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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Category Archives: Trips

IMG_6644I had anxiously been awaiting this years honey dinner since I missed it last year. The Intercontinental Hotel has 8 beehives up on their roof.  If you are at Miel for dinner, you can check out the observation camera by the host stand and see activity in the hive.

IMG_6645Guests were greeted with a honey infused champagne cocktail.

IMG_6648The cocktail reception started at 6pm. Servers came around with a green cleanse and a peekytoe crostini. The creaminess of the avocado paired nicely with the saltiness of the crab.

IMG_6652There was an observation hive on display for guests to view. Did you know that in the summertime bees cool down their hive and in the wintertime they heat up the hive to a constant temperature?

IMG_6654This is how the trays come out of the hive – they harvest honey twice a year at the Intercontinental.

IMG_6653The color of the honey depends on the nectar source – they plants and flowers bees visit. Honey color can vary from almost colorless to a deep brown. Generally, lighter colored honey has a milder flavor and darker honey has a bolder flavor.

IMG_6655The other appetizer was a chilled honey and lemon glazed jumbo shrimp.

IMG_6656I was pleased to see my friend Noah, of Best Bees, at the event. Noah’s company took over the care of the bees this year for the hotel. See my previous post on Best Bees here. Noah gave a a brief overview about bees – including information on the different types of bees and which cities are the most “bee friendly”.

IMG_6661The first course  was a shaved pear, fennel, zucchini salad with truffle honey dressing. A really nice way to start the meal, a little sweet with a little tang.

IMG_6663The entree was Georges Bank scallops and squab, wrapped with Maine smoked bacon with celery root gratin, vegetable tagliatelle and a honey beure blanc. The beure blanc sauce was divine – rich and flavorful. The scallops were a tad overdone, but still quite tasty. The squab, or pigeon, tastes like dark meat chicken. The bacon added a nice salty quality to the dish.

IMG_6665Dessert was a goat cheese ice cream with warmed seasonal berries and honey. This was probably my favorite part of the meal. The goat cheese ice cream was cool and light – not too goaty. To me, nothing is better than honey and fresh berries. Dinner was $65 per person and Miel will be doing more of these types of dinners in the future. They have a wine dinner coming up, a cheese dinner, a seafood dinner and a steak dinner all on the books. Check out their website and social media channels for more information.

Miel at the Intercontinental Hotel

510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA

Visit their website here

Miel Brasserie Provencale on Urbanspoon

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lets get brandy 16Guests gathered on Thursday evening for part two of the Good Ones Let’s Get Brandy Power Hour. The theme for the evening was stoplight fashion, your best red, yellow and green outfits! Held at Neenas in Harvard Square, this event had two very special guests.

lets get brandy 9Top chef contestant Stephanie Cmar, with her Party of Two business partner Justin Burke Samson, came out and did a live demo for guests and debuted some new flavors!

PartyofTwo 8Stephanie started Stacked Donuts at the beginning of  the year, doing pop up events all over town – most selling out in under 30 minutes!

PartyofTwo 6She prepared the dough ahead of time but rolled them and cut them out at Neenas.

PartyofTwo 9They took a quick dip in a hot oil bath…

PartyofTwo 5and then the creme brulee donuts were rolled in a sugar salt mix and blow torched to get that lovely caramelization.

PartyofTwo 7The dish also had a lemon curd tart, sprinkled with powdered sugar and was finished off with a little bit of raspberry coulis. The sugar salt mix made the donuts stand out on their own and the tart packed a punch. The dough was so buttery and light and the lemon curd was so tart (no pun intended)!

PartyofTwo 2Justin prepping his pumpkin shooters. Justin is a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made awards, please take a moment to vote for him: He has the opportunity to win $10K to put towards opening a brick and mortar restaurant with Stephanie.

PartyofTwo 4Pumpkin beer TMtart shooters made with Shipyard  pumpkinhead ale.

PartyofTwo 1The strawberry tarts were a close second to the lemon tarts, a classic with just the right amount of frosting and sweetness.

PartyofTwo 3 These bite sized tarts were a huge hit!lets get brandy 10Guests for the evening included: (L-R) Steven Tannenbaum; Stephanie Cmar of Party of Two and Stacked Donuts;  Carolyn Kim, co-founder of the Good Ones; Kinda Touma of Kinda TFashion, and Jennifer Brooke, co-founder of the Good Ones.

lets get brandy 15Left to right, Top Chef Stephanie Cmar; Madison McBirney, intern at Candice Wu Couture; Fashion Designer Candice Wu of Candice Wu Couture.

lets get brandy 18Left to right, Justin Burke Samson of Party of Two and Trademark Tarts; Jennifer Brooke, co-founder of the Good Ones; Carolyn Kim, co-founder of the Good Ones; and Stephanie Cmar, of Stacked Donuts and Party of Two.

lets get brandy 13Kimberly Mackey of Neenas, Giovanna Pasquariello of Neenas and Raj Dhanda, owner of Neenas.

lets get brandy 12Keely Murray of Merrill Lynch.

lets get brandy 11 Art Director and Brand Steward, Pope Carlos.

lets get brandy 17Guests, and Eric Toczko (above), sipped on craft cocktails from Deep Eddy. Tonight’s drink was the Boston Mule with Deep Eddy Cranberry vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and a lime garnish.

lets get brandy 4Joseph Keller, PhD student at MIT.

lets get brandy 2Ankita Deshpande, Associate Director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

lets get brandy 3 Left, Molly Siegel,  Owner, Retail Consultant at Athlete by Design. Athlete by Design is a designer athletic men’s and women’s pop-up retailer serving Eastern Massachusetts. They set up day long boutiques in gyms, health food stores, and farmer’s markets. Right, Jordan Pollard, Software Application Developer at Mimecast​ a software company that specializes in unified email management.

lets get brandy 5Fashion designer Ak Maral Arzybaeva.

lets get brandy 6Zach Braiker, president of Refine + Focus.

lets get brandy 7Chris Gagnon, fitness trainer and endurance conditioning coach, owner of Cross Cylce Fitness. Chris a professional endurance cyclist completing over two dozen 24 Hour solo mountain bike races, 5 World Solo 24 Hour Races, and countless additional events across the country. He grew up a competitive hockey player and developed a love for fitness at a young age. His certifications include Mad Dogg (Spinning), Schwinn Indoor Cycling, ISSA, NASM, and Mad Dogg (Spinning),with BFA from Tufts & Museum School in graphic design. In the classroom, he combines his over 10 years of functional training knowledge with his professional cycling experience to challenge riders both physically and mentally, teaching to music that motivates, and inspiring them to achieve greatness both on and off the bike.

lets get brandy 8Mark Andrus, co-founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips.

Good Ones events are invite only, email Carolyn to request an invite:

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IMG_6830So my friend Justin Burke Samson is a Martha Stewart American Made Finalist! What is American Made? American Made spotlights the maker, supports the local, and celebrates the handmade. What can Justin win? A spot in Martha Stewart’s American Made Market; $10,000 to grow his business; a video produced by the Martha Stewart in-house team; and the opportunity to be featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine, on SiriusXM radio, and on the Martha Stewart website. You can vote up to 6 times a day. I have had the opportunity to hang out with Justin on a few occasions recently, taste his delicious baked goods and see him create these amazing tarts. Recently he was at Taza Chocolate in Somerville sampling some new creations. Above are the chili chocolate chip cookies with candied lime drizzle

IMG_6832Above is the toffee coconut pop tart, drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with coconut flakes.

IMG_6836Chocolate covered strawberry pop tarts are seriously addictive. If you want to see more photos of Justin’s Trademark Tarts, check out my blog posts:

A behind the scenes look at Trademark Tarts and Stacked Donuts at Fairsted Kitchen

Pop up at Mei Mei Street Kitchen

Party of Two pop up at State Park

IMG_6841And finally the chocolate cinnamon roll pop tarts. So please vote for Justin, and his Trademark Tarts. If he wins, all the money will go towards opening a brick and mortar restaurant with Party of Two business partner Stephanie Cmar – and come one, who isn’t looking forward to that? So here is the link again to vote:



lets get brandy 4Tuesday evening guests gathered in Harvard Square for a Good Ones event at Neenas Lighting.

lets get brandy 1Neenas has locations in downtown Boston, Brookline, Wellesley and Cambridge.

lets get brandy 7Each store has a different feel – check out my photos from the last Good Ones event at the Boylston Street location here and here.

lets get brandy 2Neenas sells more than just lighting – they have furniture and home accessories as well.

lets get brandy 5Carolyn, co-founder of the Good Ones, showcasing Angels Envy.

lets get brandy 8

For the month of September, for every Angel’s Envy drink you take a photo of, and post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) with the hashtag #AE4THETREES, Angel’s Envy will plant a white oak tree.

Why is this important? Bourbon distillers need new American white oak barrels to age bourbon and currently, there is a barrel shortage.

lets get brandy 6Don’t forget to tag your photos! #AE4THETREES

lets get brandy 3Other beverage sponsors for the evening included Motto, a sparkling matcha tea drink; Maple Water and Peroni.

lets get brandy 24Hint Water was also at the event with both their original hint water and hint fizz varieties. On the left is Jeff Venuti, Field Marketing Manager for Hint.

lets get brandy 25Liqs are the world’s first premium ready to drink cocktail shots. The company was founded in 2013 by Michael Glickman and Harley Bauer. A GENIUS product if you ask me. Easy to carry and transport (to a party, a cookout, the pool or the beach) and they taste like you just made them! Here are the flavors that they come in:

Vodka-Cucumber Lime: By combining the cooling nature of cucumber with the citrus of lime, we’ve created an ideal mix to blend with our super premium vodka. The result? A light and refreshing cocktail shot perfect for any occasion.

Vodka Lychee Grapefruit: The most fruit forward of our cocktail shots, we keep the flavors natural, not overly sweet. The citrus of grapefruit balances effortlessly with the sweetness of lychee.

Tequila Cinnamon Orange: We enlisted the finest tequila connoisseurs to blend the subtle spice of cinnamon with fresh orange to create an irresistible balance of spicy and sweet. You’ll never look at a tequila shot the same way again.

Vodka Kamikaze: Originally made from vodka, triple sec and lime juice, the kamikaze has been a nightlife staple for years. We’ve infused ours with the finest citrus and a hint of natural vanilla that will surprise and energize your taste buds.

lets get brandy 9Featured Guest: Miam Miam Macaronerie

Jennifer, pastry chef, chocolatier and owner of Blue Tierra Chocolate, started experimenting with the tiny French confections at her former West Broadway location. Nicole, an IT Administrator with a degree in public relations and over 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry, was a loyal customer.

lets get brandy 10Jennifer perfected her recipe and mastered the macaron. The final product was flawless texture & flavor and Nicole was hooked. This mutual love of the macaron brought them together to combine their strengths and energies. And thus, Miam Miam Macaronerie, LLC was ‘baked’ out of their love.

lets get brandy 11What is Miam Miam? Miam-miam (pronounced mee-yahm mee-yahm) is the french word for “yummy.” Keep your eyes open, they are looking to open a shop in the near future! I think the pistachio ones are my favorite!

lets get brandy 12Guests sipped on a specialty cocktail from Deep Eddy vodka.

lets get brandy 13Every event thrown by the Good Ones has a theme. Tonight’s was your best stoplight fashion: Red, yellow and green.

lets get brandy 14Raj Dhanda, owner of Neenas, and Carolyn Kim, Co-Founder of the Good Ones.

lets get brandy 15Right, Brandon Bach, Owner of Infusion Diabolique tequila. Left Jon Allen, CEO and Founder of Temple Twist.

lets get brandy 17Left, Hillary Bucklin and right, Stef Poracro, who just hosted the first Awake Boston event, a morning yoga session and dance party. See the Facebook page here.

lets get brandy 18Featured guest: Aaron Belyea – Owner / Art Director

As self-taught artist, Aaron launched his graphic design career while performing in numerous bands in Boston, for which he would create a visual image that complimented the band’s music. Aaron later honed his artistic talents at The Planetary Group, overseeing the design department for this artist development company. His ability to successfully develop identities, rooted in decisive visual concepts led to the establishment of his own studio in 2001. The company name comes from Aaron’s design moniker, “Alphabet Arm,” which refers to the alphabet tattoo wrapped around one of his arms. Aaron can often be found speaking at colleges and universities as well as teaching classes and presentations for various entrepreneur / start-up organizations.

What is so great about Good Ones events is that each one is different. The event on Tuesday is drastically different from the one on Thursday. There are familiar faces but also a good number of new ones as well.

lets get brandy 19The guests at each event have been hand selected – they are  founders, executives, journalists, entertainers, students, creatives, mentors and mentees — and tonight they are people who care about Personal + Professional Branding

lets get brandy 20

Featured Guest: Silvi Naci (right) – Artist / Designer / Curator

Being connected to the art scene in Boston and other urban cities like New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco, allows Silvi to create engaging art shows, and bring together artists from diverse backgrounds. What drives her as an artist, designer and curator, is a passion to create things that are meaningful. As the Art Director at Liquid Art House, her canvas is the spectacular open space where anything is possible. From showcasing the incredible stable of talent she’s collected throughout her travels and shows, to shaping the Liquid Art “House,” not just as a gallery of walls, but as a platform of ideas, education and community. Silvi’s goal is to invite collaboration and build new opportunities for artists and designers alike. On rare days off, she loves riding her bike, hiking, cooking vegan food, running and making art.

lets get brandy 21Charlotte Kim, Senior Vice President of Cheer Networks.

lets get brandy 22The next Good Ones event is tomorrow evening at Liquid Art House and is invite only. To request an invite, email Carolyn at

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imag1166When we finally got up to Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, we decided to go out for dinner. Looking for something casual, we decided on Gracie’s. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, and that was at their old location in town. Closer to the hotel, Gracie’s is a popular casual dining spot for locals and tourists alike.

imag1172Gracie’s opened in 1991, and it was named after owners Sue and Archie’s rescue dog. They made the move to this new location in 2009. The dog theme is carried throughout the dining room – from the decor to the names of the menu items.

imag1167We started the meal off right – they brought out a wonderful bread basket with delicious chocolate chip oatmeal bread.

imag1170The quinoa salad special was more of a dinner sized plate than an appetizer! We all ordered burgers, they are all named after dogs:

The Chihuahua
Half-pound burger served with lettuce, tomato and guacamole on the side.

The Airedale
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed peppers and onions.

The Boxer
Half-pound cheddar bacon burger.

The Husky
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms.

Blazing Beagle Burger
Gracie’s half-pound burger rolled in Cajun spices and grilled to juicy perfection with lettuce and tomato.
Also available as Dante’s Dalmatian-for the firedog.

The Kirby Burger
Gracie’s half pound burger topped with melted cheddar, bacon and a side of our own Memphis BBQ sauce.

Blue Tick Hound Burger
Half-pound melted blue cheese burger with lettuce and tomato.

The Rottweiler
This one’s got a good bite to it. A half-pound cheddar burger topped with lettuce and Tomato. With sour cream, garlic, horseradish sauce on the side.

The Petey Burger
Everyone’s favorite canine orphan. Spanky and Alfalfa put their minds together for this one. A great combination that only the little rascals could think of starting with a half pound of Boyden Farms ground beef topped with Vermont cheddar cheese and, bacon, onion rings and cajun spice.  A dollar of the price of each Petey Burger will be donated by Gracie’s to the North Country Animal League.

imag1174The Husky ($12.95): Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms. Just what the dr ordered after a long car ride. The burger was flavorful and cooked perfectly medium. The service was excellent – Archie the owner was there running the host stand! I always think it’s nice to see the owners of restaurants pitching in.


18 Edison Hill Road, Stowe, VT

Gracie's on Urbanspoon

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I am giving away two tickets to the Taste Trekkers conference (back for its second year) on October 4th+5th in Providence. Tickets include Saturday’s Expo at the Biltmore and Sunday’s Scavenger Hunt at the Providence Arcade. Winner must be over 18.

Like my Facebook page to be entered to win. Contest will close on Wednesday, September 25th at 8pm EST.

What is Taste Trekkers?

It’s a website for foodies who love travel. Check out the guest post I did for them about Boston’s top burgers here.


Taste Trekkers returns to Rhode Island to show passionate foodies how to explore the world through cuisine. It brings together chefs, farmers, wineries, brewers, food tour operators, and other artisanal food producers from different regions. Sample foods from different places, learn the culinary history of different regions, and gain practical tips for planning your own foodie vacation.


Saturday, October 4th: Foodie Day •    10:00 am: Ten Minute Talks •    11:00 am: Edible Sessions •    2:00 pm: Hope & Main Tasting Pavilion

The morning will start off with the Taste Trekkers Tens, which are a series of ten-minute talks led by culinary experts. Each will focus on cuisine from a different region of the world. It’s a great way to discover a new destination for your next culinary trip. Then you’ll  break into groups and dive deeper into dishes from particular regions in these 45-minute sessions. You’ll sample and learn about the history, making and traditions around each food. Every attendee will participate in three sessions during the Expo. Register early to get your choice of sessions.  Finish off the afternoon in the Biltmore’s Grand Ballroom, with stunning views overlooking all of downtown Providence. Wander the room and sample food and drink from dozens of local restaurants and artisanal food producers. Mingle with other attendees and find inspiration for your next trip.
Sunday, October 5th: Scavenger Hunt     12:00 am: Eat & Run Scavenger Hunt •    4:00 pm: New England Premiere of Farm-City, State at the Cable Car Cinema

On Sunday, October 5th, we’ll wrap up the 2014 Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo with a scavenger hunt throughout downcity Providence. Enter by yourself or with a team of friends and compete for hundreds of dollars worth of prizes.

The hunt starts at 12:00 noon at the Providence Arcade (65 Weybosset St, Providence, RI). We will announce the winner at the conclusion of the showing of Farm-City, State.


•    Elle Armon-Jones – Owner, The Big Foody Food Tours •    Christopher Bakken – Author of Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table •    Tom Bivins – Executive Director, Vermont Cheese Council •    Sean Buchanan – Business Development Manager, Blackstone River Produce •    Cesin Curi – Chef, Los Andes •    Grace Della – Owner, Miami Culinary Tours •    Jose Duarte – Chef & Owner, Taranta Restaurant •    Colleen Franzreb – Owner, Cape Cod Foodie Tours •    Tatiana Gana – Co-Founder, Gastro Tours •    Kimberly Gunning and Steve Lovelace – Owners, Niagara Culinary Tours •    Lisa Gustavson – Owner, Sojourner Tour Company • Richard J.S. Gutman – Director & Curator, Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University •    Jeff Landry – Produce Specialist, Native Mainse Produce & Specialty Foods •    Marina Marchese – Founder, American Honey Tasting Society and Red Bee Honey •    Richard Miscovich – Associate Professor, Johnson & Wales University •    Sam Poley – Director of Public Relations & Communications, Durham Convention & Visitor’s Bureau •    Neil Rogers – Executive Chef, Volturno Pizza Napoletana •    Lisa Webster – Owner & Operator, North Star Sheep Farm •    Thei Zervaki – Food writer and journalist

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IMG_6756I was invited to the third annual Taste of WGBH Food and Wine Festival on September 11th. Chefs from all over New England came to sample their dishes at the Chef’s Gala Reception. The events continued all weekend including a farmer’s market, artisan taste sessions, educational seminars and a brunch bar.

IMG_667325 of the top chefs paired their dishes with selected wines and a few select craft beers.

IMG_6681Chef Michael Werneke from Prohibition Pig in Vermont made corn muffins with cultured Farmstead butter, smoked pork rillettes on crouton with pickle, and Bailey Hazen blue cheese tartlet with black walnuts and maple. The dish was paired with Guzman Riestra Brut Nature Cider.

IMG_6687Chef Cara Stadler from Tao Yuan in Maine made Grandma Tang’s roast pork buns which was paired with a La Madrid Estate Reserve Cabernet Franc. This was my favorite dish of the evening. Very well made, and the filling was so flavorful.

IMG_6697Andy Husbands from Tremont 647 was serving a BBQ brisket with kimchee sauce and yuzu apple slaw. It was paired with a Bissell Brothers Brewing Substance Ale. Andy always knocks it out of the park. Andy just finished a cookbook called Grilled to Perfection, you should check it out.

IMG_6699Il Casale made panzarotti: smoked scamorza stuffedpotato croquettes with a roasted red pepper sauce.

IMG_6700This was paired with the MacPhail Sundawg Vineyard Pinto Noir 2011.

IMG_6702Chef Matt Morello from Brasserie 28 in Andover  had a charcuterie display.

IMG_6703There were three different offerings.

IMG_6704 All the charcuterie was paired with the  Alchemist Heady Topper.

IMG_6706Chris Coombs from Boston Chops did a lovely steak tartare served on a potato chip paired with a 2012 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

IMG_6713The State Room prepared a lobster bahn mie sandwich with cilantro citrus marinated lobster, pickled fennel and chili aioli.

IMG_6715The sandwich was paired with a Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc.

IMG_6718Probably one of the best plated offerings of the night.

IMG_6720Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier from MC Spiedo made a spit roasted suckling pig with macaroni, root vegetables and a farm egg. The dish was paired with a 2010 BV Tapestry.

IMG_6724Tallulah on Thames, a restaurant in Newport, prepared a lovely dessert – Sweet Berry Farm peaches that were compressed and served with a curried yogurt, anise, hyssop, tarragon and pickled onions. It was paired with a 2011 Terrior Hunter Sauvignon Blanc Leyda. The peaches were almost translucent and the flavors were bold. I loved this dish.

IMG_6726Chef Louis DiBicari of Tavern Road prepared a smoked bluefish pate with fennel pollen and orange mostarda. It was served with a 2012 Malvasia del Fiore.

IMG_6730Will Gilson from Puritan and Co. made a heirloom tomato gazpacho with basil and marinated scallops.

IMG_6733Chef Michael Scelfo from Alden & Harlow made a grilled corn salad with avocado creme and pumpernickel crumbs. It was paired with a 2013 Chateau de Munuty Prestige.

IMG_6735Chef Jaime Davis from Deuxave made a milk chocolate cremeux with compressed apple cider and olive oil cake. It was paired with a Broadbent 3 year fine rich madeira.

IMG_6741Chef Nevin Taylor from Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain made lamb kofta and mixed vegetables with a green goddess dressing.

IMG_6751Chef Jason Bond from Bondir.

IMG_6754Chef William Kovel from Catalyst made a spice crusted tuna with a cucumber radish salad, lemon syrup and a sesame tuile.

IMG_6759Chef Brooke Vosika from The Four Seasons Bristol Lounge made crab gougeres with chives, served with golden tomatoes and lobster coral.

IMG_6764Chef Brian Alberg from the Red Lion Inn made a summer ratatouille with a tomato vinaigrette and Mill River micro greens.

IMG_6776Chef Shannon Bard from Zapoteca/Mixteca in Portland, ME made a spicy lobster bisque. A simple and yet lovely presentation. The broth was a bit spicy but really quite delicious. Probably my second favorite dish of the night.

IMG_6779The bisque was served with Herradura Silver Old Fashioned.

IMG_6782Maura Kilpatrick from Oleana made a Taza bittersweet chocolate with beet and licorice.

IMG_6781The dessert was garnished with figs and chocolate covered cocoa nibs.

IMG_6748The dessert was paired with the  Sandemann Porto from Portugal.

IMG_678780 Thoreau‘s chef, Carolyn Johnson, made lamb dumplings with smoky eggplant and peppers. It was served with a Donelan Family 2011 Cuvee Christine Syrah

IMG_6791Tyler Anderson of Millwright’s in CT made onions, chicken vin, fried chicken skin with picked golden raisins.

IMG_6793Entertainment was provided by The Perry Rossi Band. Great band with a great sound!

IMG_6795To hear a sample of their sound, check out my Instagram video here.

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IMG_6583I recently met up with Stephanie Cmar and Justin Burke Samson of Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. They have officially become Party of Two! We chatted at Fairsted Kitchen before their pop up event. You would think that they had been best friends since first grade (they complete each other’s sentences!), but really, they became friends when Stephanie started Stacked Donuts at the beginning of the year.  What is amazing to me is that Justin is self taught – his creations are delicious. Here he is making a chocolate cookies and cream pop tart with Bailey’s frosting – perfect for the boozy themed evening.

IMG_6592And let me tell you, he didn’t skimp on the Bailey’s!  Justin always thought that he would do this kind of thing later in life – like when he was 50. I’m glad he didn’t wait that long! I asked him if leaving a 9-5 and steady paycheck to focus on Party of Two was scary – and he said of course it is, but would it be worth it if it wasn’t scary?

IMG_6597Justin said that they learn something new with each pop up they do and that the best pop ups are the ones where the host restaurant really gets involved and excited (but they have all been good)!

IMG_6614Justin is definitely a baker – very detail oriented. He was telling me that one time he had to make the donuts using Stephanie’s recipe. She took one bite and said they were AMAZING, what did he do? To which he simply replied, “I followed the recipe”.

IMG_6584His second treat was a strawberry Rosé tart.

IMG_6618I asked where his flavors come from, are they genius ideas that come to him in the middle of the night? Do loyal fans request flavors? Are they crowd-sourced? He said all of the above! Did you know that Trademark Tarts is a finalist in the Martha Steward American Made awards. Please vote for him! The prize is $10K that will all be put towards opening a brick and mortar business!

IMG_6591For the event at Fairsted, Stephanie made about 40 donuts. For events on the weekend, she makes more. Even at 10pm, when those donuts were put on the table, there was a very decent line of fans patiently waiting (if not frothing a little at the mouth).

IMG_6623You may recognize Stephanie from Top Chef Season 11.

IMG_6630Stephanie is a 2007 graduate of Johnson and Whales. She returned to Boston after graduation and started her career at Top of the Hub. From there she moved on to Ivy Restaurant. In 2009 she began working with the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, first at B&G and then at Stir. Most recently she was at No. 9 Park.

IMG_6632While they are focused on their craft, they also manage to have some fun along the way. Check out their instagram photos,  Stephanie and Justin have a slew of selfies.

IMG_6627 The lavender sugar donuts smelled amazing.

IMG_6634Rosé donuts were a big hit!

Check them out on social media to see where they will be next. They are at State Park today at 2, Moody’s in Waltham on Saturday from 2-6pm and Mei Mei Street Kitchen on Sunday at 11am.

Party of Two

Stacked Donuts

Trademark Tarts


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imag1207The Blue Moon Cafe in Stowe has been a fine dining destination since 1992.  Jim Barton, now owner, was the dining room manager until 2001, when he bought the restaurant from the previous owner. Since then, they have been through multiple renovations and his wife Donna has done some extensive gardening. The kitchen is run by Jimmy Kalp who has worked at such places like National Hotel, The Ryah House, The Andirons Lodge and Frida’sTaqueria.

imag1209Whenever we go up to Stowe, we usually hit the same few places. This year, we wanted to try something new, so my friend Carolyn (of the Good Ones) who has a home up in Stowe gave me this suggestion. We start off with the artisan cheese platter ($12) that comes with some toast, dried fruit and raisins and a little mustard seed. Simple and yet so good.

imag1212We also start with the gazpacho, a refreshing way to start a meal. One of the best gazpachos we’ve tried.

imag1214The pasta special was delicious – the home made noodles were perfectly al dente.

imag1213I had the gnocchi with cauliflower, which was an excellent choice. The dumplings were amazing.

imag1216For dessert, I can’t remember the formal name for this, but raspberry sorbet and pistachio ice cream with raspberry coulis. Amazing. Two of my favorite things, combined to make a great summer dessert.

imag1219The crumble was also a delicious choice – we were almost too full to eat it after our meals! Almost. The service was top notch – we felt like we were being welcomed into someone’s home as opposed to eating at a restaurant. There were a lot of regulars dining, it was nice to see that they were welcomed by name and thanked for coming in.

Blue Moon Cafe

35 School Street, Stowe, VT

Blue Moon Cafe on Urbanspoon

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imag1144On our way up to Vermont this year, we decided to stop at Dartmouth for a quick bite to eat. There was a ton of traffic getting up here – something about blasting on the side of the highway – so we were famished. Lou’s has always been a midpoint for us over the years. Lou’s has been around for what seems like forever! 2007 marked their 60th anniversary.

imag1148The restaurant is a bit dated, or maybe it’s nostalgic. The food is nothing fancy, but you can get breakfast all day, delicious baked goods, and the price is right! I order the grilled cheese ($8.95) that hits the spot.

imag1147We also order the poached eggs on hash – a stick to your ribs kind of meal. The corned beef hash is made from fresh corned beef brisket and is served with a side of potatoes.

Stop in to Lou’s for a little piece of history.


30 South Main Street, Hanover, NH

Lou's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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