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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Our family went down with summer colds this past weekend, so we took it easy. I’m throwing it back to a fun thing we did in July for my Tuesday Water Cooler post this week. We hit the tail end of blueberry season (July) and the beginning of peach season (August) at Sunshine Farm on a Saturday morning before it got too hot. Located in Sherborn, this is a great place to pick your own fruit with the family. Stop in at the farmstand and let them know what you want to pick. We paid for peaches by the bag and the blueberries were pay by weight. We drove our car down a ways to the blueberry field, but you have to walk a bit further to get to the peaches. There were plenty of ripe berries – my kids had a blast – it was their first time picking their own fruit. The blueberries were a bit tart, but we made a massive amount of Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins when we got home!

It was starting to get really toasty after the first hour, but we walked over to pick our bag of peaches. We had the whole area to ourselves and Sunshine Farm had the biggest peaches I have EVER SEEN! I mean, literally the size of softballs. They were perfectly sweet and delicious, it was hard to tell which we liked better, picking peaches or the blueberries. For me, this was really THE season for peaches!!

So obviously you can’t head to Sunshine Farm to pick blueberries or peaches (although they were still picking as of September 8th), but they are doing pick your own apples. They have Macs, Gala, Cortland, Macouns and Honey Crisps available. The farmstand is open 9am – 6pm and ice cream is open from noon until 8pm.

The farm also offers full season and summer share CSA packages. The 23 week full season starts June 14th and runs to November 18th. It’s $920 but you can sign up now until March 31st and save $70. Summer season starts on June 14th and runs through September 30th. It’s $640 but if you sign up now until March 31st, it is $600.

Where is your favorite farm to do u-pick?

Sunshine Farm

41 Kendall Ave. Sherborn, MA

http://sunshinefarmma.com/

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Sometimes posts get away from me. I’ve been trying my best to catch up on them. Did you know that Worcester has a year round farmers’ market on Saturdays from 9am – 12pm. Bonus that it is next to Crompton Collective and Birch Tree Bread Company. Headed out there one Saturday in May (!!). We started with Crompton Collective. They have a mix of antiques, gifts for the home, jewelry and fun items for the kids.

So what can you expect to find at the market? Five Fork Farms brings their amazing flower bouquets, Seven Hills Farmstead scoops out artisanal pasta, Dismas Family Farm brings some of the freshest produce, Jaju pierogi sells both frozen and warmed up deliciousness, and Stained Swirls is decorating your body with beautiful henna designs.

I had been checking out Aisling’s Cookies on Instagram and had wanted to try them out (the main reason we went out to the market…). They did not disappoint. Aisling O’Sullivan is a mom to 4 and makes these amazing cookies. They were seriously tasty (you know some of these fancy cookies can be hard and taste like cardboard, but not these!!). I made sure to get a few for myself while I was picking up some for the “moms” in my life. Head over to her Instagram account and be prepared to be wowed – and then go ahead and order a custom set of your own.

I’m discovering more and more about Worcester – that there are some amazing restaurants and some really cool local shops. It’s actually just as far for me to get there as it is to trek into Boston, so we will certainly do more exploring in the future. Top on my list to try is Dead Horse Hill and Crown Bakery. Tell me all of your favorite spots in Worcester!

For more information on the Canal District Farmers’ Market, check out their Facebook page.

After moving out to suburbia, we are still looking for our “go-to pizza place”. We decided to try out Rossini’s in Concord. The shop does mainly takeout, we were the only ones there dining in. The restaurant has all of your pizza place items – a small cheese pizza will run you about $9 and a large is $13. Pasta options include: bolognese, stuffed shells, steak gorgonzola alfredo and chicken parmigiana. Prices range from $11.99 for spaghetti and meatballs to $18.99 for the steak gorgonzola alfredo. Pastas were good, although nothing to write home about.

The burger was one of the highlights of the meal – probably because I love anything with an egg on top. Other items from the grill include an open faced tuna melt, cranberry chicken sandwich, and a crispy chicken sandwich. The kid’s menu will run you around $6: chicken fingers and fries, grilled cheese and fries, pasta, pasta and meatballs, ravioli, or macaroni and cheese.

Service was a bit on the slow side and it was hard to catch our server’s eye because we were in a separate room. The meal felt a bit pricey for what we ordered and the location (suburbia). The food was decent, but think that we will keep shopping around.

Leave me a comment and tell me where your favorite pizza place is!

Rossini’s Pizzeria and Restaurant

206 Fitchburg Turnpike, Concord, MA

http://rossiniseasy.com

Rossini's Pizzeria & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Kaki Lima just finished their residency at Wink and Nod’s culinary incubator. I thought I’d take this opportunity to throw it back to a post I had forgotten about in my drafts since the space is changing over. Little Owl Tavern was Wink and Nod’s first stab at Italian fare since they opened three years ago. Other notable restaurants/chefs that have been at Wink and Nod are: Whisk by Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta; Bread and Salt with Josh Lewin and Kate Holowchik; Akinto with Chef Patrick Enage; Pelekasis from Chef Brendan Pelley; and Gita from Chef Gita Kantrow. Currently the space is being occupied by Pareja  by Chef Aaron Lhamon. The restaurant features bold flavors of Spanish, Portuguese and Basque cuisine. Small plates include items like Asparagus with grilled salmon hollandaise and espelette, and artichokes with boquerones aioli, garlic and vin juane. Larger plates include a paella, a chicken roulade and a ribeye.

We feasted that night:

Artisan ricotta with orange truffle honey ($9); burrata with green hummus, red onion marmalade, and olive focaccia crumbs ($13); and the butter poached king crab with avocado, cara cara orange, and meyer lemon vinaigrette ($25).

Other menu offerings included:

mini oyster tacos with pancetta, anise spinach, picked red onion and roasted garlic aioli

crispy eggplant carpaccio with lily-yogurt, tomato chutney, sweet peas and Parmesan

charred octopus with stewed tomato-white bean ragout and rapini

lobster bolognese with squid ink pappardelle, oven roasted tomatoes, chiles, pea puree and mint

grilled branzino with lemon, olive oil, herb yogurt puree, confit tomatoes, picked fennel and arugula

Looking forward to trying out Paraja. Have you been? Let me know what you thought!

Little Owl Tavern at Wink and Nod

1 Appleton Street, Boston, MA

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We were recently in the city for a wedding at the Four Seasons Hotel. The luxury hotel just underwent a 15  million dollar renovation and it couldn’t be more beautiful. The iconic hotel is steps away from the Public Garden and the floral displays in the lobby are always a sight to see.

The public spaces have been refreshed with new furniture and artwork and the 273 guest rooms have been converted into “sleeping sanctuaries”. They have double walled windows for soundproofing, blackout shades and high end bedding. They have proprietary mattresses  made by Simmons, and man are they comfortable! I love the artwork in the rooms, simple and elegant – my favorite (not shown) is a whale weathervane in gold leaf. I love the pop of the yellow furniture in the rooms.

We spent most of Saturday at the pool. Located on the top floor of the hotel, the pool and fitness center offer guests picturesque views of the Public Garden. The pool has noodles and kick boards for the kids (or the young at heart), and robes and slippers so you don’t slip on the deck. Take a relaxing soak in the whirlpool or swim laps in the 44 ft pool. Spend some time in the pool chairs reading the paper and snacking on some fresh fruit.

The service at the hotel does not disappoint. They offer a complimentary house car drop off service within 2 miles of the hotel; coffee, tea and fruit are offered in the lobby from 5am – 8am in the morning on weekdays; a gourmet pastry is offered at check in each afternoon; they offer twice daily housekeeping and evening turndown service; you have access to a DVD player with a library of children’s dvds; and special age appropriate amenities for children and teens.

If you are looking for a staycation option, I highly recommend checking out the Four Seasons Hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel

200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

www.fourseasons.com

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Fall may be my favorite time down on Cape Cod. The crowds are gone, you can get down Main Street in a reasonable amount of time, and you can get into the restaurants again. We recently went to Simply Divine Pizza in Falmouth. The kids loved watching the chefs make the pizza, spinning the dough high up into the air. The pizzas are Neapolitan style and cooked in a stone fired oven. They only use all natural ingredients and locally sourced produce.

Pizzas come in mouth watering combinations like fig and prosciutto, chicken pesto, shrimp scampi, white three cheese, cheeseburger, meat lover, Greek and scallop bacon to name a few. You can make your own pizza with toppings like house made maple fennel sausage, meatballs, apple wood smoked bacon, black olives, fresh pineapple, kalamata olives, sweet potato, and anchovies. Pizza not your thing (seriously?), they have other options such as pasta, sandwiches and paninis.

Kid’s menu options include a ham and cheese panini, grilled cheese, hot dog, kids pasta and meatballs, mac and cheese or a slice of pizza all for $8.95. They come with a free soft drink and a Hoodsie cup.

They deliver within a 5 mile range with a $10 minimum purchase plus a $2.50 delivery charge. Parking is available on Main Street or in lots close by. They have a good size space and can accommodate large parties.

Where is your go – to place for pizza on the Cape?

Simply Divine Pizza

271 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

www.divinepizza.com

simply divine pizza co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Now that we don’t live in the city, I almost never get to the South End. I mean, when I WAS in the city, I barely got there…

Leah and I met for lunch at Coppa (we had a Gilt City voucher to use), and I decided to drop in to some of my favorite shops. First up, Olives and Grace. You can’t help but love Sofi. Make sure to follow her on Instagram. I picked up this adorable Boston tea towel by Claudia Pearson (and picked up one for Leah too!).

There are so many things to choose from, it’s hard to control myself. There are gifts for the foodie, for the local, for the bar, for men, for babies and for the home. A new addition that I love are Seacoast Sweets. Kirstyn Pearl makes these homemade patties (peanut butter, peppermint, s’mores, and coconut) in Newburyport, MA. They are your favorite classic candy – but elevated in flavor! Check out the website for fun tastings and a chance to meet some of the makers.

I also stopped in to Formaggio Kitchen. I didn’t have a cooler with me, so I had to pass on buying cheese 🙁 , but managed to walk out with a few good finds. This great little shop not only has some delicious treats, but you can pick up some take home meals for the week as well. This week’s menu included BBQ pulled pork, Thai peanut chicken, lasagna bolognese and a grilled salmon. I like to take my time and browse every inch of the store.

I’m a big fan of the Generous brand, they make delicious little bite sized cookies. I think their packaging is adorable and love the Stella Stracciatella flavor. This time, I picked up the Sylvain Speculoos cookies and really enjoyed the flavor.

Tomorrow I am heading to the New England Made Giftware and Specialty Food Show. I’m looking forward to discovering some new brands to introduce to you just in time for the holidays. The show is for buyers and not open to the public, but you can read all about my finds a little later on this fall. I’m excited to revisit some old favorites like Anchor Toffee, Stonewall Kitchen, Atlantic Saltworks, McCrea’s Candies and The Salty Cottage. And I’m looking forward to meeting some new friends to – Black Dinah Chocolatiers, Cape Cod Sweets, Safe Harbor Confections, Goose Pond, Chatham Pottery and The Poppy Seed, to name a few. For a full list of vendors, check out their website. These brands will be coming soon to some of your favorite local shops.

Where are your go-to spots for local, handmade gifts? I love Olives and Grace, Duck Soup, and Greentail Table to name a few. Leave me a comment and let me know where I should be checking out!

If I could only eat one dish for the rest of my life, it would be pasta with Parmesan cheese. I was pumped when I was invited to the “From Wedge to Rind” event at Eataly with the Consorzio. The event was mainly cheesemongers and cheese writers. Me, I’m just a cheese lover. We were treated to a variety of dishes, of course featuring Parmigiano Reggiano, and some of the attendees had a chance to make risotto with the executive chef of Eataly.

So what was on the menu?

Sformato di Patate con Fonduta di Parmigiano Reggiano® (Potato Sformato with Parmigiano Reggiano® Sauce)

Risotto con Brodo di Parmigiano Reggiano® (Risotto with Parmigiano Reggiano® Broth)

Tagliata di Manzo con Scaglie di Parmigiano Reggiano® (Sliced Steak with Shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano®)

Torta al Olio d’Oliva e Gelato al Parmigiano Reggiano® (Olive Oil Cake with Parmigiano® Gelato)

And here were the wine pairings:

Antinori, Cervaro della Sala, Umbria

Caves Cooperatives de Donnas, Donnas, Valle d’Aosta

La Stoppa, Macchiona, Emilia Romagna

Capanna, Moscadello di Montalcino, Toscana

Every dish was delicious, and used Parmigiano Reggiano in a different way. The most surprising dish was the Torta al Olio d’Olivia e Gelato al Parmigiano Reggiano. Parmigiano gelato?!? Yeah, that’s what I was thinking! But it was delicious! Another wonderful surprise was the dessert wine pairing that went with it. Sweet, but not the usual dessert wine sweet – you know what I mean…

Want to try out some of the recipes from the event? Check out the links below:

EatalyBoston_LaScuola_RecipeCard_Sformato di Patate con Fonduta di Parmigiano Reggiano

EatalyBoston_LaScuola_RecipeCard_Sliced Strip Loin

Want to visit the dairies where Parmigiano Reggiano is produced? Check out the Parmigiano Reggiano website to see how to make that happen!

Looking to learn more about raw milk cheeses? I certainly am. Head over to the Oldways Cheese Coalition to learn more.

Thank you to The Brand Connection for hosting me at this event. All opinions are my own.

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While shopping back in my old neighborhood, Coolidge Corner, we stopped into The Upper Crust Pizzeria for a quick and easy lunch with the kids. We had the place to ourselves! Panera would have been my go to place for lunch, but they have since closed. The chain is one of three pizza places in Coolidge Corner, and I think that they have some tough competition with Oath Craft Pizza and Otto. These two new spots make The Upper Crust seem a little outdated. The Upper Crust, that first opened in 2001 in Beacon Hill, has had some negative press, but regardless, their pizza is still pretty good.

The pizza is Neopolitan style, with a super thin rolled crust. You can watch them make it in their open kitchen. They have a large selection of pizzas, but we opt for quick slices of cheese. They even cut the kid’s slices into smaller pieces (thanks!!). The pizza was good, certainly fresh, and didn’t taste like it had been sitting under a heat lamp for hours on end. There was nice ratio of cheese and sauce and the crust was just enough chew and had just the right amount of crisp bite to it. Cheese slices are large, a 1/4 of a pizza, and are $3.49. Eat in or take out, they have free delivery and offer catering at all locations.

Parking is at meters out on Harvard Street or two nearby pay lots.

The Upper Crust

286 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA

www.theuppercrustpizzeria.com

Upper Crust Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Blackbird Doughnuts, the popular South End spot for artisan doughnuts has come to the Fenway. We stopped there on the way out of town on Labor Day Weekend to pick up a half dozen for the ride since we were able to get an earlier jump on the road (when does that ever happen?). Anything for research right? So we picked up a variety of doughnuts, cake and raised. The flavors we picked were: chocolate old fashioned, peach jam bismarck, cookies and cream, vanilla glazed, cinnamon roll and strawberry honey (not pictured). I’m a team cake doughnut myself, so the cinnamon roll doughnut was one of my favorites. It’s a vanilla bean cake doughnut, frosted with velvety cream cheese buttercream and dusted with cinnamon sugar. That cream cheese buttercream was TO.DIE.FOR. The cookies and cream, a vanilla cake filled with crushed cookies and topped with cream glaze and chocolate cookie crumbles, was tasty too, but I wish the cookie crumbles had been a bit chunkier (sounds silly, I know. The vanilla glaze and the chocolate cake doughnuts are just classics, and my mom secretly snacked on the strawberry honey one for ‘dinner’.

Too bad that we were there first thing in the morning (and getting on the road), because they have made to order ice cream sandwiches available. Pick your doughnut from the menu and add vanilla, chocolate or swirl soft serve. AHHHH! One of these days I’ll get one! They also offer doughnut cakes – vanilla or chocolate (with 2 days notice). The chocolate cake is layers of rice chocolate cake, homemade seasonal jam in the center, frosted with velvety vanilla, cream cheese or strawberry buttercream. It says that it serves 4 people, but I’m guessing I could make it happen in one sitting. Cakes are $26.

Blackbird Doughnuts

20 Kilmarnock Street, Boston, MA

www.blackbirddoughnuts.com

blackbird doughnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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