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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: restaurant

imag1464I met my two old friends over at Trade for dinner. We grabbed a great seat by the window and gabbed the night away.

Trade is owned by Eric Papachristos, Sean Griffing and chef Jody Adams. You may know Jody as a James Beard winning chef and the co-owner of Rialto in Cambridge. Griffing is a 15 year veteran of the Boston restaurant scene and Papachristos is a self made restaurateur. Jacki Morisi has just moved over to Trade as the new events manager – she comes from Rialto, where she was the marketing and communications manager.

We start with curry cauliflower with red onion, raisins and yogurt ($7). The presentation is lovely and the dish has a warmth to it – the yogurt was a really nice addition to complete the dish.

imag1465Chicken meatballs with smoked corn, charred tomato vinaigrette and pine nuts ($11) were a table favorite. Classic yet bold in flavors.

imag1466Fried polenta bites with chorizo aioli, cilantro and preserved lemon  ($9). These were delicious – I loved the texture of the polenta.

imag1469Baked rigatoni with spicy lamb ragu and provolone  ($22) had perfectly al dente pasta. The ragu wasn’t too game-y as sometimes lamb can be. It felt like comfort food without that heaviness that can sometimes come with it.

imag1467The chocolate decadence cake with caramel, creme fraiche and 5-spice ($8) went quickly. The cake was dense but not heavy. It paired well with caramel and the 5 spice wafer was a nice mix – sweet and spicy.

Trade

540 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA

http://trade-boston.com/

Trade on Urbanspoon

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imag1453I met Melissa over at Wink and Nod to check out Josh Lewin’s Bread and Salt. From the moment you meet Joe, who greets you outside at the front door, you feel like you are part of a private supper club. As you descend the stairs and walk into the restaurant, you see a dimly lit room with comfy sofas and armchairs. Is this the bat cave? I already know I want to come back soon and we haven’t even eaten dinner yet.

They have recently added bread service – and you’ll be glad they did. Here is the soda bread with a schmear of lobster butter which may rival my all time favorite honey butter from Sweet Cheeks. They also make a delicious saffron roll.

imag1455I’ve met Josh a few times and he knows Melissa too, so he comes out to the table  and chats for a bit. He brings us delicious Pani Puri with Tamarind Chutney, Truffle Oil, and Potato Purée. I try to be lady like and make it into two bites, but really, it’s a one bite kind of thing.

imag1456We start with a lovely peach with ricotta salad with a honey film- I’m trying hard to hold on to the last bits of summer!

imag1457The lobster curry ($13) is an excellent dish made with spiced corn broth, pork rinds, pickled onion, puffed rice.

imag1459The insanely talented Sous Chef, Kate Holowchik, comes out next to say hello and brings us some scallops with grapefruit and avocado – such a wonderful dish- sweet, creamy and perfectly acidic.

imag1460The hand rolled pasta is cooked perfectly al dente and comes topped with mushrooms and rabbit cakes.

imag1461Peaches & Corn. This dessert features popcorn panna cotta and peach sorbet with cornmeal crumble and bay leaf mousse for a slight savory note that cuts through.

Not pictured (because we were too eager to eat), the fernet bon bons. Kate Holowchik stabilizes the alcohol first before adding it to the ice cream base so that more alcohol can be added and you get an intense fernet flavor – not to mention a buzz!

Monday nights join Bread and Salt for their night market menu from 8pm-12am. They print up menus that look like newspapers with the evenings selections. Most are small plates/bites, all priced at under $20. The also have #winktiki Mondays, where guest bartenders come in and serve drinks –  this particular evening, Angel’s Envy was getting mixed up in cocktails.

Bread an Salt

Located at Wink and Nod

3 Appleton Street, Boston, MA

http://winkandnod.com/

Wink and Nod on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0391We met Ruth and Joe, my cousins, in Worcester for our monthly meal together. We headed out to a new spot, Livia’s dish.

IMAG0394We are usually horribly late, but today we are here first. We sit and look over the menu while we wait for our dining companions to arrive.

IMAG0392The decor inside is simple and a bit dated, but the food is pretty good, and the price is right!

IMAG0395The nutella French toast ($7.99) was enormous, and I couldn’t even get halfway through it! As I mentioned before, the price is right, four of us for breakfast and the bill was less than $50! Service was good – they allowed us to sit and chit chat well after the time when they close for lunch. If you’re ever in Worcester and looking for a casual bite, stop in!

 

Livia’s Dish

1394 Main Street, Worcester, MA

http://www.liviasdish.com/

Livia's Dish on Urbanspoon

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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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imag1393My favorite time to go to the Cape is in September. The tourists are gone for the most part, the beaches are empty, the air is crisp and best of all, you can get a table as a walk in. The Pickle Jar opened in February of 2013 in the old Laureen’s space.

imag1394My friend Ziggy is opening up his own pickle business, Fox Point Pickles – don’t hate me, I swear I was just checking out the competition! Check him out though, seriously, he is insanely talented. To start, we all share the pickle jar ($7) that was an assortment of pickled veggies: cauliflower, carrots, olives, mushrooms, onions etc. Really delicious.

imag1396For lunch we had the special – the lobster hand roll ($16). Lobster tossed with fill aioli and lemon juice and rolled with lettuce, cucumbers and pea shoots in a lavash. A lighter, seemingly healthier version of a lobster roll.

imag1399

The egg salad sammie ($7) was a twist on a classic with sliced hard boiled egg, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts with dill aioli.

imag1401The Firehouse sandwich was the star of the afternoon ($10) with house smoked chili rubbed boneless pork, wilted kale, pickled carrots, smoked cheddar and BBQ sauce on a toasty house roll. The pork was flavorful and I loved the pickled carrots on top. The sandwich was much heavier than the other two options we ordered, but it was so worth it.

The Pickle Jar

170 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

http://www.picklejarkitchen.com/

Pickle Jar Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0463Caffe Nero is the newest coffee shop to hit the scene. The European based chain opened it’s first location by the Loews movie theater in Downtown Crossing.

IMAG0452They have an extensive drink menu – serving premium Italian espresso.

IMAG0454Customers order in line and then find a seat in either a booth, the long communal table, a leather chair by the fire, or a two top in the corner.

IMAG0455Sandwiches are pre-made and can be toasted up in the panini press. Here are some of the sandwich choices:

Caffè Nero Breakfast Sandwich
Baked Frittata made with fresh eggs, roasted tomatoes, bacon with emmental cheese and arugula served on a toasted ciabatta.
Caprese on Baguette
Fresh mozzarella, garden fresh tomatoes, basil leaf and extra virgin olive oil.
Prosciutto de Parma with Mascarpone
The crown jewel of hams with a touch of mascarpone pressed on a baguette.
Roast Turkey and Brie with Cranberry Chutney
A pressed roast turkey with cranberry chutney, brie & caramelized onions on a baguette.
Roast Beef with Caramelized Onions & Grainy Mustard
Tender roast beef & sharp cheddar cheese topped with sweet caramelized onions and Dijon horseradish spread served on a baguette.
Roasted Vegetable Focaccia
Focaccia pressed with roasted peppers, eggplant, squash and zucchini and an olive tapenade spread drizzled with pesto aioli.
Ham and Cheese Baguette
Rosemary ham with emmental cheese withbutter on a baguette.
Tuna Salad Sandwich on Ciabatta
All white tuna tossed with celery and mayonnaise served with baby field greens on a ciabatta.
BLT
Bacon, lettuce and tomato with pesto aioli served on a ciabatta.
Artisan Italian on Focaccia
Rosemary ham, hard salami and mortadella topped with provolone and olive salad.

IMAG0457The have an enticing case of sweets to choose from.

IMAG0459Caffe Nero is a more upscale version of Starbucks – with leather seats and a warm fireplace.

IMAG0461We both ordered the Caprese on a baguette with fresh mozzarella, garden fresh tomatoes, basil leaf and extra virgin olive oil. Pretty tasty – but I think I would have liked it not toasted.

IMAG0458Limoncello Mascarpone Cake – my downfall. So impossibly light and delicious – I may be drooling as I am writing this. It is sweet, but only just enough. I have dreams about this cake.

 What is your favorite coffee shop?

Caffe Nero

560 Washington Street (Downtown Crossing), Boston, MA 02111

http://www.caffenero.com

Caffè Nero on Urbanspoon

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imag1417Scissors and Pie is the new pizza place on the block. Located on Newbury Street in the Back Bay – these guys are doing things a little different. When you go into the restaurant, you’ll notice that they make their pizzas in trays. All “slices”, or “petzos” as they call it, are cut to order, with – you guessed it….scissors. You tell them how little or how big of a piece you would like – then, you pay by the weight of the pizza. Scissors and Pie was generous enough to come into our company for a tasting. They brought a traditional Margherita topped with their signature tomato sauce, fresh handmade mozzarella, aromatic basil and finished off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

imag1418Scissors and Pie’s version of the pepperoni (since they don’t have pepperoni), this meaty pie was pretty spicy. What really makes this pizza is the dough, it’s light with a crisp crust and a chewy interior.

imag1419The parmiggiana topped with their signature tomato sauce, fresh handmade mozzarella, roasted eggplant, freshly grated parmesan cheese, aromatic basil, extra virgin olive oil with a drizzle of home made garlic sauce. This was a crowd favorite.

imag1420The salsiccia e broccoli with fresh handmade mozzarella, imported sausage, fresh broccoli, red pepper flakes and spicy oil. Probably my favorite out of all of the slices – this kind had a really nice kick.

imag1421The bufala, pomodorini e scaglie di parmiggiano with fresh handmade mozzarella, plump local cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh hand made bufala mozzarella, home made pesto, and a sprinkle of home made garlic sauce. Their version of a vegetarian pizza.

Scissors and Pie

225 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

http://www.scissorsandpie.com/

Scissors & Pie on Urbanspoon

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imag0814Julia and I met in Cambridge for an event and headed over to State Park afterwards for dinner. State Park is a new restaurant opened by the team behind Hungry Mother. State Park is a drastic contrast to the more upscale Hungry Mother, just around the corner – some might even consider it a dive bar. You walk into a dark room filled with dark wood paneling, a pinball machine, a pool table and a jukebox. There is a greenhouse room off to the side and picnic tables outside. All tables are seat yourself.

imag1367The service was a bit slow and we couldn’t figure out who our server was for most of our meal, but that was ok – we were busy catching up. We started with the fried cheese curds served with ranch dressing and bbq marinara. Pretty darn delicious.

imag1369I had the Memphis bbq spaghetti with garlic bread ($11) which had a bit of a bite to it. The garlic bread was lightly toasted and had a generous amount of garlic – YUM!

imag1368Julia had the catfish plate with greens and hush puppies.  She loved the hush puppies and the catfish, but wasn’t impressed with the sauce on the greens.

Great place to go with friends, hang out and drink beers. Food wise, I think I’ll stick with Hungry Mother.

State Park

1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

http://statepark.is/

State Park on Urbanspoon

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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.

Gracie’s

18 Edison Hill Road, Stowe, VT

http://www.gracies.com/

Gracie's on Urbanspoon

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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

http://bluemoonstowe.com/

Blue Moon Cafe on Urbanspoon

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