Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coffee with Dead Guys

 Although we have lived in Bangor for exactly a month, we have rarely visited downtown Bangor. Determined to get to know this other part of town, Christopher and I breakfasted there this morning.
Our first stop was at Giacomo’s. The restaurant is mostly known for its paninis and pizzas, however they also offer a small selection of breakfast sandwiched and coffees. Christopher had an “Almost Monte Cristo” with a vanilla latte while I had a “Basic Breakfast Sandwich” with a chocolate mocha. The sandwiches were excellent, Christopher’s latte in particular was very good and WHY THE HECK IS A DEAD PERSON STARING AT ME?!?
 In the 1930’s the Bangor police caught and killed an Indiana trio of criminals. Giacomo’s, being particularly sensitive to this aspect of Bangor history, memorializes the event with a rather gruesome painting. My disclaimer for this restaurant would be the following: if you have small, easily frightened children, you should probably order take-out and devour the delicious sandwiches at home.
Rated PG-13

After breakfast we browsed through The Briar Patch, a children’s bookstore. I was pretty impressed with the collection offered at the store. There was even a small section of adult books by Maine authors.

We then trudged through the rain and explored the various parks that dot the downtown area. Many of the buildings that were burned down in the early twentieth-century have been replaced with these small commons.  If you are interested in local history like me, you will be delighted by the number of war memorials, cannons, and statues dedicated to famous Maine figures such as Samuel de Champlain and Hannibal Hamlin.
What's up Champlain?
That is it for today! Homework has a hold on me.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Forests and Pubs

The weather has been perfectly crisp and autumnal the last two days. The weathermen have been threatening me with rain this coming weekend, so I dragged Christopher on a few adventures yesterday. After decorating our home with a few homemade autumn decorations and cooking a big Irish brunch, we hiked through Essex Woods.

Essex Woods is quite literally down the street from us. Little signs of autumn could be seen throughout the forest and bog. I cannot wait to hike through this forest during the other seasons too. I think this place will be equally beautiful in winter and spring as it is during my favorite season. 

Wild apples!

The beginnings of autumn foliage
By the bog
After class we checked out a little sliver of a pub in downtown Bangor call Paddy Murphy’s. I ordered a Smithwick’s and hamburger while Christopher had a beer similar to Guinness and a beef stew. If you ever visit this pub, only bring one other person with you. The pub is tiny and you seat yourself. Even the bar is pretty small and only seats about ten drunk, squished people. The food was good, but the beer was only so-so. I am no beer aficionado, but I do think there is an art to pouring a beer just right. Whatever that art is, our waitress had yet to master it. The music was great though! A live jazz quartet was playing through the night. Not the typical band you would expect to find in an Irish pub, but Christopher and I liked it. If you choose to patronize Paddy Murphy’s, here is my advice: only bring one other partner in crime and order something bottled.
Going to class...and then a date!
More adventures to come soon! Weather permitting; I have another one up my sleeve this weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn is a Creeper

Autumn is slowly but steadily creeping upon Maine. This will be my first true autumn. September through November is what most Californians refer to as “fire season” (literally not poetically). I have been waiting to see a New England autumn since I was about nine years of age. 

The leaves are beginning to ever so slightly change colors. The tree in my front yard is stubbornly green.  A few of the smaller, thinner trees have changing leaves on the end of their branches. I love the almost ombré effect that has been created.  Several of the trees are quite green in the middle and gradually become more yellow, orange and red as the branches extend outward. Even though autumn is not quite yet in full swing, this transitional period is quite beautiful.

I also made an autumn wreath. I am trying to not over-decorate our house, but it is hard to resist!

What other states are witnessing the beginnings of autumn?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pulled Pork Gets a College Degree

Christopher and I have attempted to expand our culinary skills these past two week. Our taste buds crave the novel and adventurous, our palates desire only the finest and…ok, I will be honest, homemade meals are a heck of a lot cheaper and better than fast food.
I love pulled pork. I do not think I could ever become a vegetarian based off of that fact alone. The following recipe has been floating around the Pinterest world for quite some, but I found the recipe specifically here. So here is Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin or as Christopher referred to as Pulled Pork Gets a College Degree (with a few Brittany modifications denoted by parenthesis and highlighting). Unfortunately I did not have my own picture so I borrowed one from here. I can truly attest however that the picture is a true representation

Serves 6-8
2 pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of large fat pockets (we are making  glazed pork not bacon people!)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed (crushed works better)
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1.      In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the spices all over the roast. (I used a little more pepper-3/4 to one teaspoon- and less garlic. I think it balanced the flavors more. Garlic has the tendency of overwhelming everything)
2.      Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and pour in the 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. (I would suggest 6 ½ to 7 hours unless you are slow cooking a thick cut of meat)
3.      Near the end of the cooking time for the roast, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil (I added a little more brown sugar. I am a bit of a brown sugar addict)
4.      Reduce and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
5.      Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred and place on a platter or plate. Drizzle the glaze over the pork and serve (and unceremoniously devour like a viking)
Now stop reading and go cook!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Work, Homework, Work, Homework

Once again this week has been a wild one and not the Jerry Lee Lewis-kind. I think I should begin this post by saying that both Christopher and I were hired by a bookstore! The bookstore is very similar to Barnes and Noble, but personally I think there is a friendlier vibe. The café also makes a mean caramel macchiato.

Because we spent the weekend training and then the subsequent days were stuffed with non-stop homework, there have not been too many shenanigans. Autumn is in the air however, and this makes me itch to go on an adventure.

Well it is time for me to get back to my homework! Here are some pictures of what my life consisted of besides work and studying.

Is this not the frilliest apron you have ever seen?
Nothing says New England like...

My quest for antique books continues!
See you soon!