Portland Pie Pizza

The vacation of eating continues! Seriously, Portland ME is a foodie mecca (donuts & duckfat fries). I really hoped we’d make it to Portland Pie and it was everything I dreamed of. I buy their refrigerated pizza dough at the grocery store and love it. It is the best, hands down. It worked out to be a great dinner option for the last night we were in town.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

I was really torn as to what I was in the mood for. Their fall specials looked amazing. I might need to recreate one of their fall dishes. There was a mustard/sauerkraut/bratwurst/pumpkin ale pizza that sounded amazing. I also was intrigued by a maple balsamic dressing for salad.

We got an app (even though Mr. J was all about the pumpkin cheesecake for dessert). I knew after all our eating we could not eat an app, pizza, and dessert. Way. too. much.

We chose the sweet potato smoked cheddar dip with rosemary biscotti.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

They were working the kinks out on this one. We actually sent it back to be reheated. The breadbowl it was in was nicely warmed, the cheddar on top of the dip was melted, but the dip was cold. It wasn’t just “not piping hot” but it was cold. We neverrr send stuff back but this was meant to be warm. It then took forever. Other tables got their salads, drink refills, salads cleared and pizza served while we waited.

The kitchen wasn’t sure the best way to reheat it while maintaining the dip. I wanted to cancel it but our server was a bit MIA. She returned telling us it would be ready when the pizza was and the kitchen made a new app. I really would have just cancelled it or they could have offered to take it off the bill. Instead they offered us dessert. That made Mr. J one happy guy.

Our server thought it would be ready when the pizza was so we asked for whatever was ready to come out. I didn’t want the pizza sitting to stay warm. I’m not sure it was worth all the hype for all of this process, but it was good. Smoked gouda would have been better.

We ordered 2 pizzas so there’d be some leftovers to take home for the next day. We got one Bar Harbor which was super exciting now that Mr. J eats scallops! Woohoo! It was scallops, bacon, mozzarella with alfredo sauce. It was amazing. The scallops were cooked nicely and every bite was flavorful. The topping to crust ratio was spot on.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

The other pizza we got was called Dead River. It was red sauce and had spinach, red peppers, ricotta, and we swapped out hamburger for sausage. It is finished with garlic and crushed red pepper. Some bites definitely have a kick to them. I liked this one a lot and it was a great contrast to the sweet & smokey scallop pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

One of my favorite things that happened was just too funny. For some reason our server didn’t seem sure that we were together. She packed the dessert to go as separate containers and asked if we each wanted some of each pizza packed up. I was so amused since we were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary weekend!

I love their menu. I wish there was a Portland Pie near me! I’d be happy to drink the delicious local-to-Maine brews and dine on their expansive menu if they wanted to come further south!
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

Duckfat Fries in Maine

On our lovely getaway to Portland, ME, I knew we had to go to Duckfat. Everything else was negotiable. I just couldn’t be in a town with french fries that are fried in duckfat and not try them. This trip was definitely a culinary adventure and why yes, we did enjoy donuts then duckfat fries on the same day, thanks for asking! I’m not saying it was a healthy trip, but we did walk a lot, and swim daily and I view vacation just like your birthday, you can do whatever you want when on vacation!

Back to the duckfat fries.
The Three Bite Rule - Duckfat Maine

We ambled up to Duckfat at about 2:30pm on a Sunday. There was only a short wait, but literally people are munching here all the time. I was so busy peering at everyone’s food that I almost didn’t notice they were trying to seat us inside. Ohh no. There were 2 open spots outside so we asked to be there. You wouldn’t have the glorious sunlit photos to enjoy if we were inside…though there is fun magnetic poetry as backspash against the high top tables.
The Three Bite Rule - Duckfat Maine

Mr. J and I were not exactly starving after feasting on donuts that morning but this was a mission we were happy to accept. The menu is a bit pricy but we stayed focused and made great choices. By pricey, I mean $9 sandwiches that don’t come with a side or $8 salad without a protein. I didn’t feel like we were there for the sandwiches anyway so onward we went.

We split everything and ordered:
Corn Chowder with Bacon – delicious. Not too heavy but definitely had a chowdery appropriate thickness.
The Three Bite Rule - Duckfat Maine

Blueberry Buttermilk Milkshake – bright and buttery. This was calling to Mr. J and he loved it. I liked it, but saved myself more so for the chowder and fries.
The Three Bite Rule - Duckfat Maine
The fries – decadent. They weren’t distinctly duck flavored but they were richer than any fries I’ve ever had. We chose a roasted tomato aioli as our dipping sauce which was great. They were perfectly soft inside and crispy on the outside.
The Three Bite Rule - Duckfat Maine I loved it.

Sauce

More vacation fun! I wanted to get this amazing meal recap out before I spill the beans of my next vacays scheduled! :D You can check out what else I loved eating on vacation here.

I eat at this restaurant (Sauce) every year when I travel to San Fran for work and I fell in love the first time. They had me at mushroom jenga.
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Sauce serves this ap of lightly breaded mushroom “fries” stacked like jenga or lincoln logs. It comes with ranch dipping sauce. Even people who don’t like mushrooms like these.

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After another crazy-filled day of sightseeing Mr. J and I were starving (as in this was the day we didn’t have Ghirardelli sundaes for lunch). We also had endured a somewhat impromptu hike. I don’t mean the regular crazy hills, I mean up the side of a peak.

I mentioned this spot and the menu caught Mr. J’s eye too. Sold! It was near our hotel and I was pretty jazzed at the prospect of splitting a bunch of small plates.

Needless to say, I got the portabello fries. Mr. J got bacon wrapped mini meatloaves served on mashed potatoes with gravy. What a fun idea for a potluck or dinner party?! Then we split everything else. Put your fat pants on, there was a lot of food.
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We got Dungeness crab rangoons. It was pretty much all crab, no filler. Swoon. They were really good. I kind of changed my tune when we calculated the cost per Rangoon. Whatever, we were on vacation.
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Next up was a side of Mac & Cheese. It was baked with a delightful cheese and cracker topping. I’m pretty sure the deliciousness came from a good quantity of butter.
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And then the server asked us about dessert. Mr. J felt like we had to get the mini doughnut holes with vanilla bourbon dipping sauce. I wasn’t impressed with them earlier in the week because they weren’t warm and soft. Same story this time. Womp womp. We did a good job at them nonetheless.
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I was really interested in the PB&J cake with strawberry perserves, chunky peanut butter layer, and vanilla ice cream center.
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That’s when it went downhill. There was a sampler and we went for it. You can see above that it had the doughnuts, the PB&J cake. It also came with rum raisin cookie dough ice cream sandwiches.
cookie dough ice cream sandwich
They put some strawberries dipped in whipped cream and brown sugar on for good measure too. Why? Probably because these are full servings and intended for 4 people.

Mr. J was adamant that we finish. We were laughing so hard about how stuffed we were that we gave it a good shot but it was a doozy. I had a serious case of the giggles and Mr. J was doing some Lamaze breathing. Our waitress kind of thought we were insane.

It was such a fun meal. I kind of love the last night of vacation. Do you? I means it is almost time to go home and by the end I’m ready. It was such a fun dinner of sharing and there was PLENTY of food. Mr. J and I truly got to just enjoy ourselves and relish the moments.

source: Sauce

Best Fries of My Life

Want to hear all about my vacay? Ok, great!

I feel like I’ve been traveling non-stop for work. Luckily, I get to go to pretty great places (love Chicago, and San Fran x2) but it definitely makes me focused on maintaining my everyday life when I am home (seeing my people, going to the gym, cooking real food, blogging, etc).

As much as I was tiring of living out of my suitcase every other week, I stayed after one of my trips and Mr. J came to meet me. I was really tempted to opt for a more relaxed getaway but I do truly love San Fran and I was psyched to share it with Mr. J for the first time.

You might think that spending time in a city I’ve been to about 5x might be relaxing, but he and I are like sightseers on speed. We literally race around a city to see all the sites, learn the history, do as the locals do, all while capturing the best photography light (for him) and eating fun local finds (for me- as seen here) . This is precisely why our honeymoon cruise through Europe was so appealing to mix up the relaxing I-don’t-have-to-think (as in I’ll just show up for dinner after lounging by the pool) with how-to-see-Rome-in-a-day.

I have a few meals to share with you from this trip. They are actually both restaurants I’ve been to before. I know that might not seem exciting, but I’m telling you. After running up & down hills for about 7 hours a day without stopping for lunch meant that by dinner time we were starved and trying to regroup after a busy day. Even I don’t want to browse reviews and price ranges at that point. Our hotel did have homemade cookies all the time and that’s quite the treat when choosing a dinner location ;)

With that long winded recap, I give you Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen!
Jasper's
I ate here after working a 24-hour event. We work for a million hours through the night, sleep for a few hours then everyone is up and ready for food. A group of us ended up here and I thought it was just so charming. They have this crazy-good side of brussels sprouts pedals with bacon and filberts…sooo good and definitely I want to attempt to recreate. This time I brought Mr. J back and he loved it too.

I was sad that they don’t have a veggie, turkey, or chicken burger since I can’t eat red meat, but I do get that chefs are sometimes quite against fake-burgers. It’s not really a burger-joint per se, but that’s what I had in mind. I did 100% get on board with a grilled cheese with pork belly.
Jaspers Pork Belly Grilled Cheese
Seriously best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. It was perfectly grilled on some quality bread. This was a substantial sandwich served piping hot. There’s not much worse than a limp, tepid grilled cheese. I liked the tomato and onion relish on a few bites too.

Mr. J got the “J Burger” how appropriate?! It had blue cheese, bacon onion marmalade…after that topping, need I say more? I’m sure it tasted better than my fuzzy-low-light photo makes it look!
Jasper's burger
Now, one of the best parts: the fries. This restaurant has a French. Fry. menu. The fries are seriously good enough to deserve their own menu. We splurged and got a side of fries to share in addition to the fries that came with his burger.
Jasper's fries
We had the regular thin fries and thick cut truffle parmesan. I was so impressed that Jasper’s really knows what they are doing with the fries and does it really well. These suckers are seriously addicting. I couldn’t stop reaching for more.

Needless to say we were wayyy too stuffed for any dessert. I learned a lot about their desserts from an obnoxiously loud table nearby who our sweet server humored and unfortunately the owner seemed to dote on. Chocolate cake with toffee ice cream dipped in chocolate does sound delicious now though.

Our server was from MA too and was so full of personality. She was great and I was FLOORED that she remembered the work group when I mentioned I’d been there a month ago. She remembered where we had been sitting. This gal was so great, attentive, and made us feel at home. Speaking of feeling at home, the fries didn’t hurt either.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Food Truck Fun

In honor of my Momma’s birthday I thought I should be sure to post something she’d think was fun and festive. Happy birthday Momma R!

Good thing we’re up on our social media at work because otherwise we wouldn’t have known Roxy’s Grilled Cheese food truck was in the neighborhood at work! It was a few weeks ago during that almost-spring not-really-still-winter and a walk down the street for a freshly made grilled cheese was JUST what was in order.

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I’ve watched the Great American Food Truck Race and loved the boys of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese from Boston. I really wanted them to win! I get faux-star struck and thought it was fun to see them in action.

I got the Mac & Chorizo. Grilled cheese with mac & cheese and chorizo…how can you go wrong? I was tempted by the truffle fries but abstained. I was glad I did once I saw the size and heft to my sandwich.
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It was really good, very gooey, and buttery. I think I would have liked more varied textures. The bread really held up to the fillings but it was too soft and gooey.
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I should have gotten the Rookie Melt with cheddar and tomato. I just couldn’t go to the truck and not get the mac & cheese one. Now, I’ve tried it and can move on.

Happy Birthday to my Mum!

 

Old Stove

Antico Forno: this restaurant named for the “old stove” warmed my heart. I love the North End in Boston and I love improptu date nights even more! We had a deal gift certificate that was on the verge of expiring and it was such a treat to have such a fun dinner on a weeknight! Mr. J had heard their pizza was pretty authentically Neopolitan and ever since the honeymoon pizza he’s been as obsessed about pizza as I always have been!

We started by sharing a salad. It was awesome and plenty to share. It had field greens, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, grilled zucchini stuffed with goat cheese, and a crispy flat bread…kind of like flattened focaccia.
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I can take or leave goat cheese so I didn’t think the zucchini needed to be stuffed with it since it was crumbled on top too, but the salad was good. The zucchini was a great addition to make this salad a bit more special.

Then we split 2 pizzas…and took a lot home. I blame the addicting flattened focaccia for filling us up.

We got one margahrita. We had to compare it to pizzas of Italy.
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The other was called Vesuvio. This pizza had homemade mozzarella, roasted peppers, ricotta, tomatoes, and sliced prosciutto.
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Check out the good stuff under this to-die-for-pizza. The ricotta was sweet and creamy. The prosciutto was perfectly salty and not tough at all.
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We ended the evening with a race to the train. Literally. We began realizing that since we had hurried over there, we were actually ending the meal basically in time for the earlier train. The later train would mean we needed to kill some time with a drink or whatever.

Somehow we made it. We ran outside to cross the street and enthusiastically hailed a cab. Theoretically we shouldn’t have made it in time but the red lights our cab ran through became a blur and we were on our train home. Whew.

Boston Brunchers Benedict

What seems like forever ago, I went to a brunch hosted by the Boston Brunchers at Landsdowne Pub. I left in a food coma so maybe that’s what’s taken me so long to post this! Hope this brunch is just in time for the weekend.
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I arrived and was warmly welcomed as other attendees showed up. We had already perused the menu but began by ordering drinks. I had a coffee and a liquid caramel coffee that was delectable.
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Their breakfast menu had a good assortment of traditional brunch items…many of which had an Irish twist. The buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and Bailey’s whipped cream caught my eye. I think it was the booze in the whipped cream that had me at hello.
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I went with the crabcake benedict. It was so good and I was really glad I got something I wouldn’t be making at home.
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The crabcake was flavorful with big crab chunks- not completely filler. I might have liked the hollandaise to be more lemony but it was good, and rich. The eggs were cooked perfectly!
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A few folks at the table got the Lansdowne Pie (Irish Ham, eggs, potatoes, spinach onions and cheddar served w/ home fries). It looked even better than it sounded. It was piled high and stayed together. Yum.
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One of the best moments for me, besides the fun conversations, was that when the food arrived everyone at the table started snapping photos. There were no “pardon-while-I-reach-over-your-food-to-take-a-picture” moments. Everyone snapped away. There were even iphones for additional light. It was ahhhhmazing.
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Our server was a gem. Serving a group is never easy, especially since we ordered drinks every time she came back to check on us. What a trooper.

There was live music and they were ready to serve the crowds. I wouldn’t think of Fenway as an area to head to for brunch, but if you’re in that ‘hood, you should!

Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: Brunch was completely complimentary but my thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own.

As Southern as Fried Chicken

I went to Charleston, SC to celebrate my favorite sister’s 30th birthday. These posts are wayy overdue but you know how it is. One day it’s a beautiful early fall day and the next a turkey is on the table!
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I did my research before we went as in I perused menus and took a gander at historical sites. I actually included a list of foods we had to eat in the south including: fried chicken, fried pickles, grits, fried green tomatoes, dirty rice, and bbq. I have to say we did a pretty good job.For her birthday we enjoyed a totally memorable meal of fried chicken. Finger lickin’ good. We went to Jestine’s Kitchen and loved every bite.

They brought some homemade pickles to get us started. Yum! Totally tart and crunchy. I love when people give me pickles!
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Then we got an order of corn fritters. They were more filler than corn but they were good…especially with the spicy compote.
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I got the fried chicken basket which meant I got 2 pieces of chicken, a side, and slaw. I chose fried okra because fried + fried = delicious. It was so good! I’ve only ever had pickled okra but even that is rare and not something you see in the north.
jestines_chick_basket_590_390This was the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

Sis got the fried chicken plate with collards and mac & cheese. It was all really good and was wayyy too much.
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The atmosphere was really nice. I liked how casual it was. It felt homey and friendly. There was a line around the corner when we left.Pssst! I have some tastes of the south coming up as well so stay tuned!

Blue Ribbon Wins In My Book

Mr. J and I squeaked in on cashing a discount deal we’d purchased to Blue Ribbon Barbecue and loved it! We went the last night before it expired and saw a few other with the deal in line behind us too.Blue Ribbon has 2 locations and I realized I’d been to the Newton, MA one way back when with my sis. Mr. J and I went to the Arlington one.
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I got pulled pork, collard greens, cole slaw, and I couldn’t resist a side of corn bread. I love pulled pork.
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The pulled pork was super tender and just begging for one of their many sauces. I couldn’t get over the collards. Sometimes they’re severely overcooked but they were fresh and leafy. I think they cook them with a ham hock…as if there’s any other way.
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I liked the cole slaw, but wasn’t wowed. Same with the corn bread. The corn bread was very crumbly, as it should be, but I thought it was too dry.
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Mr. J got ribs, baked beans, cole slaw. He liked everything and had been there before.
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They do catering and take out but we plopped down with our plates along their window counter. The outside seats were full since the season to eat outside was nearing an end.

Dare I say it? I think I like Blue Ribbon Barbecue BETTER than Red Bones. I’m not sure but it might be so.

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Birthplace of Pizza

My honeymoon was simply amazing. Beyond words. We saw some really amazing sites in Italy and Spain and definitely have memories for a lifetime. I loved Barcelona and Florence. They were my favorites. I had such high hopes for Naples and wasn’t a big fan. It’s quite smelly and loud. I just hoped to see a charming town not infiltrated with tourists where we could wander, eat, and repeat.They’ve had a trash problem. It doesn’t explain the lack of ladies hanging their laundry out windows and the guys hanging around pizzarias I was looking forward to. This image in my head wasn’t the case. I mean, this is the BIRTHPLACE OF PIZZA! I thought it had to be amazing!We did have the most delicious pizza I’ve ever tasted. I have to tell you that before I relay our crazy pizza adventure.
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We found this pizzaria called Pizzeria Pellone that Anthony Bourdain went to. The pizza is to die for, but I’m also thankful that we made it out without losing cameras, or fingers, to an intense owner. Seriously. He was very scary and did not at all appreciate us tourists in his restaurant. At all. This blog seemed to catch him on a good day?

Mr. J has serious camera equipment. Like paparazzi style with 2 bodies, multiple lenses, tripods strapped into a camera backpack which suggests he’s hiking across Europe. (Love you Mr. J!) He took the time to put one away into the bag and the other was strung across his chest before we went in. I had my camera in my purse so other than the camera bag, the guy wouldn’t have known I’m snap-happy around my food.
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This man stands guard at the front of the restaurant while his staff scurries around. We were seated in his direct view, by the door. He immediately came over and picked up Mr. J’s camera still strapped to him. This guy wasn’t having it. The other server said something in Italian and he finally backed off. Looking none to pleased. Mr. J remained calm while this guy practically manhandled his camera. Don’t mess with Mr. J’s dog or his camera.

I’m pretty sure they only answered me as to “where is the bathroom” because I asked in Italian.

We decided it best not to take any photos. It was that intense. We hadn’t even suggested that we would be taking photos. We ate the best pizza of our lives, finished our wine & beer and got out of there. Mr. J suggested we take the leftovers to go so at least we could get a photo outside. He’s always looking out for me.

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The bottom crust was so paper thin you’d never pick it up. The sauce was light and pink. It definitely didn’t have any herbs in it. The buffalo mozzarella was to-die-for. So good! Whole leafs of basil were crisped on top.

It was so filling. I don’t know how they each eat a whole one. We split one and didn’t finish it. I’ll remember the meal forever, and especially the pizza forever. I’ll try to recreate.