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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.

 

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

Whenever we visit Ireland, we have a list of old favorites we have to stop at, most being in Galway or out in Connemara. It can get a little overwhelming, catching up with friends and family, finding time to do all we need to do, and getting to every stop on our list. As a result, we often miss new places.

(For all of my Ireland travel tips, visit my Travel Blog Posts page)

Not this time! Through my various social media channels, I’ve been following  the consistently expanding food and cocktail scene in Galway, so when we went back for Thanksgiving, I had a few new places in mind.

 

Meet Tribeton

Tribeton Galway

 

Tribeton Galway

 

Tribeton Galway 

During my husband’s childhood in Ireland, Tribeton was a hardware store, and he couldn’t believe the transformation. When you arrive at Tribeton, after entering their festive lobby, you ascend a staircase to an open, airy loft that is just stunning.

Tribeton Galway

 

Tribeton Galway 

I went in expecting to order a simple hot whiskey as I often do in Ireland and was instead greeted by a cocktail BOOK with pages and pages of cocktails, including a huge focus on gin, and Irish gin in particular.

Tribeton cocktails Gin is definitely having a moment in Ireland, as evidenced by the shelves and shelves of gin bottles at pubs and the multi-page gin and tonic menus. It was not easy to make a decision!

gin and tonic menu I ended up going with the Dingle gin from Kerry, with the recommended Fever Tree tonic, cucumber, and lime. It arrived in a giant, beautiful balloon glass that really showed off the garnishes, pops of color with the icy, clear gin. As we wandered around Galway throughout the rest of the week, I noticed all gin and tonics being served in such glasses, and now I need to find some for myself!

gin and tonic My husband went with one of the bartender’s favorite Negronis, which was also presented beautifully and was strong, bitter with notes of citrus, and ice cold.

Negroni This might have been one of my favorite unplanned moments of our trip to Ireland. The cocktails were so delicious but also packed a punch so we sipped them very slowly. And since it was mid-afternoon, Tribeton was quiet and sunny, perfect for just soaking in the moment of being in our favorite town.

 

gin and tonicWe loved Tribeton so much that we ended up returning later that night with my sister-in-law. In the evening it was a bustling scene of diners and people getting ready to go out on the town. I opted for the Thin Gin from Waterford this time around, with Fever Tree Elderflower and fresh, juicy oranges for a refreshing nightcap.

Tribeton is part of the new Galway, delightfully and tastefully put in alongside the old, with touches of Irish history and design throughout. Even the name is a nod to Galway, City of Tribes.

In just a few blocks you can see the city’s centuries old walls, a church that goes back to Columbus’ time, traditional pubs, and some of the newcomers that breathe in fresh life without taking away from the tradition and history we love so much.

Learn about the Galway influence in Tribeton’s design here, or book yourself on the next Aer Lingus flight to Shannon to discover it yourself!

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Tags: bars, cocktail blog, cocktails, Galway, Ireland, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog, travel blog posts

I get cabin fever incredibly easily, and aside from a weekend day here or there where I really want to just hang around the house and cook, I often am itching on the weekends to hit the road (or the sea) for an adventure. We’ve spent enough time in Ireland that we’ve become of the mind that if you don’t go out in the rain, you’ll never go out at all. As such, we’ve started making sure we have all of the attire we need for bad weather. . . which for me means all the L.L. Bean!

It really does make a difference though, to have a good rain coat and boots and to be able to stay dry and warm.

A few weeks ago our New England wanderings took us down to Carver and Plymouth, Massachusetts, for some fun in the rain.

Carver, Massachusetts Our first stop was Carver for a quick walk amongst the evergreens. I crave nature, and the misty air and the smell of green just filled my soul with happiness, setting us up for a great afternoon.

Not long after, we made a visit to the lovely and historic Flax Pond Farms where we learned about the history of cranberry growing in the area and got to pretend we were workers back in the olden days, sorting out green and wrinkled cranberries on a conveyor belt.

Flax Pond Farms Flax Pond Farms Flax Pond Farms was a beautiful space surrounded by nature and reflecting its cranberry history, in addition to being full of delicious treats like a spicy cranberry spread and cranberry honey I got to go with some soft cheeses. One of my favorite parts about unplanned trips like this is the potential to come across little gems like Flax Pond Farms.

Flax Pond Farms After we left Carver, our rainy day travels took us to Plymouth, where we explored antiques and other secondhand items in some of the adorable downtown stores. There was plenty to see in town, but still wanting to be outdoors, we headed to the waterfront, where we discovered a charming little park with a beautiful stream running through it and foggy views of the sea beyond.

Plymouth, MA

I did some skipping and puddle jumping, because I simply can not resist jumping in puddles!

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

And of course, we spent plenty of time admiring boats in Plymouth Harbor.

Plymouth, MA  Ramble on Rose

This gorgeous sailboat brought together three loves: boats, the Grateful Dead, and San Francisco.

After some more walking around the waterfront and the town and a quick spin through the John Carver Inn, we made our way back to the waterfront to the Plymouth Yacht Club. With our own club membership in Boston, we’re usually welcomed into other clubs around the US, and Plymouth certainly made us feel at home.

Plymouth Yacht Club  Plymouth Yacht Club

A sprawling waterfront lawn and plenty of seating gave way to a grand building, which we soon explored, eventually making our way to the top floor members bar to soak up the coziness and a couple of Dark n Stormy cocktails as we chatted boating with some locals.

Plymouth Yacht Club It’s amazing what you can discover when you don’t have any plans! We had such a fun day together exploring a new-to-us place, and while I loved the harbor on a rainy fall day, I am even more looking forward to boating into it next summer.

Have you discovered any fun places by accident lately?

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Tags: blogger, boating, Boston, clubs, cocktails, fall, New England, outdoors, Plymouth, sailing, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

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