9.21.2016

a road trip: BOSTON break

JAR 8.14.16
School has already started, but our road trip and all of the tasty treats we tried remain on my mind and the tip of my tongue. After eating our way though part of Maine’s coast, we had to make the return to NJ. But, before we got back, we stopped in Boston to make the drive home from Bar Harbor, ME, easier and more delicious.

We got to Boston pretty late. We needed a bite even after yummy snacks on our way south, so thanks to yelp, we ended up at East Side Bar & Grill for some robust Italian Bolognese, over-stuffed rollatini, and a massive burger with too many French fries. It felt familiar and a nice break from all the fresh seafood we had been devouring (I think we indulged in a little too much lobster, if that’s a thing).
There was no shortage of places for some brunching in Boston, which made decisions even more difficult. With a little waffle from the hotel’s free breakfast, we were better able to pick a place, and ultimately waited a bit for a table. North Street Grille was packed for Sunday brunch. The sidewalk outside of the small eatery was crawling with patient, yet hungry people. Inside was just as busy. The menu has a mix of whimsy and classic, with a twist of over-the-top. We started with the Boston cream French toast sticks, which were super fried, super crunchy, and greasy, while filled with a sweet custard and accompanied by syrupy chocolate. The short rib Benedict was a special that day; it was hearty, meaty, and a classic with more potatoes than necessary. We also had the corned beef omelet, filled to brimming with salty corned beef and topped with an inordinate amount of cheese. It was good with fluffy eggs and potato hash to soak up the grease. In the end, it was loud as mimosas and brunchy drinks kept flowing for the other guests. We left with ringing ears and full bellies.
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The day was hot, but the amphibious Duck Tour gave us some cool views on the water and some great history lessons on land.
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After wandering around town, we stumbled on a Roost Bistro on Newbury Street. Word on the street is “it has a great reputation” (We literally overheard this on the busy street.).  We arrived three minutes after the doors opened for Sunday dinner, or what we thought was dinner. Apparently we did not get the full dinner menu, missing specials and entrees that even after eating made our mouths water. Looking at the menu we were given in the empty restaurant, we decided on a burrata salad with thick balsamic, bright rounds of acidic tomatoes, and a heft heap of spicy arugula. After all of our seafood adventures, another salad was in order. This was a sweet and savory spinach salad, with juicy red strawberries and tangy, salty feta. For a main, I had the bison burger with sautéed onions, creamy brie, and green arugula—salty, greasy, not quite delicious enough to be so pretentious. The pork chop main was wholesome and classic, but skinny on the meat. Dessert was an odd mix of unexpected and almost thawed. The service was spotty and casual, the early hour perhaps, hopefully.
Thankfully, I spied a trio devouring melty ice cream out of the most whimsical, delicious-looking cones. With a little quick research, we were able to figure out where those lip-smacking cones. Of course, we made a plan to go to Emack and Bolio after dinner to get our paws on some ice cream. I decided to get some Cookie Monster ice cream—a mix of cookies n cream and chocolate chip cookie dough— in a krispie treat- adorned waffle cone. Both the cone and ice cream were out-of- control scrumptious, almost worth the seven bucks.

The ice cream was definitely a sweet ending to our short jaunt in Boston. Hope we can take a trip up again soon and taste all the sights.
RER

9.21.16
JAR 8.14.16


9.10.2016

MangiaMore: brown butter BLONDIES with salted speculoos frosting

RER 8.22.16
Summer just about slipped through my fingertips. The last weeks of steaming August melted, collecting and creating a pool at the feet of muggy September. There is a summer haze hovering over those last few weeks as so much happened in so little time; heat and excitement have clouded my memory…
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But, in the midst of it all, was a sweet baking adventure with a great friend. It was just a little less hot, but just as sticky because brown sugar, brown butter, white chocolate chips, cookie butter, and a little too much frosting were involved.
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RER 8.22.16

RER 8.22.16
After speculation, we decided to make brown butter blondies with salted speculoos frosting found on Butter and Brioche. We knew these were going to not only be sweet, but also a mature play on the oh-so-delicious blondie.
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RER 8.22.16

Anything with browned butter is instantly kicked up a notch, and the sexiness goes through the roof. Browned butter brings maturity—burned notes that are round and intriguing. The walnuts in these blondies connected nicely with the rich flavor of the brown butter, while the white chocolate chips vanished, but traces of their sweetness remained, bringing a softer side of the browned butter out to play.
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RER 8.22.16

If that wasn’t enough, a thick layer of decadent cookie butter frosting, weeping with the late August heat, was smeared across the just-cool-enough blondies. The frosting was warmed with just a touch of cinnamon, but the cookie butter mimicked the brown sugar and butter patterns of the cookie-like blondie below.
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RER 8.22.16
The confection was fudgy and dense, an overdose of sugar that mellowed with refrigeration. Each bite tickled so many senses: the scent of browned butter and cinnamon emanated from each morsel; the sticky frosting that clung to fingers and lips and crunchy toasted walnuts, both with textures forcing feel and touch; the taste of caramel brown sugar spiked with fat chunks of sea salt heightened sweetness and added sophistication and refinement; the visual undulation of salt and sugar, monotone yet alluring.   

These blondies had it all— brown sugar, brown butter, white chocolate chips, cookie butter, and a little too much frosting.

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9.10.16
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8.25.2016

a road trip: Mainly MAINE

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At the beginning of summer, I thought it would never end.  And now it’s winding down, coming to a close, and school is right around the corner. But before it’s back to the books and #lalalessonplanning, foodie ventures went on an adventure— a road trip.


We started at Lena’s Café and Confections in New Haven, CT for a hearty brunch to sustain us on the road until our next stop— Clam Box for some good old fried seafood. There we ate deliciously fresh and friend clams and shrimp, while making friends with the locals of Ipswich, MA.
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Patience went a long way, as we drove around Portland, ME, waiting for two seats at the bar of Fore Street. We indulged in sensuous charcuterie including smooth duck rillette, creamy foie gras mousse, and lamb merguez; a luscious seafood sampler lying neat in a row with meaty bluefish, smoked mussels, a lobster claw doused in pesto, and a bright scallop ceviche; bone-in black bass with earthy mushrooms and fennel stuffing; super buttery bluefish with roasted roots and escarole; a side of beets; and desserts—a blueberry pie and a seasonal panna cotta. It was romantic and scrumptious.
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After sleeping off the luxury of the night before, we scooped up some pastries at Standard Baking Co. on our way to check out a local lighthouse.
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A lunch crawl was in order, as we received many recommendations for Portland. We started strong at Eventide Co. at a shared table where we chatted with our neighbors while sampling oysters, curried lobster stew, and a sweet crab roll. Raves about Duckfat brought us there for tepid poutine and a melty milkshake. For our first lobster roll of the trip, we popped in Portland Lobster Company and relished the fresh undressed lobster on a long hot dog bun.
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A little out of the way, breathtaking, and mildly intimidating, we soaked up the view and some sun, while making a mess with our new-shell lobsters from Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown, ME. Hands dirty and bellies full of sweet lobster meat and steamers, we headed to Bar Harbor, ME.

Once in Bar Harbor, we were again starving for lobster. Late night Side Street Café  had lobster stew, crab cakes, lobster mac and cheese, blueberry pie, and drinks a plenty.
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A lucky call got us a coveted breakfast table at Two Cats Café where the colors jumped off of the tablecloth onto our plates from a blueberry smoothie with rainbow sprinkles, a lobster Benedict, a breakfast burrito, and delicious biscuits with pink strawberry butter.
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JAR 8.12.16

Right before boarding a nature cruise, we imbibed some adult beverages at Stewman’s Lobster Pound. A quick lunch at Gayln’s and a walk down the shore path prepped us for beautiful ice cream at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream. Too many flavors to chose from, too many desired.
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Driving through Acadia National Park, chasing the sunset and winding paths up the inclines, we felt the thrill of the chase as the shadows grew longer and it was getting later. Beal’s Lobster Pier was the destination for a late dinner and at least a lobster roll.

Café This Way offered a comforting breakfast of corned beef hash, a smoked fish-filled omelet, and a skinny portion of cinnamon raisin French toast— all worth the wait.
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On a quest for the perfect humorous shirt to bring back home as a souvenir, the rain started coming down, heavy and cold. Hoping the rain would slow, we ducked into Morning Glory Bakery to pick up some snacks for the road back south: a cheesy bagel and a swirled bun.

For some reason, breakfast did not keep us sated for long, so when we came to Belfast, ME and discovered Young’s Lobster Shore PoundWharf, it was all in good time. At Young’s water is pumped in from the body of water right outside its back doors, you pick your own lobsters, and eat either in a hall over the rushing water of the tanks or outside on the wharf. Lobster with a view.
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As we neared Boston, the last stepping-stone to our road trip adventure, we planned a stop in Kennebunkport, ME, continuing our tasting of lobster rolls. The Clam Shack, set on a bridge, was quick and easy, but a tasty snack to hold us over.

The journey continues. Stay tuned for scenes from Boston and updated links to yelp reviews for the eateries we explored on our foodie venture.

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8.25.16
RER 8.12.16