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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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Nola’s salsa is made right here in Boston by Sherie Grillon, a New Orleans native. The name Nola’s pays tribute to her hometown. Her traditional Mexican salsa is made with the freshest ingredients resulting in a salsa that is bold and flavorful. There are no preservatives, no oils, no sugars and no artificial colors. The product appeals to a variety of people because it is also vegan and gluten free.

I loved the Fire Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa, it is a very rich, full-flavored, smoky salsa that combines roasted corn, roasted tomatoes and fresh cooked black beans. The website has some great recipes that you can add the salsa to, but I loved it plain with chips!

The salsa fresca is a  traditional tomato-based raw blended salsa that most people associate with Mexican food. Once you try this, you can never go back to salsa in a jar!

NOLA’s Fresh Foods

Check out their website for where to buy.

http://www.nolasfreshfoods.com

Disclaimer: Nola’s provided me with two complimentary samples. All opinions are my own.

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Congratulations Frederick W! You are the winner of 2 tickets to see Ina Garten on 11/5. Your tickets will be available at will call.

*Winner was chosen by Random.org

Ina winner

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imageScoopsies is a brand new ice cream company in Boston. They deliver premium ice cream right to your door. The company started in 2013 as an ice cream challenge to make 100 flavors in 365 days. Chloe delivered twice to my office – on the second visit she came with the smoked sea salted caramel (above) and the pumpkin pie (below). *Disclaimer: Scoopsies provided me with two complimentary pints of ice cream. All opinions are my own.

imageThe pumpkin pie is made with hand-baked pumpkin with clove, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and a pinch of turmeric. The pumpkin has a wonderful smell – so spicy! I loved that the consistency was smooth and creamy!

scoopsiesMy first delivery from Chloe a few weeks ago was the S’moreo flavor – which is my favorite of the three I tried. There are larges pieces of Oreos mixed in, way more than what you would get if you bought Oreo ice cream at the store.  Prices range from $8-$13 per pint. There is a $20 minimum for all delivery orders and Chloe offers a discount for orders over 8 pints.

Scoopsies

Order at: http://grabascoopsies.bigcartel.com/

Follow Chloe’s blog at http://100scoopsies.blogspot.com/

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IMG_7535I had the pleasure of working with Reserve, a new dining system that is coming soon, taking some photos for their app. I headed over to Bogie’s Place, which is located inside jm Curley. After passing through a door marked “adults only” and a red velvet curtain, you enter this exclusive, dimly lit private back room.

IMG_7553The room is made complete with a picture of Humphrey Bogart hanging above the bar.

IMG_7568The menu has four steaks, a half chicken and a vegetarian filet. The steak frites, $25, (above) are IPA marinated and served with a side of fries. The hanger steak was flavorful and I love mine rare/medium rare. The fries were salty and crispy, the perfect side for this dish.

IMG_7591That is, until the chef spoils you with some bone marrow ($4). Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! It was SO delicious!

IMG_7580And check out this lovely burrata salad ($15) served with proscuitto and cranberries with a balsamic glaze. This dish screams fall to me!

Bogie’s Place

25 Temple Place, Boston, MA

http://www.bogiesplace.com/adultsonly/

Bogie's Place on Urbanspoon

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GOGuests of the Good Ones Power Hour came out to Bistro du Midi on Tuesday evening and definitely gave New York and run for their money, dressed up in their best Manhattan style.

Sierra_141021-2415Blogger Bianca Garcia (left) and Ben Uyeda, co-founder and design director at freegreen.com and co-founder of ZeroEnergy Design (ZED) (right). Photo credit Anastasia Sierra.

Bistro du Midi might be one of my favorite restaurants, their modern French cuisine is crave worthy. They have a great bistro area downstairs, along with patio seating when the weather allows. Upstairs houses a larger dining space with a lovely private room.

Sierra_141021-2332Mark Andrus, co-founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips. Photo credit Anastasia Sierra.

Featured guests included Kurt Flionis, Vice President of credit at STAG Industrial. Flionis is also an avid golfer, a scratch player and five time club champion at Lexington GC;  Dennis Franczak, founder of Fuseideas, one of New England’s largest and fastest growing advertising agencies; Dr. Iya Khalil, a technology entrepreneur and physicist who co-founded two big data companies, Via Science and GNS Healthcare, and is the co-inventor of the proprietary computational engine that underpins both entities; Oliver Day, an information security professional with a pedigree that includes tenure at companies such as eEye Digital Security, @stake, Symantec, Rapid7, StopBadware and Akamai; and Bret Cohen, a member of Mintz Levin, a full service, multi-disciplinary law firm based in Boston.

Sierra_141021-2428Michael Glickman, co-founder of LIQS. Photo credit Anastasia Sierra.

Memberships for the Good Ones will be selectively extended. Please submit your personality snapshot here: http://thegoodones.co/membership/

 

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Garten_headshot2_HiResI’m giving away TWO FREE tickets to this event!

Calling all Ina Garten fans! The best-selling cookbook author and star of Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa” is coming to Symphony Hall in Boston on November 5, 2014 at 7:30pm! Ina will share behind the scenes stories and will be joined on stage by a local moderator, Faith Middleton from WNPR. There will be an audience Q&A following the interview. Tickets went on sale to the general public on Friday, May 16th.

For more information, please go to: www.bso.org/ina Limited tickets are available for purchase at the box office.

You can pre order Ina’s ninth cookbook, Make is Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook from Williams Sonoma and pick up your autographed copy at the event. Use the following link: www.williams-sonoma.com/inagartentour  as limited copies will be for sale the night of the event.

There will NOT be a book signing at the event. Pre-signed copies will be available for purchase while supplies last.

Leave a comment below of why you are the biggest Ina fan and be entered to win TWO FREE TICKETS. Winner will be chosen at then end of the day on 10/29.

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imag1512It was an unusually warm evening, so we decided to walk to Temazcal from our office.  The space is beautiful, with great water views. It was a little too chilly for eating outside, but they have a lovely patio.

The restaurant has two locations, one in the Seaport and the other in Lynnfield. Both restaurants feature an upscale atmosphere and over 200 types of tequila! What is fun about Temazcals’ website is that you can look at the menu and see recipes of all the dishes and prepare them for yourself at home!

imag1514The meal starts with chips and salsa.

imag1515And of course we started with the lobster guacamole ($16): lobster, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano chilies. Huge pieces of fresh lobster meat! I love guacamole, I could have eaten just this for dinner.

imag1520I had the short rib barbacoa fajitas ($22) with shredded braised short rib, pickled jalapenos, and agave glazed onions.

imag1521The fajitas come with refried beans, corn salsa and a cole slaw.

imag1522We also tried the grilled skirt steak tacos ($19) that came with marinated grilled skirt steak, roasted onion salsa, napa cabbage, picked serrano and radish and avocado, served on soft corn tortillas. A little messy to eat, but it came in a cute presentation and the flavors were really fresh.

imag1525The churros ($8) for dessert were light and delicious – they have a touch of sweetness and they are served warm.

imag1527And an odd choice, but we also went with the Key Lime Pie ($8) that was light as air and lip puckering tart (just the way I like it!).

Where is your favorite Mexican restaurant?

Temazcal

250 Northern Ave., Boston, MA

http://www.temazcalcantina.com/

Temazcal Tequila Cantina on Urbanspoon

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Taste Trekkers put on their second annual Food and Travel Expo at the Hotel Biltmore in Providence, RI on October 3-5. Friday was industry day, Saturday was foodie day and Sunday was the scavenger hunt around the city. Saturday morning was kicked off with a welcome from Seth Resler, followed by 10 minute talks (shown below) and a series of three breakout sessions.

Taste Trekkers 1Sam Poley, Director of Public Relations & Communications from Durham, North Carolina gave a great 10 minute talk about his city. Durham has a great farmers market and is being recognized as a great foodie destination. For more information on what Durham has to offer, check out the official visitor information website for Durham here.

Taste Trekkers 2Christopher Bakken talked about his adventures in Greece, and how the best meals were off the beaten path. You can read all about his adventures in his book Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table.

Taste Trekkers 3Jose Duarte, owner of Taranta, talked about his adventures in Peru. Other speakers included Lisa Gustavson, owner of Sojourner Tour Company, who talked about France and Richard Gutman, Director and Curator at the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson and Whales talked about culinary museums.

imag1565_1The first session was tasting single origin honey with Marina Marchese from Red Bee honey. We tasted 5 different kinds of honey: The alfalfa honey had a very grassy smell, the red currant honey was sweet like figs and had a molasses smell to it, the North Carolina Sourwood honey had a greenish tinge to it and had an acquired taste,  the buckwheat honey had a barn-like smell and was much darker in color, and the chestnut honey smelled like grapes. There was also a bit of honeycomb to try – it takes bees 2 years to make honeycomb (which is why it is so expensive at stores). While tasting, we learned a lot about bees, for example: did you know that honey bees only live 45 days? or that the females are the worker bees?

Taste Trekkers 4Next up was wine tasting in Spain with Tatiana Gana, co-founder of Gastro Tours.

Taste Trekkers 5We were able to taste a variety of wines and learn more about their origins. The wines were paired with manchego cheese, marcona almonds and mini baguettes (shown below).

imag1570The last session (not pictured) was a guide to Vermont food adventures with Tom Bivins, Executive Director at the Vermont Cheese Council. We watched a short video presentation and tried a variety of cheddar cheeses. Tom encouraged everyone to check out the Vermont Cheese Trail, where you can go and visit farms and cheese makers.

Taste Trekkers 7We headed to the Hope and Main tasting pavilion. My friend Ziggy was there, showcasing his delicious Fox Point pickles.

Taste Trekkers 6Watch out, those spicy dills are SPICY!!

Taste Trekkers 8To see a full list of exhibitors, please see the Taste Trekkers website here.

Taste Trekkers 9Uncle Truscott’s, run by husband and wife team Peter and Katie Kelly,  is also finding a home at Hope and Main. Their truffles are sinful, I especially loved the white chocolate truffles covered in bittersweet chocolate!! In addition to truffles they make this almond butter toffee that is TO-DIE-FOR…and I am patiently waiting for them to open their online shop!!

Taste Trekkers 10The Matunuck Oyster Bar and Farm was at the event shucking oysters.

Taste Trekkers 12To follow the conversation online, check out the hashtag #2014TTExpo.

Taste Trekkers 11Want to check out my Top 5 article for Taste Trekkers? Read it here.

Taste Trekkers 13La Creperie, a local Providence company had a long line for there brie and cranberry crepes.

Taste Trekkers 14My friend Ziggy told me not to miss the Biggest Little Popcorn Co. at the pavilion. Their English butter toffee popcorn comes in delicious flavors like Orangetine, Lemon Bliss, Lime Light, Mexican Vanilla, Hot Cinnamon, Sweet Masala Curry and Traditional Banana Toffee. Check out their website to purchase!

Taste Trekkers 15Other Hope and Main exhibitors included:

Acacia Café Food Truck & Kitchen

The Backyard Food Company

The CupCake Contessas

Essentially Coconut 

Laughing Gull Chocolates 

Matt’s Magic Brownies

Spicy Penguin

Two Gringos

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imag1543Mark and I went out for my birthday lunch at Wheelhouse. They had been on our radar for the past few months (they recently opened)…but you know how that lunch rut goes: you have 5 minutes to duck out to the closest place next to your office…. (or is that just me?) The good news is that they are also open for breakfast. Read: THEY HAVE WHIPPED HONEY BUTTER. Thrillist named it one of the 5 Breakfast Sandwiches You Need to Eat This Weekend.

imag1544All burgers are made to order and come with double patties. Mark had the “Boom goes the Dynamite”, a spicy burger, jack cheese with pickled onion and a garlicky jalapeño hot sauce. I think Mark was actually hoping for it to have been hotter!

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I had the “Fun Guy”, made with seared wild mushrooms with dijonaise (I went without) topped with gruyere cheese. We split a side of “smash fry”,  a delicious alternative to french fries. The burgers were on the smaller side, but the fact that they were double patty burgers made up for it. The burgers themselves were well seasoned and quite tasty. I would definitely go back to try breakfast or a different kind of burger.

Wheelhouse

63 Broad Street, Boston, MA
http://www.wheelhouseboston.com

Wheelhouse on Urbanspoon

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With the 70 degree weather we had this past week, it is easy to forget that the holidays are right around the corner. How do they sneak up on us (read: me) every year?! If you’ve stepped into a mall recently, you know, the holidays will soon be upon us.

Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day? You want to get thoughtful gifts, but end up getting gift cards instead because you ran out of time? Are you trying to plan a holiday party in between conference calls at work? Here is where Christina comes in – she can tackle all of this for you and free up your day! See all of the services she provides here: Kotseas HOLIDAY

CK

I first met Christina at a party hosted by the Good Ones. Once you meet Christina, you can see right away why clients enjoy working with her. I was excited to sit down with Christina, it is always fun to interview people that you know. Looking forward to all of you getting to know Christina a little better!

How long have you been a personal assistant?
​My world as a personal assistant commenced the day after my last day with The Red Sox, which also happened to be the day after they won the 2013 World Series.  It was quite the goodbye.​

What made you want to go into business for yourself?
​I always grew up knowing I’d like to be my own boss one day.  Having had great mentors along the way allowed me to build the confidence to start something of my own.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? and what are your favorite jobs to tackle?
​It’s always a nice feeling knowing you’ve given someone more time in their day.  For some, it’s priceless.  My favorite jobs to tackle are organizational projects and personal shopping. For me, it’s the quintessential “Do what you love, and you won’t work a day in your life.”

How has your previous work in the hospitality industry prepared you for working as a personal assistant?
​I’d say I’ve walked a unique path to what I consider success, but it’s more of a sprint.  If something doesn’t feel right, I move on. Quickly.  I’ve done that throughout the past 8 years to land where I am today.  It started with waitressing on the Cape just out of college, then into an Executive Assistant role for a Title Insurance Company in Boston.  Next, a one way ticket to Cali landed me a full-time Nanny position in San Francisco.  After a drive cross country with my parents (…in a motor home, with an abundance of wine…)  a Stewardess position on a private yacht along the East Coast was my next gig.  I finally worked my way back to Boston and became an Event Planner for The Boston Red Sox.  All of these life experiences have given me the opportunity to face just about every unique situation and/or request.

Who/what inspires you?
​My dad built his business from the ground up.  He has always been such a hard worker and I know that I’ve terrified him at times with my not-so-standard career path, but he always supports me and knows that I will land on my feet.​

Describe your personal style.
​It’s an ever-changing mix of both classic and edgy. It’s fun to work some trend into timeless pieces.​

With the holiday season coming up, what is your favorite part(s) of the season?
​I love to see the city transform into a winter snow globe.​The lit up trees along Newbury Street and Commonwealth Avenue are always something I look forward to.  That, along with some red wine, a fireplace, and perhaps a handsome someone to share it with never sounds like a bad idea either.  ​

You can find out more about Christina on her website: www.christinakotseas.com