Tag Archives: field trip

Field Trip: BRIMFIELD!

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I have LOTS of pictures to share with you today.  I’m very excited.   After being sick last week, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t recover in time, but by the time Friday rolled around, I was fully healthy and ready to go on one of my favorite yearly pilgrimages (with my favorite antiquing buddy) to Brimfield, Massachusetts and the largest outdoor antique show in the US.

I need to hold myself back a little so I don’t write and write for pages on how much I love going to Brimfield, so I’ll try to keep to a few points.  (I have an entire notebook dedicated to Brimfield where I make notes on favorite fields, collect sellers’ cards, and note where to park and what to wear, etc., etc.)  Here are the basic details:  The show is three times a year (May, July, and September) from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  People come from all over the US and even other countries to find antiques, treasures, and “upcycled” goods made from odds and ends.  If you’re looking for something in that realm, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it at Brimfield.  The Brimfield Antique Show is made up of numerous fields on either side of a one mile stretch of road.  Each field has scores of dealers.  Some fields are open every day of the show and some are only open on certain days.  You can walk all day long and, depending on your pace, still not see everything.  My record is 12 hours of walking (with breaks–let’s be realistic–walking all day allows you to eat like a Hobbit).  Friday we covered about 9 miles and walked about 10 hours.  We saw almost everything (if that’s even really possible).

Enough talking, though.  Let’s see some pictures.  One of my goals this year was to take ‘lots of pictures, so here’s your photo tour of the May 2014 Brimfield Show.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

If you’re looking to outfit your sweet loft with large-scale coolness, look no further.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Along with vintage goods, we came across the work of some seriously creative and fabulous craftsmen.

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Everyone needs a pink hair dryer for a rainy day, right? (Plus, check out the cool coral necklace I scored for only $10! One of the other dealers told me it was worth $150.)

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Can you imagine the time and skill it takes to carve something like this?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

There’s plenty to decorate the outside of your place as well as the inside.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Brimfield’s not all about the shopping…it’s also an education.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

And my biggest purchase at Brimfield…….?????

The motorcycle jacket of course!  Did you think I got a motorcycle?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

My friend Jo-Alice and I took a well-earned trip to Cracker Barrel after “hiking” through the wild and rainy antique fields of western MA all day.

My total haul for the day included the coral necklace you saw, a three-strand aurora borealis crystal necklace (Also $10.  Yes!), a large and healthy rosemary plant, a test tube rack and some test tubes to use as vases, my awesome motorcycle jacket (which I am wearing as I write this), and a secret stocking stuffer for my husband.  It may have been the best Brimfield yet.  Good company, good weather even with the rain, great finds, and lots of good pictures.  All in all a great trip.

Have you ever been to Brimfield?  Do you plan to go?  Have any tips to share with others or questions to ask?  I’ll do my best to answer!

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Field Trip (and a Recipe!): The Friendly Toast

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Today I want to introduce you to a fun and funky restaurant in Portsmouth, NH:  The Friendly Toast.

Field Trip:  The Friendly Toast with Pattern and Branch

I can’t remember how we discovered The Friendly Toast, whether through a recommendation or by stumbling upon it, but it has become a favorite.  We’ve also visited the Cambridge, MA branch, but the Portsmouth incarnation is the one we’ve come to love the most.

The food choices are really creative, as are the drink options.  Today, I ordered Green Eggs and Ham, which was a slice of anadama bread with ham and two poached eggs on top, covered with a creamy herb sauce and served with home fries.  I’m also always tempted by the coconut pancakes which include cashews, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and a coconut sauce on top.  We’ve even incorporated meals we’ve had there into our own home rotation (see the end of the post for the recipe we came up with).

The food is good, but that’s not the only thing we love about The Friendly Toast.  It has a really eclectic, kitschy, vintage feel to it.  All those crazy signs and oddments you find at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales?  I think most of them have ended up here.

Field Trip:  The Friendly Toast with Pattern and Branch

Looking for a doll flying a helicopter? Too late–The Friendly Toast got to it first!

The Cambridge branch has the same sort of décor, but it feels a bit more planned out.  You can never feel bored here, because there is so much to look at.  I also find the people that you see at the restaurant very interesting.  It’s an amazing conglomeration of young families, older families, tattooed vintage-lovers, hipsters, baby boomers, and everything in between.  There aren’t many places that appeal to such a wide array of people.

Field Trip: The Friendly Toast with Pattern and Branch

If you ever get the chance to go, may I also recommend buying a loaf of bread?  We nearly always come home with a loaf of their Cayenne Cheddar Bread (but their Anadama is pretty great, too, and it’s a New England favorite).

Field Trip:  The Friendly Toast with Pattern and Branch

Field Trip:  The Friendly Toast with Pattern and Branch

I’ll leave you with our version of a special we once tried at the restaurant:  New England Poutine.  Of course, it’s not quite as good as the original, but it’s close enough to be incorporated as one of our favorites.

New England Poutine (or our best guess)

makes more than four servings (I can’t quite remember how many we got out of it…How big is your appetite?)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. thin sweet potato fries (not steak fries), frozen, or about two large sweet potatoes*
  • 1 1/2 lbs. thin-sliced potatoes (like shoestring potatoes or small-diced homefries), frozen, or about six small potatoes*
  • 2-15 oz. cans of corned beef hash
  • 8 oz. medium/sharp white cheddar cheese cut into cubes
  • hollandaise sauce (This link takes you to the recipe we use for Blender Hollandaise Sauce–nice, neat, and not too tricky.)
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced
  • toast (something like a Cheddar Cayenne or Italian Herb is good, but plain will also work well)

*If buying frozen sweet potato and potato products, see if you can find packages with similar cook times and temperatures.

Directions:

  1. Cook your sweet potato and regular potato fries according to package instructions or at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until done, stirring once.
  2. Meanwhile, warm your corned beef hash over medium heat in a frying pan on the stove, stirring occasionally.
  3. At this point, prep your Hollandaise as much as you are able to, leaving the final steps undone.  If that feels like too much, do the Hollandaise after step 6.
  4. When your potatoes are cooked, plate them according to how much you think each person will eat, putting just a little less than you think they will want on each plate (there is more to add to this plate, so trust me on this).
  5. Next, cover the potatoes with corned beef hash, again just a little less than you might think.
  6. Top this with some chunks of cheese.
  7. Now finish up your hollandaise and pour some over  your potatoes and hash.
  8. Finally, garnish with scallions and serve with the toast of your choice!

Hope you enjoy this recipe.  Now even if you can’t get to the Friendly Toast, you can pretend you’re are eating there.

Field Trip: A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA

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Field Trip:  A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA

This morning, I woke up feeling excited.  Forswearing an early breakfast, I saved my appetite for something much more special than my normal fare.  Today was the day to go on a field trip to one of the best hidden gems in all of Boston’s North Shore:  A&J King Bakery.

Field Trip:  A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA

Down a little side street in Salem, MA sits a culinary gallery of bread and pastry that is A&J King.  Inside there is always a steady ebb and flow of customers buying sticky buns, salted caramel cashew tarts, sour cream coffee cake, and coconut almond macaroons.  Maybe some of the customers are planning ahead for lunch or dinner, and checking out the ham and cheese croissants or some asiago chili bread.

Field Trip:  A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA

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Field Trip:  A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA

I was saving my appetite for the sticky buns.  (You know, it’s really hard to have to sample sticky buns.  I just hate it.  🙂 )

The very friendly manager, Jess, allowed me to take pictures and talked with me about their commitment to quality, simplicity, and baking from scratch.

Everything here is painstakingly made by hand.  Their adherence to these principles is easy to taste in everything they make.  The bakery is also filled with artwork, both of the bread variety and on the walls in the form of photographs and chalk drawings.

Best of all, you can now take some of the beauty and mystery of A&J King-style baking home with you.  They just came out with their first book!  I’ve had a quick peek into the book, and I can already see that it is an excellent reference for anyone wanting to learn to make bread by hand, and to do it well.

Field Trip:  A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA

After such a pleasant visit filled with good service and great food, I left loving the bakery more than ever.  Of course I didn’t leave empty-handed.  The sticky bun was long gone, but I brought home some asiago chili bread, my server’s favorite, and some anadama for tomorrow’s dinner.  If you’re in the area, check out A&J King, and even if you aren’t near Boston’s North Shore, you can still have some quality bakery goodness in your life thanks to the book.  How’s that for options?

A&J King Artisan Bakers, 48 Central Street, Salem, MA 01970

Monday-Friday: 7am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday:  7am-4pm