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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

IMG_7715Cupcake Charlie’s seems to be taking over all of the old cupcake bakeries. In the Natick Collection they took over the old Crumbs and in Falmouth they took over the old CupCapes space. We brought a few home to taste test for dessert. Pictured above is the “Vanilla luvs vanilla” a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with colored sprinkles. While the cake looked a little well done, it was light and fresh and the frosting was just the right level of sweetness.

IMG_7716And just to balance it out, we got a “Hostess with the Mostess” cupcake, a chocolate cake with cream filling, topped with chocolate ganache and a buttercream swirl. Again, a super fresh cupcake – I really loved this one.

Cupcake Charlie’s

153 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

www.cupcakecharlies.com

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I met Caroline for lunch mid week – we laughed as I said, “So this is what it feels like to be a lady of leisure”….not quite. Brio at lunch time was pretty quiet and the clientele was of an older crowd, a much older crowd. The restaurant is part of the new Chestnut Hill Square, it offers call ahead seating and brunch both days of the weekend. The service was a bit aloof at times – the hostess sat us right at the front of the restaurant, in the path of the drafty open door on a cool afternoon, right on top of another table and our server was a bit out to lunch himself.IMG_7904

I had the Ravioli di Bello ($13.95), portobello ravioli, crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, Parmesan and thyme in a champagne brown butter sauce. The pasta dish itself fell a little flat for me. The menu felt a little “Cheesecake Factory” and the flavors in my dish were lacking. The best part of the meal was the warm bread that they brought out to the table. On the upside, Caroline and I were catching up and we did’t feel rushed to leave our table after we ate.

Brio

200 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

http://www.brioitalian.com/chestnut_hill_square.html

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We had a guest in from out of town and we decided to spend the day walking around the Public Garden and Beacon Hill. Before we headed over there, we stopped at Post 390 for lunch. I started off with a Cranberry lime rickey ($5.50) that was tart, but I wish that the cranberry flavor would have been a bit bolder.

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The margarita flat bread ($13.50) was delicious, very light. The sliced tomatoes, paired with pesto and snipped basil were a nice choice for lunch. They also offer an herbed ricotta flat bread.

IMG_7780The chicken panini ($14) came with linguica and sambal aioli with a small side salad. Check out the enormous pickle that accompanied the dish? It made for a great plate presentation. Service was excellent and we were in and out in under 45 minutes – we were anxious to get on our way to enjoy the nice weather outside.

Post 390

406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA

http://post390restaurant.com

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I was invited to preview Bonefish Grill in Westwood, in the newly developed University Station. Bonefish opened on June 1 and offers a casual dining experience for those looking for fresh seafood. The restaurant has a great patio and a large bar area. We went on a Saturday afternoon for lunch. We were greeted by our waitress who promptly took our drink orders. The blackberry smash (non alcoholic) was a little on the sweet side, but tasty – light and fresh, perfect for the summer time.

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The Bang Bang Shrimp, their signature appetizer, is crispy shrimp in a creamy, slightly spicy sauce. While we would have liked this dish better if it had less sauce, it was a nice way to start the meal.

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The wagyu beef and ginger potstickers are pan seared with crispy onions, thai papers and soy sauce.

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Blackened Baja Fish Tacos came in three warm tortillas, with mango salsa, lime crema + shredded lettuce. The tacos tasted really light and fresh – and the portion was so big that we took half of it home!

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The wood grilled shrimp and scallops came with sugar snap peas and a side (upgraded to a deluxe side) of crab fried rice. The portion was just right on this dish and the seafood tasted really fresh.

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The crab fried rice was tasty – I would have liked to have seen everything mixed together (instead of the crab and egg placed on top) but it went really well with the seafood grilled in the asian sauce.

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The creme brûlée was served with whipped  cream and fresh berries. I love that first bite of creme brûlée, when your spoon breaks through the sugar and you get that crunch followed by the creamy custard.

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Key lime pie with a pecan crust and served with a healthy amount of whipped cream. The crust on this was really tasty – and it was the perfect crust to pie filling ratio.

The service was good for only being open 5 days. Bonefish Grill would be a great place to come to have a girls night or to watch the game at the bar. It’s great if you have kids, as there were a lot of families

Disclaimer: I was invited with a guest to dine at Bonefish Grill. Our meal was complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Bonefish Grill

174 University Ave, Westwood, MA

https://www.bonefishgrill.com

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Good Ones Barcelona 5

Last weekend, the Good Ones met on Sunday for tapas at Barcelona in the South End. I hadn’t been here since Sibling Rivalry occupied the space, boy has it been transformed!  The space is open and bright, which makes the dark wood accents pop.

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The large bar as you walk in is the focal point of the restaurant – a great place to gather with friends or make some new ones.

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The tapas selection was impressive, with a variety of meats and cheeses, veggies and small sandwiches. You can get all of these if you come in for dinner, meats are $5.50 each and cheeses are $6.50 each.

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Guests really enjoyed the make your own Bloody Mary bar, complete with olives, jalapeños, picked veggies, celery, anchovies and sriracha. How do you like your Bloody Mary?

Check out some of the people that you could meet at the next Good Ones event:

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Kaitlyn Rhodes, Immigration Paralegal​.

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Marco Ferrara, Senior Director, Business Analytics at 24M Technologies.

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Rahul Desai, Analyst​.

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Kennedy Elsey, from the Karson & Kennedy on Mix 104.1. To read more about Kennedy, check out this Bostinno article.

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April Jenkins, Consulting Analyst at Fidelity Investments.

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Christy Hinchey​, Banking.

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Jennifer Chan​, Business Analyst at Deloitte.

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Chris Cleveland Chief People Officer, Educatrium Ventures.

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Want to come to a Good Ones party? Check out the website and get on the waitlist! Each membership comes with access to three events per month and you can bring along a guest for free!

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Have you met the Good Ones mascot, Dylan? Follow his adventures on his Instagram account.

Barcelona Wine  Bar

525 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

http://www.barcelonawinebar.com/southend.htm

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Seasons 52 is a chain restaurant that came to Chestnut Hill after opening its first Massachusetts location in Burlington. They focus on fresh ingredients that are seasonally inspired and every item is 475 calories or less. There is a bar/lounge area in the front with booths surrounding the large bar in the center of the room, and a main dining room at the rear of the restaurant. We sat in the lounge and to our surprise, there was live music – a gal with a great voice who played the piano.

We start with the warm roasted tomato caprese salad ($9.25). Tomatoes are healthier when you roast them, so we were excited about this option. It came with fresh mozzarella, basil pesto and bruschetta. I loved the presentation and the rosemary was a nice addition. The flavors were bold and the “salad” was excellent – I love the new take on a caprese.IMG_7790

For my entree I had the shrimp cavatapi ($18.95), broccolini, roasted roma tomatoes, mushrooms, fire roasted peppers in an herb tomato broth. The sauce didn’t taste a whole lot like tomato – it had a warm cajun spice that felt a little out of place with the rest of the dish.

Seasons52They offer mini desserts (and the price is right) and with these single serve options, it feels ok to get more than one (don’t worry we shared!) L-R: Toasted almond amaretto ($2.95), Key Lime Pie ($2.95), S’mores ($2.95). Super cute presentation, especially on the amaretto dessert! All we delicious, ending the meal with just the right amount of sweetness.

Seasons 52

220 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

www.seasons52.com

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IMG_7447It was a beautiful, albeit windy, day on the Greenway. I met Kat out for an early lunch before the food trucks got swarmed with the lunchtime crowd. I was trying out Posto Mobile for the first time! Posto Mobile is a food truck out of Davis Square – they have a brick and mortar location on Elm Street in Somerville.

IMG_7448The food truck cooks pizza in 90 seconds in their 900 degree oven. They are camped out on the Greenway on Wednesdays and Fridays. Can’t get enough of them at lunch time? You can have them cater your event – I’m thinking this would be an awesome idea to have them come and do a summer outing for my office.

The truck had so many delicious sounding pizzas, it was hard to choose. Oh, and they have baked pastas as well (next time!!). I had the sausage pizza, with (not too) spicy sausage, mozzarella (they make it fresh every day), and oregano. The pizza is thin crust but it is soft and chewy – the sign on a great pizza is always the cough. The pizza was a generous size, I took  a half of it home with me! Great experience, great pizza and great company. Looking forward to trying out the restaurant in the near future.

Posto Mobile

Tuesday – Innovation & Design Center
Wednesday – High Street/ Rowes Wharf Plaza (High St. & Atlantic Ave) on Greenway
Thursday – West End (Blossom Street at Emerson Place behind Mass General Hospital)
Friday – High Street/ Rowes Wharf Plaza (High St. & Atlantic Ave) on Greenway

Disclaimer: Marlo Marketing invited me for lunch as their guest and provided me with a complimentary lunch. All opinions are my own.

http://www.postomobile.com

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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

http://www.tuscanbrands.com/Market/Salem/

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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 :(

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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

https://www.pret.com/

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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

http://www.seafoodsams.com/

Seafood Sam's on Urbanspoon

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