eat! craft! live!

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

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Operation Try New Restaurants: New Haven, CT

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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!

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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:

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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.

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!


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Day trips with children: Portsmouth Fairy House Tour

Travels with kids! Always fun, right?


On a whim (or…reasons*) I decided to take the kids to Portsmouth on Sunday. I Googled “things to do with kids in Portsmouth” and, lo and behold! The Portsmouth Fairy House Tour just happened to be this past weekend! And my children are completely enamored of fairy houses! Win!

We had an uneventful drive down, with lots of the usual are-we-there-yets and how-much-more-highway-is-theres and please-be-quiet-mama-doesn’t-know-where-she’s-goings.

The arc of our trip went something like this:

What a beautiful day! Isn’t Portsmouth a cute town! I wonder where this fairy house tour is? I think we need to go that way… Look! Dancing fairies! OMG tiny dancing fairies! They’re so cute! So…where are the fairy houses? Oh, lunch, huh? Let’s go find our friends…

Finally find Strawbery Banke. Buy tickets. Get terrible map.

Let’s eat hot dogs! Yeah, you guys like hot dogs! Lady at hot dog stand: “We’re out of hot dogs for right now! I think there’s PBJ inside?”

Head inside. Find friends. Likely scare friend by thrusting map at her and begging for help deciphering it. There is not PBJ inside, but instead lots of delicious-sounding things I know my kids will not eat, especially not for $8.50.

Um. Food. We need food. And a better map.

Head back outside. Try harder to decipher terrible map. Finally get an inkling of what’s where. Event nearly over.

Look, guys, bubbles! Oh, now there’s hot dogs! Let’s eat! Yeah!

H stuffs a too-giant bite into his mouth, gags, spits it all out. $*%&^&#*

OK. Fairy houses! Look there’s one! Look, more! Look! Look! Look! E, “Oh! Mama! This one here must have slept late! We must be quiet so we don’t wake her!” This one is so detailed! OMG, dragonflies made of oak seeds! Tiny windows! Bitty chairs! This is amazing!

See a group of adult fairies I’m pretty sure are in drag. E, “Oh, mama, those fairies are so beautiful!”

Cotton candy cotton candy cotton candy cotton candy, mama, pleeeeease cotton candy! I buy cotton candy fairy floss. The kids turn blue.

Let’s head over to the gardens. Oh, fairy flowers! Let’s look at the water! Ooh, an island! Ooooh, a playground! Oooooh, mama, another island! Maybe it has four trees!

Remember, we have to walk all the way back to the car…

H staggers along. I finally pick him up. He’s a small largish warm inert lump. With wings. I can barely stagger myself, under his weight.

Let’s get going guys! Feel free to fall asleep!

They do. I only take a few wrong turns trying to get on the highway.

* * * * * * *

All in all, a really fun trip, despite the technical difficulties acquiring food and the terrible (really…awful) map of the event. It was a gorgeous day – bright blue skies & cool breezes. The kids were real troopers with all the walking we did – 5 miles! Tiny legs! No wonder H was about to fall asleep standing up by the end. Would definitely do it again, perhaps with a little more planning than just discovering it the night before, on my phone, while lying in bed. But the magic, wonder & awe on their little faces as they looked for fairies in the gardens? Priceless.

*Ingress. In search of 300 UPVs for September. Almost there!


In a giant fairy house.

Spreading her fairy-butterfly wings.

This fairy house was AMAZING. 

It had a tiny window!

E was TOTALLY convinced this fairy was real. And asleep. Perhaps my favorite moment of the whole trip.

Fairy dome.

Fairies gotta bank too.

Cotton candy bigger than their heads.