Chebeague Island Inn

Meredith and I were very excited when The Guardian reached out to us to write a brief piece about ten of Maine’s best places to stay. Meredith practically had the list formulated before we finished reading the email. We aimed to give readers a wide selection of different Maine regions and think that we were able to come up with a pretty decent list.

Last weekend, our piece was published along with some other great write-ups (#, #, #) by a handful of Maine bloggers.

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Empire Chinese Kitchen Menu

Meredith and I don’t often visit new restaurants in their first week of operation. We typically like to avoid the crowds and let the establishment work out the kinks, but after a few days of hearing and reading so many good things about the newly renovated, re-geared, and renamed Empire Chinese Kitchen, we decided that an early dim sum lunch was just a little too tempting to delay.

The new owners of Empire have done an awesome job with the renovation. Long before our meals had arrived, Meredith was happily snapping photos of all the details of the dining room and gushing about the natural light, open space, and relaxed feel of the room. We arrived right as the doors opened and were lucky to get a booth by a window before the room (and waiting list) quickly filled up.

We started with a couple of tasty cocktails (the Yellow Fever and the Dragon’s Milk) and ordered a handful of small plate and dim sum dishes which arrived in a slightly staggered fashion, leading to a leisurely tapas-style lunch. First up were the delicious peking duck buns (my personal favorite) and the har gow (one of a few of the gluten-free options on the menu). It’s a standard rule of thumb for me that pretty much anything served in a steamed bun will be awesome, and the savory peking duck didn’t disappoint – I’d highly recommend trying it. We also tried the lobster dumplings and the unique Empire egg roll, made with pastrami and asparagus and served with honey dijon. We thoroughly enjoyed each of the dishes we tried, and the three-count dumplings led to a number of small chopstick sword fighting battles.

All in all, I think we’re both glad that we ignored our recently-opened restaurant ban this time around, and can’t wait for a revisit to try the remaining items on the menu. Anyone want to join us?

Empire Chinese Kitchen

Empire Chinese Kitchen Cocktails

Empire Chinese Kitchen Egg Roll

Empire Chinese Kitchen Portland ME

Empire Chinese Kitchen Lobster Dumplings

Empire Chinese Kitchen Duck Buns

Empire Chinese Kitchen Dumplings

Contact Information - Empire Chinese Kitchen

575 Congress Street
Portland, Maine 04101
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Melrose Market Seattle

Reading Garance Doré’s post about All Good Things immediately reminded me of Melrose Market (pictured above) in Seattle. Hopefully we’ll be able to swing by on our next trip to New York and compare the two places. If only Portland had something like that…

Michael and I both have followed Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend for quite sometime now, but this post hits pretty close to home for me. See these photos (and these) for proof.

I’ll be bookmarking this recommendation from A Continuous Lean for a meal at Geist if we’re ever lucky enough to visit Copenhagan.

We enjoyed reading about the Cape Town Love app that Megan and Mike of The Fresh Exchange created in less than 24 hours. While you’re on the site, be sure to check out their recent photos from their time in Cape Town.

Whipping up these peanut butter cookies will surely be a highlight of mine this weekend!

Happy Friday, friends! We’re looking forward to having dinner at this farm tonight, spending some time with friends tomorrrow, and watching Season 2 of Homeland this weekend. We hope you have a fantastic few days ahead!

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Fromviandoux Camden

Updated: Unfortunately Fromviandoux has closed.

Over the past couple of weeks, whenever someone mentions that they’ll be soon be spending time in Camden (or anywhere in the mid-coast region for that matter) I all but interrupt them and insist that they treat themselves to Afternoon Tea at Fromviandoux during their trip. We owe our friend, Anestes, for putting this gem of an experience on our radar, and on a recent excursion to the area, I was able to take advantage of the suggestion and give it a try myself.

Afternoon Tea at Fromviandoux consists of a pot of tea and three scrumptious accompanying courses that are quite honestly almost too lovely to eat! I chose the Avena’s Garden blend which was first served with scones, a peach bread, housemade cream, lemon curd (my favorite!), and jam. After that what followed could be considered a meal in and of itself – eight tea sandwiches presented in pairs. Of the sandwiches, the lobster salad on a cheddar biscuit was simply divine. Up next were the petit fours! At this time I was more than just a little full from the first few courses, but I’ve never in my life turned down a plate of sweets sitting in front of me. The hazlenut chocolate truffle, the strawberry shortcake, and the date & fig “newtons” were all delightfully delicious.

The warm, inviting interior and plentiful light inside the Fromviandoux space creates a perfect environment for such a lovely experience. After such an enjoyable afternoon, I now have my sights set on returning with Michael for one of their Cocktail Wednesdays or Wine & Cheese Saturdays.

Fromviandoux Camden ME

Fromviandoux Afternoon Tea Scones

Fromviandoux Afternoon Tea Jam

Fromviandoux Afternoon Tea

Fromviandoux Petit Fours

Fromviandoux Afternoon Tea

Contact Information - Fromviandoux Afternoon Tea

20 Washington Street
Camden, Maine 04843
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The Good Table Cape Elizabeth Maine Brunch

With my family in town from Wyoming, we had a chance to partake in many of our favorite activities (read: eat at some of our favorite restaurants) this weekend! On Friday night we met friends at Hunt & Alpine for drinks and then we made our way to Flea Bites for some dinner from Small Axe and ran into even more friends.  Saturday was spent working, but on Sunday we celebrated my dad’s birthday by brunching at The Good Table, hiking at Wolfe’s Neck, and dining at Local 188 + Gorgeous Gelato that evening. A wonderfully delicious, fun-filled weekend with family that we don’t see nearly enough!

Flea Bites Portland Maine

Wolfes Neck Woods

Portland Hunt and Alpine Daily Punch

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club Pickles

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Inn at Perry Cabin Bicycles

I’ve always admired Kate Headley’s editorial work and particularly enjoyed seeing her photographs depicting life on the Chesapeake for Victoria Magazine. There are so many familiar vignettes of one of our favorite inns – the Inn at Perry Cabin.

As you know, we’re always on the hunt for great places to stay while traveling through New England, so we were particularly excited to read about Hotel Vermont in Burlington on N’East Style this week. According to the website, they even have a few dog friendly rooms!

Michael and I are holding on to summer pretty tightly, so I imagine we’ll be listening to plenty of this Late Summer 2013 Playlist courtesy of the Martha Stewart Living blog during our last few al fresco dinners this month.

Falling prey to the multitude of mouth-watering food images on Pinterest, I found myself picking up the ingredients for these Salted Caramel Sugar Cube Brownies this week and I whipped up a batch this morning. Wow.

Also, we finally got around to creating a Map & Menu Instagram account a few weeks ago. Feel free to follow along for plenty of photos of the food we eat and the places we visit on our travels!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! We’re looking forward to a fun-filled few days ourselves – we have plans to hit the Art Walk, grab some dinner at Flea Bites, and meet some friends for drinks at Hunt & Alpine before our family from Wyoming arrives for a few days!

 

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Portland Hunt and Alpine Club Cocktails

On Tuesday evening, Meredith and I had the chance to do something we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time – visit Portland Hunt & Alpine Club. Tuesday night was just the soft opening leading up to Thursday’s grand opening, but after months of getting excited from Hush Hush preview events and watching construction and planning updates on their facebook and Instagram feeds, we could barely contain our excitement for what is hands-down one of Portland’s absolute best bars and sure to be a regular hang-out spot for the two of us.

Owners Andrew and Briana Volk have done an outstanding job designing their new space on Market Street. A clean, modern interior with dark wood accents, Eames and Tolix furnishings, floor to ceiling windows, and of course, a large metal-topped bar make for the kind of place that I could easily imagine spending an afternoon, evening, or multi-night stint. Details like the stamped leather drink menus, the map-printed house menus and coasters, and the lighted, mounted antlers in The Lodge are just added eye candy, and we haven’t even discussed the mouth-watering cocktails yet.

Oh, those cocktails. I’ve already spent a fair amount of time on this blog writing about how Andrew can absolutely kill it when it comes to creative, beautiful, and delicious libations, but when I say that he’s outdone himself with the menu at Hunt & Alpine, I mean it. With pretty much something for anyone, I won’t try to dictate what you order, but from the soft opening, I can personally vouch for the Old Fashioned-esque Toronto, and my favorite from the evening, the Chilton County, with bourbon, lemon, peach butter, and egg white. Meredith was a huge fan of her White Noise, made with St. Germain, Cocchi Americano, and grapefruit zest, and has barely stopped talking about it. As we watched our friends at the opening sample their own drinks, the response was pretty much a unanimous “wow” from everyone in the room. If you’re having a hard time deciding, I wholly recommend taking it to the maestro himself with a few parameters and letting Andrew make an excellent recommendation.

I’m getting a little long-winded and could probably rave about the cocktails, chef Ricky Penatzer’s small plates (like the open-faced sandwiches, “The Hunter” charcuterie plate, “The Skier” cheese selection, or the savory popcorn), the atmosphere, or how we’ve already made plans with half a dozen friends to meet here over the next couple of weeks, for another few paragraphs, but I won’t. Simply try Portland Hunt & Alpine for yourself, you definitely won’t regret the choice.

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club Maine

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club Menu

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club Photos

Portland Hunt and Alpine White Noise

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club ME

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club Food

Portland Hunt and Alpine Chilton County Cocktail

Contact Information - Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

75 Market Street
Portland, Maine 04101
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