eat! craft! live!

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


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Operation Try New Restaurants: Black Cow

December was a busy month. (Isn’t it always?) E was in the Nutcracker and we had time between shows to grab some dinner. I opted to take her out instead of thriftily packing food, like I usually do. I thought she deserved a treat. We walked around the festively lit-up town, E in her wildly silly-looking bun, and I let her choose where we ate. Happily, she picked a new-to-us-both place – Black Cow!

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Nutcracker-ing makes you hungry.

She chose the grilled cheese and tomato soup, which were both divine. I opted for a cheeseburger and a house made orange cream soda. (I love anything that tastes like an orange creamsicle, after hating that particular flavor combination for years.) The cheeseburger itself was really good – but I was ever so slightly disappointed that they don’t really have any fun flavor combos for burgers, just your standard cheese-pickle-lettuce-etc. I got super spoiled living in Texas where it’s All Meat, All the Time and fun flavor combos to boot. (Pickled jalapeños & Monterey jack on a jalapeño cheddar bun! A fave from back in the day.) Nevertheless, would return! Next time I’m getting fries…

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A Very Serious Soldier.


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Operation Try New Restaurants: November

November came around and I…didn’t really try.

But I did hit up the Farm Stand in South Portland with H one rainy day while E was at an appointment. It’s not a restaurant but we did get food…so… They have an impressive collection of booze – lots of it local – and tons of fresh produce, meat, and other assorted goodies. We got cookies & chocolate & drinks.

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Delicious, post-Halloween sale chocolates.

We also tried out the Kennebunk House of Pizza while at my parents’ timeshare in Kennebunk. It was typical house of pizza fare – we had pizza and some really delicious loaded cheese fries that I’d eat again in a heartbeat. (If my heart wouldn’t stop beating afterward…)

H went to a classmate’s birthday party at 33 Elmwood where I didn’t really eat much (mainly H’s leftover pizza crusts and some birthday cake) but I sure wish I could’ve had some cocktails. If you’re unfamiliar, 33 Elmwood is a bowling alley/restaurant/bar type place. It’s large and spacious and while I can’t say the drinks are good, they sure look good. I mean, I would drink just about all of these with great pleasure. Apple caramel moscow mule? Yes please.

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I want all of these.

The pizza crusts I munched were tasty and the house made birthday cake was actually really good, though the frosting was far too sweet for my liking. This little dude really enjoyed bowling with his friends!

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Patiently waiting his turn.

I’d love to go back when I have cocktail cash, I’m not with a bunch of first-graders, and it’s not 10AM.

Bonus: they have these great IKEA chairs!

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They were so comfy I asked where they were from!


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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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These don’t even look like shrimp.

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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.


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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.)

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Everybody wants to sit next to Uncle Jim.


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mummy jars!

Y’all. It has been so long since I logged in and actually created a post on my computer and not on my phone that…I forgot how. OMG.

ANYWAY.

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Which mummy is whose?

We made these mummy-themed little jars for Halloween [mumblety] years ago. (Like, 2013. I mean, doesn’t everyone take almost five years to get around to posting something? Just me? OK then.)

These were super cute and a really easy craft to do with Very Small Children. At the time, E & H were 3 and 15 months, respectively, and they were both perfectly capable of doing these jars mostly on their own.

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My mummy jar. Because I’m the…wait for it…mummy.

I’m pretty sure this was a Pinterest-inspired craft – all you do is wrap white medical tape around a small jar in a mostly haphazard manner, add googly eyes, and voila! Mummies! Add candles if you wish! I’m fairly certain we did not, because…Very Small Children.

Enjoy this completely-out-of-season craft idea from five years ago!