Dinner. Culinary gems & dessert.

Tonight’s dinner had a side of fresh corn, lime, cilantro, red onion, cumin, salt, pepper & a smidge of olive oil.

Um, yes, Williams Sonoma, you know how to do me right. A great garnish for my lavender macarons. The most diverse line of herbs I have ever seen. Their website has so many possibilities!

I absolutely LOVE cooking with this stuff! Great for pan frying and SO much healthier for you!

The newest additions to our family. These ladies will lay great eggs in 6-8 months.

Who wants brownies? I do.

Any questions about these products, e-mail me!

Wash your damn face

Here is a confession:

When I was in middle school, I was commonly referred to as “pizza face.”

It was terrible. I always laughed and said that from my father, I inherited all the things a woman would never want: big ears, a large nose, pores that I can stick spare change in which amount to terrible skin problems & an opinionated sense that most can do without. As I get older, I have learned to embrace most of these characteristics, as I do belive that provide me with a sense of myself, but the one thing I could never really be comfortable with, was my skin. I don’t want to sound like an acne commercial, those are terribly cliché, but I really have always struggled with products. As I embrace organic and all natural with my cooking, I want to do the same with my body. Unfortunately, sometimes, only the chemicals do it right. For a long while I was using the complete Neutrogena product line for acne, which ranges from $29.99 to $39.99 depending on where you buy it. But, after having my second child, my skin wasn’t having it anymore. Then, I switched to the Oil of Olay acne line which can range from $39.99 to $49.99 depending on where you buy it. The bottle of face wash in that box is super small, so you have to buy it twice as much. So I gave that up to after deciding my skin was not worth that kind of money. Frustrated one day, I went into the Aveda store at the mall one day and said fuck it, I’m going to try something natural and a smidge more expensive for the sake of being done with this shit. My skin was dry at the time, I had breakouts going on and I was just like, ok, let’s do this. I went right for the acne line and bought everything they had. It costs me almost a hundred dollars. This was more than a month and a half ago.

This product line was literally, the best thing that has ever happened in my whole entire life.

I am proud to say that not only is my skin clear, but it feels great. I actually enjoy putting on make-up but I don’t feel weird without it. Yes, there is an occasional flaw, but it’s smaller in nature and goes away quickly. To boot, this stuff lasts, the foaming cleanser you need a pump or two of and it’s like the bottle is endless. Initially, the investment may seem large, but you won’t have to pay out for a long while, so buy this shit and end your troubles. At the end of the day, as women, there are few things that really make us happy. We are, by nature, difficult folks. Our men, usually frustrate us, our hips, kill us and our tempers, fuel us. So, give yourself piece of mind, wash your damn face and feel good about yourself. Even if it’s just for that one moment you look at yourself in the mirror. Embrace it.

I have.

Shoooooot, if I am constantly going to criticize my ass, at least I can love my face.

I have fallen in love

I’m going to sound like my grandmother here for a minute but whatever, it has to be said, music today is total shit. The radio is virtually useless. Most of the time, mine is shut off, unless of course, I have my IPOD with me. In today’s society you have to dive underground to find the good stuff, it’s like digging to try and discover China. But once you commit, way down in the nadir, lays all the little gems waiting to be listened to. For the past couple of years, I have been utilizing Pandora as my way of finding new music as well as Rolling Stone magazine. My husband told me when we first met, that reading their reviews, helped him to find new and interesting artists. I hate to admit it, but he was right. In January, they put out the best albums of 2011 list and in that list I found what I believe to be the very best artsit ever. It’s different from what I typically listen to in the sense that it’s more melodic, not lyrical really at all. It’s sort of instrumental, light and edgy.

It’s Washed Out. And I love the second album almost as much as I love the first.

Picture this, you are riding in the car. It’s sunny (what a thought), warm, your windows are down and all you need to perfectly compliment this whole scenario is that ideal song. You know, that song that takes you somewhere else in the world, a place where you feel like you live in a commercial. One of those commercials where it is so bright outside you need shades the size of your whole face. Then, put on “Feel it all around” from Life of leisure by Washed Out and you’ll be there. Instantly. I promise. Go and download it and you will be amazed.

You will want to give me a smooch over it.

Other really fantastic artists I have recently discovered that I would just love to share:

Crystal Castles

Coconut Records (have loved them for years but you should know about them anyway)

M83

Neon Indian

They will revive your soul. Bring you back to that place, you know the place. And just overall make you want to dance in your pants.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy.

sonny’s in portland made me put half the menu in my face.

So, I’m not a food critic. This isn’t a food review or a restaurant critique. It’s just pure excitement, oozing from my veins, while sitting here the morning after feeling a little fat and happy. It’s almost like I went on a first date and all my expectations were exceeded. (Even though I don’t date anymore, because I’m married, thank God.)

My husband and I always have difficulty finding a place to eat that we both agree on. And I will take full responsibility for that. I cook a lot of really wonderful food right here in my home and not to sound like a snob but I think most of the time, I do it better. For me, eating out should be a full circle experience. Not only should the food be great but the service and atmosphere should also make you feel wonderful. We are still in the beginning phases of discovering Portland, we have two young kids and that makes it difficult, but there have been some really fantastic hits and some really terrible misses. Last night, was beyond a hit, it was an orchestra.

When I walked into Sonny’s I was terribly excited. Just the feel of the place was correct. The hostess greeted us with a smile and directly in front of me I saw two very hip parents having a beer on the couches with their child. It made me feel instantly welcome because I could tell this place, as hip as it was, catered to everyone. The bar, which is on the right, had an antique but trendy feel to it with pieces still remaining from the bank it once was. The vaulted doors in the wall, opened up to a wine room that I would love to move into. The bartender was immediate in his response, friendly and quite charming with his white apron. He served us the most incredible drinks I have had in a long time which were hard to choose considering how extensive and creative their cocktail menu actually is. Behind the bar were six to eight jars housing all sorts of different infusions. Grilled pineapple vodka. jalapeno and strawberry vodka. Yum. We had arrived an hour before our reservation but were more than happy to hang out. The vibe was great, even with the slightly annoying guy drinking beer out of someone’s shoe. Yea, that happened.

Once we sat down we were greeted by a waitress who is not only passionate about this place but had the best demeanor with the fastest service. She took our order and before we knew it, food was arriving on the table.

We ordered the following (don’t judge): shredded pork tacos with homemade “nacho cheese”, the empanada of the day, a caesar salad with anchovies, the tamal, island curry lamb pot pie and the braised brisket enchilada, oh and for dessert, two cappuccinos and this chocolate anglaise thing with a coconut like boat which I am clearly not describing well.

I could describe all the food in detail but I am not going to, I don’t have that kind of time, but I will say this, it was the most incredible meal I have enjoyed in a long time. Everything was spot on: juicy, flavorful, interesting, decadent, just so good. Every dish surpassed the next and I can honestly say that there was not one thing on any of these plates that I did not want to eat. Some of the accents were things like pickled cabbage which added a little crunch and fresh tomatoes which lightened the load of some nicely spiced items. We didn’t even have room for dessert but we had to and with that first bite, we knew it was right. It was creamy and thick and delicious, the little coconut basket was a heavenly contrast.

Then, the tab came and I almost did a jumping jack. I have never had this much food with this kind of experience at that price. It felt so nice to not feel taken advantage of, the tab was completely reasonable for our experience.

I had a great night there, for the few times that Josh and I get to go out alone, it was everything we needed and more.

We will be long time patrons and I suggest, you do the same.

Sonny’s

83 Exchange St.

Portland, Maine

(207) 772-7774

http://www.sonnysportland.com

So this is where all the good food has been hiding…..

Rosemont-Produce_24_570x428

I like little gourmet items. Nothing big or fancy. To me, spending $22 bucks on  a huge block of parmesan cheese is a splurge. But, one that makes me really happy. Rustic places have always warmed my heart with soulful pieces of culinary delight. Rosemont Bakery on Brighton Ave. in Portland warmed me from head to toe for like an hour today. Just to walk into this place is like sheer heaven. It smells divine. To the right, immediately upon arrival is an array of fresh local vegetables that you wouldn’t even imagine could be possible. Beautiful crimini & trumpet mushrooms, artichoke heads which are nice and tight, thick asparagus spears, bountiful herbs. I could go on and on. To the left is the wine with thoughtful notes scattered about which direct you to feel safe buying a nine dollar bottle of wine because they are telling you it drinks like a thirty. Continuing on there is an amazing cheese spread with ricotta like I have never seen available anywhere else, mozzarella cheese that melts in the mouth instantly, soft fontina, again, I could go on and on. Then there are refrigerators with smaller gems like freshly made sandwiches, raw milk, olives and all sorts of tiny things that make my tummy dance in delight. The real gem, however, was the meat counter which features a butcher so informed, so down to earth, so down and dirty with the animals that I almost could not believe it. To start, he offers me a slice of goat prosciutto. Something I have never heard of but was incredibly tasty. He literally carved a piece off the leg upon my acceptance. I immediately asked him for some to go, I mean, how could I not. Then he goes on to tell me about where and how he gets the meat in the store. I mean, this is real stuff happening here. This is fresh. This is being one with the place where our food is derived. I bought ground beef, ribs, pork chops and I ordered my leg of lamb for Easter. We spoke for a few more moments in which he told  me about living in Italy and creating a curing space in his basement. I wanted to hug him. Maybe I should have. I wandered around the store for almost an hour and I spent way more money than maybe I should have but I got things like organic cocoa powder which made my bouchons taste like heaven tonight and salami that looks just like it should. Fatty and slightly hard to chew. I purchased a deep and colorful olive oil, harissa, a spice from North Africa and Saigon cinnamon, which smells so different from any cinnamon I have ever put my nose to.

After I paid for all my treasures, I felt so complete walking out of there with four filled to the brim brown paper bags. It’s rare that when I food shop I feel that whole but this afternoon I smiled to myself.

In a world where everything is getting overpriced and pretentious, I marvel at places like this. It’s so basic and fancy in its own way, I love that about it. I love that it feels like mine.

Take your butts there this weekend. You will see what I am talking about.