Archive for August, 2008

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gosh that makes us look stupid

August 29, 2008

Best part of the roll call at the DNC? Head of Maine Dem’s  flubbing his line. I mean, really, it’s not that hard.  And as I can’t find any video clip of it, here’s my interpretation.

“I’m blah blah blah from the Great State of Maine, where the sun is rises over us first thing in the morning of the US or whatever.”

Slick, real slick.

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Waterfire weekend

August 18, 2008

Ok, well not a whole weekend. But on Saturday evening S, A, and I journeyed two hours south to the beautiful little city of Providence, RI, for the annual Waterfire event, where numerous bonfires are placed along the Providence river and lit for all to enjoy. There was music and street food and drinking in public and a really good time.

I hadn’t visited Providence since the mid/late Nineties and honestly, the city was sort of a shithole at that point in time. It has seriously undergone some huge turn around because it was clean and well lit and beautiful.  I could see myself living in a small city like that – somewhat bigger than Portland, with a “real” mall, and lots of college students to keep things interesting.  It was fun because A had worked at one of those colleges not too long ago and it was interesting when she bumped into people (like campus safety officers) who still called her out by name – and it was nice to have a knowledgeable guide to the town.

Can I mention again how much I loved the mall? No, we didn’t spend a tremendous amount of time there, just money. Have I ever mentioned how Nordstrom is perhaps the only retail store that S REALLLLY loves shopping at? I mean, she loves shopping but she REALLLLY loves Nordstrom and their “personal shoppers,” who make perfectly sized garments appear if by magic in the dressing rooms.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have my fun too – I dropped some change at Dave and Busters, one of my favorite places.  Both of the other members of my entourage quickly realized that taking me somewhere real to gamble is probably not a good idea – my favorite thing is dropping the coins into the games that push other coins over the ledge….I could sit there forever blowing money away like that.  It was awesome – well, except for the one moment when I realized that my brother, sister, and I went to a DnB the night my dad died – I hadn’t remembered it until I was actually there, about to get some coinage off my power card.

After playtime we headed back up the hill to wander some more, eat some food, and um, then S decided that she was going to get pierced below the neck (I’m not going to say where, but I’ll say she only got one of them done though she was born with two) and though she’d talked about it a few times recently it was still the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever seen her do. Yay S. Way to let loose. I can’t always be the crazy one and it’s nice to have you join me for the ride.

Everything after that was anti-climatic and it was getting on in the day – so we headed home and it was LOVELY driving North – as (you New Englanders will know this well) traffic was backed up from the Hampton tolls all the way through Portsmouth and into Maine. NUTS! I’m glad we were going the other way.

It was nice to get out of town for a little bit, relax, enjoy a newish city, and a really beautiful event that I wish our town had something like. It was also nice for it to not rain for once in the….month.

And: Confidential to all of you who commented on the last post. I love you all very very much and your support is so much appreciated. To answer the questions? Morrissey, yes (but more The Smiths,) 3 pairs of Doc’s, and Queen.

XO

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Protected: Protected: how beautiful and modern*

August 14, 2008

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gastro wha?

August 11, 2008

Sometimes here in Cheese and Whine land I have been known to do some fairly in depth reviews of local restaurants that are a bit outside of our regular “out to eat” budget. In part it’s because I love delicious food and am a foodie at heart and want to remember what I thought of the place so that if I ever forget what I thought about it I can always just check up on myself. In part it’s also because I think some famous foodie is going to read my review and think that my style and understanding of food is brilliant and then they are going to ask me to give up my day job to travel the world eating and pay me for it.

I think my chances may decrease significantly with what I’m about to put forth. I swear that I had an open mind but well, here’s how it went down. On Thursday evening we went to an open house/art function that was hosted by a local company that does photography for magazines and mail order catalogs. Afterwards, being as we were dressed somewhat decently, we decided to treat ourselves to a “nice” dinner in town. Our first try was at Bresca, a relatively new player on the scene, but as they only have like 4 tables, we had to move on.

So we wandered around for a bit and decided on Hugo’s. It wasn’t packed but nicely populated and we were able to get seated immediately. The menu is set up in two ways, on the left a $78 prix fixe tasting menu is offered – 5 courses, and if you get the accompanying wine pairings it’s another $30. The offerings on this menu were interesting looking but more than 3 of the offerings were outside of my comfort range, and if I’m going to spend that kind of money on food, I want to make sure I’m going to enjoy the majority of it.

If you don’t go with the tasting menu. they recommend going 3 courses from the other side of the menu – however we’d already had a few snacks at the open house so we went 2 plus dessert. S started with an asian type salad with twice fried tofu croutons. These were actually really yummy, a bit salty, and a bit sweet, and I imagine if they took away the salty part they would, paired with maple syrup, make a very tasty vegan french toast.

I went the…”this sounds interesting route,” and had cold canteloupe soup, topped with frothed (a nod to Adrian Ferra, perhaps, though they did seem a bit heavy on the frothed stuff here) almond milk, proscuitto gelee, tangerine powder, and balsamic ice cubes. I don’t want to just come out and say that it was disgusting – it wasn’t. The flavors worked pretty ok with each other and may have been quite refreshing if the proscuitto gelee hadn’t imparted some weird chunk texture thing to the dish. And really, proscuitto gelee is really just a nice sounding word for “porky jello,” and um, well, yeah, I don’t think it worked all too well. Plus, all the elements were somewhat “floated” on top of the cantaloupe and it was hard to mix it all together and well, I kind of don’t understand why you would fuck with food so much in order to present this soup.

On to the next course where things (at least for me) started getting much more pleasing. S had red beet risotto that was topped with capri (a goat like cheese) and pink grapefruit slices. She loved it. I thought it looked like bloody death in a bowl, and tasted a bit too sweet for my liking – in fact, outside of the cantaloupe soup my only major criticism of the place is that the food all seemed somewhat on the sweeter side of things.

I had Long Island duck breast and crispy braised leg – this was executed perfectly, with three perfectly rare slices of duck breast served above baby bok choy and topped with a dabbing of what tasted like apricot spread of some sort. The leg was perfectly crisp yet tender small pieces formed into a small rectangular shape and was delicious.

For dessert we chose the rum roasted pineapple that was served with warm pound cake, coconut sorbet, ginger cream and tamarind caramel. This was delicious and just left us hoping for more – though they could have been slightly more generous with the caramel -the two dots on the plate were not quite enough for us to really get a good feel for it, though what we did taste of it kept us hoping for more.

So, overall…Hugo’s was ok. Not spectacular knock our socks off, but fairly good. For the expense, I’m not sure I’d be all a flutter to go back anytime soon, but it was a mostly good meal, and it’s nice to try new things.

I’ve got some more posts in my brain for this week, and I’m going to try to be a much much better blogger – right now my mom is in town for a wedding we went to yesterday (straight people are so weird,) and it’s just a busy time, in general.

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stay in bed tuesday

August 5, 2008

sounds like a wonderful follow up to no agenda Friday, but alas, it is just wishful thinking. Bah.

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no agenda Friday

August 1, 2008

Because the month ended yesterday, I decided to work and instead take today off. This is good because today is S’s last day of summer vacation, and she heads back to work after her July off on Monday.

We quickly labeled today “no agenda Friday,” and even though we wanted to go to the giant water park in New Hampshire, when we woke up and it was cold and cloudy it was ok. We just packed our bathing suits up and hopped in the car and headed south.  When we reached NH it was still gross so, with no real agenda, we went shopping in Portsmouth. This is where S picked up a 1/2 price pair of Fluevog heels that she is in love with, and I bought some gifts for a recently injured friend.

After that it was STILL yucky out so we headed north to Kittery where we spent too much money in the outlet stores and walked around and shopped and talked and had a hot dog and just enjoyed the day. By the time it got really hot and sunny mid afternoon it was too iffy and too late to go back to to NH, so instead we went to York Beach and took a long barefooted walk in the sand. Which was great till S looked down and realized that it was brine shrimp season and all these little teeeny tiny creatures were underfoot. That freaked her out a bit, but mostly she got over it, though she claims she will never swim in the ocean again. A little digging to the root of this fear is that whole baby lobster urban myth/legend (just snopes it if you have no clue.) I teased her about this a little and then moved on with our walk.

We capped off the afternoon by meeting S’s parents for dinner, which is great because they always pay, and then we headed home.

If you were interested, this is what no agenda Friday looks like:

This is the bigger picture:

Today has been perfect – and it’s not over yet!!! Hope you are enjoying the day!!!!