Map & Menu Kitchen Update
If you’ve ever visited our old 18th century Cape, you already know that space is at a premium. So when our old wooden countertops started to look like they needed replacing, we sought to make as few layout changes to our already optimized kitchen as possible. (See before photos here and here.) The open kitchen and dining room also serve as a focal point in the floor plan, where we entertain guests and spend a good deal of our own time, so we wanted to give the room a consistent, put-together feeling. Not having the budget for a complete overhaul, we decided that updating our existing Ikea cabinetry with a fresh coat of paint would allow us to find a nice Carrara marble for our counters and backsplash. Thanks to a very generous wedding/Christmas gift from our family, we were also able to update our old, mismatched refrigerator in the process.

The new, cool blue/grey color palette gives the kitchen a classic, minimal feel, and when combined with replacing the microwave with an over-the-range hood, opens the room up a great deal. (Yes – we’ve actually lived without a microwave for over six months now, and surprisingly haven’t missed it yet.) I love the way the cabinet’s deep blue color changes with the day’s light, while providing a strong contrast with the walls and counters. All in all, we’re very pleased that just a few changes (countertops, paint, and updated refrigerator/faucet) went such a long way toward improving a room where we love to spend so much time.


Wall paint: Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White
Upper cabinet paint: Benjamin Moore Super White
Lower cabinet paint: Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray
Marble: Midcoast Marble & Granite (adored them!)
Faucet: Delta
Refrigerator: Fisher Paykel
Art: Calligraphy “ABC’s of Cocktails” print by Li Ward & Popham Beach photograph from the print shop

Li Ward Calligraphy

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

Map & Menu Kitchen Update

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Goats on Nevis

The more we travel, the longer our list of places to revisit gets. Simple, right? But how often do you really have the chance to return to a cherished location? And with the whole world open to you, how do you justify returning to a place you’ve already been over an entirely new experience?

It seems as though every time I open one of the travel publications we receive or blogs we follow, I present Michael with a list of a good 3-5 new places we simply have to visit. (It’s a wonder he hasn’t gone and cancelled the subscriptions by now!) Of course, we don’t have the time (or the money) to visit the dozens of places I read about each year, not to mention the growing list of locations that have captured our hearts on previous trips. So how are you supposed to fit it all in?

I’m afraid there isn’t really an answer that we’ve found, but isn’t that what makes travel so incredibly special? Whether you’re visiting an entirely new location or making your way back to a place that’s refreshingly familiar, it’s a luxury that many of us work toward. Recently, Michael and I were presented with the opportunity to return to the Caribbean island of Nevis, a place we visited together in 2011 before we even had the idea for this site. We’ll be doing some work for the inn where we stayed during that trip, Montpelier Plantation, arguably one of the hotels that opened our eyes to what the hotel experience could (and should) be. We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to return to such a uniquely special inn and look forward to sharing the work we do there upon our return.

We’re curious – are there any places that you have returned to or hope to revisit someday? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Montpelier Plantation

Montpelier Inn Nevis

Nevis Gardens


Saddle Hill Nevis

Nevis Botanical Gardens

Montpelier Plantation

Michael and Meredith

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Mint Julep

Derby weekend is the perfect excuse for me to mix up my favorite spring cocktail, the mint julep.

I love seeing the world through the eyes of my friend, Alex. Her photos from a recent trip to Portugal are amazing.

Bookmarking this travel guide to Santa Barbara.

Favorite home tour of the week goes to this OKL feature on Lizzie Garrett Mettler who also just re-launched Tomboy Style as The Reed.

Attending our first game at Fenway is on our 30 by 30 list, so these photos of Anna’s from a recent Red Sox game have me very excited to cross that one off our list.

Happy weekend! It’s supposed to be a beautiful one here in Maine. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we have enough energy after tomorrow’s yard sale to play some tennis and do some gardening … oh, and definitely drink some mint juleps. 

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Roast Chicken at Francine Bistro

Francine has been on our list of places to eat in Midcoast for ages, after years of hearing about friends’ fantastic meals there. So when I scheduled a couple of shoots in the area earlier this April, I hopped on the phone and secured a reservation that seems to have been years in the making at the charming French bistro.I promise that the wait was more than worth it though, as everything we ended up tasting that night – from the White Negroni & Moscow Fuel drinks with which we started, to the rich and creamy crab risotto we shared, right through to the final bites of my perfectly crisp chicken and Michael’s fish – was nothing short of fantastic.

Midway through devouring the pine, black butter, and sea salt mussels appetizer  – a dish that has set new, very high standards for mussels for the two of us – Michael proclaimed, “it doesn’t get more Maine than these ingredients!” True. But the same could be said about the meal itself. The largely locally-sourced food, was honest, unpretentious, yet deliciously memorable, not unlike Maine itself. It’s no wonder that Chef Brian Hill is repeatedly recognized by the James Beard Foundation and featured in national publications – what he’s creating in Camden at Francine and in Rockport at Shepherd’s Pie is a delectable homage to Maine’s natural beauty and flavor.

Francine Camden Maine

Francine Bistro Camden Maine

White Negroni Francine Camden

Mussls at Francine Bistro

Francine Bistro Camden ME

Crab Risotto Francine Bistro

Dinner at Francine Bistro

Francine Bistro Maine

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Bao Bao Dumpling House Maine

When the James Beard Semifinalists were announced in February, followed by the final nominees last month, Meredith and I were thrilled to see Maine chefs and restaurants represented so well on the list. In the past, we’ve enjoyed and written about our meals from many of the nominees, so when San Pellegrino reached out to sponsor a post about their Sweet Finish Dinner Series, celebrating the Rising Star Chef of the Year category (which includes Maine’s own Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan and Bao Bao), we were very excited to share the event:

S.Pellegrino® Sweet Finish Dinner at Tao Yuan

Reflecting its passion for excellence and long-time commitment to emerging culinary talent, S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water is proud to support the Rising Star Chef of the Year for The James Beard Foundation Awards.

Event Details: On Wednesday, April 29th, S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water will be inviting diners at Tao Yuan, in Brunswick, to join them in celebrating chef Cara Stadler’s James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year Award Nomination. In honor of this accomplishment, the first 50 tables seated for dinner service will receive complimentary S.Pellegrino and dessert. Diners are encouraged to share their memorable dining experiences on social media, offering well wishes for chef Cara Stadler at the James Beard Foundation Awards, to be held in Chicago on May 4th.

S.Pellegrino is dedicated to supporting rising leaders in the culinary industry on a national and global level, with exciting programs, including the S.Pellegrino Young Chef and S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competitions.

S.Pellegrino is a premium sparkling natural mineral water that flows naturally from a thermal spring in Val Brembana, in the foothills of the Italian Alps, in the territory of San Pellegrino Terme, near Bergamo (Lombard).

Since opening, Tao Yuan has become one of Brunswick and Maine’s more prominent restaurants, and chef Cara Stadler, one of Maine’s more prominent chefs. When her second restaurant, Bao Bao, came to town this past year, Portland gained a delicious new dumpling option – one that Meredith required little arm twisting to visit to grab the photos for this post (the Asian slaw was a favorite dish and must-try from our last meal at Bao Bao). It’s incredible to see a chef in Brunswick garnering such national attention in a category whose nominees are almost entirely from cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, and Los Angeles. We wish Cara the absolute best of luck and can’t wait to celebrate her nomination at Tao on Wednesday. We hope you’ll spread the word and look forward to seeing you there!

This post was in partnership with S.Pellegrino, but all thoughts and opinions are our own. Be sure to check out S.Pellegrino on Facebook and Instagram, and thank you for supporting Map & Menu’s partners, who help to make this adventure of ours a possibility. 

Cara Stadler Rising Star James Beard Foundation

San Pellegrino Rising Star James Beard Foundation

San Pellegrino James Beard Foundation

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for S.Pellegrino

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Spring in Portland Maine

Loved this peek into the daily life of one of my favorite designers, Julia Leach.

We discovered the lovely Turkish towels from Loomed while we were in New Orleans a couple of years ago and have enjoyed keeping up with them since. Check out their brand new site and this adorable profile on Camille Styles.

Truly stunning photos from friends, Graham & Samantha, during their family trip to Sonoma & San Francisco.

Favorite home tour of the week!

A riff on this delicious dish has been added to our regular meal rotation – so good.

I’m a big – BIG –  fan of the Mollusk brand and love the photos from Will Adler that Ashley shared on Hither & Thither this week. Also, the new collaboration with Tomboy Style!

Happy weekend! Spring is finally starting to make an appearance in Maine, as evidenced by the gorgeous star magnolia blossoms above that I happened upon while shooting in Portland yesterday. I plan to soak up as much of it as I possibly can this weekend and hope you all can do the same. 

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Croissants Food and Wine

Michael and I spent this past weekend making croissants for the first time. My birthday was on Sunday, so I figured that there would be no better time to request that we spend a full weekend popping in and out of the kitchen, preparing these delicious, buttery treats! We began by making the sponge on Friday night, and spent a chunk of saturday rolling, resting, and folding. On Sunday morning once the dough thawed from its overnight in the freezer, we got to work with the final rolling, cutting,  and forming of the croissants. We even made our own pain au chocolat by folding bits of chocolate into a few of the croissants!

Once we took our first bites of pain au chocolat, fresh from the oven and oozing with chocolate, our fear that perhaps we’d wasted an entire weekend tending to these croissants disappeared completely. Of course, they didn’t taste quite as good as the dozens of croissants we ate while we were in France a few summers ago, or our go-to croissants we pick up from Scratch on the weekends – but that didn’t matter one bit, they were our croissants and they were delicious. Though to be completely fair, five sticks of butter could make just about anything taste amazing, right?

Here’s the recipe we used from Frenchie’s featured in a recent issue of Food & Wine. We’re eager to start comparing and experimenting with other recipes… because we’ve gotten way too used to the idea of starting our mornings with warm croissants and apricot jam.

Croissant Recipe

Croissants Food and Wine Magazine

Food and Wine Croissants

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Wine Time at Blue Spoon Maine

When shooting film you find that every now and then a forgotten roll surfaces, and if you’re lucky, when you develop it, some pleasant memories are uncovered. Finding this most recent roll filled with images we took during a Wine Time at Blue Spoon with Orvis was just one of those cases. While planning the details for our tiny wedding, we sat outside one of our favorite restaurants as fall settled in around us. We sipped the featured $2 glasses of wine and snacked on mussels, roasted fingerlings, and crostini, as Orvis made friends with people passing by. It’s amazing how these memories come rushing back now that we have the photos.

As it starts to (slowly) warm up around these parts, we’re looking forward to sharing many simple evenings outside with good food and our best friend.

Blue Spoon Wine Time

Dog Friendly Portland Maine Restaurant

Dog Friendly Restaurants Maine

Roasted Fingerlings at Blue Spoon

Blue Spoon Mussels

Snacks at Blue Spoon Wine Time

Wine Time at Blue Spoon

Mussels at Blue Spoon Maine

Dog Friendly Portland Maine

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Down East Instagram Takeover

This past weekend, Michael and I had the pleasure of taking over the Down East instagram account for two food and fun-filled days in Portland and the Midcoast. We visited old and new favorites alike, sampling delicious dishes and drinks, while sharing the experience with Down East’s enthusiastic audience.

Here’s a sampling of our photos below, and make sure to follow Down East’s Instagram account for future takeovers!


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Maisy the Pitcher Inn Dog

As we finish out this week on a high note with some gorgeous weather in Maine, we just wanted to quickly share one last part of our trip to Vermont and the Pitcher Inn that made the stay so unforgettable – their inn-dog-in-training, Maisy. When we don’t travel with Orvis, one of Meredith and my favorite parts of any trip is meeting an inn dog to take the sting away of not being with our own furry friend. So although Orvis loved meeting and walking with Maisy around Warren, we know that this beautiful golden retriever will bring plenty of smiles to many travelers for years to come.

Pitcher Inn Dog Friendly

Maisy Pitcher Inn Dog

Maisy and Ari

Inn Dog Maisy the Golden Retriever

Pitcher Inn Vermont Dog Friendly

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu and the Pitcher Inn.

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