Hit The Cafe

Exam week can be stressful and hard to focus on your studies. We all need some motivation to not procrastinate because exam is usually the only assignments that determines if you failed the class or not.

We sure do not want to see that big fat F on our report card. Most of us would lock ourselves in our boring room where you just want to flip your whole room upside down. That bedroom is a suffocating and sometimes can feel a little depressing always locking yourself in the room during exam. Here is the best cafes that is optimal for studying during your exam or if you need to get assignments done without dying in your room.

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Joe Muggs: Sometimes being surrounded by books will give you the motivation of wanting to start working on your studies. This cafe is located in Books A Million (BAM). It is a book store by the Maine Mall.

Before I begin my studies there I would walk around and find a self help book and read couple of pages that would bring up my mood to hit the books. In this case hit the cafe. Joe Muggs drinks are always changing by the season or the holiday. There is always a new drink to try.

Some cafe does not offer wifi. Sometimes the internet is needed while studying. Joe Muggs does have wifi, but to access it you would have to login through your Facebook account. If you are a member of Books A Million then your card number is what you need to sign in to the wifi. The environment is more chill and open, but coming during the evening is more of a quiet time. You’ll also find many other college students, teachers, business people at Joe Muggs doing their work. Which is also a great motivation when you are surrounded by other people working hard.

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The most unique drink offered is the Candy Blast Frappe. It is similar to a Reese’s ice cream in a cup. Frappes are a type of frozen beverage blended with ice and other various ingredients.

You can have the option of a whipped cream topping, but what is a frappe without whipped cream! Might as well add the extra sweetness to the Candy Blast Frappe for a more flavorful dink. It is considered a summer drink. Therefore it is no longer listed on the holiday menu. Only the regulars still know they exist throughout the seasons.

A cold drink might not be a great time for this breezy winter. Mint hot chocolate is beyond amazing at Joe Muggs. If you have a sweet tooth and are not a fan of thick cocoa, then their hot chocolate is the one for you.

Personally, this is my favorite hot cocoa. It tastes like it was home made. When your drink is made, you will find a surprise delicious chocolate placed on top of the whipped cream.

They make the temperature just right to drink. There will be no burning on the tongue or too cold/warm that it is unpalatable to drink. Once you reach the last couple sips of the hot chocolate you will find the leftover chocolate at the bottom of the cup; which make it an astonishing finale to your drink.

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Oh, Mead! Oh, My!

 

Oh, Mead, Oh, My, indeed.

 

My new favorite, in fact.

 

I must admit, I was apprehensive about trying mead. Based on the name, “mead,” I was expecting a thick, mealy, alcoholic concoction of who knows what. I would often refuse opportunities to try it, sticking with a comfortable pint of whatever delicious draft the establishment offered.

 

Boy, was this a mistake.

 

Apprehensively, I gave it a try.

 

All of my preconceived notions were far from correct. (Why I didn’t just Google the stuff is beyond me.) It is a pale-to-yellow gold tinted, translucent, sweet drink.

 

All those glasses wasted on not-mead. I regret.

 

Mead is sweet nectar that is made of water and fermented honey. Comparable to many other beverages, yet unique in its’ own right. It’s alcohol content can vary from that similar to beer to something as strong as brandy.

 

According to beer100.com, the history of mead may date back more than 8,000 years, and predates the creation of wine.

 

So I wonder, why there aren’t more meaderies?!

 

Recently, I visited Maine Mead Works, (51 Washington Ave, Portland, ME) a small place that I had passed a few hundred times, never thinking to stop in.

Another mistake.

 

The company made residence in this garage-front warehouse in 2007, and transformed it into an industrial-chic space where you can taste what they create in the back. Upon walking in, you face the tasting bar, and in my case, the smiley girl standing behind it. Shelves are well stocked with different varieties of their meads. Blood orange walls, area rugs, and string lights add a warm and comfy feeling to this building made of mostly metal and concrete.

 

Beside the tasting room is an additional room, containing a second bar and beautiful wooden picnic tables. Leah (our tasting guide) informed us that this room is used for events and during the summer it is filled with (I’m assuming, only the hippest of) their neighbors.

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My friend and I sat down at the bar, and we were given a list of the 7 meads we were about to try. Leah was knowledgeable about the meads, and was happy to describe and discuss them.  From their HoneyMaker line we tried the Dry, Blueberry, Semi Sweet, Lavender and Apple Cyser, and from their Ram Island Line, the Lavender Lemonade, and the Chai Mead.

The Ram Island meads are carbonated in the bottle.

 

I enjoyed every glass, but if I HAD to choose my favorite(s), it would be the Lavender, and the Chai. The lavender would be great in the summer as it is sweet with (very) strong floral notes. The chai mead, bursting with aromatic cinnamon, cardamom and clove, would be great in the fall.

My friend also had a few different favorites. (The blueberry and the semi-sweet)

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Once we were done tasting, Leah walked us through the meadery.

 

A single room contained the entire process from beginning to bottle. First, water and wildflower honey are combined and heated. Then comes the fermentation process. They use a technique developed by a doctor in South Africa named Dr. Garth Cambray. Maine Mead Works is the only producer of mead to use this continuous method of fermentation aside from Dr. Cambray himself.

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Then the mead runs into giant containers where any special flavors are added. Then any particles are removed from the mixture, making it perfectly smooth. Then the mead is bottled and every bottle is labeled by hand.

 

Their process ensures that their HoneyMaker mead has an abv of about 12.5%.

 

Maine Mead Works’ tasting room is open Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm and Sundays 12pm-5pm, and the offer complimentary tours Monday-Saturday at 11:30am and 3pm.

 

I HIGHLY suggest you take the time to visit.

 

Maine Mead works is a strong front-runner for my choice producer of Maine-made beverages.

#visitmeinmaine #mead #mainemeadworks #maine #mainebeverages #mainebrewery #mainebeer #mainewine #mainemead #meadery #foodandwine #wine #beer #mainebeverage #beverages

 

 

Publick House

I went to the Publick House expecting a high class restaurant and surprisingly it wasn’t. It’s located right on Main Street in Springvale Maine. When  I walked in I was astonished by the fact that there was a bar because it seemed like a small restaurant, but I found out that they also own the building attached to it. It was very clean inside and it was packed with people everywhere. imgres.jpg

For decor they have wooden table with a wooden bar. They also have tv’s wall mounted around the restaurant. The room was kind of noisy but not loud enough to distract you. They  serve some of their food in baskets and some of the food on plates. I ordered a chicken sandwich and it was one of the best that I’ve ever had. It was juicy and tender and I got a side of fries with it and they were hand cut and delicious. I was surprised I was expecting to eat bar food but the food here was actually good.

Their prices are surprisingly afford able I went with my dad,mom,and sister and the price came to around $50.00 for what. My Dad had a burger with fries, my mom had panini, and my sister the mac & cheese and everybody said that the food was delicious. By far I think that they are one of the best and affordable places to eat in the springvale-sanford area. What made me feel it was high class was the taste of the food. The way the food tasted was above what I expected.

#food, #yummy

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It’s called Sip of Europe

Do you ever imagine yourself in France, Spain, Italy, or any country in Europe? Well it is difficult to picture that image if you have never been there. There is a cafe called Sip of Europe that is located on Congress Street.

image1.JPGWith just one sip of their astonishing drink will take you to Europe! It is a small cafe that is decorated with pictures that captivates you into the imagination of the European style.

What To Try:

Coffee Glace: This is a latte. Lattes have espressos instead of coffee beans. Espressos are finer type of coffee grind. What is unique about the Coffee Glace is that  it has vanilla bean ice cream placed into your drink.

You can also choose chocolate ice cream instead. I have never imagine putting ice cream in coffee before. Espresso by itself is quit bitter with out any cream. The ice cream is a substitute for the cream.

It makes the espresso cooler to drink right away and it does not taste as strong. The ice cream make it a good balance between the two that sits itself on top of your tongue delicately. 

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Hot Chocolate: There are two types of hot chocolate. There is the original that everyone certainly have drank before. The second option is the European hot chocolate style and you can decided to add spice in your drink.

I know right! Spice in your hot chocolate sure does sound interesting. It is a fresh new flavor that everyone should at less try once. If you love chocolate than the European hot chocolate version is for you. It is a thick, intense coco that makes you think of thick chocolate moose cake.

Who does not love cake? But adding spice to the darkness of the drink feels like the whole world has been flipped. You can taste the richness of the chocolate with the spice that seems like the flavor is doing the Piva dance on your tongue.

The dancer uses there feet as if they are “hooping and kicking”  around the dance floor and that is what the spice does when it is added into the chocolate; it give the flavor a kick. As you swallow it you can feel the spice in your throat. It is a uniq taste that make you either like it or you don’t but it is something fun to give a try.

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Fall in Love with Pumpkinhead (again)

 

Mainers know that Fall means L.L. Bean flannel and Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead.

The release of this seasonal brew is especially anticipated throughout Maine, though Shipyard beers are distributed throughout almost all 50 states.

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Photo courtesy of http://beerpulse.com/2012/09/shipyard-pumpkinhead-cans-hit-the-market-beginning-next-week/

Pumpkinhead was first brewed in 1996, but was not bottled until 2002. It is a pale wheat ale, that sports the perfect, subtly spiced flavor that we all crave in the fall. It’s golden in color, and smooth on the tongue. With an ABV of 4.5%, and a IBUS (International Bitterness Unit Scale) of only 18, this malty beer is very drinkable.

For more about Shipyard and Pumpkinhead, check out Shipyard’s website.

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We are nearing the end of fall. The leaf-peepers are headed home, and Pumpkinhead is almost out-of-season.

By this point in the season, I feel like I have had enough pumpkin to turn me orange.

[I write as I shovel in bite after bite of pumpkin pie]

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Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com

But autumn is not over and I am not yet ready to say goodbye to this seasonal brew.

Luckily, Shipyard gave me 15 ways to fall (oh, puns!) in love with this beer again.

Beer cocktails are rising in popularity as mixologists are getting more creative and adventurous in their art. Shipyard’s website offers a list of cocktails to make with your Pumpkinhead.

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I decided to try the Capt’n Pumpkinhead, the Southern Pumpkin, the Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie, the Sleepy Hollow, and the Orange Pumpkin Shandy.

Full disclaimer: All were delicious.

Capt’n Pumpkinhead is probably the most commonly known of the beer cocktails listed; a pint of Pumpkinhead with a shot of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum. While I am not the biggest fan of spiced rum, I can understand why this is a fall favorite for some. It is sharp, and crisp. I suggest you rim your glass with cinnamon sugar if you like the spicy flavors, or honey if you want something sweet to lessen the zesty blow.

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While the rum is nice, is there a really a better way to usher in the cold than with whiskey? The Southern Pumpkin is a warming but refreshing combination of a pint of Pumpkinhead and a shot of Southern Comfort. Simple enough, and definitely tasty enough. This cocktail is similar in body to the Capt’n Pumpkinhead, but different in its flavor profile. The beer’s fruity notes are pulled through by Southern Comfort’s cherry-like flavor.

The Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie was absolutely delightful. Rim your glass with caramel (you’ll thank me later). Pour a pint of Pumpkinhead and add a shot of butterscotch schnapps. Talk about smooth! The butterscotch flavor illuminates the malty flavor of this beer. It was even easier for me to drink than the Southern Pumpkin, almost too easy.

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The Sleepy Hollow combines two of the best parts of the season, Pumpkinhead and apple cider. This drink is both sweet and complex. It is flavorful without being overwhelming. If you want something with an extra kick, use a hard cider, preferably a local. Try Mainiac Mac or Mainiac Gold by Ricker’s Hard Cider, in Turner, ME.

You can find their retail locations here.

Downeast Cider out of Boston, MA is also a good cider to use as it is unfiltered, giving it a similar body to a traditional apple cider.

[Side note, see the bottom of the page for a great hard cider cocktail recipe]

After reading about “Beermosas” online, I decided to try something new for Sunday brunch. The Orange Pumpkin Shandy was certainly different. With equal parts Pumpkinhead and orange juice, the fruity mix almost makes you forget you’re drinking beer. The directions on Shipyard’s site say to rim the glass with an orange and to dip in a cinnamon sugar and pumpkin spice mixture. Unfortunately, I was not so fancy. I simply used water and cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon flavor adds a lot to this drink, I even sprinkled some right into the drink. Like mimosas, this drink is a great excuse for morning booze, and perfect for those who don’t like the bubbly.

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There are many recipes on the site that I didn’t try, including recipes for cupcakes, pancakespumpkin pie, and whoopie pies, all made with Pumpkinhead. There is even a recipe for “Pumpkin Pie Ala Mode,” Shipyard’s take on an ice cream float.

Bottoms up!

*Cognac Cider Spritzer-Mix 12oz hard cider, preferably cranberry flavor like Ricker’s Mainiac Gold with Cranberry or Downeast Cranberry Cider, (or use a regular hard cider, with a splash of cranberry juice), with a shot of cognac (I use Hennessy), and a couple dashes of bitters (I used orange)


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#beer #beercocktails #Pumpkinhead #Shipyard #ShipyardBrewingCompany #Pumpkinbeer #pumpkinale #craftbeer #autumncocktails #autumnbeer #fallbeer #fallbeercocktails #Maine #Mainebeer #Maine #Maine Beer #VisitmeinMaine #BeerandWine #Beverages #Drinks #Brewery #Craftbeer #brewery #

Eve’s at the garden

Portland Maine has vast and new experiences every single time you go to a new restaurant. Portland has 536 restaurants and every single one is different. One that I’m going to talk about is Eve’s at the garden it’s located inside of the Portland Harbor Hotel.

       It has some astounding reviews. Their decor is very high class with comfy seats all the way to a high class bar with most table seat with eight tops it would make a perfect place to rent out and have a meeting just be prepared to pay a pretty penny where the average price per meal is $15-30 per item. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A good recommendation would be the seasonal seafood omelette just because it’s so different how often do you see seafood for breakfast. I myself am not a fish fan so I couldn’t tell you what it tastes like but i’ve read a lot of reviews and the all said that it was delicious.

       Unlike my last review this place is good for families and children so if you have kids or young brothers and sisters. Executive chef Tim Labonte is the one that creates the magic and he visits the farmer’s market every time he has the opportunity to use fresh vegetables and seafood. The service there is probably the best around fast, efficient and very diligent hard workers. Next time you’re around Portland take a stop in and eat some good food.

#gourmet, #cuisine

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“CellarDoor at the point” – A Great Experience Worth A Visit

 

“CellarDoor at the point” – A Great Experience Worth A Visit

Maine’s wine tasting scene has come along way now that wineries can operate their own tasting rooms to the public. Cellar Door winery in Portland is no exception and it certain to provide a great tasting experience to those that have experienced more established wineries around the world or the novice trying to gain a bit of knowledge.

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The “CellarDoor at the point” tasting room is a 5,000 square foot facility that anchors a renovated industrial building on Thompson’s Point and mixes industrial surfaces with bright, sleek, modern finishes that would be right at home in a trendy Manhattan or Parisian neighborhood, where the weary can stop in and try a few samples of the companies latest wines or even make it a party with a few hundred friends in their trendy back room lounge/tasting room/event space. Bold colored seating and oversized chandeliers give the space a sense of warmth without making you feel lost in the large space, and invite you to stay a bit longer than you intended.

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CellarDoors’ sampling selection is extensive with 17 varietals consisting of whites, reds, deserts and even sparkling wines. With a very modest price point for the tasting, $8.00, a trip to the tasting room is an easy way to find a great wine without the buyers remorse you sometimes find when you select an unknown varietal from your local retailer. And with the choices available, you’ll definitely find something for every pallet.

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And have no fear if you’re a novice when it comes to grapes and wine. The staff is top notch when it comes to providing even the most detailed information about their wines. The tasting specialists, in addition to their love of wine, receive extensive training to develop the knowledge of their products to help customers select just the right wine. Weather it’s the subtle flavors of fruits or oak, or recommendations on what to pair your selection with, you’re sure to impress your dinner guests with a great wine and your new-found knowledge.

But CellarDoor doesn’t stop there. If you’re in the market for that special cheese plate, wine glass or edible that just isn’t available in your local box store that caters to everyone on your street, CellarDoor has it in their trendy shop, and even better is that you don’t find the prices that you would expect from an independent retail wine establishment.

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I do however have one complaint. For those of you unfamiliar with tasting events, it’s important to cleanse your pallet (kinda seterilize your taste buds) between samplings. Cellar Door does this with offering an “oyster cracker” kind of chewable. The problem, is that it’s like eating a dog bisket; hard and dry, and after eating a few of those you feel like you need a full glass of wine to wash it down with – perhaps that’s the point though.

All-in-all though, a great experience and worth the $8.00 investment for those looking to get away for a couple house and try some great wines and experience Maine’s emerging wine scene. It’s tasting room is open Wed-Sat, 12-7PM, Sun 12-5PM, and Mon-Tue by appointment.

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