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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

imag1166When we finally got up to Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, we decided to go out for dinner. Looking for something casual, we decided on Gracie’s. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, and that was at their old location in town. Closer to the hotel, Gracie’s is a popular casual dining spot for locals and tourists alike.

imag1172Gracie’s opened in 1991, and it was named after owners Sue and Archie’s rescue dog. They made the move to this new location in 2009. The dog theme is carried throughout the dining room – from the decor to the names of the menu items.

imag1167We started the meal off right – they brought out a wonderful bread basket with delicious chocolate chip oatmeal bread.

imag1170The quinoa salad special was more of a dinner sized plate than an appetizer! We all ordered burgers, they are all named after dogs:

The Chihuahua
Half-pound burger served with lettuce, tomato and guacamole on the side.

The Airedale
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed peppers and onions.

The Boxer
Half-pound cheddar bacon burger.

The Husky
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms.

Blazing Beagle Burger
Gracie’s half-pound burger rolled in Cajun spices and grilled to juicy perfection with lettuce and tomato.
Also available as Dante’s Dalmatian-for the firedog.

The Kirby Burger
Gracie’s half pound burger topped with melted cheddar, bacon and a side of our own Memphis BBQ sauce.

Blue Tick Hound Burger
Half-pound melted blue cheese burger with lettuce and tomato.

The Rottweiler
This one’s got a good bite to it. A half-pound cheddar burger topped with lettuce and Tomato. With sour cream, garlic, horseradish sauce on the side.

The Petey Burger
Everyone’s favorite canine orphan. Spanky and Alfalfa put their minds together for this one. A great combination that only the little rascals could think of starting with a half pound of Boyden Farms ground beef topped with Vermont cheddar cheese and, bacon, onion rings and cajun spice.  A dollar of the price of each Petey Burger will be donated by Gracie’s to the North Country Animal League.

imag1174The Husky ($12.95): Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms. Just what the dr ordered after a long car ride. The burger was flavorful and cooked perfectly medium. The service was excellent – Archie the owner was there running the host stand! I always think it’s nice to see the owners of restaurants pitching in.

Gracie’s

18 Edison Hill Road, Stowe, VT

http://www.gracies.com/

Gracie's on Urbanspoon

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imag1207The Blue Moon Cafe in Stowe has been a fine dining destination since 1992.  Jim Barton, now owner, was the dining room manager until 2001, when he bought the restaurant from the previous owner. Since then, they have been through multiple renovations and his wife Donna has done some extensive gardening. The kitchen is run by Jimmy Kalp who has worked at such places like National Hotel, The Ryah House, The Andirons Lodge and Frida’sTaqueria.

imag1209Whenever we go up to Stowe, we usually hit the same few places. This year, we wanted to try something new, so my friend Carolyn (of the Good Ones) who has a home up in Stowe gave me this suggestion. We start off with the artisan cheese platter ($12) that comes with some toast, dried fruit and raisins and a little mustard seed. Simple and yet so good.

imag1212We also start with the gazpacho, a refreshing way to start a meal. One of the best gazpachos we’ve tried.

imag1214The pasta special was delicious – the home made noodles were perfectly al dente.

imag1213I had the gnocchi with cauliflower, which was an excellent choice. The dumplings were amazing.

imag1216For dessert, I can’t remember the formal name for this, but raspberry sorbet and pistachio ice cream with raspberry coulis. Amazing. Two of my favorite things, combined to make a great summer dessert.

imag1219The crumble was also a delicious choice – we were almost too full to eat it after our meals! Almost. The service was top notch – we felt like we were being welcomed into someone’s home as opposed to eating at a restaurant. There were a lot of regulars dining, it was nice to see that they were welcomed by name and thanked for coming in.

Blue Moon Cafe

35 School Street, Stowe, VT

http://bluemoonstowe.com/

Blue Moon Cafe on Urbanspoon

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imag1144On our way up to Vermont this year, we decided to stop at Dartmouth for a quick bite to eat. There was a ton of traffic getting up here – something about blasting on the side of the highway – so we were famished. Lou’s has always been a midpoint for us over the years. Lou’s has been around for what seems like forever! 2007 marked their 60th anniversary.

imag1148The restaurant is a bit dated, or maybe it’s nostalgic. The food is nothing fancy, but you can get breakfast all day, delicious baked goods, and the price is right! I order the grilled cheese ($8.95) that hits the spot.

imag1147We also order the poached eggs on hash – a stick to your ribs kind of meal. The corned beef hash is made from fresh corned beef brisket and is served with a side of potatoes.

Stop in to Lou’s for a little piece of history.

Lou’s

30 South Main Street, Hanover, NH

http://lousrestaurant.net

Lou's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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imag1342Mark (fortunately) forgot his lunch last week, making it an excellent opportunity to head out to Gene’s Chinese Flatbread cafe over in Downtown Crossing.

imag1340This tiny restaurant is packed at lunch time – great idea to come early or late – or just take out.

imag1339There are only a few items on the menu: the flatbread sandwich,  housemade noodle soup, lamb  hand pulled noodle soup, hand pulled noodles, Xi’an noodles, and cumin hand pulled noodles. Be prepared to wait, as they hand pull the noodles to order.

imag1343Mark orders the noodle soup, which he liked, but wished that the noodles were the same ones I had in my meal.

imag1344

I had the #4 hand pulled noodles, served with a healthy dollop of garlic, a sprinkle of chili powder, cilantro and scallions. The noodles are thick and have a good bite to them. A simple but extremely delicious dish. So good in fact, that we went back days later with other co-workers!

Don’t forget to stop at the ATM before you go, they only take cash. Monday thru Friday: 11AM-6:30PM, closed on the weekends.

Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe

86 Bedford Street, Boston, MA

Website

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Best Bees 12I met Noah, the founder of Best Bees, at the Follow the Honey Dinner. While we were chatting at the table, he invited me to come down and see what urban beekeeping was all about.

Best Bees 1Located in Roxbury, behind Boston Body Works, the bee hives are located on hydraulic lifts. It is here where I met up with Maddie and Tom, the lab manager. Noah, the founder, graduated from Northeastern with a BS in Bio – and he likes to keep the Northeastern tradition alive by having co-op students come and intern at Best Bees. Did you know that unlike yellow jackets or wasps that can sting you multiple times, honey bees can only sting you once and then they die.

Best Bees 2So Tom pulls the lift down and shows me around the hives. A major problem with bee hives is disease. Noah and his team work with all natural remedies to try and rid the hives of diseases. Did you know that bees can fly up to 5 miles to find flowers? Bees are quite smart, in order to find their way back to their hive, they use landmarks and then as they get closer, they can use their sense of smell to return to their hive.

Best Bees 3Tom estimates that there are almost a million bees in the hives at Best Bees. Did you know that each colony can only have one queen? If there is more than one queen, which ever one hatches first will kill the other queens. If you get a sterile queen, one that you are introducing to a colony, she comes in a cage with a little bit of candy on the bottom. The bees need to get used to her smell and when they are ready to accept her, they chew the candy from the bottom of the cage and release her.

Best Bees 4It’s all fun and games until someone gets stung. That someone would be me. Trying my hardest NOT to swat at the bees buzzing around us, one lands on my lip of all places and stings me right in the kisser. Bad news is that it stung (no pun intended). My eyes have started to water and my nose is starting to run…and I may be sweating a little from embarrassment seeing as I have only met Maddie and Tom about 5 minutes ago. Good news is that I am now going to give Angelina Jolie a run for her money. And now, after establishing that they don’t have to stab me with an epi pen, we come to the stinger. Still in my lip. Have to get that baby out myself. More awkwardness. But then the give me an icepack and tell me that they’ve all been stung a bunch of times…and humor me by saying that…”it’s not that bad”. So embarrassment be damned, I stick around while they tell me all about the honey process and all things bee.

Best Bees 9Clients drop off their trays and Best Bees collects the honey.

Best Bees 7First they carefully scrape off the caps of the honeycomb.

Best Bees 5How beautiful is that honey?

Best Bees 6They place the honeycomb into a centrifuge and spin it for 5 minutes on both sides. The honey is flung out to the walls of the centrifuge and drip down to the bottom where it is collected.

Best Bees 10Keeping things pure, they only filter the honey once and then dispense it into mason jars. I was able to taste a little honey that they had just collected and it was delicious. Light and amazing – sweet and fresh.

Best Bees 11Different color honey depends on the hive and which flowers the bees are attracted to.

To find out more about bees and honey, check out the Best Bees website.

Best Bees

Noah Wilson-Rich

839 Albany Street, Boston, MA

http://www.bestbees.com

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imag1234My friend Jesse moved back to Boston after being away in California for 9 years. We celebrated his move back to the bean by heading over to Fairsted Kitchen. See my previous post here. Jesse was pumped about this because it’s just steps from their new home.

imag1236Of course we had the scallops, just an amazing dish – cooked perfectly!

imag1238The sweetbreads were tasty – not something I would normally order but I’m glad Jesse persuaded me to try them.

imag1240The lobster beignets were light and delicious served on top of a light corn salad.

imag1235The gnocchi was perfectly cooked as well and simply light as air.

imag1241We had the blueberry pie for dessert. I’m not generally a blueberry pie kind of gal, I like more of a crust to my pie, but this was delicious – like biting into summer, not too sweet and the graham cracker crust gave it some good texture.

imag1242I usually turn my nose up at pot de creme desserts – chocolate desserts (at restaurants in general) usually don’t have effort put into them. However, this was outstanding – and I stand corrected about chocolate desserts. This was light and flavorful – a really delicious dessert. I am pretty sure we I licked the cup clean.

Fairsted Kitchen

1704 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

http://fairstedkitchen.com/

Fairsted Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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imag0842Have you heard of Maple Water? People are calling it the “new coconut water”. I met Kate, the co-founder, at a Good Ones party a while back. Turns out, we went to high school together – small world.  Kate has a Master of Science in Nutrition from Northeastern University. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has a BA from Colby College. She’s also an ironman triathlete!!

imag0850What is Maple? Maple contains fortifying vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, prebiotics and is naturally low in calories. I know that when I heard about Maple water, I immediately thought it was going to be sweet. The flavor is quite subtle, light, with just a hint of sweetness – not at all what I had expected.

imag0847Maple supports good digestive health.
Maple is full of electrolytes good for natural hydration.
Maple gives you energy.
It’s naturally low calories, only 20 per serving.
It has half the sugar of coconut water.
There are no added sugar or preservatives.
Maple is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, non-GMO.

img_20140628_120958Where do you drink Maple? I take mine to the beach and up hiking in the woods…ok, hiking might be an overstatement…but you get the idea.

img_20140724_181608You can find Maple water in Whole Foods or you can buy them online.

 

IMG_3258Gaslight, Brasserie du Coin, literally Brasserie on the corner is part of the Aquitane Group who bring you restaurants such as Aquitane, Cinquecento, Union Bar and Grille and Metropolis Cafe.

IMG_3259Gaslight is run by Executive Chef Seth Woods and Michael Zentner, his Chef de Cuisine.

IMG_3261The decor is that of a traditional French Brasseie, from the white subway tiles and dark booths to the reclaimed wood floors.

img_20140713_093916We planned on heading over to the SOWA market today, so we came to Gaslight to fuel up (that and they offer free parking!!) We start with a Cafe American ($2.95).

imag1057Meredith raves about the raspberry croissants ($3.25), which were good, but a little on the well done side.

IMG_3265The French toast ($10.50) was good, but very sweet. With such large slices, it was hard to finish the whole dish.

IMG_3263The Pork Hache ($15.50) was outstanding: Confit pork, crispy potatoes, chili sauce verte & fried eggs. It was a stick to your ribs kind of meal with the perfect balance of saltiness. I would definitely come back for this again. Service was excellent, our waiter took good care of us.

 

Gaslight

560 Harrison Street, Boston, MA

http://www.gaslight560.com/

Gaslight Brasserie du Coin on Urbanspoon

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IMG_4977Kale chips seem to be pretty popular these days. Rhythm Superfoods has a line that includes flavors like zesty nacho, kool ranch, bombay curry, mango habanero, texas bbq, pineapple coconut and honey mustard. The flavors like zesty nacho and kool ranch are a great way to ease people into the idea of kale chips because they are approachable flavors. I was sent the mango habanero, the pineapple coconut and the zesty nacho flavors to try.

Each bag starts as a bunch of fresh kale. They mix it with a hand crafted dressing made from a blend of fresh organic vegetables, seeds, juices, herbs and spices.

IMG_6387These kale chips are air crisped at a low temperature which maintains the RAW living enzymes and maximizes nutritional potency. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K. The chips are Gluten-free and USDA-Organic. My favorite were the zesty nacho – they were pretty tasty with a really nice crunch to them – making you almost forget they were kale chips.

Rhythm Superfoods was founded in 2009 in Austin by Keith Wahrer (co-founder of Daily Juice). The company became official with the addition of fellow Austin entrepreneurs Scott Jensen (former Stubb’s BBQ CEO), Clayton Christopher and David Smith (founders of Sweet Leaf tea), and Robert Larkin (Growing Grace, Daily Juice).

Disclaimer: I was provided samples of the product to review. All opinions are my own.

Rhythm Superfoods

Buy in store or online. 2oz.bags for $4.99

http://rhythmsuperfoods.com/