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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

J&M Diner, a popular breakfast spot that burned down in a fire last year in March, re-opened in November last year in a new location, right behind Legal Sea Foods in Framingham. We tried, and failed, to go a few times, only to be met with a long wait. We continued to try, at different times, to get in, because surely a place with that long of a wait time had great food.

We finally lucked out on day, going for more brunch than breakfast, on a weekday, and only had to wait about 30 minutes. The diner that is open daily from 6am – 2pm, is only closed on Christmas. Their menu includes classic favorites – eggs, omelets, pancakes and hash. I went with something a little different – the “wicked sinful French Toast” ($9) which is a cinnamon danish, cut in half, battered and dipped French Toast style.  It’s grilled and served in cinnamon and butter and topped with their homemade icing (see top right photo). Not as super sweet as I had expected, although I certainly couldn’t finish it in one sitting.

Try their sweet potato hash with grass fed beef, onions, bacon, craisins and sweet potatoes or their loaded home fries with bacon, onions, scallions, melted cheese and your choice of ranch, bbq or sour cream on top (or all three).

The diner is family friendly, all kids under 12 can get a meal for $7: French Toast, pancake, omelet, eggs or cereal. Let me just tell you that one pancake from the kids menu is as big as a dinner plate!!

Have you been to J&M Diner before? What’s your favorite breakfast spot?

J&M Diner

50 Worcester Street, Framingham (Route 9 East)

J&M Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I hadn’t been to Coppa in a long, long time – so when Leah invited me out to Coppa for lunch with a Gilt City voucher, I gladly accepted. Sometimes you can really hit it right with these vouchers, but you have to look at what the menu has to offer before you should decide if it’s a good deal or not. In my opinion, this was a great deal – we had a fantastic lunch.

Ordering a sandwich at lunch? This was a fancy Italian grinder, I assure you. Made with thinly sliced salami, prosciutto, mortadella, provolone, and picked cherry peppers. Makes me rethink all the other Italian subs I eat, that’s for sure. What were some of the other choices for antipasti on the menu? An Insalata di Casa and an Insalata di Caesar.

There were 5 choices for stuzzichini (Italian small bar snacks): Mortadella Pimento Formaggio, Olive Marinate, Funghi in Salamoia, Arancini and Boquerones (anchovies). We went with the arancini, fried risotto with pea and fontal cheese in a spicy tomato sauce. These were perfect in every way….

In the Forno a Legna e Piatti (wood over roasted and plates) category there were:polpette, yucca, pomodoro verde and bistecca to choose from. We went with the bistecca, which is a hanger steak that was served with cauliflower, giadiniera and finished with a charred scallion salsa verde. The meat was delicious – a great crunch to the outside and perfectly tender on the inside.

For pizzas, the choices were: margherita, nostrano, parma, salsiccia and fiore di zucchine. The fiore di zucchine sounded the most interesting – it was a white, thin crust pizza with squash blossoms, charred corn, chili oil and marjoram. Very light and fresh.

My favorite course, the pasta course, offered a choice of cavatelli con pollo, spaghetti carbonara con riccio di mare, rigatoni con sumo or a gamely con mais. Of course my pick was the carbonara that was topped with pancetta, sea urchin, pepper and parmesan. So rich and decadent.

The restaurant is cozy and there is on street parking available – but make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to find a spot if you are driving. The best way to go is via public transportation.


253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA

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Royce’ Chocolate opened it’s first Boston store in 2016 on Newbury Street. Royce’ is a Japanese chocolate company that makes tasty and unique treats, including Nama (“fresh”) chocolates, maccha chocolates and potato chip chocolates.

These Potechi crunch chocolates are sweet and salty, made with crumbled potato chips and covered in milk chocolate. They also come in a maccha flavor. Just a nice spin on the familiar chocolate covered potato chip. What other maccha flavored chocolates do they have? Maccha almonds (whole almonds coated in rich chocolate with the bitterness of maccha), Duo Praline Maccha (two layers made of maccha sauce and maccha cream in a chocolate shell), and a nama chocolate maccha (white chocolate with an herbal aroma and the bittersweet finish of green tea leaves) to name a few.

Nama chocolates come in flavors like orange and mango, chestnut, banana, white, champagne and maccha. The chocolate bars will run you around $9 and the other chocolate treats are $15-$17. The store looks a bit sparse, but certainly has some interesting choices. Have you tried Royce’ chocolates yet? What is your favorite thing that they make? And where else do you like to get chocolate that is a little out of the ordinary?

Royce’ Chcocolate

251 Newbury Street, Boston, MA


This freezing cold weather has me counting down the days until spring. It reminded me of this visit to Menton for their industry lunch with Leah, when (clearly) the weather was much nicer. Industry lunches took place on the last Monday of every month, and they offered $3 High Life’s and Fernet, as well as a la carte specials and the express lunch menu.

Lunch is a great way to try out new restaurants if you don’t want to pay dinner prices. We started off our afternoon out with a Miller High Life shandy. It was a perfectly relaxing afternoon and we were lucky to grab a seat by the window – because what’s better than lunch with a (people watching) view?

Leah went with the grilled gem caesar with brioche croutons ($6).

She followed that with the cacio e pepe con uovo, served with parmigiana and pea greens ($10). $19 for lunch at Menton? I think I’d call that a great deal!

I went with the express lunch – linguini and clams is such a classic dish. The portions at first sight seem to be on the smaller side, but you realize that there is just the right amount – it’ doesn’t have to be Cheesecake Factory sized portions if the food is high quality.

The steak was absolute perfection – it had a nice sear to it and was perfectly salted.

We didn’t have room for dessert after our meal, but Menton brought out a nice selection of mini macarons. It was the perfect little bit of sweetness after our delicious meal.

Lunch is served Monday – Friday, 11:30am – 2:00pm.


354 Congress Street, Boston, MA

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Not sure if you’ve heard, but The CambridgeSide Galleria just got a makeover. To celebrate their grand re-opening they had local restaurants serving up light bites and local mixologists preparing some of their tastiest drinks.

What restaurants were participating? Puritan and Co (top left – a delicious polenta dish), Dante, Cafe du Pays (umm those mushroom chips were AMAZING – see middle photo), Bukowski Tavern, Catalyst Restaurant and Bambara.

Where can you get some of those tasty drinks? Dante (top right – “I’m So Chai” made with Courvoisier cognac, chai tea, orange and clove), Bambara, Mamaleh’s (middle left), The Smoke Shop, Cafe Art Science (top middle) and Trina’s Starlite Lounge (middle right).

If you’re out and about in the CambridgeSide Galleria making those holiday returns and exchanges, make sure to check out and support these local restaurants and bars. Stop back here and let me know which places were your favorites.

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the grand re-opening celebration and my ticket was complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.

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If you’re a Falmouth native – you’re either a team Paul’s Pizza or a team Steve’s pizza. It’s Cape Cod’s own New Haven style rivalry. I happen to like Paul’s but Steve’s might be just a little more convenient for me to pick up…

Paul’s Pizza has been in business for over 50 years, still owned and run by the Noonan family, making it one of Falmouth’s oldest restaurants. They make thin crust pizza – and I love mine with meatballs and cooked a little on the well done side.

Paul’s Pizza offers over 30 types of toppings and a variety of other items in case pizza isn’t your thing (but isn’t pizza everyone’s thing?!). They have chicken dishes, pasta and tons of seafood options. Their chicken and seafood plates come with your choice of two sides: French fries, baked potato, coleslaw, vegetables or rice.

So which are you, team Paul or team Steve?

Paul’s Pizza

14 Benham Road, Falmouth, MA

Paul's Pizza & Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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This freezing weather has me wishing for warmer weather. Wanted to get this post out there, it’s from a while back, but the food was just too good not to share. For our anniversary, my parents treated us to a dinner out at C Salt, a local restaurant in Falmouth. The trendy restaurant and wine bar is cozy inside, I’d definitely recommend making a reservation if you want to try it out.

We started the evening with a few appetizers – I picked the poke style tuna tartar ($15). The diced tuna had sesame, lime, soy, togarashi, and avocado served on top of a bed of seaweed salad and a side of wonton chips. Perfectly salty and delicious, balanced by the creaminess of the avocado – this dish was a winner.

While the crab meat appetizer from the raw bar was tasty, the tuna was the clear winner of the evening.

I had a seafood paella that was light and had a generous helping of shellfish.

My husband was excited about the lemon grilled swordfish chop served over a bed of broccolini ($34). I loved the presentation – such a statement dish that you say ‘wow’ about when it comes to the table.

I really wanted to try the caramelized onion gruyere mac and cheese even though it didn’t really ‘go’ with anything we ordered. Very creamy and very tasty, not too heavy as mac and cheese can be sometimes.

Even though we were stuffed to the brim, we decided to get some dessert – because hey, why not. They were tasty but the seafood is what really shines at the restaurant. We went out early in the evening and the restaurant slowly became filled – service was consistent even as the night got busier. We really enjoyed our meal here and look forward to going back once the weather is a little warmer.

C Salt serves dinner 6 nights a week, they are closed on Tuesdays. Many of the options on the menu are available to carry out – you can call the restaurant to place your order. There is plenty of parking in the lot attached to the restaurant.

C Salt

75 Davis Straights, Route 28, Falmouth, MA

C Salt Wine Bar & Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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A while back I was treated to an afternoon at Roche Bros. to check out their new delivery service and to learn more about The Dinner Daily.

Roche Bros. recently changed the company that they get their sushi from, and it was delicious – it will change the way you think about grocery store sushi. We sampled some of the sides from the prepared foods case and had some of their tasty rotisserie chicken.

The Millis store has a great little sitting area with tables and chairs, a great place to have a breakfast meeting or grab a quick bite to eat.

What I was impressed by were these new prepared meals that you MAKE IN THE MICROWAVE!! So basically a Lean Cuisine, but with much better ingredients and things that you would actually want to eat. They are prepared fresh daily and you can choose from vegetarian options, fish, meat or chicken. The prices are pretty affordable – seriously, check these meals out (generally they are located near the meat case).

I always knew that Roche Bros. delivered – but we got to see first hand how your order is collected. A REAL person picks out your groceries, and they pick it from your local store (you’re not getting food from a warehouse). My biggest peeve when ordering delivered groceries is that the produce isn’t what I would normally pick out for myself. Often times when I would order from another company that I will not name, the bananas would come bruised or the avocados were rock hard. At Roche Bros. you can write specific comments about each of the items that you order, ie. pick green bananas or avocados that are a day away from being ripe and they try their best to accommodate your requests. You can also say if you want to allow substitutions on your items that might be out of stock.

Head over to the Roche Bros. website to see if you live within delivery range!

A while back I was invited to Roche Bros. to learn about their grocery delivery service as well as a new service called The Dinner Daily. The way founder Laurin Mills describes her grocery buying habits just about fits me to a t. We do one big grocery shop – without planning what any of our meals are going to be. Generally I pick the same few proteins and make the same 5 meals until we get sick of me cooking and go out to eat. And that was BEFORE kids. Throw kids into the mix and our grocery shopping trip that took 15 minutes before now takes 45 minutes because we have to get the “car” cart, someone’s pushing someone else, there’s always an “I want” request that involves something I’m definitely not putting in the cart….you get the picture. So we walk out with meat that I end up just throwing in the freezer and tons of snacks that won’t help me at mealtime (read: we should own stock in Goldfish and Stonyfield yogurts).

When Laurin started the company she wanted to have the meals be easy to prepare, they had to be healthy, the price of the meal had to be reasonable, and they had to be kid friendly. So how does the service work? You go on the website and you fill in your preferences: what size family are you trying to feed and where you like to shop. The website bases your weekly menu on your food preferences and what is on sale at your local market. Every week you get a weekly dinner plan with 5 dinner ideas delivered straight to your inbox. You can shop ahead or you can order your groceries online and have them delivered by your local grocery store (if available). Want even more savings? The website also links you to online coupons for the items you are shopping for that week.

You can print out your weekly menu and then print out your shopping list. So this way everything is easy and all in one spot, if you need lemon for 2 of the 5 recipes, it puts lemons on the list just once – can’t get any easier than that. Not cooking all of the recipes you got this week? You have the option to delete the ingredients you don’t need off your shopping list.

If you read my blog, you know I’m not much for cooking. So I headed over to Leah‘s house and we made a recipe together. We made a simple chicken dinner with orzo and a spinach salad. I was completely impressed at really how easy the recipe was to make. The chicken was flavorful and tender – even my kids would probably have eaten it, and the spinach salad and orzo were done in the blink of an eye.

Head over to The Dinner Daily website to get your 14 day free trial and see for yourself how you easy meal planning for the family can be.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary subscription to The Dinner Daily. All opinions are my own.

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I’ve got this thing with cheese. I was excited to go and photograph the 2017 Cheese Festival that took place in Somerville at the Armory. This was the 5th year that the event took place and there over a dozen cheese makers and pairing partners in attendance. The event was sold out and people of all ages attended. The cheese makers were on the first floor and the balcony and there were live demos on the stage and in the lower classrooms. So who were the cheesemakers?

Couët Farm & Fromagerie

Cricket Creek Farm

Dancing Goats Dairy

Foxboro Cheese

Grace Hill Farm

They Grey Barn and Farm

Great Hill Dairy

Mozzarella House

Robinson Farm

Shy Brothers Farm

Smith’s Country Cheese

Westfield Farm


Cream of the Crop Farm was a standout favorite of mine, and while they didn’t bring cheese, the drinkable yogurt was outstanding. I’m not generally a drinkable yogurt (or any yogurt for that matter) kind of gal, but this was smooth – really nice consistency with a good flavor. Now mango wouldn’t be my go to flavor to try – but I would actually have this on a regular basis – that’s how good I thought it was.

I really enjoyed Cricket Creek Farm’s cheese as well – not only do they have cute packaging, but they also make delicious cheese. Maggie’s Round is a sharp and bright cheese with citrus notes and the rustic rind adds earthy tones. Maggie’s Reserve is an extra aged version (12-16 months) of Maggie’s Round and has a robust flavor. The Tobasi won the 2016 Yankee Magazine Food Editors Choice Award – it just melts in your mouth. The Berkshire Bloom is a semi soft bloomy rind cheese that is similar to a Camabert.

In addition to the great cheese makers, they had pairing partners in attendance, including: Aaronap Cellars, Dove and Figs, Follow the Honey, our friends Fox Point Pickling Company, Nashoba Brook Bakery, New England Charcuterie, Notch Brewing, Sweet Lydia’s and Westport Rivers Winery.

What can you expect on stage for demos? Mozzarella stretching, butter churning, cheese rolling, a history of early American cheesemaking and an ode to the Mammoth cheese.

If you’re interested in attending next year, make sure to keep your eyes open for when tickets go on sale for next year. See the Massachusetts Cheese Festival website here.

Want more information on how to support local cheesemakers? Check out the MA Cheese Guild website here.

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