My first introduction to sangria was the bottled stuff, Yago, which my boarding school best friend Wendy and I slugged down on weekends (don’t judge — I was 18). I’ve long since developed an appreciation for the real thing — when made properly, it has a balance of sweet and tart, with a good alcoholic kick. In the Spanish restaurants of Newark, New Jersey’s Ironbound neighborhood — not far from where we used to live — Ted and I shared many a pitcher of strong, well-made sangria with plates of garlicky shrimp, grilled sausage, and other tapas.
Wandering around the bucolic grounds of Hidden Pond resort, the word that kept popping into my head was “magical.” On the western edge of Kennebunkport, this woodsy 60 acres with its collection of cottages tucked into the trees is markedly different from the other properties of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection. It’s not on the waterfront — guests are shuttled to the beach at Tides Beach Club, a KRC property a mile and a half away — and its amenities are couched in a rural setting that almost feels off the grid.
What Hidden Pond does share with its sister resorts is a top-notch restaurant, Earth, widely regarded as one of the finest dining rooms in the state, if not the Northeast. Adding to Earth’s appeal: it’s seasonal, open from May 1 to Nov. 1.
The gin & tonic and I go way back.
It was almost certainly my first cocktail, probably mixed for me by my Dad not long after I turned 18 – the drinking age then. I’ll always remember how my dear Dad indulged me the summer I was pregnant with my son, making a G&T with a tiny splash of gin over ice — just enough to give a whisper of its flavor to the tall glass of tonic.
After an unusually cold winter that seemed like it would never end, we pledged never to complain about hot summer days. So I’m not complaining … but it has been pretty toasty here in Southern Maine for the past week. Warm enough to hook up the portable air conditioner in our bedroom and confine any cooking to the grill. Warm enough that a Maine beer, slugged back after an afternoon of yard work, goes down like water. Note I didn’t say “hot,” because that might sound just a teeny bit like complaining.
July may be National Blueberry Month, but in Maine, it’s the leading edge of wild blueberry season in Maine, with a few, high-priced pints showing up at farmers markets. For the big fields up north, the harvest is still a couple of weeks away.
Summer house guests expect blueberry baked goods, however, and there are local blues available — the fat, cultivated kind. They don’t have the same cache as Maine’s famous wild blueberries, but when locally grown, are still tasty. I’ve been eating them all week with my morning yogurt.