On Saturday morning we woke up early, dropped Fred off at my parent's house, and headed north to Portland ME for the day. We're obviously creatures of habit because whenever we head to Maine our first stop is in Kittery ME. Kitttery is probably best known for their outlet shopping. We stopped into Starbucks for coffee, tea, and my matcha lemonade. At 10:00 we popped over to When Pigs Fly Bakery and purchased some bread. I opted for the raspberry, blueberry lemonade bread while Porscha chose the apple cinnamon bread.
Back in the car we munched on our bread and finished our drive to Portland. As we were nearing the Portland Head Lighthouse we started to notice a lot of foot traffic. Once we pulled into the parking lot we realized that it was the family fun day. Somehow we were lucky and scored a parking spot right at the lighthouse! If we hadn't found that spot Greg would have had to drop me off and park pretty far away due to the crowds and activities.
The weather was absolutely perfect for walking around the grounds, taking photographs, and watching the ocean. Sadly, with my foot in a boot, I'm pretty limited and we had plenty of walking to do in downtown so we cut our visit a little short.
Walking around downtown Portland we popped into Vena's Fizz House for some adult beverages (mocktail for Porscha). We chose a high top table rather than the bar so I would have somewhere to put my foot. Man, this boot is a pain! The owner came over to welcome us and we chatted about how we briefly met him years ago during a visit to Portland. We were reminiscing how at that time they didn't serve alcohol and how we loved the inventive flavor combinations. We ended up ordering a virgin Blackheart, Grandma's Bourbon, and I wish I could remember the name of my drink! We enjoyed the cool vibe of the bar, the air conditioning, and the delicious drinks!
For lunch, we decided to visit The Honey Paw. We opted for 3 seats at the bar and our server brought over waters and took our drink orders. Here's where we over ordered! We decided to try the lobster wontons, the chicken wings, and the fried oyster ssam appetizers. The lobster wontons were tender and came in a savory broth. The oyster ssam was bold, crispy, and also came with delicious kimchi. The chicken wings are unique, crispy, and a great mix of sweet and savory. For entrees, Porscha and I ordered the ramen while Greg opted for the banh mi.
I'll start off by saying that I did enjoy my ramen and others will like it. I'm pretty particular with ramen and I would have preferred my egg to be cooked longer. I also felt the noodles were on the thick side for a ramen. Both Porscha and Greg enjoyed their dishes and we were full. On the way out I popped into the women's restroom and I just loved the natural looking sink. Very cute touch!
We wandered around Portland a little more looking for some unique pieces of clothes for the fall. Before leaving the city we grabbed a dessert to go at The Holy Donut. I ordered the vegan lemon and triple berry donuts while Greg and Porscha ordered a variety. The donuts are cake-like donuts (made with potato), aren't overly sweet, and are topped with delicious frostings. The lemon donut was a bit tart but still delicious.
The drive home was pleasant and hardly any traffic. We picked up Fred, finalized plans for Father's Day, and then headed home to relax.
Gaslight Restaurant, Lynnfield MA
Through Opentable we had a reservation for 3 people. We were seated right away but asked for a different table because the one offered was in the middle of an aisle. The table we ended up with was fine although Greg couldn't remove his elbow otherwise the table would rock back and forth.
For cocktails, we played it safe with a Makers Manhattan and a Woodford Manhattan. To start our meal we chose both of the octopus specials and a half dozen Oysters. The charred octopus was very tender and savory. The chilled pressed octopus was bright with the addition of fennel but had a little bit of a chew to it and was a little too oily. The Malpeque oysters we selected were small, briny, and clean tasting.
For entrees I chose the Texas wagyu skirt steak special, Porscha chose the salmon, and Greg chose the halibut special. We also couldn't help ourselves and ordered a side of french fries with truffle aioli. My steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, was tender, and had a great chimichurri. Unfortunately, the vegetables accompanying my steak were completely cold. Both Greg and Porscha enjoyed their entrees and had zero complaints.
Our dinner was good but for the price, I would rather go to better restaurants that are in Boston.
After leaving the restaurant we walked over to JP Licks for some ice cream. I was thrilled with my dairy free chocolate ice cream topped off with peanut butter sauce. Yum!
Saturday morning we drove to Lincoln MA for a visit to DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park. Greg and I have been there before and are members now but this was Porscha's first visit. The Sculpture Park is pet friendly and Fred loves exploring the park! I can't wait to go back next month when they exhibit Yayoi Kusama's infinity room; Where The Lights In My Heart Go.
We spent a little more than an hour wandering through the exhibits and would have spent more time there but my air-cast was starting to hurt and Fred isn't allowed inside the museum. Before leaving we did go into their shop where you will find many unique items. I found a collection of Andy Warhol Polaroids and a metal empire state building kit for Greg. Porscha snagged a cool book on scarf styles.
DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park is highly recommended by us for a unique and beautiful day in Massachusetts.
Staycation - Day trips from Boston
I've spoken about her previously by my teenage cousin Porscha is coming to stay with us again this summer and we can't wait! I have been working on a list of things to do while she's here rather than going away for just a weekend. My list includes some of our past favorites, some new places, and some that are just new to her. All are within 3 hours from Boston and are great for couples, friends, and families.
Boston Area (short walks, train ride, or taxi ride)
The Patios on Government Center
Boston Public Market (Excellent for foodie finds and gifts)
Museum of Fine Arts (Everything from Degas to Chihuly)
Institute of Contemporary Art
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Castle Island (Walk along the ocean, peek into the fort, and enjoy lunch at Sullivan's)
Shopping on Newbury St
Mccrea's Caramel factory (Delicious caramels that we gave as thank you's in Paris)
Taza Chocolate Factory
Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl, Boston MA
We made plans with friends and purchased tickets to the Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl in Boston this past week. Before meeting up with our friends we used ParkWhiz and found a fabulously priced parking garage right across the street from Government Center. We used our emailed pass at the entrance, found a good spot, and hopped in the working (one section wasn't usable to where we were heading) elevator.
For lunch we decided to walk down to the Boston Public Market. We grabbed a couple of Banh Mi's and a rice bowl from Bon Me and sat at the outdoor picnic tables. Bon Me offers consistently balanced food with terrific flavors. Unfortunately, the Thai basil limeade was heavy on the sugar and ended up being too sweet for me.
We were heading back to to the event area and I got completely distracted by the beautiful stone pieces from American Stonecraft. Thanks to the amazing help we got from Diane we purchased a stunning food slab for our kitchen island. Food slabs are food safe and can be chilled; perfect for serving. The food slabs are easy to clean with just soap and water. Diane spent a time going through multiple shapes, sizes, and colors and was wonderful in helping us find just what we needed. I was thrilled with the piece we selected and it's a beautiful addition to our home. American Stonecraft also offers cook slabs which can be used in an oven or grill, trivets, coasters, and bowls.
We joined the rest of our group and were quickly through the check in and security area of the Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl. How amazing is it that you can help raise money for a great cause while enjoying lots of delicious ice cream. Inside the event there were multiple ice cream vendors, games, beverages, live music, and seating areas. Your ticket provides you with unlimited ice cream. My first stop was to Haagen Dazs for their dairy free Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle Non-Dairy. The ice cream was smooth, rich, and extra chocolate. Next up was Ben and Jerry's and their Caramel Almond Brittle. The Caramel Almond Brittle was sweet, salty, and crunchy; delicious!! Others in our group got to try ice cream from numerous vendors but I was thrilled with my options.
After the event we walked back to to our car and only had to sit in a little bit of rush hour traffic during our ride home.
Sunday morning we were ready to try somewhere new for breakfast. We decided to try Project Social. Our party of 6 were the first table of the morning and were given a high top. We all ordered coffee which was fine for me but others found it to be a bit too strong (slightly bitter). For entrees we ordered the Basic Breakfast, 3 Pork Belly Benedicts, 2 Brussels Sprouts Hash, a Classic Crepe, and an Apple Crepe.
My pork belly benedict was delicious. The pork was tender, the eggs runny, and the bread thick and crusty. The basic breakfast with blueberry sausage was also enjoyed.
Unfortunately, a few dishes weren't what we hoped they would be. When we hear hash we think of crisp, browned, and melded. The brussels sprouts hash offered boiled brussels sprouts, large chunks of potatoes, and topped with an egg. The dish wasn't visually appealing, nor satisfying. The apple crepe was also not to our liking. The filling states roasted apples however they tasted as if they were poached in wine. The flavor combination was tart and unappealing.
Our breakfast was split 50/50 and so I would try the restaurant again but I would probably return to try out their dinner menu.
While we were at lunch Fred was resting at the house. We picked him up and decided to drive around Acadia National Park again. We ended up driving through the whole park stopping for pictures all along the way. The scenery was beautiful and we were nice and relaxed.
Monday morning we all woke up early and finished packing. Before leaving the house we stripped the beds, piled up the towels, wiped down the kitchen, and took out the trash. On our way out of town we stopped for breakfast to go. Thrive Juice Bar & Kitchen offers juices, smoothies, bowls, as well as snacks. I opted for the Quinoa Beach Bum Bowl (minus banana and adding in strawberry). The fruit was fresh and flavorful however I don't think they rinse their Quinoa before cooking as it had a bitter taste.
Greg chose the PB&J Smoothie which he enjoyed. I did have an impulse buy at the register. I ended up adding 2 vegan peanut butter cookies to my order. Back in the car we ventured south with all the other cars. We did hit traffic home but the 4 hour drive ended up being only 5 hours. Not too shabby!
Another successful family getaway in Bar Harbor! Looking forward to next year!!
A few of my family members have attended Lamb Jam Boston for the past 3 years. This was our first time joining them. I don't think I've mentioned this lately but my SIBO and Lactose Intolerance have been lessened greatly. I have been able to eat some dairy along with Lactaid pills since September. With that knowledge I was finally able to join in for this gourmet competition.
Lamb Jam Boston included 16 competing restaurants, multiple beverage vendors, a DJ, and a few extra activities! We arrived on time after circling the area for a parking spot and had a short wait for the line to move. Once inside we started at the front and made our way clockwise starting at our left. Over the next couple of hours I tried small bites, elegant plates, tacos, sandwiches, soups, dumplings, and more! The portions the restaurants provide are not small by any means! I tried to eat as many as I could but I missed out on 4 restaurants.
Here's a list of the restaurants from Lamb Jam Boston's Facebook Page:
Chefs will be divided into 4 Global Flavor categories.
The Honey Paw | Mami Portland | Simjang | Sulmona Restaurant
Commonwealth Cambridge | Cook & Brown Public House | Moody's Delicatessen & Provisions | Townsman
Emilitsa Greek Restaurant | Little Donkey | The Salted Slate | Spoke Wine Bar
Central Provisions / Tipo | Moxy | Our Fathers | Sarma
I'll start with the restaurants I didn't enjoy. The Arepa from Backroom at Moody's wasn't made to order. Unfortunately, that meant that the bun was dry and the cheese was congealed and stuck to the bread. The Al Pastor from Backroom at Moody's also wasn't very good. The flavor was fine but there was a gritty and unpleasant texture.
Here are some of the great dishes I tried! The Smoked Lamb Rib with za'atar honey glaze from Little Donkey was flavorful and had a wonderful texture. The Lamb Merguez - harissa, halloumi, spring pea + mint tabbouleh, tehina (minus the hallumi) from Our Fathers was bold and balanced.
Finally, my personal top 3 dishes. The Za'atar Roasted Lamb Falafel with split pea hummus, miso tahini, and amba from Sarma was a large portion, savory, creamy, and still had texture from the falafel. The Lamb Dumplings - aromatic broth, grilled ramps, basil, annatto oil from The Honey Paw offered a wonderful dumpling dough with chew but a soft texture filling and the accompanying broth had a wonderful depth to it. The Kohitsujiyaki - dashi batter, sake kasu marinated and roasted lamb belly, kewpie, okonomi sauce, katsuobushi, benishoga, negi from Mami were so good I went back again! The hot, savory, sweet, and satisfying bite were amazing.
My vote went to Mami but I can completely understand how The Honey Paw won as their dumplings were outstanding! If you are ever in the Portland, Maine area, be sure to dine at The Honey Paw and Mami. We ordered take out from The Honey Paw back when we stayed in Portland this past February and you can read about it here.
In addition to these amazing dishes I tried a couple of cocktails. I enjoyed the Jager Punch Tail, and the Bombay Sapphire Mule. In addition to these drinks were Super Fun Wines, Brooklyn Bel Air, Lagunitas, Peroni, plus a variety of non-alcoholic options.
Keep a look out for information on and definitely give Lamb Jam Boston 2019 a try!
On Sunday mornings the Museum of Fine Arts Boston opens at 10 am. Knowing that we had plans for Lamb Jam later in the day we went right at Opening. The three of us wandered through almost all of the museum starting at the top and ending at the current exhibits. We wandered through contemporary art, European art, American art, Sculptures, and more. A few of my favorites here are paintings by Kahlo, Monet, Van Gogh, Pollock, and Degas.
Before we left the museum we stopped into the New American Cafe and enjoyed the view of a glass sculpture by Chihuly. We opted to sit at the bar area and our server welcomed us with waters and menus. We ordered some wine along with a cheese plate, chips, and spring rolls for a light lunch.
The MFA should be on the list of locals, visitors, and anyone looking to enjoy a day in Boston.