eat! craft! live!

Baking, crafting, mama-ing and taking photos of it all. When I remember.


Leave a comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: Roots Cafe

I’d been watching the construction of the Roots building with interest – I didn’t know what it was going to be until it was nearly done, but it’s right down the street from us, so I was hoping for something good. I can almost see if it from my house. (I could, if it wasn’t for all those other pesky buildings in the way.)

First of all, Roots is very…slick. The building is new, the furniture is rustically chic, there’s wood and metal and glass. They have a fancy website. (Which, I know, isn’t an indicator of anything really, but in this day and age so many places still have horrible-looking, uninformative websites.)

Second, Roots is church-backed, though you wouldn’t know it by the website. And you may not even notice when you go, if you’re not paying attention. As someone who went to a religious college as a non-religious person and ended up around a lot of aggressively religious people? I noticed. Like, a lot. There’s a small book shop area when you come in that carries religious reading material. And the people…well, they’re perfectly nice. Very nice. Like in a really “Hey, I’m being nice to you!” kind of way. Ugh, I feel horrible for complaining about people being too nice? I mean, seriously. Who does that? Bear with me. It’s my baggage. I just can’t with the overly-nice “Christian” attitude because I’ve known it to be so disingenuous at times. I’d rather have someone be less “nice” and more honest, if that makes sense. (I know, “not all Christians!” but this is my experience, so bugger off.)

Anyway! Religious qualms aside, I wanted to try the place soon after they opened, but at the time they closed mid-afternoon and weren’t open on Sundays. (They’re now open later, though still closed on Sundays.) So one Saturday morning in September, I dragged the kids up the street and we got some breakfast. The kids got a smoothie to share and some muffin tops. I didn’t try them but they disappeared quickly, so apparently they passed muster with the elementary aged crowd. I got an iced latte (as I do) which was good – pretty standard latte. And. And. They had biscuits! and! gravy! Which I love. Love. And you rarely see biscuits and gravy on the menu up here. (Know where I can get some? Please let me know!) I ordered them with great anticipation, but…they were only OK. Meh.

IMG_6124

They did have really cute salt & pepper shakers all over tho…

I haven’t been back despite it being so close to home, because the atmosphere really threw me. I keep meaning to try it again but when Quill is only a little further away? I know where I’ll go.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: Bueno Loco

I don’t even remember why I was in Falmouth, last September, with only the girl child. (Nutcracker auditions, probably?) But there we were and it must’ve been lunchtime, because we found ourselves at Bueno Loco. (Rather grudgingly, on the girl child’s part.)

Now, I love Mexican food – in all its iterations I have tried. Tex-Mex, fresh Mex, whatever food we ate when traveling in various regions of Mexico… My kids, however, are decidedly anti-anything-remotely-spicy. And I have to say that historically, Maine has not been known for its deliciously authentic Mexican food. So, I don’t end up getting it very often.

Things are changing though! We have newer taco joints and taco trucks and generally the Mexican food scene here is improving. (Taco Trio is one of my very favorites.)

The day we went to Bueno Loco for lunch, there was almost nobody else there. The place is pretty large and decorated much as you would expect a Mexican restaurant to be decorated. I ate all the chips & salsa, with a little help on the chip front from the girl child. My “lunch” was a breakfast dish – I can’t find it on the menu now (was it a special?) but I remember over cooked hash browns and some kind of egg thing. (Huevos rancheros? Quite possibly.) It was good but unremarkable, considering I can’t vividly remember it anymore.

Oddly, the thing I do remember vividly is the girl child’s macaroni and cheese from the kids’ menu. It was good. Like, super good. Did they make it from scratch? Is it from a box somewhere? I have no idea. (If it is from a box, I want that box.) Creamy and delicious and in a portion size way too big for my 8 year old, I helped myself to a few tasty bites.

Would I go again? If I was in the neighborhood. Which, frankly, is true of so many places. There are so few I’ll go out of my way to eat at. (Taco Trio, I’m looking at you…)


Leave a comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: LOBSTER!

Ok, y’all, I know lobster isn’t a restaurant. But I’m claiming it for August because it’s notable. I’m a Mainer. I grew up here. I’ve lived here again for the past almost-ten years. I love seafood. But? I have never had a lobster. I’ve eaten lobster – in mac ‘n’ cheese, lobster rolls, ravioli… But never a whole lobster.

Do I lose my Mainer badge?

My First Lobster

(It was delicious.)

And the occasion? My BFF got married and I was one of the privileged few to be there. So much love!

Amy & Patrick

sunflowers at the wedding

always and forever


Leave a comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: June

I went all out in June. (Partly on the company dime. Thanks for coming, visiting researcher!)

In no particular order:

Firstly, Woodford F&B – this was the one I was lucky enough to have paid for. We went out for lunch as a farewell to a researcher who’d been with us for a bit. We each had a different type of Fancy Lemonade!

img_5349

So fancy!

I can’t even remember what was happening in my life at this point, but I do remembering a pressing need to eat vegetables, so I opted for a Cobb salad, which was delicious.

img_5351

Fancy vegetables.

And I took full advantage and ordered dessert too – something seasonal – a crisp involving rhubarb and perhaps other fruit with a honey ice cream that was to die for.

img_5352

Fancy crisp with fancy ice cream.

Next, we discovered a new restaurant just down the street from us – Blazes Burgers. It was new at the time and within walking distance of our house and across from the park/playground and they have burgers! And fries! And tots! And they’re attached to an ice cream shop too! So basically we ate here a lot over the summer. It’s decent, inexpensive, and a kid-pleaser. Thumbs up.

I took the kids to Flea Bites in Congress Square for some delicious eats. We met my mother there and took turns wrangling children in a busy downtown spot while trying to order food from various different food trucks. My main meal-like food item was this amazing sandwich from Nom Bai. Yes. Yes.

img_5639

We also got an assortment of donuts from Eighty 8 Donuts. I opted for a variety with CBD, and offered to share with my mom but she mis-heard me saying “CBD” and thought I said there was “seaweed” in them?

img_5641

H opted for a flavor coated in fruity pebbles and could not have been happier. I tried to talk him out of it. It did not work.

img_5640

That’s a monkey around his neck.

And the last food-I’ve-eaten-with-my-mom-in-June location was Empire Chinese Kitchen, which we went to at her request. She’d been trying to get me to go for ages – I just wasn’t sure how the kids would like it. Turns out I was mostly right to be wary. I loved it. They? Not so much.

img_5499

H dares to eat some bacon fried rice. Fried rice! With bacon! And corn! What’s not to love?

We got a variety of small dishes including: char siu bao (BBQ pork stuffed buns), bacon fried rice (the kids’ fave), honey walnut shrimp (my mom’s fave), szechuan cold cucumbers (which only I ate…and loved), and I think some Chinatown roast pork? It was all good. My problem with small plates places is I always want to try everything and then I end up with a stuffed belly and a decidedly un-stuffed wallet. I try to remember that I can just come back and try something else, but in reality the chances of me actually going back are pretty slim, given how much I get out. (I know. I went out a lot in June. It’s unusual.)

img_5500

These don’t even look like shrimp.

img_5501

Like pickles. Only not quite. Delicious nonetheless.

And that wraps up my adventures in New Food from last June! I swear I’ll finish this up before the summer.


Leave a comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: Danish Pastry House (and Popeye’s!)

In May, I was recovering from mono (fun!) when I went down to Tufts for a work event. During the previous week or two I had experienced such an awful sore throat and mouth pain (from the mono! fun!) that I had barely eaten at all. Even water was painful. The day I went down to Massachusetts started off no differently – I barely ate breakfast. (Did I eat breakfast? I may not have.) Around mid-morning, we were provided with the standard conference-fare-morning-snacks: muffins & yogurt & whatnot. I figured I’d try some and lo and behold I was actually able to eat something without excruciating pain!

And thus I ended up going across the street to the Danish Pastry House where the service was a little slow, the inside temperature was overwhelmingly hot, and my food was absolutely amazing. I think I got a salad and a little fruit tart, but I honestly don’t even remember. Also it is possible that I was so overjoyed to be eating solid food that anything would have been outstanding.

On the way home, I stopped at the Popeye’s at the highway rest stop because I’ve never been to Popeye’s. (Fried chicken joints are not A Thing I grew up around and still mostly don’t exist up here.) I had chicken tenders! And mashed potatoes that I’m pretty sure were instant! And gravy! And a buttery biscuit! The chicken was terrible but I’ve had it since and I think I got a particularly awful batch. Regardless, would not recommend, unless you’re on a road trip!


1 Comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: April

OK, y’all, I’m a wee bit embarrassed about April’s new restaurants. After all the excitement of March, I guess I just had to tone it down a bit?

One new-to-me place we hit up was Goody’s Pizzeria, near the kids’ school. And truly, the only reason we went there was because there was some school function or other that required us staying near school instead of going home for dinner and coming back again. It’s within walking distance. They have mediocre pizzas and an assortment of salty snacks and sugary drinks. It’s not McDonald’s, which was the main draw. The inside was old-school charming and my kiddos got a big kick out the photos over every table and the tiny bathroom. It was perfect for what it was.

The other place we went in April was…99 Restaurant. Restaurants? The 99? I don’t even know how to refer to it. Basically the only big box, chain-type restaurants we go to are Chipotle and McDonald’s. But this whole casual style, eat in, chain restaurant thing is new to my kids! It was a family adventure – we met up with my aunt & uncle in their town and they took us out to lunch. I can definitely see the appeal of eating at a place like this with kids. Crayons! Coloring papers! Chocolate milk! Lemonade! Everything included in the kids’ meal, even dessert! (Which I’m fairly certain we never got and never mentioned because really how much sugar do my children need.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 12.52.47 PM

Everybody wants to sit next to Uncle Jim.


1 Comment

Operation Try New Restaurants: New Haven, CT

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 12.46.44 PM

Oh, y’all. Back in March (yes, March! Again!) I went to so many new-to-me restaurants while on a work trip to New Haven. I was in town for the New England Archivists spring meeting (which was wonderful, by the way) so all the places I went to were new to me.

I picked Shake Shack for lunch because I’ve Heard Things about it. It was good, fine, tasty but nothing mind-blowing. I very much enjoyed my lunch. Crinkle fries!

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 12.48.27 PM

We had one dinner at Pacifico, where I dined solely on queso fundido since I wasn’t terribly hungry. I mean, if you can’t eat a dinner entirely made of cheese while on “vacation” then what are you doing with your life?

We had another dinner at Heirloom, which was truly wonderful. I chose some sort of soup, if I remember correctly, which the server really wanted to make sure I understood was soup. (I guess there were some issues where people didn’t quite get that?) It was delicious. You can’t go wrong at a place that serves this:

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 1.00.45 PM

I also opted for dessert – butterscotch pudding with a toasted marshmallow, sea salt & caramel milk jam. Oh, my heart. That was delicious. My zebras helped me eat it.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 1.04.05 PM

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 1.04.52 PM

Another lunch consisted of bubble tea (yum) and pad see ew (also yum) from Koon Thai, right near the conference center we were at.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 2.02.30 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 2.02.46 PM

Zebras like Thai food too.

That evening I was lucky to be able to meet up with my sister (!) who lives near New Haven. It had been ages since we’d seen each other! I got to meet her partner, a Very Nice Young Man, and we got appetizers and drinks at the Cask Republic. It wasn’t my usual sort of place but my drink was great – some sort of fancy Moscow mule. Heck yes. (Zebras also like drinks.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 2.08.03 PM

From there we wandered rather aimlessly around town, looking for something for dinner. Most places had stupidly long wait times, but we found a table at Kitchen ZINC and ordered ourselves some kale! (And pizza!) It was a cozy little place with good food and good cider.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 2.08.18 PM

Finally, on our last morning, we revisited a place we’d been to every day while there – Atticus Bookstore Cafe. This place was heaven. I got a fancy croque monsieur with asparagus that was incredibly delicious. This place satisfied my coffee needs every day, plus it was just such a pleasure to peruse. I ended up buying gifts for my kids there, as well as a few things for myself, and wanting to buy so much more than I could’ve carried home.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 2.14.07 PM

Thus ends my culinary adventures in New Haven!


If you’re wondering about the zebras – they are the unofficial mascot of the Yale Center for British Art, which I visited while there. They also had a presence at the NEA spring meeting, where they were giving out these adorable little zebras. I got two for my kiddos, one of whom is now missing his legs. It was such a pleasure to visit a museum all alone! Highly recommended.

Another non-food honorable mention goes to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (See first photo.) It. Is. Amazing. You can visit this place! Don’t be intimidated if you’re not doing “research” – it’s OK! They have exhibits you can see and the facility itself is just breathtaking. Go. Now.

Finally, I wouldn’t be a proper knitter if I didn’t also give a shout out to Knit New Haven, where I snuck off to during lunch one day. It was a lovely little store with a nicely curated selection. I picked up a couple skeins of Spincycle Yarns in the most gorgeous pale blue/brown/multi colors. I’m in love!