retrospective video on his life (hence the blog absence). It was pretty good, but Prince and the people at Warner music were a bit sensitive to his karaoke performance of Let's Go Crazy, so they had You Tube mute the damn thing. I'll give you a clue, 28 minutes of video is not as good without the sound. So it is ours and ours alone to view, which we have. A lot. Go me.

So much to take in this year that it's been hard to make sense of it all.
The Theys have been at it, as usual. The "Theys" is my name for the faceless harbingers of the dangers that lurk in our everyday life. The "Theys" can most often be found spreading fear on morning television, the Today show being one of the worst offenders. They are called the "theys" as that is how my mom refers to them. Case in point:
Mom: ""They" said the next terrorist attack will be the trains, stay off the trains. "They" said trans fat is bad and we have to avoid it. "They" said bottled water might not be as safe as we think."
And so on, until my eyes glaze over wondering if everyone is as susceptible to this rapid fire of sucky information. The great news is, we are not. Collectively, we have chosen to reject the "theys" when they finally crossed the line. What is our imaginary line in the sand, you ask? Bacon. My main take away from this year is this: bacon is here to stay and ain't no scientific findings gonna change that.
In our modern world of information dissemination, we learn about major news items with the force and vengeance of a bully telling you to stop hitting yourself.  2015 was the year they actually proved that bacon, irrefutably, causes cancer and death. Do you know how our panic-filled society reacted to this news, specifically?
Us: "Meh. I'm not gonna stop eating bacon, so I guess that's that."
Theys: "No, no, seriously. Bacon is horrible and will bring death, like a plague, upon your households. Hot dogs too."
Us: "Well then, so be it."
You can keep your high fructose corn syrup. GMOs are the devil, I'll buy organic and have a better sense of where our food is sourced. I will limit my tuna for fear of mercury poisoning. But you can have my bacon when you pry it from my cold dead hands.
And here we were thinking we would never know what will eventually kill us. Now, at least for my sector of the population who is not willing to give up our bacon, we know. So much for the mystery of the future!
You can just f#$k right off if you think I'm giving up my bacon.
I wish I could quit you.
Onward to 2016. It's gonna be a good one. Guns N Roses are reuniting. I'm going to see Hamilton in February (#BRAG). Eating healthy, working out, taking better care of myself... well, probably not. But there will be good food, great friends and hopefully a ton of laughter. Wishing you all the same. Happy New Year friends!

Monday, November 9, 2015

In living color

Check it out, I've been kvelling again...
My post on adult coloring books that ran last week on 

Why the adult coloring craze has made me crazy
A few months ago, I noticed the new trend of adult coloring books. Initially I was excited. An activity to eliminate tension and de-stress…where do I sign up? I tried to embrace them, but then quickly realized they were actually making me more stressed, and a little jealous.
In case you don’t know about adult coloring books, it’s a thing. No, really. (There are even Jewish ones.) Adult coloring books are the Candy Crush of 2015. It is a new way to enjoy/spend/waste/squander your free time, depending on where you fall on the whole craze.
I am at odds with the concept. On the one hand, I am all for it. I think coloring is therapeutic and calming—an escape from all our mishegas. Plus it allows those of us who lack full artistic skills to feel like we have the ability to create beautiful art, even if we just added some color here and there.
On the other hand, I don’t see when I will make the time to purchase one of these coloring books, let alone color it in. Coloring is one more thing to add to my ambitious list of things I would like to get around to, but probably never will due to the length and scope of my list of things I need to actually do. You know, like eating, sleeping, and playing with my kids. Maybe even showering.
What is most troubling to me is that my overwhelming feeling towards the books, or more specifically the people who do have the time to color in them, is jealousy. How have I managed to take this innocent hobby, one which is suggested to relieve tension, and use it to fuel my own anxiety? Adult coloring books have become the source of my self-inflicted schpilkes. Oy.
Escapism is a great thing. We all need some free time to escape our day-to-day routine. It helps keep us both interesting and interested. Thankfully there is a method of decompression out there for everyone: reading, cooking, cleaning, internet surfing, trolling, good TV, bad TV, crossword puzzles, naps, and yes, adult coloring books. I don’t begrudge anyone doing any of those things… anyone, but me of course.
Coloring is something I would have to commit to. Not in the sense that I would be dedicating myself to coloring, but in the sense that I would decidedly NOT be doing all the other things on my list. The laundry pile will sit there unfolded. The DVR will continue to accumulate new shows. The photo albums will remain unassembled. The closets will wait a little while longer to be sorted and purged.
Somehow I have managed to take this lovely, innocuous activity and make it about everything I am not able to accomplish on a daily basis. Adult coloring books have managed to shine a light on all my shortcomings. They make me feel inadequate for not doing everything I need to do so that I can have enough time for the things I want to do. Then they make me second-guess the things I do spend my time on and hate myself for all the time I squander. (Damn you, “Bachelor nation!)
This latest craze has indeed made me crazy, seething with desire for the time to color. Yet I have simultaneously deemed coloring an unacceptable use of my free time until I finish the never-ending list. I am jealous of the people who are coloring. And I am no closer to completing my list, so now I am angry, too. Angry, distracted, overwhelmed, totally farmisht: I am exactly the kind of person that could benefit from coloring.
I want to color. But mostly I want the presence of mind to accept the fact that I am not coloring and to not be jealous of all the people who are. One more thing to add to my list.

So pretty

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hell-sea Market

This could be the silliest thing I've ever written, but here goes anyway: When did Halloween get so scary?

Yes, I understand that Halloween has always been about spooks and frights. And I know that in its purest form, before the slutty version of everything became de rigueur, the holiday was always centered around witches and goblins. But the Halloween I remember as a child and the one I find myself having to shield and explain as a parent are two very different things.

My main focus today is not Halloween in general, but specifically the way in which Chelsea Market chooses to celebrate Halloween. 

Chelsea Market is our local indoor gourmet food hall. They love a holiday, and tend to decorate the place accordingly. It is only a few blocks from our house, and I walk through there a minimum of two times per week. Nearly every time I walk through I am accompanied by one, if not both, of my children. I tend to avoid midday and weekends since it is a very busy tourist destination. In fact, I have bitched about the tourists here before. But my complaint today has nothing to do with the tourists, some of which, I will note, are small children. 

We attempted to walk through the other day, as we do regularly, but the kid wasn't having it. The whole place was decorated for Halloween, and there is no denying it, they sure do love Halloween. What I think they may have neglected to think about are any small children that may have also loved Halloween... before their visit that is. About halfway through our walk through she was buried so deep in my neck, arms wrapped snugly around my head, and was making the same noise as a crying puppy. It was heartbreaking. And from what I could see, she was justified in her terror. It was a classic example of those moments as a parent when you have to hold your shit together in the interest of the kid, where really I would have just pissed myself in fear. 

I understand Halloween is, by its sheer existence, meant to scare. I'll let you decide if I'm being too squeamish or if some of their decor is a bit overboard for a space regularly visited by children of all ages. Perhaps I just got off on the wrong foot, what with this guy greeting us on the way in, just sat in the corner:
Oh hey, what's up dude
Moving on. This next one was hanging overhead, welcoming us in. And we wonder where the fear of clowns comes from. This guy. All day.
Hi kids!
Next up isn't a dick in a box... although that might have been more appropriate for kids than this:
... put your junk in that box, and that's the way you do it
In order to read the sign warning you not to enter, you have to come face-to-half-face with this interesting character.
Thanks for the heads up
I'm not sure if this witch was ironic, or there just to prove that they also have decorations for young kids too.
Fire safety witch
 This next one is like little red riding hood, but slightly more terrifying.
Is it breezy in here, or is it just me?
Please do me a favor and give me the words I was meant to use to explain this next one to the kid, because like this guy, I was coming up short.
I can't feel my face when I'm with you... or my feet, now that you mention it
A tire swing! Just like at the playground. How sweet. Let's also ruin the playground for them while we're at it.
Push me! Push me!
I actually jumped back when I saw this one. That's a face only a mother could love, just not this mother.
Close your mouth dear, there's nothing to see here
 Beautiful home scene from this lovely family.
Hay baby!
No, not that baby... this baby. Which also sat up and hissed at the audience, just so you don't miss anything from these still photos.
Did I mention the baby had green shit coming out of its mouth?
When this is your comic relief, I think you've gone too far.
He's practically cuddly in comparison
In this next instance, they have scared my kid off the fountain, which should save me tens of cents going forward, so I guess I'm grateful?
Concisely answers the question of what's down there 
Hey man, what're you doing later?
Nothing really, just hanging out.
Which reminds me, I have to make a chiropractor appointment
 Another one for the kids, perhaps? Well it does have a baby face.
Nights are lonely, days are so sad
I found this next one off to the side. It does a great job of proving the point that they have decorations for the little ones while completely missing the point.
Well hello little guy!
 He'll be fine. His big brother was there too, just hanging in the middle.
I think I have those pjs 
 I'm pretty numb to it all by now, and you'd have to be, what with ones like this one still ahead of us:
Male pattern baldness is the least of his concerns 
 It's a shame my camera isn't better so you could see all the subtle details of this one's glowing face:
Burned into my memory
No, seriously, we're just about Halloween decorations for everyone... see:
And again, let's go after the playground and ruin the swings and any girls with long brown hair in one go.
Oh, hey, remember scarecrows? And pumpkins? And really scary faces artfully carved into pumpkins?
For the traditionalists
 Look, up in the sky, it's a bird. It's a plane. It's my nightmare for tomorrow night.
Be honest, does this make me look fat?
The trifecta of ghouls waiting to bid us adieu at the far end, just when we thought we were ready to look up from mommy's neck.
The Pointer Sisters have not aged well
This last one isn't scary, and there isn't anything funny about it, but it pissed me off. It was just one last giant "F@#k You Kid! Halloween is about us, not you!"
Boo hoo! Are you crying? You are? Yeah, well I get that.
I know, I'm a bit of a wimp. I will admit that. I don't watch horror movies. Ever. Never. When I was younger I couldn't watch the Thriller video after 8pm for fear of nightmares. This was a self-inflicted curfew, mind you. One that my mom never knew about. I just knew myself well enough to avoid it. But despite my wussiness, I think the decor is all a wee bit much. It's not enough to prevent me from taking her to collect free candy for me herself the troops. But it's bad.

Happy Halloween to you! Stay safe and sane!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Maine, Oh Maine

I've only just recovered from my food induced coma from this trip... it was two months ago.
We had two and a half weeks of nonstop amazing food. It was somewhat ridiculous at times, but overall I wouldn't change a thing. Well, that's not really true. Of course I would change a thing. I would make 2.5 weeks into 5 weeks... and I still wouldn't get around to everything we want to try. But still, it was another banner eating year in Maine. And because I like you, I'm gonna tell you all about it. And to pre-empt your reaction by the time you make it to the end, yes, this log is insane, but I was unable to come up with a better way over covering it all.

Usually I list the best thing I ate each week here. But Maine is a whole different beast. Firstly, I can barely pick the best thing I ate each day, let alone average it out over the week. Second, there is just too much good food that needs mentioning. Third, I started taking pictures and sharing them on instagram. Great food porn pix, you'll see below.

But then I got bored with that, mainly because I was too busy eating. I still took the pictures of the food, but then had to get back to eating and forgot to share them.

If you didn't know my stance on Maine yet, it is this: Go there. Now. If not now, then soon. It is the best place, my happy place, and that's just the beautiful scenery; lakes, mountains, ocean, beaches. Oh, OK, maybe it also has something to do with the insane amount of good food all over the place. Whatever.

It is September, and I am still no closer to figuring out how best to organize this information. So I will give you my food diary from our trip. Places appear and reappear for us each year. For a strong foundation on any trip to Maine, you should first read this: Maine, the way life should be.

I will repeat places from there. They should be used together as a road map of sorts. And for the road map I will list everywhere by town at the bottom.
Got that? Ready? Let's do this thing.

Thursday, July 23: Driving up to Maine
Stonewall Kitchen, York: After a long drive up to Maine, it's tempting to blow our whole appetite just wandering around the store sampling the wares. We came home with an amazing chutney (Major Grey's), spicy corn relish (which they served over sour cream... do this), and jam (strawberry rhubarb apple). Thankfully we also saved room for the lobster BLT and mac and cheese. Nice way to ease into the Maine food fest.

Our next stop is typically Brown's ice cream near the Nubble Lighthouse in York... but when we drove up, *shriek* Brown's was gone. Thankfully a few houses down the road is Dunne's, which we found out is basically Brown's, but not paying the jacked up rent of their former location. Dunne Dunne Dunne... Same sick flavors, same ridiculously sized cones. We get the kiddie cone and it's still huge. Not complaining, just pointing out.

MC, Ogunquit: Such a solid standby. It's about as fancy as we tend to get, which is not that fancy, but rather elevated dining with a local Maine focus. Creamy and delicious lobster mac and cheese, a fresh-as-you-like raw bar, chicken under a brick (which is how I like my chicken when I'm out), the corn pudding side is to die for, and the standout this year was the Dark & Stormy cocktail which has a splash of pineapple juice making them way too easy to drink. Just ask my mom... as soon as she can stand up again.

Friday, July 24: Chill day in Maine
Anchorage, Ogunquit: They re-did the pool and restaurant at our hotel and somehow we managed to agree on at least trying it. It was a good breakfast, and a really good hotel breakfast. Don't miss the blueberry and cream cheese stuffed french toast because you're in Maine and when you're not eating lobster, you are obligated to be eating blueberries. The blueberry pancakes were also well received and I saw a few tasty omelets floating around the table too.
While hanging at the pool at the Anchorage, we feel it is our responsibility to take advantage of the frozen drink machine, so a round of whipped cream topped pina coladas is always the call.

Ogunquit Lobster Pound, Ogunquit: Typically our favorite meal of the trip, easily our favorite lobster bib meal. Try not to fill up on the bread, but when you let yourself get super hungry because you know what meal is coming, it's rather hard to resist. Clam chowder, beans, slaw, (I'm still in disagreement with their lack of corn as a side option), and since you won't have left room for the blueberry pie and ice cream, just cram it in anyway.

Saturday, July 25: Visiting Day #1
Congdon's doughnuts, Wells: In case you do not follow me on Instagram, I'll show you some of what you missed, as Congdon's featured heavily. Day 1 was a free for all, a box for each nephew filled with all of their favorites, plus a box for us, because we like boxes too.
Behold the Bismark... It's everything a donut should be and so much more. 

The box a few minutes later

Donut professional, do not try this at home
Chute's, Raymond: What does one do about an hour after making their way through that box of doughnuts? Well, I don't know about one, but we go straight to Chute's for bacon, egg and cheese and sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches on thick, round buttered country bread toast. Oh, and they have cinnamon buns the size of your face. Yup.

I suck at remembering to take pictures before I've plowed through half of whatever it is. I just want it in my belly.
Camp lunch: Wildwood: Pretty standard, as far as camp lunches go: cold cuts, bread, salads, cookies and fruit. Our standouts are the chicken fingers, pasta salad and Caesar salad... and bug juice, obviously. Because we are never too old for a red joker's smile.

The Galley, Naples: Hadn't heard anything about this place, and then the menu proudly boasts that Adam Richman deemed it the best lobster roll. How did we miss that? Nevermind that I used to karaoke here many years ago when it was Tommy's, then Alexis. They definitely weren't known for their food then. Underage drinking, maybe, but food no. I imagine that's how this spot fell into our blind spot. Now we've been and we know a few things: they do great wings, good clam strips and clam chowder with bacon (I count myself amongst the purists who prefer without, but some people prefer it with). They also offer you your choice of breads (plain roll vs. garlic bread roll was a lively debate over our table), and the lobster roll has lemon pepper in it. Maybe some of the other ones I eat have lemon pepper too, but none have been so bold as to brag about it. I liked it with the lemon pepper, though I surprised myself and preferred the plain roll to the garlic bread. Go figure. They also had some damn tasty sweet potato fries. Flat and crispy, with that crunch of a twice fried fry.
Hello Naples!
Sunday July 26: Visiting Day #2
Congdons, Wells: Second visiting day, and obviously we're not going to leave my niece in the lurch. She gets a box of donuts too. We were like Oprah with these damn boxes of donuts... you get a box, and we get a box, and you get a box and we get another box... isn't that what Oprah does? So, yes, naturally we're getting a few more to enjoy for our journey. Hello maple cream sandwich: like the maple cream donut, but bigger and filled with more cream. Mmmmmmm, maple cream.
Behold, the maple cream (and yes, that's another Bismarck in the background)
start em young
Camp lunch: Mataponi: Slightly fancier lunch today with cous cous salad and brownies. I had a hot dog because sometimes you just want a hot dog.

Cornerstone, Ogunquit: After schlepping back and forth three hours, two days in a row, we wanted quick, casual, easy, and Cornerstone delivered. Well, they didn't actually deliver, we had to go there. They do flatbread pizzas and they do them well. Had a nice kale salad on the side too, because when you have a donut for breakfast and a hot dog for lunch, your body needs a reminder that there are also green things in this world. The balsamic fig flatbread wasn't as good as we remembered from last year, but the sausage and spicy peppers were both good.

Barnacle Billy's, Ogunquit: The only trade off for skipping a full lobster meal with my mom was allowing her to go for blueberry pie and chocolate chip ice cream here. And we're not rude, we're not gonna make her eat alone. The take out stand in Perkins Cove does the pie and ice cream. It's so convenient, it's weird we don't get it more often. The pie is served warm and is delicious. The chocolate chips in the chocolate chip ice cream aren't chips at all, they're hunks, and they are so good. I also recommend the peppermint stick ice cream, though I get bored of it about halfway through my cone and I have no suckers takers to share with.

Monday July 27
Bintliff's, Ogunquit: After a four day debate, which included my brother-in-law flip flopping more than a congressman on the campaign trail, we ended up back at Bintliff's. Bintliff's is the source of so much drama for us. When it's good, it's amazing. Bloody Mary's that can kill your beach plans, creme brûlée french toast that can kill your diet, and homemade corned beef that can kill any chance of me enjoying crappy canned corned beef anywhere else. The flip side, of course, is that sometimes it's a bit off. The food quality has a two year cycle with us. Last year was an off year, and we were considering sending a warning signal by not returning this year. In the end, the need for the corned beef won out. Thankfully it was an on year and the corned beef was perfection. My husband sent his message by sitting this one out and hanging by the pool with the kid, but he got our leftovers so it's not like he really missed it.

Corned beef hash (recommended with poached eggs, but I ate mine before I remembered to take a picture)
creme brûlée french toast... make sure it's bruleed
Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport: Upon check-in, we head straight for the pool. This pool is delightfully relaxing, even if it is the "kid" pool. They also have an adult pool, a fact we're only too happy to remind people of when they give our squealing children a side glance. While decompressing at the pool, might as well go with their signature blueberry cocktail or a simple mojito. Either will do the trick.

Earth, Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport: After some roadie cups of champagne for our walk over to the restaurant (keeping in classy), we return for another delicious meal at Earth. Despite the waiters being really nice, the service here always falls short of perfect. It was particularly bad this night since the head of Citi was holding court on the back porch. But if you can put up with the food taking a little longer than usual, and we did, the reward is the food itself. Gotta start with a game of shishito roulette and see who gets the spicy one. The crab toast and the meatballs also should not be missed. This year we had a steak special which embodied everything that Earth does well, pairing interesting flavors with the freshest of local ingredients (because you can't get much more local than their own garden out back). It is a fine restaurant, even if I do have to wait for ballet service on the other table before I get my starter.

Our room, Hidden Pond, Kennebunport: One of the many reasons we stay here is their attention to detail. They leave the kitchen fully ready with fresh fruit, butter, juice, milk, coffee, tea, etc. And they also had a basket of whoopee pies waiting for us. This whoopee pie makes my list of favorite whoopee pies, which I probably shouldn't admit since about four pies in I decided to read the ingredients list, and let's just say, these aren't the homemade-in-some-sweet-old-lady's-kitchen whoopee pies. These have some bad stuff in them... and I loved every bite.
Don't read the fine print if you know what's good for you... literally
Aaaaahhhhh, can't stop eating them
Tuesday, July 28
Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport: Another reason we love to stay here is the morning basket delivery of the Times, the daily newsletter, fresh coffee and some sort of fresh baked treat. Today it was a croissant twist, which isn't exactly the veggie quiche of years past, but it was tasty. Thankfully we were able to subsidize breakfast with a box of goodies we had procured the day before from
Bread and Roses in Ogunquit: muffins, scones and a Napolean. Breakfast is saved served.

Napoleans should have jam 
Tides, Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport: Yet another reason we love to stay here is the shuttle and access to their sister property The Tides on  Goose Rocks Beach. It is easily the best beach in the area as it sits in a cove making the water a bit calmer and a bit warmer (though still Maine frigid). Sipping on their flavored water while lounging on a lounger is one version of decadence I can get used to. After some time on the beach we head inside for some lunch at the Tides. No one remembered the wings, and we swear that we would've remembered them because they were so good. So we think the wings were new. The fish tacos are on repeat, as is the lobster roll and bloody marys. We also did the fried haddock sandwich which had good crunch, nice flavor and wasn't too "fried" to really enjoy and not feel terrible about myself.

Maine Diner, Wells: We ended up with dinner from here as a default. Initially we went to try Wicked Tails in Kennebunkport because we heard they did a deep fried lobster tail on a stick. We cruised up to the door approximately 6:45, only to find out they close at 7 and were actually already closed. Bummer. After calling around to several other options and a halfhearted thought to do the Clam Shack despite our nearly identical lunch, we opted for takeout from the Maine Diner. The lobster pie is delicious, but seemed tiny. Perhaps the dish when you dine in is larger, though it is so rich and buttery, it's not a terrible thing that this was small. We had tried the lobster melt a few years ago when dining there for lunch, and somehow managed to forget it long enough to order it again. Melted cheese and tomato on my lobster is not how I like my lobster. If you like tomato and cheese with your lobster, then do I have a dish for you. The baked haddock stuffed with crabmeat was delicious and a welcome alternative to the lobster-thon. Another alternative dish we tried was the chicken pot pie, which was OK, but like the lobster pie, I imagine it's much better when eaten in the restaurant. The standout of this meal was the corn muffins served either as a side or a bread course. Either way they were perfect corn muffins and brought our conversation back to the topic of great pairings. Corn muffins and butter is up there on that list for us. Blueberry pie for dessert was also delicious, but you reach a point when the lobster and blueberry pie, while delicious, start to seem redundant.

The Kettle Boys Popcorn Company, Wells: This is one of our first stops upon arriving in Maine, but we've only just gotten around to digging into the Sweet Cheeses (sounds like sweet Jesus, tastes like cheese covered caramel corn goodness), salt and vinegar and toffee chocolate rocky road popcorn bags we had waiting for us. We tend to get into the bags and annihilate them or ourselves, whichever comes first. We switch from sweet to savory to sweet and savory at a pace that would make your head spin. By the end of it we sit back with powder encrusted fingers from the cheese/salt/vinegar/chocolate residue and refuse another bite until next year's popcorn massacre.

Wednesday, July 29
Hidden Pond: croissant. Perhaps I spoke too soon about how much we love and rely on their breakfast basket?

Palace Diner, Biddeford: Read about this one, and so pleased that we decided to take a little adventure to seek it out. I can't imagine there is much else that draws a crowd to this otherwise desolate town. But right there in the middle is this sidecar diner worthy of a visit. We took up 1/3 of their 15 counter stools and thankfully made an effort to try a bunch of stuff. There wasn't a bad dish on the counter, each dish a unique and flavorful version of itself. The corned beef hash was the way I like it: chunky, salty, crispy and meaty. The caramelized french toast had a remarkable outer crust and a soft custardy center. The lemon pancakes were addictive. The baby scarfed more than his fair share of these. And finally, the tuna melt which defied everything we knew about a tuna melt in the best way possible. First, it's a closed sandwich, not open face. Second, the tuna had relish and a tangy bite. Third, while having a melted cheese layer, it also had a dynamic cold, crunchy thick layer of lettuce, which was both unexpected and somehow necessary. It was a mind blowing tuna melt, and I think that is the only time you'll ever see that line on this page.
Corned beef, perfectly poached eggs and marble rye. Damn gurrrl.

Love this place! 

mind blowing tuna melt
up close and personal

caramelized french toast

and there were pancakes
The family that eats together grows fat together, or something like that
Miyake, Portland: Listen, I like food, there's no denying that. But I like to say highbrow is not my thing. I prefer good bad food. Once in a while a fine dining establishment will hit the nail on the head and Miyake did just that. This was a dining experience. While the vibe of the restaurant in general is quite casual (brightly lit, kids, etc.), the food was some of the finest I have ever eaten. And not even with the subheading finest sushi, just plain old finest. The care and attention to detail not only in the flavor and texture combinations, but also in the plating and presentation was outstanding. They offer a full omakase, but they also set the menu up a la carte where you can do it tasting menu style, but pick the things you like the best from each section. We had heard it was great from people through the years, but those recommendations don't do it justice. My description here won't do it justice. If you are in the Portland area, try it for yourself.
We started with the sushi sampler, tuna three ways, miso glazed cod and salmon. Then, on top of our tasting menu selections, we opted for a bonus a la carte ceviche roll. SO incredibly happy we did this. Like the rest of the food, the fish is as fresh as can be, but the balance of flavors in the ceviche roll was unbelievable. Next we had the oyster and pork belly, and duck. Following those up with the toro tuna roll and lobster roll, which was insanely rich, as anything with spicy mayo and truffle oil would be, and potentially just too much after that whole meal... not that a little richness would stop us. And since we were able to get the lobster roll down, how could we pass on the sticky cake? We couldn't, and we didn't, and you shouldn't either.

oyster on pork belly

miso cod


tuna toro roll 
maine lobster roll with spicy mayonnaise and truffle oil, cause that's not gonna be too rich

sticky cake
Thursday, July 30
Hidden Pond: Scones... getting better, but still not gonna keep us from seeking out a proper breakfasts elsewhere.

Salt & Honey, Kennebunkport: A new stop in Kennebunport, Salt & Honey is upstairs in one of the cute little clusters of shops in town. Walking up a full flight of steps could have scared us off, but I'm glad it didn't. For our efforts, we were rewarded with lemon curd blueberry pancakes (not a small container of lemon curd on the side, completely smothered with lemon curd). The french toast with peach butter was also delicious. The kid got the fish and chips and seemed to enjoy them, and she's half English so she knows her fried fish pretty well. They also do a skinny burrito which my sister ordered, with the addendum to make it: not skinny. Needless to say the waitress (and all of us) had a good chuckle about that one. Incidentally, the not skinny burrito was good.

David's KPT, Kennebunkport: Why yes, we did skip lunch. A full week of eating does catch up with  you. Dinner at this new addition from last year was still good. The garlic knot pulled pork sliders were a no brainer, and very good. The crispy potstickers with sliced steak is really more of a steak salad. It was spicy and well balanced. The steak and lobster pizza was fine, but did seem to fill us up too much. Our main courses wobbled in the overall experience. First, my sister got the lobster meal and while they did not pre-crack the lobster, they also gave her no tools with which to do so herself and then berated her for not just ordering it lazy if she didn't want to do it herself. But see, she did want to do it herself. Unfortunately she is not Darryl Hannah in Splash and needed some help. So rather than bring her a cracker or poker they demanded she pay the $5 to get the lobster meat in a bowl, which isn't even how she really wanted it. It's not about the $5, it's about the overall attitude. Speaking of attitude, how about when I requested a steak knife for my Portland sirloin. We were immediately told by the waitress that they don't have steak knives because we won't need one... except I did need one. That's why I asked for one. Funny that. I object to a restaurant being so up their own ass that they refuse to believe they would ever serve you a steak that needs a steak knife that they have nothing to give you when they serve you a steak that needs a steak knife. Sorry, but those things put a bad taste in our mouths, and I am not one to give negative commentary on here or anywhere else. But how can you not laugh about the steak knife thing? It's funny. And it's not like it means I'll never return. A restaurant has to really F@#k up to get me to never return... but that story of Piccolo Angolo in New York City is for another time. (rat bastards)
slider over here
potsticker salad
Goose Rocks Dairy, Kennebunkport: Did we need ice cream tonight? Of course not. Did we get it anyway? Obviously. Still no return of the purple cow. At some point I will come to terms with the fact that that flavor was fleeting, never to return, but I hold out hope each year, and I will continue to do so until that black raspberry ice cream with white, milk and dark chocolate pieces returns to my belly. Each year they tell me that's not one of their flavors and the part time college staff tries to convince me it never was... Except it was, and thanks to this photo on trip advisor, I can prove it: dated 2012, it shows the "new" flavor right there on the board! Oh purple cow, where did you go? I miss you. Until we are reunited, I will satiate my sweet tooth with their salted caramel chocolate pretzel, coffee oreo, coconut almond bar and strawberry. Yes, even their simple flavors rock.

Friday July 31:
Hidden Pond: Muffins, warms muffins with crumb/cream cheese filling. Tasty and also sucked all the moisture out of my mouth. Not sure why, but didn't prevent me from trying another bite.

Wayfarer, Cape Porpoise: Driven by here for many years, but never tried it. We found the menu after our Wicked Tail miss and found out they're under new management so we decided to give it a whirl. New regular stop! Not only was the food outstanding, the staff genuinely could not be any nicer. Yet another fine corned beef hash specimen with thick cut homemade corned beef and a super crispy hash. Is there ever a reason not to get the fried chicken and waffles? I don't think so. Light waffles and a crispy, well seasoned chicken=solid dish. My kid wanted to granola and fruit... which means she might not actually be my kid. I was weirdly relieved instead of annoyed when it came and she pushed it aside to get at the blueberry pancakes. Phew!

chicken and waffles, because chicken and waffles.

I heart biscuits

This was at the end of the meal... she made me proud

There was a scramble on there, but like Kaiser Soze... gone.
Hidden Pond: Chillin by the pool and enjoying s'mores at the fire pit. Throw in a blueberry mojito for good measure. I freaking love this vacation.

The Cottages and Cabot Cove, Kennebunkport: We decided to extend our trip by a week. We had planned a staycation for the second week, but then thought: we're in Maine. We should probably just stay here. We managed to find a rental for the week at Goose Rocks Resort, but it didn't start until Saturday so we needed one night somewhere. The Cottage at Cabot Cove had a room for us, and was adorable. We're so glad we got to try out a new place. They're part of the KPT resort collection, so had an immaculately decorated space, kitchenette and another one of those insane whoopee pies. Yes! Hello old friend.

The Dory, Kennebunkport: Just down the street from the Cottages is the Lodge on the Cove. It is the sister property with the pool and restaurant by the pool. This place was great. Super kid friendly with games, toys, ping pong, corn hole, and table bowling. And the food was on point too, which I find is rare in a truly kid friendly place. The kid got a banana shake with nilla wafers and chocolate which was scrummy. They have a ton of shake flavors, so try, try again. The sticky wings were damn tasty, and judging by the faces full of sticky sauce throughout the place, clearly a fan favorite. Solid chicken quesadilla. The burger was fine and the fish sandwich, which was grilled fish, was actually very fresh tasting and such a nice change of pace to the usual fried fish option. Oh, and did I mention the live music. This place has it all in a super cozy (cove-y?) setting.
shake it up baby now
Saturday, August 1
Cottages at Cabot Cove: Ok, clearly all of the properties in the KRC do the breakfast goodie thing... thank heavens for that. Fresh strawberries, juice, a baguette and brie made for a yummy breakfast for all in the comfort of our cozy cottage.
I can't even
The Dory: We're baaack. Made good use of the pool and even better use of the restaurant. Tried the lobster roll... felt like it had been a while since our last lobster and our levels were running dangerously low. The shark bites (read tiny fish fingers) were banging. Crispy, crunchy, with a nice amount of actual fish inside.

The Clam Shack, Kennebunkport: One of my favorite lobster rolls, since the lunch one hadn't quite hit the spot. I like the round buttered bun, though the fried clams beat the lobster roll this year. Some say to get the full belly ones, but only if you like bellies. I like both and both are delicious.

As Pee Wee would say, mmmmmm, lobster meat-y
Rococo, Kennebunkport: How many years can we pass this one up simple because it always just struck us as too fancy. Well, we finally tried it, and it is pretty fancy. Their online list of potential flavors is pretty remarkable and featured several we wanted to try. Unfortunately they had run out of the one we wanted to try and we were left floundering a bit since the fancy/hipster flavor combinations made for a confusing taste and order session. Put it this way, when I go for ice cream, avocado cayenne is not high on my list. In the end we ended up with the goat cheese and blackberry chambord, which tasted more "goaty" in the cup than it had in the test spoon; the nutella cranberry which didn't come together as seamlessly as I had hoped; mango which had undisclosed espresso beans in it, and dark chocolate which I would never normally get and actually blew the others away. It was potentially one of the best chocolate ice creams I have ever had. It was the equivalent of a gourmet dark chocolate bar in comparison to a Hershey bar. Unbelievably delicious. Of course I would have preferred the apple cider and cider donuts, salted bourbon caramel or creme brûlée brown bread and brown sugar candied plums, but such is the luck of the draw of which flavors they have on the night you go. I appreciate what they're doing and find the ingredient list very impressive. My palette doesn't tend to be quite as plebeian as it seemed per my preferences here. Maybe I just am not ready for curry carrot, but I respect that they are making it for the market that might exist out there.

Sunday, July 2
Our cottage: Simple fry-up prepared by the hubs... all things taste better when you're on vacation and didn't have to cook it yourself.

The Dory: Oh yes, three days in a row. We came back partially cause we enjoyed the pool, partially because we enjoyed the restaurant, but mainly because they do Sundae Bloody Sundae, a brilliant combination set up of DIY bloody mary bar and make your own sundae station. Brilliant and so freaking good. Also revisited the chicken quesadillas, wings and mac and cheese for good measure.

Bloody good time

Sundae bloody sundae... that sh!t killed on Instagram
White Barn Inn: Ok, so I know I claim to not do fine dining, but this place has been on our list for 10 years. We mistakenly went to a different place years ago, thinking it was here, but alas, it wasn't. The past five years we have been unable to try it because of the kid situation (read: we have em, but don't want to bring em). A tasting menu where you get to choose is my kind of tasting menu. Lest I have to deal with blue cheese or skate wing. The inside is beautiful, truly an old barn with a magnificent oversized picture window with lit shrubbery outside. Yes, I said lit shrubbery. It's a great effect. For dinner we had salmon mousse amuse bouche (say that ten times fast), tuna nicoise (deconstructed, as all the best food is), lobster spring roll (nice crunch, good lobster texture), corn chowder with lobster and crab beignet (could have use about eight more of those on a plate on the side due to their tastiness), parmesan mousse and crisp (sounds like what it is), monkfish (a very unexpected middle eastern preparation which they absolutely did justice to-is that racist to say because it's a white barn?), steak (you can stick a lobster tail on top of it for a supplement, which we obviously did), and two different kinds of soufflé (both delicious and worth the wait). After dinner they brought over tiny pecan pie pieces and homemade caramels which I liked so much I asked for more to bring back for the babysitter my mom. The setting was Maine barn chic, so don't feel like you need to go in labels blazing. Understated elegance could be another definition. A delicious meal that I am glad we finally made time for would be my best description.
If you like steak then you should've put a lobster tail on it

Monkfish with some kind of curry sauce and foam and a fried delicious thing and a dollop of another sauce... yes, this is about as technical as I get
S'mores souffle

The other soufflé
Monday, August 3
Another fry-up back at the homestead. G-d bless breakfast meats.

Boulangerie, Kennebunk: Shmancy breads and bread products at prices I wouldn't even think twice about in NYC, but definitely flinched at first in Maine. The breads were all hearty, fresh with crusty outside and soft inside (when intended). The scone was great. They have about three different breads each day, so if you're a pullman purist, make sure you hit it on the right day. The foccacia was delicious as well, fresh herbs and veggies made for a solid road snack.

DIY BBQ: Sometimes you've got to just cool your jets at home with a backyard BBQ. Thankfully the sriracha steak tips, marinated chicken and blueberry sausage from Hannaford's was pretty good. Although in hindsight the sausages are a breakfast item.

Tuesday, August 4
Holy Donuts, Portland: This was potentially one of my more epic Instagram food moments, when I captured the eating insanity that was this day. Let me walk you through it. First we arrived at Holy Donuts in the morning. We decided on six, and a bonus cheddar bacon because, you know, savory donuts deserve love too. Lemon, triple berry, and blueberry were all good. I'll point out that Doughnut Plant is still my favorite blueberry. The chocolate sea salt, maple bacon and chocolate coconut were the highlights. Maple bacon is just a heavenly combo, well executed. The chocolate ones were light, rich, good glaze ratio with a nice finish. We worked our way through the seven donuts over the course of this rather ridiculous eating day.

Eventide, Portland: I am not telling you anything new when I say that the food scene in Portland is extremely impressive. You can't throw a stone and not hit a James Beard nominee or cable network feature. Everyone knows it's good and Eventide stands out amongst that elite crowd. Crazy lobster roll offering which I almost wanted to dislike strictly because it had brown butter and I tend to not be a fan... or perhaps I just never liked whatever the other people that called brown butter served me. This lobster roll was legit. Almost two weeks in and you need a variation on the whole butter or mayo thing. This one hit hard at just the right time. We did the fried oyster bun, which was excellent. We also got the fried chicken bun, no wait, make that two fried chicken buns after the kids pretty much devoured the first one. The local beets were also worth mentioning as anything with a kick should be. It's not a matter of whether we return here but when.

lobster roll with brown butter
fried oyster bun

fried chicken bun

SLAB, Portland: I was somewhat disappointed to be hitting this spot on a Tuesday when they have live music in their beer garden on a Wednesday. Just figured that's worthy of mentioning. I handed the ordering duties over to the big guy as I sat with the wee ones in the car while they napped. He came back with 3 slices of sicilian hand slices in varying preparations, a meatball sandwich, chunky hummus and handmade bread, and a shoe which was stuffed/covered in broccoli rabe and sausage. To say he over ordered is putting it mildly. I figured he knew we had a family of five that was planning on surprising us that night and popping round for dinner... but no, this was all meant for us. Trust me, I am happy we got to try it all as everything; from the spicy sicilian slices to the meatball sandwich of the gods was outstanding. There was just way too much of it.

Meatball sandwich

The shoe 
hummus (we're so healthy)

3 sicilian slices, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree
Becky's Diner, Portland: The best part of sharing your vacation experience through social media is when that media becomes truly social and people respond with thoughts and suggestions. We got a hot tip about the blueberry cake from this diner so we stopped on the way home to pick up a piece. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg. Because if you hadn't created this platform for people to connect, I may not have heard from my camp friend that the blueberry cake was not to be missed. This was definitely not to be missed. The double layer of moist (yeah, I kind of hate that word too, but sometimes it just works) cake loaded, but not overloaded, with blueberries was topped with creamy, sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. It was one of my all-star blueberry dishes from the trip. Not to be missed indeed.
in the case, then...

in the container, then in my face
Wednesday, August 5
Eggs at home. Yes, we're getting lazier and lazier in the mornings. That's what all these eating hangovers will do to you.

Lobster Shack and Footbridge Lobster, Perkins Cove, Ogunquit: On our drive down to the Animal Kingdom in York we decided to stop off for a lobster roll to go. Pulling up I first went to Footbridge Lobster as that's where I thought we had gotten them to go from last year. When I got it, I realized it looked different and realized that was probably because they were from the adjoining restaurant Lobster Shack. So we did what any fat ass would do, we got one from there too to do a taste test and see which we liked better. Both had redeeming qualities. Lobster Shack gave chips AND cole slaw not just either or. Footbridge I ordered with butter, but admit my mistake and should've probably done mayo. The clam chowder from Lobster Shack was an abomination. First, it was served so hot that it had separated: clumsy and unforgivable. After waiting a solid fifteen minutes for it to cool so we could try it I can only say, the flavor profile was just not there. Herbs where there shouldn't be herbs, zinginess where there should be creaminess. In the great Lobster Shack/Footbridge Roll Off, the real winner is Barnacle Billy's down the street.
Lobster Shack
  Wild Kingdom: Mmmmmmmm, cotton candy.

SLAB leftovers for dinner, cause yeah, there was that much too much.

Thursday, August 6
Wayfarer: So nice went there twice. Had to revisit their corned beef hash and crazy good corned beef scramble. The blueberry pancakes are the size of the table, but thankfully don't rest on the might of their size. They also deliver on taste, texture and abundance of blueberries.

no complaints here
We went to the Trolley Museum for the ice cream social at 5 only to discover the ice cream isn't served until close to 7. In a panic I ran to the Tides down the road and picked up dinner to-go and brought it back for a lovely picnic in the middle of the trolley museum. I'm not gonna lie, people seemed jealous. Not solely because we had adult beverage, but because we had an adorable family doing something really fun and memorable. #parentingwin.
Tides, Kennebunport: Fried clams didn't travel well. The tuna had a perfect cook on it (just barely). The vermicelli spring roll on the side was a bit greasy, but I blame that on travel time. Did I mention I got pulled over on the way back with the food? No? Well I did. And the cop in Kennebunkport could not have been nicer. So, thanks to him for spoiling the spring roll but not the night. Kid got a hot dog which she was impressed by.

Trolley Museum: A neopolitan cone scarfed prior to being allowed to board the trolley is ok. Stopping at Goose Rocks Dairy on the way back home is just plain fat.
Nailed it

Good first ice cream of the evening
Friday, August 7
Unremarkable day of eating. Clearly the high quality exhibited early in the trip was meant to carry us through days like this. Breakfast and lunch at home, which to be fair to our own cooking skills were good egg and steak sandwiches, respectively, but nothing to blog about.

Mabel's: My mom got takeout from here the night she babysat while we went to White Barn Inn. She had only good things to say, and the bite of blueberry ice cream she left for us was insanely good. So we decided, against my instincts to try Mabels again. It had been a few years since our first try, which I chalked up to me ordering wrong. Mabels strength are their stuffed lobsters, intricate lobsters stuffed or topped with crabmeat, shrimp, scallops and a number of other things. I don't like lobster like that. So I blamed myself for not just getting a plain old steamy. I wasn't going to make that mistake again, so I went for it. We got a clam roll and fried clams to start, the clam roll because my mom had it and we tried a bit and it tasted good, and the fried clams because I clearly didn't realize I had hit my quota of fried clams for the trip. I need dipping sauce for fried clams, and their sauce was just not my thing. The lobster was good, but few steamed lobsters can hold up when being compared, in the same trip, to the Ogunquit Lobster Pound. The strangest part of the meal was when I ordered blueberry ice cream at the end and a completely different ice cream to the one my mom received at the takeout window came to the table. Oh sure, I ate it. But it wasn't as good as the other blueberry ice cream they do but didn't give me for some reason.

Saturday, August 8
Goose Rocks Dairy Breakfast: Having driven by on various ice cream outings and just when driving down route 9, we wondered why we had never tried this breakfast only spot. Now we know. They do a breakfast buffet, which I typically enjoy, but which didn't seem worthy of our $14.95. Instead we opted for french toast and breakfast sandwiches, which were good, but not a whole lot different to what we were slinging back in our cottage kitchen. Amateurish, but provided us with a solid hour of discussing what we would do when we took over the space and made it into something better. *Watch that space.
I'm a sucker for a gratis plate of baked goods
Congdon's Doughnuts, Wells: Yes, one more for the road... one more box, of course. What, you thought I meant one more individual donut? Haven't you been reading this? You've made it this far. Don't lose the plot now!
I miss you already

Ok, so you made it through this insane list. For easier reference, I will now divide the restaurants up by town. For more details on each, the date following the name corresponds to the date above when we dined there. Feel free to use as a handy guide for your next visit.

Biddeford: Palace Diner (7/29)

Kennebunk: La Boulangerie (8/3)

Kennebunkport: Clam Shack (8/1); Cottages at Cabot Cove (8/1); David's KPT (7/30); The Dory (7/31-8/2); Earth (7/27); Goose Rocks Dairy (7/30, 8/6); Goose Rocks Dairy Breakfast (8/8); Hidden Pond (7/27-31); Mabels (8/7); Salt & Honey (7/30); The Tides (7/28, 8/6); The Wayfarer (7/31, 8/6); White Barn Inn (8/2)

Naples: The Galley (7/25)

Ogunquit: Anchorage restaurant (7/24); Barnacle Billy's (7/26, 8/5); Bintliff's (7/27); Bread and Roses Bakery (7/28); Cornerstone Pizza (7/26); Footbridge Lobster (8/5); Lobster Shack (8/5); Ogunquit Lobster Pound (7/24); MC (7/23)

Portland: Becky's Diner (8/4); Eventide (8/4); Holy Donuts (8/4); Miyake (7/29); Slab (8/4)

Raymond: Chute's (7/25)

Wells: Congdon's Doughnuts (7/25, 7/26, 8/8); Maine Diner (7/28)

York: Dunne's (7/23); The Kettle Boys (7/28); Stonewall Kitchen (7/23)