October 29, 2010

October in Maine

Shawnee Peak
Bridgton, Maine

Adventures in Maine

Maine is unique. The wild coastline, beautiful lakes and mountains, and distinct culture make it different than any other state in the union. You know when you are here.

Earlier this month we traveled to Portland to attend a family wedding on a mountainside in Maine. When we arrived it was raining. The mist shrouded the landscape as we drove inland. The buildings of the city quickly faded to make way for small towns, forests, and lakes. We arrived at our destination – a small ski lodge about an hour outside of the city. After settling in we spent the evening enjoying pizza and a lot of laughs with relatives.

The next morning was bright and crisp – a perfect day for a fall wedding. In the morning Jonathan and I climbed the grassy expanse of the ski slope at Shawnee Peak. From the top of the slope the view was definitely worth the effort required to hike up! A vast green expanse of trees spread for miles accented with dark blue lakes and small patches of red or yellow autumn leaves. I was sad to see that so many of the leaves were still lush green and had not yet caught the autumn fire. Perhaps this year is a late fall in New England...

After a lovely wedding and a fun weekend with family we headed back to Portland. Before taking to the skies we visited the Old Port area of downtown. We had lunch, spent some time shopping, and then went to Mornings in Paris Old World Cafe. Like its name, this small café on exchange street was quaint and charming. We enjoyed lattes, hot chocolate, and chai teas with a rich chocolate truffle cake. The cake was served on a cute china plate with an image of Tour de Eiffel and was decadent. I liked the hot chocolate because it was not overly sweet. A great way to relax before flying back home!

October 24, 2010

October 22, 2010

October 20, 2010

October 15, 2010

Market Flowers

Eastern Market, Capitol Hill
Washington, District of Columbia

Capitol Markets

I have called Washington DC home for almost a year now. During that time I have witnessed the most snowfall this city has seen in a century, experienced a summer of record high temperatures, and am slowly settling into my new city. Prior to arriving here in the Nation's capitol I experienced life in San Francisco, Boston, and several other cities around the globe.

So, here I am – in Washington. One thing that has surprised me about this city is the farmer's markets. There are several different markets held throughout the city every week making fresh produce, baked goods, and meat products accessible to urban dwellers. In other cities I have lived in the farmer's markets are often in out of the way places or take place at early morning hours.

Not in Washington! Here there are four farmer's markets that are convenient for me to shop at during the week – the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, the Farmfresh Market at Penn Quarter, the Capitol Harvest on the Plaza and the USDA Farmers Market. On weekends, we sometimes go to Eastern Market or the Dupont Circle Farmers Market.

We enjoy the fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese, meats, and other tasty snacks I buy at these markets! I am thankful to be able to live in a city and still be able to buy fresh food from local farmers and artisans.

October 10, 2010

Cupcakes on the Curb

In the past so much quick food was unhealthy or not very tasty. The recent food truck trend is changing that. I was first introduced to gourmet food trucks while we were still living in San Francisco and am excited that this trend has now arrived here in Washington. I love the idea of selling good food out of mobile trucks and carts.

Like in other cities, the food trucks that work on the streets of DC announce their schedule and whereabouts on social media. I created a DC food truck list on Twitter and have been observing their routes and schedules. Quite quickly I noticed that Curbside Cupcakes makes a weekly stop very close to my office on Thursday mornings and decided the next time they stopped by I would go buy a cupcake.

Thursday morning I was in the middle of a conference call when I saw the tweet they had arrived outside my office, had found a parking spot, and were open for business. All of a sudden time seemed to slow down. Would my meeting finish before the cupcakes drove away? Would some of the flavors be sold out by the time I made it down to the curb? When could I go get my cupcake?

Fortunately for me, meetings do not last forever and I was headed out to find the pink Curbside Cupcake truck. I was happy to find the bright colored truck still there serving customers. I feel into line and waited. When it was my turn I ordered one carrot cake cupcake. My treat was handed to me in a small paper bag with a Curbside Cupcake sticker on it and I also received a cupcake card (buy 10, get 1 free).

I took my cupcake to the park to enjoy. And it was delightful! The cake was light and moist with plenty of carrot and walnuts, and it was topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. A perfect snack for a beautiful fall day!