Category Archives: Reviews
[This post is a couple weeks removed from the event, but it’s still worth writing about nonetheless. Also, I promised beer at the end of my previous post, so here you go!]
A few weeks ago, The Boyfriend and I headed up to Portland, Maine, for the #MEBeerPier event, also called “Craft Beer Comes to Maine State Pier!”. I had never been to any type of beer fest, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I picked this festival because I love Maine, love craft beer, and The Boyfriend is interested in getting into the brewing industry, so I thought it would be good networking (right?).
As the name suggests, the entire event revolved around craft beer brewers, so we had the opportunity to sample a lot of beers that either aren’t available down by us, or that we just haven’t ventured out of our comfort zone to try. When we first arrived, we received our lunch ticket, map and tasting glass. The glass was about 8 ounces, and I figured they would give a 3-4 ounce pour for each sample. Boy, was I wrong:
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a lightweight. So after about 5 of these, I was losing steam. We ate some lunch, I *think* I had a sample or two more, and then I was down for the count. I ended up taking a seat in shade of the food tent while The Boyfriend meandered around a little more.
So what exactly did I sample? Well, lucky for you, I have a handy app called Untappd (find me as SandwichesAndBeer, if you like) where I recorded the samples I tasted – well, the ones I could find, anyway. Some of the breweries were really small, and not in the app yet. I was really in no condition to add them, so I have a partial list. For a full list of the breweries, you can check out this article by CraftBeer.com.
Here’s the list of beers I tried, along with any comments I made. All of these are recommended to try, if you can find them.
1. Shipyard Brewing Company – Summer Ale
I started out slow with this one – it was the only beer I had already drank before. I’m not really an ale person, but I decided to whet my whistle with this one. Giggity.
2. Sebago Brewing Company – Hefeweizen
My preferred beers are Belgian whites and Hefeweizens (I’m an unfiltered kind of gal – ask my friends), so of course I had to try this one. Pretty run of the mill, nothing exceptional. But it was delicious.
3. Sea Dog Brewing Company – Sunfish Wheat
This was really good – it was full bodied, which I would expect from a wheat, but also was surprisingly fruity. It was a favorite.
4. Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery – Dog Days Summer Wheat
Continuing the unfiltered path, I tried another wheat. They are so perfect for hot summer days to just kick back and relax with. I was pretty damn relaxed by this point.
5. Rising Tide Brewing Company – Spinnaker
I don’t remember this one, so I had to look it up. Surprise: it’s a wheat beer. ‘Nuf said.
6. Penobscot Bay Brewery – Wildfire Rauchbier
The comment I left on this one was “BACON!” This was a dark beer that is brewed with the essence of bacon – and it had a really great smoky flavor. I would definitely drink this again – but at a time when I hadn’t had five other samples before I tried this one.
7. Allagash Brewing Company – White
The one white I don’t like. It’s a little too crisp for me, for being a white.
Along with beer, there was plenty of food. The food served was German in nature – we had sausage, sauerkraut, and huge pretzels. There were also baked beans, but I skipped those. All of it was very tasty. My only con was that there wasn’t enough seating to eat, nor was there a lot of shade, hence why I ended up sitting on the ground in the food tent. If there were more chairs and tables underneath maybe two or three more tents, that would have been perfect.
Overall, it was a really great experience, definitely something I would do again. And if you get the chance, I would highly recommend you do it, too.
I was able to do it again – get a spot at a brunch with Boston Brunchers. This time, it was at Lineage in Brookline, MA. It’s always a good time when a sweltering summer day is cut with good company, good conversation, and great food. Lineage provided all of the above.
We were first brought out a round of Bloody Marys, which are a staple at brunch (at least for me). The drinks were well blended, with a spicy kick, but also a sweet finish. We were then told we would be brought out family-style servings of pancakes and French toast, and individual plates of Huevos Rancheros. We also ordered some spicy lobster tacos for the table.
I’m definitely not a seafood person, lobster especially (if those things were on land, they would be bugs), but the presentation was really awesome.
Next came our pancakes and French toast. The pancakes were made with ricotta, and had pockets of the cheese throughout, and were topped with fresh strawberries and cherries. The Pullman French toast was topped with white peaches and Thai basil. Smoked maple syrup came with both. I wish I could cook something that tasted (and looked) this good:
They even look cute on my plate! Wait – did I just call food cute? I just called food cute.
And last, but by far not the least, was our Huevos Rancheros. As The Boyfriend will tell you, I am not a very adventurous eater. Part of why I like these things is because I’m forced to try things I wouldn’t otherwise order – and also socialize. Food + Bloggers = Fun
But I digress. Anyway, I don’t normally (read: EVER) eat beans, of any kind. And I always order my eggs scrambled. So I was a little nervous when a huge plate of black beans and an over easy egg was put in front of me. However, there was enough steak on the plate to balance it out, so I gave it a whirl. And what a whirl it was. SO. MUCH. DELICIOUS.
I had a really great time, met some really cool girls (women? I still say girls), and ate some terrific food. I want to give a big shout out to Lineage for providing an amazing complimentary brunch spread, and to the Boston Brunchers for letting me have another opportunity to expand my food horizons!
On June 2nd, the Vine Brook Tavern was awesome enough to host a group of food-loving, blog-writing ladies from the Boston area: the Boston Brunchers. And guess what? I was one of those ladies! Refreshing cocktails, delicious food, and a serenade by one of the waitstaff made for a really amazing experience. I apologize in advance for the cell phone photos – I was clearly underprepared, but I think they get the point across!
Brunch (or “Blunch” as they call it at the Tavern) is one of my favorite meals, because it’s acceptable to drink at 11:30 in the morning while having French toast. We were presented with a selection of six cocktails, all of which were unique from one another. Of course, I would have to say the Bloody Mary was my favorite. My two runners up were the Moscato Mist, which had a nice grape flavor, and the Latin Lebowski, which was an adult version of chocolate milk. Yum.
The First Course
After we had sufficiently sampled the drinks, out came the first course. Yes, we had courses. Three dishes came to our table: the Sopressata Flatbread, Smoked Salmon Club, and the Crispy Challah French Toast. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, although I will note the smoked salmon was definitely my favorite.
The Second Course
After we had finished with the first course, it was time for the second course. They get the name “Blunch” because of what they served to us next – burgers and steak sandwiches!
Oh, and that serenade? Let me present to you Joel Edwards, a classically trained opera singer who sang a piece from Tosca:
The entire experience was amazing, and I would definitely visit again. The restaurant space was quirky, historical and interesting, it’s big enough to provide several different dining experiences, and the waitstaff was super friendly. Thanks to the Vine Brook Tavern for providing this outstanding complementary brunch, and the Boston Brunchers for letting me be a part of this!
Last week, The Boyfriend took me on a much-needed vacation. We took a mid-week ski trip to Killington, Vermont. We left Wednesday night from Boston and came home Saturday afternoon. Best. Vacation. Ever. I’ve been to Vermont once, but it was for work and in the summer, so I didn’t really get to experience anything at all. This trip was above and beyond anything that I could have expected.
There were a lot of contributing factors that made this vacation so great, so I’m going to break them up into three posts. I’m just trying to help you avoid getting carpal tunnel in your scrolling finger. Really.
First, our lodging. Killington is a resort mountain, so there isn’t any shortage of places to stay. TB and I are pretty price-sensitive, though, so that affects any choice we make. Luckily, we didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a great place to stay.
He chose the Mountain Sports Inn, which is about 10 minutes down the road from the mountain. For $89 a night, we got a clean room and bathroom, breakfast every morning included, and access to a cozy common area, hot tub and sauna. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was easily one of the most enjoyable hotel/inn experiences I’ve had. The staff there were all super friendly and helpful. We ended up getting in almost at 10pm on Wednesday night due to a storm we drove through, and the guy at the desk still took time to show us around and let us know when breakfast would be. They make amazing French toast.
It was also a very down-to-earth place. It didn’t have that corporate, plastic-smile feeling you sometimes get with huge resorts. They had posted quiet hours after 10pm. The common area (which had two oversized couches and a fireplace) was BYOB. All in all, the price was right and the people were friendly. What else can you ask for, really?
Before this trip, I was a snowboarder. Well, I thought I was. From what I remembered, the last time I went snowboarding (six years ago) I was pretty damn good at it. Slow, but good. So, when we got the advice from one of the Inn staff to try Snowshed first, we decided to give that a go.
Now, as I said, I haven’t been snowboarding in six years. So I decided the main green trail right down the middle of Snowshed would be my best bet. I got on and off the lift relatively okay (a first), and made my first run. It wasn’t bad. I was slow, but did okay. We tried a few more runs down the green, and then TB suggested “Let’s try a blue!” Worst idea. Ever.
I did my best on the blue, I really did. But I ended up eating it pretty hard a few times. There may have been some tears of frustration (and truthfully, pain) shed. After taking out a skier, and falling several more times, we got to the bottom and decided to get lunch while I regrouped.
We did a few more runs, but I was pretty much done for the day.
The next day, I decided to try skiing. The rental was only $49 for skis, poles and boots. We had free passes for the second day, so we decided if I wanted to quit I could. I did one run, and while I liked it better than snowboarding, my feet were numb and I was sore, so I called it a day.
I hung out in the Snowshed Lodge, which ended up being a great time. They had a plug for my phone charger, which was great. The food was good (albeit overpriced), and the Waffle Cabin was right outside, so I munched on a heavenly waffle while I drank my coffee and watched 5 year olds ski better than me.
Overall, out of the few ski resorts I’ve been to, Killington is the nicest. The people are friendly (it must be a Vermont thing), there’s enough miles of trails for everyone to enjoy what they like, no lift lines, and definitely affordable.
Stay tuned for part 2: The Food!
Last weekend, The Boyfriend took me on a mini-roadtrip to Portland, Maine. I’ve been to plenty of places in Vacationland, but never Portland. It may have been the best day trip we’ve ever taken. We saw a store that sold glass pipes shaped as eclairs and donuts. We tried chocolate covered bacon (which was amazing, by the way), and did a tour/free tasting at the Shipyard Brewery. But the highlight of the day was eating lunch/dinner at a teeny restaurant called Duckfat.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. They use duck fat to make their french fries. And man, are they good. You can order a small or a large, and they come with your choice of 8 dipping sauces. We got truffled ketchup. I’m a sucker for anything with truffles. They also make poutine with the fries, which sounded very temping, but we decided to save that for another day.
They also have amazing paninis and salads. I got a BGT (bacon, goat cheese and tomato) and he, being the more adventurous of us, got the beef cheek panini special. He also got a beer (Shipyard, of course) and I got a soda. All of that for $30. And this isn’t a dive or anything. It’s actually a really nice space, with really cool people. And the food was awesome. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.
So if you’re ever in the area and want to try something new, I highly recommend this place. You won’t be sorry.