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Recently, our family had the opportunity to check out Moe’s Original Bar B Que in South Portland. Orono-native Dewey Hasbrouck first opened the popular franchise in Bangor in 2012, after he and his wife moved back to Maine from Alabama. Two years later, Bangor Metro Magazine named Moe’s the best barbecue in the region. We were intrigued by the promise of authentic, Alabama-style barbecue, which according to Dewey, features a signature, mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce. And unlike other franchises, everything on Moe’s menu is made from scratch every day.

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When we arrived at the Western Avenue restaurant, Dewey greeted us at the door. Since it was our first visit, he explained the menu. Adults choose from sandwiches or platters, featuring pulled pork, smoked chicken and turkey, fried catfish and ribs. Moe’s also offers a rotating selection of homemade sides daily. On the evening we arrived, smoked turkey gumbo, stew, skillet corn, macaroni and cheese, baked apples and pumpkin pie were the special sides. Vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free menu items are also available.

Moe’s focus is good food at a reasonable price. With that idea in mind, kids under 12 eat free every day (with an adult purchase). MP was pleased to see the kids’ menu mirrored the adults’ version, featuring pulled pork, chicken and ribs. Not surprisingly, there were standard kid options, too, including chicken tenders and grilled cheese.

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IMG_3710We ordered our food at the counter. MP went with Dewey’s suggestion and opted for the Alabama Slammer: pulled pork, traditional barbecue sauce, white sauce and slaw marinated in cider vinegar on a bun. DP chose the Fried Shrimp Moe Poe Boy, which features homemade tartar, coleslaw and pickles. CP#2, ordered ribs (his favorite) and his sister, who never waivers from her usual no matter where we visit, chose chicken tenders.

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CP#2 is a self-proclaimed BBQ fan.

The comfort food restaurant, which was formerly home to the Baja Grill, is a modestly sized, casual space with a few booths and a mixture of bar tables and traditional seating. Each table has a roll of paper towels, which is always welcome when eating messy barbecue! DP and MP were also pleased to see some local beers on tap, including Sebago and Allagash.

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Shrimp Moe Boy (photo courtesy of Moe’s).

Our food arrived within 30 minutes. The kids, who have hearty appetites, were disappointed by the size of their meals. CP#2 had 2-3 ribs on his plate, and CP#1 also only had a few chicken tenders. So while kids eat free, you may find yourself ordering another plate or two. MP and DP enjoyed their sandwiches, which were flavorful and satisfying. For sides, the specials, which could have used more spices (especially the smoked turkey gumbo), were not standouts. Instead, we all enjoyed Moe’s classic sides, like baked beans and cole slaw, and for dessert, the creamy banana pudding.

A sampling of classic sides (photo courtesy of Moe's)

A sampling of sides (photo courtesy of Moe’s)

Dewey is clearly passionate about his business, as he was everywhere during our visit—behind the counter and the bar, serving guests, and chatting with customers. With a few small changes, namely larger portions for the kids and bolder seasoning for the sides, his new venture could gain a loyal family following.

Moe’s Orginal Bar B Que
209 Western Avenue
South Portland
207.956.7623

Find them on Facebook

When the kids were toddlers and winter was at its worst, we’d clear the cars from our garage and let them ride around in circles. The activity didn’t seem like much, but CP#1 and #2 always had a blast. MP is certain her duo would have loved this award-winning Spherovelo ride-on toy. Designed for children ages 10-24 months, the Spherovelo can be stabilized for little ones who are just getting their footing, and later, once the stabilizers are removed, it helps children learn to balance while they ride.

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Our friends at Daytrip Jr. have generously offered a Spherovelo (valued at $105) to one lucky reader. All you need to do is comment below. Contest ends Friday, January 23 at midnight EST. Good luck!

Congratulations to lucky #4—Jeanne Meyers! Jeanne has won the Spherolvelo scooter from Daytrip Jr.

PS: Indoor go-carts for big kids.

CP#2 is the kind of kid that rarely gets cold. The temperature could be 20º outside and you’d find him in short sleeves waiting for the bus. His mother, on the other hand, is shivering nearly all the time. Maybe that’s why MP is always on the lookout for cute, warm things. If she’s going to be cold six months of the year, MP figures she might as well have some colorful winter gear to enjoy.

With this thought in mind, you can imagine MPs delight when she discovered Yarmouth-based Betty Louise Studio. Studio owner Katie Chalmers creates adorable hats for adults and kids. Katie crochets all of her wool hats by hand, and her attention to detail shows.

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All of Katie’s hats are hand washable, and fit perfectly with regular wear.

Just in time for the chilly weekend ahead, Katie has generously offered to giveaway a child’s hat (3T-5T) to one lucky Cute Potato winner. All you need to do is comment below. Contest ends Saturday, January 17, 2015 at midnight EST.

Good luck and stay warm, everybody!

Congratulations to lucky #1—Jillaine Geary! Jillaine has won a child’s hat from Betty Louise Studio. Thanks to everyone who entered. We’ll have another great giveaway coming up soon!

Now that the long winter season is upon us, MP has been brainstorming ways to the keep the family outdoors and active. Here are some of the adventures she’s hoping to take:

Ice Fishing
Full disclosure: Grumpy Old Men with Walter Mathau, Jack Lemmon and Ann Margaret is one of MPs favorite winter films. In the movie, the men are particularly competitive when it comes to ice fishing. MP has always dreamed of visiting an ice fishing hut and catching a fish or two. She’s hoping the team will be up for experiencing a guided trip of our own.

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Sleigh Rides
When CP#1 was just a babe, we took her on a horse drawn sleigh ride in Vermont, where we rode through a beautiful open field with a short break to warm up by the campfire. MP would love to have the same experience in Maine. Thankfully there are several great options for sleigh rides throughout the state, including Rockin’ Horse Stables in Kennebunkport.

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Ice Castles
While not in Maine, we’ve heard a lot of good things about Ice Castles—destinations where families can explore man-made castles of ice much like in the popular film, Frozen. There are two locations in New England this year. One is in Stratton, VT and the other is in Lincoln, NH. By the looks of the photos, this experience is worth a road trip!

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Toboggan
Ever since she read this Boston Globe article, MP can’t wait to toboggan at the Camden Snow Bowl. The 400-foot, ice-covered chute is going to be scary, but in a fun roller-coaster kind of way (at least that’s what she’s hoping).

SundayFebruary17,2008014ACross-Country Skiing
MP believes that CP#1 and #2 are finally ready to try cross-country skiing this year. She can’t wait to take them to Carter’s in Oxford, where MP first learned how to ski. Wish us luck and lots of patience!
out.skiHow about you? What’s on your list of things to do this winter with family?

How We Celebrate

Our team had a quiet New Years Eve (DP was sick with a cold), so to make up for it, we planned a decadent New Years Day Celebration. MP made a creamy quiche au fromage, bacon, and our favorite marbled chocolate banana bread. We had a giant bag of oranges in the fridge, so the kids made fresh-squeezed orange juice and poured it into champagne glasses. When the food was nearly ready, CP#1 and MP rifled through an old dress-up box for crazy hats, leis, and noisemakers to add to the festivities. The result? A fun New Years Day brunch for the four of us.

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IMG_4171Sometimes thrown together celebrations are the best, don’t you agree? Hope you and your family kicked off the New Year with some fun, too!

Merry Merry

Our team is getting ready to celebrate with family and friends over the next few days. We wish you the happiest of holidays, and we look forward to seeing you in 2015!

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xo, Cute Potato

MPs friend from book group always makes the most delicious, buttery desserts. Her sugar cookie recipe really is the best. It’s our go-to, traditional holiday cookie. The dough is so easy to work with and the cookie itself is perfect with a drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate, a sprinkling of sugar, or decorated with Royal icing.

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Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened (we like Kate’s Homemade)
2/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups sifted flour

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Next, beat in the egg. Add vanilla, salt and flour and mix until all ingredients are well blended. Gather the dough into a compact ball and cover it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough 3-4 hours.

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After taking the dough out of the refrigerator, allow it to get to room temperature (about 30 minutes). While you’re waiting, preheat the oven to 350º. Then generously flour a kitchen counter or large cutting board. When it’s soft enough to work with, roll out the dough. Have the kids dip the cookie cutters in flour before cutting shapes (this helps prevent the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter).

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Once the cookies are cut, place them on a cookie sheet. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Place the cookies on a cooling rack 10 minutes before decorating.

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While we’re on the subject of good things, our friends at Organic India are offering a 3 boxes of their stress-relieving teas to one lucky Cute Potato winner! The kids like the caffeine-free Tulsi Ginger for bed time, and MP is especially fond of the warming Masala Chai. To enter, simply comment below. Contest ends Friday, Dec. 19 at midnight EST. We’ll pick a winner at random and announce next week. Congrats to Sydney! She’s the winner of 3 boxes of tea from Organic India!

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Good luck and happy holidays to all!

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