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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

It has been some time since I had seen my friend Ziggy, so we decided to hop in the car and drive down to RI to see him and his wife at the Farmers Market he sells at on the weekends. The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market can be found at the Hope Artiste Village at 1005 Main Street in Pawtucket on Saturdays from 9am-1pm. While we were visiting we walked around to buy some other delicious goodies:

IMG_9388The Humble Pie Company in Providence is run by Daniel Sheehan, and has been open since 2013. We sampled the mini apple pies, which were delicious – the crust was flaky and light, the filling was top notch, and I loved the oat crunch on top.

IMG_9385We also tried the linzer torte – a really nice blend of spices and I loved the jam!

IMG_9394North Bakery just won top honors for their chocolate chip cookies ($1.75) which have a nice sprinkling of sea salt over top.

North Bakery on Urbanspoon

IMG_9398My friend Ziggy is the man behind Fox Point Pickles. He makes them in two flavors, garlic dill and spicy dill. The spicy dill pickles pack a punch, but it’s a delayed on, you don’t get it right when you bite into the pickle. The spicy dill would be great in a bloody mary!

IMG_5218The Rocket food truck was outside serving up gourmet street food.

IMG_5222I was really digging the mom’s baked mac and cheese ($4) made with Vermont sharp cheddar cheese, butter and Rhody fresh whole milk. The perfect amount of cheese sauce with a smooth, buttery flavor.

Rocket Fine Street Food on Urbanspoon

IMG_5219Pat’s Pastured has a food truck where we had Pat’s Burger ($13) a 100% grass fed beef burger served with cheddar cheese, carmelized onions, Arcadian Fields greens, and garlic aioli (add the egg for $1 – trust us!). Just as we got up to the front of the line, they ran out of buns, so we grabbed our burger on two hotdog rolls. Still super delicious!

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Good Ones 8Last Tuesday a group of #Goodones gathered together at a private home in Fort Point for one of a kind, intimate cooking experience.

Good Ones 9Andy Levitt, founder of The Purple Carrot, was one of the guests at the event. Andy and his wife Tammy started the company in 2014, with the intent of helping people find an easier way to make healthy meals at home. If you know me at all, you know I’m not a very healthy eater – carbs, desserts, hit me up! Veggies? What are those? But The Purple Carrot makes things so simple that even I can get on board with healthy eating! So here’s how it works: Every week there are 4 dinner options, you pick your two favorite and they do the rest. You get two great meals and a snack delivered to your door for just $59. Check out their recipe archive, I’m dying to try the cookie dough hummus, the bowties with mushrooms, and the veggie dumpling stew.

Good Ones 4The evening started out with a lovely cucumber salad. Gordon’s Fine Wine and Liquor was the beverage sponsor of the night, generously providing 90+ Cellars high end wines to guests.

Good Ones 1The talented Charlotte Kim, CMO of CheerNetworks, cooked up a wonderful traditional Korean dish with a twist. Jap Chae, or Chap Chae, is generally made on special occasions with beef and sweet potato glass noodles stir fried with sesame oil with carrots, onions, spinach and mushrooms. Charlotte’s version was vegetarian and instead of the sweet potato noodles, she opted for some rice noodles. It was super delicious, you didn’t even miss the meat!

Good Ones 2Christina Wang was a featured guest at the event. She is the Vice President of Strategy and Finance for the Marcus Samuelsson Group in New York City. She was piping out the chocolate avocado dessert. The avocado added a nice creamy texture to the dessert and that little sprinkle of sea salt on top really brought the dessert up a notch!

Good Ones 3Mr. Stacy’s Pita Chips, Mark Andrus, was in the house whipping up a great twist on the cinnamon sugar chip! The chips were dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with almonds and topped but warm butter caramel. 3 words: to.die.for.

Good Ones 5Carolyn Kim, Co-founder of The Good Ones (left) with fellow Good One Christine Prouty (right).

Good Ones 7(L-R) Jennifer Brooke, Co-founder of The Good Ones; Jacki Morisi, Private Events and PR Manager at Trade; Featured Guest Juan Pedrosa of Stone & Skillet; and Carolyn Kim, Co-Founder of The Good Ones.

You may know Juan from his stint as the chef at The Glenville Stops and Trade before that. He is a accomplishments landed him on this year’s Zagat’s 30 under 30 list. Pedrosa currently oversees operations at Stone & Skillet, an artisanal English muffin company. I was at Volante Farms this weekend for their Local Food Fest and was able to sample some of their muffins, trust me – go out to Volante Farms or Whole Foods and pick some up for yourself!

And Jacki is killing it at Trade – her hard work also landed her a spot on Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list!

Love what you see? Want to attend an event? Fill out the personality snapshot for an invite to future events: http://thegoodones.co/membership/

At this event, the Good Ones were collecting donations for Horizons for Homeless Children, a local non profit that impacts the lives of over 2,000 homeless children in Massachusetts each week. If you are interested in making a donation, please see their gift list here.

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Rectangle 1 + reserve-logo-gold-1So it’s Monday and Valentine’s day is less than a week away. Did you forget to make a reservation? Try using Reserve, a digital concierge app created by the co-founder of Uber (Garrett Camp).

I have had great experiences using Reserve, check out my posts from Liquid Art House and Row 34.

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So what makes Reserve different than other online reservation companies? What I love most is that they handle the entire dining experience, from making your reservation to making sure that the bill is paid at the end of your meal. How does it work? You pick your restaurant and your time frame – Reserve gets back to you with an available time.

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You show up to the restaurant and have a great meal. Forgot your wallet at home? No problem! The reserve app has your credit card and preferred tip amount already stored, so you don’t even have to bring your wallet in the first place! How great is that! Besides, you have more important things to worry about on Valentine’s day anyway…

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Here are a list of restaurants they currently have in their roster: Alden & Harlow, Belly Wine Bar, Bergamot, Blue Dragon, Bogie’s Place, Bondir, Casa B, Craigie on Main, East by Northeast, Eastern Standard, Grill 23, Harvest, Hungry Mother, Island Creek Oyster Bar, La Brasa, L’Espalier, Liquid Art House, Nebo, Ole, Oleana, o ya, Puritan & Company, Row 34, Sam’s, Shojo, Steel & Rye, Study, Taberna de Haro, Tavern Road, The Blue Room, The Hawthorne, The Merchant, Trade, Troquet, Tupelo, Via Matta, and West Bridge.

What is so great about Reserve is that they are also live in New York, LA and San Francisco!

Download the app bit.ly/reserveappstore and use my special rate code (rate code: dgrubs) to get $25 off your first dining experience!

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imag2039The Screaming Eagle is one part South Beach and one part night club. This French fusion restaurant is draped with gauzy white curtains and even offers a whole section where you can eat your dinner on a canopy bed. While that sounds lovely, we opt for the traditional table.

imag2040We start with the special appetizer for the night, the truffle pasta with prosciutto and a 60 degree egg ($22.50). A really nice dish, flavorful and the egg was a really nice addition.

imag2043We ordered the USDA Skirt steak, grilled and provençal marinated served with crispy polenta, ratatouille and truffle sauce ($34.50). A really nice dish, the meat was tender and flavorful and it was a great, light dish.

imag2042I had the Thai caramelized shrimp with mixed vegetables and spicy noodles ($35.50). A nice surprise to a mainly French inspired menu. I loved the flavors of this dish.

imag2047For dessert, the trilogy of chocolate mousse: layers of dark, white and milk chocolate mousse served with chocolate ice cream ($9.50). Great presentation – and the mousse was a really nice way to finish off the meal. We left full without being stuffed.

imag2048And as an added treat, with the coffee came a cute little dish of mini macaroons, cookies and madeleines.

Overall, the service was good. It started out strong at the beginning but trailed off at the end as our server got a few larger sized parties. We were finished with our dessert by the time the cup of coffee arrived.

Screaming Eagle

Eagle Beach
J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 228
t: +297 587 8021

http://www.screaming-eagle.net/

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imag2002Last year we went to Old Man and the Sea, and decided that when we came back we would try the Flying Fishbone that was located next door. The restaurant is a good distance away from the high rise hotels, a $32 taxi ride each way from Palm Beach.

imag2004I love the decor here!

imag2007The restaurant has amazing sunset views, make sure to get here early for a great seat. The tables are on the sand, so kick off your shoes and get comfortable. There are even some tables so close to the water that you’re dipping your toes into the water while you’re dining!

imag2013We start off with the creamy corn soup with shrimp ($10). I find it surprising that for a Caribbean island, there are a lot of cream sauces on menus and creamy soups…seems a bit heavy for 80 degree weather. That being said, I loved the soup.

imag2015The shrimp tempura appetizer is served with a spicy tomato onion salsa and crispy noodles ($18). This certainly could have been a main meal – really lovely dish with a lot of textures and flavors. After the appetizers came, we waited quite a long time for our main courses. Something happened with the oven in the kitchen so everyone’s orders were taking longer that expected.

imag2017Grilled shrimp: skewered black tiger shrimp with herb risotto, mixed vegetables and lemon garlic butter sauce ($31.50). A really nice simple dish, good flavors and a lovely presentation.

imag20181/2 lobster tail with shrimp: served with sun-dried tomato risotto, mixed vegetables and lemon-garlic butter ($39.50). I loved the risotto that came with this dish – and the seafood was cooked perfectly. Probably one of our favorite meals of the vacation.

imag2024Because the entrees took such a long time, the restaurant didn’t charge us for dessert. Chocolate brownie and mousse: chocolate brownie and chocolate mousse with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and pistachio ice cream. I loved the ice cream, it helped cut through the richness of the dessert!

imag2022Apple pie: lukewarm apple pie, vanilla sauce, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but seeing the word lukewarm on the menu doesn’t really entice me into dessert. That being said, the apple pie was delicious.

imag2025Overall a great meal – highly recommend it, especially if you are looking for something a little less touristy.

The Flying Fishbone

Savaneta
Savaneta # 344
t: +297 584 2506

http://www.flyingfishbone.com

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Good Ones Balvenie 1Last Sunday, the Good Ones got together for a Balvenie Power Hour at Post 390. The event was focused on bringing a mix of young, bright minds together with a few more seasoned professionals. This event had a charitable component to it, The Good Ones were collecting donations for Horizons for Homeless Children in Roxbury.

Good Ones Balvenie 2Co-founders of The Good Ones, Carolyn (left) and Jennifer (right) sipping on a scotch flight and enjoying caramelized cakes from Post 390, made by sous chef Jonathan Michael Moreira. Jonathan also created a delicious flourless chocolate cake and a green tea ice cream bites.

Good Ones Balvenie 3The dress code for the event was merino wool and vests. Co-founder of The Good Ones, Carolyn (left) and Iya Khalil (right) killed it.

Good Ones Balvenie 4Meet Iva Nikolau, the newest member of the Good Ones team – a recent graduate of Williams College, her psychology degree and previous event management experience makes her a great fit as the new social engineer apprentice.

Good Ones Balvenie 5Featured guest Kenny Gordon, Vice President of Gordon’s Fine Wines and Liquors, was on hand to talk about whisky with guests. Co-founder of The Good Ones, Jennifer Brooke, right, was rocking a one of a kind Petite Mort fur necklace.

For an invitation to future events, fill out the personality snapshot: http://thegoodones.co/membership/

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imag2029The Ritz Carlton is the newest hotel in Aruba. We decided we had to check it out! We dined at Solanio, the hotel’s Italian restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The hotel is beautiful – there are multiple pools, a sprawling lawn, fire pits and a small beach area.

imag2030_burst002At dinner, there were beautiful sunset views!

imag2032We started with the arancini: smokey braised shortrib, Arrabbiata sauce, caper aioli ($16). A lovely presentation – the arancini was tasty, I loved the short rib.

imag2033The caprese salad: heirloom tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil ($18) was delicious, I added some balsamic for a little extra something – perfection!

imag2034The solanio salad: bibb lettuce, gorgonzola, cipolini onion, caramelized onions, apple, lemon vincott ($15) was tasty, I loved how all the flavors blended together.

imag2037The waiter suggested the mushroom ravioli ($29), which was a good choice. The oversized raviolis were cooked perfectly al dente and had a subtle flavor. The filling was hearty, making this the perfect portion size.

imag2035We tried the stromboli ($17), filled with three different kinds of meat – a really nice meal.

imag2038For dessert we had the pizzookie: served with vanilla gelato, almond nougatine ($10). A great way to end the meal, along with a cup coffee – a rich brownie like dessert cooked in a cast iron skillet – the almond nougatine sent this dessert over the top for us.

Solanio

Located at the Ritz Carlton Hotel
L.G Smith Boulevard # 107, Palm Beach, Aruba Dutch Caribbean

Open for dinner Thursday – Monday 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Aruba/Dining/Solanio/Default.htm

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imag1968We loved 2 Fools and a Bull so much last year, that we just had to go again this year. See my previous post here. The private dining restaurant opened in February of 2012. Each night a new 5 course menu is created, depending on what is fresh at the market. They keep track of every guest that comes through the door and what meal they were served so you don’t have the same meal if you come back (unless there is something that you really liked). When you arrive promptly at 7, you sit on the back porch for a complimentary drink – a chance to get to know your fellow diners. There are opportunities throughout the meal to get up and stretch your legs and talk to other guest. All courses have optional wine pairings that range from $11-$18 a glass.

imag1960To start off the meal, we had cornish hen, served Waldorf style. We did have this course last time, but it was prepared differently. A really nice way to start the meal – the hen was tender and the blend of the citrus and fruit was really quite  refreshing. The suggested wine pairing was a Bishop’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc.

imag1963The second course was a shrimp ravioli served with shrimp sauce. Probably my favorite course of the evening. The ravioli had a really nice flavor and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. After this course we were encouraged to get up and mingle while they washed the dishes and reset the table.

imag1974The third course was a fish wellington, cooked on the amazing oven pictured at the top of this post. Three types of fish wrapped in a light flaky pastry crust. The suggested wine pairings were a St. Michelle Riesling ($14) or a Stags Leap chardonnay from Napa ($16). During the break we chatted with some of the other diners, one Dutch couple who was visiting their parents in Aruba, a couple from New Jersey who was here with 50 family members and another couple from New York who was coming back on Monday night with the rest of their family – renting out the whole restaurant.

imag1970I was slowing down at this point, so I didn’t have much room for the stuffed lamb, which was surprisingly light. Suggested wine pairings were a Lunta Malbec ($13), a Felino Merlot ($15) or a Bramare Cab-Sav ($18).

imag1980The dessert was outstanding – strawberry fields – fresh berries, pastry cream, a sugar pastry shell, strawberry ice cream and a tuile cookie.

Service was outstanding and the as always, entertaining. I highly recommend checking 2 Fools out if you are in Aruba, but make sure to make your reservations ASAP (I’m talking months),  they book out fairly quickly – especially during peak season. As always, reconfirm when you get to the island to secure your seat.

2 Fools and a Bull

Palm Beach #17, Aruba

http://2foolsandabull.com/

Closed Saturday and Sunday

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I was invited to join Blog and Tweet Boston for a launch party this past week for a new app in town, HeyLets, an alternative to other review sites. There was a great turnout and I had the chance to meet some really cool bloggers. Check out Karenly Nieves’ blog, Forever, Karenly and Elizabeth’s blog, Little Moments of Happiness. We all met up at Papagayo in Charlestown for Sunday brunch. They are running a cool promotion: every Sunday, from 10am-3pm, if you sing a song for their karaoke brunch, you get your meal for free!

papagayo 1Papagayo offers a brunch buffet and an a la carte menu. I went with the a la carte menu and the chilaquiles ($9). The portion is generous and the dish was delicious: poached chicken, baked corn tortilla casserole, sunny side up eggs, chihuahua cheese and tres chili salsa.

papagayo 2The carne asada con huevos ($13) was a popular menu item at our table. It’s on my list for next time: Marinated and grilled skirt steak, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, chili dusted home fries, guacamole and pico de gallo.

So let’s talk about the karaoke. There were definitely some serious contenders here – people could sing. But don’t be nervous, you don’t have to be the next American Idol to get up and sing – if you’re nervous, try singing with some friends! And yes, this group did sing for their brunch!

Parking is a little sticky in this area. There is street parking and there are pay lots near by (I paid about $16 for 2 hours). Try and take public transportation or an Uber if you can.

Papagayo is offering some great specials:

Superbowl promotion:

All diners at any of the Papagayo locations will receive all their food for free if the patriot’s win on game day (February 1st, 2015)! The only catch is they must purchase a beverage and they must be there at kick off. Reservations are  also mandatory for operational staffing. And even if the Pat’s don’t win (GASP!), guests will get 50% off of their food bill.

Valentine’s Day specials:

Couples can look forward to authentic specials in addition to the regular menu which features dishes like, Roasted Salmon Fillet with Chipotle Miso Glaze, Poblano-Potato Gratin, and Seared Greens ($16.95) and Short Ribs Ancho Chili Glaze, Shiitake Mushroom Chips, Cotija and Mashed Potato ($18.95). Paired with a great bottle of wine, or an award-winning cocktail makes the perfect Valentine’s Day date night!

Singles looking to make it a night out with friends will revel in amazing shared appetizers like Ostiones En Fuego – Fire Roasted Island Creek Oysters Baby Spinach, Oaxaca Cheese, Roasted Peppers and Crumbled Chorizo ($14.95), Flautas with slow-cooked beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and Queso Anejo ($8.95), or their special “Fill Your Face with Love Nachos”–  featuring fresh house made tortilla chips smothered in cheese, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeños, served with salsa, sour cream and hand-hacked guacamole for ($10.95). Add beef, chicken or pork for an additional $3. Or lobster for $7.

Disclaimer: Papagayo provided me with a complimentary meal, all opinions are my own.

Papagayo

1 Chelsea Street, Charlestown

http://papagayorestaurants.com/charlestown/

Papagãyo Charlestown on Urbanspoon

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image(15)Simply Fish is located at the Marriott Hotel, just a quick cab ride from the Radisson. We dined here our first night in Aruba. The palapas that you sit under by day at the beach were transformed at night, providing a wonderful ambiance. There are spectacular sunset views here, make sure to check the times for the best views.

image(8)The chef sent out California rolls to the table.

image(17)The menu is simple, choose your fish (barramundi, king salmon, corvina, halibut, or mahi mahi) and choose your style (blackened grilled or pan fried). Each order comes with two sides (sliced fried potato, creamy spinach, sweet carrots, fried plantains, steamed asparagus, mashed potato, broccoli or coconut rice). Above, the mahi mahi ($40). A little pricey for a piece of fish and two sides (which were cold).

image(16)The macadamia grouper ($37) was tasty and light.

image(12)The chocolate cake ($9.50) was good, every bite was rich and delicious.

image(11)The tiramisu ($9.50) was not a traditional one, but light and sweet.

Service was good at the beginning but trailed off at the end of the meal, I think that the meal was best described as served on island time.

Simply Fish

L.G. Smith Blvd. 101, Noord, Aruba

http://www.arubarestaurants.com/sea-food/simply-fish/

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