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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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Neptune Oyster is one of my favorite places to eat, but the line is always so long for dinner that I rarely make it there. Recently I was able to drop by for lunch, they open at 11:30, so we were there around 11:10 and there was already a line of about 10 people. Tourists and passers by couldn’t figure out what we were standing in line for…but if you don’t get there early, you don’t get a seat. The next seating is in an hour or so and you have to come back. You’re not guaranteed to get your own table, it’s pretty tight in there and they pack people in both at the tables and at the counter (we shared our table with another party). We were lucky enough to get in the first seating. It was a game to see the reaction of those people trying to walk in at 11:30 or even 12 for a seat. “The wait is HOW long?” They have a great selection of oysters: Cuttyhunk, Wellfleet, Island Creek, Nantucket, Cotuit and Pleasant Bay to name just a few.

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They have a well rounded menu of seafood, from mussels to scallops, striped bass to cioppino, and littlenecks to fried clams. I do love their seafood tower, it’s one of my favorite things to order. But today, I am here for my other favorite, the lobster roll ($29). Neptune Oyster is one of the few places around town that serves it hot with butter on a toasted roll with a side of seasoned fries. Still as good as I remember it being – the lobster roll is heaping with meat and does not disappoint.

Do you like your lobster rolls hot with butter or cold with mayo?

Neptune Oyster

63 Salem Street, Boston, MA

http://www.neptuneoyster.com

Neptune Oyster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sure, you know Mike’s and you know Modern, but do you know about Bova’s Bakery in the North End? It’s a little off the beaten path compared to the other two but it is equally as delicious. Bova’s has been family owned and operated since 1932 – they make delicious desserts and fresh breads. Not in the mood for sweets? Pick up a made to order sandwich at the counter! Pictured about are the almond macaroons.

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Another added bonus, Bova’s Bakery is open 24 hours! Great for those late night cravings – maybe not so good for the waistline, but oh so tasty! I can’t remember the name of this bar, but it was chocolate and had Reese’s peanut butter cups inside, need I say more?

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The cream puffs are stuffed with real whipped cream and are light as air. There were so many things that looked good in the case, it was hard to just choose one (and why would you want to only choose one?).

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The cannolis were pretty good, although I have no idea why I got a plain one, I usually love mine with chocolate chips!

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I really liked the black and white cookies – a little cake like in consistency with sweet chocolate and vanilla frosting, it’s the best of both worlds.

What is your favorite Italian treat?

Bova’s Bakery

134 Salem Streeet, Boston, MA

http://bovabakeryboston.com

Bova's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I love a good restaurant rivalry. It’s like the New Haven pizza rivalry, are you a Pepe’s or a Sally’s? Here, it is the battle of the cannoli, are you a Mike’s Pastry or a Modern Pastry (maybe a Bova’s)? The shops are located across the street from one another in the North End and on any given day there is a line out the door and down the block. Mike’s seems to be more popular with the tourists and Modern with the locals. Both accept cash only. The Mike’s location in the North End is small, there are a few tables in the front and the counter is in the back. Half the fun is drooling over all the desserts in the case and deciding which one (or six) you want.

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The Harvard Square location is even smaller than the North End location, with even fewer seats, mainly just a counter by the window. I was a little disappointed when I got there that they have all of the pastry in the back, and only one sample of each for “display only”.

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I picked up a few cannolis and a cream puff. In my head I just felt like the cannolis were different – kind of like how the red and green pasta takes different than the regular pasta or how the pizza from any of the other Pizzaria Regina’s just doesn’t taste as good as the original. I’d go back in a pinch, the location is certainly a bit more convenient for me in Cambridge, but there is just something charming about the character of the North End location that you can’t replicate.

Mike’s Pastry

11 Dunster Street, Cambridge, MA

www.mikespastry.com

Mike's Pastry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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It’s been a busy summer. One of the exciting things that happened a few months ago was that we moved! One of the most fun (and stressful) parts about moving is designing your new space. I always love a good before and after story, so here is what the room looked like when the previous owners were in the space. A little dated. The light fixture would be the first thing to go and I knew I wanted a different paint color, beige just isn’t my speed. The room lets in a ton of light, so I knew that the room could handle a bold, dark shade (that would accent nicely with the white baseboard).

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Who uses a formal dining room anymore, right? Well this was the room I was MOST excited about! I knew I wanted a large table for family get togethers and for dinners with good friends. I had looked around at a lot of places for a table – nothing was quite right. I came close to buying one from Pottery Barn, but I didn’t feel like the quality was good enough for the money I was paying. So then I thought I would look for a custom table because the room was so large. I ended up coming across Saltwoods on Instagram and instantly fell in love with their reclaimed wood tables. I headed over to their workshop in Watertown and met with Dan, the owner to discuss my options. There were so many choices: what style leg did I want, what finish did I want on the table, what color should the legs be? Dan couldn’t have been nicer (and the rest of his team is equally great) and was there every step of the way. He is one of those stories you love to hear, left his corporate job of 12 years to do pursue his passion.

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Here is the after – the table is AMAZING! It measures 99″ x 50″ and can comfortably seat 10 (six on each side and two at each end), but you could certainly do 12. It’s solid oak, with breadboard ends and has tapered legs in chestnut brown. I posted this photo on my instagram page and I can’t tell you how many people reached out and told me how much they loved the table and asked where they could get one! Saltwoods exceeded my expectations and we couldn’t be happier.

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Here’s one of the coolest parts about the table. Each one comes with this disc that gives you the coordinates of where your reclaimed wood came from. Ours came from a barn in Kentucky!

Stay tuned for more before and after photos of our new space! In the meantime, if you’re looking for a table, give Saltwoods a look. You can follow them on Instagram at @saltwoods_boston.

Saltwoods

19D Calvin Road, Watertown, MA

http://www.saltwoods.com

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The thing I miss most about living in the city are all the restaurants to choose from. While I am excited to add some new restaurants to my repertoire, there just aren’t as many to choose from out in the ‘burbs. So we headed out to try Prime 131 Grill in nearby Wayland. We are told that Mondays are pretty popular here (read: make sure to get a reservation), it’s burger night where you can get a burger for $5 (but you have to buy a drink with it, so it’s more like $7 if you go with a non alcoholic beverage). Tuesday nights they have $5 off steak entrees and on Wednesdays they have prime rib night for $15.95.

We wander in fairly early and it is crowded but not crazy. By the time our burgers arrive, this place is full on busting at the seams. The classic cheeseburger regularly is priced at $13.49, so this is a bargain. The plate comes out and the presentation leaves something to be desired, it looks a bit sparse and there really aren’t that many fries, but hey, it’s $5. The burger isn’t anything to write home about, but again, it’s $5. Maybe the items on the regular menu are more my speed, we will definitely give this place another try on a non “special” night.

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We did however enjoy the mud pie for dessert. The healthy sized portion came out and we devoured it.

Have you been to Prime 131 Grill? What did you get and what did you think?

Prime 131 Grill

131 Boston Post Road, Wayland, MA

www.prime131.com

Prime 131 Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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If you’re like me, anytime you go out for Mexican food you just want to order the chips, salsa and guacamole for dinner. (And I’m totally a sucker for table side guacamole) So while I think about salsa and guacamole all year round, it’s especially fun in the summer time when you’re hosting fun parties or a backyard bbq. Leah invited me over to her house for a little chips and salsa party – which I was totally pumped for, chips and salsa for lunch, yup, count me in! I should have known that it wasn’t going to just be a let’s crack open a container and we can eat straight out of them kind of thing (umm…who does that?!? 😉 ), but that Leah was going to put out a full on spread. So yes, there were chips and salsa and guacamole, but there was also pulled pork and creamy dip and warm tortillas (oh and did I mention I can’t get over that Leah makes her own tortillas, I tell everyone I know!).

So about the food, Chica de Gallo is a local company based out of Jamaica Plain. They make ghost pepper salsa, a mild salsa fresca, a medium salsa fresca, a mango pineapple salsa and guacamole. Now let me tell you my beef with store bought salsa and guacamole: the salsas can sometimes be watery (ick) and the guacamole can be this weird consistency (I know you know what I mean). But I was really pleasantly surprised by the Chica de Gallo line. I make my own guacamole when I can, but in a pinch, I would totally buy theirs. The guacamole has a great texture, a little chunky and is filled with tomatoes, peppers and onions. The salsas were not watery at all and they had great texture and flavor. The salsa has a mix of tomatoes, onions and peppers (the medium salsa has some jalapeño peppers in it to spice things up). I was a little concerned about how hot the ghost pepper salsa was going to be, but was pleasantly surprised that I could still feel the inside of my mouth after sampling it. The salsa starts off fruity and then hits you with that slow burn in the back of your mouth.

Chica de Gallo is available at your local Whole Foods Market. You can also find them at the Copley Farmers Market on Fridays (until November 24th), SOWA on Sundays (until October 30th), Dewey Square on Tuesdays (until November 24th), Kendall Square on Wednesdays (until October 28th) and Roslindale on Saturdays (until October 31st).

Disclaimer: Leah was provided samples of the salsa and guacamole for review. I just showed up and ate. All opinions are my own.

Chica de Gallo

www.chicadegallo.com

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I had mentioned to a friend that I was going to Watertown to look at dining room tables. When I told her where it was, she asked me if I was going to the Danish Pastry House. I had seen the Danish Pastry House selling their sweet treats at local farmers markets, but didn’t know that they had a brick and mortar shop (they have 2!). So, it’s down a small industrial alley and you might not know where to look – you might even miss it, but keep looking, it’s worth it! Here’s just a sampling of what they have at the shop – top right are my favorite, their version of  7 layer bars. How cute are the kaj frogs (pictured lower left)? They’re made with marzipan. That piece in the bottom right hand corner, just under the chocolate shell is the lightest, fluffiest marshmallow you’ve ever sunk your teeth into…I’m salivating now just thinking about it.

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They everything from traditional Danish pastries such as kringle, to freshly baked breads to custom designed cakes. So stop in and treat yourself!

Danish Pastry House

205 Arlington Street, Watertown, MA

www.danishpastryhouse.com

Danish Pastry House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Centerville Pies 1

My family and I had spent the day in Hyannis and decided to stop in to Centerville Pie Company on the way home. Sound familiar? Yup, they’re Oprah famous! In 2009, co-owners Laurie and Kristin opened the 18 seat bakeshop. That summer, Kristin heard that Gayle and Oprah were in town, so she boxed up one of her chicken pies and drove it over to their hotel. Oprah fell in love, and Centerville Pie Company went from selling 20 pies a week to 200! The chicken pies are made with hand pulled chicken – and there are no vegetables, just chicken and gravy here! You can buy the pies at your local market, but if you want extra of that delicious gravy, you have to stop by the shop!

Centerville Pies 2So if Oprah loves them, I had to try them! I never say no to pie. Centerville Pie Company sells both sweet and savory pies, but my first love, of course, are the sweet pies. Shown above is the peach pie. Just look at that lattice crust! (Mine never come out that pretty!)

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My favorite pie is apple. I was doing my best not to drool while I was taking these photos! The pie shop is open Monday – Saturday 8am – 6pm and Sundays from 9am – 4pm. I mentioned before that they have a restaurant, located right next door, that is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch from 7am – 3pm.

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While I was at the shop taking some photos, I met Kristin, one of the owners. Kristin moved to the Cape as a teenager and has lived here ever since. She went to school at Johnson and Whales where she received her degree. Kristin might be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She has an outgoing personality and makes you feel like you are old friends from the minute you walk in the door. While I was in the shop, a family came in with gifts for Kristin. I thought they were friends, turns out they met only the day before, while they were in for breakfast. Kristin said she took the kids in back and they helped her bake pies while the grownups were eating – talk about cool!

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So what else makes you feel good about buying pies from Centerville Pie Company (besides the fact that they taste delicious and their owner is a doll)? They partnered with Cape Abilities, a non profit organization that supports people with disabilities on Cape Cod. The pie company handles most of its pie making operations at the Cape Abilities location and they employ over 50 disable adults. All.the.feels.

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While they might be known for their chicken pie, the Shepherd’s Pie might have been my favorite. The pie is made with seasoned ground beef sautéed with onions, topped with corn, and mashed potatoes. We took home a small pie, pictured above, but we wished we picked up a large one because it was crave worthy!

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I generally find that most pies places that do sweet and savory pies do one better than the other – it’s all in the crust…but Centerville Pie Company does both really well. I loved every pie I tried more than the next.

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Pictured above is the Cape Cod Crunch pie that the ladies told me just flies off the shelves. A chocolate pudding pie with Heath Bar and whipped cream, topped with a healthy drizzle of chocolate sauce. My grandmother used to make chocolate pudding pies for all of our family get togethers – so I have a special place in my heart for pudding pies (although hers had a graham cracker crust). The Cape Cod Crunch kicks pudding pie up to a whole new level for me!

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As I mentioned before, you can buy Centerville Pie Company’s chicken pies in your local grocery store’s frozen food aisle (Roche Bros., Stop and Shop and Market Basket). As of this past March, you can find their Shepherd’s Pie along side of the chicken pies. So now you can enjoy an 8″ pie, which can easily feed a family of four (or just you – I won’t tell), for $12.99. That’s a steal!

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So if you’re in the neighborhood (or if you’re not, make a special trip) stop in to check out Centerville Pie Company where they have a little something for everyone!

Disclaimer: I was a guest at Centerville Pie Company. I was provided with one large chicken pie, a small Shepherd’s pie and an apple pie. All opinions are my own.

Centerville Pie Company

1671 Falmouth Road (Route 28), Centerville, MA

https://centervillepies.com

Centerville Pie Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gather 1

Harbor Sweets makes my favorite candy of all time, sweet sloops, almond buttercrunch toffee covered in white chocolate, dipped in dark chocolate and pecans. So I was excited to try out their new line that will be making its debut on September 6th. Gather chocolates are handmade and each package contains 6 honey infused chocolates. The collection is a mission driven chocolate inspired by the plight of the honeybees and a portion of the sales will be donated to the Pollinator Partnership. Did you know that in just one year there was a 44% loss of honeybee colonization? For more information about bees, check out my friend Noah’s company’s website, Best Bees. (And you can see my post about them here).

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I love the packaging for these chocolates! You can pick up a 6 piece assortment for $12.50 and a 12 piece assortment for $18.50.

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Starting at the bottom left and working our way clockwise: the sesame crunch, the sour cherry, the coconut cluster, the pomegranate molasses and the cashew caramel with the caramelized honey truffle in the center. All the chocolates were delicious and in the blink of an eye they were gone…yup, polished these off in one sitting (for research purposes of course!) Here are my thoughts:

  • I loved the texture of the sesame crunch
  • I wasn’t sure I was going to like the sour cherry, as I am not really a fruit and chocolate kind of gal, but you tasted the honey up front and the cherry flavor came second – it was very subtle
  • The coconut cluster had the added coconut on the outside which made the flavor bright and bold
  • Again, pleasantly surprised with the pomegranate molasses which was bold in flavor and really smooth
  • The cashew caramel was my favorite of the lot, I loved the texture and the flavor
  • The caramelized honey truffle was delicious and really showcased the honey flavor up front with  a smooth dark chocolate finish at the end

So if you are ever in Salem, stop by and check them out (I have yet to go!), they even give tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If not, you can head over to their website and have the chocolate sent right to you! If you haven’t already, make sure to try those sweet sloops too!

Disclaimer: I was sent a box of Gather chocolate to sample for this review. All opinions are my own.

Harbor Sweets

Palmer Cove – 85 Leavitt Street

Salem, MA

www.harborsweets.com

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The summer is winding down but we will grill well into the fall because it’s so easy for us to entertain this way. So of course we do burgers, hot dogs and chicken, but what about apps? Sure you can do chips and salsa or a cheese board, but this last bbq we switched it up and made chicken salad sliders. It was a HUGE success. I couldn’t make enough of them!

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Willow Tree Farm, a family run business located in Attleboro just came out with two new chicken salads, an avocado chicken salad and a sriracha chicken salad. You can find the chicken salad at your local grocery store or you can pick some up at their retail shop in Attleboro.

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Check out how delicious that looks!

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The sriracha has some heat to it, so watch out. But for this gal, bring it on!

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I love avocado, so I wondered why it took me so long to realize that it would be great with chicken salad. The white meat chicken salad is made with Avèyo, a new avocado-based mayo alternative made with Hass avocado, white vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and lime juice. Here’s an added perk, it has 70% less fat and 50% fewer calories than other chicken salads – taste great and is better for you – SCORE!

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We served the chicken salad as sliders, but it would be equally great as a sandwich or a wrap, on top of a salad or served on top of crackers/toast.

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Disclaimer: I was sent complimentary samples of Willow Tree Farm chicken salad for review. All opinions are my own.

Willow Tree Farm

997 South Main Street, Attleboro, MA

www.willowtreefarm.com

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