January 9, 2017

Writing Forward into 2017

Typically, end-of-the-year reflections involve looking back on the year that's just passed, but I don't know that 2016 was one that anyone wants to spend much time dwelling on—the universal sentiment seems to be that the year was one big garbage fire. I personally had a just fine year (short of being witness to the trauma and tragedies that affected my friends and, of course, the state of national politics), but I'm hoping 2017 will be a better year for everyone.

Best Nine Instagram Pics

The beginning of a new year is not the only excuse to take stock of things, but also because today, January 9th, marks the 8th anniversary of my blog. And my, how far we've come from 2009 when I frequented RiRa and Bull Feeney's, and Bresca (RIP) was my favorite special occasion spot.

Certainly the explosion of food trucks in Portland in recent years has changed the fast casual dining scene—this year, the most popular post on the blog in 2016 was an update in the spring about the current fleet of food trucks. I'll be sure to update readers again this spring as the food truck fleet is ever-changing. 

Other popular posts of 2016 included the growing businesses of Thompson's Point, with Cellardoor Winery joining Stroudwater Distillery and Bissell Brothers Brewing. The third most-viewed post was the first look at Foulmouthed Brewing in South Portland, with brunch at Terlingua and a first look at Drifters Wife coming in at fourth and fifth most popular posts. 

Looking back at my posts from 2016, I see time spent exploring areas outside of Portland—a dinner in the Kennebunks turned me onto the delicious Spanish-inspired Toroso from Chef Shannon Bard; I explored the growing businesses of Westbrook, and ventured to Brunswick for a smoky Scotch tasting (still not my fave). 

I was busy with the Portland Spirits Society, a women's spirits tasting group, last year—our absinthe night at Vena's Fizz House was a popular one, as was oysters and Caledonia Spirits at Eventide Oyster Co. While I don't have any PSS events scheduled just yet, I've definitely still got some ideas kicking around in the hopper for the new year. 

I ended the year on a high note with a trip to the Florida Keys. It was our friend LBK's birthday and she cashed in her chips for a trip somewhere warm. A group of 7 of us stayed in Marathon for the better part of a week, and then a smaller group of ladies headed down to Key West for some mischief involving scooters, drag queens, and piƱa coladas in to-go cups. 

The only food photo I took on the trip (even food bloggers like to take vacations from photographing their food) was lunch on our first day in Key West. We stayed down the block from Bien Key West, and while that plate of creamy pasta and accompanying bottle of wine at Antonia's was extremely comforting, this fresh salad with pickled beets and spicy, tender shrimp on top was the best thing I ate in the Keys. 

I leave you with our first brunch spread of the new year—a posh and inspiring way to start 2017. Between the cheese board with idiazabal and jamon iberico that my friend smuggled in for me from the Basque country and the sturgeon caviar from Browne Trading Co., we celebrated the passing of another year, hoping for a kinder, gentler year full of nourishing food for all.