Sunday Cortado, 9: Portland, Maine


Unbelievable, I know, it's actually been three weeks!  I've been dying to share these yummy and beautiful pictures from my latest adventure, but I had to get all that good detox info out first.  

Anyways, I made a promise to myself early this year: I WILL GO TO MAINE.  Maybe it was a calling or just another personal mission to get out, but I knew for sure Portland would be my first stop.  


With a six-hour drive from Jersey, we headed to our destination with a rather short list of places and people in mind to see; as well as a promise of a simple, relaxing getaway.  

We settled in Scarsborough; the middle point of most of the places we wanted to get to.  And ugh, the setting was perfect!  Just a block away from the beach, it was quiet, clean and beauuutiful.  (The only downfall being the strong, fishy smell in the morning and nights, I assume from the tides, but that's just something our city/suburban selves are not used to.)


Our first night we headed into Portland, just to get a little nightlife in.  And by nightlife, I mean dinner, gelato, and before-bedtime strolls. :) The first restaurant we tried had a two-hour wait... LOL, not for these three hungry people.  So, we decided on Duckfat

Ohmygod, I wish I took better pictures.  Such a cute space, not too packed, and such a yummy theme.  The menu was small, but everything looked delicious with an emphasis on local, Maine potatoes, seasonal options, and craft beers.  We started with the well-recommended and known Duckfat Putine, and of course with an egg on it.  Amazing.  I ordered a salad, which in my opinon, if you can make a salad look good, then you have a good thing going.  It did not disappoint.  If I had been hungrier, I would have definitely enjoyed it as a side to share.  Please go check this place out!



Now, let's talk donuts.  If I can go back to Maine for one thing, it would be these donuts.  Fuck the lobster and seafood.  The Holy Donut came highly recommended and for good reason.  We actually went both days we were there, and since we are good people, we got donuts to share with our loved ones back home.  These. donuts. are. amazing.  Light and doughy and not too sweet!  You can definitely taste that all the ingredients were fresh and natural.  My personal recommendations:  chocolate sea salt, the original, and blueberry glaze.  Do it



The next day we further explored Portland.  But our real first stop was Eventide.  I heard it is impossible to get in after 5pm, which is what happened our first night.  So 11am seemed like a safe call and we were right.  Seated pretty quickly, we got some Bloody Mary's and enjoyed a little bit of everything.  We got the oysters with a salad for appetizer.  Oysters were delicious.  I'm no connesuer, but we took recommendations from our waiter and he knew what he was talking about! So fresh and so good


Okay, now The Lobster Roll.  I heard this roll was the best in all of Portland.  Very strong words, guys.  Supposedly, the bun is steamed and the lobster is dressed in brown butter.  I know, you can't really go wrong. But damn, it was SO RIGHT!  The butter was not overpowering, the perfect amount of richness, and still felt kinda light.  You guys need this brown butter lobster in your life.  It was the only one I had and I was OK with that


Next we walked around, did some touristy things.  I'm about it every now and then.  

We went to Peaks Island, which my friend loved and for good reason.  So beautiful!  We took a ferry to the island and then a golf cart around the island.  It felt like we saw the whole island, but who knows, I let my friend and brother take the wheel and just enjoyed the views.  Something wonderfully different from the city life of Portland.  


Afterwards, we treated ourselves to gelato at Gorgeous Gelato.  Again, highly recommended. (You guys should know, I only go to recommended places of food bloggers and trusted foodie friends. Spread the good world people!)  This was the second gelato place we went to and I really did like it best.  Kept it simple with Pistachio.  Yum.


We were able to take a ride down south to York.  It was gorgeous.  I really think all of Maine has this kind of beauty that, for some reason, I feel like I've never seen before.  Rivers, lakes, oceans, it had it all.  I always say I love nature, but really I think I love the water.  And we actually saw the stars at night!  Seriously mesmerizing, especially to us city-dwellers. 


Our last stop on the way back home was Kennebunkport.  Through word of mouth it seemed like small town known for estate of former President Bush.  We didn't see it, but just a fun fact.  And tons of cute little shops, coffee places, and beautiful scenery; it was a fast but cute stop!

Alisson's Restaurant.  I'm not much into pub food, but this place is on to something.  We ordered Lobster Pizza, which was tasty, but the lobster was a bit overcooked, not my favorite. But the Lobster Mac n Cheese and Lobster Fries were another story..  Ugh, the sauce was creamy and oh-so rich. A little goes a long way!  And the chunks of lobster were perfection.  You could say after all that we were a little full and lobstered out.  Perfect last stop!


I don't usually give little itineraries of "What I Did", but since this was a small getaway with the agenda to relax and eat good food, I could share without going crazy.  The perfect Cortado catchup!  Everyone travels differently and I'm definitely one who likes to live like a local when I do.  This trip was less about the must-do and instead was a must-experience.  Couldn't have picked a better place or people to share that with.  




What I Found... Again: Scenes from Peru

Hello, my beauties! If you only read my blog, you probably think I disappeared, or even ran away.  Don't worry, I've been around!  Social media has a way of letting me get in yo face.  Or maybe, you haven't worried at all and you've been so busy living your spectacular lives as any wild human being should! Either way, I'm gonna explain myself.

I've been making jellies, body scrubs, and deodorants. I've been traveling, started working in a new enormous city, and dealing with every commuter issue you could think of.  It's been time consuming, frustrating, beautifully new, surreal, and of course scary. It kind of looks more like a negative than positive, but trust me, the positives are way big too ignore. 

I was actually up the other night, not able to sleep, thinking about... shit, and what the hell I was going to write.  And even though I had an idea, I had no clue how I was going to do it.  Meaning I couldn't put into words.  

I wanted to talk about my trip.  The first time I traveled out of country and visited where my father, who I believe makes America great, came from.  I also wanted to talk about my experience working in a totally new environment.  Everything from the position, place, and people has been SO DIFFERENT. 

Then it occurred to me, I didn't want to talk about my experiences.  Honestly, I tried writing for a few days and couldn't find the words to put it together.  I couldn't even find the words for it to actually mean something.   So instead, I decided to talk about my feelings.  Because, I realized that's where my experiences were connected.  Are you with me?  Did I lose you?  Look at pictures or read on.  It ain't no thang.

I've been feeling two great forces as of late.  

There is the one that makes me feel it's my time to go again.  It's time to pack up leave into a new world (maybe just state) and experience something there.  Because, I want to feel alive every fucking minute of the day.  Because, I felt stuck. 

When I was in Peru, it actually made me miss some of my past.  My past of living in a place where, goddamn it, it was warm, there was a culture, latin food, and cafe con leché on every corner.  It made me miss traveling to mother land #2.  Humble countries and islands, fruits falling from the trees, and nature's beauty made for everyone to enjoy.  I think that's where I left a piece of my heart at.  

Then there is this other part.  The part that reminds me why I stay.  For the first time in a while, I'm working on and progressing, SLOWLY, towards a vision.  A vision to do what I love, sharing what I create, and making some kind of mark within my communities.  It's hard. Even when those times come and I really think I am about to give it all up, I remember yet, something else.  I have every kind of support I could ask for and a family I don't think I'm ready to leave again.  I actually find this even scarier.  The feeling of familiarity, being committed to one place.  Have I reached the other reason people "settle down." 

I actually love where I spend most my days... for a change.  The most intense area of the melting pot.  Where everyone is different.  I walk next to richest people and some of the poorest every day.  We all look so different, dress different, and most of the time I never understand the words they speak.  It's amazing.  I'm learning the deepest of patience and finding the absolute littlest things miraculously beautiful.  Even though I walk alone, ride alone, and work alone, in a place where everyone stands out individually, I can't help but feel of sense of belonging.  I feel as if I belong in this crazy noisy city made of the hustlers, dreamers, and radicals.  That's where I'm at.


For the first time, I feel my vision coming alive.  What it fully is, I'm not %100 sure, and sometimes I'm so damn scared and annoyed.  I have my what-if moments, breakdowns, and feeling of defeat.  Then I remind myself why, my passion creates those feelings of empowerment and true love.  I turn to those who believe and make worth while every little thing I have accomplished.  My family that has learned to except each of our rebel, introverted, and traditional ways. For the first time, I started to feel confident in my version of stability.  I made it my own. 

I can't help my feelings of loving the road that takes me any where and every where.  The freedom being a woman who let's herself feel free any way she can, who dreams the unthinkable, and has learned to manifest love with her heart and hands.  

With every person I pass by, I only hope they are thinking of something just as spectacular.  Feeling unstoppable.  Becoming curious of the uncertain.  Pushing those limits and rules that were set upon them.  In every humbling place, I see your beauty, I feel your potential to be home. Thank you for teaching me in your own way patience, openness, and appreciation for both what I both experience and what I already have. 

Puerto Rico

One week later, and I finally get to recap.  I've been going back and forth.  Trying to pick the perfect pictures and amazing words to do this trip justice.  Not easy.  But here it is, doing the best I can, with the quality camera/iphone I had.  From daytime travels full of history, to nights out in the city full of reggaeton and one too many drinks, I can honestly say this is it.  Puerto Rico, you are exactly what I needed.

I bought my first pair of sneakers, not for the beautiful island, but actually for work.  Turned out to be the best investment I ever made.  We hiked through El Yunque without a tour or knowledge of where it would lead us, but the trails, rocks, and streams were beautiful hints of what was to come.  Something that I was able to share with so many different people.  We were all there to see and experience what El Yunque had to offer.  


If you ever get the chance, please go... and RENT A CAR.  Uber is not so accepted yet, and taxi situations could be better.  We relied on questionable rides from strangers, which turned out to be pretty interesting.  It actually forced us to bond with the locals, all with different backgrounds and stories to tell. 

Las Cuevas del Indio was also an amazing sight.  Probably the only place that actually charged to get in, but for five dollars, you get every penny worth.  The water colors, currents, and views were everything but ordinary.  Probably the most out of my comfort zone, I walked and sat on cliffs, experienced amazing heights, and looked further into the ocean than ever before.  Oh, and I saw bats.  A family of them.  And I watched them fly right above me as I climbed up rocks and over streams.  FYI, that was never on my agenda.

The. Food.  If you are going to another foreign country/land, take advantage of the culture.  I mainly mean food wise.  I am of Puerto Rican decent and pretty knowledgeable of the cuisine, so it wasn't so much exploring the food, but enjoying every bite of it.  The authentic shit.  From rice and beans, mofongo, and comida criolla, I was in all my glory. 


If you can get out of the main city, and deep into the island, do it.  I had the opportunity to get aquatinted with someone who was able to take me THERE.  To that spot of real puerto rican street food.  It was very much so nostalgic.  When I used to visit my own grandparents on the island, where alcapurrias and empanadas were more common then any mofongo.  It was greasy.  It was delicious. 

From the beginning, I was surrounded by so many adventurous, food loving, understanding beings.  It may sound super corny, but I say it firmly and proudly.  They helped me get to amazing beautiful places, kept me company, and kept me smiling.  Even on my own, I felt at ease.  Nothing was more insightful than walking the streets of Old San Juan alone.   Nothing was more calming than just reading a book under the tropical skies.  

Puerto Rico is a beauty.  I think I got to experience it on a whole other level than my previous visits.  Not only was it my first solo trip, but one that I was able to explore from a different perspective.  One that is open, accepting, and ready for whatever may or may not come my way.  Like every place and experience,  there is the good, there is the bad.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  It actually encouraged me to see the amazement right here.  That everyday adventure in right now.