Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm baaa-aaaack...Part 2.

So as I was saying - I'm going to try and diversify my posts here on Effing D so that they're not all just a recipe and my (admittedly clever) thoughts about my experience with said recipe. There will definitely be a lot of those posts...but my goal is to switch it up, and this is my first "other" kind of post.


I wanted to share some splendid things I've eaten over the past few months, both close by and far away. One delicious destination that springs to mind is Chicago. We walked for miles, looked at art and architecture and dinosaur bones until our eyes were bleary, and spent time with great friends, for a few beautiful blustery blue-skied days. 


the bean
Me reflected in Kapoor's 'Bean' - Chicago is a mecca for public sculpture.


One of the great places we dined was Handlebar - it's the kind of place that makes you be able to picture just how it would be if you decided to move to the area. Small and unique with an awesome beer selection - casual but with thoughtful creative food. I especially loved these outstanding fried dill pickles. Exquisite.


fried pickles in chi-town


Another great adventure we had this summer was to Acadia National Park, on Mt. Desert Island in Maine. It is an amazing place - not sure how I went all this time without going there but I'm so glad I finally did! We hiked, biked, swam in the very cold ocean and gazed at some of the most incredible stars I've ever seen, while lying on cliffs listening to the waves crash beneath us.


Acadia


We also did a lot of great camp cooking on our trip - it's true that everything really does taste better outdoors.


hotdoggles


One very notable meal we had while enjoying our exploration of the island on bikes, on an extremely hot day, was at the Jordan Pond Tea House. Yes, there's a tea room in the middle of this wild national park. And it's a good thing too, because I think these decadent popovers and icy cold strawberry lemonades actually saved our lives that day. It was *that* hot. 


popovers to save us from death - Acadia


We also enjoyed some great food closer to home. The annual Island Creek Oyster Fest happened in September in Duxbury, MA, as it always does to help us usher out summer. This year the oysters were as fresh and delectable as ever, and I tried octopus for the first time. Can't believe how much I've been missing all these years! I enjoyed it thoroughly, tentacles and all.


ICOF!


wine


kitchen at o-fest


oysters!




As September progressed we moved from oysters to apples. We tromped through Mack's orchard in New Hampshire collecting Cortland and Macintosh, Honey Crisp and my very favorite tiny perfect Gala apples.




Some apples met this kind of fate...

apple cake

But others that we encountered out in Rutland, MA on a friend's farm became another kind of seasonal delicacy altogether.




cider press


The cider we drank straight from the spigot that day was so completely perfect - like the entirety of autumn in a glass. It made all the hard work on that unseasonably warm day, deflecting interested bees and yellow jackets as we chopped, ground, pressed and poured, so completely worth it.


We didn't just rely on other peoples' farming skills this summer/fall either - we also had a small garden of our own. It wasn't a great yield for us this year, and I'm still unsure why. But one of our successes was these gorgeous carrots. They were amazing both raw and roasted - we pulled them a few at a time and the last once I grabbed a week or so ago were so very sweet from staying in the ground until it got chilly.




This post has taken us all over the place - Chicago, Acadia, Duxbury, Mack's, and even my own back yard. I think that's what I was missing before - there are so many food adventures to get excited about outside my kitchen, and so much more to discover and write about. More coming soon as Thanksgiving rolls around!

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