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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tuscan Market 13

Tuscan Market is located just past the border in Salem, New Hampshire, a 45 minute drive from the city. We went up on Saturday afternoon for lunch and a tour.

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Tuscan Market is a more casual restaurant and retail shop, whereas Tuscan Kitchen next door is focused on fine dining. The Market offers house made pastries, house made charcuterie and a variety of prepared foods.

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The market also has an impressive wine selection.Tuscan Market 3

Retail Manager Mark Trumble, who has been at Russo’s in Watertown and Formaggio in Cambridge, tries to import as many goods from Italy as he can.

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Owner Joe Faro began his career right out of college, making pasta and distributing it to all the major local businesses. He grew his business and eventually sold it. He didn’t want to stay retired, so he developed the Tuscan Brand. The house made pasta is impressive – with over a dozen fresh pasta options to choose from (or grab some from the freezer to take home).

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All the bread and desserts are also made in house. In addition to the full size cakes shown here in the case, they also sell cake slices, tarts and delicious Italian cookies.

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For lunch, Chef David Crinieri came out with an assortment of antipasti. The burrata is made in house and was drizzled wit honey – a nice combination that I never thought of. In addition, there was prosciutto, olives, roasted peppers and roasted tomatoes.

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The next course was a sampling of their paninis. (L-R) The New York Italian Grinder made with soppressata, spicy coppa, prosciutto di parma, mozzarella fresca, and hot pepper. The porchetta may have been my favorite with sliced pork, mascarpone, pear mostarda (an Italian condiment made from candied fruit and mustard flavored syrup), roasted onion and rucola. On the right, the caprese, made with heirloom tomato, basil and mozzarella – a delicious classic.

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I was stuffed, but pushed through – hour 2 of our lunch started off with pasta. The ravioli ai quattro formaggi was delicious on its own, and came topped with mascarpone crema and San Marzano tomato sauce, giving the dish a hint of sweetness.

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Next up was the cappellacci di zucca: butternut squash in a brown butter sage sauce, topped with crushed amaretti and Parmigiano. This was my favorite pasta of the afternoon – there was just right mouth of sweetness.

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If you are looking for something truly decadent, try the truffled mascarpone gnocchi, topped with shallots, oyster mushrooms, white wine and thyme. The dumplings, even though they were filled, still felt light as air.

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I was busting at the seams, but there is a special place reserved for dessert right? We had the cannoli, filled with orange zest and topped with pistachios.

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On the right, a traditional tiramisu and on the left, a lemon tiramisu – which may be my new favorite dessert.

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And here is a sampling of their gelato – my favorites were the gianduja topped with hazelnuts, the pistachio and the stracciatella the Italian version of chocolate chip).

It was a great afternoon – everyone there, Mark, David, Lisa and our server made sure that we had everything we needed. It was a pleasure to spend time with all of them – it’s a sign of a great company when the people are truly passionate about what they do.

See my review for their sister restaurant Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Tuscan Market as their guest and they provided me with a complimentary lunch. All opinions are my own.

Tuscan Market

63 Main Street, Salem, NH

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On our way out of town for Memorial Day weekend, we stopped at Pret a Manger to grab some lunch for the road. Pret has a new line called the “Power Lunch”, consisting of 4 choices: Egg and Veggie, Roasted Beets and Feta, Roasted Parsnip and Pistachios, and Southwestern Chicken and Avocado. Super bummed out when I got there that the two I would have liked to have tried were both sold out (Egg & Veggie and the Chicken & Avocado) and they didn’t have any downstairs being prepped :(

Pret a Manger

So instead, we went with the Roasted Parsnip (above) and the Roasted Beets (below). The roasted parsnip bowl has (obviously) roasted parsnips, pomegranate seeds, mint and pistachios on top of mixed lentils and quinoa. Out of the two bowls, I liked this one the best, the pomegranate added a little sweetness, the lemon added that layer of citrus and zing, and the nuts added some texture. If you follow this blog, you know that I try to avoid putting healthy things into my body like the plague (kidding, sort of…) so I don’t think I had ever seen a parsnip before this, let alone tasted one…(#blameitonmyparents) I was pleasantly surprised – and the seasoning was really good – Indian inspired. A great lunch on the go that will keep you full.

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While the Roasted Beets and Feta wasn’t my favorite, it wasn’t the dish’s fault – I’m not a huge beet fan. The apples gave a second layer of sweetness to the beets and a crunch that I loved. The walnuts and feta cheese were a nice pairing, along with kale, over a bed of lentils and quinoa. Oh and for those of you that are calorie counting – all of the Power Lunch bowls are under 500 calories!


Pret A Manger

176 Federal Street, Boston, MA

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IMG_7723The Clam Shack was closed, but we had fried clams on the brain and couldn’t shake it. So instead, we went where the locals go, Seafood Sam’s. We got ours to go, and picked up a few fried clam plates (of course bellies – strips would just be uncivilized). Market price out dinner at a  little over $20 per platter, but it comes with creamy coleslaw and your choice of fries, a baked potato, rice pilaf or beans. This just hit the spot – the batter was light and crispy, a perfect meal down at the Cape.

In addition to clams, Seafood Sam’s offers shrimp, Haddock, Cod, oysters, lobster and other non seafood options. You can get fried platters or baked, broiled or steamed platters – they have a ton of options!

Seafood Sam’s

356 Palmer Ave, Falmouth, MA

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I went to a fashion show in February and never got around to posting the images. I came across the draft for the post the other day and wondered if I should just forget about posting, but the dresses are just too stunning to not share.

Candice Wu Fashion Show 1

The event, held at the Langham Hotel, showcased pieces from Candice Wu Couture along with jewelry from Heloisa Fitzgerald and (ethical) fur from Petite Mort.Candice Wu Fashion Show 2

Model Jessica Kenworthy.

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Model Danielle Fortin.

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Model Elena Kollarova.

Candice Wu Fashion Show 4To view the entire collection, check out the album on Facebook.

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IMG_7711You might miss the driveway for Coffee Obsession in Falmouth if you don’t know where to look. This little coffee shop shares a driveway with a few other cute shops. The hours in the off season can be a bit wonky – but generally they close tat 5:30. They have an extensive coffee menu along with non coffee options as well. Check out their pastry case, you won’t be sorry.

IMG_7712Along with sweets (coffee cake muffin pictured above), they also offer some savory options – they had some great looking quiche options when we were there. Generally we always get our food to go, but there is ample seating inside (and a few seats outside) for you to just hang out.

IMG_7713My favorite dessert if the Almond Florentine (two cookies shown above). Almond cookie on one side and dark chocolate on the other. A little crunch, a little sweet, super delicious.

Coffee Obsession

110 Palmer Ave, Falmouth, MA

Coffee Obsession on Urbanspoon

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We were down in Falmouth this past weekend – first time of this season, avoiding the Memorial Day rush. It’s my favorite time to go (in the off season). You can still get into restaurants, you can drive down Main Street without traffic and the beaches are empty. The calm before the storm…

Of course when we come here, our first stop for breakfast is Cape Cod Bagel. My breakfast choice, plain bagel with veggie cream cheese. Not sure what they put in it (crack?), but I’m addicted.

They have great breakfast sandwiches, wraps and bagel sandwiches for lunch and delicious baked goods.

There is ample seating inside and out. Be prepared to wait during peak season as this place gets packed!

Cape Cod Bagel

419 Palmer Ave, Falmouth, MA

Cape Cod Bagel Co on Urbanspoon

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I was invited to take photos at the MA Farmers Market event held at the W Hotel this year. Bartenders from local restaurants mixed up cocktails and guests voted on their favorites. The top three bartenders then went on to a CSA mixology throwdown later in the afternoon.

MA Farmers Market 8Joy Flanagan from Armsby Abbey mixed up a  “Garden of Eden” cocktail using GrandTen South Boston Irish Whiskey, apples and pear fruit vinegar.

MA Farmers Market 7They definitely had the best looking table!

MA Farmers Market 9Fairsted Kitchen’s Will Isaza mixed up a “Gable’s Lean” using Privateer Rum and carrots. Here’s the recipe:

1 oz. Privateer True American Amber Rum

3/4 oz. Carrot Za’atar Syrup

1/2 oz. Rye Whiskey

1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth

1/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice

2 Dashes Hellfire bitters

Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 10-15 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with grated cinnamon.

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The guys at La Brasa having a little fun!

MA Farmers Market 23Peter Polselli and Will Jovel of La Brasa mixed up the “Baby Root”, using Amber Rum, carrots and beets.

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David Spielberg of the Salty Pig mixed up a drink named “The Gilded Age”, featuring Privater Reserve Rum, Amber Rum, purple top turnips, cranberries, lemon thyme ginger – and check out those campari gummies!

MA Farmers Market 29Bartenders were able to use super fresh ingredients, check out these good looking cranberries!

MA Farmers Market 14Jason Sadoian from Kirkland Tap and Trotter mixed up the “South Boston Smash” made with GrandTen South Boston Irish Whiskey, cranberries and white peach vinegar.

MA Farmers Market 26GrandTen located in South Boston, and on Friday nights they do a fun thing called “Friday Night Flights”. For $20 you get a tour of the facility and are about the taste their full line of products (along with special, limited-run spirits not available anywhere else). You get to keep your tasting glass as a souvenir! Space is limited as they try to keep the event intimate (20 people). Check out their website for more details.

MA Farmers Market 28GrandTen makes vodka, whiskey, rum and other spirits. Check out my previous post on GrandTen here.

MA Farmers Market 3“South Boston Smash”.

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Nadia Heredia from the W mixed up “The Poma” using Dirty Water Distiller Nosh Vodka and rainbow carrots. I love the carrot rim!

MA Farmers Market 18The food was delicious as well. The beet mousse deviled eggs were delicious.

MA Farmers Market 19Apple tarts were quick to disappear!

MA Farmers Market 20The goat cheese tarts were also a crowd favorite.

MA Farmers Market 21My favorite were the truffle mushroom grilled cheeses.

MA Farmers Market 22Didn’t have a chance to try the arancini, but they looked delicious.

MA Farmers Market 35Lonnie from GrandTen Distillery.

MA Farmers Market 39DJ Deja and Modern Gramma’s Justin Burke Samson (MA Farmers Market Chair). Make sure to check out Justin’s pop ups – his desserts are to die for!

MA Farmers Market 44The crowd anxiously waiting to hear who won the raffle items!

MA Farmers Market 49Venette (MFM Board of Director) and Will from Fairsted Kitchen competing in the cocktail throwdown competition.

MA Farmers Market 55Kirkland Tap and Trotter’s final drink in the throwdown competition.

MA Farmers Market 56Fairsted Kitchen won the event with the “Sexy Kumquat”. As the winner of the competition, Will will be back next year as the head judge. Here’s the winning recipe:

1 1/2 oz. Privateer Silver Reserve Rum

3/4 oz. Clove Turmeric Syrup

1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 oz. Apple Cider

2 Kumquats

1 Thumb of Ginger

Slice thumb of ginger. Muddle half of the ginger with kumquats. Add muddled ginger and kumquats to shaker with rum, syrup, lemon juice, and ice. Shake for 10-15 seconds. Pour contents of shaker into a rocks glass Garnish with a halved kumquat and ginger.

MA Farmers Market 57W Hotel’s final drink in the throwdown competition.

MA Farmers Market 58The judges for the throwdown were Dan Whalen, The Food in my Beard, Megan, and Michael Ratty.

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IMG_7032I was invited to brunch at the Elephant Walk in the South End with the Blog and Tweet Boston group. Executive Chef Nadsa de Monteiro came out to greet us and told us about the her family and the restaurant. She told us that her father was a diplomat and when they had to leave Cambodia, when the Khmer Rouge took over, her mother, at age 45, with no experience, opened a restaurant in France. They moved to the US in the early 90’s and proceeded to open three restaurants. The restaurant is a family business with Nadsa running the South End location and her brother in law running the Cambridge location. The Brookline location recently closed, so I am glad I had the chance to check out the South End location. There is definitely a different vibe here – laid back atmosphere with exposed brick walls and windows that open out to the street.

IMG_7036 My favorite thing here are the Rouleaux, filled with ground pork and noodles, they are served with greens and fresh herbs. The dipping sauce tuk trey — traditionally made with prahok, or fermented fish sauce, along with lime, garlic, and peanuts — lends distinctive Cambodian flavor to the dish.


Loclac Frites à la Cambodgienne ($15) Beef tenderloin caramelized in black pepper, garlic and mushroom soy are served with homemade French fries and dressed baby greens. Think of this as the Cambodian version of steak frites! The meat is so tender and flavorful, making it another one of my favorites.

IMG_7040Pain Perdu au Sirop d’Erable au Cidre ($11) French toasts with brioche, Wood’s Cider Mills cinnamon cider maple syrup and fresh fruit. Personally I would have liked the syrup on the side, but the dish was delicious. The syrup’s flavor made this French toast stand out.

IMG_7039MeeSiem ($10) Rice noodles in a sauce of salted soy beans, tofu, PT Farm pork belly, garlic, chilies, pickles shallot; Chinese chive, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, omelet garnish. When we ordered this, I couldn’t imagine what an omelet garnish would look like, so I was pleasantly surprised. This was a really nice dish, it felt light and crisp.

IMG_7044Of course I had no room after brunch, but had to have dessert! The crepe special was delicious – it was filled with ice cream!

IMG_7043My personal favorite is the Le Pèché au Chocolat ($8.50) A rich creamy chocolate truffle cake perfectly paired with raspberry coulis. Hit me with anything raspberry coulis and I am in love – this dessert is decadent, the cake is dense so the raspberry pairs with it nicely.

Disclaimer: The Elephant Walk invited me to be their guest for brunch and provided me with a complimentary meal. All opinions are my own.

Elephant Walk

1415 Washington Street, Boston, MA

Elephant Walk on Urbanspoon

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Nix Mate 1Nix’s Mate is located in the Hilton Hotel in the Financial District. It has a modern interior with a chic club vibe. We ventured out for dinner on a Monday night so it was relatively quiet. We started with the braised short rib tacos ($12) served topped with black beans, green apple slaw and goat cheese fondu.

Nix Mate 2The clam chowder ($6) served with bacon and chives had a creamy texture and a smoky flavor.

Nix Mate 3The cheeseburger sliders ($12) came topped with sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickled cucumber and special sauce on a sesame seed bun.

Nix Mate 4Not generally on the dinner menu, but I had been there for lunch and requested it (and they kindly accommodated), the caprese salad ($12). Probably one of the better caprese salads I’ve had, this one is beefsteak tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala served on a bed of arugula and topped with basil pesto and aged balsamic.

Nix Mate 5For dessert, the three of us split the mini ice cream sandwiches ($10) served with a side of salted caramel sauce and chocolate sauce. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream sandwiched between two delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Nix Mate

89 Broad Street, Boston, MA

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IMG_5438In lieu of holiday gifts for one another, a group of us got together and went out for dinner at Alden and Harlow. We sat all the way in the back of the restaurant on the far side of the bar – which on a weekend night was a tough spot – it was right next to the door so we felt a cold draft every time someone left and the door didn’t close all the way so we would have to pull it tight each time. In addition, the bar was packed, so we were constantly getting our chairs bumped and people were hovering over our table. That being said, I love the food at Alden and Harlow. We started with the chips and dip ($8) that satisfied our salty snack craving!

IMG_5440I had the burrata that was so creamy and delicious, a really nice texture when paired with the crispy toast.

IMG_5443The Verrill Farm corn pancakes never disappoint – they come whimsically topped with popcorn and shishito peppers ($13).

IMG_5444The charred broccoli with butternut squash, hummus, bianco sardo and cashew was delicious ($13).

IMG_5445Even though it was a weekend night, the service was excellent, our dishes came out promptly and our waiter was on top of the ball.

IMG_5446Trust me when I say “oh my gravy”…it was really delicious!

IMG_5447As a side note, who can’t wait for Scelfo’s Naco Taco to open in Central Square?

IMG_5448I loved the cauliflower dish – maybe even more than the broccoli…

IMG_5449The great thing about Alden and Harlow is that they have tapas style plates – you can order a bunch of things for the table and share – allowing you to try a little bit of everything.

IMG_5450They were out of the secret burger that night, so we went with the steak instead, which came beautifully plated and the flavor did not disappoint.

IMG_5451For dessert we had the smoked chocolate bread pudding with Jacobsen Salt ice cream ($9). The smokey flavor definitely pulled through and the salt just elevated the dish to another level.

IMG_5452My favorite dessert of the night was the buttermilk and lemon pound cake with torched blackberry compote and almond whip ($9). The flavors were simple and clean and yet after licking the plate clean I found myself craving more!

Alden and Harlow

40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

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