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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

imag1417Scissors and Pie is the new pizza place on the block. Located on Newbury Street in the Back Bay – these guys are doing things a little different. When you go into the restaurant, you’ll notice that they make their pizzas in trays. All “slices”, or “petzos” as they call it, are cut to order, with – you guessed it….scissors. You tell them how little or how big of a piece you would like – then, you pay by the weight of the pizza. Scissors and Pie was generous enough to come into our company for a tasting. They brought a traditional Margherita topped with their signature tomato sauce, fresh handmade mozzarella, aromatic basil and finished off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

imag1418Scissors and Pie’s version of the pepperoni (since they don’t have pepperoni), this meaty pie was pretty spicy. What really makes this pizza is the dough, it’s light with a crisp crust and a chewy interior.

imag1419The parmiggiana topped with their signature tomato sauce, fresh handmade mozzarella, roasted eggplant, freshly grated parmesan cheese, aromatic basil, extra virgin olive oil with a drizzle of home made garlic sauce. This was a crowd favorite.

imag1420The salsiccia e broccoli with fresh handmade mozzarella, imported sausage, fresh broccoli, red pepper flakes and spicy oil. Probably my favorite out of all of the slices – this kind had a really nice kick.

imag1421The bufala, pomodorini e scaglie di parmiggiano with fresh handmade mozzarella, plump local cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh hand made bufala mozzarella, home made pesto, and a sprinkle of home made garlic sauce. Their version of a vegetarian pizza.

Scissors and Pie

225 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

http://www.scissorsandpie.com/

Scissors & Pie on Urbanspoon

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As some of you may know, I’m not a health nut (no pun intended). I recently met up with Craig from Organic Living Superfoods and he gave me some samples to try. Craig and I recently met at a Good Ones event. I was pleasantly surprised at how they tasted – not at all what I expected and I might even like them (gasp!). There goes my street cred. Just kidding.

Here’s what their website says about their sprouted nuts:
Our nuts are soaked and dried (sprouted) at low temperatures (at around 115 degrees Fahrenheit) to activate live enzymes aiding in digestion and absorption of nutrients. The existing healthy fats naturally found in nuts are transformed into healthier amino acids that the body can easily make use of, and complex starches are broken down into simpler carbohydrates. The result is a “pre-digested” fiber-rich food packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and sometimes even essential fatty acids depending on the nut.

By soaking the nuts, it also helps to wash away the nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that are naturally found in them – such as enzyme inhibitors, phytates (also known as phytic acid), polyphenols (or tannins), and goitrogens.

Soaking and sprouting nuts replicates germination, which activates and increases the amount of nutrients found in them – particularly your A, B, C, and E vitamins. It also helps promote the growth of vital digestive enzymes needed to break down nuts inside the body. As a result, your body will not have to spend time and energy creating these digestive enzymes – and can instead focus on conducting its other many functions to help maintain good health.

IMG_5795Pomegranate pistachios and almonds: covered with a deliciously-fruity mix of pomegranate arils, dried apples, bring cherries and dates.

IMG_5797Kog almonds: these raw & sprouted almonds are flavored with kale, onion, and garlic. They pack an onion-y punch.

IMG_5800Cinnamon walnuts: sprouted walnuts coated with blended up bananas and dates. They smelled delicious but the cinnamon flavor was mild.

IMG_5802Superberry cashew: covered in Acai powder, Maqui powder & Aronia Berries. They tasted like regular cashews AND they’re packed with antioxidants, that’s a win win in my book.

IMG_5806Tamari almonds: they smelled quite spicy but had a delicious flavor – might have been my favorite of the bunch.

IMG_5808Fruit and nut cluster: cashews, almonds, mango, strawberries & dates.

Check out my previous post here.

Disclaimer: Organic Living Superfoods provided me complimentary samples, all opinions are my own.

Organic Living Superfoods

http://www.organiclivingsuperfoods.com

Buy online or find them at a local retail location near you.

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imag0814Julia and I met in Cambridge for an event and headed over to State Park afterwards for dinner. State Park is a new restaurant opened by the team behind Hungry Mother. State Park is a drastic contrast to the more upscale Hungry Mother, just around the corner – some might even consider it a dive bar. You walk into a dark room filled with dark wood paneling, a pinball machine, a pool table and a jukebox. There is a greenhouse room off to the side and picnic tables outside. All tables are seat yourself.

imag1367The service was a bit slow and we couldn’t figure out who our server was for most of our meal, but that was ok – we were busy catching up. We started with the fried cheese curds served with ranch dressing and bbq marinara. Pretty darn delicious.

imag1369I had the Memphis bbq spaghetti with garlic bread ($11) which had a bit of a bite to it. The garlic bread was lightly toasted and had a generous amount of garlic – YUM!

imag1368Julia had the catfish plate with greens and hush puppies.  She loved the hush puppies and the catfish, but wasn’t impressed with the sauce on the greens.

Great place to go with friends, hang out and drink beers. Food wise, I think I’ll stick with Hungry Mother.

State Park

1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

http://statepark.is/

State Park on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0391We met Ruth and Joe, my cousins, in Worcester for our monthly meal together. We headed out to a new spot, Livia’s dish.

IMAG0394We are usually horribly late, but today we are here first. We sit and look over the menu while we wait for our dining companions to arrive.

IMAG0392The decor inside is simple and a bit dated, but the food is pretty good, and the price is right!

IMAG0395The nutella French toast ($7.99) was enormous, and I couldn’t even get halfway through it! As I mentioned before, the price is right, four of us for breakfast and the bill was less than $50! Service was good – they allowed us to sit and chit chat well after the time when they close for lunch. If you’re ever in Worcester and looking for a casual bite, stop in!

 

Livia’s Dish

1394 Main Street, Worcester, MA

http://www.liviasdish.com/

Livia's Dish on Urbanspoon

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IMG_6644I had anxiously been awaiting this years honey dinner since I missed it last year. The Intercontinental Hotel has 8 beehives up on their roof.  If you are at Miel for dinner, you can check out the observation camera by the host stand and see activity in the hive.

IMG_6645Guests were greeted with a honey infused champagne cocktail.

IMG_6648The cocktail reception started at 6pm. Servers came around with a green cleanse and a peekytoe crostini. The creaminess of the avocado paired nicely with the saltiness of the crab.

IMG_6652There was an observation hive on display for guests to view. Did you know that in the summertime bees cool down their hive and in the wintertime they heat up the hive to a constant temperature?

IMG_6654This is how the trays come out of the hive – they harvest honey twice a year at the Intercontinental.

IMG_6653The color of the honey depends on the nectar source – they plants and flowers bees visit. Honey color can vary from almost colorless to a deep brown. Generally, lighter colored honey has a milder flavor and darker honey has a bolder flavor.

IMG_6655The other appetizer was a chilled honey and lemon glazed jumbo shrimp.

IMG_6656I was pleased to see my friend Noah, of Best Bees, at the event. Noah’s company took over the care of the bees this year for the hotel. See my previous post on Best Bees here. Noah gave a a brief overview about bees – including information on the different types of bees and which cities are the most “bee friendly”.

IMG_6661The first course  was a shaved pear, fennel, zucchini salad with truffle honey dressing. A really nice way to start the meal, a little sweet with a little tang.

IMG_6663The entree was Georges Bank scallops and squab, wrapped with Maine smoked bacon with celery root gratin, vegetable tagliatelle and a honey beure blanc. The beure blanc sauce was divine – rich and flavorful. The scallops were a tad overdone, but still quite tasty. The squab, or pigeon, tastes like dark meat chicken. The bacon added a nice salty quality to the dish.

IMG_6665Dessert was a goat cheese ice cream with warmed seasonal berries and honey. This was probably my favorite part of the meal. The goat cheese ice cream was cool and light – not too goaty. To me, nothing is better than honey and fresh berries. Dinner was $65 per person and Miel will be doing more of these types of dinners in the future. They have a wine dinner coming up, a cheese dinner, a seafood dinner and a steak dinner all on the books. Check out their website and social media channels for more information.

Miel at the Intercontinental Hotel

510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA

Visit their website here

Miel Brasserie Provencale on Urbanspoon

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imag1166When we finally got up to Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, we decided to go out for dinner. Looking for something casual, we decided on Gracie’s. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, and that was at their old location in town. Closer to the hotel, Gracie’s is a popular casual dining spot for locals and tourists alike.

imag1172Gracie’s opened in 1991, and it was named after owners Sue and Archie’s rescue dog. They made the move to this new location in 2009. The dog theme is carried throughout the dining room – from the decor to the names of the menu items.

imag1167We started the meal off right – they brought out a wonderful bread basket with delicious chocolate chip oatmeal bread.

imag1170The quinoa salad special was more of a dinner sized plate than an appetizer! We all ordered burgers, they are all named after dogs:

The Chihuahua
Half-pound burger served with lettuce, tomato and guacamole on the side.

The Airedale
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed peppers and onions.

The Boxer
Half-pound cheddar bacon burger.

The Husky
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms.

Blazing Beagle Burger
Gracie’s half-pound burger rolled in Cajun spices and grilled to juicy perfection with lettuce and tomato.
Also available as Dante’s Dalmatian-for the firedog.

The Kirby Burger
Gracie’s half pound burger topped with melted cheddar, bacon and a side of our own Memphis BBQ sauce.

Blue Tick Hound Burger
Half-pound melted blue cheese burger with lettuce and tomato.

The Rottweiler
This one’s got a good bite to it. A half-pound cheddar burger topped with lettuce and Tomato. With sour cream, garlic, horseradish sauce on the side.

The Petey Burger
Everyone’s favorite canine orphan. Spanky and Alfalfa put their minds together for this one. A great combination that only the little rascals could think of starting with a half pound of Boyden Farms ground beef topped with Vermont cheddar cheese and, bacon, onion rings and cajun spice.  A dollar of the price of each Petey Burger will be donated by Gracie’s to the North Country Animal League.

imag1174The Husky ($12.95): Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms. Just what the dr ordered after a long car ride. The burger was flavorful and cooked perfectly medium. The service was excellent – Archie the owner was there running the host stand! I always think it’s nice to see the owners of restaurants pitching in.

Gracie’s

18 Edison Hill Road, Stowe, VT

http://www.gracies.com/

Gracie's on Urbanspoon

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imag1207The Blue Moon Cafe in Stowe has been a fine dining destination since 1992.  Jim Barton, now owner, was the dining room manager until 2001, when he bought the restaurant from the previous owner. Since then, they have been through multiple renovations and his wife Donna has done some extensive gardening. The kitchen is run by Jimmy Kalp who has worked at such places like National Hotel, The Ryah House, The Andirons Lodge and Frida’sTaqueria.

imag1209Whenever we go up to Stowe, we usually hit the same few places. This year, we wanted to try something new, so my friend Carolyn (of the Good Ones) who has a home up in Stowe gave me this suggestion. We start off with the artisan cheese platter ($12) that comes with some toast, dried fruit and raisins and a little mustard seed. Simple and yet so good.

imag1212We also start with the gazpacho, a refreshing way to start a meal. One of the best gazpachos we’ve tried.

imag1214The pasta special was delicious – the home made noodles were perfectly al dente.

imag1213I had the gnocchi with cauliflower, which was an excellent choice. The dumplings were amazing.

imag1216For dessert, I can’t remember the formal name for this, but raspberry sorbet and pistachio ice cream with raspberry coulis. Amazing. Two of my favorite things, combined to make a great summer dessert.

imag1219The crumble was also a delicious choice – we were almost too full to eat it after our meals! Almost. The service was top notch – we felt like we were being welcomed into someone’s home as opposed to eating at a restaurant. There were a lot of regulars dining, it was nice to see that they were welcomed by name and thanked for coming in.

Blue Moon Cafe

35 School Street, Stowe, VT

http://bluemoonstowe.com/

Blue Moon Cafe on Urbanspoon

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imag1144On our way up to Vermont this year, we decided to stop at Dartmouth for a quick bite to eat. There was a ton of traffic getting up here – something about blasting on the side of the highway – so we were famished. Lou’s has always been a midpoint for us over the years. Lou’s has been around for what seems like forever! 2007 marked their 60th anniversary.

imag1148The restaurant is a bit dated, or maybe it’s nostalgic. The food is nothing fancy, but you can get breakfast all day, delicious baked goods, and the price is right! I order the grilled cheese ($8.95) that hits the spot.

imag1147We also order the poached eggs on hash – a stick to your ribs kind of meal. The corned beef hash is made from fresh corned beef brisket and is served with a side of potatoes.

Stop in to Lou’s for a little piece of history.

Lou’s

30 South Main Street, Hanover, NH

http://lousrestaurant.net

Lou's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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imag1342Mark (fortunately) forgot his lunch last week, making it an excellent opportunity to head out to Gene’s Chinese Flatbread cafe over in Downtown Crossing.

imag1340This tiny restaurant is packed at lunch time – great idea to come early or late – or just take out.

imag1339There are only a few items on the menu: the flatbread sandwich,  housemade noodle soup, lamb  hand pulled noodle soup, hand pulled noodles, Xi’an noodles, and cumin hand pulled noodles. Be prepared to wait, as they hand pull the noodles to order.

imag1343Mark orders the noodle soup, which he liked, but wished that the noodles were the same ones I had in my meal.

imag1344

I had the #4 hand pulled noodles, served with a healthy dollop of garlic, a sprinkle of chili powder, cilantro and scallions. The noodles are thick and have a good bite to them. A simple but extremely delicious dish. So good in fact, that we went back days later with other co-workers!

Don’t forget to stop at the ATM before you go, they only take cash. Monday thru Friday: 11AM-6:30PM, closed on the weekends.

Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe

86 Bedford Street, Boston, MA

Website

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Best Bees 12I met Noah, the founder of Best Bees, at the Follow the Honey Dinner. While we were chatting at the table, he invited me to come down and see what urban beekeeping was all about.

Best Bees 1Located in Roxbury, behind Boston Body Works, the bee hives are located on hydraulic lifts. It is here where I met up with Maddie and Tom, the lab manager. Noah, the founder, graduated from Northeastern with a BS in Bio – and he likes to keep the Northeastern tradition alive by having co-op students come and intern at Best Bees. Did you know that unlike yellow jackets or wasps that can sting you multiple times, honey bees can only sting you once and then they die.

Best Bees 2So Tom pulls the lift down and shows me around the hives. A major problem with bee hives is disease. Noah and his team work with all natural remedies to try and rid the hives of diseases. Did you know that bees can fly up to 5 miles to find flowers? Bees are quite smart, in order to find their way back to their hive, they use landmarks and then as they get closer, they can use their sense of smell to return to their hive.

Best Bees 3Tom estimates that there are almost a million bees in the hives at Best Bees. Did you know that each colony can only have one queen? If there is more than one queen, which ever one hatches first will kill the other queens. If you get a sterile queen, one that you are introducing to a colony, she comes in a cage with a little bit of candy on the bottom. The bees need to get used to her smell and when they are ready to accept her, they chew the candy from the bottom of the cage and release her.

Best Bees 4It’s all fun and games until someone gets stung. That someone would be me. Trying my hardest NOT to swat at the bees buzzing around us, one lands on my lip of all places and stings me right in the kisser. Bad news is that it stung (no pun intended). My eyes have started to water and my nose is starting to run…and I may be sweating a little from embarrassment seeing as I have only met Maddie and Tom about 5 minutes ago. Good news is that I am now going to give Angelina Jolie a run for her money. And now, after establishing that they don’t have to stab me with an epi pen, we come to the stinger. Still in my lip. Have to get that baby out myself. More awkwardness. But then the give me an icepack and tell me that they’ve all been stung a bunch of times…and humor me by saying that…”it’s not that bad”. So embarrassment be damned, I stick around while they tell me all about the honey process and all things bee.

Best Bees 9Clients drop off their trays and Best Bees collects the honey.

Best Bees 7First they carefully scrape off the caps of the honeycomb.

Best Bees 5How beautiful is that honey?

Best Bees 6They place the honeycomb into a centrifuge and spin it for 5 minutes on both sides. The honey is flung out to the walls of the centrifuge and drip down to the bottom where it is collected.

Best Bees 10Keeping things pure, they only filter the honey once and then dispense it into mason jars. I was able to taste a little honey that they had just collected and it was delicious. Light and amazing – sweet and fresh.

Best Bees 11Different color honey depends on the hive and which flowers the bees are attracted to.

To find out more about bees and honey, check out the Best Bees website.

Best Bees

Noah Wilson-Rich

839 Albany Street, Boston, MA

http://www.bestbees.com

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