Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mary’s Walk, Vegan Zapoteca, Mo & More

Life is busy. Enjoy!

First, things are a changing. I can feel it. This morning when I woke up I viewed the Weather Channel iPhone app. The hourly forecast said 70 degrees. I was ecstatic. I practically jumped out of bed.

Then I realized it was Vegas. Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. Not Portland, Maine. 

I retreated immediately back to bed.

When I got up for good I finally threw on a light fleece, ear warmers, and running gloves. It was a perfect day to run in a road race. Joe, my Mom, Stepdad and I made up the group Nana's Dream Team. We walked to the KerryMan Pub in Saco and ran the 5K to Thornton Academy. Mary’s Walk is a road race to benefit the Maine Cancer Foundation. Visit the site:

Me: Oh 365, that's a pretty significant number.
Joe: Why? Because it the number of days in a year.
Me: That and it's the Whole Foods brand.

There are multiple things I love about road races. The endorphins, the free bananas, the silly wardrobes people wear, cheering from strangers. But one of my favorite things about road races is old people.

Old people are the best. Every single road race I’ve ever run in has had some old marathon looking man in all fluorescent garb jogging at a snail’s pace. The entire time he smiles and tells me that I’m “doing a great job”, “keep up the nice work”, “just around the corner and you’re home free”.

Really? Shouldn’t I be telling you this?

If I had the breath to answer back I would. But usually I just smile and keep running. They just seem so nice.

The only person that has ever trumped an old person in my running “career” (career used loosely here) was a very intimidating woman in New Jersey. It was my first road race and a half-marathon. It was raining. I was tired. I didn’t know the course. I didn’t really train. I had wayyyy to many clothes on. It was mile 12. My feet were inching toward the finish line and out of nowhere a woman on the curb started yelling like a drill sergeant. I thought she knew somebody, so I didn’t really react until I realized she was staring right at me.

 “Your body is going to tell you to stop, but your mind, your mind needs to tell you to just keep running!”

She sounded angry and soulful all at the same time. So I listened to her. I just kept going. And going. Until I reached the end. She really was my savior. It was a different approach from the old people, but effective just the same.

Second, Mo is the new addition to the Maine Beer Company line. Yay! I haven’t tried it yet, but it has been reported by a random taste-tester (Joe) that the pale ale is particularly hoppy. I just wanted to make vegans and all Maine Beer Company fans aware.

Third, I made it to Zapoteca in Portland, Maine this past Thursday for dinner. It was awesome. They have an entire Vegetarian and Vegan menu with about 5-6 different dishes. The best part is that you don’t have to call ahead. They just have the menu ready, all the time! It’s awesome.

I am going to recommend Zapoteca for the next business dinner. It’s hip, meaty, veggie, and filling. I will say that the atmosphere is a bit loud and I wish there were more art on the walls. The light fixtures were interesting, but the walls were literally blank. It just felt like for the type of full food being presented that the atmosphere would contain a bit more warmth.

Anyway, check it out if you’re looking for something new. Cheers.

Lastly, who knew The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book was so amazing? Probably everyone. I know I’m behind on this trend. I purchased this book about 2 years ago and it has been lying dormant on my bookshelf waiting for a reader. So finally I have answered the call this weekend. The first part of the book I found hard to read. The plot lines seemed fragmented. After page 70 I was hooked. Reading is what I will be doing for the remainder of the evening to savor every last bit of Sunday.

But really, it's good.

Have a nice start to the workweek.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Top-notch (vegan) Business Dinner at 555

This past Wednesday a few business partners from Boston were in Portland and decided to take the advertising group out to dinner, which turned out to be one of the best business dinners I have ever experienced. 

have gone to multiple events in Portland, and surprisingly, a lot of chefs are not that willing to help vegan diners. It can be really difficult to find a quality restaurant that will equally satisfy both the omnivore and herbivore. I was actually dreading going to 555 until I saw on their menu to call ahead for vegan meal accommodations. 

I’m not writing a full restaurant review because I was gravely unprepared for the evening to blog. Also, I had enjoyed most of my courses before I convinced myself to take pictures. I always think it's rude to bust out the iPhone in the midst of dinner. Our group of eight people indulged in a 7-course meal at Five Fifty-five in Portland, Maine. I will say that if you ever want to impress a vegan client and you have a large group, 555 is a great place to go.

First, I was the only vegan and/or vegetarian of the bunch and felt like my vegetable dishes had just as much consideration as the meat dishes. Second, when we arrived the atmosphere was quiet and our table was strategically placed on the second floor. Third, every meal option was unique and paired with a complimentary wine.

Another thing that made the dinner so interesting, and something I think they only do for large groups, was that they presented the “feast of forty flavors”. Which is a list with all of the noted ingredients. After each course you go through your list and select the different items you thought you tasted. It’s fun and interesting and actually kind of hard for a food commoner. The list is more extensive with meat options.

The service was great, the food was delicious, and overall it was a wonderful business dinner. I highly recommend 555.

I honestly liked it so much that Joe and I are planning to make reservations for Petite Jacqueline during Maine Restaurant Week, since it is owned by the same people as 555! The menu is not usually vegan friendly as it highlights most traditional French food, but it did note that their will be vegan options for restaurant week. I really hope it has the same quality and pleasing atmosphere. Can't wait!