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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

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The Natick location of Paul is the second of three in Massachusetts, other locations include Assembly Row in Somerville and the newest location in the Financial District on Washington Street.

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The pastry case will having you drooling over decadent sweets – check out the size of those macarons!

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In addition to the sweets and freshly baked breads, Paul offers breakfast an lunch in their cafe – with a variety of soups, sandwiches,and quiche.

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My favorite thing of all the sweets we tested were the croissants, filled with things like chocolate, almonds pastry cream and chocolate.

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1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA

Located inside the Natick Mall

http://www.paul-usa.com/

Paul on Urbanspoon

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I have seen The Barking Claw’s cart for some time outside in Grumpy’s Pub’s parking lot.

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To be honest, my first thought was: lobster from a cart? How good could that be? How fresh is it? Did it come from a plastic tub? But then I thought, if the lobster rolls weren’t delicious, I wouldn’t see the cart there year after year. So this was the year that I was going to try one. We stopped over on a Sunday afternoon (they are only open Wed-Sun, 11-3) to give one a try.

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The lobster rolls are well priced at $16. You can also get hot dogs or a stuffed quahog.IMG_8204

Owner Bill Swain loads the lobster rolls up with a good deal of lobster meat. There’s no mayo here (thank goodness), just lobster and some butter with a little bit of lettuce on a toasted hot dog bun.
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I have to say that I was a fool not to have stopped earlier, these lobster rolls rank right up at the top of my list. The lobster is fresh and sweet. The presentation is simple, letting the lobster speak for itself.

The Barking Claw

29 Locust Road, Falmouth, MA

In the parking lot at Grumpy’s Pub

https://www.facebook.com/TheBarkingClaw/timeline

Barking Claw on Urbanspoon

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Steve’s Pizzeria is where the locals go for pizza. If you eat in, know that there isn’t a lot of ambiance – if you’re looking for more of a restaurant feel, head over to Stone L’oven across the street. Steve’s offers take out and delivery as well. We love the pepperoni pizza there, well done of course! Steve’s also offers a variety of subs, calzones and pastas.

Steve’s Pizzeria

374 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

http://www.stevespizzeriaandmore.com/

Steve's Pizzeria & More on Urbanspoon

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I’ll admit that I’m not much of a coffee drinker – that is, I don’t know much about it, except for what I like and what I don’t like. I hadn’t heard of Dean’s Beans before, but they are a great small company located out in Orange, MA. It was founded by Dean Cycon over two decades ago and their mission has always been to use high quality coffee as a vehicle for progressive change. They only purchase from small farmer cooperatives and work directly with them to help produce the best possible coffee. Choosing to buy a coffee from a company that is socially responsible just makes you feel good. I was reading over some of their literature and they have done some great things: In Ethiopia, in partnership with Grounds for Health, they embarked on an innovative, community based cervical cancer detection and treatment program (cervical cancer is the largest cancer killer of women in the Global South) with their partner, Sidama Cooperative. In Peru, they deepened their relationship with the Oro Verde Cooperative – interns started recycling and reforestation program and they taught English.

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So when they reached out to me, I was excited to try their coffee. All of their coffee is organic, fair trade and kosher. If you check out their website they have lots of flavors to choose from, or you can create your own blend! The website tells you cupping notes about each blend and the flavor profile. You can choose what grind you’d like (from whole bean to finely ground) and what size (1 lb or  5 lbs).

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I tried the Uprising! Breakfast Blend ($8.99 for a 1 lb bag and $43.95 for a 5 lb bag.), it was a mix of Honduran (hearty), Peruvian (sweet) and Nicaraguan (bold and dry). I love the smell of coffee, that first deep breath you inhale when you open the bag! The coffee was good – really smooth. The flavor profile says: 8.5 body, 8 flavor, 8 acid, 8 aroma, 8 aftertaste.

IMG_9744There’s nothing like breakfast on the porch – we had our Dean’s Beans coffee with a lemon poppy muffin from Harvest Market.

Another cool thing about Dean’s Beans is that they make ReCUPs, environmentally friendly pods for your K-cup machine. (If you haven’t read the article on K-Cups from the Atlantic, you can find it here.) Their ReCUPs are #5 Recyclable and they are only filled in small batches, so you get the freshest coffee possible. The Ring of Fire ReCUP is a dark blend of high mountain beans from the volcanic soils of Indonesia, Timor and Papua New Guinea! They are $8.99 for 12 ReCUPs.

Dean’s Beans sells more than just coffee too! They offer organic, fair trade sugar and/or cocoa products in their Sweet Justice line. I tried their Java Drops, Vienna-roasted, shade grown Guatemalan and Mexican coffee beans covered in dark chocolate. I love the crunch!! You can buy them in a 1 lb ($9.99) or 5 lb ($48.95) bag.

Disclaimer: I was offered samples of Dean’s Beans for a review. All opinions are my own.

For more information on Dean’s Beans, or to order, check out their website: https://deansbeans.com/

 

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I was invited topreview the Lighthouse Cruise aboard the Sea Jet this past Thursday. Beginning on June 27th, it will run every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, until September 9th. It will run on Saturdays only from September 12th to October 10th. The cruise is about 2 hours, leaving the Cross Sound Ferry’s New London terminal at 12:30pm and returning at approximately 2:30pm. Tickets are $28 for adults and $14 for children ages 2-11 (children 2 and under are free). There is limited parking at the terminal for $10 a day, otherwise, there is garage parking nearby. Check out their website for more information.

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The Sea Jet is a high speed catamaran. What’s a catamaran? It’s a multi-hulled ship, consisting of two parallel hulls of equal size (shown above is one of the hulls). High speed ferries are often catamarans.

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The tour takes you to see 8 lighthouses and historical sites along the Thames River and on Long Island Sound and Gardiners Bay. You couldn’t have asked for a better day, the sun was shining and the water was smooth! While the ride was smooth, some passengers felt they needed Dramamine – make sure to stop ahead of time and pick some up as they do not sell it at the terminal or on the boat.

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The cruise was narrated by local expert Ted Webb (above). Ted had a wealth of knowledge of the area and the historical sites – it was a real pleasure listening to him. The tour is great for people who love lighthouses and even for people who don’t know much about them (read: me). It was just so nice to spend the day learning something new and being outside on the water on a beautiful day. The boat has two air conditioned levels, there are seats in the middle (shown above), with tables around the perimeter. The top deck is open for better viewing.

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The boat has food aboard for purchase. Items include sandwiches (Caprice (shown above), Ham and Swiss, Turkey wrap, Roast Beef and a Chicken Salad wrap), pastries (those black and white cookies looked delicious), pretzels, coffee, and alcoholic beverages.

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The first lighthouse on the trip was the New London Lighthouse: The oldest lighthouse in Connecticut, the original New London Harbor Light helped guide colonial privateers who sought shelter up the Thames River during the American Revolution.

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It’s not every day that you see a submarine being escorted into the harbor: General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division, where the first nuclear powered submarine was built, is located in New London Harbor.

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New London Ledge Lighthouse: A French Second Empire structure architectually unique for a lighthouse, the Ledge Light is unusual for another reason – it’s reportedly haunted by the ghost of an early keeper!

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North Dumpling Lighthouse: During Prohibition, the keeper of the North Dumpling Lighthouse was accused of signaling to liquor smugglers. Today, its owned by the inventor of the Segway Human Transporter.

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Race Rock Lighthouse: Many ships had been lost on Race Rock Reef before Congress decided to erect Race ROck Lighthouse. Built on a ledge where fast currents and conflicting seas are the norm, the foundations alone took seven years to build.

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Orient Point Lighthouse: Also known as the Coffee Pot Lighthouse, the cast-iron clad and brick lined Orient Point Lighthouse was marked for demolition by the Coast Guard in 1970, but was saved by public outcry.

On the tour we also saw the Avery Point Lighthouse, the Little Gull Island Lighthouse and the Plum Island Lighthouse (not pictured), you will just have to take the cruise and see them for yourself. In addition you will see Fort Trumbull and Fort Griswold, both compromised during the Revolutionary War by turncoat Benedict Arnold. You will also pass ruins of a former military fort used for Navy torpedo target practice in WWII, and Plum Island, longtime home of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center laboratory. And you’ll get a great view of New London’s historic waterfront.

For more information on the Lighthouse Cruise and the Cross Sound Ferry, visit their website: https://www.longislandferry.com/

Disclaimer: I was invited with a guest to preview the Lighthouse tour by the Cross Sound Ferry Company. The tour and food were complimentary. All opinions are my own.

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Anejo opened in Falmouth on Main Street in 2010 and it’s been packed ever since. The restaurant offers Mexican cuisine and has a great outdoor patio – perfect for people watching during the summer afternoons (they have heat lamps for those nights when it can get a little cool).

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We had a late lunch on a Saturday afternoon and we were lucky enough to be able to get a seat outside on the patio. Of course we had to try the table side guacamole ($12) which can be customized – we asked them to hold the cilantro!

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The Tinga Tacos ($11): 3 grilled chile-marinated chicken tacos served open-faced on soft local corn tortillas with jack cheese, sauce negra, pico de gallo, sour cream, cotija cheese and lime.

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Lobster mac and cheese ($14): fusile pasta, fresh lobster, chorizo, chipotle stung queso sauce, jalapeño panko crust and cotija crumble.

The menu offers a little something for everyone, from nachos and quesadillas to mojo mussels and corn dusted calamari you are sure to find something you will like (and if you’re like me you can’t decide they all sound good). Their drink menu consists of a nice variety of tequila and mezcal – make sure to try the prickly pear sangria blanco!

Anejo

188 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

http://www.anejomexicanbistro.com/

Anejo on Urbanspoon

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IMG_7715Cupcake Charlie’s seems to be taking over all of the old cupcake bakeries. In the Natick Collection they took over the old Crumbs and in Falmouth they took over the old CupCapes space. We brought a few home to taste test for dessert. Pictured above is the “Vanilla luvs vanilla” a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with colored sprinkles. While the cake looked a little well done, it was light and fresh and the frosting was just the right level of sweetness.

IMG_7716And just to balance it out, we got a “Hostess with the Mostess” cupcake, a chocolate cake with cream filling, topped with chocolate ganache and a buttercream swirl. Again, a super fresh cupcake – I really loved this one.

Cupcake Charlie’s

153 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

www.cupcakecharlies.com

Cupcake Charlies on Urbanspoon

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I met Caroline for lunch mid week – we laughed as I said, “So this is what it feels like to be a lady of leisure”….not quite. Brio at lunch time was pretty quiet and the clientele was of an older crowd, a much older crowd. The restaurant is part of the new Chestnut Hill Square, it offers call ahead seating and brunch both days of the weekend. The service was a bit aloof at times – the hostess sat us right at the front of the restaurant, in the path of the drafty open door on a cool afternoon, right on top of another table and our server was a bit out to lunch himself.IMG_7904

I had the Ravioli di Bello ($13.95), portobello ravioli, crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, Parmesan and thyme in a champagne brown butter sauce. The pasta dish itself fell a little flat for me. The menu felt a little “Cheesecake Factory” and the flavors in my dish were lacking. The best part of the meal was the warm bread that they brought out to the table. On the upside, Caroline and I were catching up and we did’t feel rushed to leave our table after we ate.

Brio

200 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

http://www.brioitalian.com/chestnut_hill_square.html

Brio Tuscan Grille on Urbanspoon

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We had a guest in from out of town and we decided to spend the day walking around the Public Garden and Beacon Hill. Before we headed over there, we stopped at Post 390 for lunch. I started off with a Cranberry lime rickey ($5.50) that was tart, but I wish that the cranberry flavor would have been a bit bolder.

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The margarita flat bread ($13.50) was delicious, very light. The sliced tomatoes, paired with pesto and snipped basil were a nice choice for lunch. They also offer an herbed ricotta flat bread.

IMG_7780The chicken panini ($14) came with linguica and sambal aioli with a small side salad. Check out the enormous pickle that accompanied the dish? It made for a great plate presentation. Service was excellent and we were in and out in under 45 minutes – we were anxious to get on our way to enjoy the nice weather outside.

Post 390

406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA

http://post390restaurant.com

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I was invited to preview Bonefish Grill in Westwood, in the newly developed University Station. Bonefish opened on June 1 and offers a casual dining experience for those looking for fresh seafood. The restaurant has a great patio and a large bar area. We went on a Saturday afternoon for lunch. We were greeted by our waitress who promptly took our drink orders. The blackberry smash (non alcoholic) was a little on the sweet side, but tasty – light and fresh, perfect for the summer time.

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The Bang Bang Shrimp, their signature appetizer, is crispy shrimp in a creamy, slightly spicy sauce. While we would have liked this dish better if it had less sauce, it was a nice way to start the meal.

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The wagyu beef and ginger potstickers are pan seared with crispy onions, thai papers and soy sauce.

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Blackened Baja Fish Tacos came in three warm tortillas, with mango salsa, lime crema + shredded lettuce. The tacos tasted really light and fresh – and the portion was so big that we took half of it home!

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The wood grilled shrimp and scallops came with sugar snap peas and a side (upgraded to a deluxe side) of crab fried rice. The portion was just right on this dish and the seafood tasted really fresh.

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The crab fried rice was tasty – I would have liked to have seen everything mixed together (instead of the crab and egg placed on top) but it went really well with the seafood grilled in the asian sauce.

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The creme brûlée was served with whipped  cream and fresh berries. I love that first bite of creme brûlée, when your spoon breaks through the sugar and you get that crunch followed by the creamy custard.

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Key lime pie with a pecan crust and served with a healthy amount of whipped cream. The crust on this was really tasty – and it was the perfect crust to pie filling ratio.

The service was good for only being open 5 days. Bonefish Grill would be a great place to come to have a girls night or to watch the game at the bar. It’s great if you have kids, as there were a lot of families

Disclaimer: I was invited with a guest to dine at Bonefish Grill. Our meal was complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Bonefish Grill

174 University Ave, Westwood, MA

https://www.bonefishgrill.com

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