Orvis at Marianmade Farm

After almost two weeks of being on the road, I was really excited to spend some time relaxing with Meredith and Orvis this past weekend. So after a lunch with friends at Zapoteca on Saturday, we ventured up to Wiscasset to spend a couple of nights on the farm. Sometimes, one of the best ways to decompress and reset is to cook a fun meal and open a bottle of wine, so we did just that on Saturday night. After a tasty breakfast at Crissy’s the next morning, we decided to hike a new trail outside of Alna that had yet to be walked on after last week’s snow. Letting Orvis run along as we explored trail blaze to blaze was definitely a highlight of the weekend. After we warmed back up, we headed north to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, and then shared a cozy dinner at Shepherd’s Pie in Rockport.

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend my first weekend back, and hope that you were able to spend yours just the way you wanted, also.

Zapoteca Brunch

Trout Brook Preserve Alna Maine

Alna Maine Trout Brook

Crissy's Damariscotta

Duck PB&J Shepherd's Pie

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Michael was traveling again for work last week, so Orvis and I stuck close to home for the majority of the week. I finally ventured out on Friday to take some photos at Central Provisions (which, for the record, is going to be amazing and opens tomorrow!) and to meet friends, Brook & Daniel, for drinks at Hunt & Alpine. I spent the remainder of the weekend catching up on a bit of work, playing on the beach with Orvis, sprucing up the house with some bright blue anemones, and finishing a book that consumed my every thought when I wasn’t reading it – The Goldfinch. A truly captivating novel that I highly recommend!

Hope your week is off to a great start, friends!

Central Provisions

Keiler's Fortune Hunt & Alpine

Blue Anemone  Fetch

Orvis and Meredith

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Montpelier Plantation

We realized the other night that of our six winters in Maine, this one is almost certainly the coldest – not the snowiest, just the bone-chilling coldest. Brutally cold weather is no match for a less than well-insulated 18th century house like ours, so on days like today (with negative wind chill temperatures) we stay bundled up inside as well. With the help of hot tea (I swear I drink gallons this time of year), my favorite wool throw, and a stack of travel magazines, I’m able to keep warm while daydreaming about escaping on a sunny, tropical, winter getaway of my own. The last time Michael and I went on a vacation such as this was our trip to the island of Nevis (pictured above). What I wouldn’t give to be back in a lounge chair by that pool at Montpelier Plantation, fruity drink in hand!

Here are a few other sunny spots I’ve had my eye on recently that fit the bill for a warm week far away from frozen snow & polar vortexes.

The stunning clifftop villas & bungalows of Secret Bay on the island of Dominica first caught my eye in an issue of Travel + Leisure, and I’ve seen them pop up a few times on Jetsetter since. The Secret Bay experience seems like something out of a dream to me!

Undergoing extensive renovation and reopening as a member of the esteemed Auberge Resorts, the luxury Malliouhana hotel on Anguilla is sure to be amazing when it opens its doors later this year.

The fourteen cabanas that make up the vineyard escape of Cuatrocuatros look like the perfect place from which to explore beautiful Baja California.

Set on a nature preserve in coastal Western Uruguay overlooking the Rio de la Plata, Hotel Casa Chic in Carmelo looks as though it’d be the perfect place to spend a relaxing week with my camera.

What other warm weather destinations should be on our radar? We’d love to hear about your favorite spots!

Photo taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Big Sky Bread Cookies

This past weekend was one of those weekends where you struggle just to get out from under the blanket(s) on the couch. Although Meredith and I would’ve probably preferred to stay right there, Orvis was able to convince us to go on a few brisk trips to the beach for some fetch. On Saturday we opted to escape the cold at a movie in town, followed by a comforting, delicious meal at Empire. After Sunday’s all too chilly beach trip, we ventured over to Big Sky Bread Company and warmed up with some tasty lentil soup & mac & cheese. Of course, no lunch at Big Sky is complete without a cookie or two! The remainder of the afternoon was filled with more couch lounging and lots of reading, but this time with a new cocktail in hand – woodfoord + cardamom clove syrup.

Hopefully y’all managed to keep warm over the weekend, too!

Cardamom Clove Bourbon

Spinach Dumplings at Empire


Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Roussillon France

We’ve been struggling to keep warm here in Maine after another week of bitterly cold weather, so I particularly enjoyed reading this post from Heather of Lost in Arles. The colors & textures of her Menton remind me of our 2012 trip to Provence (pictured above) but her words inspire me to appreciate the present, because without these cold, icy days, “there’d be no spring.”

Michael whipped up this broccolini fried rice for us last night – so comforting, easy, & quite delicious. We highly recommend giving it a shot!

All of Lark & Linen’s South Africa posts are worth the read, but her latest safari photos are certainly some of my favorite!

A trip to Long Island’s North Fork has been on my bucket list of dream getaways for awhile, and Vanessa Jackman’s photographs of her September trip make me want to seriously start planning our own road trip down there.

Michael and I are simply in awe of this cabin’s renovation and love keeping up with its owners’ (winter) adventures in Michigan.

A cooking school in the Cotswolds and accommodations in an old farmhouse? Yes, please.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends – stay warm and eat something extra cozy & comforting!

Photo taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Primo Maine

A couple of weekends ago, Meredith and I were at her family’s farm in Wiscasset, snowshoeing with Orvis, when we read a tweet by Primo saying that that evening would be their last night of the season. Since we were already halfway to Rockland, we took this as a sign to call it an early day and make a quick trip up the road for dinner at one of Maine’s New England’s most highly-touted restaurants.

Since we were in the mood for something a little more relaxed and casual than their more formal dinner menu and dining room, we opted to try the walk-in “counter menu“. We felt right at home in the Counter Room upstairs – a large, open space with exposed beam ceilings, sliding barn doors, and a massive counter, behind which chefs prepared a number of the dishes we enjoyed. We cozied up to a table, and in typical Primo fashion, enjoyed a couple flavorful cocktails (The Bitter Truth and a Dutch Courage) and a number of wonderfully prepared seasonal dishes (the Meatball Trio, Brussels sprouts, cassoulet, and polenta with roasted vegetables) that had us savoring every last sip and bite. We finished our meal with the unforgettable caramelized banana creme pie, and after a little more conversation and a few more smiles, we said goodbye to Primo until April and headed back down the road to Wiscasset.

While the traditional Primo menu and dining room is definitely an experience that shouldn’t be missed, if you’re passing through town and want to be treated to an excellent impromptu dinner, take it from us, Primo’s Counter would be pretty tough to beat.

Primo Rockland Maine

Dutch Courage Primo

Primo Rockland ME Polenta

Caramelized Banana Cream Pie Primo

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Whiskey Sour

Michael spent the better part of last week in Phoenix for work and didn’t get home until last night, so Orvis and I had the weekend to ourselves. An impromptu lunch with my mother at Frontier Cafe in Brunswick on Friday has had me daydreaming about their Thai Green Curry ever since I finished the last bite – so good! On Saturday, after a snowy walk with Orvis, I attended a yoga workshop at Lila that left me feeling refreshed and ready to experiment in the kitchen when I came home, so I whipped up almond butter cookies & a lentil salad for dinner, both from this cookbook. As the snow continued to fall through midday yesterday, I spent as much time as I could cozied up on the couch with a book and saffron whiskey sour (or two) as Orvis napped at my feet. All in all, not too bad of a weekend without the third member of our happy little family.

Thai Green Curry Frontier Cafe

Snowy Sunday

Orvis Begging


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Portland Hunt & Alpine Club
Portland Hunt & Alpine’s Andrew Volk

We couldn’t be happier for our friends at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club – they were just named one of the fifty places to drink in 2014 by Find. Eat. Drink. We know we’ll be having our fair share of drinks there this year and we hope you will too.

I discovered the blog, Whiskey Soaked, through a cocktail feature on Design*Sponge last week. A few days ago I made her Lavender Whiskey Sour recipe using Royal Rose’s saffron syrup in lieu of lavender. Delicious!

The Lake District is high on our list of places to see in England, and these photos by Mike Kus only make us want to go there even more.

Browsing blogs last week led me to discover the work of UK-based artist, Barbara Macfarlane. I would love to see some of her map oil paintings in person – they appear to be stunning representations of such vibrant, beloved cities.

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Royal Rose Saffron Syrup Milkshake

For Christmas I cheated a little and bought Meredith a stocking stuffer I knew we’d both enjoy together – a few different bottles of Royal Rose simple syrups. Meredith and I met Emily and Forrest, the couple behind Royal Rose, at one of Hunt & Alpine’s Hush, Hush events last year, and have been ecstatic to see their bottles popping up in many of our favorite shops around the state since then. With flavors like Saffron, Cardamon Clove, and Three Chili, the syrups easily add new flavor to any old cocktail recipe you might lean on, or a savory accent to many of your favorite desserts.

On the side of each bottle, Royal Rose includes a recipe to try with your syrup, and when we read the New Year’s Milkshake on the side of the Saffron syrup, we knew we needed to give it a shot. Ice cream, saffron syrup, and rum… good, good, and good. Since having “New Year’s” in the title seems unfairly limiting to those of us that love a milkshake almost any day, we dropped the holiday but kept the recipe unchanged, and after having had it on a few occasions (most recently, last weekend at the farm), we highly recommend that you find a bottle for yourself and give it a try!

Saffron Syrup Mikshake

originally published as New Year’s Milkshake in My Bombay Kitchen
Basil seeds soaked in water (optional)
3/4 oz. Royal Rose Saffron Syrup
1 cup cold milk
1 scoop vanilla ice cream (we used Maine-based Catbird Creamery)
1.5 oz. dark rum

Spoon basil seed into a tall glass. Top with milk, syrup, and ice cream. Add rum. Stir with a long spoon and enjoy!

Royal Rose Saffron Syrup

Saffron Syrup Milkshake

Royal Rose Syrups Milkshake

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Brunch at Piccolo
Zeppoli with chocolate sauce and pastry-wrapped roasted pear

Meredith and I don’t consider ourselves food critics or traditional reviewers in any way. Map & Menu was started simply to share the places to eat, things to do, and places to visit we’ve come to love from our home in Portland and elsewhere among our travels. We share them in hopes that other people will find them approachable and useful for their own inspiration and travels. In that vein of writing about inspiring and delicious places, we thought we’d share some photos of brunch at Portland’s Piccolo – it’s quickly becoming one of our new favorites, and should probably be one of yours too.

We’ve posted about dinner at Piccolo already (oh, that Wine and Cheese dessert!), but this time we wanted to share another awesome facet of this fantastic restaurant – its Sunday brunch. Twice now, we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy brunch at Piccolo, both times with good friends (obviously one of the best ways to enjoy any brunch), and both times we’ve been blown away by our meals and experiences. Although the menu changes slightly, between the eight of us we’ve tried a large portion of it, and I haven’t heard a single word of anything but praise for the dishes. Whether it be the decadent Italian Toast, the savory Modesto, or the scrumptious Zeppoli (which you should just go ahead and start with every time you visit) – the Sunday brunch at Piccolo is definitely one of the best in town, and is almost guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

Piccolo Maine Brunch
Italian toast

Piccolo Brunch

Zeppoli at Piccolo Maine

Piccolo Maine Brunch

Piccolo Maine Brunch Photos
Piccolo Brunch Modesto

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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