Finally a Breakfast Run – Local 188

We haven’t stopped running OR eating, but we’ve been pretty disorganized about posting about anything lately.  Our new favorite breakfast destination – running or otherwise is Local 188.  Last weekend we braved the drizzle for our third (or maybe fourth?) visit.

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It took us a while to try this highly recommended place, since they only have breakfast on weekends and not until 9:00.  We used to like to get our runs out of the way much earlier than that.  Lately we’ve been a little more relaxed about the timing of our weekend runs.

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The restaurant is quite spacious, so we haven’t had any issues getting in.

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I like the rotating art gallery they have on the walls.

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All the seating is quite inviting, but we always opt for a seat at the counter.  It’s surprisingly private with a nice view of the English Muffin preparation operation.

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They have a great selection of Bloody Mary’s which are quite good.  The first time we went, I opted for the Cilantro flavored one.  I used to be a hater, but now I love cilantro.  It was a great Bloody Mary, but the cilantro flavor was too subtle – almost unnoticeable.  Mike went for their spiciest option.  My cilantro one was already quite spicy to the point where I thought they might have mixed them up.

Most of the time, I’m more in the mood for a mimosa, and I love the ones from Local 188 – just the way I like them – just a small amount of juice with the option to get grapefruit juice instead of orange juice.  The chunk of grapefruit is a nice touch.

We are big fans of kombucha especially the kombucha from Urban Farm Fermentory, but we were happily surprised to find that Local 188 also makes their own Kombucha (shown next to the Bloody Mary in the photo above).  They have some interesting flavors varying by the day.  It’s quite good but just a tad sweeter than UFF’s which I still prefer.

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Our strategy at Local 188 is to get one order from their pastry/sweets section and one main course.  Honestly, the thing that got me hooked on Local 188 is their sour cream crumb coffee cake with honey butter.  It’s a special, and the wait staff tells us they have it about every three weeks.  Sadly, we haven’t managed to have that again, but I keep hoping.  This last time, we had the ricotta fritters instead, and they were quite a good substitution.  The raspberry jam a top the warm, crispy, barely sweet fritter was a delicious combination.  We’re a bit out of practice when it comes to food blogging, so we neglected to take any photos of the fritters until we’d eaten 2/3rd’s of them.

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Same problem with the breakfast burrito which was our main course option.  This is our absolute favorite.  I’m not sure we’ll ever stray from it.  The beans, the eggs, the crispy tortilla, the mango salsa.  Mmm.  My only complaint is that I could use twice as much of the mango salsa.

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This is a better photo from the first time we had it.  We’ve also tried the huevos rancheros which are also delicious.

Not sure when we’ll do our next breakfast run.  We’ve been busy Coffeeneuring.  Thanks for sticking with us.  We won’t neglect this space for so long next time.

Coffeeneuring with Addie – The Holy Donut

Trip Number: 3
Where: The Holy Donut, Portland, ME
Date: Sunday, October 23, 2016
Katie: Regular Coffee
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 3.33 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Great.  There is one bike “post” right out front and several street signs you can lock up to.  They also advertise this program where you can pay $5 for a sticker and get discounts at hundreds of businesses if you bike there.  Addie and I haven’t joined yet, but we would have gotten a free donut if we had.

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This place is quite famous.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?  It shows up on my Facebook feed quite frequently among the top 10 or 24 donuts in the country and has made the news in Bon Appetit, New York Times, Boston Globe, etc., so we had to include it in our Coffeeneuring escapades.

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Check out the drool-worthy display.  I’m lucky enough that my place of work brings in Holy Donuts every Wednesday.  I’m really quite spoiled.  Addie and I visited the Park Avenue location because it’s closest to our house and not to mention the original location.  If you’re not already aware, Scarborough residents are about to get their own.

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The line was pretty long, but it moved fast, and I’ve seen it way worse.  I run by the Exchange Street location quite frequently, and even in early hours (in the summer), the line is out the door and up the street.  My coffee was fine – nothing to write home about – but they’re really more about the donuts than the coffee.  So am I for that matter.  Addie thought her hot chocolate had a distinct coffee flavor.  I tasted it and thought it just might have been made with a less sweet chocolate.

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Far be it from me to say anything against a Portland institution, but the texture of the vanilla-based donuts is just a bit too – rubbery is a bit too strong of a word – chewy maybe? for me, but the chocolate sea salt are perfect. We went with three of a sure thing and also tried the coffee cake which was really good, good old fashioned vanilla-glazed, and triple berry.

The funniest donut they have is Allen’s Coffee Brandy.  For some reason, this is the Maine state drink.  Chances are good if you’re in the supermarket on Friday after work, the person in line in front of you will be buying Allen’s Coffee Brandy and milk.  It’s kind of the poor man’s Sombrero or Black Russian.

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We decided to try for a less hilly ride home and continued down Park Street past the Expo and Sea Dogs stadium.  That did turn out to be a better route, but the wind was blowing like crazy from our left to right and almost pushed us into each other.  Once we turned onto a not-so-scenic St. John St., the wind was at our backs, and the rest of the ride was quite pleasant.  Addie was having trouble changing her gears on our last big hill, so she held my bike while I pedaled her tiny bike and put it in her easiest gear.  After that, she just crushed the hill.  I think I will try to buy her a nicer bike in the spring.  Any recommendations?

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I love putting cool things in my bike basket.  I’m sure many people who passed us on the way home were quite jealous of my cargo.  The donuts are so rich that Addie and I hardly made a dent in them which the rest of the kids appreciated when we got home.

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This was the first time I used my bike basket.  We were on a cauliflower roasting kick, and it was my work from home day, so I grabbed a sandwich from Rosemont.  I have this basket which is great now, but all the reviews are right that the hardware that comes with it is absolute crap.  Almost all the screws fell out on mine after just a few rides.  My friendly local Aubuchon store helped me replace them, and it’s been great ever since.

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This was the coolest cargo my basket has carried.  We were doing a beer tasting party at my house of local Pale Ales.  We threw a Miller Lite in there to throw people off, but no one was fooled.

Anyway, we are loving our Coffeeneuring experience.  Thanks to Chasing Mailboxes for linking to us.  Hope you’re all enjoying yourselves as well!

Coffeeneuring with Addie – Tiqa Cafe & Bakery

Trip Number: 2
Where: Tiqa Cafe & Bakery, Portland, ME
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Katie: Latte
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 3.74 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Good.  There is one bike “post” right out front.  You can also keep an eye on your bike from the outdoor patio.  One guy we saw while we were eating didn’t seem to feel the need to lock his bike at all – guess it doesn’t get much bike friendlier than that.  There’s also a larger bike rack on the other side of the park.

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This was our best Coffeeneuring experience so far.  It was hard to get going because the temperature was in the 30’s, but we bundled up in all of our wool base layers, down jackets, hats, and mittens.  It didn’t end up being too bad cold-wise, but I knew Tiqa didn’t have much indoor seating, so I wasn’t quite sure how it would work out to actually consume our coffee.

Addie did great on the bigger downhills than what we’ve done so far in our neighborhood, and we both appreciated the bike lane along Deering Ave.  We enjoyed our ride through Deering Oaks park, but because it was also Farmer’s Market Saturday, we had to keep a close eye on cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.

I was surprised to see that Tiqa had moved much of their operation outside, possibly in anticipation of the Farmer’s Market crowd.  I was a little confused about whether to order outside or in, but I think it would have worked out either way.  I decided to try to use my Coffeeneuring experience to try something other than plain old coffee, so I went inside.

My plan B for if it was too cold to drink our coffee on the patio was to walk around the farmer’s market while we drank it, but we were excited to see space heaters and a roaring fire on the patio.   Untitled
It was so comfortable!  We’ve been freezing in our house the last few days or so since the weather’s turned cold, so we parked ourselves as close to the big fire pit as possible.  It was glorious.  The first time I’ve felt my body fully relax in days.
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After a few minutes we actually had to move to a table farther away because we were too hot! I will definitely go back on a cold day with Mike for lunch and a glass of wine or two.  You almost feel like you could be in Europe when you’re there.

I ended up getting a Latte, and it was delicious!  Addie cannot be convinced to try anything other than hot chocolate, so she went with that.  Neither one of us could pass up the beautiful and sinful looking Cinnamon Babka, so Addie had that, and I had a Za’tar bagel with cream cheese which I had had before and enjoyed.
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Their breakfast sandwiches are also delicious, but I skipped that for today.  I loved my bagel and latte, but Addie kind of struck out.  The frosting on the babka was great, reminded Addie of the base for a Gelato Fiasco gelato, but the rest of the babka was a bit dry.  Her hot chocolate was also a little watery, but I’m not sure that hot chocolate is a specialty at very many places.

Honestly, the atmosphere was so great, that nothing else really mattered.  I was tempted to take a baguette home but opted for some veggies at the Farmer’s Market instead.

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Such a great vibe there.  I really love the drummer that often plays there.  Addie dropped some money in his basket.

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We powered up all the hills that we’d ridden down on they way there and still managed to go apple picking.  What a perfect fall day!

Coffeeneuring with Addie – Black Cat Coffee

Trip Number: 1
Where: Black Cat Coffee, Portland, ME
Date: Monday, October 10, 2016
Katie: Decaf with Cream and Sugar
Addie: Hot Chocolate
Mileage: 3.35 miles
Bike Friendliness:  Decent.  There are a couple of street signs out front you can lock to, but there’s almost always another bike there.  A very short distance down the street are a couple of actual bike racks.

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So I got a new bike back in June and quickly became obsessed with biking.  Not racing, just riding my bike places.  But give it time.

Usually when I get obsessed about a new thing, I try to find as much to read about it as possible – not so much technical reading as reading about other’s experiences with my new obsession.  I love reading blogs for that reason.  One blog that I stumbled across, Chasing Mailboxes, has this great idea of going Coffeeneuring.  You’ll have to check out the blog post yourself.  I’ve tried to explain it to my entire family, and no one gets it.  I guess they get it, they just don’t understand why it has “neuring” at the end.  The gist of it is that you bike to a different coffee shop 7 times in a period of 7 weeks.

I’m hoping to actually get close to 14 visits; one set of 7 with my 9-year old daughter, Addie and another set a bit farther afield with my husband.  Addie is my constant companion and not as busy as Mike, so I’m a little more confident in accomplishing the first set.
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Even though we had a four day weekend this weekend (3 for me), we struggled to fit it in.  We had a big party on Saturday, so we were getting ready for that then it rained ALL day on Sunday, and we’re just not that hard core (yet).  I decided to work from home on Monday, so that we could squeeze it in on a work break.

We decided on Black Cat Coffee since it’s the closest to us in The Deering Neighborhood’s cute little “downtown”.  The Coffeeneuring rules call for a minimum of a two mile bike ride, so we took a “longcut” through Evergreen Cemetery.  The cemetery is one of my favorite places in town.  It’s where I run all winter when the roads are too messy everywhere else.  It’s where Addie learned how to ride her bike.  And it’s beautiful this time of year.

There’s a little loop that goes from one of the entrances to the chapel and back.
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Addie and I often race that loop together.  Her rules – I have to do 5 loops to her 4 AND count 5-Mississippi’s before I start.  I haven’t beaten her yet.  Yesterday we did four loops and just chatted it was nice.  She talks to me non-stop when we’re biking, and I can hardly ever hear her.  It’s frustrating.  In the cemetery, it’s great though because there are no cars and we can ride side-by-side, so I actually can hear her.

We ventured down to the duck ponds, so she could practice going down some bigger hills before we expand our biking into downtown Portland.  She did great.
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We finally made our way to Black Cat and were pretty hungry by then.

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We each ordered bagels.  One of my favorite things about Black Cat is that they bring in bagels from Union Bagel and toast and butter them perfectly.  My favorite is the sesame.  Addie went for a plain with cream cheese and a hot chocolate.  In spite of being very excited about Coffeeneuring, I’m really not much of a coffee connoisseur, so I just got a plain old coffee.

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Black Cat has a lot of interesting looking options though.
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Looking forward to our next adventure!  Thanks for reading!

One Last Austin Post

Our last day in Austin might have been our best, most memorable day.

If you’ve read anything about the food scene in Austin, I’m sure you’ve heard of Franklin’s Barbecue.

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If you told me I’d have one of the best times ever waiting in line for food, I would not have believed you.

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But this wasn’t just any old line.  Chairs were provided (at least for the first 50 or so line-waiters), and not only was drinking allowed, but drink orders were taken and fulfilled.  Since it was a Tuesday, we felt comfortable getting there on the late side – around 8:30.  We managed to snag some of the last few available chairs and a shady spot under the stairs.  Mike set off to find some snacks and (adult) beverages for us while I held our place in line.  (I didn’t realize until after he’d left that you could order drinks from Franklin’s while you were waiting.  We needed breakfast, anyway.)

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At first, the line was pretty quiet, but three hours and a lot of beer later, we were all fast friends.
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Almost at the door!

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It was amazing how friendly the servers were considering how many people they must have to deal with each day.

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We were feeling pretty victorious at having conquered the line and made it inside.

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Our glorious, delicious haul.

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We tried pretty much one of everything, but if I ever go back again, I’ll just get brisket, brisket, and more brisket, and maybe a rib or two.  (Everything was great, but the brisket and ribs really outshined everything else.)  The brisket had a wonderful, black pepper crust and just melted in your mouth.

We had to head home the next day to the snowy, Northeast.

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We stickered up our cars – a lot of work for a sticker!

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And  handed out our Austin souvenirs.

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Ready as I’m Going to Be

Or at least I’m packed.

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We’re leaving tomorrow morning.

I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time and big chunk of change at the Expo.

Then carb-loading and meeting some past winners at the pre-race dinner.

Then finally getting the show on the road on Monday.

And especially post-race celebrating!

Austin Boot Shopping

Do you have a bucket list?  I do.  I made it years ago and add a new item to the list every once in a while.  I admit that some of the items don’t appeal to me so much anymore, but #18 was still definitely on my radar:

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(It’s supposed to say “Buy and wear”)

After the previous day’s marathon, I had half of that mission accomplished, so I was really looking forward to completing it.

We needed some fuel first though, and I had spotted a Voodoo Doughnut shop earlier in our explorations.  I wanted to be sure to check it out post-marathon.  (Heavy donut in the belly beforehand probably not a good idea.)

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Look at those beauties!

We ended up with a maple bacon and a Crunchberry.
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Then we decided to stretch out our sore legs and walk the 2-ish miles to Allen’s Boots.

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We were slow, but it was a beautiful day, and it was nice to revisit our running route with a more relaxed pace and mindset.

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I was pretty overwhelmed by Allen’s vast selection of boots, but the saleswoman, Elise gave me some few tips, and I was ready to dive in.

I narrowed it down to about 3 or 4 pairs and tried those each on a few times.  Putting on and taking off boots is hard any day, but with post marathon soreness, it was not pretty!  I was glad no one was watching.  Elise checked on me a few times but didn’t hover which I liked.
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These were the winners.

I couldn’t even wait to get back to the hotel to put them on.
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Even in their first wearing and with a mile or so to walk back to the hotel they were comfortable.

Someone had recommended Hopdoddy’s to me on the pre-race shake out run.  It just happened to be right down the street from Allen’s, so we popped in there for an early lunch and managed to just beat the long lines.

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The burger was amazing.  We got the “Primetime”.  It was the best burger I’ve ever had.

But the fries . . .

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Wow!  Just wow!  So good.  These were the truffle fries with a healthy helping of some kind of deliciously salty Parmesan cheese topping.  I forget now what the dipping sauce was – truffle aioli maybe.

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Mike met some new friends on the way back to the hotel.  We did go back to the hotel after lunch to rest up a bit and make a plan for the evening.  A plan that was supposed to involve much less walking.  However . . .

Mike, who, as far as I know has no bucket list and up until that day had no aspirations to buy or wear cowboy boots.  I mean, I couldn’t even picture it.  Somehow the hour we spent in Allen’s must have rubbed off on him because he wanted to go back for a pair of his own.

So back out we went.  We had to stop and “rest” on the way there.

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We enjoyed these drinks at a cool little place called The Snack Bar.  I’m not sure if it was part of it, but it was right next to The Austin Motel which looked really interesting in a hip, nouveau retro kind of way.  I’m going to check it out as a place to stay if/when we go back.

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Mike got his boots.  We got so into the whole Western thing at Allen’s that we almost bought the hats, too.  I planned to dare to wear the boots when we got back home to the Northeast no matter what, but I knew I wasn’t brave enough for the hat.

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Mike couldn’t wait to get home to put on his boots either.  (He’s worn them almost every day since we’ve been back.)

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Our plan was to try them out dancing at The Continental Club.

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The band, The Peterson Brothers, was great, and we did dance just a little bit, but we were the only ones dancing.  The music was pretty blues-y.  Maybe you just don’t dance to that.  At least we didn’t very well.

It was a great day!  I think we put in at least 8 miles on our tired legs.  Not the brightest idea, but we had fun.  Next time, we’ll Uber at least some of it.