From the Office and Backyard to the Road, Boat, or Plane–Backstories and
Side Stories While on Assignment. Updates on Personal Projects, Too.

Archive for February, 2009



Knee deep in Maine

Sugarloaf, ME, February 23, 2009

I’m working this week in western Maine, and checking out ski towns. Last night the sky opened to a major drop of snow. While we drank a couple of beers at dinner at The Rack (Olympic snowboarder Seth Weston’s place), four or five inches fell across our car in a white fluff blanket. And by morning, there was more than two feet of new powder at Sugarloaf, where we’re staying for a couple of days.

After breakfast this morning I trudged up to the lifts in a whip of wind, and skied in snow so deep I couldn’t see my feet… it swooshed and shushed. It hushed, and the wind howled, brushing icy powder across my face, down the neck of my coat. A woman on the lift told me she’d lost one of her skis earlier in a three-foot drift, and most everyone was stopping to catch their breath on Tote Road, the longest run.

Sugarloaf, ME, February 23, 2009 - trees

It was a whiteout for much of the day, clearing just enough by afternoon to see the trails from the lift as you rode up. I’m attaching a few photographs, while still flush-cheeked in the apres ski. What an incredible day.

Sugarloaf, ME, February 23, 2009 - Tote Road

(The shots are mine this time, from my trusty pocket Canon.)

– Sandy Lang, February 2009

Comments Closed

Maine days, Travel

Local 188, Portland, Maine

Last night we double-hopped dinner around Longfellow Square in Portland, Maine. At Local 188, it was a round of Estrella and Unibroue with a long plate of spicy meatballs to share. We’d been to Local before, when it was in the shotgun space around the corner and you could drink $2 Schlitz tall-boys and watch the chef at the fiery cookstove, making that big bowl of paella you ordered. Now in a space 3-4 times the size on Congress Street (formerly a Goodwill shop), there’s still Schlitz on the menu, but also an open kitchen with several busy line cooks, an L-shaped bar, and just about every other manner of seating…. booths, tables, barstools, easy chairs, pews, and couches set around coffee tables. Everyone finds their place.

Fat wet snowflakes started while at Local, and we cut across Congress Street to Evangeline in a hurry, in the flurry.  It’s the one at 190 State Street with the outline of a pig in profile painted on the window… reminded me of the The Spotted Pig in New York. There, at the long bar we shared a litre bottle of Allagash Curieux (pricey but delicious Portland brew… aged in whiskey barrels).  And to eat, I had the best wilted spinach salad, with mini croutons, carmelized, balsamic red onion, and slivers of thick-cut bacon. Then on top, a perfect cloud of a poached egg… a delicious warm-up before walking back out into the white night.

Evangeline, Portland, Maine

Peter Frank Edwards has more images of Evangeline on his blog, including shots of Chef Erik Desjarlais cooking it up in the kitchen.

– Sandy Lang, February 2009

Comments Closed

Food, Maine days, Travel



Spoonbread Savannah

On a rainy night with a tornado warning, you don’t want the winter storm come. But if it does, you want to see the drops pour on tall windows, Spanish moss tousling in the trees… and you, snug in a leather-backed banquette with some of the greatest possible comfort food in front of you, pan-seared quail on hot spoonbread.

It was a late dinner at the restaurant Local 11 Ten, in a renovated 1950s bank near Forsyth Park in Savannah. And the next day we went back and met the chef, Jeff Rodgers, one of those humble kitchen masters who simply loves to cook. We talked of Mississippi, his cooking influences from there… French, Creole, Southern. He grows fresh herbs on the kitchen patio, cooks with lots of root vegetables in winter. In his chef whites, he stood for a portrait in the restaurant’s mix of organic and sleek – dark woods and crème-painted brick walls. Then we went back to talk of the cooking life. Turns out, Chef Rogers is a big fan of comfort food, too.

Savannah stairs, Chef Jeff Rodgers

There were more bread comforts in Savannah. Out 20 or so blocks along Bull Street is Back in the Day Bakery, another good re-use of a corner building… this one with its taffy paint colors, cake stands and Formica tables, easy mid-century furnishings and feel. Early on a Saturday, I ordered a huge slab of the Bourbon bread pudding with my coffee, and then happily spent much of an hour watching the morning hum of customers come and go in the warm bakery… sugar glaze on my fingers, cinnamon scents in the air.

Back in the Day Bakery

The photographs are by Peter Frank Edwards. The image of the staircase is from our four-story wander through Alex Raskin Antiques on Bull Street.

– By Sandy Lang, February 2009

Comments Closed

Food, Travel

Image 01 Image 02 Image 03 Image 04