Right before the holidays I was invited to a blogger dinner at The Cottage in Wellesley to showcase the restaurant and the shops that are close by. We ate in the private room in the back of the restaurant. The table was beautifully decorated with linens from Bonsoir, a store that sells luxury linens from France, Italy and the US.
We started off with a sampling of appetizers, the beef tenderloin crostini and the mini crab cakes. The beef tenderloin was served with a whipped goat cheese spread, homemade sweet onion jam and placed on a piece of ciabatta crostini. The mini crab cakes were served with a basil vinaigrette and placed on a bed of roasted corn and frisee salad.
The goat cheese salad was served with caramelized walnuts, roasted red peppers, and topped with a light balsamic vinaigrette.
One of my favorite dishes of the night was the lamb bolognese that was topped with some fresh local ricotta. The dish was a winter comfort dish with cumin undertones.
The chicken milanese was served with a shaved fennel and arugula salad and topped with a lemon thyme vinaigrette.
The mahi fish tacos were served with guacamole, napa cabbage, pico de gallo, and cottage baja sauce. It was served in two corn tortillas and had a side of papaya salsa.
The trio of desserts included a chocolate souffle cake, white chocolate raspberry bread pudding and a cheesecake.
The different shops at Linden Square had tables showcasing their products. For a full list of shops, check out the Linden Square website. How amazing is this statement necklace from Impulse? They have the latest in fashion forward jewelry. See their website here.
Have a fur baby? Check out Unleashed by PETCO. Since I was the only one with a cat, I took home some pretty cute toys and treats – although my cat is so old and grumpy when I showed them to him he just glared at me….
Yup, he can’t be bothered…
Another fabulous part of this evening was a manicure at Bella Sante. Located just above The Cottage, the spa was much more spacious that I had originally thought it would be. I was running late for the dinner, but they still managed to squeeze me in! Laura did a fabulous job on my nails and they lasted a whole week, which for me is huge – usually by day 3 I manage to destroy my nails.
Disclaimer: I was invited to The Cottage as a guest for this special holiday dinner. My meal was provided complimentary, as well as my manicure at Bella Sante. In addition, I received gift bag with discounts and gift cards to the shops at Linden Square for attending. All opinions are my own.
190 Linden Street, Wellesley, MA
Peter had the afternoon off of work so we headed over to try out Seoul Soulongtang in Allston. Half of their menu is variations of beef soup with the other items making up the combination plates. What is Soulongtang? It’s white ox bone broth with brisket, marrow and thin flour noodles with salt and scallions.
The restaurant leaves a little something to be desired decor wise. The tables in the front are all two tops pushed together to make tables of 6/8, so you may be sitting with strangers.
We love all of the complimentary items they bring out, we love us some kimchi.
We decide to do the kalbi tang, beef broth with premium short ribs. Just note that the sort ribs are bone in, so they are a little tricky to eat – you basically have to stick the whole thing in your mouth and spit out the bone. This soup would be amazing on a cold, snowy night!
We both had the kalbi tang combination plate ($19.95) with bulgogi, grilled beef with onions and soy sauce. The combo plate came with a side of white rice. $20 for lunch is a bit on the pricey side, but you can definitely get two meals out of this.
1245 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, MA
January is all about catching up on posts from the end of the year. With the holidays and the new year, time just flew! So back at the end of November, Leah, Dori and I headed over to the Harpoon Brewery for the Dundee VI Brawl at the Hall. People packed in to taste meat pies made by local celebrity chefs. Previous winners are as follows: 1) Sam Monsour 2) Chin Kuo (Saus) 3) Samuel Jackson (KO Pies) 4) Chin Kuo (Saus) 5) Current champs, Mike DiSabatino and James DiSabatino (Roxy’s).
In the spirit of competition, they had some pretty amusing chef bios. Here’s just one:
Ryan “The Pork Peddler” McGuire was born on the mean streets of Cape Cod. At an early age he realized that he did not have a jump shot, so his only chance for fame and dollar bills was to sling pork out of the back door of his mother’s kitchen. With bigger aspirations than pork on the Cape, he grabbed his brother Kevin “The Sloppy Sailor” McGuire on a journey to make the greatest pork meat pie known to man. With a slab of pork in one hand and a dark and stormy in the other, they have achieved greatness peddling the world’s best pork pies. They will be entering the meat pie octagon with a mariachi band in tow playing their theme music of “momma gonna knock you out” so everyone knows how serious they really are about knocking out the competition with their pork.
Everyone got a score card that the chefs marked off when you went up to get a pie. The event was really well run, you never really waited in line too long for a pie.
First up the Shepard’s Pie Meat Pie – Stewed lamb and beef, smoked corn gravy, habanero and jack cheesy mash, black garlic ketchup. When I think of lamb, I think gamey. This wasn’t at all and it had a little bit of a kick to it! Some serious comfort food!
Shrimp, Oyster and Crab Gumbo. All the pie crust were made by KO Pies, and this one was perfect. The filling was so flavorful!
“Lobster Rangoon” with butter poached lobster, allium cream cheese and sweet and sour sauce. I think that people were wowed by the ingredients of this pie. It was creamy but the mint and sweet and sour sauces really kicked the pie up a notch.
Al Pastor with pineapple, mushroom and chicharron. This was delicious, well balance flavors and I loved the sweetness.
North Shore Three Way – Roast seasoned beef, American cheese, brown bbq sauce, kewpie and crispy onions.The filling here was tender and the sauce was tasty (but a little too heavy if you must ask).
The Clam Alamb a Ding Dong – a baked stuffed clam pie with chowder sauce. I didn’t really get a clam taste on this one, garlic overpowered this pie, but don’t get me wrong, we ate this one all up!
The Steakbomb Sub – Short rib, pastrami rub mornay, whipped salami, peppers and onions. The meat was peppery and flavorful and the sauce was thick and creamy – a really well done pie.
Crawfish Pie – Fritos, jack cheese, smoked monsanto corn, essential andouille oil. I love fritos on anything nd this was just perfect. There was a nice crunch and a little bit of a kick – another flavorful pie.
The Pork Hat Pie. I liked the pickle addition, it gave this pie a little but of a punch and the mashed potatoes inside were delicious.
The Chili Mac Smack – with short rib chili, tallegio mac n’ cheese and a wild mushroom salsa. This was one of my top choices – the mac n’ cheese was delicious and the mushrooms melded really well here.
The Ruben – with swiss cheese mornay, mustard, pastrami and kraut. You know Chef Nookie from Commonwealth was going to go big or go home, and he brought his A game with his pastrami pie. It was a like the perfect Jewish deli sandwich in a pie – the pastrami was well seasoned and while I generally don’t love kraut, this was a really nice addition to the pie – subtle.
Chicken and Quinoa Meatball Pie – with Chinese garlic sauce, spicy mayo and spicy peanuts. Kate Holowchik was the only female chef in the competition tonight, and she brought it with her chicken meatballs. While I generally shy away from chicken meatballs in general, these were really flavorful and the perfect texture. The pie would have been perfect on its own, even without the sauce.
Check out the fun photos from the night, courtesy of The Danger Booth! Congrats to all the participants – all the pies were delicious! The winner of the battle was Chin Kuo with his Lobstah Rangoon pie. Nice work Saus for bringing home the championship for the third time!
Samuel Jackson, Michael Serpa, Chris Douglass, Mike and James DiSabatino, Steve “Nookie” Postal, Ryan and Kevin McGuire, Kate Holowchik, Matt Drummond, Dan Amighi, Chin Kuo, Samuel Monsour, and Nicholas Dixon.
So let’s be honest, how many of you made the resolution to be healthier in 2016? I bet a lot of you. That’s why gyms are so crowded starting January 1st and when you walk into a store, the first thing you see is workout gear and exercise equipment. How many of you got a Fitbit/Jawbone/Misfit this year for the holidays? I know my niece did!
Jewelery designer Heloisa Fitzgerald and her business partners just launched Blingtec, a Boston based jewelry/wearables company that blends traditional jewelry and next generation biometric tracking. Blingtec is producing a product that is beautiful and functional.
The new line consists of these pieces in 18K yellow, white and rose gold plated:
Center and side charms for Fitbit Charge and Charge HR
Pendant holder/necklace for Fitbit Flex
Center charm for Fitbit Flex bracelet
Center and side charms for Jawbone Up
Bangle bracelet for Jawbone Up and Up 3 + 4
For more information or to purchase a piece from Blingtec, check out their website: http://www.blingtec.com
Happy New Year! I thought I would start this year off with the last event in December I went to hosted by the Good Ones.
A select group of Good Ones headed out to Beacon Hill to mingle, shop and meet some amazing founders at Follain.
The name Follain is Gaelic for “healthy, wholesome and sound”.
There aren’t a lot of restrictions in the beauty industry in the United States. Follain carries only the highest quality healthy beauty products available.
Check out this list of brands that they carry.
Tau Zaman and Dr. Nada Milosavljevic (founder SageTonic.com) checking out the Sage Tonic mobile app. From the website:
The Sage Tonic mobile app is a modern sensory platform, which supports common mind-body conditions with the touch of your finger. Whether you are on the road, or at home, you can login on your mobile device to create a customized treatment just right for you.
Our sensory platform provides a sense specific therapy to target common symptoms such as stress, fatigue, poor focus, etc. Each of your senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch can be engaged in a personalized session you help to design. Based on your sensory selections a program is created to target your current condition.
Sage Tonic is an innovative hollistic program for wellness. The products are specially formulated, all natural and non GMO. High quality teas and tisanes include: Relax – lemon balm and passion flower; Happiness – green tea and St. John’s wort; Sleep – lavender and valerian; Clear Head – cinnamon and peppermint; Energy – black tea and grapefruit; and Focus – green tea and ginseng. They also have a line of essential oil towelettes. The line includes: Relax – lavender and neroli; Happiness – bergamot and clary sage; Sleep – lavender and patchouli; Clear Head – peppermint and geranium; Energy – grapefruit and lime and Focus – basil and rosemary. I was lucky enough to take home a sample of the Relax towelettes and it was like having a spa moment on the go. You open up the packet and release the essential oils and breathe it all in – you can feel the stress melting away!
Ali Jawin, Adrian Wong (owner of Beta Burger), Suvd Tsolmon. Check out my recent review of Beta Burger here.
Dr. Nada Milosavljevic and Christina Wang, Founder of Six Tomatoes, an international strategy and business development company providing strategic advice to clients in food & beverage, education, and non-profit sectors.
Katie Dolaher, Jenni, Iva.
On left and right (Founders of Organic Bath Co.), Jay & Gianne, center is Follain Brand Ambassador.
Organic Bath Co makes a full line of body scrubs, body butter, body oil, body wash and more. When I’m looking for something scented, I love the “Stress Less” organic body scrub, made with almond, apricot, sunflower and calming lavender oils. When I’m just in the mood for the scrub, without the scent, they have a “naked” body scrub that is unscented but still exfoliates and hydrates, leaving your skin super smooth.
Matthew Tambiah, Jen Burney (Founder Amber Blue). Amber Blue is an environmentally friendly organic skincare line. Jen is a master herbalist and aromatherapist – she makes all of the products in small batches and packages everything by hand.
Regan Cleminson and Dr. Nada.
Steve Osemwenkhae, the Good Ones super talented videographer, who is currently working on a no makeup series.
Want to join the Good Ones in 2016? Check out their website: https://thegoodones.co
I took my mom to an event at BeadKreative in Somerville and since we were in the area, we decided to have dinner at Casa B, one of our favorite spots! Check out my previous reviews here and here. I love sitting downstairs at the bar/chef’s table.
We start with the bollos con jamon serrano con salsa de guayaba ($11) white polenta corn toast, serrano ham and guava sauce. I didn’t know how I would like the guava sauce on this, but it was really a nice compliment to the dish – it added just the right amount of sweetness to the salty ham.
Next up was the camarones rellenos de yuca envueltos en tocineta con salsa de cilantro y jengibre ($15) yucca stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon + cilantro ginger dipping sauce. Bacon wrapped anything is right up my alley, these were so flavorful!
I saw one of these go out of the kitchen and HAD to have one. Give me some of that tres leches!! The tres leches pudín de leches (condensada, evaporada, crema), salsa de chocolate, merengue, canela ($12) three milk cake (condensed, evaporated, cream) with Taza Chocolate ganache, soft merengue + cinnamon is live heaven on a plate. The cake itself is drool worthy on its own, but add in the ganache and the house made merengue and you have a winner folks! I could have eaten 10 of these desserts! I highly recocommend stopping in, you won’t be disappointed with your meal – I’ve never been!
253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA
My friend Lollie shares my obsession with doughnuts (OK, I have an obsession with all dessert…)- so we decided to meet up for a little “research”. Lollie, Leah and I headed over to Blackbird Doughnuts and picked up a few to try. Don’t worry, this was a working lunch meeting 😉 Now that I look at this photo, it looks like we pigged out on doughnuts, I swear, my box only had 4 inside…I love that the boxes are pizza boxes turned inside out!
LEMON DARK CHOCOLATE
COFFEE & BACON
BLACK RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE
PUMPKIN PIE BISMARCK
MAPLE PEANUT BUTTER
CHOCOLATE OLD FASHIONED CAKE
Blackbird is the city’s only artisanal doughnut shop that bakes on site. They sell coffee as well as make soft serve ice cream doughnut sandwiches (droooooool!!). Note that they don’t have seating inside the shop so you either need the willpower to make it home first or grab a seat on the benches outside and enjoy your doughnuts!
492 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Parkside Market is a cute little place right on Main Street in Falmouth. They offer breakfast all day and lunch until 4pm. There are cafe tables inside and a few tables outside on the sidewalk.
I had the housemade egg salad ($8) on toasted wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. The egg salad was good, it wasn’t overpowered with mayo and had celery and onions mixed in. We didn’t get the handcut fries this time, but you definitely should if you decide to stop in! The breakfast here is delicious, I especially like the classic that comes with two eggs, any style, with toast and your choice of meat. You order at the counter and the servers will bring you your food as it is made. Nice to have another option for lunch on Main Street. Breakfast will run between $7-$9 and sandwiches or salads can run between $7 and $12 (the exception being the options with lobster).
281 Main Street, Falmouth, MA
We went to visit my brother in North Carolina and he took us to one of his favorite places for breakfast. The Daily Grind is a great little coffee shop where you can grab a bite to eat and do a little work on your laptop – oh, and they have great coffee too. If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by, my brothers photos are up on the wall – he’s a super talented photographer and has some amazing photos of Alaska printed on metal for sale.
While they offer some good options for people on the go – like pieces of fruit and bagels, they also make delicious omelettes. I had the Western, which was delicious, served with fresh fruit and toast.
My brother told me that their specialty is crepes, so of course we went back to try them out! They offer both sweet and savory options for crepes, like smoked salmon, crab alfredo or their most popular, the California crepe, with all natural eggs, avocado, sundried tomatoes, turkey sausage, baby swiss, seasonal greens and creamy pesto.
Of course we went for the sweet option – my brother’s go to crepe, the black and white ($9) with fresh seasonal berries, nutella, white chocolate, crushed biscuits and topped with whipped cream. So decadent and delicious! Between the thin crepes and the fresh fruit, I almost could trick myself into thinking that this was healthy (let’s not talk about all the chocolate and cookies haha).
The service is excellent, Mike the owner is usually around and he couldn’t be nicer. There is a ton of parking with both indoor an outdoor seating. Stop in and you’ll make this your new go to coffee stop!
2000 Boulderstone Way, Cary, NC