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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

IMG_4236This post seems to have missed the whole Philly set of posts. No matter! When you go to Philly, one of the must try things (besides a cheese steak) is a pretzel. You’ve had a pretzel before, maybe Auntie Annies? You can’t even compare these to other pretzels you’ve had.

IMG_0417Located in the Reading Terminal Market, Miller’s twist offers delicious hot and fresh pretzels that are soft and chewy, buttery and delicious.  I go for the original but they also come in flavors like cinnamon, garlic, and sour cream and onion. You cal also get things like a pretzel dog or a chicken cheese steak. And if that isn’t enough, they also have ice cream! My only regret is that I only went once and that I only bought 1 pretzel.

Miller’s Twist

Reading Terminal Market

11th Avenue and B, Philadelphia, PA

Miller's Twist Pretzel's & More on Urbanspoon

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imag1327I have to admit, in the weeks building up to the opening of Janky Donuts, I was actually pumped at the thought of a new donut shop. Yup, Janky Donuts, you fooled me. If you don’t know by now, Janky Donuts is an art installation (which opened in July) – creatively marketed like it was going to be a new restaurant -I even saw it show up on Urbanspoon for a minute.

imag1326The installation was the brain child of five friends: Colin Driesch, Winston MacDonald, Luke O’Sullivan, Dominic Casserly, and Andrew Meers. See the Individuals Collective website here.

imag1325The “donut shop” is a front for a back room gun operation.

imag1328_1All the pieces in the installation are for sale.

imag1323Move into the back room and that is where things get interesting.

imag1324Fake guns made out of salvaged materials line the walls.

imag1330Getting ready to put a gun in a donut box with a false bottom.

Loved the exhibit and the marketing behind it was brilliant. I attended on a night when Tavern Road paired up with the team to offer real donuts for one night only. Thank goodness, because after huffing up 4 flights of stairs, I deserved some real donuts! Ha.

This exhibit is now closed.

Janky Donuts

145 Pearl Street, #5, Boston, MA

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Located on the corner of Massachusetts Ave. and Commonwealth Ave. I always seem to forget about Deuxave. Only odd because it is on the corner of two very major streets in Boston. My parents were in town and wanted to take us out for dinner. The service here has been good on previous visits, and this time was no exception. Our server drives all the way up from Rhode Island and really seems to take pride in his job. His attention to detail is impressive.

IMAG0616“Night Moves” Scituate Lobster with Gnocchi: Potato Gnocchi, Mushrooms, Green Grapes, Curried Walnuts & Pearl Onions, in a Citrus Fricassee  ($19). A really lovely and flavorful dish. A little pricey for an appetizer, but worth the money!

IMAG0624My dad gets the 9 Hour French Onion Soup: Slowly Caramelized Onion Soup, Beef Bone Marrow Crouton, Comté Cheese ($14) which was delicious, even if it is hard to eat politely, and the lobster appetizer for his meal.

IMAG0617My mom gets the salad which she can’t stop raving about throughout the entire meal.

IMAG0618Not only is the presentation beautiful, it also tastes delicious.

IMAG0619I order the pork three ways, which is really out of this world.

IMAG0620We order the Duo of Giannone Chicken & Local Tomatoes: Crispy Skinned Breast, Housemade Sausage, Sweet 100, Tomatoes, Pumpernickel Roulade, Lolla Rossa Lettuce, Heirloom Egg Green Goddess Aioli, Smoked Jus ($29).

IMAG0627My mom has the creme brulee, her go to dessert anywhere we go ($12)

IMAG0631We order the deconstructed opera cake for dessert.

IMAG0628I order the native strawberries, a delicious and not too sweet dessert with tres leches cake (AMAZING), variations of strawberry, lemon verbena gelee, roasted white chocolate and avocado ice cream ($14). Lovely presentation!

IMAG0632When the check comes, our server also brings us over caramels and lavender chocolates. While this restaurant isn’t always top of mind for me, I always love it when we dine here.


371 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA

Deuxave on Urbanspoon

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imag0743M and I went to Alta Strada after the Jeni’s Ice Cream Demo. It was clearing out as it was on the later side, so we had the full attention of our waiter. I had the Spicy Chitarra with Lobster, Shrimp, Tomato, and Basil ($23). It was a little spicy, but really delicious. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the seafood was cooked perfectly.

imag0744M went with her all time favorite the Handmade Cavatelli with Spicy Sausage, Broccolini and Pecorino Romano ($21). I can see why she loves it – such a classic dish, but certainly crave-worthy.

imag0746We are stuffed, I even take half of my meal home, but we still order the Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel ($10). Really rich and quite tasty, I’m embarrassed to say that we couldn’t finish it! As I mentioned before, service was great – per usual. He realized we were busy chatting and stay back a bit, checking in at only the right moments.

Alta Strada

92 Central Street, Wellesley, MA

Alta Strada on Urbanspoon

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Cafe Madeleine 15I was able to pop in to the newly opened Cafe Madeleine on Thursday after work. At 6:30 they were almost fully sold out, a great sign after only being open for 4 days!

Cafe Madeleine 9The space is open and bright, designed by EMBARC studios, the same architecture firm that designed Liquid Art House. I had the pleasure of sitting next to (and chatting with) Dartagnan Brown, at the Christofle dinner at Liquid Art House. He couldn’t have been nicer and more down to earth. EMBARC does primarily residential projects but has some great commercial property work under their belt. Cafe Madeleine has large windows and counter seats for 6.

Cafe Madeleine 3Cafe Madeleine serves high end pastries at neighborhood prices.

Cafe Madeleine 5Customers can look through the large glass window and see the chefs making each and every dessert.

Cafe Madeleine 1Owner Frederic Robert is a 2007 James Beard award winner for his book Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Deserts and Pastries, which he co-authored with Alain Ducasse, whom he partnered with for over 25 years. Fred and Alaian’s partnership began in 1987 at the 3 Michelin Star Louis XV Monaco at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco and included the 3 Michelin Star Plaza Athenee, Paris; 3 Michelin Star 59 Avenue Poincare, Paris; The Essex House in New York; Mix, New York; 1 Michelin Star Spoon, Paris; Spoon Byblos, St. Tropez; Spoon Tokyo; Spoon London; 1 Michelin Star Abbaye de la Celle, Provence; and 1 Michelin Star Auberge de Moustiers, Provence. From 2004 to 2011, Fred was Executive Pastry Chef at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. From 2011-1012, he was Executive Pastry Chef at PB Boulangerie & Bistro.

Cafe Madeleine 13In addition to mouthwatering sweets, Cafe Madeleine also offers a variety of savory items: Croque Monsieur ($9.50), Quiche Lorraine (slice) –( $4.50) or ($5.50) with Salad, Vegetable Crudite Tart – ($4.50) to name a few.

Cafe Madeleine 8In addition to their house made coffee, Cafe Madeleine offers La Colombe coffee, which is a real treat!

Cafe Madeleine 7For cold beverages, they offer French nectars and juices, which look AMAZING ($7).

Cafe Madeleine 4The girls prepping some coffees.

Cafe Madeleine 6Pastry Chef Hana Quon. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Hana changed careers from working with the National Endowment for the Humanities to pastry cook at the National Harbor convention center. She later transitioned to working as sous chef to Chef Frederic Robert at PB Boulangerie & Bistro, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Hana received her certification in Paris, France in classic French pastry, doughs, gateau de voyage, petit fours and macarons at the Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, where she studied under M.O.F. Jean Michel Perruchon. Hana talked to me about the great mentor/protege relationship that she and Frederic have. She raved about how talented he is and how rare it is to have an Executive chef that is so hands on.

Cafe Madeleine 14The croissants ($2.75) are light with a buttery flavor.

Cafe Madeleine 2They carry fresh baked bread  from Clear Flour Bakery: French Baguette, Rustic Italian, and Pain de Mie.

Cafe Madeleine 11The fruit tart ($5.50) is almond cream baked in a sweet pastry crust, topped with vanilla pastry cream, fresh local fruits.

Cafe Madeleine 10The vegetable crudite tart ($4.50) was a work of art.

Cafe Madeleine 12The large berry tart.

Cafe Madeleine is open from 6:30am to 7pm, 7 days a week. Stop in for a delicious treat!

Cafe Madeleine

517 Columbus Ave. Boston, MA

Café Madeleine on Urbanspoon

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IMG_4609We spent the day in Portland, getting lunch and walking around. We stopped into the Standard Baking Co. and I was in love instantly. With so many delicious things behind the counter, it was hard to choose what to get. I wanted one of everything!

IMG_1377The chocolate hazelnut tart was sweet but not too sweet. You would think that with that much chocolate it might be overwhelming.  Not so. And the flakes of sea salt sent this over the top for me.

IMG_1381The lemon tart was equally delicious! It was sweet and tart….really quite delicious.


We grabbed a blueberry scone to go – usually my experience with scones has not been good – they are usually quote dry, but not these. Simply delicious! I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the Portland area.

The Standard Baking Co.

75 Commercial Street, Portland, ME

Standard Baking Co on Urbanspoon

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imag0797We headed over to Harvard Square on Sunday afternoon for brunch. We missed the window to sit outside, and they unfortunately closed their patio.

imag0790We grabbed a corner table inside. You may know the Sinclair as a live music venue, but have you tried their food?

imag0789No donut holes, bummer. So we go with the brunch tots ($8) that come with cheese sauce and red jalapenos. They were good but a little difficult to eat with a fork.

imag0791I had the baked French toast with salted bacon fluff (whaaaaat!?!?!?!), maple syrup and fresh berries ($13).

imag0793We also had the waffle burger, grass fed beef on a buttermilk waffle bun with shallot jam, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, fried egg, and maple syrup with a side of tots ($15). One word. AMAZING. All of my favorite things wrapped up into one sandwich! It was little messy to eat, but oh so good.

imag0796And the  turkey hash ($14) with turkey, crispy potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, 2 poached eggs and five spice. Another really great, really flavorful dish. Service was ok, considering that it was the tail end of brunch. Will definitely be back again for brunch, everything on the menu looked and sounded delicious.

The Sinclair Kitchen

52 Church Street, Cambridge, MA

The Sinclair on Urbanspoon

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IMG_1392On a recent weekend  trip to Maine, to Kennebunkport, we had some time to kill so we stopped in to Morning in Paris. I had been reading about how they sold macarons and had to stop in to try them out. The inside is cute, if not a little cramped at the tables.

IMG_4652The outside definitely has Paris down pat, right down to the chairs. I ordered a smoothie that was a bit too super sweet for my liking.

IMG_4649When I ordered the macarons, they put them in this box and I was a little disappointed to see that they were from Macaron Cafe, not housemade.

Morning in Paris

21 Western Ave., Kennebunk, ME

Mornings in Paris on Urbanspoon

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When we left Keystone on Sunday, the hotel told us to leave at least 4 hours before we needed to get to the airport. Traffic was supposed to be heavy because of the holiday weekend. We got to Denver in no time, and found ourselves driving aimlessly trying to find something to do. And that is when we spotted voodoo doughnuts. I had seen the on the Food Network channel and my friends who have been to Portland rave about it. The lines are supposed to be legendary but we happened to show up at an off time and breeze right in.


Good news for us that all locations are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. There are so many doughnuts, and they all look so delicious, it’s hard to choose.


We limit ourselves to a half of a dozen doughnuts, hearing endless comments through the airport about having to “confiscate” them…


imag1012So how do you go to Voodoo Doughnuts and not get the voodoo doughnut? You don’t. Raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake! (characteristics of Voodoo Dolls are all different) ($2.10)

imag1017The Loop doughnut -raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting with fruit loops. ($1.45)

imag1007The apple fritter doughnut is fried dough with apple chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze! ($2.45)

imag1008The Bacon Maple bar: Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top! ($3.25)

imag1009Blueberry cake doughnut: blueberry dough with a glaze! ($1.10)

imag1011My dad loves chocolate doughnuts, I’ve heard him complain endlessly about how now only select Dunkin Donuts has them, and they are small…blah blah blah. So I brought him back one from Voodoo and he was raving about it! ($1.10) For a full list of doughnuts, see their website.

Voodoo Doughnut

1520 East Colfax, Denver, CO

Street parking only – make sure to have quarters for the meters.

Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon

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Good Ones Tico 2

The Good Ones hosted their final chef battle on Sunday afternoon at Tico. Because Tico is closed on Sundays, we had the whole space – including the outdoor patio – to ourselves!

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Guests were invited to participate in the Eat. Play. Love theme and dress in red, purple and yellow. The event was a modern take on Machiavelli and raised awareness for Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a program that was created by the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association to promote local, sustainable seafood in order to benefit the local economy, the environment, and the overall health of our community.

Good Ones Tico 6Tico provided light bites while guests were waiting for the chefs to go into battle.

Good Ones Tico 7 While guests grazed on appetizers they also sipped on custom cocktails mixed up by Greg Neises. bartender at Tico.

Good Ones Tico 8Tico’s take on the corn dog.

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Good Ones Co Founder, Jennifer Brooke in an amazing hand made outfit and Good One Tau Zaman.

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Nancy Kwan sits for a caricature by Mark Penta.

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Graham Wright, Founder of Opus Affair getting his caricature.

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Eric Kramer of B&L Associates.

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The afternoon had a great turn out – lots of new faces alongside some familiar ones.

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Guests were treated to some amazing entertainment for the afternoon. Not only was Julian Sayles of Team Sayles Music and Lighting throwing down old school beats but there was also a live interactive show!

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Two hip hop hula hoopers performed for guests – amazing!

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Good One Tau Zaman getting in on some hula hoop action – there was even a hula hoop off between Tau and fellow Good One Tom Severo.

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Guests were tentative to join, but once they did, they had a great time!

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Graham Wright showing off his skills.

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Good One Kimberly Giardino having fun with the hula hoops.

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Jennifer Brooke, Co Founder of the Good Ones, showed off her natural athleticism – she was nothing short of impressive.

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(Left to right) Nancy Kwan, Melyssa Cantor, model Drea Elizabeth, Jimmy Guzman – founder of JNG Design, Elena Kollarova -Miss Bulgarka in the US and Nicole Solano – Account Executive at Trip Advisor.

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Model Drea Elizabeth wearing a dress designed by Carlos Villami of Zero Waste Fashion. Headpiece by Jimmy Guzman of JNG Design, make up and hair by Kashmir of Viselli Santoro Salon.

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Model and Miss Bulgarka in the USA, Elena Kollarova adding on accessories by Heloisa Fitzgerald. Dress by Carlos Villami of Zero Waste Fashion. Headpiece by Jimmy Guzman of JNG Design, make up and hair by Kashmir of Viselli Santoro Salon.

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The bracelet featured here is dynamic and can be worn as a brooch or as a necklace.

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Earrings, bracelet and ring by Heloisa Fitzgerald. Dress by Carlos Villami of Zero Waste Fashion. Headpiece by Jimmy Guzman of JNG Design, make up and hair by Kashmir of Viselli Santoro Salon.

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Just stunning.

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Zero-waste fashion refers to items of clothing that generate little or no textile waste in their production.

Good Ones Tico 36Elena (right) and Drea (left) with designer Carlos Villami.

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Whole Foods was a sponsor of this chef battle. Each chef was given $150 to shop for ingredients for the dishes they would prepare later that afternoon. Chefs were asked to bring the Machiavelli theme into their dishes, whether is be the original or Tupac, who was once known as “Makaveli”.

Ben Harwood, Sous Chef at Tico was the challenger for the afternoon. Following four years of service with the Air Force as an intelligence analyst, Ben worked the line at Farmshop (owned by Thomas Keller’s sous chef of 15 years, Jeff Cerciello) in Santa Monica, CA, while attending Le Cordon Blue.  Ben later  returned to the East Coast as Executive Chef of Pickity Place in Mason, NH.

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The first course from chef Harwood. The hazelnuts and figs were lovely – I dig the seasonality of this dish.

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First course from the reigning champion Brendan Burke, Sous Chef at Bastille Kitchen. I loved this dish. Stracciatella crostini, confit cherry tomatoes, shaved asparagus, pesto hollandaise, black salt. The black salt was such a nice touch and and I loved the shaved asparagus.

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Chef Burke’s sous chef for the afternoon, Tico Hunyh, Sous Chef at Bastille Kitchen.

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Second course from Chef Burke. This dish was a winner to me. The flavor of the seafood really shined – it just screamed summer to me. Blini with seared lobster- seafood sausage, apricot gastrique, chive sabayon, balsamic “caviar. The apricot gastrique was really quite lovely.

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Second course from Chef Harwood. The arancini was tasty, paired with mushrooms and pickled cherries (which were the star of the dish for me). Chef Harwood said that this dish was inspired by Tupac, the cherries were inspired by the lyrics “the darker the berry the sweeter the juice”.

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Chef Harwood preparing the third course.

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Third course from Chef Harwood. The poached egg on top of the hash was perfect.

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Chef Burke prepping his third course. Chef Burke is the reigning champion. For three years, Chef Brendan Burke lived it up, cooking and snowboarding at a Mammoth Mountain resort in his Native Cali. That is, until he split from the small town to make a name for himself in Boston. After filling the role of executive chef at Kevin Long and Big Night Entertainment Group’s Gem Restaurant and Lounge, Burke recently took his culinary accomplishments to the next level by snagging the sous chef position at Seth Greenberg’s Bastille Kitchen.

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Third course by Chef Burke. A taza chocolate and mascarpone tortollini with salted espresso whipped cream garnished with nutmeg. Heavenly. I could have eaten 5 of these.

At the end of the night, after 6 judges deliberated…Chef Burke was the winner! Congrats chef!

Good Ones events are by invite only. To request a membership, check out their website: or email Carolyn at

If you missed the event but want to try either of the chef’s delicious food, you can visit them at their respective restaurants:

Ben Harwood


222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA

Brendan Burke

Bastille Kitchen

49 Melcher Street, Boston, MA

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