The Portland, ME Edition: Rosemont Market & Bakery, Can I Please Take You Home Now?

It’s probably fair, Rosemont Market & Bakery, to say that you had me at hello.

photo-3photo-1First (chance) encounter: You were pointed out to me by my friend and host, who is also an infinitely knowledgeable all-things-Portland guide, as we walked past on our way to brunch up the street at The Front Room. We stopped; I had to go inside. I made a quick circle, noting the cheese case, the crates of local blueberries and the New England beer selection. I knew I would be back.

photo-4Second (intentional) encounter: Sure enough, I found my way back, all by myself, later that day. I came with the intention (guise?) of picking up a few some things to make a light crab salad with my prized Harbor Fish Market purchase — that sweet, sweet crabmeat from Wood’s Seafood (Bucksport, ME) — while my friend/host/infinitely knowledgeable guide went training for her triathlon. Instead, I fell head-over-heels for the price point and the boutique-ness of the wine nook, fawned some more over the fresh, locally-grown (and so cheap!) produce, and end up accidentally buying dinner:

photo-5$6, qt. of homemade gazpacho
$2 French baguette, baked in house
$1.49 head of locally-grown bibb lettuce
$0.99 bunch of fresh chives

$12.99 giant bottle of La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc (nothing fancy, a blend of Rhône varietals, but I’ve seen a 750 ml costs this much in New York, so on principle I had to buy the magnum)

It’s not really cooking, but my friend/guide /host’s exuberant roommate asked me what I did, so here’s the recipe: Doctor up the gazpacho with chopped green onion, fresh crab, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. Ditto for the salad, except that I substituted a little Goddess Dressing (Kraft) for the olive oil. Serve with sliced, buttered and oven-toasted baguette points that make the kitchen smell oh-so-good. Pour wine heavily.

photo-7Third (spontaneous) encounter: Sure, I was thinking about you. But little did I know that I’d be back so soon. And then the roommate said, “Let’s walk up and get pastries from Rosemont!”It was said exuberantly.

Um, twist my arm. And this is how I discovered the Sandwich of Sunshine. Yes, literally, that’s what it’s called. The description on the (hand-written) index card goes on to read: “Local sun dried tomato goat cheese, Black Kettle Farm romaine, orange melon and a fruit salad of white peaches, watermelon, mango, basil and lemon yogurt” ($5.50). What? (Befuddlement.) No way. (Denial.) Wait a second … (Illumination breaking). Yes, yes, yes! (Discovery.)

photo-2Fourth (missed) encounter: I intended to stop by one last time on Sunday afternoon to pick up a souvenir, one of the large, plastic Rosemont-labeled spices (which are actually from some spice place in New Hampshire — the pickled fiddleheads would have meant having to check a bag).

I had been vacillating between the mulling spices, the pickling spices and the multi-colored rainbow sprinkles, because how long would it take me to get through 6 oz. of dried dill? (Which begs the question, why would it take me any less time to get through that giant container of sprinkles?)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it back before Rosemont shuttered for the night. Sigh. This is not the first or the last time that I’ve wished I could pack something large and immoveable into my carry-on.


Friday: Milk, Banana, Peanut Butter Smoothie (The “Make This at Home!” Post)

What do I remember about my first peanut butter in a smoothie?

Scene: UCLA food court, Arthur Ashe building, central campus. Small, non-Jamba Juice smoothie franchise. Have no idea what it was called, but “rise and shine” or “breakfast boost” (or something like that) was in there somewhere. As was frozen yogurt, fruit, granola, honey and peanut butter, and who knows what else.

All I know is sucking that thing down, from its giant, styrofoam cup with with dancing fruit pieces on it, on my way to my Friday morning class … it was bliss.

photo-1photo-2…Fast-forward to where I rediscover my love of peanut butter in smoothies, while standing in my tiny kitchen in the Upper East Side and trying to make the most of a ripe banana. Staring into my tiny fridge for inspiration, I remembered the peanut butter-enhanced smoothie of college years.

Here’s my go at my own, simpler version:

photo-36-10 ice cubes (depending on size and desired iciness)
1 banana, broken into chunks
2 Tlbs. (hearty scoop) of crunchy peanut butter, Whole Foods’ 365 brand
3/4 c. (just more than a hearty splash) of milk (I found this organic, grass-fed, nonfat milk at a nearby natural foods store for just $3.99 / half-gallon!)

Into blender … and blend. So icy-cool, so frothy, so sweetly banana-y, with that underlying peanut butter reassurance that this smoothie also packs some serious sustenance.

TIP: Jamba Juice’s Peanut Butter Moo’d smoothie, which is more milkshake than smoothie, in both ingredients and calories, is a poser. If you go for it, go in eyes wide open.

Sunday: Pancakes. Giant, Blueberry-Saturated Pancakes. (the “2x a Year Pancake Craving” Post)

Pancakes. Giant, blueberry-saturated pancakes. That was my first conscious thought this morning — so weird, but not entirely surprising. It happens a couple times a year. And because it’s so rare, I am immediately inspired to go on a pancake quest.

photo(2)photoSo I hear that Clinton Street Baking Co. has really excellent ones, but it was a little too far away in today’s torrential downpour — the summer equivalent of winter’s occasional, intense snowstorm — both of which have the same effect on pedestrian traffic (it disappears).

The Sullivan Diner was suggested, and I bit: Closer? Definitely. Dutch pancakes, what?! I’ve never had them:  Dutch lemon, Dutch bacon, Dutch Nutella …

And they’re going to have to remain a cliff-hanger. I got a little intimidated by the Dutch pancakes, which came alone. Instead, I ordered the Classic Pancake Breakfast ($13): Pancakes, two eggs, potatoes, bacon or sausage, coffee or tea. $1 more to substitute blueberry banana pancakes.

In terms of a balanced, pancake breakfast, this option hit the spot. Two fluffy, fruit-laden pancakes smeared with butter and sopped in syrup were about all I could handle. Plus, the bites of syrup-y sweetness were tempered with bites of the other good stuff, which was protein-rich and filling.

Dutch pancakes, I’ll take a rain check.

Breakfast: The “Best of Both Worlds” Fage Post

When I wrote a story on Greek yogurt a few months ago, the photodietitian I interviewed recommended mixing in fresh fruit to give a little sweetness to the yogurt, rather than buying the ones with the strawberry, cherry or peach fruit preserves attached in a cute little side compartment. In principle, I agree with her: Less sugar, more natural fruit goodness, more ounces of yogurt per container. In actuality, the yogurt is too sour for me with just fresh fruit. It needs honey, or a Sugar in the Raw packet, or something.

Today I added a handful of blueberries in to the yogurt on top of the peach preserves — the yogurt was a great vehicle for the berries (not all shown; kept replenishing as I ate), and I got the sweetness quotient. Mmm.

Breakfast: First Look at a Bushel of Berries

photoWhat happens when the fruitstand guy is selling packages of berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries) for $5 for three? You come home with a lot of berries, of which these are just a few. What to do, what to do? Considering making a pie …

Breakfast: D-I-Y Smoothie Bar (Midtown Oasis)

photoPick a fruit, any fruit, and one of the two sweet girls who are perpetually manning the counter of this no-name mid-block oasis will blend you a custom smoothie.

Or, you can pick from a menu with names like “Berry Sunrise,” “Tropical Paradise,” etc. I just love the fact that I have the option to order off-menu.

photo(2)Is there a strawberry, mango, banana smoothie on the menu? No. Was I in the mood for a strawberry, mango, banana smoothie this morning? Apparently so. Did I have a strawberry, mango, banana smoothie ($4) for breakfast? Hell yes I did. Love it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This no-name shop is one of the best things going on in the greater Penn Station / Port Authority neighborhood.

Smoothies, fresh pressed juices; croissants, danishes and big, thick slices of banana nut bread and carrot bread on the counter under a glass cake stand; a rotating selection of snacks, healthy and otherwise; Lotto tickets, fresh flower bouquets. It’s on W. 37th Street between 7th and 8th avenues — you can nearly spot the fresh flowers and palm frawns from either avenue. Go.