Portland, Maine

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eastern Promendade

From a New Years post about resolutions: See the world. It’s time to go exploring. It’s a great feeling to realize you’re accomplishing little goals set months ago. Last weekend I escaped the humidity and wacky DC weather and went to Portland, Maine with Jenna and Tammy.

It’s a quick flight up from DC, but you’ll feel far and away. Our weekend was centered around food – no surprise there, it’s how I met these good friends. But there’s something great about traveling with people who all feel the same way about something. A second coffee shop to compare beans and baked goods? Absolutely. A third lobster roll? Duh. Naps before dinner? Of course.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eventide Oyster tunaCupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Oxbow beerCupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eventide Oyster pork Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Lobster Roll at Eventide Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine

Places to go, things to eat in Portland, Maine

Eventide Oyster Co.– the four photos above are from this seriously special spot. We loved it somuch, we went back twice. Order: brown butter lobster rolls, fried chicken rolls with homemade buttermilk ranch, crispy pork, tuna tartare, fried oyster rolls with tartar sauce, giant homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Oxbow – local Portland brewery. I loved the Grizacca

Speckled Axe – cute coffee shop with the nicest people, wood roasted coffee, and killer cake doughnuts. I didn’t make it to Tandem Coffee, but would have liked to also.

Hugo’s – same (brilliant) owners as Eventide. Tasting menu. Pricey but fantastic, especially if you’re a seafood lover.

Piccolo – a charming little Italian restaurant. The cavatelli pasta with lamb neck ragu, eggplant, orange, and Pecorino was stellar – I want to put orange in all of my pastas now.

Eastern Promenade – loved our long walk along the water here, even on a cloudy morning. We didn’t go, but I heard great things about the Front Room restaurant nearby for brunch.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Standard Baking Co

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Becky's Diner Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – East End Beach

Standard Baking Co. – fresh bread and baked goods from one of the best. Their cookbooks are fantastic too.

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club – great cocktail bar, cute dudes, awesome decor.

K. Colette – obsessed with this home decor shop downtown. It’s a must-visit for colorful bedding, beautiful gifts, and fun kitchen accessories.

Becky’s Diner – reminds me of NJ diners and summer vacations (Downeyflake on Nantucket) all at once. Perfect on a rainy day. Homemade hash and pancakes were seriously excellent. I wish we all had a Becky’s nearby.

Ok, and just one more lobster roll at Eventide, please.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eventide Oyster Co Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – East End Beach

Taste of Summer

Taste of Summer: Peach Cobbler Taste of Summer: strawberries Taste of Summer: proscuitto Taste of Summer: spring onions Taste of Summer: chaia dc tacos Taste of Summer: whiskey cocktails

A few favorite tastes of early summer:

homemade peach cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream

strawberries fresh from the farmer’s market

thinly sliced prosciutto – served with basil, melon, or burrata 

these bright onions that remind me of the sea

veggie tacos in the park

summer smoke: whiskey cocktails + fire pits

Trying to savor every bit of it. Need more moments like these. S’mores and peaches and beer outside…these things just taste better.

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni, Spinach, Goat Cheese, Pistachio

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni, Spinach, Goat Cheese, Pistachio Green Weekend Moments – Sunday PastaSome of my favorite moments with Sunday. Nothing drastically new here, although things do feel a little different since last summer. I like the repetition and routine still. Getting to the farmer’s market early and experimenting with produce; wandering Dupont feels pretty much the same; trying new coffee beans and trying to remember what I like and why; reading…sometimes fiction [The Interestings], sometimes for work [Creating Magic], sometimes stacks of food magazines; repeating playlists with favorite songs from Urban Cone, Smallpools, CHVRCHES, Tanlines, James Bay, Of Monsters and Men; then ending with cooking some pasta for dinner. Mostly I eat alone while making to-do lists for the week ahead. Every so often I let someone in on this, which probably means much more to me than to them. My roof is a lovely alternative setting than my couch if weather permits. Soaking up the final moments of calm, collecting creativity for later in the week.

This was one of my most favorite pasta recently: leafy farmer’s market spinach, creamy goat cheese, crunchy pistachios, bright lemony flavor.

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni with Spinach, Goat Cheese, Pistachios

Satuée spinach with garlic in olive oil til wilted. Add cooked pasta and a little reserved pasta water. Stir in goat cheese til pasta is coated evenly. Squeeze in a little lemon juice if you’d like. Top with crushed pistachios and cracked pepper.

Eat this outside. With Urban Cone “Weekends” playing. Read the Vacationers. Snapchat a pasta pic your crush to make them jealous. A glass of rosé is necessary too. Enjoy dinner, this time…it’s all yours.

Sunday Pasta: with hot pepper oil, egg, parm, pistachio

Sunday Pasta: with hot pepper oil, egg, parm, pistachio

Sunday Pasta and a perfect weekend | Cupcakes for Breakfast

This is what a good weekend looks like. Pasta and wine out with friends at Cashion’s. Lazy mornings in bed. Fresh fragrant roses. Reading a great quick book with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. Eating more pasta while watching a movie. This time: capellini with hot pepper oil, egg, parmesan, crushed pistachio.

This is my idea of a perfect weekend. Something that doesn’t happen enough. But I love how it transports me. To a quiet place of reflection. To Paris – books and movies that allow me to be there. To the kitchen where I can experiment with simple ingredients to make something new. These are my favorite places for my mind to go. Wandering, dreaming, creating. And I so appreciate these small weekend moments to get there.

Sunday Pasta: with hot pepper oil, egg, parm, pistachio

Capellini with Hot Pepper Oil, Egg, Parmesan, Crushed Pistachio

Cook olive oil in a hot pan with red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Toss with hot cooked pasta, an egg yolk, and pepper. Top with grated fresh parm and crushed pistachios. Eat in heapfulls.

Sunday Pasta: with hot pepper oil, egg, parm, pistachio

2015.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: 2015 here we go

Well here we are again. I’m well on my way of being considerate daily of my goals and resolutions for this year. They’re pretty simple, and personal. But they all contribute to being a happier, smarter, more inspired, healthier, creative person. Last year was difficult for many reasons, and it seems like a consensus out there that we’re all thankful for a blank slate. But I grew exponentially in 2014, especially professionally. I won’t forget this. But I’m ready to make life round – fill all the spaces and moments with experiences. Burst at the seams….not in a stressful way. Relaxation is a part of the plan. But take advantage of every opportunity. Do more. See more. Be bigger.

A few simple things will help me feel this fullness. Move, Dance, Reach. I don’t expect to transform into the athletic dancer I was 10 years ago, but I don’t have to. There’s a middle ground and I think it will make me very happy. Going to dance class my favorite non-workout workout. Stretch every night. Plan for yoga. Run down streets you’ve never been down on warm days. Leap, reach, turn, twist. Remind your body that it knows how to be more than scrunched up in front of a computer or asleep. Seek creativity, find my own. Cook more, visit museums, write, find new blogs to explore, get back on pinterest, find a new coffee shop, learn what makes them special, make breakfast on the weekends, draw, read a novel, read about business, connect other creative people, choreograph, make pasta from scratch. This is not for work; it’s for myself. But I can’t wait to see how all of this will impact my creativity at work too. See the world. It’s time to go exploring. I’m taking a break from vacations doing nothing and ready to start moving and seeing things. Weekend trips to NYC and Charleston, a birthday trip to Paris, a little West Coast exploring, the beach and the mountains and the city and foreign countries. Time to just go. Undoubtedly this will help with resolution number two. It’s decided then. Now where should I go? Who’s coming with?

Nikki dancing gi

paris | coffee | pasta | dance