Beers, Chocolates, Salts and more

One of the reasons why we enjoy our visits to Portland, Maine are the things we find and end up bringing back home. Even though NYC has some of the best shopping and offers an almost endless amounts of goods, there are just a few things we can’t find except in Portland, Maine. For instance, the best chocolates in the world are from Dean’s Sweets. I enjoy the occasional chocolate but they have to be special, and the ones made by Dean, who is an architect, are distinctly unique! There are plenty of chocolatiers who combine chocolates with complimentary flavors and spices but there is something in the quality of chocolates and ingredients Dean uses that fills my heart with warmth, puts a smile on my face, and sends me into a state of bliss. No other chocolate that I have consumed makes me feel this way. TH agrees and he loves chocolates!


Since TH’s first sip of Ishmael beer by Rising Tide Brewing Company, he has been looking forward to returning to Portland to acquire a few bottles of their beers to bring back home. We learned from our summer visit to their brewery that their beers are not distributed in New York City because they are a small brewing company and they do not produce enough to extend distribution south of Massachusetts.


We love the foods served at the restaurants that operate Street and Company and Fore Street. Apparently, they also operate a bakery, which is located below Fore Street and on Commercial Street. It is set back in a parking lot. The bakery is called Standard Baking Company. I picked up a package of their double chocolate chip cookies with some reservation because I prefer cookies with a chewy texture, and I could tell from the feel of these cookies, they were not.


It wasn’t until I was back in NYC that I decided to try these cookies and, “OMG” these are the best double chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. As you can see from the photo, the cookies are crackled and you can see the studs of chocolate chunks. The texture is crumbly, not quite crisp and not hard. There was a little bit of chew especially when warmed up over a mug of hot tea. These double chocolate chip cookies are incredible, decadent but not overly rich.

One of the things we ended up bringing back to NYC were salts! There is a boutique salt shop in Portland called the Salt Cellar, which we had noticed during our walks around the city. Their product line includes salts for use in the kitchen, and salts for the body to scrub or soak with. They encourage customers to taste their salts and we did. We were both impressed with how much flavor salt can absorb or infuse with. I was particularly blown away by the smoke salt.

Where would we be without salt?

X-bold smoked salt

Black truffle salt

TH and I also popped into a few clothing boutiques that sell a very impressive collection of clothing for women. On our first night, we popped into Bliss Boutique. They sell very stylish accessories, apparel, and shoes. I did not intend to do any clothing shopping while in Portland but that evening, TH spotted a sign that said that all coats were 50%, which is great deal! They had a couple of coats that were of interest but only one was worth getting. It is a military style coat in olive-brown. by Spiewak.  I love military style coats tailored to the female form. I was so pleased that TH spotted the 50% sign. I don’t know how I could have missed that.


photo from Bliss Boutique.

On our last day in Portland, TH and I popped into the Black Parrot. The Black Parrot offer accessories, clothing, and shoes that are not only stylish but unique. The collection at the Black Parrot feature designers from all over the world, which I find very attractive. I can see that the buyer has a very selective eye for quality, beauty, elegance, and distinction. I appreciate that the Black Parrot offers their customers to be expressive by searching the world for fine clothing and goods. TH was very generous and bought me a gorgeous scarf designed by Arnold Haas for Wubet.

photo from Wubet website.

We carried our souvenirs back to NYC in a Seabag, a bag made from recycled fabric that was once used as sails for boats. The bags are made in town of Portland in what looks like a shack from the outside but once you step inside, the space is much larger and accommodates the vast material and space to handle the material. Sorry, no photography allowed inside.  We got one of the larger bags in a beautiful tan color, which TH picked out. It was different from the other bags because there wasn’t a prominent graphic image like the other bags. The bags are well made, durable, and easy to clean.

Sea bags


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