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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

When we were in New York, we decided to meet up with an old co-worker of mine for sushi. With 4 locations, we met her at the Tribeca location – but Sushi of Gari can also be found on 78th Street, Columbus Ave. and West 46th Street. We arrived around 7 and the place was pretty empty, but by 7:30, it was packed. It seemed to be a real neighborhood restaurant, with familiar regulars and families with young kids. It would be in your best interest to make a reservation!

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I ordered the spicy shrimp tempura (top) ($8.50) and the spicy tuna (bottom) ($9). The sushi came out quickly and it was delicious – we devoured it! In addition to sushi, the menu offers a few soups, a handful of salads and some appetizers. The restaurant is small with only about a dozen or so tables inside – we got stuck next to the door to the kitchen, so there was always a lot of commotion near our table. Other than that, the service was excellent, they took our order right away and the food came out quickly.

Sushi of Gari

130 W Broadway, New York, NY

http://www.sushiofgari.com

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Boston Public Market opens today! Located next to the Haymarket T stop, this 28,000 sq. ft space will be home to 35 vendors. The market, the first of its kind in the country, features all local vendors (92% of the vendors are from MA and the remaining 8% are from VT and RI) in an indoor space, year round. The market is open Wednesday – Sunday from 8am – 8pm. It’s the perfect spot to pick up something for dinner on your way home or a quick bite for lunch.

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The Kitchen is a great space (3,200 sq. ft) located next to the market. They will offer things like lectures and films, cooking demos, hands on learning, health and wellness classes, excursions and group events. The Kitchen will open on August 19th with some great programs, here are a few examples:

Wednesdays 6pm- 8pm America’s Test Kitchen: New Boston Cooking School’s You Can Cook – classes that teach beginner students how to think and act like a home cook.

Wednesdays 12pm-2pm Boston Pubic Market Vendor Highlight – A Q&A with one of the vendors with sampling and demos.

Thursdays 7am-8am REI Hosts Morning Yoga

Thursdays 8am REI Hosts Thursday Morning Run Club – start your morning with a 3 mile run – club is open to all participants and will maintain a 10-11 minute per mile pace.

For more information go to: thetrustees.org/kitchen

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Wolf Meadow Farm is located in Amesbury, MA. We were able to try the fresh ricotta with the pepper jelly – it was out of this world! Wolf Meadow Farm sells traditional southern Italian cheeses made by hand daily.

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Corner Stalk Farm, located in East Boston, sells standard and specialty leafy greens and herbs grown in recycled shipping containers.

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Stillman’s, located in Braintree, sells fresh produce.

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The most interesting to me was the Boston Honey Company located in Holliston. They have a live hive that is home to about 12,000 bees. They fly in and out of the hive and find their way back by the colored discs on the glass roof of the building. The bees return to the hive and do a dance – that looks like rapid shaking – that lets the other bees know where the “good stuff” is. You can see the bees depositing the pollen into the cells and you can see where the drones will hatch. Pretty cool stuff! They have 4 types of honey on tap every day for you to sample.

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Hopsters Alley has a huge selection of craft beers and locally produced spirits. They are located in Newton where you can go and brew your own beer. They have 4 beers on tap for sampling.

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Red Apple Farm is located right by the front door and you are lured in by the smell of warm donuts, cinnamon and sugar. Who doesn’t love cider donuts? And you can watch them being made (see top right photo). They sell cider (and hot cider will be available in the colder months) along with fresh produce (you can visit their farm in Phllipston to pick your own raspberries), fudge and apple crisp (the owner’s grandmother’s recipe).

Boston Public Market 20How delicious does that crisp look?

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I love Crescent Ridge. They are located in Sharon and they sell award winning ice cream and fresh glass bottled milk. The scoops are enormous and the ice cream is so creamy!

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Mamdou’s Artisan Bakery is located in Winchester and they offer French style breads and pastries.

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Silverbrook Farm in Dartmouth has a wide range of farm fresh products including vegetables, fruit, honey, herbs and flowers.

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Mange is located in Somerville and they make exotic and aromatic fresh fruit vinegars. I have the green apple vinegar at home and can’t wait to try it out.

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Jasper Hill Farm, located in Vermont, has a lovely selection of cheeses and jams.

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American Stonecraft is located in Lowell. Every year farms till the soil and come up with large stones (why do you think there are so many stone walls in Massachusetts?), American Stonecraft takes these stones and polishes them into these beautiful serving trays and trivets.

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Q’s Nuts, based in Somerville, offers  sweet, savory and spicy roasts in over 6 varieties of nuts. They are vegan, gluten, soy and dairy free.

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Stow Greenhouses offers over 50 varieties of flowers – they are just beautiful. Check out their mason jar bouquets and their potted succulents.

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Peterman’s Boards and Bowls, based out of Gill, MA makes bowls, serving trays and more from fallen trees from New England towns.

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(Top left) Silverbrook Farm based in Dartmouth sells a wide range of farm fresh products including fruits, vegetables, eggs, jams and mustards. (Top right) Union Square Donuts, based in Somerville, sells gourmet, made from scratch donuts. (Bottom) Mother Juice started as a food truck and then opened their first storefront in Cambridge. They offer cold press juices, smoothies and plant based foods.

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Some non food highlights are the toddler nook (top left) where you can bring your child on a trip to the market. The area is filled with agriculture themed toys and books. The Lobstah Rockah has cool rocking chairs located around the market for you to test out! Every piece is custom made. The cookbook exchange (bottom) is a place to share your favorite cookbooks and recipes with the community. Take a bookplate and write your favorite recipe from the book, leave the book for someone to enjoy and pick up a new book to take home and test out new recipes!

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Appleton Farms (top left and right), based in Ipswich, sells delicious cheese; Nella Pasta (middle left and right), based in Quincy, sells fresh pasta and take and go lunch and dinner options; and Lilac Hedge Farm (bottom left and right), located in Berlin, sells fresh and frozen cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry as well as cured meats, prepared meals and rotisserie chicken.

Boston Public Market 21Taza Chocolate, based in Somerville, sells stone ground organic chocolate. They have tons of samples and have motions demonstrations. Motions are stone mills used in the third stage of chocolate making, where the cacao nibs are ground into liquor. People can watch the cacao being ground in the hand carved granite millstones that were chiseled by Taza’s co-founder.

There are these great vendors and many more. Too many to mention. Check out the website for a full list of vendors.

What is your favorite vendor in the Boston Public Market?

 

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IC Scoops is a nice alternative to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream (and it’s closer to Stowe). While you can get ice cream sandwiches by Stowe Ice Cream at the pool and at The Pantry at Stowe Mountain Lodge, we wanted to go to the scoop shop in town.

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I like how they have some out of the box flavors like avocado lime, banana cinnamon, cherry choco almond, lavender honey, mango pineapple, peach ginger, star anise to name a few. Don’t worry they have classic flavors too! The portions are enormous so bring your appetite (or a friend)! I was digging the pistachio, pictured above! Grab a seat on the bench outside or on one of the chairs on the lawn in front!

IC Scoops

112 Main Street, Stowe, VT

http://stoweicecream.com

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Every time we head up to Vermont we stop in Hanover, NH to grab a bite to eat.  We usually stop at Lou’s but this year decided to mix it up a bit. We tried out Umpleby’s Bakery and Cafe.

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Owners Charles and Carolyn Umpleby opened the bakery originally in Vermont in 2000, and then moved to Hanover in 2007.

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In addition to delicious looking sweets, Umpleby’s has a variety of soups, sandwiches and savory pies.

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Because school is out for the year, it’s pretty quiet in Hanover. We are some of the only people in the bakery. You place your order with the gals at the counter and they bring over your food when it is ready.

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The Martha Quest – Chicken Salad made with all white chicken and salad greens. ($7.75)

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The Henry “Hank” Chinaski – Adult grilled cheese of Cheddar, Provolone and Tomato. ($7.00) Such a simple sandwich, but it so hits the spot!

Umpleby’s Bakery and Cafe

3 South Street, Hanover, NH

http://www.umplebys.com

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Friendly Toast 4

We headed over to The Friendly Toast at the crack of dawn (ok, 8am) to try and beat the rush. While we were seated right away, the place filled up by about 8:30am. Our server was awesome, really on top of everything. Our food came out quickly and he made sure that we had everything we needed.

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The restaurant is located in Kendall Square, in good company with Bon Me and State Park. The decor is kitschy and sure to spark some good conversation (think your great aunt Suzie’s place). There’s a serious hipster vibe here (don’t forget your skinny jeans).

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They have a great little bar area and from 5pm – 7pm on Thursday – Sunday (and also Friday and Saturday from 8pm-10pm) you can get $2 PBR’s and $2 Miller High Lifes. Oh and did I mention that you can get breakfast all day? Score!

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The Friendly Toast has pledged a commitment to sustainability – they use local farms whenever possible, they use the freshest ingredients, they use eco friendly cleaning products, they even recycle their used vegetable oil into biofuel.

You know this place is going to be great from the moment you check out their specials:

Kevin Seriously Still Sucks

French toast washed kaiser roll with sausage (real or veg), scrambled eggs, american cheese, and our own zesty maple sour cream.

Grilled License to Krill

A grilled cheese coconut fried shrimp, dipped in strawberry habanero jam, sandwiched between two pieces of house made oat bread, covered in cheddar with a side of Mango Thai chili sauce.

Pig-No-Rants in Bliss Burger

An 8 oz cajun seasoned hereford burger, topped with 5 oz of pulled pork, cheddar, pickled slaw, and a Jack Daniels BBQ sauce.

Go Shawty, Grits Ya Birfday

Fried chicken on a house made biscuit, topped with two over easy eggs, smothered in cheese, sausage & bacon grits and finished with a honey sriracha glaze. Served with home fries.

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Everything on the menu looks amazing…it’s hard to pick just one thing. So we order a few things to share to get a better handle on the food. Of course we had to try the coconut cakes (1 for $7, 2 for $9).  It’s enormous, there would have been no way I could have finished two….I didn’t even finish this one! The coconut cakes come with cashews, shredded coconut flakes, chocolate chips and a generous drizzle of coconut sauce. So delicious! Pancakes come in other flavors like blueberry, chocolate chips or banana. You can get pumpkin pancakes with real whipped cream on top or if you’re feeling adventurous try the king cakes: two mini pancakes with bananas and chocolate chips inside and peanut butter in-between with real whipped cream on top, encircled by a side of bacon.

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The housemade granola ($5) is delicious (did you know you can also take home a loaf of their housemade bread?). It’s made with oats, cashews, pecans and honey. You can have it with yogurt or milk and add on some fruit for an extra $2.

Friendly Toast 7Meg’s American Burrito ($11) are what dreams are made of. If only I knew about these in my college days. Scrambled eggs with home fries, American cheese and bacon inside a flour tortilla. Served with a side of home fries.

Disclaimer: The Friendly Toast invited me as their guest for breakfast. My meal was provided on the house. All opinions are my own.

The Friendly Toast

1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

http://thefriendlytoast.com

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Margaritas 3

We were invited to Margaritas on Thursday for a preview event for #NationalTequilaDay on Friday. We were treated to a guacamole demonstration, given a tour of the restaurant and Matt from Sauza gave us a little lesson on tequila! They don’t make the guacamole table side, but as I mentioned, we were given a special demonstration. They do make the guacamole in small batches, so every batch is super fresh! You can add things like bacon, corn salsa,  jalapeños, shrimp and/or pineapple salsa. The bottom right hand photo is of the carnitas enchilada in tomatillo sauce: slow roasted carnitas (pork) that has been cooked for 3 hours, roasted garlic, cilantro and lime. It’s served in a corn tortilla and topped with cheese and finished off with their house made tomatillo sauce. It was served tonight with a side of black and refried beans.

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That delicious looking drink is the Beehive Paloma. I love Jarritos grapefruit soda so this was right up my alley – light and fresh, perfect for summer! Here’s the recipe if you want to make it at home:

2oz of Hornitos Spiced Honey Tequila

1/2 a lime

4oz Jarritos Grapefruit Soda

Fill pint class with ice, pour in tequila, freshly juice half a lime and add in, top with Jarritos and garnish with a lime wheel.

One of my favorite dishes of the night was the Mexican Grilled Corn. Grilled corn on the cob topped with chipotle aioli and quest fresco.

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Chef Patrick was kind enough to come out and talk to us about each of the dishes we were trying.

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The coconut shrimp salad is fried shrimp, with fajita spices, topped with coconut sauce over lettuce, salsa fresca, roasted (house made) corn salsa, cucumbers and quest fresco. The tequila lime dressing was perfect!

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Bryant, our bartender for the evening, was amazing! Such a great personality and he even taught everyone how to make their own margaritas.

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The Fish Tacos Del Mar are baja style tacos with beer battered fish, onion, cilantro, orange slaw, mild three pepper sauce and avocado on corn tortillas. Rumor has it that they are working on a grilled fish taco…

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Margaritas has authentic Mexican decor. They frequently host school field trips and once a year they have a visiting artist demonstration. Margaritas educates and engages students about Mexican culture through artwork. They offer restaurant tours, food demonstrations and a DVD presentation on Mexican artists, markets, street scenes and mariachis.

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The mask on the left is carved out of wood and the bird on the right is made from paper mache.

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For dessert we had the churros (left), which were amazing and the fried ice cream (right) that satisfies your sweet and salty cravings with vanilla ice cream covered in a crushed pretzel shell and covered with either chocolate sauce or honey (or both!).

Margaritas offers a “Circle of Friends” rewards program where you receive one point for every dollar spent. You get $10 for every 150 points, 25% off welcome reward and a gift on your birthday plus you earn double points at lunch! In addition they have great after work specials at the bar and in the lounge (3-6, Monday – Friday). $5 Margaritas, $2 beef tacos, $1 taquitos, $1.50 baby chimes and $5 appetizers (guacamole, quest, jack crisps, tomato garlic nachos, and Hector’s Quesadilla).

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To celebrate #NationalTequilaDay I made my own margaritas at home with the help of Margaritas. I won the bottle of tequila from Sauza and we all got to bring home Margaritas signature mix. Here’s their recipe to make the perfect margarita:

2oz Tequila

1oz Triple Sec

3oz Margaritas Fresh Squeeze

Filla pint glass to rim with ice. Add tequila, triple sec and squeeze. Cover and shake, shake, shake. Pour into margarita class with salted rim and add a lime for garnish.

Disclaimer: I was invited to be a guest at Margaritas for the evening. I was provided a complimentary meal and I won a bottle of tequila. All opinions are my own.

Margaritas

75 Station Landing, Medford, MA

https://www.margs.com

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I had seen a friend pose in front of this sign on Instagram and thought, “I need to check that place out!” So I looked it up and tried to figure out a way to get myself over to Brooklyn from the city. I decided to get there by way of the New York Water Taxi. Such a great idea – the all day pas is $31 and boats run every 45 minutes. I picked up the boat at Pier 11 in lower Manhattan and took it two stops to Red Hook. They drop you off by Fairway Market and Steve’s is just a few short blocks away. The shop is in an industrial area but has a cute little picnic area out front with tables to enjoy your pie right on the spot!

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Steve’s makes everything in house, using premium ingredients. They hand form the crust and squeeze fresh key limes (they even have a special regional dairy who routinely produces sweetened and condensed milk. You really can taste the difference when the pies are made fresh – the pie was sweet and a bit tart – it was just perfect.I had the single serve 4″ pies, but they also come in 8″ and 10″. I wish I had tried a “swingle”, a key lime tart dipped in chocolate, but it was early in the morning…and I thought I should wait until at least after eating lunch before I started on dessert. They come in a few flavors, there’s the La Victoria, topped with a layer of Chipotle puree then dipped in dark chocolate, the Raspberry Blonde is topped with raspberry puree and then dipped in Belcolade white chocolate, and the Raspberry Classic, our chocolate dipped Swingle topped with raspberry puree.

From the website: “Our location IS your best bet for purchasing a pie (in terms of freshness). We’re out of our “ff season” hours, so we try and stay open on Friday till 6-ish, Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM until sundown. Check the link for  the setting of the sun  which best determines our closing hour during the summer. We are semi-closed on Monday and Tuesday, semi-open Tuesday thru Thursday although the hours are random. You can call and make an inquiry, or just take a drive-by and see if the roll-up gate is up. I’d say if you arrived after 11:00 AM and before 3~4:00 PM, there’s a good chance you’ll catch us with the door open. Hint; if the roll-up door is completely down, we are closed. Banging, yelling or tapping on the glass will not help. This is typical of many businesses (gate down, closed for business.)”

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie

85 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY

http://stevesauthentic.com

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I had met the guys from Prohibition Pig at the Taste of WGBH event a while back. I was excited to head up to Vermont to try the regular menu.

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The restaurant was packed! Be prepared to wait when you come (grab a delicious drink at the bar) and know that space is tight.

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I love the bar set up with the sliding library ladder and the chalkboard art.

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With so many delicious things on the menu, it’s hard to choose just one thing!

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The table has 4 different kinds of sauces – ask your server for details on each one!

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Pulled pork sandwich ($10.50) with a side of cheddar grits. Cooked North Carolina style with coleslaw and bbq sauce.

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“Just a burger” ($8.50) with a fried egg. All the burgers are 1/4 lb., made of all beef and come from local, grass fed cows. I can’t even describe how delicious the bun is. It literally makes the burger. Once you try it, you’ll know exactly what I mean…

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Lunch is presented on trays with stamped paper – no nonsense.

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Raspberry mousse pie special ($8). it was a little weird for me, I wasn’t in love with it.

Prohibition Pig

23 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT

http://www.prohibitionpig.com

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My sister in law was in town on business so we popped over to Pomodoro in Brookline Village. The restaurant is small, very intimate (it feels like a dinner party at your friend’s house) and the place is packed. The bar is the focal point of the restaurant, taking up a lot of real estate – we sit at a quiet table on the right in the back.

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We start with the arancini, crispy risotto fritters, which were delicious. Light and crispy, we wished there were more of them on the plate – we gobbled them up so quickly!

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The bolognese was tasty – without the cream in the sauce it felt quite light. Service was excellent – looking forward to going back again and trying other things!

Pomodoro

24 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA

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I had totally forgotten that we had eaten here before. Just goes to show you what lack of sleep can do to you. We headed to Piecasso for dinner with my parents. While the restaurant has been open since 2000, it has been in this new location since 2006.

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We start out with the garlic knots ($4.75) fresh baked dough wrapped with garlic, basil and spices, mozzarella and parmesan cheese with a side of red sauce. This could have been my meal!

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I was a little disappointed with this salad, the spinach salad ($7), prepared with toasted walnuts, sliced local apple, sun dried cranberries, Vermont Butter and Cheese chèvre and tossed with a maple balsamic vinaigrette. The apples were brown and there weren’t a lot of the toppings mentioned in the description. In my opinion, this shouldn’t have ever made it out of the kitchen.

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Piecasso serves New York style pizza. Owner Eduardo Rovetto learned how to make pizza from his parents – in fact, it’s a whole family business. There are 10 Rovetta family pizzerias on the East Coast.

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The eggplant parmigiana ($14.50) was lightly breaded grilled eggplant over a bed of spaghetti and marinara sauce. The portion was enormous and there were thick slices of eggplant! Nice flavor in the dish, wondering if the chicken parmigiana is as good.

Piecasso

1899 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT

http://www.piecasso.com

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