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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

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Shanghai Jade opened up in the old Zenna Noodle Bar space. While we ordered take out, we picked it up and we noticed that the space doesn’t seem like it is finished being decorated – like the college dorm room of restaurants. We ordered the pan friend raviolis (6 for $6.50) which were just average.

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The spring rolls (2 for $3.95) were crispy but lacked flavor.

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The chicken and broccoli ($10.95) was pretty tasty.

Shanghai Jade, which opened last year, has two chefs, both Chinese, one is trained in stir-fry technique and the other an expert in dim sum and noodles. The menu features Shanghai style dim sum and a dish called “strange flavored chicken”. While there are some authentic dishes on the menu you can still find favorite standby options like lo-mein and General Gau’s chicken.

Shanghai Jade

1374 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

http://www.shanghaijadebrookline.com

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Blog and Tweet Boston organized a #SundaySupper at Fiorella’s in Newton. Other bloggers in attendance were: Gourmet Pigs, Kerrie Urban, Dave and Emily Dudek, Janelle Suckley, Kristin AmicoLei Ann and Erica Thomas to name a few. The Italian restaurant was opened by Remon Karian over a decade ago when he was just 23 years old! (Remon was the former co-owner of The Breakfast Club in Allston.) The space has been newly renovated with a great addition in the front room.

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We were greeted at the door with a Blueberry Smash (Blueberry simple syrup mixed with bourbon, over ice and garnished with mint). General Manager John Gallagher has been working on ways to introduce bourbon to the menu in an accessible way.

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The breadsticks here are amazing, and paper thin…so you can have double right? They are served with Fiorella’s signature marinara dipping sauce. (Watch out Olive Garden 😉 )

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Our server brought out apps for the table to share. Antipasto Board Salami, pepperoni, parmacotto~ham, imported prosciutto, provolone cheese, marinated long stem artichoke hearts & mixed kalamata olives ($13). The parmacotto ham is a hybrid word…let me just tell you that it was like butter melting in your mouth.

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Arancini A large crisp risotto ball stuffed with mozzarella cheese & served with their signature marinara sauce ($7). Ok, large is the understatement of the year – enormous is more like it – it was the largest arancini I’ve ever seen.

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Misto A sampling of three appetizers ~ Toasted Ravioli, Stuffed Peppers Parmigiana & Calamari Fritti, served with a side of their signature marinara sauce ($13). While this was a plate of salty goodness (who can turn anything fried down?), I preferred the other appetizers.

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I could probably have stopped there, but then the server brought out pizza and flatbreads to share. Arugula Pizza Delicious pizza crust with garlic & olive~oil, caramelized onions & mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh arugula & diced tomatoes tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing, sprinkled with pecorino romano cheese. How fresh does this pizza look? If you don’t dine in, you can get one to go!

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Fiorella  Imported prosciutto & fresh mushrooms over our pizza sauce & mozzarella cheese ($8). Probably my favorite pizza of the bunch – prosciutto and mushrooms are such a great flavor combination.

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Fiorella’s Neopolitan style pizza is cooked in a 700˚F wood burning brick pizza oven. The dough can make or break a pizza (all pizzas are not created equal) and this is delicious – thin and light but still chewy.

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Bolognese Braised ground beef, veal & pork simmered with diced carrots, onions & crushed tomatoes in a red wine tomato sauce, tossed with fresh fusilli pasta ($11). Really quite good, I loved the fresh pasta. I was so full at this point that I took the majority of the dish home – and let me tell you, just like meatballs, it was even better on day 2!

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Short Rib Milanese Boneless short ribs braised slowly to perfection with pearl onions, carrots & celery, served with mashed potatoes & seasonal vegetables ($23). I had just a bite of this and it was delicious. The meat was tender and flavorful – definitely going to get this next time!

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Meatball Calzone Homemade meatballs, mozzarella cheese & our pizza sauce ($11). This was delicious, the meatballs were really flavorful, maybe they will tell me their secret? Or I can just head over to one of their express locations (Belmont, Brighton or Cambridge) and pick up some and pass them off as home made 😉

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Tiramisu Soft sponge cake soaked with vanilla & espresso coffee, layered with sweet mascarpone & dusted with cocoa powder ($7). At this point I was so stuffed I could barely get up from my chair!

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Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest to Fiorella’s Sunday Supper. My meal was complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Fiorella’s

187 North Main Street, Newtonville, MA

http://www.fiorellasnewton.com

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The best part about Cape Cod and the summer is ice cream (obviously!). Enter Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium. Located on Main Street, the line here in the summer can wrap around the store and out the door. While you wait in line to order, you are surrounded by a glass wall of house made chocolates and other sweet treats. You’re salivating before you even get to order your ice cream! Behind the counter, young college kids home for the summer scoop your ice cream – the small is enormous (see above). My favorite, the butter crunch.

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This is the kiddie size (in strawberry), and it is still pretty large – probably a small at most other places. They have since added a smaller size than kiddie, but you have to be under 5 to order it! So if you’re in the area, stop in for some ice cream or chocolates – I personally recommend the fudge!

Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium

209 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

http://www.benandbills.com

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IMG_7011Owner Tzurit Or opened Tatte in 2007 after moving to the US from Israel in 2004. The small shop in Brookline led to 4 additional locations around Boston/Cambridge and you can even buy Tatte’s pastries online. Brookline’s location has a few tables inside which are a little cramped on most days, but what’s great is that now that it is warmer, there are a bunch of tables outside. Even at 4pm, they are crowded! In addition to pastries and coffee, Tatte offers breakfast sandwiches and eggs in the morning and a variety of sandwiches at lunchtime.

IMG_7013The blueberry clafoutis: a buttery crust filled with vanilla cream and it is topped with fresh blueberries.

IMG_7016Tatte is known for their nut boxes, the pistachio is my favorite with a toasted pistachio caramelized filling and a buttery crust. Other flavors include almond, pecan and cashew.

IMG_7019My favorite was the crumbs cheesecake, it was light and creamy – I almost forgot it was cheesecake!

Check out Tatte’s Instagram account, the images are outstanding and will have you drooling.

Tatte Bakery

1003 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

http://tattebakery.com/

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The Good Ones met up last week in Cambridge at Study for a back to school themed party. The Kendall Square hot spot is a sister restaurant to the Ames Street Deli, Journeyman and Backbar.

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I always love seeing how guests interpret the suggested attire. Matthew Tambiah always comes dressed to impress – see some of his other outfits here.

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Scott Wieman.

A Good Ones membership comes with access to three events per month and you are invited to bring one complimentary guest to each of those events. Membership is carefully curated – these are people you want to get to know – they’re mentors students, entrepreneurs, foodies and travel enthusiasts (among others). The conversation will always be interesting!

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Each event has a featured guest, tonight’s was Donald Sull, a global expert on strategy and execution in turbulent markets. He is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and was formerly a Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, where he won three teaching awards. He is a three time Harvard grad. He has published three award-winning books, ten best-selling Harvard Business Review articles, and over 100 case studies, articles, and book chapters on strategy and execution in turbulent markets. The Economist identified his theory of active inertia as an idea that shaped business management over the past century and Fortune listed him among the ten new management gurus.

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Sam Treadway, co-owner and manager of Backbar and Ames Street Deli was holding down the bar. Check out this cool video of Sam at a recent competition.

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As expected, the cocktails were impressive.

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The 5th year potions drink was a popular choice, such a fun presentation!

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Rahul Desai, Analyst​.

Events are held in Boston and Cambridge at some of the hottest restaurants. Previous events have been held at Liquid Art House, Barcelona, Trade and the Avery Bar to name a few. In addition to restaurants, the Good Ones have events at some unconventional places too: Limelight Stage (a karaoke bar), Neena’s Lighting, Bee’s Knees Supply Company and a private roof deck.

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Oksana Barchuk, Educatius International.

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Lizzie Schultz Mcguire, Senior Event Coordinator at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Ivan Badinksi, Economics Consultant.

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Donald Sull.

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Lizzie Schultz Mcguire, Eric Kramer, Carolyn Kim.

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Interested in becoming a #GoodOne? Check out their website for more information about becoming a member.

Study

73 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

http://studyrestaurant.com

 

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We met my mom for lunch at Besito is Chestnut Hill. A great spot in the Chestnut Hill Mall. It’s a chain, but you’d never know it.

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Besito translates into “Little Kiss” and serves up delicious Mexican cuisine.

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We get the table side guacamole ($9.95) to start.

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The camarones ajillo ($22.95) is one of my favorite dishes – jumbo shrimp and organic crimini and button mushrooms cooked in a garlic chile salsa, mashed boniato, pico de gallo. There’s a nice sweetness to this dish which I love.

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Chicken tacos ($10.95) adobo marinated grilled chicken breast, melted queso Chihuahua, pico de gallo, avocado salsa verde and chile de arbol salsa.

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The dish came with rice and black beans.

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We had the tres leches cake ($7) for dessert. Delicious – I highly recommend it! The cake was light and the flavor is crave-worthy.

Besito

(Located in the Chestnut Hill Mall)

199 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

www.besitomexican.com

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The Natick location of Paul is the second of three in Massachusetts, other locations include Assembly Row in Somerville and the newest location in the Financial District on Washington Street.

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The pastry case will having you drooling over decadent sweets – check out the size of those macarons!

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In addition to the sweets and freshly baked breads, Paul offers breakfast an lunch in their cafe – with a variety of soups, sandwiches,and quiche.

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My favorite thing of all the sweets we tested were the croissants, filled with things like chocolate, almonds pastry cream and chocolate.

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1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA

Located inside the Natick Mall

http://www.paul-usa.com/

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I have seen The Barking Claw’s cart for some time outside in Grumpy’s Pub’s parking lot.

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To be honest, my first thought was: lobster from a cart? How good could that be? How fresh is it? Did it come from a plastic tub? But then I thought, if the lobster rolls weren’t delicious, I wouldn’t see the cart there year after year. So this was the year that I was going to try one. We stopped over on a Sunday afternoon (they are only open Wed-Sun, 11-3) to give one a try.

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The lobster rolls are well priced at $16. You can also get hot dogs or a stuffed quahog.IMG_8204

Owner Bill Swain loads the lobster rolls up with a good deal of lobster meat. There’s no mayo here (thank goodness), just lobster and some butter with a little bit of lettuce on a toasted hot dog bun.
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I have to say that I was a fool not to have stopped earlier, these lobster rolls rank right up at the top of my list. The lobster is fresh and sweet. The presentation is simple, letting the lobster speak for itself.

The Barking Claw

29 Locust Road, Falmouth, MA

In the parking lot at Grumpy’s Pub

https://www.facebook.com/TheBarkingClaw/timeline

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Steve’s Pizzeria is where the locals go for pizza. If you eat in, know that there isn’t a lot of ambiance – if you’re looking for more of a restaurant feel, head over to Stone L’oven across the street. Steve’s offers take out and delivery as well. We love the pepperoni pizza there, well done of course! Steve’s also offers a variety of subs, calzones and pastas.

Steve’s Pizzeria

374 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

http://www.stevespizzeriaandmore.com/

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I’ll admit that I’m not much of a coffee drinker – that is, I don’t know much about it, except for what I like and what I don’t like. I hadn’t heard of Dean’s Beans before, but they are a great small company located out in Orange, MA. It was founded by Dean Cycon over two decades ago and their mission has always been to use high quality coffee as a vehicle for progressive change. They only purchase from small farmer cooperatives and work directly with them to help produce the best possible coffee. Choosing to buy a coffee from a company that is socially responsible just makes you feel good. I was reading over some of their literature and they have done some great things: In Ethiopia, in partnership with Grounds for Health, they embarked on an innovative, community based cervical cancer detection and treatment program (cervical cancer is the largest cancer killer of women in the Global South) with their partner, Sidama Cooperative. In Peru, they deepened their relationship with the Oro Verde Cooperative – interns started recycling and reforestation program and they taught English.

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So when they reached out to me, I was excited to try their coffee. All of their coffee is organic, fair trade and kosher. If you check out their website they have lots of flavors to choose from, or you can create your own blend! The website tells you cupping notes about each blend and the flavor profile. You can choose what grind you’d like (from whole bean to finely ground) and what size (1 lb or  5 lbs).

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I tried the Uprising! Breakfast Blend ($8.99 for a 1 lb bag and $43.95 for a 5 lb bag.), it was a mix of Honduran (hearty), Peruvian (sweet) and Nicaraguan (bold and dry). I love the smell of coffee, that first deep breath you inhale when you open the bag! The coffee was good – really smooth. The flavor profile says: 8.5 body, 8 flavor, 8 acid, 8 aroma, 8 aftertaste.

IMG_9744There’s nothing like breakfast on the porch – we had our Dean’s Beans coffee with a lemon poppy muffin from Harvest Market.

Another cool thing about Dean’s Beans is that they make ReCUPs, environmentally friendly pods for your K-cup machine. (If you haven’t read the article on K-Cups from the Atlantic, you can find it here.) Their ReCUPs are #5 Recyclable and they are only filled in small batches, so you get the freshest coffee possible. The Ring of Fire ReCUP is a dark blend of high mountain beans from the volcanic soils of Indonesia, Timor and Papua New Guinea! They are $8.99 for 12 ReCUPs.

Dean’s Beans sells more than just coffee too! They offer organic, fair trade sugar and/or cocoa products in their Sweet Justice line. I tried their Java Drops, Vienna-roasted, shade grown Guatemalan and Mexican coffee beans covered in dark chocolate. I love the crunch!! You can buy them in a 1 lb ($9.99) or 5 lb ($48.95) bag.

Disclaimer: I was offered samples of Dean’s Beans for a review. All opinions are my own.

For more information on Dean’s Beans, or to order, check out their website: https://deansbeans.com/

 

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