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Monday, November 7, 2011

When it Rains it Pours

Blogging is an interesting "art form".  I think it begins, at least for me, as a way of maybe self-promoting yourself. Looking at yourself in print gives a level of completion, satisfaction, accomplishment for ones self.  I'm not gonna lie I like it.  I do feel pride in myself---even if I'm the only one reading.  


General ideas and thoughts aside I find a blog to be a nice way to be heard. --- It's like journal therapy. 
I need a little journal therapy... so get your pen and pad of paper out..... I'm going to spill some beans. 


http://megahurt.net/2008/11/23/when-it-rains-it-pours/
There are sayings and cliches out there that mean nothing.  That when you hear them you roll your eyes and move on.  The people saying them are a bore and so are their sayings. Then there are some that continually throughout your life ring true. Like this one....  
I think, the Morton Salt girl said it best....


When it Rains it really does Pour. 


My "The Big C" blog I wrote a few weeks ago was about a close aunt on my mothers side.  She did undergo surgery (it went very well) and is on the road to recovery---hopefully it stays on the sunny side of the road. 
My other aunt is suffering from severe diabetes---who knows how this is really effecting her. 
My mom has the worst cold followed by Pink Eye and has had to miss work for a week.


Now my grandmother has just had a heart attack. She needs tests done and possibly surgery.  My grandma is in very bad health and we are all  scared that this may be it. 


I'm praying for peace.  
Not sure what that entails but, that's all I've got. 


Tell your family you love them. ---Even the ones you might not like very much.  :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rock City Fail

I love Rock City Coffee. LOVE IT. 

My world is shaken now.  Yesterday, I wanted to try something different.  I ended up having a Cider Vinegar Tonic. 

I know, I know, sounds gross right?  Totally RIGHT!

I thought it would be like a tangy cold cider.  It's made with Organic Cider Vinegar, Tonic, and Organic Honey. 
Yeah, it was tangy---so tangy I was immediately coughing for my life. 
I probably drank about 1/4 cup and felt so sick.  I was pretty sure I was going to vomit. 

WARNING:  Do not order Cider Vinegar drinks.  DO NOT order ANY Vinegar drinks.  

I mean really?  What was I thinking?

Still love Rock City----just not the cider vinegar. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rock City Coffee

I am like the millions of people out there who appreciate a good cup-a-joe.

In fact, I not only appreciate it I adore it. 

There's nothin' like a nice warm, smooth, slightly bitter, slightly sweet espresso. 

One of my first jobs was as a Barista for Starbucks.  When I started I was a young pup who "didn't drink coffee".  By the time I felt I became a connoisseur and coffee snob---proudly. 

Living in Portland there are quite a few coffee shops I can choose from.  All of which have their pro's and con's.  
Well, one day I was at the Portland Public Market.getting so yummy soup from Karmasouptra and I glanced over and saw Cubano con Leche at Rock City Coffee.  
I was so excited I could barely stand it!   Cubano con Leche is Cuban Espresso with sugar and steamed milk. 

You may think this sounds like a latte with sugar BUT, it is so much more than that.  It is pure heaven.  

I didn't order coffee that day because I was in a rush.  So for a solid week I couldn't stop thinking about how amazing this coffee must be.  A part of me knew that if they had Cubano con Leche on their menu it MUST be amazing!  Finally, the day of happiness came. 

I ordered Cubano con Leche and it lived up to the hype. 
It was pure bliss. 
I think I filled up my stamp card in less than 2 weeks. 

Since then I have ordered other drinks and tried some of my friends drinks like Horchata with a shot of espresso and they have all been DELICIOUS!

I highly recommend Rock City Coffee. 
10 outta 10!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Big C

Showtime. 


In recent years, Showtime has come out with some outstanding television shows. The first two that pop into my mind are Dexter and Weeds.  When I heard Laura Linney was going to be starring in a new show it probably didn't even matter what the show was I knew I'd like the combination of Laura Linney and Showtime. 


Boy was I right. 



The Big C is delightful.   It is a show about a high school teacher who finds out she has stage 4 cancer and is pretty much on her last leg.  She refuses treatment and refuses to tell anyone. And, of course, she lives everyday as her last doing everything and anything she's always wanted to do. 
--- I totally understand.  I'd do the same.  I would tell my family though. I would want to experience my last days with them having a grand 'ole time. 


I bring up this show because, I happen to be watching in right in the middle of family crisis mode.  --Thank God my situation is not the same as it is on The Big C but, my extended family (which is a very small close family) has been having some troubling medical news over the past few months. 


It's very weird.  


I've been watching movies, tv shows, reading books, listening to the news, etc... my whole life about people with cancer---or life threatening sickness and their families and all their stories but, until it happens to you you just don't know. 


I remember watching Step Mom many years ago and balling my eyes out (I still cry every time I watch this).  I have always been really close with my parents.  I truly do not know what I would do without them.  The idea that they will most likely die before me is way too much to even think about. 


So, all I want to say is I'm thankful for shows like The Big C that will talk about topics that are hard and show true human reactions and feelings. 
I don't know what is ahead of my family but, I know we will handle it because our lives are not in our hands only the way we handle what is given to us is.  


Tell or show your family you love them--- I love mine!  With all my heart <3 





Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Artemisia Cafe

My first impression of the Artemisia Cafe was "it is a good breakfast place". 


I had never heard anything else.  I had never driven by. I had never even looked up the menu. 
I was shootin' in the dark with this one but, my sister and brother in law were in town for a photo shoot (pictures to come) and they love this place so, Nic and I were happy to try a new place. 


We parked on the west end of Portland on a nice quite side road and I already began to feel a bit excited. It could be the day?  It was a beautiful sunny and crisp fall morning and I love my big sister so I'm always happy when we get to hang out! Never-the-less, when we started approaching the cute little blue over hang I had a feeling that if breakfast was a bust I'd at least like the aesthetics. 


When we came in we were seated right away in a lovely little booth. 
The booth had some table games (which i love).  The artwork was interesting and beautiful and the walls themselves looked like a painting. You could say I loved it. 


Now, decor aside this is a restaurant and we must judge the food. 


The menu was small but diverse.  They have items like biscuits and gravy to hit upon the joys of a southern breakfast; they also go south of the border to mexico and had chilaquiles on the menu.  I'm impressed.  


To start we needed coffee. --Or Hot Apple Cider for my pregnant sister. :)
---Side note.  Last November Nic and I went to Montreal, Canada with his family who was visiting from Australia.  We stopped at a little cafe for some crepes.  At this cafe I ordered a cappuccino (which I never order because they never make them right). This Cappuccino was the BEST I've ever had!  It was perfect! --- Since then, I've been ordering cappuccino's everywhere I go trying to find one that is equivalent.  I have yet to succeed.  Until, October 16, 2011 at Artemisia Cafe. 


This cappuccino was perfect.  Milk to foam ratio- excellent.  Espresso- rich and smooth.  With a little sugar in the raw I was in espresso heaven.  At this point, even if breakfast sucked I wouldn't have cared. 


After perusing the menu I was so tempted to get the Chilaquiles because, I LOVE them!  And it's quite rare to see them on a menu in Maine.  However, I went with a classic Florentine Eggs Benedict.  My last breakfast experience I got poached eggs and they were cooked through so, I've had a hanckerin' for perfect poached eggs. 


Just to let you know, they were perfect. 

The poached eggs sat on a bed of spinach with cherry tomatoes.  Rather than the normal English muffin underneath there was a homemade scone.  On the side, was roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes. 
I loved it!  However, I can't give my meal a 10 because, there was one part I didn't LOVE---only liked.  I didn't love the scone.  It was a little grainy and dry for me. But, don't get me wrong---it was still good and I finished my meal! I give it a 9 out of 10.


Beth (Sister) and Kyle (Brother-in-law) both got Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. 
Looks good right!?  They both reported it as yummy.  I believe they gave their meals a 7 or 8 out of 10?  
I had a bite of the biscuit and gravy and it was really good.  A little different flavor than your normal--it was almost sweeter.  I liked it!  Kyle and Nic both said they didn't like the home fries. They thought they were bland. --I like them. :)

Nic got the special -- Sausage and Mushroom frittata.  He loves mushrooms so he liked it. I think the toast looks yummy!   I believe his rating was an 8 out of 10.

Overall, the Artemisia Cafe was a great breakfast experience. First Impressions were right on target! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coco Loco's Taco's

It's time for Mexican!!!

I grew up in Southern California.  I have 1/2 Mexican and I have multiply family members---not to be arrogant but, including myself----who cook the real authentic amazing Mexican food.  I know what GOOD Mexican food tastes like.  New England struggles a little bit with this concept of Mexican vs. Tex Mex.  Heck! New England struggles with Mexican vs. Edible. Basically, what I'm getting at is it is hard to find good Mexican food that isn't Chipotle.

The other day after a LONG day of my sister's baby shower in Portsmouth, NH Nic and I were ready for some dinner.  Our brother-in-law reccommened Coco Loco's Taco's in Kittery, Maine.


From the moment I drove up I knew I was going to love it!  
They had an outdoor patio seating area.  ---And it was a lovely warm fall night.
We were able to get a table outside which brought joy to my heart. 
The waitress was lovely.  Just the right about of chit chat and efficiency. 
The meal started right with some Mexican soda.  Yum! My favorite! The Nic and I both had burritos and they were delish! Fresh Homemade tortillas. Stuffed full of yummy rice, beans, meat and cheese.  The highlight of my meal was the tortilla chips!  They were so good.  I could have just eaten that and been satisfied. 

After a long day Coco Loco's Taco's hit the spot.  I would give it an 8 out of 10.  


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

 I have been wanting to write about the Rise of the Planet of the Apes since this summer yet, every time I sit down something else springs to mind. 
Lucky you, today is the day!

I am a daughter of my generation and although I have seen such cinematic classics like Gone with the Wind and Sound of Music.  I haven't seen, in full, the original Planet of the Apes series. 
I imagine I would love it.  But, the opportunity just hasn't arrived--- I'll check my Netflix streaming. 
Even though I've failed to see the Heston classics I have succeeded in seeing the modern Planet of the Apes---and loved them. 

The first Planet of the Apes in 2001 was good, in my opinion. I think it held to the idea of the world gone upside down. Although, it still begs the question; Could this ever really happen?
Well, this summer the magic of movies answered that question. Nic and I went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and that one blew my mind. 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes actually made the whole idea of Apes taking over the world as the superior species plausible.  Now-a-days there is so much animal testing being done that it really wouldn't surprise me if one day they just went a little too far and messed with genetics a bit too much and made a big mistake!  Granted I don't really think that Apes would really be on the same level ---and higher--- than humans but, it is an amusing thought to entertain.  I <3 Science Fiction.  


Overall, I give it an A!  
Due to a well thought out story line, love-able and hate worthy characters, good script, and amazing special effects--- Caesar's special effects are tryly an art.  To make such human like qualities in an ape/computer generated animal that is something to be impressed with. 


I'll defiantly buy this when it comes out. 


Do you like the Planet of the Apes movies?  Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

End of Detox

Success!


Yes, that's right! Nic and I successfully completed our detox. 
I don't know if I feel any healthier or "cleaner" but I do feel a sense of accomplishment. 


--And yes, I lost 4lbs!  ---Although, I'm thinking most of it was water weight.  But, I'm happy nonetheless. 


I am a starter NOT a finisher. I love making plans and figuring out the details.  I will work on execution but, I don't love it. And I really do not like following through.  I will often talk myself out of it. (I am very skilled at finding legit reasons not to complete something.)  I either discover it is was bad idea to begin with, I blame someone else for stunting me, or I just simply change my mind. 


Well, I am proud to say I complete a 4 day detox. 


A few years ago, before I was married, I would come up with goal lists for the year.  My birthday is at the end of December so, instead of having New Years Resolutions I would have Birthday Year Goals. I was doing pretty good for a while but, once I got married my life changed and I no longer had--dare I say--- freedom  to complete each of the goals. 
Therefore, I recently adjusted my goal ideals for married life. Something that I know will work with what is available this coming month. 


Long story short, I encourage you to do something you never thought you could. Find a goal-- make it small, make it big, make it whatever you think is feasible but you've been putting off. 


Now that I've completed this detox I'm going to get back to working out. My goal and encouragement are tall boots! 


Beautiful Boots! Beautiful Belt, bag, and dress. I want it all. In order to get those boots and where that belt I need to keep working on my health! 

What's your goal? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Detox

Detox.  A word that brings fear and hope all at the same time. 

Now, I have never started or completed a true detox.  Last winter my husband bought a box detox thingy and it didn't even recommend changing your diet at all.  We did change our diet and took the pills and it did nothing but, make me feel a little queasy.  

This time will be a little different. This time will be the HEALTHY detox because this lady MUST loose some weight.  October goal= 10lbs lost. because, I'm the opposite of most people.  Most people in Maine pack on the weight in the Winter with lots of comfort food.  
Me?  I love comfort food year-round.  The only difference is, in the summer it is far too hot to exercise!  Therefore, I pack on the pounds in the summer.  So, once that crisp fall breeze blows through my window I know it is time to hit the gym.  And this year it's so bad that I need to throw in a detox. 

Fear: I am going to STARVE!
You can't do this and live off juice.  I will shrivel and die.  It wont be good. 

Hope: My greatest hope, loose 5lbs!  Wouldn't it be amazing if I love 5lbs this week from detoxing and exercising!  My heart would sing. 

Reality: Of course, I know I wont STARVE but, I will be out of my comfort zone.  I love food. I want to be be an excellent cook and baker and now is a great opportunity to test my SUPER clean cooking skills.  And while I'm at it maybe I can kick start a the next 3 weeks of weight loss.  I'd be happy with 3 lbs. ---Heck I'd be happy with 1lb!

So far, I've had my fruit juice concoction for breakfast.  Veggie juice for lunch. Handful of Almonds and I'm planning Steamed Salmon and Steamed Kale and Spinach for dinner.  

I will prevail! 



Petite Jacqueline

Mmmm..... I went to Petite Jacqueline a few weeks ago and I can still hear the beautiful French music playing in the background, the smell of french onion soup, and the sight of French Champagne bottle along the walls for decoration. 


Overall, it was a lovely experience. 




I've been wanting to eat at Petite Jacqueline since it opened this past Summer but, the opportunity continued to escape me. One blessed day, my husband said "lets have our date night at Petite Jacqueline".  I was so excited!  Immediately I searched for their online menu to scope out the goods. 


Everything looked delicious.  I could hardly wait to go. 


From the moment we walked in I felt like we had stepped into a little French cafe. 
The lights were dim, the tables were quaint, people were drinking wine and eating bread.  It was perfect. 


The menu was delightful.  I wanted one of everything!  I forced myself to settle on French Onion Soup, Escargot (to share with the hubby), and Parisian Gnocchi with local farm produce.  Nic decided on the Quiche Lorraine. 


The French Onion Soup was delicious!  It was thick and cheesy!  The croutons or bread was thick and moist.  My only critique is that I wish there was more broth.  Otherwise it was wonderful!
The escargot was good.  I wouldn't say wonderful.  Nic loved it!  But, I thought it was a little sweet.  The last time I had escargot, in France, it was much more savory--more garlic.  It was good just not my favorite.  And, I mean come-on it's snails.... 


Nic's Quiche Lorraine looked really good. I had a taste and it tasted good too!  The pastry was nice and flaky and the quiche was overall eggie goodness!


Now, the real star of my meal was my Parisian Gnocchi.  Oh my goodness!  Delicious!  I have never had such amazing gnocchi.  It was a little crispy and buttery on the outside and the inside was so creamy!  I savored each one of those little guys.  And of course, the vegetables were cooked to perfection. 


Petite Jacqueline is a place I will defiantly be coming back to.--- and I wont eat the entire day before so I have room for the Creme Brulee I had my eye on!





Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Egg Cafe

Good Egg Cafe is a restaurant that first came into my scope last March during Maine Restaurant Week.  We wanted to go to The Pepper Club (the restaurant's name for dinner) and so we did a little research and found out they were also open for breakfast.  Now, we were not able to go to the Pepper Club for dinner because we didn't make reservations and we were starving... I think we ended up having pizza. 

Anyways, from the second I walked in I wanted to eat there.  The walls are colorful and interesting. they have chalkboard menus, there are couches, their tables and chairs are each unique, and their sugar is in an adorable little genie vase.  Pretty much I needed to eat there. 
So for about a year I've had this restaurant in the back of my mind waiting to go there.... then at the same time I keep hearing about Good Egg Cafe and how delicious it is! That was it. I had to go.  Decision Made. 

The day finally came, Good Egg Cafe for breakfast with my husband Nic and his friend visiting from Australia, Chris.  

I love breakfast! and I love going out for breakfast because, my favorite breakfast items are Poached Eggs and those little guys are hard to perfect at home. And I love how when you order toast it's perfectly toasted and has melted yummy butter already on it.... toast at restaurants is always better than toast at home. 
Happily, we sit down in a quaint little booth and I the hostess greets us and takes our drink order. Sadly, they only have drip coffee----I had a hankrin' for a cappuccino...but I'll survive with some English Breakfast tea. 

Without hesitation I looked for Eggs Benedict----no luck.  Next best thing, just a classic 2 Poached eggs and home fries with homemade Oatmeal Toast.  
Chris ordered 2 poached eggs, veggie hash, and homemade English Muffins.
Nic ordered a 2 egg omelet with cheese, sausage, and mushrooms. 

First Impressions are NOT everything.  

It took a good 20 minutes for our meal to be served to us.  Negative #1.

Then the saddest of all breakfast woes happened. 

We got our meal and my Eggs were NOT good. 
My beautiful poached eggs were cooked through.  The were flat hard-boiled eggs ---that's what they really were. It was so sad.  And it's wasn't just my eggs.... Chris's poached eggs were totally cooked too!  :(  Negative #2 & 3
The bread was decent....not toasty enough, in my opinion and the home fries were more like oven roasted home fries.  The lacked that crispy outside.   Negative #4
I give my meal a C+

Chris said his veggie hash was mostly potatoe----but it was good. And reported the english muffin was yummy!  
Chris gave his a B

Nic said his omelet was good but for $9 is wasn't that good and it was lacking filling.  ---It did look pretty puny. 
Nic gave his a B

They both loved their Coffee By Design coffee!

Sadly, this wasn't a great dinning experience---but, I'd be willing to try it again.

Retrospectively.... maybe you can't just a restaurant by it's paint.  That first impression let me down.




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A little introduction...

My name is Allison and as a little girl I always loved the arts. Now, I realize "the arts" is a very general term. In this blog, I am going to focus on a few types of art that I love---that are my main interests.  We are going to delve into food, restaurants, movies, and book reviews, as well as DIY tips, and scrap-book loves.

In this day and age we are bombarded with reality TV.  I try to stay away from most of it however, I have gotten  hooked into a few different shows.  While living in Australia, I ran across a new show Masterchef. I fell in love straight away....what's not to love about a cooking competition from people who are just like me! (except Australian). Well, to my delight, the next Summer America came out with their own version of Masterchef---and again I love it, who doesn't love Gordon Ramsey?  As I watch the show I become more and more obsessed with good food.  Not just the box of Mac'n'cheese that mom threw on the stove for dinner but, items like savory, gooey, cheesy, rich, Baked Truffle Macaroni and Cheese.  Yum!  

My love for cooking reality competitions has brought a whole new world to light.  I've become driven to create my own (beginner) gourmet food from scratch. With this new goal (which my family loves)  I've become more of a, for a lack of a better word, SNOB about food.  I now know how food should or could taste and I expect quality when I am out.  Which leads to my husband and my new goal... we want to try out all the restaurants of interest from the www.portlandfoodmap.com.

Now what could be more classic then dinner and a movie date night?  This is one of Nic (my husband) and my favorite dates. We all have our first impressions when we step into a restaurant.  We know what others have told us, we look at the street display, the lighting, the table step up, flowers, the menu, the bar... the second we step in we either get that little thrill of excitement that encourages us to order a drink or an appetizer that we weren't budgeted for and get ready for a great night.  OR, we quickly order a water and go straight for the entree and head out in a cloud of disappointing. First Impressions are everything.
That means, after we go out and taste all the delicious food and be entertained by the newest movies in theaters I want to give you my thoughts and add in my husband's review too!  I want to tell you about those first impressions and how it all looked retrospectively.