Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chinese Homestyle Cooking Class

Imagine if you could cook excellent Chinese food at home - food that tastes just like it would in the home of a Chinese family. You can learn to do this at Bay Leaf Bistro this summer with their hands-on cooking classes that feature regional cuisines - cold dishes, hot dishes, spicy dishes, soups, dumplings and more! See for more info. Call 207-706-7929 to register.
Sunday Evenings 5-7 p.m.
Adults: $12 pp
Children Ages 9-16: $6 pp
Dates: June 3rd, July 22nd, August 12th

Cold Dishes:
Pickled Cabbage (Pol Cai)
Garlic Cucumbers (Pai Huang Gua)
Sichuan Sesame & Chili Noodles
Sliced Tomatoes with Sugar
Chicken Breast with Soy & Garlic Sauce
BBQ Pork Tenderloin (Char Sui Rou)

Hot Dishes:
Tomatoes and Eggs with Oyster Sauce
Tofu with Ground Beef and Chili (Ma Po Dou Fu)
Green Beans with Ground Pork, Onions (Gan Bian Si Qi Dou)
Roasted Chicken Wings (with soy, garlic, brown sugar marinade)
Cabbage with Chinese-style Bacon and Fermented Black Beans (La Rou)
Eggplant with Green Peppers
Chicken with Leeks and Peanuts  (Kung Pao Ji Ding)
Rice-Pasta Course:
Crab Fried Rice (Yangzhou Fried Rice)
Dumplings (Jiaozi) – with carrot filling
Beef Noodle Soup (Tang Mian)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Places we like to eat in Mid-coast Maine

When visiting the Mid-coast of Maine, you'll discover all sorts of amazing restaurants and options. Here's our list of favorites for 2012:

Towns – heading north from Bay Leaf
Lincolnville Beach
The Beach Store
Rt 1
If you want great pizza go no further (try the pastrami!). Super hamburgers, steak sandwiches, chicken parmesan, ice cream. Not much room for dining in, very casual, good view. No toilet.

McLaughlin’s Shack
Rt 1 at Rt 173
Maine seafood, great view, casual, self-serve.
Lobster Pound
Rt 1
Maine seafood, good home-style dishes, good view, very traditional.
Whales Tooth Pub
Rt 1
Maine seafood, continental cuisine, excellent array of choices, desserts to die for, good view, great happy hour/bar.
Chez Michel
Rt 1
Maine seafood, continental cuisine, French options, crisp clean open-air ambiance, some views.
Copper Grill
Off Rt 1 at Point Lookout (south entry)
Interesting seafood selections at breakfast. Note: Specials for the dining room atop Pt. Lookout (sign is on the highway – Rt 1)
Chase’s Daily
Downtown Belfast
Vegetarian, great desserts, farmer’s market. Michelin 4-star chef!
Young’s Lobster Pound
Off Rt 1 past bridge
Seafood galore the good old fashioned way – picnic tables, outdoor seating, can bring your own drinks and side dishes
Wasses Hot Dogs
Off Rt. 1 at Reny’s Plaza
Best hot dogs (and hamburgers) in Maine. Note: They also have two drive-ins in Rockland for the same quality hot dogs/burgers.
The Angler
Rt. 1
Local hangout with everything from fried seafood to bread pudding.
Just Barbara’s
Rt 1
Diner-like setting with excellent fried seafood, daily specials, and blueberry pancakes.
Heading south from Bay Leaf Cottages
Boynton & McKay
Rt 1 (Elm St.)
Best blueberry pancakes in Maine. Excellent array of eclectic dishes, none will disappoint. Great pastries. Best coffee.
Long Grain
Rt 1 (Elm St.)
Inventive Thai dishes – just outstanding. Reservations suggested!
Rt 1 (Elm St.)
NEW – Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern Cuisine
At the Bayview
Fresh ingredients and creative cuisine
40 Paper
At the smokestack
Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Peter Otts
Bay Street
Steak and salad bar
Paulina’s Way
Under Peter Otts
Artisan Pizzas. Interesting atmosphere – very European
Harbor Dogs
Parking lot at the harbor
Amazing seafood wraps with chutney (hot dogs with chutney!).
Rockport Diner
Rt 90
Local diner-style with good salad bar included with each dinner. Wide array of Maine comfort foods and fried seafood
Mr. Wat
Rt 1 south of Camden
Yummy Thai and Japanese Cuisine (Noodles, Sushi, etc.)
Shepherd’s Pie
Downtown Rockport
Amazing new restaurant – make reservations! NYT rating.
Rockland Cafe
Rt 1 (northbound)
Main Street
Family-run diner-style with wide array of local specialties. Can’t go wrong with this choice. Don’t forget a cannolli for desert!
Home Kitchen Cafe
Rt 1 heading south on right before road splits
Friendly, eclectic array of breakfast and lunch options. You will not be disappointed in either – the problem will be deciding!
The Compass
Rt 1 (northbound)
Corner of Park
There’s one thing you MUST order here: Lobster BLT. They won the “throw-down” with Bobbie Flay on Food Network.
South Main (heading to Owl’s Head)
Travel Channel’s Anthony Bordain recommends: Top NY Chef creates amazing dishes from on-site raised/grown meats & vegetables. Make reservations for main level – drop in for 2nd Fl.
148 South Main just 1.5 blocks south of Park intersection with Main
Travel Channel’s Anthony Bordain recommends: John Conte – recluse and all-around nut – he gets only the freshest seafood daily. Home-style bowls of salad, crusty bread, large amounts of decent red wine, and amazing Italian seafood. Keep this secret!
Thomaston Cafe
At the traffic light in downtown (on Rt. 1)
3 times a day they serve up amazingly good options from twists on favorites to lobster ravioli & German sauerbraten.
low - medium
Thomaston harbor
Very creative, fun, outdoor dining is on the pier, can’t miss this chef!
Rt 220 off Rt 17
Morse’s Sauerkraut brings out the best in German dining in Maine
Moody’s Diner
Rt 1
Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives eatery with old-fashioned diner food.
Owl’s Head
Owls Head General Store
On Rt 73
Known throughout the state for “the Best Hamburger” according to Food Network. It’s a great burger in a little hole in the wall.
Port Clyde
Port Clyde General Store
Or  Dip Net
Rt 131
With only 8 stools in the store, try Linda Bean’s Lobster Roll, Linda Bean’s Lobster Ravioli (it’s amazing for $11!). Dip Net has indoor and outdoor dining with good menu

A New Season on the Maine Coast

A new season on the Maine coast ... it wasn't long before a warm winter was over and I was driving back to Maine for the "summer season". Though the fireplace is running and there's still a nip in the air, it's nice to look out to Penobscot Bay again and discover what's new - closings and openings, the buzz on the street, and the yum in the tummy.

So far - Dohrman's Ice Cream in Rockland is open and everyone is going - we missed the good hand-made/dipped ice cream all winter.

Wasses celebrates it's 40 year with 30 cent hot dogs this Saturday (May 5). And while it's Cinco de Mayo, I think I'll celebrate both events with discounted hot dogs.

The Baked Potatoe closed and The Mediterraen opened - same location (have yet to try the new option). Mr. Wat is now where once pizza came ... and doing well.

Renys is still the best unexpected shop in Maine - while I love LL Bean, Kittery Trading Post, and many other Maine staples, there's nothing quite like Renys - where else can you buy a Maine back-scratcher, Raye's Mustard, and lobster pots alongside Pendleton and Carhart clothes?

Our new water system is in place - kicking out pool-like water and smelling better than that good old iron-metalic smell often an issue along the coast. One task down, many to go. We're making quick progress however.... motel/cottages are cleaned, windows washed, linens ready, restaurant has food for breakfast set to go, new lawn chairs, playground equipment on order, apartment almost finished, lawn mowed, lights working, TVs on, telephone and WIFI going strong.... ready to open! Flags go up tomorrow, sign changed to vacancy.

Come visit - we're ready to see how many lobsters you can eat in one sitting!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Quilters Guide to Mid-Coast Maine

For daytrips, weekends escapes, or “grab the gals” for a week away, Mid-coast Maine offers a great combination of off-highway scenic routes, coastal views, country roads, and quilt-related destinations worth stopping for. From May thru October, a wide variety of festivals and events make return visits very attractive (including the local fairs where quilters will sure to be found). Attractions will bring you closer to Maine culture, the arts, great music, and very delicious food!
What makes the Mid-coast of Maine a destination for people love to quilt? Ask Nancy Black in Belfast why, at age 70 with many years in the business, her fabric shop and quilting center is open 7 days a week, 365 days of the year? Her selection of standard prints, Maine specialty prints, and more make Nancy’s Sewing Center a “must see” as you wonder this amazing quilt region.
Ask the quilters in nearby Appleton whose vision led to this project: The Mildred Stevens Williams Memorial Library in Appleton raffled a Maine Authors signature quilt (shown above) for their new library capital campaign. This was the culmination of months of work by Susan Sherman (project organizer) and Molly Leigher (designer and assembler). Other contributors were Linda Upham who monogrammed the title and Darlene Starett who machine quilted the border.  The wall hanging (50"x54") featured the "broken cup" pattern and Maine authors signed 118 of the triangles. The signing authors represent many writing styles and live all across the state. Often the authors added messages or drawings with their signature. Included with the quilt was a scrapbook of the project and several of the author's books.
Then there are the “Quilt Divas”! You might be able to relate to this - two women met at a local fabric store and became friends. When the owner of that business retired, they said, "What now?" With the help of family and friends the dream to open their own shop became a reality for Deborah Rogers & Doris Forcier. Quilt Divas is located in Rockland at 607 Main Street with an incredible harbor view! "Everything you need to make your experience fun and rewarding." They offer quilting classes and special events. They also do long arm quilting and finish work.
Union is home to the “Come Spring Quilters” Guild which meets at the People’s United Methodist Church on the second and fourth  Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. (except in Nov, Dec, July, & Aug when they only meet on the 2nd Thursdays of the month). Newcomers are always welcome to this group.
Don’t miss the amazing Art Quilts of Sarah Ann Smith in Camden. Classes are offered and quilts are available for sale. These are incredible and stunning quilts. Just breathtaking! Sarah relishes the supportive environment for fiber art and art quilts in mid-coast Maine. Sarah has become a fervent art quilter and is selling her artwork as well as producing a line of quilting patterns that draw on quilting's traditions yet celebrate the artistic individuality of the quilt-maker. Sarah's extensive life-long travel and love for the diverse peoples and places in the world infuse her art, while an early fascination with Hawaiian quilting patterns has returned to become the source of inspiration for Sarah's first published patterns.
Quilt “Destinations” in Mid-coast Maine:
The Cotton Cupboard Quilt Shop
1213 Broadway
Bangor, ME 04401
Dockside Quilt Gallery
304 Stillwater Ave. 
Bangor, ME 04401
Nancy's Sewing Center
216 Belmont Ave, Route 3
West Belfast, ME 04915
Mariner's Compass Quilt Shop
190 Front Street
Bath, ME 04530

Boothbay Harbor
McKown Square Quilts
14 Boothbay House Hill Rd.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538
207-633-2007, E-mail:

A Straight Stitch
401 North Main
Brewer, ME 04412


Fabric Den
124 Maine Street, Senter's Place
Brunswick, Maine 04011
On Board Fabrics
Route 27
Edgecomb, ME 04556
Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop
541 US Route 1, Suite #12
Freeport, ME 04096
Mystic Maine Quilts
287 Water Street
Gardiner, ME 04345
Alewives Fabric
10 Main Street
Nobleboro, ME 04555
Maine-ly Sewing
48 U.S. Highway One
Nobleboro, ME
Quilt Divas
607 Main Steet
Rockland, ME 04841
Sewing by the Sea
11 Periwinkle Lane, Route 3
Trenton, ME 04605
Yardgoods Center
60 West Concourse
Waterville,  ME  04901

An amazing coastal and inland journey! Special routes make the Mid-coast region a lot of fun no matter what your interests are. Take Coastal Route 1 for great water views and small towns filled with charming Victorian homes, shops, and restaurants (traffic is high from mid-July thru mid-August). Mid-coast Maine ranks #2 in New England for fall “leaf peeping.” There are cozy harbors and beaches all the way from Rockland to Bar Harbor. Peninsula drives are less crowded and afford bikers the opportunity to stop and chat with local lobstermen, lunch on freshly cooked seafood, and jump (with your bike) onto a ferry to one of the Penobscot Bay islands for a morning or afternoon look-see. This is well worth the diversion from Route 1: Head to Port Clyde on Rt. 131 from Rockland or Thomaston. Hop the ferry to Vinalhaven with your bike and enjoy Island riding, galleries, restaurants, and wind farms. From Lincolnville you can take the ferry to Islesboro – adventure to Dark Harbor or Pendleton Point passing homes of the rich and famous (John Travolta, Kristie Alley, J.P. Morgan, Parker Stevenson, etc.) .

Other routes sure to please: Winery to Winery (award-winning local wines), Brewery to Brewery (the “Beer Trail”), Artisan to Artisan (visit in-home studios in the countryside), Organic Farms & Specialty Foods (grown, made and sold by the farmer), Lake to Lake (whether scenic drives or fishing is the goal, Mid-coast Maine has wonderful lake drives that make for great cruising), Lighthouse to Lighthouse (with a large number of lighthouses, this makes for a perfect day or weekend), and Mountain Views of the coastline (drive to the top of Mt. Battie or Point Lookout to see as far as Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park).

June 2012
Maine Home & Design Show – Camden
Lighthouse Challenge - entire Penobscot Bay Region

July 2012
Festival of Independence  w/ Fireworks - Camden-Rockport
Strawberry Festival – Lincolnville
North American Blues Festival – Rockland
Arts in the Park – Belfast
Camden-Rockport Antiques Show and Sale – Camden-Rockport
Harbor Arts & Crafts Show – Camden
Maine Celtic Festival – Belfast

August 2012
Maine Lobster Festival – Rockland
Blueberry Wing Ding – Lincolnville
Maine Boats Home & Harbors – Rockland
American Folk Festival – Bangor
Union Fair - Union

September – October 2012
Windjammer Festival – Camden
Weiner Festival - Belfast
Country Roads Arts & Artisans Tour – Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville
Vinfest (Wine Festival) - Lincolnville
Harbor Arts & Crafts Show – Camden
Common Ground Fair – Unity

Small Towns with Big Options:

Waldoboro – Moody’s Diner & Morse’s Sauerkraut (restaurant, cheese & sausage shop)

Thomaston – Prison Craft Shop (items made by inmates at the nearby State Prison) & the Antique Toy Museum, Thomaston Cafe

Owl’s Head – Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, Owl’s Head Lighthouse, Marshall Point Lighthouse, great food at Port Clyde

Rockland – Farnsworth Museum, Puffin Museum, Lighthouse Museum, galleries, movie house, cafes, restaurants,  eclectic shopping, ferry to Vinalhaven

Camden – Harbor, shopping, dining, galleries, Belted Cows, Merryspring Gardens, Endless Summer Dahlia Farm, Camden Hills State Park & Mt. Battie

Lincolnville – Beach, winery, brewery, dining, shopping, galleries, artisans, ferry to Islesboro

Regional Great Food:

Moody’s Diner (Waldoboro)– New England traditional diner foods – one of Food Network’s “Dinner’s Drive-ins and Dives”
Morse’s (Waldoboro)– Traditional German food
Primo (Rockland)– 5-star Dining on home-grown/raised produce - Travel Channel’s Anthony Bordain recommends
Conte’s (Rockland) – Italian fresh seafood – Travel Channel’s Anthony Bordain recommends
Rockland CafĂ© (Rockland) – Maine fried seafood
The Compass (Rockland) – Winner of the “Best Lobster BLT” on Throwdown with Food Network’s Bobby Flay
Paulina’s Way (Camden) – Artisanal Pizza
Peter Otts (Camden) – Steak and salad bar
Cappy’s Chowder House (Camden) – Chowder
Boyton & McKay (Camden) – Extensive breakfast and lunch menu, home baked goods, voted “Best Blueberry Pancakes in Maine”
McLaughlin’s Seafood Shack (Lincolnville Beach) – Maine fried seafood with a great Penobscot Bay view
Whales Tooth Pub (Lincolnville Beach) – Extensive menu – try the fresh seafood of the day

Featured Lodging:

Bay Leaf Cottages & Bistro – just .5 miles from Lincolnville’s Beach and the Islesboro Ferry and 4 miles north of Camden harbor, this resort offers 11 designer-decorated cottages and 9 motel rooms … all the comfort and charm of a B&B without the cost! Extensive continental breakfast is included daily. Penobscot Bay views, WIFI, Wednesday cooking classes, and Saturday night $12.00 Maine Lobster Dinners! 207-505-0458

Don’t miss the 9th Annual Quilt Shop Hop (usually held in April) and join in the fun – each shop makes a different quilt from the same fabrics.

Maine Quilting Websites:  Pine Tree Quilters Guild Maine Fiberarts