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We are embracing winter this year! If you’ve been reading/following me on social media, you might know that summer is far and away my favorite time of year, and I have a really hard time dealing with dark and cold.

Last winter and recently I have read articles on the Danish concept of hygge, the idea of coziness and a positive state of mind and mental well being. Hygge is about the feelings that come from creating a cozy space and positivity, and I am trying my best to keep this concept in mind.

After a very busy work week, we had a quiet Friday night in by the fire. Friday happened to be Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas in Irish. This is celebrated as a day for women, who tend to do much of the Christmas shopping and cooking, to relax. And relax I did! My husband waited on me with our favorite Indian takeout as I sat with sparkling wine by the fire. We watched The Missing (so good!) and went to bed early.

sparkling wine by the fire  

With hours of cozy sleep under our belts, Saturday morning was full of energy, and we walked to our favorite Irish bakery, Greenhills Bakery in Adams Village for giant cups of tea and a shared chocolate croissant. Hearing Irish spoken in Boston is always a delight, and we soaked up the homey atmosphere before walking a bit more in the snow and deciding a proper brunch at Lucy’s, also in Adams Village, was necessary!

Greenhills Bakery

Look at that biscuit!

The food at Lucy’s is delicious, and with snow falling outside, there was such  cozy vibe inside. We lingered over our meals, not checking phones, just talking and watching the snow fall before venturing out for our beautiful winter wonderland walk home.

 Lucy's Dorchester

snow day

  After another quiet night in, we decided that Sunday should be for hiking at World’s End. We should have brought our snowshoes, but instead laughed and trudged through the drifts to get to high points, where we enjoyed amazing coastal views. It was SO fun.

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham

Hiking always works up an appetite, and especially when it’s snow hiking, so we headed to nearby Hingham Shipyard to try Trident Galley & Raw Bar. They had live music, an incredible brunch menu, and excellent service.

Trying to be a little healthy, we shared a beet salad and the short rib hash, which was a spot-on recommendation. It was amazing.

short rib hash

I love splitting plates like this; we were full but didn’t feel awful, and we got a taste of a couple of great dishes. The live music was a nice touch as well. Covers of old favorites, not-too-loud, and uplifting, it was a lovely addition to brunch.

 

Trident Hingham

 

Hingham Shipyard

After even MORE outdoor wandering at the Shipyard, we decided we needed a little bit more time outside, and stopped at the Milton Yacht Club on the way home to capture the setting sun and beautiful late afternoon winter light.

Milton Yacht Club 

I thawed out with a hot Epsom salt bath before pouring a glass of Navarra wine and whipping up Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup (with kale).

chicken bacon stew

It was the perfect weekend. I realize I can either hate this time of year or spend more time being grateful for all I have to get through it – food, shelter, warmth, love. I think if I can keep that focus, I can make it to spring!

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Tags: brunch, cooking, Dorchester, hiking, Hingham, Nature, New England, outdoors, recipes, snow, winter

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.

 

IMG_0690

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

Do you make a summer bucket list? We’re working on ours lately and it involves lots of time outside and on the water, farm fresh produce, grilling, outdoor movies, concerts, and a lot more. It’s my favorite season by far. Being barefoot and salty makes me happy down to my soul. Unlike last summer where we traveled a ton, we only have one trip planned this summer. Otherwise I plan on soaking up the amazingness that New England dishes up in this season.

We kicked off summer as early as we could and despite some very rainy Sundays (Seriously, why has every Sunday been rainy? It’s my favorite boat day!) have some weekend favorites to share.

Scituate There’s so much to do and see near Boston. A few weeks ago we visited Scituate for a beach walk and brunch at Atlantica, which is fancy and a little pricey but totally incredible and great for a special occasion.

Atlantica A window seat, hot donut holes, and a fruit cocktail started brunch off perfectly.

donuts at brunch

A Blood Orange Old Fashioned. . . because it’s brunch!

blood orange old fashioned

Brunch at Atlantica is a giant buffet featuring all sorts of stations like prime rib, pasta, fish, omelets, salads, seafood, and a huge dessert table. I piled my plate high with grilled vegetables, shrimp, quiche, short ribs, bacon, and salad and ate every bite. It was heavenly.  Sometimes I steer clear of buffets because I assume the quality won’t be great, but that was not the case here. Everything was so good!  I decided I want to have brunch here again during one of my Chicago Marathon long run weekends so I can really try everything and not feel bad about it!

brunch at Atlantica

Lilly Pulitzer wine glasses

My sister got me these cute Lilly Pulitzer wine glasses; they’re plastic, making them perfect for boating! I plan to fill them with lots of pink wine this summer. While people have starting going bananas for rosé in recent years, we’ve been fans of dry rosé forever (one of my very first blog posts covers one of our favorites, from Travessia Urban Winery, right here in Massachusetts) way back when everyone thought White Zinfandel was the only rosé out there. We continue to find favorites; follow this space for tasting notes!

IMG_5548 Speaking of boating, we’ve been doing as much of it as we can. Saoirse is smaller than our last boat, making it easier for us to dock without help. As a result, we’ve had a few relaxing dates by boat, including one to Legal Harborside, a perfect place in Boston for sunning, sipping (and slurping) away a summer day.   

oysters Legal Harborside boating in Boston Getting outdoors has been a ton of fun, and we’ve been trying for more active evenings. Instead of just appetizers and cocktails, we add a walk in. Walking around Lower Mills in Dorchester is so pretty and gives us the ability to visit several bars and an ice cream shop all on foot. I love the small town feel of where we live and the access to water that we have so close by!

Milton Landing

I also love my garden. Having a yard so close to the city has been a game changer for me. My garden brings me so much joy and peace. The raspberries are on their way! Also planted: zucchini, acorn squash, hot peppers, tomatoes, string beans, arugula, peas, shallots, strawberries, and basil. Stepping outside into that space grounds me so much.

raspberries

Since we do live near so much green space, we finally bought a soccer ball to kick around. Neither of us are World Cup bound  anytime soon, but we get in some good exercise chasing each other around and dying laughing. It’s the perfect time of year to behave like a kid again, which is why soccer is followed by ice cream.

soccer in the park

We plan on lots of day trips from Boston to places like World’s End in Hingham, beaches in Ipswich, dockside dining in Portland, and so much more. What are your summer plans?

World's End

For some ideas on day trips from Boston, check out these posts:

Day Trip to New Bedford

Visiting Ipswich

Brunch and Beer in Newburyport

Wine and Beer Tasting in Southeast Massachusetts

Hingham and Cohasset

Spectacle Island

Chatham, Cape Cod

A Day Trip to Martha’s Vineyard (a little more difficult, but do-able!)

World’s End State Park

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Tags: Boston, brunch, New England, summer, Travel, travel blog, weekends

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