Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Portland Moment

First, a BIG GIGANTIC thank you to Jenn from Vegan Can Dance! Jenn gave away three signed copies of Vegan Brunch and I am one of the happy over the top winners!

Next, here are some soundbyte (or photobytes!) from my weekend. Most people when you mention that you're going to Portland assume that you mean Portland, Oregon..unless you're in New England. Then we know you're probably going to Maine! I needed a break away last week so I drove up to Portland to visit my friend Sarah last Friday. It's about a two hour drive up from Cambridge, going north from Boston, up through the tiny coastline of New Hampshire and then hugging the coast of Maine up I-95. While Sarah sees a trip to Cambridge as her escape, I see visiting a trip to Portland as mine!

First and most important was tons of girl talk on her comfy sofa but after a bit, we were hungry and that meant the moment we had been waiting for: The Green Elephant Vegetarian Restaurant!! This is by far my favorite veggie restaurant in New England. I've blogged about it before so I won't go into more detail but will instead show you what we ate:

A crispy Asian salad with a sesame soy dressing

Crispy soy nuggets

Fresh rolls (oh..my favorite..I have to admit that I eat these at least once a week wherever I can find them..he he he)

An inside shot...we got here right at 5pm when they opened but it very quickly filled up. That's always good to see isn't it? When a veggie restaurant is doing well!

Chocolate mousse pie with dark chocolate dipped orange segments..oh oh oh...the best...

A close up!

I woke up in the morning to the smell of freshly baked vegan blueberry muffins..served with watermelon and cherry blossom green tea. Do I love this girl or what??

Then off to the Portland Farmers' Market..Sarah packed the cute bag that she got in Japan last summer. Like many Japanese-English translations, it's a little peculiar and adorable!

We loved this edgy basil..very fragrant and almost a little fuzzy!

Looks of pickled items for sale..I was intrigued by the pickled garlic..hum..note to self to try this.

Sarah's radish shot...

Deering Oaks..a park of sorts where the market is held

Later, lunch at Yosaku, a Japanese restaurant with a patio and zen-ish garden

They have a great selection of veggie sushi..I got the sweet potato tempura (my fav), mushroom avocado (pretty good!) and inari. I was suprised when the inari arrived as inside out rolls. I'm used to it as pillows of rice stuffed into the inari (fried tofu) pockets..but instead the tofu was rolled up inside the rolls. Tasted just as good!

Tom's Agedashi tofu in broth

After lunch we went for a walk in downtown Portland..gorgeous day..lots of people out.

We stopped for a coffee/tea at a local coffee shop. Isn't Sarah a cutie?? Normally she and the hubby would zip on downtown on their Vespa..but with me the third wheel they might need to add a sidecar (shhh..don't tell them I'm planning on moving in especially if they keep feeding me such great chow)..

I had an iced chai w/soy and vegan "love" chocolate almond cookie which was warmed up to melt the chocolate chips.

Finally, we hung out in Sarah's backyard and admired her gardens.

A very rare Lady's Slipper..they grow wild in New England and it's illegal to pick them. More than one New England child has made that mistake! Mom?

White lilacs in bloom...

Chives in bloom..does anyone else love looking at chive flowers? I've always loved them.

Tibetan prayer flags. Sarah and Tom got to see the Dalai Lama last month..he wore a New England Patriots hat during the talk..lol!

And last but not least...chocolate...Sarah introduced me to this chocolate, Coastline Creations' "River Mill" in January. Maine-made and it's all dark chocolate with..sea salt! Sounds odd, huh? We thought so too until we tried it. I don't know what it is but the salt balances the chocolate out perfectly and I find that I only need a nibble or two and I'm satisfied. And their label is completely honest and lists one serving size as a whole bar! I hate it when chocolate bars list nutritional info as something odd as 2.5 servings. Pluzzzeee!!!

So in the spirit of giving, if you're interested in a little gifty from New England (hint see image above!), post a comment before this Friday, June 5th and tell me what you think of when you think of New England (yes, it can even be gay marriage..we're kinda proud of that!). I'll randomly pick a comment and send the person who commented a little gifty!

And a big thanks to Sarah for giving me the escape I needed!


Jes said...

What a wonderful weekend! I've always wanted to go to Maine--now I know at least one city is vegan-friendly! When I think of New England, I think of Fiore's Bakery in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Some of the best eats I had in Boston were there! Plus it was in walking distance from where I was staying :)

Anonymous said...

Well, it was hard to get past that chocolate mousse pie! MMmmmmm...anyway, I pine for New England, though I've only been to Vermont. When I think of New England, I think of colorful, autumn leaves; small, simple homes built by Puritans in the 1700s; Boston Cream Pie (hee, hee); tiny coastal villages, sailboats and moose (LOL!) I love moose and I've heard Maine has a few :-) I really want to live in New England one day (Portland is my first choice, Boston my second, and other unknown places my third)

Anonymous said...

How cool about winning the book! I love winning stuff - doesn't happen often, but damn do I feel cool when it does.
What a wonderful market! I've seen some photos of Portland and the market on Avery Yale Kamilla's blog, and it sure makes me want to visit.
When I think of New England I really think of Social Studies from grammar school and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Salem and all that. Prim & proper stuff - which I know is silly, but those initial images were really tattooed into my mind. I also think of White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kay which even though my punk friends would ridicule me, is one of my favourite holiday movies.

For the Love of Guava said...

Oh my! That all sounds wonderful!!! And I do love that bag! Teehee teehee... mmm... Guava needs a pretty roadtrip...

In Conclusion... as a Japanese recycled shopping bag might say...
"Smile often and sunshine morning like dancing spring, friend."