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It was a cold but beautiful weekend to be in one of the most beautiful places in New England, the Portland, Maine area. We’ve made several trips to Maine in the past and always look for reasons to visit. . . we even have a trip to Camden booked for April. I am counting the days until it’s warmer!

A few past Maine blog posts:

Freeport and Camden Maine

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine

Our friends recently moved to Maine, which gives us an important reason to visit. After our second annual Halfway to Dot Day 5k race (which was absolutely bloody freezing) we hit the road, stopping for lunch in Portsmouth and then heading on to beautiful Cape Elizabeth.

My first order of business was a New England-y photo shoot for Nautical Gin, a brand I have been working with this year. Our friends brought us to Kettle Cove, which was a stunning location and a place I would love to visit again when it is warmer than 10 degrees.

Kettle Cove Maine

After some snacks and relaxing, we headed to downtown Portland for drinks at the Top of the East in the Westin Portland Harborview.

Eastland Portland Maine The views and Christmas decorations were gorgeous, and the cocktails delicious. It was definitely the perfect place to kick off our night out in Portland.

Eastland 15th floor Portland

After our round of drinks, we headed to the main event, dinner at Sur Lie, where we had one of the best meals we’ve enjoyed in a long time and ordered half of the menu.

Cocktails Sur Lie Portland

First, more cocktails: Forest Moon of Endor {Four Roses bourbon, Applejack, Kina, pecan orgeat, lime, sassafras bitters}

This definitely had a nice, warming autumnal feel and taste; it was reminiscent of apple pie but not too sweet.

Fried Milk Braised Cauliflower

{Fried Milk Braised Cauliflower, honey soy glaze} – Sweet, with little kicks of spice, earthy, delicious, the way cauliflower should be

Smith's Log Smokehouse Sausage

{Smith’s Log Smokehouse Sausage, orange peel & honey pork sausage, house pickles, roasted garlic} I had heard great things about Smith’s meats, and they were confirmed when I had this sausage. Melty roasted garlic and paper thin slices of bread paired deliciously with it. ,

chicken croquettes

{Chicken Croquettes}

I was a huge fan of these when I was a kid, and this more gourmet version was even better.

 

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Pink bubbles go with everything. I am loving Franciacorta lately and Italian bubbly in general. This was the perfect choice for pairing with so many different dishes and for celebrating new beginnings.

the best scallops ever

{Seared Scallops, white sweet potato puree, pickled red onion, pineapple mojo, lime}

We agreed that these were some of the most perfect scallops we have ever had.

 

Captains' Cut Cod*

{Captains’ Cut Cod*, butternut squash purée, pecan, apple, maple syrup}

I normally wouldn’t think of cod and autumn flavors like these going together, but this dish was amazing. The fish was cooked to perfection, and everything just worked so beautifully.  This dish made me want to experiment with fish more at home.

 

 Panko Crusted Pork Cutlet*

{Panko Crusted Pork Cutlet*, L.P. Bisson & Sons pork loin, chicken gravy, Whatley Farm organic duck egg, house pickles}

We couldn’t decide between the two pork dishes so we ordered both. Again, cooked to perfection, and the meat was paired with seasonal, creative flavors.

 L.P. Bissons Smoked Pork Chop

{L.P. Bissons Smoked Pork Chop, carrot-cream cheese puree, walnut, torpedo onions, fennel, brown butter}

The contrast of flavors between the rich pork and carrot-cream cheese and the crunchy, tangy onions made this one of my favorite dishes of the night.

  apple cider donut {House Apple Cider Donut, apple cider donut, pecan maple syrup, pumpkin gelato}

Chocolate Pot de Creme

{Chocolate Pot de Creme, espresso gelato, orange laced madeleines}

Heavenly desserts could not be passed up, and we couldn’t get over how delicious both of these were. Every bite of this meal was so well-planned and thought out. The perfect ending to the night was a visit from the chef to see how things were. Between the service, the wine pairings, the ingredients, and the cozy, simple decor, Sur Lie quietly and understatedly outdid itself.

NespressoSunday brought a nice lie-in, Nespresso (which I hadn’t had in awhile. . . oh how I love it!), and a walk around Portland Head Light, which was decorated for Christmas and looking like a picture perfect New England scene. I love Maine.

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

 Portland Head Light  

Before we reluctantly made our way back to Boston, we stopped for brunch at The Porthole, a hidden-away diner-type restaurant and bar that we try to visit every time we are in Portland. Their brunch is great, and in warmer months, the patio is the place to be for live music and local Portland beer.

I had to go for the Lobster Bennie when in Maine!

lobster benedict

the porthole portland maine

It was an excellent weekend, and while we were sad to see our friends move away, they couldn’t have picked a better place for us to visit! I look forward to discovering more of Portland and the surrounding areas in the future, especially when the weather is better!

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Tags: blogging, brunch, cocktails, dinner, Food, Maine, ME, New England, Portland, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, wine

You may have noticed that I tend to like boats and wine quite a bit. A few weeks ago, I got to spend the afternoon on a Stellar Yacht Charters yacht as a guest of Santa Maria La Palma wine.

Santa Maria La Palma is out of Sardinia, a dream travel destination of mine, and it was fun to combine their delicious wine, my wanderlust, and our beautiful Boston Harbor for a day of wine tasting and education with a fun group of people.

wine cruise

Front and center we have Igor, who was in Boston representing Santa Maria La Palma. He was charming and knowledgeable and so passionate about the wines.

wine and food pairing

  The boat itself was appointed with classic luxurious detail, and the crew was phenomenal. A huge spread of food for pairing with the wines was available to us, including lots of seafood like sushi, mussels, and shrimp, perfect with wines from Sardinia.

We were treated to quite the lineup of wines, mostly white and rosato, one red, all special and memorable and celebratory. The primary grapes making up the wines were Vermentino and Cannonau, which grow very well in Sardinia and reflect the island’s terroir in every sip. We all remarked that we wished we had these wines in front of us all summer long, but that they’re also perfect for sunshine and island dreaming throughout the winter.

What did we taste? You’ll see below the full lineup on the tasting sheet. I of course left my notes behind, but I most definitely had a few favorites.

wine tasting

 

Aragosta Vino Spumante  Brut NV– Sparkling wine from Sardinia is a treat and might be replacing some of the other sparkling wines that often grace our table. One of the things I love about being able to attend wine events like this is the spirit of discovery!

Aragosta Vermentino di Sardegna DOC 2015 – Vermentino is fun and flavorful. I got a nice bit of tartness off of this, lemons and Granny Smith apples and would love this wine with oysters. . . or even as part of a granita mignonette on top of oysters!

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Akenta Underwater Spumante Extra Dry – Just check out that bottle! This wine is aged under the sea in water that is part of a national park in Sardinia. Under the pressure of the sea and in the darkness, the bottle grows sea life on it! This was just another fascinating detail and part of the sense of place that these wines brought to the table.

wine bottle with barnacles 

aragostaAragosta  Rosé –  First of all. this wine has a lobster on the bottle and its contents are pink, which made me love it immediately. I know we shouldn’t judge a book bottle by its cover, but for th coastal living obsessed, it just makes a cute addition to a beach or boat party or a beach house themed home.

The wine is delicious, offering up beautiful, strawberry and watermelon note, fruity but not sweet. Summer in a glass and absolutely a new favorite rosé wine.

I also loved the not-pictured La Bombarde Cannonau di Sardegna DOC, a very light red wine with notes of cranberry and light cocoa, light enough for a humid boat day but warm and cozy enough for cooler weather. It would be a great Thanksgiving wine.

stellar yacht charters In addition to the wines being spectacular, the event itself was also really something special and well thought out. It was a small enough group that we all got to chat with each other, and the Captain had a pug named Junior! We had an overcast but warm fall day, lots of delicious food and wine and an opportunity to learn about the gem that Sardinia is for wine production and travel.

wine tasting on a boat

wine event

Boston skyline from a boat Life is good.

Thank you to Cantina Santa Maria La Palma and Wine & Co. for a great day!

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Tags: blogging, boating, Boston, events, luxury, luxury travel, Sardinia, wine, wine blog, wine blogger, wine tasting, yachts

Happy Hump Day! Is it Memorial Day weekend yet? For some reason, that’s all I can think about. Things have been crazy, and a three day weekend to kick off summer sounds so magical.

I have a few blog posts in the pipeline, but while I organize myself for the 1000th time, today’s post is a little coffee (or wine) talk. Let me know what you have been up to!

stingray boat

boating in Boston

  • I attended the Innovation Conference for Boston Business Women on Monday, and it was amazing. I have pages and pages of notes and quotes and have a blog post planned once life slows down a little. I left absolutely buzzing with positivity and excitement and inspiration. There’s so much I want to do. I just need time and organization.
  • Our boat season also launched on Monday. Talk about buzzing with excitement. Our new boat is named Saoirse (Irish for freedom), and we are in love. She’s smaller and a different style from Ceol na Mara, who is dearly missed. But amazing and fun and I am so excited for summer.
  • Working for yourself can be really up and down. There’s always the chance a client’s budget or needs can change and everything can fall out from under you. It’s happened before, but I am trying to remember that just like with the rest of life, work moves in peaks and valleys. My new daily motto is “If I bend I won’t break.”
  • There’s also the very big chance a client won’t work out for you, and that’s okay too. And making that decision can be nerve wracking and scary and somehow make you feel like you failed, when it’s just a fact of life. I’m still learning to stand up for my own best interests, and that can be hard too.
  • What is up with big PR agencies and dropping the ball in blogger outreach? Maybe it’s just me, but I have had so many odd experiences with big agencies lately, including being invited on press trips (as in emails that say “You’re invited” and then sharing passport details etc.) and never hearing back. Or telling them a product doesn’t fit my blog and receiving it anyway. Or getting the same press release five times.
  • I’m signed up for a half marathon on May 22, and I have run maybe twice in the last month. This keeps me up at night, but ultimately I am trying to position it as “At worst, I run/walk for 2-3 hours by the beach. At best, I run a race I am proud of.” Either way, I am outside, moving, by the sea. Win/win.
  • I’m also going to England on a press trip tomorrow. It’s a trip that’s been in the making for a while but just confirmed this week, and I am excited but also super worried about not running or having time to work . . .
  • I’ve been putting a ton of time into planting seeds for my garden, and lots of them are growing and then dying. I am obsessing over this too.
  • I worry a lot. Any suggestions on how to stop? :)

What’s new with you?

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Tags: blogging, boating, lifestyle, random, work

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