There are few things that Meredith and I love more than a delicious cocktail and our best buddy, Orvis. So naturally, now that our favorite bar in town, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, has added a little bit of outdoor seating on Market Street, it only makes sense to take Orvis along for our happy hour treats! On our most recent visit, we tried the pretzels and a couple open-faced sandwiches in addition to our normal deviled egg noshing order, and combined with a few tasty cocktails (and a bowl of water for Orvis), spent a perfect afternoon soaking up summer in the Old Port.
And if you missed it last week, it’s worth nothing that Bon Appetit selected Hunt + Alpine as one of their top five new bars in the country, complete with a photo of Meredith’s in the September issue. We clearly couldn’t agree with this assessment anymore!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
Unlike many trips Michael and I take, our time in the Scottish Highlands didn’t quite revolve around food. Trying restaurants that we’ve read about is a huge part of the way we travel (see February’s trip to Charleston), but with Scotland we were more focused on experiencing the natural beauty and sights of the countryside. Outside of our meals in Edinburgh, many of the pubs or restaurants we happened upon were nothing extraordinary, which, combined with the plethora or gorgeous public areas, actually inspired us to have a few more picnic meals than we usually do. All of that being said, there was one meal, however, on Skye that we were really looking forward to – our lunch at The Three Chimneys.
We’d read about The Three Chimneys in both our Where Chefs Eat book and our copy of the NY Times 36 Hours in Europe, and after our deliciously memorable lunch there, we can easily see why the restaurant is consistently named by many esteemed food writers and respected publications as one of the world’s best restaurants. The setting – an old stone crofter’s cottage overlooking Loch Dunvegan – is idyllic, and the food – sourced primarily from the island and the surrounding Highlands – is nothing short of excellent.
The three course lunch menu allowed us to sample a variety of the restaurant’s modern Scottish fare. Michael opted to start with the Ham & Haddie Terrine with cucumber, apple, sorrel, and herring roe, while I began with the Russian Salad with roasted candy beetroot, asparagus, mustard leaf, and seeded praline. Up next – the Blade and Tongue of Black Isle Beef with puy lentils, celeriac remoulade, ramsons, and pickles for Michael, and the River Esk Sea Trout with anna potato, peas, radish leaf, and choron sauce. Our meal could have concluded here and we would have left the restaurant more than delighted, but thankfully we still had dessert! We shared bites of both the famed Hot Marmalade Pudding with Drambuie custard and the Dark Chocolate & Stem Ginger Ganache with malt ice cream. As we finished the final bites of our dessert course, we grinned in simultaneous conclusion that this truly was one of those once in a lifetime meals – one that we surely won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
I was tickled to get to share one of my favorite ice cream shops, The Blue Pig, with my mother on our way back from New York City last week. Just like Michael and I did on our last trip down to NY, we stopped at The Blue Pig for a bite to eat after picking up our car at the nearby Croton Harmon train station. (Fellow New Englanders, this is our preferred way to get into the city – the drive is easy, the train ride is relaxing, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted is literally right on the way to the train station. A win-win, if you ask me.)
After debating the dozens of flavors that all sounded delicious, we each settled on a cup of Butterfinger Coconut, which was just as tasty and creamy as last summer’s Rooftop Strawberry! For me, the highlight of our quick stop at The Blue Pig was just noting how comfortable it felt to return almost a year after our last visit. There was this delightful sense of familiarity upon walking through the door – similar to the feeling that Michael and I get when checking into our dear Hotel Fauchere on our frequent road trips to North Carolina. There’s something so satisfying about reacquainting oneself with a familiar place while traveling – whether it’s a special restaurant, a beloved inn, or a favorite pastime – there’s just something wonderful about the comfort of returning to a place and reliving past memories.
Leaving The Blue Pig, I was again reminded of how thankful Michael and I are to write this blog, mainly because it has introduced us to some of the most amazing businesses, experiences, and people, and we truly look forward to sharing them all with you. We’re curious – are there any spots you like to revisit while traveling? A friend of mine always stops at the exact same diner on the way home from visiting her family. It started as a way to break up the long drive, but now they cannot imagine making the trip without stopping. I love it!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.3 Comments - Leave a comment
After reading about Table on Ten, a three room inn & restaurant in Bloomville, New York, on Designtripper last year, I mentally bookmarked it and hoped I’d have an excuse to stay and/or eat at what appeared to be a charming Catskills getaway at some point in the near future. A wedding in Cooperstown this past weekend, just an hour north of Bloomville, seemed like the perfect excuse and a pretty great way to break up at least one leg of my trip to New York.
Five hours after departing Maine, I arrived to a bustling scene – every table in the downstairs cafe was filled for Table on Ten’s Pizza Night. I quickly checked into my room and made my way back downstairs to join the crowd for some delicious pizza. The evening’s special, a fennel and spring vegetable pizza with eggs on top and a glass of wine was precisely what I needed after my drive. The food more than lived up to what I’d been looking forward to for about a year now, and from what I heard from the other patrons in the lively cafe (the line was nearly out the door when I retired to my room for the evening), they were just as pleased with their pizzas.
I loved the simple, rustic aesthetic of the entire property, especially the room where I stayed. The dark walls and contrasting accents were a dream to photograph, simply because they’re so different from many of the places we visit. Each of the three rooms at Table on Ten feature a handmade bed that deservedly end up being the room’s focal point. I was a little hesitant about the idea of sharing a bathroom with the other suite on the second floor, but as luck would have it, I was the only guest on that floor, so there was no need to share. Even if the other suite had been occupied, I think it only would have further reinforced the feeling I had throughout my entire stay – that I was a guest in the well designed home of a friend who just so happened to be a talented chef! (In case you’re wondering, the third floor attic has its own bathroom, complete with an en-suite clawfoot tub.) The following morning I enjoyed a delicious breakfast that put me in the perfect mindset for a day of shooting – a final touch to a great stay.
If you find yourself in the Northwestern Catskills or if you just have a hankering to explore the bucolic region of Delaware County, do look into planning a stay or a meal at Table on Ten – it’s a uniquely lovely experience that shouldn’t be missed!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
In the spirit of the upcoming Kentucky Derby and in celebration of all things spring, Michael and I thought it would be fun to share the recipe of one of our very favorite cocktails – The Mint Julep. The simple drink is a staple of our outdoor spring and summer living, and although there are a number of ways to make it, the main ingredients are always the same – mint, simple syrup, ice, and bourbon.
Out of all the recipes we’ve tried, we’ve found this one from Garden & Gun to be our favorite – simple, straightforward, and delicious!
Mint Julep (makes one drink)
8-10 mint leaves
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. of your favorite bourbon (ours is Woodford Reserve!)
Muddle the mint & simple syrup together. Add bourbon and top with ice. Shake and serve with a sprig of mint on top. (The julep cups aren’t required, but if you can get your hands on a couple, it sure does make drinking them a bit more fun!)
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
While I was in North Carolina for work last week, I had the opportunity to explore Durham with the help of my sister and brother-in-law, who live and work there. The unexpected highlight of the trip might have been the ride down the slide in American Underground – the co-working space where my brother-in-law has his office – but we also had the opportunity to visit some of my old favorites in Durham, while adding a few new ones to the mix. A family dinner at Nanataco, complete with margaritas and delicious nachos, followed by a Locopops strawberry cream dessert was the perfect way to spend our evening. Later in the week, MacKenzie and Philip took me to Dos Perros, and afterwards, we met our friend Em at The Parlour for ice cream – a place that’s been on our todo list for way too long. Michael and I are fortunate to visit the Durham area somewhat often, and always look forward to what new things our next trip will bring.
If you have a second this evening, today is the last day to vote for Map & Menu for Best Blog in the Portland Phoenix’s best of 2014 competition. We’d love if you take a moment to share your support!
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Last week, Meredith and I made the quick trip down to Biddeford to try the newly reopened Palace Diner. There had been no shortage of buzz about the delicious food coming from Maine’s oldest diner car in the past weeks, and the social feeds of our friends in the food industry have been overflowing with pictures of heavenly glazed doughnuts and piled-high breakfast sandwiches, so when we finally found a little room on a random morning, we decided it was time to give Palace a try for ourselves.
Co-owners Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell have created something special in the old mill town. Taking one of the most classic of American dining styles and establishments, and then injecting an attention to detail and flavor completely foreign to the prefabricated diner world, it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about. The menu still has the diner staples holdover patrons have come to expect – pancakes, bacon, eggs, and coffee – but take one bite of the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Deluxe, an english muffin breakfast sandwich with baked eggs and jalapenos, and there’ll be no question about the value added by that extra care for ingredients and preparation. The Brown Butter Banana Bread, Palace Potatoes, and Tandem coffee are just further examples of this that we tried during our visit, but we’d be willing to bet that every menu item holds true to the same standard. After spending some time speaking with Chad and Greg, hearing about the adventure that opening a diner has provided, the passion for creating and serving their take on an American classic, and their excitement about the upcoming Palace dinners, we couldn’t be more impressed with what Palace is quite literally bringing to the table.
The vast majority of us probably have one memory or another about visiting that ‘locals only’ breakfast joint in our hometown as children, maybe that same hole-in-the-wall place every Saturday throughout college, or even that quick stop on the way to work these days. While stepping inside the 1920’s rail car in Biddeford does feel comfortable and familiar in that wonderful déjà vu way, we’re almost certain that your meal will completely redefine the way you look at a diner breakfast going forward.
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When Michael found out that he’d be headed to Atlanta for work, I quickly made plans to join him. Having not been to the city in a number of years, I was excited to reacquaint myself with Atlanta after reading so much about how it has grown and changed, and all of its new offerings. A sprawling city, Atlanta has developed a number of unique neighborhoods with delicious restaurants and delightful shops, mostly within a short ride of one another. Together, between work commitments, and also on my own, we explored so many different places and had an absolutely lovely time. Even with all of the places below, I feel like there’s still so much remaining in this interesting town, and can’t wait to return again (maybe next time with Orvis in tow)!
It’s fitting that a walk in Piedmont Park was the very first thing we did after dropping our bags off at our B&B down the street. After many trips to Atlanta growing up, I’d never visited the expansive 190 acre park, and even on a chilly winter’s day without too many flowers or green signs of spring, the park did not disappoint!
I honestly cannot imagine us planning a return trip to Atlanta that doesn’t include a stay at Stonehurst Place. The inn was stylish and comfortable, and with its close proximity to Piedmont Park and some of Midtown’s best restaurants, the location is surely hard to beat. Although a trip in the height of spring would allow us to enjoy the beautifully landscaped property and spend more time exploring the darling neighborhoods nearby, it’s hard to imagine a time of year that a stay at Stonehurst Place would be anything short of idyllic. Read more about our stay at Stonehurst Place here.
It’s hard to imagine a better way to start a trip to Atlanta than with a meal at Empire State South, easily one of Atlanta’s best restaurants. We’ve been cooking out of chef Hugh Acheson’s cookbook: A New Turn in the South for the better (and more tasty) part of two years. We met one of Michael’s co-workers for an early dinner, and had an amazing time sampling the farm-to-table Southern-inspired dishes. The ‘In Jars’ selection of spreads was perfect to split for the table while catching up and sharing laughs, but judging by the absolute silence once our entrees arrived, I don’t think we could’ve possibly been happier with our meal.
The food scene in Atlanta cannot be beat and the people we met were so kind, but my walk through the Virginia Highland neighborhood is truly what made me fall in love with this sweet Southern city. Read more about the Virginia Highland neighborhood here.
Luckily for me, Design*Sponge published their 24 Hours in Atlanta with Ginny Branch while I was planning our trip. It was an overall great resource, but the very best part of the article was Ginny’s advice to try one of Miller Union’s famed ice cream sandwiches. My chocolate coconut macroon ice cream sandwich easily lived up to the hype, and the pimento cheese & arugula toast I had wasn’t too shabby either. Lunch at Miller Union, complete with the ice cream sandwich, seems like the perfect fuel for an afternoon of browsing Atlanta’s Westside Provisions District.
Visiting wine shops in a new city is one of my favorite pastimes while traveling, even if with shipping/airline rules, it doesn’t make too much sense to purchase anything to take home. I love seeing what wines catch a merchant’s eye, and the different regional tastes of the cities we visit. Although given the style and selection of Perrine’s it was inevitable I’d be a fan, I hadn’t even had a chance to browse their collection before I fell for her shop, as I was greeted by her happy puppy, Maddie. One of the most beautiful wine stores I’ve ever visited, Perrine’s is a gem – I saw wines I’ve never seen outside of California (like Peay), bottles of Banshee that brought me back to our trip to Sonoma, my go-to Poggia Anima varietals, and no less than a dozen I wish I could have taken home with me right then.
The idea of visiting Atlanta and not stopping in the Ann or Sid Mashburn clothing shops was never really an option for me. I’d been wanting to see the eponymous shops of this Atlanta-based wife & husband clothier duo in person since seeing these photographs my friend, Ali, shot for Matchbook Magazine. Visually, both stores are stunning, and the collection in each one is classic and timeless. My only regret is that Michael was working at the time and missed out on visiting Sid Mashburn – something he’s been wanting to do for a long time.
Upon walking out of the lovely Steven Alan shop, the delicious smell of sweet onion confit led me through the doors of the delightful Preserving Place, a beautifully appointed cooking school and preserve producer. I chatted with owner, Martha McMillin, who showed me where the cooking and classes take place and ended up purchasing a jar of Woodford Reserve julep sugar that I thought might be a safer bet for my carry-on than a jar of the sweet onion confit that I can credit for getting me through the door. I can hardly wait for spring to properly arrive in Maine to give it a try!
A recommendation from Atlanta-based blog, The Love List, JCT Kitchen was just the spot we wanted to share with Michael’s friend & co-worker, who wasn’t quite as familiar with the regional cuisine, having grown up in Germany. As we finished our classically southern meals (shrimp & grits for me, fried chicken for the men, and a plate of deviled eggs to share) it became clear why JCT Kitchen and the al fresco bar upstairs seemed to be the place to be in Atlanta on a Thursday night.
This one was an unexpected surprise of the trip! I’ve owned the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook for years and have always wanted to visit the original scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio with my family in the Buckeye State, so discovering that there was a Jeni’s in Westside Provisions was just too much for me. With deliciously creative flavors like Birch + Marshmallows and signature flavors such as The Milkiest Chocolate in the World, we were in heaven – so much so that we may have gone here two nights in a row…
While researching things to do in Atlanta I happened upon this post on the blog of Steven Alan written by the couple of The Southerly and made a point to re-visit Atlanta’s oldest cemetery, a place I’d toured with a school group when I was younger. Although I didn’t have too much time to wander around the historic cemetery, I admired the landscaping and green spaces that make it one of the more beautiful cemeteries I’ve ever visited.
Across the street from Oakland, and another recommendation from the couple of The Southerly that I really wish I’d been able to share with Michael, the only real coffee drinker of Map & Menu. I cabbed down here on my way to see him speak (!) and instantly regretted my decision to visit Octane before Michael’s presentation, not afterwards when I had an abundance of free time to enjoy the beautiful space, delicious drinks, and scrumptious baked goods.
A sweet instagram follower suggested we visit one of Atlanta’s Yeah! Burger locations and we were so thankful that she did! To celebrate Michael’s successful presentation, we cabbed over to the Virginia Highland location and ate our fill of some tasty burgers & fries. My Yeah! Veggie burger and Michael’s All-American burger with bacon was the perfect excuse to take a long post-lunch stroll around a neighborhood (Virginia Highland) I couldn’t wait to share with him.
The famed oyster bar has been on my must-try list for a year or so, probably since I read about it Bon Appetit or Conde Nast Traveler. At times I’d wondered if I’d built it up in my mind, but now, after eating one of the more memorable meals in my life there, I know that just simply isn’t possible at a restaurant like The Optimist. This final dinner of ours was easily our favorite meal in Atlanta, kicked off with two of the best cocktails we’d had on the trip . Our waiter expertly guided us through his favorites on the menu and even convinced me to try the octopus, which although hesitant from past octopus experience, I tried and loved. Delicious Rhode Island oysters and tasty fried rice accompanied the grouper I ordered and the swordfish Michael selected – both incredible dishes. But the show stopper of the evening, which is truly saying something, just might have been the bite-sized hushpuppies, served “beignet style” with powdered sugar and cane syrup butter. They were most definitely the best hushpuppies I’ve ever eaten, and I’ll undoubtedly be scouring the internet and cookbooks for a recipe in the next few weeks.
As is often the case on these weekend trips, we didn’t have the chance to visit every spot on our list. My biggest regret was missing out on Taqueria del Sol (a favorite of my friend, Alexis), and I also heard great things about Antico Pizza, Ecco (thanks, M!) and Holeman & Finch in Decatur. A trip up the road to Buckhead would have been equally as fun with a stop at one of my favorite art galleries, a tour of the Atlanta History Center, and a meal at King & Duke.
Are there any other Atlanta highlights we missed? Please share them in the comments below – we’d love to hear your favorite spots in what has become a favorite city to visit!
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.6 Comments - Leave a comment
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.
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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!
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.3 Comments - Leave a comment