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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

imag1859It seems like every time Meredith and I go out to birthday dinners the weather is horrible. It’s cold and rainy tonight – and guess who forgot their umbrella! We headed over to the seaport to MC Spiedo for dinner to celebrate my belated birthday.

imag1862I was surprised to find that the restaurant was located in the Renaissance Hotel, I guess I should have done my homework!

imag1864The decor definitely makes a statement, from the soft light to the plush red booths to the wine wall. I love these private booths along the back wall.

imag1865Our waiter  wheels the market cart and explains some of the options: stuffed eggs, celery heart salad, marinated olives, prosciutto wrapped pears and artichoke spread to name a few. All appetizers on the cart are $5. Meredith gets the prosciutto and pear and was a bit disappointed. We order a few cheeses instead, but the waiter ends up forgetting to bring them out and we go straight to our entrees. If you know me at all, it was the bolognese for this gal. The sauce is thick and gravy like and comes topped with herbs and shaved Parmesan cheese ($21 full, $13 half). The pasta itself is hand made by the chefs daily. A really nice dish over all.

imag1866Meredith went with the braised rabbit pappardelle with butternut squash and swiss chard ($18). The meat was tender and the squash didn’t overwhelm the dish.

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For desert we went with the hazelnut tort ($7). When I think hazelnut tort, I think graham cracker crust and a hazelnut filling. This was more like a cake with a light hazelnut whipped filling and a custard. The presentation was lovely, however the cake was a bit dry and the dessert felt a bit disjointed. Overall, not one of our best meals together, but ultimately it is more about the company than the food.

MC Speido

606 Congress Street, Boston, MA (Located in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel)

http://mcspiedoboston.com/

MC Spiedo on Urbanspoon

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IMG_5192I love a good burger, so I was excited to see that Lee’s Burger Place was taking over the old Naked Pizza space on Beacon Street in Coolidge Corner.

IMG_5191The interior is stark, harsh white light and not much in the way of decor – no matter, I was here for takeout.

IMG_5190They have a good selection of burgers and burger alternatives, as well as sides and shakes. While waiting in line I overheard multiple people wondering why they didn’t just have chocolate shakes…(apparently the godiva shake tastes like chocolate but there is no chocolate in it – according to the guy at the counter).

imag1869The first time I went, I ordered for me and a few friends, three burgers: 2 bacon cheeseburgers, 1 teriyaki burger, a side of fries, a side of onion rings and a raspberry shake. After being open for only 5 days, they told me they had run out of ice cream, so no shake. I went with the raspberry smoothie instead. When I got home and opened the bag, I realized that my fries were missing, so we all had to split the onion rings.

imag1871The raspberry shake  was delicious.

IMG_5198The second time I went back on a Friday night. They had ice cream today so I had a strawberry shake – which was bland, I would have been better off with another smoothie. I didn’t want another burger this week, so I went with the grilled cheese. The cheese was melted but the bread wasn’t toasted. Nothing like melted cheese on soft white bread.

IMG_5202I ordered the onion rings again because they were really good – but again, when I went home, there were no onion rings – instead two orders of sweet potato fries. The fries could have been good, but in the 5 minutes it took to drive home apparently they went soggy…

Overall the food was ok, totally hit or miss. I think they still need to work out the kinks. The lesson here is check your receipt to make sure they put in what you actually ordered and check your bag before you leave to make sure that you have everything you ordered. I sent Lee’s a Facebook message last week letting them know I was disappointed with the level of service…still waiting to hear back!

Lee’s Burger Place

1331 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

See their Facebook page here

Lee's Burger Place on Urbanspoon

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imag1842I was invited to the CambridgeSide Galleria for a Glamour Swap along with about 30 other bloggers (Check out the hashtag #bloggerholiday). The evening started with champagne and some light bites.

imag1843There were tables set up around the perimeter with different gift ideas for the holiday season. I was into these headphones! Other items showcased included accessories, tech gifts, and outfits from stores in the mall.

imag1844The hummus was popular, made with Tuscan white beans and topped with housemade checca.

imag1845The light bites were provided by California Pizza Kitchen.

imag1850After we had a chance to browse the gift ideas and do some light snacking, we started with the Yankee Swap. The CambridgeSide Galleria provided all the gifts for the swap. Some of the items up for grabs were a Shiseido gift set, a mani/pedi gift certificate, gift cards to PF Changs and The Cheesecake Factory, Kate Spade bags, knit bejeweled headbands and more! I took home a Celtics bedazzled shirt from Rosters!

imag1847All the bloggers in attendance went home with great swag bags filled with samples, coupons and even free parking vouchers! Thanks CambridgeSide Galleria and Blog and Tweet Boston for a great evening!

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I always try to get a jump on holiday shopping and then end up with no idea what to buy! Gift cards are convenient, but are so boring. So here are some fun gift ideas for this holiday season!

seltzer  Forlan y Cia 14 Worked Glass Vintage Seltzer Bottle from the Seltzer Shop, $195

UntitledMalta Lantern from Pottery Barn, $119 for the large and $249 for the extra large

seabags.com 2014-11-29 16 41 52Monogram pillow made from sailcloth from Sea Bags, $155.

UntitledThe Big Tasty sampler from EH Chocolatier, $28. The sampler includes: ancho bar, beernut bar, caramelized white chocolate bar, crispy milk bar, chocolate chew, coconutty bar, peanut butter crunch bar, pecan cluster, rocher, and a toffee crunch bar.

Other choices from EH Chocolatier would be the petite pumpkin pie macarons, $14.

UntitledGlass birds in love ornament, made by Glak Love, ornaments made from vintage film negatives, $16.

lid lifterLid Lifters from Container Store, $6.99

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Organic Body Scrub from Organic Bath Co. $27. While the scrubs come in wonderful scents like RefreshMINT, SubLime, Zesty Morning, Stress Less and Spiced Cacao – I love the “Naked” product, unscented and 100% organic – it exfoliates and hydrates while removing dirt and dead skin.

UntitledThe Elle bangle from Sarah Chloe, shown in gold but love the sterling silver too, $129.

UntitledThe Samsung NX Mini, sold at Best Buy $449.  Comes with a 9-27mm lens that you can switch out with other lenses (sold separately) and has built in wi-fi.

UntitledGold Tip Spout Apothecary Dispenser from Haven, $25.

UntitledFoil stamped Boston map from Minted, 11×14, $98 including frame.

UntitledElizabeth and James blue sapphire bangle from Anthropolgie, $218.

RBGBicycle paintings, oil on canvas, by Red Bicycle Gallery, $125.

What is your go to gift this holiday season?

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imag1753Cheeseboy first opened its doors in 2009 in CT and opened their first Boston location in 2010 in South Station. They have over a half a dozen sandwiches to choose from and if you still can’t find something you like, you can design your own. In addition to sandwiches, Cheeseboy offers breakfast sandwiches and sweets along with side soups and salads.

imag1754The downtown crossing location opened in 2013, which is bustling at all times.

imag1755I had the Mac ‘N Melt, all-natural mac & cheese (made with local aged cheddar, Monterey Jack, cream, and spices), hickory bacon, and local aged cheddar on artisan white bread. The sandwich was decadent, I couldn’t even finish the whole thing it was that rich! The sandwich was tasty and the service was quick and friendly – a great spot to grab a bite to eat for lunch.

What’s your go to grilled cheese sandwich?

Cheeseboy

280 Washington Street, Boston, MA

http://cheeseboy.com

Cheeseboy on Urbanspoon

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imag1799It was my dad’s birthday, so we decided to take him out to one of my favorite spots, Liquid Art House. We made our reservation with Reserve, a new reservation app brought to you by the people who brought you Uber. You use the app to make the reservation and you load in your credit card just like you do with Uber – you can leave your wallet at home!

imag1801All the bread is made in house by Master Baker Maurizio Odermatt.  Yuna, one of the managers at LAH (and owner of Y/A Apparel) is there to welcome us. She makes every visit special – her customer service is top notch!

imag1802We start with the large order of the mushroom dumplings, $25, that are topped with porcini cream, shiitake chips and sour cream. Each one is like a work of art.

imag1805We also have a large order of the Lithuanian farmer’s cheese dumplings, $25, served with aged gouda, asian pear and grain mustard. These are my absolute favorites.

imag1807Now that Hamersley’s is gone, where will you go for chicken? Answer, Liquid Art House. I ordered the Green Circle half chicken that is made on “Lulu” the rotisserie. I have said it before and I will say it again, this is everything you could ever want in  a chicken, it’s juicy and flavorful, tender and just the right amount of crisp on the skin.

imag1808My mom orders the Muscovy duck, $35, that is accompanied by duck confit farrotto, radish, spicy sprouts and toasted rice vinegar caramel. An amazing dish by chef Rachel Klein.

imag1814The desserts are made by the wildly talented pastry chef Giselle Miller. We get the Newton’s Apple, $14: brown butter steam cake, toasted brioche cream, crispin apples, pecan, dark raisins, calvados, celery and cannele ice cream.

imag1815The French pear consumme, $14: roasted bosc pear mousseline, pain d’épices, inniskillin compressed pears, burnt honey, fennel with crema earl grey ice cream.

img_20141114_205108And something new, at LAH, Macarons. You can eat them at the restaurant or take them to go – they have cute little boxes to get them home with you in one piece. Flavors include: maple, pistachio, cranberry, pumpkin pie and chocolate. My favorites are the pistachio and the pumpkin pie!

img_20141114_211848The service was excellent – our waiter was well informed of the menu items and gave us great suggestions and was always close by should we need anything. At the end of the meal this cute little card is placed on our table. My credit card is on file and I selected the tip percentage ahead of time – so we are good to go whenever we are ready. Before we go, we get an art tour with Silvi Naci, LAH’s art director. The Ready to Bare collection will be showing until January 5th.  What’s wonderful about LAH’s collection is that there is something for everyone’s budget: high end one of a kind prints and paintings for serious collectors and prints for those who just love art. Walking around with Silvi is such a treat, she tells us the artist’s background and gives us some history – you can tell that she loves what she does by the passion in her voice when she talks about the pieces.

imag1818And as a little a end of meal treat, a few extra goodies!

Liquid Art House

100 Arlington Street, Boston, MA

http://www.liquidarthouse.com/

Liquid Art House on Urbanspoon

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IMG_7310I originally met Peter and Katie Kelly (of Uncle Truscott’s) at the Taste Trekkers conference in the Hope and Main tasting pavilion. It was there that I fell in love with their almond butter toffee and their truffles. Their almond butter tofffee comes in 1/4lb, 1/2lb and 1lb bags (trust me and get the 1lb bag!) and prices range from $4.95 to $19.95. Their toffee is made with made with almonds, butter, sugar, salt and chocolate. Who knew that  just 5 simple ingredients could taste this good! Needless to say, I’m addicted and I’m a super fan!

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They also make wildly delicious truffles that melt in your mouth. They have 4 piece boxes and 16 piece boxes. Flavors include dark, milk, caramel, cookie, espresso and peanut.

Check out Uncle Truscott’s website here and order online today! Uncle Truscott’s makes for a great hostess or holiday gift and they are made locally in Rhode Island.

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imag1774After spending some time at the Boston Christmas Festival, my mom and I headed over to Salvatore’s for lunch. Salvatore’s is owned by Sal Lupoli, who you may know from his Sal’s Pizza empire. Unlike it’s more casual counterpart, Salvatore’s is a full service restaurant featuring upscale Italian food. Of course I order the Pappardelle Bolognese ($12) traditionally made with veal, beef, pork, tomato and cream, parmigiano. The pasta ribbons are thin, which really lightened up the dish.

imag1777My mom ordered an appetizer and a salad – the arancini ($10) for the appetizer, risotto balls filled with basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella cheese with marinara dipping sauce was delicious.

imag1778The shrimp and spinach salad ($16) was gone in the blink of an eye, it had pan seared shrimp, strawberries, candied walnuts, goat cheese and was served with a balsamic vinaigrette.

imag1779And for dessert we shared the tiramisu, a classic and a favorite.

What’s your favorite dish at Salvatore’s?

Salvatore’s

225 Northern Ave., Boston, MA

http://www.salvatoresrestaurants.com/

Salvatore's on Urbanspoon

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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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