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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Category Archives: Stores

imag0842Have you heard of Maple Water? People are calling it the “new coconut water”. I met Kate, the co-founder, at a Good Ones party a while back. Turns out, we went to high school together – small world.  Kate has a Master of Science in Nutrition from Northeastern University. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has a BA from Colby College. She’s also an ironman triathlete!!

imag0850What is Maple? Maple contains fortifying vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, prebiotics and is naturally low in calories. I know that when I heard about Maple water, I immediately thought it was going to be sweet. The flavor is quite subtle, light, with just a hint of sweetness – not at all what I had expected.

imag0847Maple supports good digestive health.
Maple is full of electrolytes good for natural hydration.
Maple gives you energy.
It’s naturally low calories, only 20 per serving.
It has half the sugar of coconut water.
There are no added sugar or preservatives.
Maple is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, non-GMO.

img_20140628_120958Where do you drink Maple? I take mine to the beach and up hiking in the woods…ok, hiking might be an overstatement…but you get the idea.

img_20140724_181608You can find Maple water in Whole Foods or you can buy them online.

 

IMG_4977Kale chips seem to be pretty popular these days. Rhythm Superfoods has a line that includes flavors like zesty nacho, kool ranch, bombay curry, mango habanero, texas bbq, pineapple coconut and honey mustard. The flavors like zesty nacho and kool ranch are a great way to ease people into the idea of kale chips because they are approachable flavors. I was sent the mango habanero, the pineapple coconut and the zesty nacho flavors to try.

Each bag starts as a bunch of fresh kale. They mix it with a hand crafted dressing made from a blend of fresh organic vegetables, seeds, juices, herbs and spices.

IMG_6387These kale chips are air crisped at a low temperature which maintains the RAW living enzymes and maximizes nutritional potency. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K. The chips are Gluten-free and USDA-Organic. My favorite were the zesty nacho – they were pretty tasty with a really nice crunch to them – making you almost forget they were kale chips.

Rhythm Superfoods was founded in 2009 in Austin by Keith Wahrer (co-founder of Daily Juice). The company became official with the addition of fellow Austin entrepreneurs Scott Jensen (former Stubb’s BBQ CEO), Clayton Christopher and David Smith (founders of Sweet Leaf tea), and Robert Larkin (Growing Grace, Daily Juice).

Disclaimer: I was provided samples of the product to review. All opinions are my own.

Rhythm Superfoods

Buy in store or online. 2oz.bags for $4.99

http://rhythmsuperfoods.com/

IMG_3536Clarissa from Raaka chocolate stopped by Cocoanuts mid July for a sampling event. Mark and I stopped by before heading out to our Wine and Cheese class. Raaka was founded by Ryan Cheney and Nate Hodge who are based out of Brooklyn, NY.

IMG_3529Their chocolate is certified organic, certified fair trade, soy free, nut free, vegan, and almost all of the bars are gluten-free. We tried flavors like porter coconut milk and vanilla, all equally delicious with amazing flavor profiles.

IMG_3530Bars are around $8 each and can be purchased at Cocoanuts as well as other stores around Boston.

Cocoanuts

28 Parmenter Street, Boston, MA (North End)

http://cocoanutsboston.com/

See Raaka’s website here: http://www.raakachocolate.com/

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IMG_0921Did you know that the Taza chocolate factory is located right in Somerville? You can take a tour for $5!

IMG_0923Tours are educational and last 45 minutes. Groups are kept small, capping at around 18.

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Taza Chocolate Mexicano Rustic, round dark stone ground chocolate discs with a distinctively gritty texture, some sweet, some savory, some spicy. I love the salt and pepper and the cinnamon flavors.

IMG_0916There are samples all around the store!

IMG_0917Chocolate discs retail at $5.

IMG_0914In addition to their extensive selection of bars and discs, they also have chocolate covered treats like chocolate covered nibs and chocolate covered cashews.

IMG_0902We start the tour learning about where the cacao comes from. Cacao trees are found in Central and South America. The seeds of the fruit are used to make chocolate. The pods grow on the trees and they can be all different colors: red, orange or yellow. There are anywhere from 20-60 seeds in each pod. The seeds are moved to a box where they are left to ferment.

IMG_0904Taza has Direct Trade sourcing relationships with growers in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Belize.  What is Direct Trade? It means they have direct relationships with cacao producers and visit them at least once a year; they pay at least 500 dollars per ton above the NY ICE price for cacao beans; and they source only the highest quality beans.

IMG_0906They used to do this machine’s work by hand…something about a hairdryer….back to the machine – they bought it second hand and they  had to cut in into pieces to bring it back to the US. The machine separates the beans and the shells.

IMG_0907They roast their beans slowly with this enormous roaster.

IMG_0911Founder Alex Whitmore apprenticed for a molinero in Oaxaca to learn how to hand carve these granite stone mills.

IMG_0912It is here where the chocolate takes a liquid form and then is piped into the signature circular molds (or bars). Then it is off to packaging. The round discs are still wrapped by hand!

IMG_0913They don’t waste – you can buy this as mulch for your gardens…good news is that when it rains…it smells like chocolate!

Check out the website for tour information or to buy chocolate online: http://www.tazachocolate.com/

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lil devilI stopped in to one of my favorite store the other day for some sweets. Cocoanuts offers delicious specialty goods from local or small batch makers. The Lil Devil ($3.30)is a take on Little Debbie Cocoa Cremes or a Hostess Ding Dong – chocolate cake with creme filling that is dipped in dark chocolate. This is the grown up version of Little Debbie, but boy do they bring me back to my childhood!

IMG_0842Have a friend who loves beer and is hard to shop for? Try Liddabit Sweets Beer and Pretzel Caramels ($8)!

IMG_0844These babies have a cult following and I can totally see why. Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale and East India Pale Ale are reduced and stirred into the caramel  along with bits of Martin’s pretzels. It seems like it might be an odd combination, but it really works – these are totally crave-worthy!

IMG_0852Fixx chocolates ($8) are handcrafted by Nicole Coady in small batches and made locally. She names all the bars after people she knows. Some of her delicious, drool-worthy flavors include:

Abby’s: rich caramel in milk chocolate with sea salt

Andy’s: praline crisp with passion fruit jelly

Bud’s: peanut butter nougat with roasted peanuts and sea salt

Chelle’s: cashew nougat with roasted cashews and caramel

Mike’s: almond nougat with morello cherries

Nikki’s: peanut butter nougat with apple wood smoked bacon and maple caramel

IMG_0857From the website:

Lulu is named after my mother Dianna Lou who had no idea that I secretly had the nickname of Lulu for her.  That was a surprising phone call that came after I asked her to pick the color for her bar.  She asked if she might be lulu.  This bar started with the flavors of a german chocolate cake but during development evolved to the current version using pretzels, coconut and no pecans.  It’s kind of typical for research and development for me.  My mother always has pretzels around the house so it made me think of her.

This bar has pretzels and coconut combined with dark caramel, a little sea salt and is finished with dark chocolate.

Cocoanuts

28 Parmenter Street, Boston, MA (North End)

http://cocoanutsboston.com/

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fenwayCorn and Co. first came on my radar at a party thrown by The Good Ones. They were at the dumpling battle I covered as well. I’ve been trying to buy more ever since! So I was excited when we had Red Sox tickets because Corn and Co. is the official popcorn of the Red Sox!

Corn and Co.It was a rainy night, but thank goodness our seats were covered – and right when we got to the park, it stopped raining. We stopped by Gate A and grabbed a bag – caramel corn! Pretty delicious stuff – not as heavy as Cracker Jacks – a little sweet and a little salty, the perfect mix.

phantom gourmet bbqAnd lucky me, the Phantom Gourmet BBQ beach party had free admission on Friday from 12-4pm. I stopped in, met some other cool people from Corn and Co. and picked up 3 bags!

Corn and Co.I guess I don’t have any self restraint when it comes to this stuff, although, in my defense, I did get the red hot bag for Mark.

Corn and Co.I picked up another bag of caramel corn and a windy city (caramel corn mixed with cheese popcorn). See all of their flavors here.

IMG_2744You can buy Corn and Co. online or at a farmers market, they are at SOWA on Sundays among other places. They will be opening a store in Burlington soon!

http://cornandco.com

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IMAG032410 years ago, I was just getting ready to go out at 10pm. These days, at 10pm, I am at Wegman’s trying to avoid traffic on route 9 and the insane crowds at this newly opened location. (Oh how times have changed!) When you pull into the parking lot, you can pull into the front parking lot, but that will only get you to the liquor store. Park in the garage if you don’t want to huff your groceries up stairs.

IMAG0319You immediately walk into the produce and prepared food section. They have a hot bar filled with everything and anything you can imagine. They also have an impressive salad bar and ethnic prepared food items.

IMAG0320They have an extensive cheese selection – you can really wow your friends with your next cheese plate.

IMAG0322Down another aisle you will find a large bulk food area where you can buy things like candy, nuts, seeds or granola.

IMAG0323And while I don’t drink tea, I am  impressed with their bulk loose tea selection.

And for those of you with the most discerning taste, you can get truffles for $999 a pound.

Have you been to Wegmans? What is your best buy from the store?

Wegmans

200 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

http://www.wegmans.com

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IMG_2218 Roosters is a new barber shop in the South End that has been open a little over two months. I was invited to their official kick off party last week!

IMG_2229Owner Tyson White with the amazing Janet Wu from 7 News.

IMG_2234Roosters is a classic American barbershop that blends modern men’s grooming techniques with classic barbershop elements.

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For product, Roosters carries the Aveda men’s line.

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Roosters Club Cut: Haircut and Wash with a Hot-Towel $38

Signature 7 Step Facial Shave: Straight-Razor Shave with Hot-Towel $38

Gentlemen’s Choice: Club Cut and Signature 7 Step Facial Shave $65

Professional Hero Cut: Club Cut for Military, Police, Fire and EMS $30

Young Man’s Cut: Club Cut for those 12 and under $30

Headshave: Close, professional head shave $38

Neck Trim: FREE

Beard Trim: Detailed edging and grooming $18

Hi-Lighting: Subtle color treatment $45

Camouflage: Natural-looking color blends grey away $35

IMG_2232Local business owner Pete Dziedzic, of Skoah (South End, Back Bay and Chestnut Hill) won a raffle prize!

IMG_2240CBH Communications intern, Kasjah Scarlett (right) and Mikey Janey (left), freelance photographer and intern at Society Original Products.

IMG_2203The talented Jeremy Kean, of Whisk, was providing light bites for the evening.

IMG_2201Smoked tomato toasts.

IMG_2230Mushroom arancini.

IMG_2231The pork cheek steam buns were amazing!

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Peroni beer was at the event, as well as Deep Eddy vodka. Really great party with a fun crowd!

Stop in for a haircut and/or a shave today!

Roosters

518 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

http://www.roostersboston.com/

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IMG_3391I love boxes of  chocolates. Sounds cliche, but I’m not talking about Russell Stover here,  I’m talking high quality chocolate from Beacon Hill Chocolates.

IMG_3392I received these as a gift – they are equally good looking as they were delicious. You can taste the quality ingredients used to make these chocolates – these would make a great gift for any occasion.

IMG_3393Paradis: Milk chocolate gianduja topped with crunchy hazelnut pieces. This piece was my favorite in the box. I love the mix of smooth chocolate with crunchy pieces.

IMG_3397A soft caramel dipped in chocolate. The caramel was buttery and smooth.

IMG_3398Piccolo: Classic milk gianduja wrapped inside a festive cone with a sprinkle of sugar.

IMG_3399This was solid milk chocolate with almonds I believe.

IMG_3400Prunelle: hazelnut buttercream, topped with a hazelnut and dipped in milk chocolate.

IMG_3404Chocolate brownie was probably my least favorite of the box.

IMG_3405Another salted caramel.

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IMG_3407Honeycomb: French dark chocolate ganache infused with delicate honey inside a dark chocolate shell with honeycomb design. Honey sweetened chocolate seems to be all the rage these days.

What is your favorite type of chocolate?

Beacon Hill Chocolates

91 Charles Street, Boston, MA

www.beaconhillchocolates.com

Beacon Hill Chocolates on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0046Jen and Tara have been friends since they were teenagers. A few years later, they made that dream they had when they were teenagers, of opening a business together, come to fruition.

IMG_0724Located on Parmenter Street in the North End, this cute shop is full of surprises!

IMG_0741The carry a variety of gourmet nuts and chocolates – they can even assemble a custom gift basket for you.

cocoanuts3Shira Melen of Northlight Baking Co. sells her delicious macarons here. They come prepackaged and make great gifts, or you can buy a few loose ones as a special treat for yourself.

cocoanuts2Melen’s macarons come in a variety of flavors, none of them ordinary:

(in the prepackaged box above) kalamansi – hybrid citrus fruit, tart; lavender – infused with lavender buds; london fogblue flower earl grey tea (MEM tea)and vanilla bean; orange blossom – milk chocolate, orange blossom water; passionfruit

Other flavors include:

dirty chai – homemade chai spice shell with espresso filling; ginger – milk chocolate ganache infused with fresh ginger; milk chocolate coconut – milk chocolate ganache, toasted coconut; mint chocolate; salted caramel ganache; pink peppercorn & rose– *temporarily out of stock, back soon!; mango lime

IMG_0708Spoonable is a caramel company based out of Brooklyn. Michelle Lewis uses the best quality ingredients available and makes flavors like: Buttery Apple Pecan, Peppered Orange, Brooklyn Butterscotch, Chewy Sesame Caramel, Flowery Lavender Caramel, and Spicy Chili Carmel.

IMG_0716McCrea’s Candies is the brain child of Jason McCrea. Jason, a former chemist, has created something very special. His caramels come in flavors like Black Lava Sea Salt, Tapped Maple, Ginger Fusion, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Highland Scotch and Basil Cayenne.

IMG_0709Dude, Sweet Chocolate makes dark chocolate inspired creations. Chef Katherine Clapner has over 20 years of experience as a pastry chef, working in places such as New York and London. Clapner has creative names for her products, above is fungus amongus: Fungus Amongus Toffee is made case specific to go with cheese especially washed rind, triple or double creams. A very buttery and creamy toffee made with local cream, local butter, porcini mushroom powder and toasted pumpkin seeds. All of which were added to alleviate the getting stuck in your teeth and the over sweetness of normal toffees. Other items include: Stag Party Fudge, Chubby Nuts, Crack in a Box and a Loco for Cocoa bar.

IMG_0711You can assemble your own assortment of chocolates and truffles from their case.

IMG_0723They have a variety of high end chocolate bars: Raaka bars come by way of Brooklyn. Unlike other chocolate bars, Raaka does not roast the cocoa beans and every batch is made by hand. Their bars are certified organic, certified fair trade, soy free, nut free, and vegan. Flavors include: Espresso, Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Coconut Milk, Chili Rum Punch, Ghost Pepper and Bourbon Cask.

IMG_0721Dick Taylor chocolate is a small batch bean to bar company out of Arcarta, CA. Check out their website, I think it is really visually appealing. These two former boat builders make chocolate in flavors like Black Fig,  Maple Coconut, and Fleur de Sel.

IMG_0713Everywhere you look there is chocolate!

IMG_0715Truffles come in delicious flavors like ice cream sundae and sticky bun! Stop in and pick up some delicious treats!

Cocoanuts

27 Parmenter Street, Boston, MA

http://cocoanutsboston.com/

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