Double Wow! Eastern Trail + Palace Diner = Amazing!

Both of us had recently been suffering from a Running Slump.  My problem has been laziness boredom with the routes in our neighborhood, so we have decided to branch out for some destination runs.  Not far from us is the Eastern Trail down in York County.  It’s an old railroad line that has been converted to a running/biking/walking trail.  A couple of  major pluses are that it has loads of shady stretches which is a plus during July morning runs and it’s really flat terrain.


We are two weeks into some marathon training that schedules long runs on Sunday, but fortunately the long July 4th holiday allowed us to flip our excruciating long run (7 miler) to Monday morning.  That allowed us some annual Strawberry pickin’ and jammin’ on Sunday.

The newness of the trail for us has been invigorating and has rekindled some passion to log some miles.  It’s also nice to be off well traveled streets and enjoy some quietness other than good conversation which Katie proclaimed that I had to improve upon during our runs (sometimes I get in the zone and put on a thousand mile stare). Our long Monday run crossed three town lines and then this morning’s run gave us some adventures in Saco only.

I got a nice runner’s high from these runs, but the real reward was our post-workout trips to the Palace Diner in Biddeford.  All I can say is Wow!  We had been talking about going here for a couple years and all I can say is that I wish we went sooner! There was a wait to get in since it is counter service for about a dozen people, but they are nice to provide coffee service during your wait. On Monday, despite our 8:30am arrival, I ordered a hamburger and to quote the movie, Cocktail, “Beer is for Breakfast” a Coors Banquet Beer. The burger and fries were amazing and Katie ordered a breakfast sandwich that is beyond compare.  Jalapeños will definitely be a staple for our homemade breakfast sandwiches now.

Then this morning we dragged brought our younger son, Frank, for another Eastern Trail run (Frank did a walk) and Palace Diner adventure. I don’t usually like Tuna, but the Tuna Sandwich I had was pure ecstasy!  Frank ordered the Fried Chicken sandwich and it was Heaven.  Katie was unadventurous and went with the breakfast sandwich again and it still impressed.

Once again, Palace Diner impressed and I know it will be great motivation to run more sections of the Eastern Trail!

FYI: They are cash only for payment, but there is a Bangor Savings ATM nearby on Main Street.

See you on the road!


Errandonne 2017…A ride for some take out pizza from OTTO (Read Street)

Not really a breakfast run, but I did manage to squeeze in my first double digit run of the year after work today.  It had been a while, but I managed to run across to Falmouth on a mild March afternoon, although it was chilly on the way back.


Was pretty worn out after, but Katie convinced me to set out on our first Errandonnee 2017 Challenge event of the year to bring home dinner from OTTO Pizza on Read Street.  We’re no strangers to OTTO, in fact in my own unofficial ranking of Portland pizza, OTTO is on top (followed closely by Pizzaiolo and Portland’s newest, Tipo).

There was some chill to the night air, but we had a pleasant ride there.  We put in our order for a large cheese and small sausage with Vidalia Onion.  Otto has some fantastic speciality pizzas, but it is their basic pies that really sell me.  Our only concern about the order was securing them to our bike on the way home, but bungee cords did the trick.


We decided to order at door for the pizza rather than ordering ahead, so we would have an excuse to enjoy a libation or two while we waited it would be fresh and hot for the ride home.  At the bar we enjoyed a couple of local brews and I had an extra special treat of UFF dry cider (more on them in another post soon).  We also ordered the bruschetta appetizer, which was OK.  The balsamic had a nice flavor, but I prefer my tomatoes chopped smaller and the bread was a bit dry.  That did not stop us from eating all though since we earned the calories on our ride.


We made the ride home and like usual, the kids (and us) made sure there would be no pizza leftovers for lunch the next morning.  OTTO’s pizza continues to impress even when delivered by bike on a chilly March evening.

Saturday Tri…Run, Bike, Eat at Schulte & Herr

This winter has proved to be a tough one to run through.  After finally crawling out of bed we decided to get out and at least do a morning 5k.  Fortunately, our conversation about Katie running this year’s Boston Marathon carried us to 4.5 miles.  After a quick shower for Katie (I tend to go without until Sunday night), we set out on our bikes for Schulte & Herr.

Katie had the spaetzle (think the most amazing Mac&Cheese ever with Emmantaler) and I had the German Breakfast Plate. The ham and sausages were great although I did order some mustard to enhance the flavor.  A hard-boiled egg would’ve been a nice addition, but overall the breakfast was fantastic!

Coffeeneuring with Addie – Sinful Kitchen

Trip Number: 8
Where: The Sinful Kitchen, Portland, ME
Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016
Katie: Nitro Cold Brew
Addie: Hot Chocolate (and lemonade)
Mileage: 3.58 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Nope.  Nowhere to lock up.  To be fair, it’s on a busy street near a tricky intersection, so the restaurant probably isn’t really expecting a lot of bike traffic.

After our lackluster last two Coffeeneuring trips, I thought we’d better go big for our last one.  Addie was feeling really unmotivated for a long ride and could barely even be bribed for any ride with the idea of a delicious breakfast.  Luckily Sinful Kitchen is really close to us, and I was finally able to convince her (by promising she won’t have to do it again next year – I know she’ll change her mind by then).


It was really quite serendipitous that we ended up there.  During the week I was trying to figure out where we would go.  On top of that I’ve really been wanting to try Nitro Cold Brew.  I just happened to see a Facebook post from Sinful Kitchen that they had this cold brew, so I realized that would be our perfect last destination.

The cold brew was interesting.  For some reason, I expected it to be slightly carbonated.  It was strong and bitter and frothy and interesting.  I think I liked it, but I’ll have to try it once or twice more to be sure.


We had fun coloring while we waited for our food.  We thought about trying to copy the graffiti wall we saw on our trip #4.


We finally arrived at the sinful part of the trip.  Addie ordered the chocolate and peanut better cup waffle featured on their website photo.  It was amazing!  The chocolate ganache part was the best.


Addie doesn’t eat meat, so she was able to sub a fruit cup which i think may have been her favorite.


Lately I’ve been more into the savory breakfasts and was tempted by their benedicts, (which I’ve had before), huevos, and their pulled pork sandwich, but I thought celebrating a successful Coffeeneuring season deserved something, well, sinful.  I ended up getting their last order of chocolate caramel stuffed French toast.  It was delicious and rich, and I only managed to eat about 1/4 of it.  My only complaint was that the chocolate overpowered the caramel.  The staff was super friendly, and we headed home with another few days worth of breakfasts.

We did manage to lock up somewhat insecurely to their light post.


Addie always helps me unlock because she knows how frustrated I get with our silly lock.


We took a celebratory photo when we got home.  Such a great experience.  Thanks Chasing Mailboxes for the idea and the coordination.


Right now we’re enjoying a few days off at a cabin in Rangeley.  It’s gloriously relaxing.  We’re doing pretty much nothing and watching the snow fall.

Coffeeneuring with Addie – Trips 6 & 7

Trip Number: 6
Where: Cumberland Farms, Portland, ME
Date: Sunday, November 6, 2016
Katie: Decaf
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 3.99 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Not great. Nowhere to really lock your bike, and the parking lot gets pretty crazy with cars pulling in and out and getting gas.

Trip Number: 7
Where: Dunkin Donuts, Portland, ME
Date: Sunday, November 13, 2016
Katie: Decaf
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 2.73 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Okay.  There’s a bike post near a much cooler bakery/coffee shop around the corner where you can leave your bike.

Our past two Coffeeneuring trips have been quite uninspired.  For trip #6, we had planned to go the the Diamond St. Coffee by Design, but it started raining (actually even hailing) when we were only about a mile away from home.  It wasn’t supposed to rain, so we weren’t really prepared for it.  I wanted to continue on, but Addie wasn’t very motivated and riding super slowly, so it didn’t take much convincing for me to change my mind.  We decided to go to the Cumberland Farms near our house, so we could at least still count it as a Coffeeneuring adventure.


Not much photo-worthy at our local convenience store, but it is convenient.  You can see that this is the best we could do for a lock up option.  It would be pretty easy for someone to lift the bikes right off that post.  It’s quite busy there, so we weren’t too worried.


We got to try out our new cups and hung out on our porch for a bit instead of the Cumby’s parking lot.

Addie wanted to pick our destination for trip #7, so she checked out the Yelp app on my phone and landed on Mr. Bagel.  I think more for the proximity to our house than for the Yelp ratings.  I had to take us on a very indirect route to make sure it would be at least two miles.

Mike and I had done a breakfast run that morning, so we were quite late getting started on our Coffeeneuring – probably around noon-ish.  Turns out Mr. Bagel closes at 11:00 on Sunday mornings now, so we had to come up with an alternate plan.  Addie suggested Dunkin Donuts.  Not my first choice, but it was close to where we were, so good enough.


We were able to lock up between Big Sky Bread (which I tried to convince Addie to go to instead of DD) and Artist & Craftsman right around the corner from DD.


Addie was happy with her selections.


And we did hit up Artist & Craftsman and each picked up a cool pen, so I didn’t feel quite so corporate.

Technically, I’m done with my Coffeeneuring goals, but I did one solo trip, so I’m hoping to go one last time tomorrow with Addie, so she can get in her seven trips.  I have to make sure to finish up on a better note as far as a destination.

Solo Coffeeneuring – Tandem

Trip Number: 5
Where: Tandem Coffee + Bakery, Portland, ME
Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Katie: Cappuccino
Mileage: 6.62 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Good.  No visible bike posts to lock up to, but I did find a street sign.  I originally was going to lock up to Tandem’s cool tandem sculpture, but then I thought if it really is art, they probably don’t want bikes and locks all over it.  After I locked up to the street sign and was sitting drinking my coffee, I saw another biker ride ride up to it and lock up to it like he did it all the time.  So, if in fact, this is a bike rack, it’s the first coffee shop we’ve been to that has it’s own bike rack – so the most friendly relatively.


Actually I suppose I should rank them even higher, since how many coffee shops are so bike friendly, they actually have a bike theme?  Isn’t their logo great?

I work from home on Wednesdays, so I decided to trade my morning run in for a bike ride and took the long way over to Tandem.  Don’t tell Addie, but I thought it would be nice to get in at least one more Coffeeneuring adventure just in case we’re not able to make it out together for our three remaining adventures.

I also have a bit of a dilemma as far as getting Addie into town.  We live in the Deering part of Portland which used to actually be a different town, and no matter how hard I try, there’s really no way to get to the downtown (where most of the coffee shops are) without tackling a huge hill and a fair amount of traffic.  You can add a few extra miles and take some trails part of the way there, but I haven’t figured out how to do that without being in a lot of traffic after we get off the trails.  Maybe we’ll just walk up the hill one of these days.

Because of the bike theme, I just HAD to include Tandem, so it seemed like a good candidate for a solo adventure.


They remodeled an old gas station which is pretty cool.  You can imagine where the gas pumps were in the photo above and in the top photo, and if you look carefully in the photo above, you can see where it still says “Brakes & Shocks” behind the glass.


I’m still all about the baked goods, and Tandem has some of the best in town.  You can catch a glimpse to the right in the photo above.  I’ve heard their sandwiches are also really good, but I’ve never been able to pass up my current favorites to try one.  They serve beer and wine later on in the day.  (Well, I assume later, I suppose you could have one for breakfast.)


I’m still not much of a coffee connoisseur, but their set up looks pretty fancy, and I’m sure they probably roast their own beans.  I branched out and tried a cappuccino this time.  It was delicious.  I want to learn how to do that latte art. I think it’s so cool.  I tried it this morning on my son’s coffee and only managed to make white blobs.


I tried to make it look like I was being productive while I was sipping my coffee, but all I managed to do was review a to do list I had made earlier in the week.  This was my view from my stool at the window.  Nice light, huh?


No way I’d be able to resist a few goodies.  Another fun thing for my bike basket.  Next time, I need to remember to turn the box around, so the wind doesn’t blow the flap open like it did on my way home.  My poor little cheddar-jalapeno biscuits were bouncing around in the open air until I stopped to rearrange the box.


Aren’t you jealous of these beauties?  I highly recommend the cinnamon bun and the cheddar-jalapeno biscuits.  Plan to share though – they are so rich.  I think the cinnamon buns might have one stick of butter each.  Something new to me was the hazelnut blondie which was also very good.


Happy Coffeeneuring!

Coffeeneuring with Addie – Coffee Truck Rally

Trip Number: 4
Where: Coffee Truck Rally at The Eastern Prom, Portland, ME
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2016
Katie: Triple Chocolate Spiced Mocha
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 8.23 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Good enough.  Eastern Prom is like a park, so it’s not like you need to lock up your bike and go into a shop or something.  There are plenty of signs and fences and benches to lock up to.


Here’s our pile o’ bikes locked up to the fence/sign post.

This was such a fun event!  I had read about it here about a week prior and thought it would be the perfect thing for Coffeeneuring.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and as we got close to the expected location, I didn’t really see much.  I was pretty worried, since this was Addie’s longest bike ride yet, and I’d even gotten Mike to come.  I was going to feel pretty bad if there was nothing there after all that.  But sure enough, after a few more pedal strokes, a fleet of coffee trucks came into view.

Actually there were three coffee trucks and two food trucks which was just about right – and quite a crowd of people!

We had heard that Urban Sugar would be there.  We’d only managed to catch this donut truck one other time, but we were already big fans.


We waited in line for about 15 minutes just to get our order in then had to wait about another 15-20 minutes to actually get our donuts, but we enjoyed the views while we waited.


Quite a few boats still in.


You can kind of make out Fort Gorges on the horizon.  We love to get Otto’s takeout from their Munjoy Hill location and eat it on the Prom in the summertime.


I don’t think Mike was too thrilled with the scene.  He’s more of a Cumby’s Coffee kind of guy, but he was a good sport.  The theme of the day was for the trucks to offer some unusual coffee drinks which didn’t help, but he found plain old coffee at Maker’s Mug and I tried out the Triple Chocolate Spiced Mocha.  I liked mine, but Mike wasn’t too impressed.  Both of us thought the coffee could have been hotter.


Addie got her hot chocolate at Urban Sugar, and we all thought it was quite good.  Addie has it tied for first with Black Cat’s.  (I’m ordering reusable cups – now!)


It was nice to have Mike a long to take some photos of us Coffeeneuring buddies, since I’m not so great with the selfie.

Still waiting for our donuts, Mike decided to check out The Salt Box Cafe.


Their amazing pesto egg sandwich turned his day around!


We might even be able to take him Coffeeneuring with us again.


Finally our reward!  So so good!  Crunchy and warm and sweet.  Surprisingly, we were able to stop ourselves from eating all of them and nervously moved them from bike basket to bike basket to try to find the most stable location.

After enjoying a donut, Mike went his own way to pick up some groceries, and Addie and I headed down to East End Beach to hit the port-o-potty.

Addie got to see the train go by while I was in there which she thought was pretty cool.  I only managed snap a far away shot.  This is the train they use for The Polar Express around Christmastime.  Not sure what was going on that day.


I did finally manage to capture a photo of Addie in action.


We managed to stay on trails most of the way home which is so much more relaxing.  I don’t mind riding in traffic myself, but it’s a little scarier being responsible for someone else – someone little, especially.

One of my favorite parts of the trail is the graffiti wall.  It changes all the time, and it was the most colorful I’d ever seen it.


I don’t think Addie had ever seen it before, and she got quite a kick out of it.


We stopped on a less scenic part of the trail to take a break.  In spite of the lack of scenery, there was a nice new stone wall to sit on while we thought about Mike probably being in the Trader Joe’s that was in our sight.


The donuts were jumping around quite a bit in Addie’s basket, so we thought we’d better eat a couple more.


Joe, the only kid downstairs when we got home, managed to devour the last three before anyone else even knew they were there.

This ended up being a super-long Coffeeneuring expedition (time-wise) but definitely my favorite one yet.  I’m happy to know that Addie can go some longer distances as long as we have all the time in the world (we got passed by quite a few runners and one walker) and take some breaks.  That pace is actually quite enjoyable as long as we have nowhere else to be.