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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

I had heard about Eli’s from a fellow blogger and had to check it out for myself. Located in Natick, it was an easy drive and bonus points that there is a lot out back and plenty of street parking. We have gone on the weekends and didn’t have to wait when we arrived at around 8am. Anything after 9 on the weekends, you should expect a wait.

Very cute space, with a decent amount of tables. The wait staff is friendly and attentive and our food came out quickly.

Here is the Little Eli ($5.99) a one egg sandwich served with a sausage patty and American cheese on a biscuit. It’s served with a generous side of home fries. You can get the Big Elie for $3 more, and it’s 2 eggs, ham, a sausage patty, spinach and cheddar cheese on brioche.

I went with the Common ($6.99) which was two eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese served on a croissant. Hit the spot.

The second time we went to Eli’s I ordered the breakfast bowl ($9.99) that was AMAZING! Bacon, pit ham, scrambled eggs and jack cheese served over a bed of home fries. Yes, speaking my language indeed!

Eggs not your thing? Don’t worry, they have pancakes, French Toast and Belgian waffles.

Extra bonus points that they have the coolest coloring pages for kids.


12 Washington Street, Natick, MA

Eli's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I am all about shopping local and shopping small. In the fall I headed over to the New England Made trade show to scope out some ideas for this holiday season. There is something for everyone: the foodie or the hostess, those who like something nautical or a little nostalgic. Take a look at my picks below. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any way for this post.

I had read about Black Dinah chocolates a while back, I remember the article in Boston Magazine. I thought to myself, I’d really like to try them…and then promptly forgot. I was excited to rediscover them. Based out of Maine, Black Dinah uses single origin chocolate and uses local cream and butter. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are quite delicious too. They have truffle assortments and lots of barks to choose from. Such a wonderful hostess gift or buy some for yourself (I won’t tell).

The True North Granola company is based out of Vermont and was founded by two educators, Ingrid and Franklin Chrisco. They make 12 varieties of granola in flavors like cherry vanilla pecan, ginger pineapple, coconut, apricot and maple vanilla. They have 5 gluten free granolas and they are all handmade in small batches using only the finest ingredients.

Rock Maple Syrup is based out of Enosburg, VT and is 100% pure, certified organic. This would make a great hostess gift – something that your host may not splurge on themselves, but will enjoy as a gift!

I am definitely not an energy bar kind of gal. That being said, these are pretty tasty, and not super sweet, which I liked. O.W.L energy bars are from Brattleboro, VT and are non-GMO, gluten and dairy free. What’s in them? Gluten free oats, raw honey, peanut butter, fruits, nuts and organic dark chocolate. Stock up, they have a 6 month shelf life, and come in full and mini (100 calorie) sizes.

MARBL Chocolates is a Massachusetts company that makes tasty treats. Their style and packaging is on the simpler side, but their flavors will leave you coming back for more. Not to be missed are the peanut butter cups – you may love Reese’s, but these are the better, more grown up version.

Runamok Maple makes infused, smoked and barrel aged syrups. They’re based in Northern Vermont and make some of the best syrups I’ve tried. Flavors include: Bourbon Barrel-Aged, Rum Barrel-Aged, Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged, Cardamom Infused, Cinnamon+Vanilla Infused, Elderberry Infused, Ginger Root Infused, Hibiscus Infused, Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused, Merquén Infused, Pecan Wood Smoked, and Sugarmaker’s Cut.

Cake and Islands is based in Dennis Port, MA and makes this adorable sea glass candy. Flavors include: Ocean Blues (blackberry/key lime), Nantucket Sunset (lemonade/mango/pomegranate), Monomoy Cranberry, Sandy Neck Sandbar (blueberry/apple), Brewster In Bloom (tangerine/grapefruit), Truro Treasures (cotton candy/passion fruit), Chappaquiddick Cherry  , Ptown Pink (strawberry kiwi), Girls’ Night Out (mojito/apple martini/mango margarita), Chatham Lighthouse (pear/apricot), Beachcomber (watermelon/pineapple), and Dennis Port Dunes (guava)

Bootblack Brand, out of Barrington, RI, mades small batch complex syrups for the home cocktail enthusiast in your life. There are three flavors available: classic citrus tonic, cranberry jalapeño lime and ginger cardamom lime.

Benoit’s Design Co is based out of Westbrook, ME and laser cuts a wide variety of home decor products from glassware and cutting boards to coasters and wall art. I love those buoy coasters and have my eye on the etched mason glasses.

I think these candles by Heleka would make beautiful hostess gifts or even gifts to your best gal pals. The 12 oz soy candles come in fragrances like: winter forest camomile, pineapple sage, blueberry pancakes and apple harvest – to name a few.

For the shellfish lover in your life, how about one of these beautiful mussel shell pendants. Artist Danielle Gerber, from Portland, ME, finds shells on the coast of Maine – those used for earrings are found intact, so they are the perfect pair. The shells are resin coated and come in a natural, gold, silver or copper back.

Photon Fabrications makes great laser cut gifts, choose from their designs or create a custom one of your own. These cute games in tins caught my eye, and would be perfect for trips with kids.

How cute is this pouch?

Based out of Newburyport, Todder makes fine leather goods that you may have seen in places like Kiel James Patrick. Bracelets, belts, keychains and even things for your four legged friends.

I’ve known about the Salty Cottage for some time now. I found her shop on Etsy and bought myself quite a few pillows for myself on holiday. The North Shore based company makes beautiful pillows that are hand stitched and made from wool blend felt, recycled fabric felt, canvas and linen. Not only are they great to look at, but they are super comfortable! They scream New England with their classic labs and ski designs. I have a more nautical themed set at home.

How great are these Hunter boots?

I love these cards – perfect in their simplicity and quite clever. The line of cards, inspired by her labs, cover all holidays and occasions. Check them out at Ellie Bellie Designs.

Holidays are about traditions. These adorable candle holders would be the perfect way to start a new birthday tradition in your family. Hampshire Pewter hand casts ornaments, home decor items, jewelry and more. What I love about their ornaments is that the front and the back are different (which is hard to come by these days).

Such a great hostess gift or for someone maybe who has moved out of town. Bedrock Tree Farm is located in Wakefield, RI, uses the fir needles from their clippings (they are a Christmas tree farm) to give their products (candles too) the authentic smell of Christmas. Usually I am pretty fussy about scented soaps and candles, but these are clean and fresh, not overpowering at all.

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3 Little Figs has also been on my list of ‘go to’ places for quite some time. While Leah and I were doing a little tour of Somerville, we stopped in here for breakfast on a Saturday. Packed. Jam packed actually. Line outside the door.

Totally worth the wait. Leah and I grab a seat at the bar at the window and wait for our breakfast. Want an idea of what is on their menu:

SAUSAGE BREAKFAST PIE (weekends only) – local pork sausage from MF Dulock, egg, potato, cheddar, sun-dried tomatoes, flakey crust

SPINACH PIE (best ever!) – sheep’s milk feta, spinach, leeks, buttery phyllo dough

FETA TOAST – sheep’s milk feta, tomatoes, kalamata tapenade, olive oil on thick sourdough
LOX ON TOAST – smoked salmon, capers, dill, cucumbers, yogurt spread on thick sourdough
SAVORY RICOTTA TOAST – olive oil, salt & pepper on ciabatta
SWEET RICOTTA TOAST – honey, cinnamon on sourdough
BAKED FRENCH TOAST (weekends only) – with bourbon & vanilla creme

EGG BISCUIT – scrambled egg, cheddar, house made black pepper biscuit, with caramelized smoked bacon
LIL FIGGY – almond butter, bananas, honey, cinnamon on 7 grain
VILLAGE – roasted sweet potatoes, arugula, VT goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, honey, olive oil on 7 grain
MARKET – prosciutto, VT goat cheese, fig jam, arugula, tomatoes, herbs, olive oil on rustic franceseThey also have some delicious looking pastries in their case. Leah chose the sausage breakfast pie and it did not disappoint. They have an impressive coffee bar – they are currently hosting Tandem Coffee Roasters from Portland, Maine and 49th Parallel from Vancouver, BC. The coffee selection is sure to please even the pickiest coffee snob in your life.

I chose the avocado torta because it reminded me of Chacarero. So this delicious sandwich may sound a little odd, but the flavor combination just works. Trust me. Avocado, green beans, muenster cheese, tomato and a spicy walnut chili pesto. This is like the more sophisticated version of the Chacarero sandwich.

3 Little Figs

278 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA

3 Little Figs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I can’t tell you how long 7Ate9 Bakery has been on my list. Far too long. So when Leah and I were in Somerville, I made it a point to stop in. What a cute little shop.

The shop serves two sizes of cakes, a 9″ that feeds about 16-20 and a 4″ size that serves about 4-6 slices, but frankly, i thought they were more of a personal sized cheesecake 😉 Don’t forget to take a selfie while you’re there with their cute props by the door!

I chose the classic cheesecake with chocolate chips on top. Other flavors they have include:

lemon cheesecake, cheesecake with fruit (blueberries, strawberries,raspberries, or blackberries), cheesecake with strawberry, raspberry or blackberry sauce, a Taza raspberry cheesecake, cookies n’ cream cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, mocha cheesecake, and a peanut butter cheesecake. Seasonal flavors include pumpkin and orange cranberry.

7Ate9 Bakery 

199C Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA

7ate9 Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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What do you get for your dad for his birthday when he doesn’t want or need anything? You make the trek out to Medway (yeah, I had to look up where it is too) and pick him up some of his favorite muffins at the Muffin House Cafe. Sheldon used to have a little shop in the back of JJ McKay’s in Wayland, but then they closed. You can still pick them up at Mel’s in Wayland if you don’t want to drive to Medway, or their other location in Mendon.

Every day they make the muffins from scratch. They have over 20 varieties of muffins. Individual muffins will run you $2.59 and they are generously sized. Here are the flavor options:

Blueberry, Coffee Cake, Corn, Raisin Bran, Chocolate Chip, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Banana Nut, Cranberry Orange, Pumpkin, Pistachio, Lemon Poppy, Banana Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Strawberry, Double Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, Pina Colada, Morning Glory, Cappuccino

They were packed when we went in the late morning. I grabbed the muffins and had to jet, but next time we go, I will certainly go during breakfast or lunch – they had some tasty looking breakfast sandwiches and their lunch menu includes items like: chicken quesadilla, turkey club sandwich, Thanksgiving wrap, and buffalo chicken wraps.

Muffin House

116 Main Street, Medway, MA

Muffin House Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I have a special place in my heart for Vermont – so I was excited to hear about Farmers to You, a weekly food delivery company that brings local Vermont goods either directly to your home or to a neighborhood pick up site. It couldn’t have been easier. Hop onto the website, pick out some delicious food from their vegetables, dairy, bakery, and fruit departments. I picked my order up in Wellesley in the church parking lot. It was raining cats and dogs – and I was able to pull my car up right next to the truck and barely got rained on – which is more than I can say for going to the grocery store.

We have been going to Vermont since I was a small child. Mostly in the winter, but no, I don’t ski. Like, at all. Not even cross country. In fact, I don’t even really like the snow that much. But we have some great memories from years spent crammed into our two bedroom condo at Trapp Family Lodge. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I ‘discovered’ Vermont in the summer. So many things to do. One of the best experiences I’ve had was a Vermont Farm Tour.

I was excited to see some brands that I was familiar with when I was browsing the Farmers to You website and excited to try out some new companies. What did I choose?

Cellars at Jasper Hill Landaff Cheese

von Trapp Farmstead Savage Cheese

Whizzo Bagels

Champlain Orchards Crumb Top Apple Pie

Strip Steak

Ploughgate Creamery salted cultured butter

Sweet Rowen Farmstead Cheese Curds

Strafford Organic Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream

Valicenti Organico Fresh Garlic Scape Linguini

Square Deal Farm Maple Syrup

Nutty Steph’s Peanut Butter Magic Chunks and Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Bar

I love apple pie. As far as I am concerned, there are no other pies. I also think I am the only one alive (besides my dad) that prefers their apple pie cold. And I like my ice cream on the side, not on top, so as not to get the crumb topping soggy. The best part about this pie is that I didn’t have to drive to VT to get it, but I would have…

The crumb top was delicious and there was a hint of…nutmeg maybe…that gave it a little extra something something.

One of my favorite choices was the garlic scape linguini. I love fresh pasta, and I love garlic shapes (but to be honest, most times I get them, I’m not even really sure what to do with them). I wish that you could have smelled this pasta – it made my kitchen smell AMAZING! The flavor was both bold and subtle at the same time. I didn’t want to add sauce on to it because I didn’t want to take away from the flavor of the pasta. I did however add a mountain full of Parmesan cheese to the top of it, because hey, everything tastes better with cheese!

These bad boys almost didn’t make it home. I had to fight my husband for the third one (maybe there should be 4 in the package to avoid fights haha). In my head I convinced myself that these were even kind of healthy – 71% dark chocolate, ground peanuts and house made granola.

We loved the cheese curds, and by we, I mean my husband, because I don’t think they were in the fridge for more than an hour and when I went to go try one, they were gone…

The bagels were tasty as well – firm texture with a bite to it, we had them for breakfast plain and made breakfast sandwiches with them – any way you slice them, they were good.

Saving the meat for our traditional New Year’s Eve party with friends. The maple syrup will be in a maple roundup piece I am working on and the cheese is going to debuting on a cheese plate post later this month – so stay tuned for more!

Disclaimer: I was given a credit to Farmers to You to buy goods on their site. All opinions are my own.

To get $30 off your first order, use my special code “DG15”. This offer expires 12.31.17

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I’ve been dying to try out Blackbird Doughnuts’ ice cream doughnut. One of these days I’ll get one! Until then, I settled for stopping in to their second location in Fenway and picking up some tasty treats for a hostess gift. We picked up both the raised doughnuts and the old fashioned cake donuts. What’s the difference? The raised doughnuts a light an airy and are made with a brioche dough while the cake doughnuts are made in the traditional style of cake batter.

The shop is small, similar in size to the south end shop. We were in and out quickly!

We bought these ones a while back (so the flavors pictured are no longer available), but here is a list of the doughnuts they are currently offering:

Raised Doughnuts
Classic fluffy and airy vanilla doughnut.

Decadent dark chocolate ganache with a hint of coffee. Topped with rainbow sprinkles.

Sweet, buttery, brown sugar topped with flaked sea salt.

Buttery brioche filled with homemade jam made from fresh grapes and tart cranberries.

Velvety pumpkin spice custard inside buttery brioche doughnut, topped chocolate ganache. Our best seller is all dressed up for fall.

Bright cherry glazed topped with brown sugar cobbler crumble and dusted with powdered sugar.

Our brioche doughnut filled with whipped cream cheese and topped with toasted garlic, onion, sesame, and poppy seeds.

Cake Doughnuts

Vanilla bean old fashioned with vanilla glaze, our SIGNATURE FLAVOR!

Rich chocolate cake doughnut with cold brew coffee glaze topped with mini chocolate chips.

Chocolate cake with black cocoa for an extra rich finish.

Our most decadent doughnut. Dark chocolate cake covered with rich chocolate ganache and chocolate sprinkles

Old fashioned cake doughnut made with fragrant spices and finished in cinnamon sugar.

Vanilla bean cake doughnut frosted with velvety cream cheese buttercream and dusted with cinnamon sugar.

Three mini cake doughnuts rolled in cinnamon, sugar, and a touch of salt.

Three mini cake doughnuts rolled in delicate powdered sugar.

Blackbird Doughnuts
20 Kilmarnock Street, Boston, MA

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

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If you’re looking for holiday gift ideas, I always love giving cookbooks. Pick out your favorite recipe from the book (flag the page with a post it note) and pick up the ingredients the recipient will need to make the recipe. It makes a super cute gift basket! I already owned the Michael Schlow, “It’s About Time”, cookbook and love that the recipes are so easy to make (that even this novice chef can whip them up!) I’m a fan of all of Schlow’s restaurants, my all time favorite being the now closed Radius (I still have dreams about that burger!). Have you been to Alta Strada, Tico or Doretta Taverna?

I was excited to be invited to the Chef’s table at Eataly a while back when Michael Schlow was the guest chef. The intimate two hour class had Schlow preparing three recipes (with wine pairings from the Eataly sommelier) while sharing some personal stories in between each course. First up was the crostini of creamy mushrooms with lemon and mint (page 58 in the book), which was paired with the I Clivi, RBL Brut, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The recipe can be made with any type of mushroom you prefer and you can use the mushrooms to top any number of dishes, bot just crostini – let your imagination take you away.

The congolese in brodetto (clams in broth) (page 60 in the book)were the star of the show. The raw clams were beautiful and still alive when we got to take a peek at them (you can tell if they are still alive when you buy them if you tap them lightly and they close). That one piece of bread was not enough to soak up all that delicious broth (not kidding, I wanted to drink up every last bit). It was a simple dish with just  a handful of ingredients – a sure way to impress guests at your home. You can pick up any of the ingredients you need to make these recipes at Eataly – how convenient is that one stop shopping! The clams were paired with a Antinori, Cervaro Della Sala 2014 from Umbria.

Schlow talked about how the pasta station at any restaurant is the hardest one – so that you know that the chef who is running it is the best one in the kitchen. It is an art to get out multiple pasta dishes all perfectly al dente (especially if they are all different kinds of pasta – rigatoni cooks differently than spaghetti etc). While I wasn’t sure about the black olives in this dish when I read the description, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The rigatoni dish was served with white beans, tomato and black olives ( page 64 in the book). It was served with a Mastrojanni, Rosso di Montalcino 2015, from Toscana. The flavors melded so well with each other and the beans added another layer of comfort to this dish.

I highly recommend picking up Michael Schlow’s cookbook, “It’s About Time” and make sure to check out Eataly’s class schedule (you even get a coupon for 10% anything you buy at Eataly after the class!) Hint: Another great gift idea is giving a cooking class!

Disclaimer: I was invited to be a guest at the Chef’s Table, my admission was complimentary. All opinions are my own.

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I’ve been on a poke kick lately. We decided to venture over to Manoa in Somerville to try out their bowls. I have to say that this place felt the most authentic out of all the places we have been to thus far. Poke is a raw fish salad that is generally served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. The fish is generally dressed with soy sauce or sesame oil.

Manoa is a small shop with a few seats, the line is out the door when we arrive but it moves at a decent pace – clearly a good sign that so many people are eating here.

A small poke bowl with one scoop of poke and your choice of base will run you $7.95. The regular that comes with two scoops of poke, your choice of base and your choice of a side is $11.95. If you’re feeling particularly hungry, try the big bowl with three scoops of poke and two sides for $15.95. So what kind of poke do they have? Ahi shoyu (tuna in sesame soy marinade with pickled onions and macadamia), Kilauea (spice tuna in kim chee aioli with house made furikake), soy boy (braised tofu in a teriyaki marinade with edamame and avocado), salmon shoyu (salmon in a sesame soy marinade with pickled onions and macadamia), and kelaguen (raw catch of the day in coconut milk and citrus marinade with crispy rice).

Not in the mood for raw fish? No problem. They have you covered with a chili bowl, a fried chicken plate and kalua pig. They offer some delicious sides as well, the kim chee cucumber is not to be missed. They also have a mac salad, rainbow slaw, chorizo slaw, edamame and a veggie special.  Those “kaboom legumes” you see above are also not to be missed, they are spicy roast chickpeas! If you’re like us and want a little bit of everything, go for the poke flight that is a tasting platter of ahi shoyu, salmon shoyu and kilauea and kelaguen with your choice of brown or white rice and two sides all for $19.95.

The kalua pig is a slow cooked heritage pork shoulder that comes with rice or a Portuguese sweet roll and is topped with crispy crackling and served with a side of chorizo slaw. SO GOOD!

While not poke, the fried chicken stole my heart. It’s a mochiko battered thigh served with rice and drizzled with a spiced honey.

There is something for everyone here, and they use tamari sauce so all of their fish poke can be made gluten free.

Where is your favorite poke spot?

Manoa Poke Shop

300 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA

Manoa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I am always on the hunt for a new breakfast spot, and especially a new bagel spot! I had been eagerly awaiting the opening of Davis Square Donuts and Bagels ever since Leah and I went to Rosebud for lunch and I saw the sign that it was coming soon. The shop has some seats on the main floor and if you walk to the back, there are stairs to seating upstairs. Leah and I were the only ones there so we  had ample time to ogle all the goods.

I had the breakfast sandwich (bacon, egg and cheese $6.25) on an asiago bagel – super delicious. I would definitely come here every day if I lived closer. All the bagels are vegan except for the asiago, jalapeño cheddar and egg. Single bagels are priced right at $1 each.

The donuts are all sights to see. At $2.50 a piece, you can certainly try more than one! What flavors can you expect? Glazed, chocolate glazed, old fashioned, jelly, oreo cookie, peanut butter and jelly, nutella, bavarian cream, somerville cream, boston cream, butternut crunch, chocolate frosted, chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, strawberry frosted with sprinkles and fruity pebbles.

The donuts were pretty delicious. The nutella one was decadent and the lemon filled was sweet. I liked the textures of the donuts and the fact that they were light as air (calorie free right?).

What is your go to donut flavor?

Davis Square Donuts and Bagels

377 Summer Street, Somerville, MA

Davis Square Donuts and Bagels Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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