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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

imag1765Every year my mom and I head over to the Boston Christmas Festival at the Seaport World Trade Center. One of the attractions is the gingerbread house competition. Boston’s top chefs create them and then they are sold, with all proceeds going to Housing Families, a non profit organization dedicated to ending family homelessness.
This house won best in show!

imag1766I loved the windows on the Davio’s house!

imag1767This Peter Pan inspired house won “Most Creative” & “Kid’s Choice”.

imag1768Citi Performing Arts Center/Party Favors won the 2014 “Honorable Mention” award.

imag1769Bel Ari & Les Zygomates won the 2014 “Best Tasting” award. How fun are those barnyard animals?!

imag1770Ginger Betty’s Bakery took home the 2014 “Best Decoration” award!

Which is your favorite gingerbread house?

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Itadaki 2

I recently had the opportunity to go to Itadaki and take some photos of the space and some current menu items. Itadaki is the Japanese version of a gastropub, they serve a lot of small plates here, similar to tapas. Itadaki is owned by Lena Kikuchi and Yujin Kawakami-Hess. They have teamed up with Executive Chef Kaoru Fujishiro to bring Japanese cuisine to Boston.

Itadaki 1Their upstairs dining area just got a facelift! Check out how amazing it looks! They have a great area in the back that can be closed off for private events as well as a lot of quiet corners to have a romantic dinner.

Itadaki 3They have a nice selection of ramen on the menu.

Itadaki 4A small selection of their sushi.

Itadaki 5A unique item on the menu is the sushi pizza, sushi rice that is deep fried with spicy tuna on top (scallions, onions and spicy mayo).

Itadaki 6Another great dish was the spicy tuna avocado medley that comes served in a martini glass (tuna, avocado, mayo and tobiko).

Itadaki 7In addition to the beer, wine, sake and shochu they have a great cocktail menu.

Itadaki

269 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

http://www.itadakiboston.com

Itadaki Boston on Urbanspoon

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IMG_7676Laduree in New York makes you feel like you are in Paris. The shop is charming – people are taking photos of all the beautiful pastries behind the glass.

IMG_6400I always make it a point to stop here when in New York – they have the best macarons. The shells are delicate and melt in your mouth and there is just enough ganache in each one.The pistachio is my favorite. 8 macarons cost $22.40.

IMG_7682In addition to macarons, Laduree has delicious pastries. Shown is the religieuse pistachio ($7). This was like a cream puff pastry filled with pistachio cream. Delicious and lovely to look at! These would make an excellent hostess gift!

Laduree

396 W. Broadway, New York, NY

https://www.laduree.com

Ladurée on Urbanspoon

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Good Ones Ritz Carlton 1 The Good Ones hosted a L.A. Style Power hour on Wednesday for a hand picked group of Bostonians. While the weather outside was cold and rainy, guests were warm and cozy next to the fireplace in the Ritz Carlton’s bar in downtown Boston. This intimate event allowed guests the opportunity to get to know the night’s featured guests a little better. It was great to see a lot of new faces this evening.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 2Featured guest Zev Steinmetz and Lana Bornhausen. Zev and his best friend launched a website called IDriveEroupe.com, where car enthusiasts can share pictures, text, and video from their most recent car adventures. Zev is the co-chair of the PR and Marketing committee for the Boston JNF Board and Co-Owner of Steinmetz Real Estate Professionals in Newtonville.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 3Guests killed it in their blue and black L.A. style! (L-R) Jeff and Maureen Carr.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 4(L-R) Kurt Flionis, Vice President of Credit at STAG Industrial; David Berns, Ph.D., Vice President, Risk Management & Quantitative Research.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 5(L-R) Jennifer Brooke, Co-Founder of the Good Ones; Ashley Higgins, Associate Buyer, eComm/Concept at Reebok; Sonali Lappin, Former Press Secretary, Committee to Elect Barry Finegold; featured guest Arthur Natella.

Arthur, also known as Arturo, is a consultant with Archipelago Strategies. Arthur started his career as an aid to Governor Deval Patrick and moved on to work on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign and Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial campaign. He is also a founding board member for the organization Chica Project, a state wide organization focused on closing the opportunity divide for Latinas by empowering them with the skills they need to succeed.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 6(L-R) Sasha Hoffman, Co-Founder of a Stealth Stage Startup and Ralu Zelinschi, Senior Analyst, Acquisitions at STAG Industrial.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 7For more information on the Good Ones, check out their website. A lot of people ask me what an event is like. The people are always interesting and the conversation is always good. I would go out to coffee or meet up for a drink with any of the people that I have met over the past year. Carolyn and Jennifer have brought together some really great people. Good people attract other good people.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 8(L-R) Featured guest Steven Peguero, Founder, Best Beginning Symposiums; Joeimy Gonzalez; Austin Pike.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 9(L-R) Natasha Moustache, ​Contributing Photographer – Getty Images; Carolyn Kim, Co-founder of The Good Ones; featured guest Pamela Vargas; featured guest Vanessa Alejandra Mendizabal; Mia Teitelbaum, Attorney.

Pamela Vargas was born in Medellín, Colombia and was Miss Columbia in 2008. She represents the luxury real estate market with Gibson Sotheby’s. She is a committee member for the Boston Medical Center Food for Thought, The Lenny Zakim Casino Night, the ICA’s Party on the Harbor, the Annual Gala and Wine Dinner, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Gala, Epiphany School Gala, and Bridge Boston Charter School. She is also an active board member of My Life, My Choice, which is an organization in Boston that works to empower girls to find their voice and create a positive life path for themselves.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 10For an invitation to future parties, submit your personality snapshot here: http://thegoodones.co/membership/

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 11(L-R) Nizar Taki, Otolaryngology Resident at Tufts Medical Center; Designer Candice Wu; Daniel Krizek, Investment Professional, Brookside Capital.

Good Ones Ritz Carlton 12(L-R) Featured Guest Elena Kazlas; Kurt Flionis; Oksana Barchuk.

Elena Kazlas is a Principal with ConsultEcon, Inc. headquartered in Cambridge, MA. She is a leading management and strategic economic advisor to foundations, boards and executives working with museums, aquariums and other visitor attractions around the world.

For an invitation to future parties, submit your personality snapshot here: http://thegoodones.co/membership/

 

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imag1826I think I might be the last person on earth to do a paint night type of event. The Paint Bar is located in the Back Bay on Newbury Street and is owned by local mother-daughter duo Jill Kerner Schon and Jackie Schon. Julia and I went online and picked out a class that we thought we could handle. I have no artistic talent, so Kandinsky’s Circles seemed like a good place to start, how can you mess up circles, right? So it happens to be a Sunday afternoon class, we meet at 1:30 to get settled, the class starts at 2 and lasts about 2.5 hours. The class is pretty full – there are about 25-30 people here: mothers and daughters, a couple on a date, and a bunch of girlfriends hanging out after brunch. So what is included? For $25-$45 per class you get a canvas and all the paint you will need – and the best part is that you don’t have to do ANY of the cleanup! They provide you with aprons as well, but wear something you wouldn’t mind getting paint on.

imag1829Meet Ari our instructor for the afternoon. He’s a local art student who teaches these classes on the weekend. The class has a range of talent, some who have never painted before and others who have a little bit of experience. The good part is that you don’t need to have ANY prior art experience to take the class. We tape off our squares and begin painting our circles and backgrounds.

imag1832Check out the rest of the class!

imag1833Here is a close up view of my painting about 50% of the way done.

imag1834They  have beer and wine for sale during the class as well as light snacks. I’m thinking a glass of wine could have only improved my painting!!

imag1835We pull off the tape and paint the white space black to make a bold statement. We then add other colors to our circles to make them pop and give them some dimension. Ari comes over and gives us little tips that are much appreciated: how to better hold the brush for more control and what colors might compliment and add to the painting.

imag1838So here is the final product! Not bad for a first timer!

Disclaimer: I was provided two free passes to a class. All opinions are my own.

The Paint Bar

248 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

http://www.thepaintbar.com/

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Good Ones Bistro 13For one powerful hour, The Good Ones hosted a hand selected group of Bostonians who are crushing it in their respective fields. Guests gathered on Tuesday night at Bistro du Midi in the Back Bay and snacked on light appetizers such as fried calamari, mini croque monsieur sandwiches and fried artichokes. The theme for the evening was Manhattan style: black, leather, blazers and detail.

Good Ones Bistro 1Good Ones Christine Prouty (wearing an original piece by Ty) with featured guest and Womenswear designer Ty Sinnett.

After Ty graduated Bard College in 2010 with a degree in Liberal Arts, she enrolled at the School of Fashion Design in Boston. She now produces seasonal ready-to-wear collections from her Boston-based atelier. Her eponymous collection is steeped in New England tradition, a luxe suite of classic silhouettes that are as refined as they are relaxed.

Good Ones Bistro 2

(L-R) Janak Joshi, Chief Product Officer of TactusTV.com and Janeen McCormick, Manager Market Applications at Abiomed.

Good Ones Bistro 3

(L-R) News Anchor at Channel 7 News, Janet Wu with Designer Candice Wu.

Good Ones Bistro 4

(L-R) Featured guest Ty Sinnett, Good One Christine Prouty, featured guest Hanadi Hamzeh, Abby Capobianco, and Co-founder of The Good Ones, Carolyn Kim.

Hanadi Hamzeh is the owner of the new South Boston clothing boutique, Covet, a unique shop offering high quality consignments and hand selected designer pieces. Since opening last year, Covet has received numerous accolades including the Improper Bostonian’s “Boston’s Best” award for best consignment shop, the Boston Globe’s “Best of the New” and recently being featured on Channel 5’s “Chronicle”.

Good Ones Bistro 5(L-R) Hermann Spicker, VP, Brand Development at Brand Institute and Alex Rosenblum, Founder of Pairwell Foods.

Good Ones Bistro 6

(L-R) Valerie Morando, Events Specialist at Life is good; Stephanie Miranda Harold; Dave Micalizzi, VP, Client Services at Mobiquity, Inc.; Jason Shuman,Founder, Cat5BoatShoes.com

Good Ones Bistro 7

(L-R) Jenn Boyce, Janet Wu, Eric Kramer.

Good Ones Bistro 8Good Ones Christine Prouty (in an original piece by Ty) with featured guest and Womenswear designer Ty Sinnett.

Good Ones Bistro 9
(L-R) Featured guest Debra Folz; Katy Dugan, Associate at Bingham McCutchen; Sheila Erimez, Art Director at Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Co-founder of The Good Ones, Jennifer Brooke.

Debra  has an undergraduate degree in Interior Design from Suffolk University and a Masters degree in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent partnerships of note include collaborations with Tommy Hilfiger, Helmut Lang, and Williams New York. Debra’s work has been featured in both national and international publications to include The New York Times, Fast Company, Dwell magazine, InStyle Magazine, New York Magazine, and more. Recent awards and recognition include New England Home magazine’s 5 under 40 award, nominated representative for Massachusetts: Women to Watch exhibition, and inclusion by Boston Globe Top 25 Most Stylish Bostonians.

Good Ones Bistro 10

(L-R) Designer Candice Wu with Stuart Comerford, Director FX Sales at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Good Ones Bistro 11

(L-R) Alan Rouleau, Entrepreneur with Jewelry Designer Heloisa Fitzgerald.

Good Ones Bistro 12

(L-R) Elena Kazlas, Principal with ConsultEcon, Inc. headquartered in Cambridge with Jewelry Designer Heloisa Fitzgerald.

To be invited to future events, submit your personality snapshot online: http://thegoodones.co/membership/

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IMG_7667My next stop on my macaron tour was Bisous ciao. They have locations in the West Village and on the lower east side. With macarons, you should always store them in the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you eat them. Sometimes I don’t have that much self control. We picked up six flavors ($17.20).

Pistachio: white chocolate pistachio ganache. With this one, I wished that the pistachio had a stronger flavor.

Gianduja: a classic mix of hazelbut and milk chocolate. The filling was dense, making it feel very decadent.

Almond: almond cream with toasted, chopped almonds. The flavoring was nice but the filling was a bit thick.

Caramel apple: cider, calvados and diced apple in caramel. This not a flavor that I would normally gravitate to, but it was delicious!

Lemon: lemon cream made with lemon juice and lemon zest. I loved the lemon, it was so tart!

What is your favorite macaron flavor?

Bisous Ciao Macarons

101 Stanton Street (bet. Ludlow and Orchard), New York, NY

https://www.bisousciao.com

Bisous Ciao on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0371This is another one of those posts that just got away from me. We were in Kennebunkport a few months ago and had a wonderful dinner at Ocean at the Cape Arundel Inn. See my previous posts on Hidden Pond and Earth. Ocean is the sister restaurant of Earth at Hidden Pond, The Tides Beach Club, One Dock at the Kennebunkport Inn, David’s KPT, Abbodante Trattoria and Bar, and The Dory.

IMAG0373The views here are breathtaking, even in the off season. Ocean was named on of the Top 100 Scenic Restaurants in America by Open Table reviewers. We start with a drink at the table. The Aviation ($14) is made with gin and is quite the stiff drink!

IMAG0374We start with the onion creme brulee special ($10) which was really lovely. I’ve never had a savory creme brulee before – it was truly a treat.

IMAG0375The lobster ($33) was served with gnocchi, white asparagus and fava beans. Chef Pierre Gignac did a wonderful job with this dish – light and seasonal. The dumplings were perfect and the seasonal ingredients helped showcase the sweetness of the lobster.

IMAG0376We had the steak ($34) that was cooked perfectly and had lots of rich flavors. And even though it was a steak dinner, it still managed to feel light.

Service was top notch, our waitress was on top of our every need. Ocean is a great place for a romantic date night, we highly recommend you stopping in.

Ocean at the Cape Arundel Inn

208 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, ME

http://www.capearundelinn.com/dining/

Ocean on Urbanspoon

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Most people head out to Smorgasburg for ramen burgers – which is evident by the line 30 people deep wrapping around the perimeter when we arrive. The weather was cool and the sky was getting darker by the minute, so we opted to skip the line and see what other delicious finds were out there. We didn’t want to get caught outside if it rained – we were ill prepared with no umbrellas or jackets…
imag1666So we grabbed some mac and cheese from the Milk Truck. The line was long but it moved quickly. The mac and cheese had aged cheddar, gruyere & asiago cheeses blended into a creamy bechamel sauce and was topped with fresh mozzarella and house made bread crumbs. Of course we added bacon to the mac and cheese and a vanilla milk shake on the side (made with Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla)!

Milk Truck Grilled Cheese on Urbanspoon

IMG_20141018_162753We decided to split up since the line was pretty long at the Milk Truck (divide and conquer the lunch lines!) – so our other tasty bite for lunch were these soft tacos and tasty side salad made with corn and edamame.

imag1668And for dessert, an ice cream sandwich from my favorite place, The Good Batch. I follow them on Instagram and I was hoping to grab a “crispy” (rice crispy “cookie” with vanilla ice cream) but the last one sold out two people ahead of us. :(

imag1670So we got an almond toffee (gluten free) which is an almond toffee macaroon with toasted almonds, burnt sugar caramel, toffee candy, and vanilla ice cream. The cookie was soft, which was a nice surprise, and the sandwich was gone before you could blink an eye. Thank goodness we don’t live closer!

The Good Batch on Urbanspoon

What is your favorite find at Smorgasburg?

Smorgasburg

East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, NY

http://www.smorgasburg.com/

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Davids Tea 12Last week I was invited to preview the new holiday collection at Davids Tea. They have a location right in Downtown Crossing where you can not only pick up some tea, but grab a cup to go. I personally recommend the eggnog latte and plan to go back one morning and try the matcha latte (I didn’t want to be up all night so I went with the eggnog latter instead).

Davids Tea 14I’m a novice when it comes to tea, so it was great to be able to go in and have the great people there tell me everything I need to know!

Davids Tea 1Along the back wall they have tons of tea – did you know that there is such a thing as kosher tea? DAVIDsTEA also has fair trade and organic tea! They have caffeinated teas and decaffeinated (something for everyone) – the teas are naturally decaffeinated, they don’t decaffeinate their teas that already have caffeine. You can buy the tea loose from the cans by weight or in tins like the ones below.

Davids Tea 13They have pre-filled tins of their most popular flavors for $14.50

Davids Tea 11How great are these seasonal cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes? Also on the table are the new candles that come in delicious scents like Blueberry Jam, Forever Nuts and Santa’s Secret ($19.50). On the far right are the tea filled mittens: the red is Santa’s Secret, the blue is egg nog and the green (not pictured) is sleigh ride tea filled ($9.50).

Davids Tea 2In addition to tea, the store carries a great selection of travel mugs, tea sets, accessories and delicious treats. Above are the chocolate covered pretzels ($14.50) and the pop perfections ($14.50)

Davids Tea 3They have fun little gift sets, perfect for the tea lover in your life. (Top left) The 12 teas of Christmas ($29.50); (top right) The 8 days of Tea ($19.50); (bottom) The Christmas Morning Collection ($19.50),The Green Collection ($19.50) The Nutcracker Collection ($19.50), The Black Tea Collection ($19.50)

Davids Tea 10I had the opportunity to check out a bunch of great teas! What is great about DAVIDsTEA is that if you can’t get into the store, all the things you need to know are on their website. You can find out how much tea to use per cup, water temperature and steeping time (along with allergen information). The eggnog is a green rooibos tea with white chocolate chips, with meringue powder.

Davids Tea 9Sleigh Ride (back for a limited time) has the flavors of apple, hibiscus blossoms, pineapple, papaya, beetroot, cinnamon, raisins, coconut, roasted almonds , and popped rice.

Davids Tea 8Cocomint Cream (a new flavor) has apple, coconut, sweet blackberry leaves, peppermint, spearmint, and natural coconut flavoring.

Davids Tea 7Bubbie’s Baklava (I just love the name!!) is oolong tea, with roasted chicory root, pineapple, papaya, cinnamon, walnuts, apple, ginger, roasted almonds, cardamom, rose pepper, pistachios, and rose blossom.

Davids Tea 6I had a chance to sample the chocolate macaroon flavor: it’s black tea, with toasted coconut, coconut, pecans, cacao nibs, and rock cane sugar.

Davids Tea 5The organic vanilla chai is a black tea, flavored with cinnamon, licorice root, ginger, vanilla. With natural vanilla and cream flavoring.

Davids Tea 4How cute is this? Santa’s Secret is a black tea, with peppermint and cute candy cane sprinkles.

DAVIDsTEA

Downtown Crossing – 298 Washington Street, Boston, MA

http://www.davidstea.com

DavidsTea on Urbanspoon

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