March’s “spring forward” daylight saving time has become a celebration for Meredith and I in recent years. After a full winter of lunch posts and dimly-lit dinners, all at once the light returns to our suppertime, and it’s Map & Menu business as usual. In the days leading up to daylight saving time, we anxiously sift through our dining choices and make a reservation for a (still somewhat early) dinner date that we know will taste exquisite and look spectacular. This year, there was hardly a question of where that reservation would be – Portland’s Central Provisions.
Central Provisions is one of the latest in a stocked season of great openings in Portland. Piccolo, Hunt + Alpine, and Miyake Diner have already deservedly garnered rave reviews and national recognition, but after a couple of meals at Central Provisions, there is no doubt in our minds that they belong near the top of the list of Portland’s best restaurants and bars. Owners Chris and Paige Gould have done an exceptional job with both the space and the menu, and bar manager Patrick McDonald and wine director Chris Peterman have put together an amazing selection of drinks to boot. In fact, this is the one thing that stands out to Meredith and I about our experiences at Central Provisions more than anything else – how equally fantastic each part of our meals have been. The space gives credence to the historic nature of the building, the drinks – whether beer, wine, or spirit – are well chosen and deliciously crafted, and the food is simply outstanding. Try the farm fresh bread and butter, the yellowfin tuna crudo that’s a delight to both taste and see, the savory suckling pig, the perfectly seared scallops, the brussels sprouts, the croquette, the spicy fried Maine potatoes, the beet salad, the shrimp a la plancha… it’s not an exaggeration to say that you should try everything on the menu, you absolutely won’t be disappointed. Typically, when describing a restaurant’s drink menu, I use a colloquialism like “wash it all down with…”, but at Central Provision, this simply doesn’t do the libations justice. Whether it’s a cocktail from their house menu or their prohibition-era list (Meredith is obsessed with the Fancy Gin Cocktail), a pint of their great selection of beers (like the in-demand Bissell Brothers Substance IPA), or a glass of wine from their wine list, we wager you’ll be as enthusiastic about the drinks as you are the eats.
From literal top to bottom (the dining room is on the Fore Street-facing second floor, while the bar is on the Wharf Street-facing first) Central Provisions provides one of the best dining experiences in Portland, and we simply couldn’t be happier to see the city’s selection continue to grow and improve – we’re going to need those extra hours of daylight just to keep up.
Contact Information - Central Provisions
Portland, Maine 04101
Our friend, Li, is such a gifted photographer – her Bali photos are awe-inspiring, aren’t they?
Michael’s headed to Austin, TX for work next month and I’m hoping he’ll have time to visit at least one of these places mentioned in Design*Sponge’s 24 Hours in Austin guide.
This post on Dear Friend makes me want to drive down to Boston’s South End right away and visit all of the darling shops she’s featured.
We’ve lived in Maine for over five years now, so I think it’s high time we add The Salt Book, featured on ACL this week, to our library.
What are you all up to this weekend, friends? We realized this week that we launched Map & Menu two years (!) ago tomorrow, so we’ll surely have to whip up some sort of celebratory cocktail to commemorate the occasion. Happy weekend!Leave a comment
Over the weekend Michael and I had the extraordinarily rare opportunity to attend the wedding of two of our friends as guests – no cameras involved, and in the Florida Keys no less! This little glimpse into life as an ordinary wedding-goer was truly wonderful and allowed us plenty of time to explore the islands that make up the village of Islamorada. The following are a few of our Islamorada musts if you ever have the chance to visit this part of the Keys.
We read about M.E.A.T. in an issue of Travel + Leisure, but our friends also included it on their wedding website as well, so it seemed like a no-brainer. Our burgers (mine was topped with pimiento cheese and a tomato jam and Michael’s was stuffed with pimiento cheese and bacon) were delicious and the Nutella shake we shared for dessert sent us on our way, as happy as could be. The thought of squeezing into our swimsuits (in front of people!) after such a filling meal didn’t even matter – we were stuffed and pleased to be so.
The wedding festivities were all taking place at the Postcard Inn, so this was a natural choice for our weekend’s accommodations. This oceanfront resort had quite a bit of character and charm for such a large hotel. Recently renovated, it’s retro, cheerful decor was a pleasant place to rest our heads, whether in the room, or laying out at the beach.
On Saturday morning, we woke up in Islamorada looking for a small adventure, and decided to drive down south of Marathon for a walk on what was once considered the 8th Wonder of the World - the original Seven Mile Bridge to Pigeon Key. Read more about them here.
After our walk to Pigeon Key we were more than eager to enjoy a nice meal outside, complete with a couple of refreshing cocktails. We found the perfect setting at the Morada Bay Beach Cafe where we enjoyed a picturesque view, some of the freshest tasting mahi-mahi we’d eaten in quite awhile, and two perfect warm weather vacation drinks – a mojito and a rum punch.
While researching Islamorada in preparation for our trip, I kept coming across articles about Moorings Village and just had to see the cottages & bungalows that make up this idyllic property in person. After lunch at the Morada Bay Beach Cafe across the street (part of Moorings Village) we took a quick stroll around Moorings Village and onto their gorgeous stretch of beach. If we’d been able to extend our stay, a visit to Moorings Village would’ve definitely been in the plans.
We visited Anne’s Beach, a stretch of beach on Lower Matecumbe Key named for one of Islamorada’s most prominent environmental conservationists, at high tide the morning we left to head back up to Miami. The day before we happened to drive by the beach at a lower tide en route to lunch (hunger unfortunately prevented us from stopping) and caught a quick glimpse of the wide beach at low tide as well. Regardless of where the tide is when you visit, Anne’s Beach is simply stunning and worth a stop to experience (maybe even dip your feet in the warm water), even if you’re just driving down Highway 1 on your way from Miami to Key West.
Have you been to this area of the Florida Keys before? We’d love to hear any Islamorada suggestions you might have in the comments below!
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
On Saturday morning, we woke up in Islamorada looking for a small adventure, and decided to drive down south of Marathon for a walk on what was once considered the 8th Wonder of the World - the original Seven Mile Bridge to Pigeon Key. The bridge was originally constructed in the early twentieth century as part of the Overseas Railroad, connecting Key West with the rest of Florida, and at the time was one of the longest bridges in the world. After a new modern bridge was constructed parallel to the original, “Old Seven” was converted to a pedestrian path and fishing pier connecting the mainland to Pigeon Key where the workers who built it once lived. The four mile round-trip stroll was that perfect mix of sunny & breezy, leaving us in the perfect mindset for a Jimmy Buffet singalong on the ride back to Islamorada.
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Michael and I had every intention of exploring Miami Beach on our way down to and from our friends’ wedding in the Florida Keys this weekend, but travel complications prevented us from seeing as much of the city as we’d hoped. Still, in our short evening there before our Monday morning flight back, we made the most of a city with so much to offer.
The highlight of our brief visit to Miami Beach was most definitely meeting our friend, Caro, for drinks at The Broken Shaker – the bar at the Freehand where we spent Sunday night. I haven’t come across an article on the Miami food scene in the last year or so that doesn’t include rave reviews for this James Beard nominated poolside craft cocktail bar – in fact, it’s the reason we decided to stay at the Freehand in the first place! The drinks certainly lived up to their reputation – my Guanabana Caipirinha was so tasty, it was impossible to not order two and Michael downed his London Calling.
After we finished our drinks with Caro, we took her advice and grabbed a cab down to Pubbelly for some unforgettable Asian-inspired tapas. Each plate was fantastic, but we’re still talking about the two highlights of our meal – the Miso Butter Toast & the Kimchee Fried Rice with porkbelly & pineapple – two days later. So very delicious.
Although our time at the Freehand itself was short, it was a pleasant experience with more than an abundance of visual details to photograph. The Sydell Group (the company behind Ace Hotels, The NoMad, etc.) has done an outstanding job incorporating such vibrant style & Art Deco personality into a hostel setting. If you want to be right in the middle of the fun, you definitely can’t go wrong with the Freehand.
Are you headed to Miami soon? Here are a few places we were hoping to try, mostly suggestions of our friend Caro – a girl whose culinary taste we wholeheartedly trust: My Ceviche, Khong River House, Yardbird, Panther Coffee, Charlotte Bakery, Huahua’s Taqueria, and Joe’s Stone Crab Takeaway for a picnic on the beach! What are your favorite Miami Beach spots? We’d love to hear your suggestions!
Contact Information - Broken Shaker & Freehand Miami
Miami Beach, Florida 33140
This Is Love. The motto of More & Co.’s current collection rang especially true to me when I walked through the door. It’s plain to see that this is a special collection for the partners of this Portland-based creative studio – the goods they’ve personally fallen in love with since opening their storefront last year, the products in which they wholeheartedly believe and want to share with their loved ones… except they’re sharing it with anyone and everyone who drops into the shop. It does kind of feel as though you’ve walked into a friend’s home (your friend with the very best taste, that is), with the expectation that there is a remarkable story behind each item you see.
The handmade polka dot mug from which I’m currently drinking, the bright Jenny Pennywood textiles, the Maine-made ANK Ceramics, and the colorful Grimms wooden block sets – all fit perfectly together and convey that sense of happy, minimal, creative style that Michael and I have come to appreciate and admire from More & Co, having followed their blog and watched their branding projects for years.
You can always take a peek at the collection online, but if you have the time, I highly recommend stopping by the shop to see these objects in person - This Is Love is available through the end of May.
Contact Information - More & Co.: This Is Love
Portland, Maine 04101
Last week, Meredith and I had the delightful opportunity to attend Sea Glass‘s fifth annual Argentinean Wine Dinner. When Rauni from Inn by the Sea invited us, we weren’t familiar with the event, but the premise of five courses prepared by Argentinean-raised chef, Mitchell Kaldrovich, paired with wines from Ruca Malen, sounded too exciting to resist.
We’ve enjoyed a memorable meal and a cocktail hour with Orvis on the patio at Sea Glass before, but this night was a slightly different experience. With dishes like empanadas and South American crêpe-style canelones, the fare was far from your typical Maine meal regularly featured on Sea Glass’s dinner menu. Although a number of the ingredients had a Maine feel to them, this wine dinner is one of Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich’s greatest opportunities each year to show off the Argentinean style of food he was raised on, and to that end, he did an outstanding job.
The other half of the equation, the Ruca Malen wine pairings complemented a number of the dishes exceptionally well. The Chardonnay Reserva in particular, an aromatic wine that was a bit bolder than we’re used to, paired extremely well with the smoky bacon-wrapped scallops that accompanied it. Days later, we’re still talking about the two Malbecs, which were tasty enough to warrant a special order from Old Port Wine Merchants that we’re picking up tomorrow.
All in all, Meredith and I enjoyed a delicious dinner, some brand new (to us) unique wines, and some excellent conversation that evening, and will definitely be adding more of the Sea Glass wine dinners to our calendar for this coming year.
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