Category Archives: breakfast

PB Boulangerie

When you think of beach food, French pastry probably doesn’t usually come to mind. While I certainly love fried scallops, chowder and s’mores, sometimes I want something a little more refined. For those instances, PB Boulangerie fits the bill perfectly.

Croissant and pain au chocolate

Croissant and pain au chocolate

I’ve been interested in getting to this spot for a good number of years, however, the queue has always put me off. This year, though, the gods conspired (Quinn got up early, we needed to take a quick run out to Provincetown and there was a severe weather warning which limited traffic) and we found ourselves there before 8:00 a.m., meaning the line was manageable. While Quinn and Jeter rode the storm out in the car, windows open natch, I took in the selection and settled on 4 croissants, 2 almond croissants, 2 pain au chocolate and 2 jars of apricot jam. Total price: $46.00.

Without exception, everything I tasted was outstanding. The almond croissant (my favorite!) was terrific – flaky, buttery and deliciously almond-y. It was big and I struggled to eat the entire thing, but, you know me, I’m a trooper and managed it just fine. The pain au chocolate was beautifully punctuated with small chunks of chocolate and the traditional croissant was everything a croissant should be.

The jam has been a revelation. Apparently the chef/owner’s mother, Pascaline, visits periodically to make and jar her special preserves and she has a deft hand with the 4 ingredients included – apricots, lavender, vanilla and sugar. So simple, so delectable.

I’m already thinking about sampling the Croque Monsieur I saw on display, as well as expanding my jam collection. PB Boulangerie is the real deal.

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Filed under breakfast, Cape Cod, Eating, Food, Recommendations, Summer, vacation

When 1 + 1 = 1

It’s funny how sometimes two beloved things just don’t work together. For instance, I love ice cream and I love chocolate but I just don’t care for chocolate ice cream. At all. This weird contradictory condition, I’ve learned, also holds true for two of my favorite activities – yoga and paddle boarding.

imageEarlier this week I headed out to Provincetown for a 9:00 a.m. SUP yoga class at Provincetown Aqua Sports. I had booked and paid for the class online the previous evening and was excited to try something new. Provincetown is lovely in the early morning with plenty of available parking and I arrived at the business in good time. I paid my (petty) $2 fee to rent a locker, got my (mandatory) life vest and joined the other 3 class attendees and the 2 instructors on the beach behind Commercial Street.

There was a brief stretch/warm up before we launched along with general instructions for those inexperienced with paddle boarding. A short time later we headed out into the harbor for class. The tide was fairly low, but the current was swift moving us quickly from east to west. The approach was to paddle to the right and work on our poses as we were propelled by the water to the left. It was somewhat challenging, but I guess I like to work out a little harder. I probably need to just relax a little, right?

I’ve played around with yoga poses in the past on a paddle board and have always dumped when attempting a one-legged downward dog or a side plank. This class did give me a technique to avoid that, specifically moving my foot to the center of the board to maintain balance. That alone made the class worthwhile and I will continue working on my practice on my own board, in my own time.  While this class wasn’t really for me I did enjoy my post-class breakfast – a coffee and cinnamon roll from the Portuguese Bakery.  image

Have any of you taken a SUP yoga class? How did it add up for you?

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Filed under breakfast, Cape Cod, Exercise, Summer, vacation, yoga

Love apples

I sampled my first pomegranate about 40 years ago. I was spending the night with a school friend who had hippy parents who joyfully exposed me to all sorts of new things – like a water bed, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, an unusual musky smoke wafting around and pomegranates.

Although I have owned a copy of Rumors pretty much ever since, years went by before I began dabbling in pomegranates. I don’t recall if I found them to be expensive or intimidating, but I just didn’t really get into them until recent years. And now? I am obsessed with them!

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I’ve been going through two or three pomegranates a week. My favorite way to consume one is either in yogurt or oatmeal.  I can’t believe I ever balked at the seeds’ slight crunchiness since I now completely enjoy their firm juiciness. Extracting the seeds remains a messy, but minor challenge.  Maybe you have some secrets to making the task neater?  How do you take your love apples?

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Filed under breakfast, Eating, Food

Maple Weekend 2014

I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that “pancake” syrup was all there was to drown my pancakes in. Based upon my middle son’s recent query about “Why is the number one ingredient in maple syrup water?,” I have to think that more must be done to educate children about the difference between pancake syrup and genuine maple syrup. Maple Weekend 2014 provided the ideal opportunity for a little lesson on the genuine article vs. that water-based, artificially colored and flavored bastardization known as “pancake syrup.”

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Last weekend, on a damp and cold morning, Quinn and I headed out to Berne to see the trees from which our syrup comes. The drive was full of sights for us to observe – cows and horses, heaps of lingering snow, raging creeks, and to discuss and, in case you were wondering, that boy has no interest in living in the country. Definitely a city kid.

We arrived at Mountain Winds Maple Farm in the late morning. While we weren’t the only folks visiting, Randy made time to take us on a little tour. Our footwear choice (rubber boots) was validated by the squishy earth and we confidently headed towards the little pumping station. This was where the tubing, working with a vacuum pump, initially collected the surprisingly clear and remarkably not sweet sap.

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Randy explained that the yield has thus far this season been very low since we have not yet had a true thaw to encourage a free flow of sap. Fingers crossed, a few days later that he and the other syrup producers are seeing a more impressive run as the temperatures have somewhat moderated.

From this first collection point the sap is sent to be boiled down, changing the percentage of sugar from approximately 2% to a more familiar 60+%. The rich amber color also develops as the syrup is concentrated and caramelized.

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We were lucky enough to nab his last gallon of syrup and have stashed it away in the basement as back up for the gallon we’re currently enjoying. In the DelSo, I use 100% pure maple syrup, preferably extra dark. I buy this delicious liquid, 2-3 times a year, by the gallon. It’s an investment at approximately $55, but buying in bulk definitely makes sense for my household where we eat pancakes or waffles or French toast at least weekly. In addition to this standard use of maple syrup, I frequently find myself reaching for the syrup dispenser to add flavor to root vegetables and other savory items. Delicious!

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When it is time for some more amber sweetness, we have options other than hauling out to Berne. Randy vends at the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market and also distributes through Farmie Market. In addition to syrup and syrup related products (cotton candy, syrup straws, hard candies, etc), he also sells farm eggs and fresh chicken.

See you at Maple Weekend 2015!  Don’t forget your boots.

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Filed under Boys, breakfast, Events, Local, road trips, Spring, upstate New York

What I missed

IMG_2475After being back and settled in the DelSo for a week, I thought I’d share what I missed this summer while away. Some of the items on the list, I may take for granted when I’m home, while others are always appreciated. The list is not in any order, although alphabetical would naturally be my first impulse. I’m a librarian, remember?

  • My pillows. I wish I could bring them along on the vacation, but there just isn’t enough room in the car – and there are only two.
  • My coffee bean grinder. What do you mean not everyone grinds their beans freshly each morning?
  • My griddle pan. Traditionally, I bring my waffle iron along on the trip, but next year I may need to find some space for my go-to pancake/grilled cheese making surface. Making either of these items individually makes no sense when you can make three at a time.
  • Our sweet old lab, Cassidy Bono Lilly, especially when I read stories like this gem from Paul Grondahl.
  • Him. Because I like having him around.

What do you find yourself missing the most when away from home?

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Filed under Albany, breakfast, Cape Cod, Cooking, DelSo, family, favorites, friends, Martha's Vineyard, Summer, travel, vacation

Smooth operator

A recipe for you, courtesy of Quinn Lilly, for a fast breakfast treat for the whole family.  Here’s the “list*” of ingredients:

Lacking punctuation - it's ice, milk not ice milk

Lacking punctuation – it’s ice, milk not ice milk

Place together in blender and push the button.  Simple!

The chocolate mustache tells the tale.

The chocolate mustache tells the tale.

Seeing as how we’re (finally) done with foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs, I imagine we’ll be modifying this recipe.  What will remain consistent is the absolute joy this boy gives to me.

*Some may call it a recipe, but Q prefers list.

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Filed under Boys, breakfast, favorites, ideas, Recipes

Frühstück

DSC_0013We’ve all heard of, and perhaps even experienced, the “Continental Breakfast.” On occasion, I’ve encountered it in hotels and it has generally left me unimpressed with its often dried out bread items and unimaginative accompaniments. If I were from “the Continent” and was presented with one of those bastardized versions of what should be the most simple and satisfying meal of the day, I suspect I would be inclined to drop the uber-American phrase “Have a nice day!” liberally, and with increasing sarcasm, throughout the day.  You see, bad food makes me cranky.

During our visit with family last month we were spoiled by a version of the Continental breakfast.  It began with a trip to the bakery in town where we pointed, with increasingly difficult to maintain restraint, at the array of baked goods in the glass case.  Our chosen items were placed in a large, low-sided wicker basket to make keeping track of our selections easier. Personal favorites were the pumpkin seed topped rolls and the pretzel bread.  It ain’t all pumpernickel and rye, my friend.

DSC_0012Once back at home, the breads were placed on the table along with a dazzling array of meats and cheeses.  The meat selection included a smoky Black Forest cured bacon, ham, pâté, pimento studded bologna, and liverwurst.  Basically, more German cold cuts than can be found in any single Capital Region locale other than Rolf’s.  Also on the table were some cheeses, although these were primarily French except for a semi-firm Black Forest cheese which was pleasantly mild with a thick thread of smoke in the center.  I need to talk to the Cheese Traveler about that one.  The other cheeses were a St. Andre triple cream, a bleu and a camembert, each beautifully spreadable and delicious.DSC_0011

To round things out (my stomach, more specifically), there was some fantastic yogurt with way less sugar than its American counterpart, cereal, fruit and some sweet cherry tomatoes from Spain.  This type of breakfast is leisurely – one has a small plate and fills it maybe a couple of times.  The coffee is strong, with a nice crema layer on top, and each cup is brewed to order.  It all has a very Continental feel to it and I think it buries the French petite de jeuner.  Frühstück – it’s breakfast.

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Filed under breakfast, Eating, family, Food, Germany, travel, vacation