Portland Woodstock ‘08

A420AA7D-E419-4FE3-9476-3D96385B409AThis weekend was Portland’s 2018 book festival Wordstock. The event was held at the Portland Art Museum and featured over 100 authors. Their was books signings and readings for all ages all and numerous historic locations in the area. It was a great day for writers and readers alike.

I came home with lots of information and goodies.
I chose to go the exploratory route and pick just a few random new books.

My 2018 Wordstock spoils:

Arms From The Sea by Rich Shapero

A young sculptor from the State of Salt swallows a poison pill that transports him to a watery heaven, whose monstrous, seductive creator reveals to him what it might mean to redeem a desolate world.

A confusing and interesting read so far, but I haven’t given up on it.

A Doctor A Day by Bernard Mansheim
Under white coats, behind caring eyes, beneath sterile stethoscopes is the human within the doctor. The one that bears bad news, holds pain and mires in a stream of death and the dying. In this fictional story, Dr. James is in crisis as his practice is further burdened by a crushing lawsuit. Unmasking the psychological burden experienced by many practicing doctors this work portrays one physician’s unbearable experience as examined and articulated by a seasoned MD

My choice cafe drink of the week:

Book Bean: Eggnog Spice Latte
98014BCE-D8F0-4832-98A9-C058CCBD4DEBStart with 1-3 shots of espresso to taste (or for the ‘Au Lait’ version try 4-6 oz of strong black coffee, 1-2 oz eggnog, and 1oz milk) stir in a tiny pinch of cayenne and pinch of pumpkin spice. Pour in steamed eggnog mix: 1 part (2-4 oz depending on number of espresso shots) rich creamy eggnog and 1 part non-fat milk (or milk of choice.) Finish drink off with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Vampire Boy (Adventures of Alex Vambarey)
by Aric Cuching

I chose this book because, first off books have no age, and secondly it seem like a clever synopsis. We shall see.

It seems it has also won quite a few awards, so I’m hopeful that it will not disappoint 🙂


Which local book events do you look forward to?

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Savory Seasonal Suggestion

The leaves have almost all fallen and the colors keep changing all around us. The crisp cool breeze of Autumn will soon begin it’s transformation into a winter chill; this is the season for spices, warm hugs, and yummy pie slices.

So with rosy cheeks and cozy feet here are some falltastic books and treats.

(Click pictures and titles for more info.)


The Wretched of Muirwood
– Jeff Wheeler
This is the first book in a trilogy (of which I have not finished) I cannot speak for the series but as for this first installment, it does not disappoint. This is a great fall book. The likable characters and murky undertones are perfect to read on a rainy day. Being the first of three it leaves you wanting more so if you’re shut up on a stormy weekend or need a holiday bundle, this is the book for you.

The Wretched of Muirwood Rated: 4.4 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
This book screams apple cider. If you read it you will be happy to have some within your reach.


Chicken Soup For The Soul

Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen

An oldy but a goody. There is something unbelievably cozy about sipping a warm drink reading Chicken Soup for The Soul. This book warms you from the inside out, it is full of classic uplifting stories that anyone can enjoy.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

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B
ook Bean: Sip some creamy butternut squash soup in a mug to really get in the spirit. Or try some honey ginger tea for just the right zing.

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Harry Potter
– J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series is the perfect thing for fall. Start in October and you’ll have plenty of content to last you through. I personally was content after the first three but if you want more the series packs a wallop. Everything about the story is perfect for the season. Not only does it jive but it’s also the kind of book that you want to curl up with, escape from the world, and get lost in.

Harry Potter Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Pumpkin Latte or any other spiced latte
pairs oh so nicely.



The Turn of The Screw
– Henry James
This eerie tale is dark and brittle and not for the faint of heart. It’s a classic but it does not fail to lift the micro hairs ever so slightly at the base of your neck. If you frighten easily read aloud with a friend for a fun twist. Make s’mores and sit around a fire pit take turns reading it aloud and see who squirms.

The Turn of the Screw Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

dsc_8551Book Bean: Hot Cocoa or Black Tea alongside your
s’more of course ; )



The Best of Poe
– Edgar Allan Poe
What could be better on a cold gloomy night than setting the candle ambiance for the romantic loom of short stories and poems by the great Poe. There is a dark and sexy quality to Poe’s work that matches the Autumn breeze beautifully. Sit out on your porch wrapped in wool and read his words as they whistle with the wind.

The Best of Poe Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Get some dark chocolate to nibble, and sip your favorite black coffee brew.

Fun Fact: 65% of adults read for pleasure.

Now light some candles, get those fluffy socks on, and grab something to cuddle. Tis the season for book nooks and reading hooks

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Amazon.com is the best place to get books fast and cheap
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With some yummy Mulled Cider!

 

Spooktastic Classics

This October I put together a little list of books I’d like to read to get me into the spirit of Hallows Eve. Here is my list, plus a few from past years. Any or all of these books make wonderful reading, but fair warning, some are not for the faint of heart.

Here is my mini list of spooky hair raising classics:

Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
This is such a fantastic story, I encourage anyone who has not already read it to do so. The story’s background is also really interesting. It’s impressive enough the Shelley could right a book from the perspective of 2 separate males, but she also started this book on a complete whim. She was given the challenge by a peer to right a ghost story while vacationing, and out of that came this iconic masterpiece.

turn.jpgThe Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
I have to admit I barely made it through this book, though it is very well written and a wonderful classic. My reason was purely that I am a big chicken and it scared the daylights out of me. I read it aloud, which really added to it’s eeriness.

The Shining
by Stephen King
I of course had to have Stephen on this list.9781501175466_p0_v2_s550x406 I could decide which book so I chose purely based on the fact that The Shining was one of my first Stephen King experiences. Now for those really looking for a good scare go with “It” though I personally will never be brave enough.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
This is a beautiful story and a classic that I feel is so under appreciated. Dracula represents everything the Victorians feared: the irrational, the pagan, the erotic and the foreign. If you love classic literature and/or gothic novels, I highly recommend you read this book!
*

The Legend of Sleepy Hallow
by Washington Irving
Washington Irving’s haunting, macabre stories will give wide-eyed readers delightful chills. This is a great story and such an awesome read for this time of year. It is especially great to read on particularly gloomy flog laden evenings.

Halloween is just a few days away…
What spooky book/s will you be curling up with?
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Autumn Spice & Books So Nice

Back to schoolAutumn is here! My favorite time of year. In Portland the weather is clear and sunny, the temperature comfortably drifts between a perfect 50-75 degrees, and the rains are held at bay for a few more weeks.

The air is filled with beautiful colors, savory aromas, and
the sound of boots crunching golden leaves.
Is there anything better?
Well yes, lets just add some fall-icious books to the equation shall we!

Here are a few harvest reads and warm drinks to ‘fall’ in love with 😉 :


A pocket Full of Rye

The Queen of Mystery and acknowledged mistress of suspense brings us this fall worthy mystery.

The bizarre death of a financial tycoon has Miss Marple investigating a very odd case of crime by rhyme.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Cocoa-Nut Mocha
An ordinary mocha gets a little nutty. Mix in 1/2 tsp of nutmeg to cocoa powder/syrup (etc.) and make mocha as usual. Top with whip, crushed hazelnuts, and a drizzle of Nutella.


The Cider House Rules

Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch–saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Cider House Teapuccino
Tea of choice steeped dark in hot cider (in lieu of water.) While waiting for tea, steam, froth, or simmer milk. Combine frothy milk and tea, drizzles with honey and enjoy.



James and The Giant Peach

The story of a young boy on a magical adventure. After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

royal-rose-hot-toddy-saffron.jpgBook Bean: Harvest Peach Tea
Combine approx. 10 oz peach nectar, 5 oz orange juice, and 1/8 cup brown sugar in a large saucepan. Tie cinnamon and cloves in a small cheesecloth bag. Drop into saucepan. Steep, mug, and love!



Lark Rise to Candleford Trilogy

An immortal trilogy, containing “Lark Rise, Over To Candleford” and “Candleford Green”, a heartwarming portrayal of country life at the close of the 19th century. This story of three closely related Oxfordshire communities; a hamlet, the nearby village, and a small market town, is based on the author’s experiences during childhood and youth.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

vegan-pumpkin-hot-chocolate-editedBook Bean: Countryside Cocoa
Heat and simmer milk of choice, melt/ mix in cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate, and dark brown sugar to taste. Add mix to a blender and spoon in apprx. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a dash of pumpkin spice, a drop or two of orange extract. Top with cream and a sprinkle of spice.


The Wretched of Muirwood

In the ancient and mystical land of Muirwood, Lia has known only a life of servitude. Labeled a “wretched,” an outcast unwanted and unworthy of respect, Lia is forbidden to realize her dream to read or write. In the midst of a land torn by a treacherous war between a ruthless king and a rebel army, Lia finds herself on an ominous journey that will push her to wonder if her own hidden magic is enough to set things right.

enhanced-buzz-18848-1442882378-5 (1) - Edited.jpgRated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean
: Fall Sangria
I will defer this one to Mr. Flay, because I saw this recipe,
and it looks amazing!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/
fall-sangria.html


Tess of the d’Urbervilles

The daughter of a poor and dissipated villager, learns that she may be descended from the ancient family of d’Urbeville. In her search for respectability her fortunes fluctuate wildly, and the story assumes the proportions of a Greek tragedy. It explores Tess’s struggle against the social mores of the rural Victorian world which she inhabits and the hypocrisy of the age.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com
Spiced-Vanilla-Pumpkin-Milk-Steamer-5 - Edited.jpg
Book Bean
: Spiced Steamer
Steam or simmer rice milk (almond is also nice) over low heat. Mix in agave syrup, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, dash (very small) of cayenne, all to preferred taste. Pour in cup and sprinkle lightly with spices, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and let it warm your soul!

books-fall-writingWhat are some of  your falltastic reading go-to’s?

 

Top U.S. Coffee Houses 

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To celebrate national coffee day here are some of the best coffee houses across our nation.

Coffee culture is booming and with it more high quality coffee houses are opening. Each have there own style, coffee blends, unique menu items, and techniques.

There are many great coffee houses, however I chose to highlight a few that stand apart. These coffee houses are well known for uniqueness, quality, popularity, and dedication to the art of coffee.

Here are my top picks for Noteworthy Cafes in the U.S.:

Madcap Coffee (Grand Rapids, MI)

17160486-standardMadcap Coffee has won me over by offering tasting flights, use of latte art, and serving espresso in snifters.Madcap-Coffee-table-of-cups

However, what really set them apart most of all was implementing a zero waste policy; trading trash cans for bus bins and sorting all of their trash into compost and recyclables.

Heart Coffee (Portland, OR)

original-5983-1404617574-3Coffee drinks & gourmet baked goods offered in stylish, industrial-chic quarters. Taking an absolutely obsessive approach to excellence and quality in roasting and brewing, Heart Coffee is one of the best cafes in the U.S. Try the affogatto; espresso dolloped over homemade coconut ice cream.

1369 Coffee House (Boston, MA)

the-139-coffe-house-in-cambridge1369 serves up Espresso drinks alongside homemade soups, sandwiches, and freshly baked pastries. Locations in Inman Square (1369 Cambridge Street) & Central Square (757 Massachusetts Ave). download (5)

 

It is a top-notch coffee house that draws local creative types and features a gallery.

 

Everyman Espresso (New York, NY)

fromthegroundup_6_everymanespressointerior.jpgCoffee & espresso from direct-trade beans offered in a small, no-frills setting or to grab and go. Sam Lewontin was the champion of the 2015 Northeast Barista Competition. With his love for coffee and knack for mixology, he offers unique drinks at his SoHo coffee shop.

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Everymans Espresso is also known for having the best espresso shot in New York. If that wasn’t enough they also have unique offerings like almond milk as well as sheep and goat milk.

 

Seattle Coffee Works (Seattle, WA)

Seattle-Coffee-Scene-Seattle-Coffee-Works-12A modest coffeehouse with an espresso bar & a slow bar for comparing single-origin beans. Seattle Coffee Work is located at 107 Pike Street close to the Pike Place Market.

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They roast quality coffee, and boast direct relationships with farmers. Their impressive brew bar offers a “slow bar” utilizing Chemex, Hario pour-over,
Aeropress, and syphon brewing.

Peregrine Espresso (Washington, D.C.)

Peregrine-Espresso-800x533.jpgConsidered by coffee connoisseurs as the premier place to go for a cup of delicious, micro brewed coffee. Peregrine Espresso is owned by husband and wife team Ryan and Jill Jensen, and has a strong focus on great service, education, and sustainability.They have both coffee and tea option, cold press juices, bakery items, sodas, and Mexican chocolate.


Café Grumpy
 
(New York City, NY)

location_chelseaOffering sandwiches, homemade pastries and cookies, excellent coffee, and a No Laptop Policy; this independently owned and operated cafe, bakery, and roastery is

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a popular New York hangout.
Café Grumpy is also a Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Panther Coffee (Miami, FL)

8023902019_280ec98f25_bThis coffeehouse first started as a cart on a bicycle serving cold brew at food truck roundups. Now with three locations, with more on the way owners Joel and Leticia Pollock have established themselves reputably in the coffee business. l-11

At Panther Coffee they roast their own beans, curated from small farms (such as Grupo las Cuchillas in Nicaragua.) The coffee shop also showcases information sheets about the growers; your cup’s story from plant to cup is entirely accessible.

 

The Coffee Fox (Savannah, GA)

IMG_5808A craft coffee house in historical downtown Savannah, Georgia featuring the pour-over coffee brew method as well as pastries, cheese boards, wine and beer.ls (1)

 

 

A quirky coffee house in a charming town, what could be better. Aside from the enchanting atmosphere the cafe also offers a fun and interesting menu with items such as a Mexican mocha, cold brew coffee, and a horchata latte.
This is a coffee house worth visiting.


Barista Parlor
 
(Nashville, TN)

bbp31Nashville’s Barista Parlor does credit to the cities culture. It is housed in a former auto repair garage in Music City’s hip east side. The coffee house serves artisan espresso, as well as local seasonal cafe food.

 

Not only is the location hip with a cool industrial vibe, but they also offer unique drinks such as a bourbon vanilla latte.


Cafe Du Monde
 
(New Orleans, LA)

New-Orleans-Cafe-du-Monde-0414-1-lo-res - EditedCafé du Monde French for “Café of the World”, is a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is best known for its world famous café au lait and its French-style beignets. The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market.


Ritual Coffee Roasters
 (San Francisco, CA)

0345b2414c34f54efdfcdc5acda86a83Ritual has been a pioneer in this delicious shift in coffee consciousness since they opened their doors on Valencia Street in 2005 and started what some call a coffee revolution in San Francisco.

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Ritual’s San Francisco cafes are also known as popular hangout and working spaces for tech workers in the city.

 

I am sure there are so many coffee houses that are absolutely wonderful and I wish I could give credit to them all. The venues listed here came up reputably in my research for high quality unique coffee houses.

Please share about a great coffee house you have visited. What set them apart?