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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

IMG_1325Mark is getting married!! Instead of a typical shower at work, I decided to do something a little different…a little more…Mark. We had about 25 people after work gather together for a craft beer tasting led by…yours truly. What’s odd about this is that I know very little about beer, let alone craft beer. So I took Mark’s Untapped profile to Marty’s and asked them to make some suggestions based on the beers that he rated the highest (so sneaky right?) I jumped on Beer Advocate and Google and managed to piece together a PowerPoint presentation (we were at work after all!) Here’s what I learned: Go To IPA by Stone Brewing Company, located in Escondido, CA is 4.5% APV and is an American IPA. The beer is very hoppy, and tends to be dry and bitter. It is made with the “hop bursting” technique, where all or most of the bitterness comes from late hop additions at the end of the boil instead of the traditional approach where bitterness comes from earlier additions at the start of the boil.

IMG_1326Workers Comp by Two Roads Brewing Company, located in Stratford, CT is 4.8% ABV and is  a Saison Style beer. Saison beers are traditionally crewed in the winter, have a complex style, and have a fruity aroma and flavor. It has a earthy yeast tone with a mild tartness – a lot of spice with  medium bitterness. It is brewed with a variety of grains including barley, wheat, oats and rye.

IMG_1321Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV is made by St. Bernardus Abt 12, located in Belgium and is 10% APV.  It is a quadrupel Belgian style ale which is a bolder flavor compared to the dubbel and tripel sister styles. It is a full bodied beer with a malty palate and is sweet with little bitterness. The flavor is complex and has a bittersweet finish with a hoppy bite. It has been seen as one of the best beers in the world. It was one of the original recipes from the days of license brewing for the Trappist monks of Westvleteren.

IMG_1324Hell of High Watermelon, made by 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, CA is 4.9% APV and is a fruit beer. It is brewed with real watermelon and has a crisp, dry flavor. It is a summer, seasonal beer that starts by being brewed as a classic American wheat beer and then undergoes a traditional secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon.

IMG_1346Mark was (mostly) surprised and opened gifts while we celebrated.

IMG_1345Mei Mei Street Kitchen catered the shower! Above is the magical kale salad: local kale, Narragansett Creamery sea salt feta, garlic panko breadcrumbs, tossed in a rice wine vinaigrette. Everyone loved this dish, it was gone in about 3.2 seconds. They also offer the salad on their truck and at their brick and mortar restaurant.

IMG_1347Pierogi dumplings: fried hand-rolled dumplings filled with Schartner Farm russet potatoes, local greens & Cabot cheddar cheese. Served with pickles and soy aioli. While I like their traditional dumplings, I thought these were a great twist – such great flavors!

IMG_1348Hummus with Clear Flour crostini.

IMG_1349Sweet corn fritters: local cornmeal batter, Schartner Farms sweet corn, masa, served with Sriracha aioli. These were such a crowd pleaser! Stay tuned for a post about the wedding!

Mei Mei Street Kitchen

506 Park Drive

Boston, MA

http://meimeiboston.com

Mei Mei Street Kitchen Food Truck on Urbanspoon

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IMG_1488A few months ago, when I attended a Good Ones party (see previous post), I ran into someone from my home town (small world). Pamela invited me to the photo shoot for her company, Petite Mort, at the Codman Estate.  Jennifer Brooke, co founder of The Good Ones, is modeling a beautiful fox piece.

IMG_1491Petite Mort is an amazing company that provides couture fur without the guilt. From the Facebook page, “All our animals are wild and free, have died accidentally, and contribute to the local New England ecosystem as indigenous species. We legally certify this the entire way through our creation process and each bespoke fur piece is individually labelled as one of a kind, hand made in the USA by artisans, and only of the highest caliber winter fur.

IMG_1494Check out the talented Erik Patton doing what he does best.

IMG_1496Had such a fun evening being around such positive, talented people.

IMG_1501Make up was done by the talented Dana Dodson Teahan.

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The website is coming soon, where you will be able to see the professional photos: http://lapetite-mort.com/

In the meantime, check out their Facebook page.

 

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IMG_2104Happy National Jerk Day! The folks over at Krave sent me over some samples to try. I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of jerky…I always thought, it’s tough… and leathery, just wasn’t for me. Krave has changed my mind about jerky! Krave is nitrate and hormone free. There are no artificial flavors and it is gluten free. Krave is 97% fat free and the meat is double marinated.

IMG_2111Krave comes in a variety of flavors: black cherry barbecue, chili lime, lemon garlic, grilled sweet teriyaki, basil citrus, garlic chili pepper, pineapple orange and sweet chipotle.

Here are some great pairing choices for the chili lime flavor:

  • Beer
  • Corona, Pilsner, IPA
  • Wine
  • Brunello di Montalcino Super Tuscan, Chardonnay
  • Spirits
  • Tequila!

IMG_2113Pairings for the grilled sweet teriyaki flavor:

  • Beer
  • Filtered & Unfiltered Wheat Ale, Weiss, Witbier, Weizen Bock
  • Wine
  • Merlot, Chinon (France), Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
  • Spirits
  • Bourbon, Scotch (lighter styles)

IMG_2114Pairings for the basil citrus flavor:

  • Beer
  • Marzen, Bock, Pale Lager, Amber Lager, Pilsner, Dunkel/Dark Lager
  • Wine
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Non Reserva Chianti, Moscato, Ice Wines
  • Spirits
  • Citrus Vodka, Gin (lighter style), Reposado Tequila

IMG_2117Pairings for the lemon garlic flavor:

  • Beer
  • IPA
  • Wine
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Spirits
  • Gin

IMG_2118Check out the Krave website for great recipes. The teriyaki had a very strong smell, but the taste was sweet and mild. The chili lime had a little bit of a kick to it that I really liked – probably my favorite of the bunch. I was very surprised at the texture – it wasn’t tough at all, quite the opposite in fact. Let Krave change your mind about jerky!!

Check out their website: https://www.kravejerky.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kravejerky
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KraveJerky (@kravejerky)
Instagram: http://instagram.com/kravejerky (@kravejerky)
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kravejerky

IMG_3391I love boxes of  chocolates. Sounds cliche, but I’m not talking about Russell Stover here,  I’m talking high quality chocolate from Beacon Hill Chocolates.

IMG_3392I received these as a gift – they are equally good looking as they were delicious. You can taste the quality ingredients used to make these chocolates – these would make a great gift for any occasion.

IMG_3393Paradis: Milk chocolate gianduja topped with crunchy hazelnut pieces. This piece was my favorite in the box. I love the mix of smooth chocolate with crunchy pieces.

IMG_3397A soft caramel dipped in chocolate. The caramel was buttery and smooth.

IMG_3398Piccolo: Classic milk gianduja wrapped inside a festive cone with a sprinkle of sugar.

IMG_3399This was solid milk chocolate with almonds I believe.

IMG_3400Prunelle: hazelnut buttercream, topped with a hazelnut and dipped in milk chocolate.

IMG_3404Chocolate brownie was probably my least favorite of the box.

IMG_3405Another salted caramel.

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IMG_3407Honeycomb: French dark chocolate ganache infused with delicate honey inside a dark chocolate shell with honeycomb design. Honey sweetened chocolate seems to be all the rage these days.

What is your favorite type of chocolate?

Beacon Hill Chocolates

91 Charles Street, Boston, MA

www.beaconhillchocolates.com

Beacon Hill Chocolates on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2141Week 2 of The Good Ones Power Hour, where women come to network and make lasting friendships. See last week’s event here.

IMG_2142We headed over to the WeWork South Station, located at 745 Atlantic Ave. Check out the cool wall art in the lobby.

IMG_2154As I had mentioned in my previous post, all WeWork spaces have common threads, but each has their own distinct personalities. The conference rooms here are inspired by nature – love these glass doors!

IMG_2155All the offices have glass walls to make the space feel open and bright. I love this little meeting nook.

IMG_2158The sign at the reception desk.

IMG_2159The elevator bank makes a statement!

IMG_2146How amazing is this conference room table? Swings!! I’m pretty sure I would never get any work done here!

IMG_2160This weeks theme was nautical inspired outfits! Ariana Zadek Morris from Monster.com and Jennifer Brooke, co-founder of The Good Ones.

IMG_2152Ak Maral (Designer and Entrepreneur – Akmaral Design); Kimberly Giardino (Actress/Model with The Good Ones); Melissa Choi (Entrepreneur and Educator at Harvard).

IMG_2143Motto sparkling matcha tea was at the event, man is this stuff good!

IMG_2145Jeff Venuti, field marketing manager for Hint Water was there with samples of their new flavors.

IMG_2164Delicious cocktails courtesy of Deep Eddy vodka.

IMG_2149Organic Bath Co. was at the event with their Stress Less lavender sugar scrub and their naked body scrub. The 11oz scrubs retail for $27 and for every purchase made, Organic Bath Co. will donate to 1% for the Planet and other charitable organizations.

IMG_2173And Cocomama Foods was sampling their new line, Crunched Out. It comes in two tasty flavors, vanilla cinnamon and fudgy chocolate. The clusters are made from 7 ancient grains and the best part is, it’s gluten free!

IMG_2179Have a closer look at those amazing clusters!

Want to attend the next Good Ones networking event? It’s Tuesday, June 17th from 6pm-7:30pm. Email Carolyn for an invite to the party: Carolyn@TheGoodOnesBoston.com.

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roostersRoosters is a new men’s barber shop opening in the South End. I’m giving away TWO TICKETS to tomorrow night’s launch party!

The details: When? Tomorrow, June 11th from 6pm – 8pm. Where? Roosters is located at 518 Tremont Street in the South End.  Craft cocktails from Deep Eddy and delicious bites from WHISK.

It’s going to be a fun evening (of course it is, I’ll be there!!) with music and some great giveaways!

All you have to do is “like” my Facebook page and leave a comment below letting me know you have done so. I’ll announce the winner at 1pm, June 11th!

IMAG0233Casa B is located in Somerville in the Union Square neighborhood. We made a reservation using Soon Spoon – reserving with Soon Spoon allows you early access to their amazing pop ups.

IMAG0208Casa B offers Spanish Caribbean tapas. They have a bright and sunny room at street level and a more intimate dining experience downstairs.

IMAG0209We grab an early bird reservation and sit downstairs at the bar. Instead of bread they have fried plantains served with delicious dip.

IMAG0213What’s great about sitting downstairs at the bar is that it is basically like sitting at a chef’s table. We get to watch all of our food being prepared and the service is excellent!

IMAG0214They have an extensive cocktail list – can’t remember what this drink was, but think it had gin in it, and it was fruity and not too sweet – needless to say I drank this a little too quickly!

IMAG0217We start with the tabla de quesos ($18) a selection by the chef of three cheeses, served with guava preserve, figs with dulce de leche and salted Spanish almonds. All of the choices are delicious, and to be honest, I don’t particularly care for stinky cheese, but that dulce de leche is mind blowing…and the fig….just get out of town. The cheese plate comes with grilled iggy’s bread.

IMAG0218The bunuelos ($9) are Colombian farmer’s cheese fritters and roasted pepper aioli – simple but delicious.

IMAG0219The rollitos de aguacate ($9) are crispy avocado rolls with prune and cilantro dipping sauce. Again, simple, but delicious – loved the dipping sauce!

IMAG0221The setas organicas salteadas ($9) are sauteed organic wild mushrooms over grilled white sweet potato slices – lovely presentation and the mushrooms were so tasty.

IMAG0222The gnocchi de yuca ($14) is homemade yuca gnocchi in porcini sauce with cabrales cheese. This is a really hearty dish with bold flavors – the procini sauce is like gravy.

IMAG0224_BURST001At this point we are so stuffed to the gills that we can’t fit in another bite, but how do you come all the way here and not get dessert? So we try the strawberry and banana meringue. Watching them make this dessert is impressive – this is definitely a work of art! Almost too pretty to eat….almost.

IMAG0227And I came for the ice cream sandwich trio I had been hearing so much about. It comes with a pistachio flavor (above), the cookie is so perfectly salty and delicious.

IMAG0230The chocolate hazelnut on a shortbread cookie…

IMAG0232And a rum raisin on a snickerdoodle cookie. All AMAZING. I’m just bummed I didn’t leave enough room to finish them all.

What is your favorite tapas dish?

Casa B

253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA

http://www.casabrestaurant.com/

Casa B on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2038This past weekend it finally felt like summer!

IMG_2040We took a leisurely walk through the Boston Common on our way over to Beacon Hill to the Soon Spoon/Opus Affair Paint the Hill event. First stop the Sloane Merrill Gallery at 75 Charles Street to meet Conor, co-founder of Soon Spoon, and pick up our maps. 30 local artists were stationed around the Hill while Soon Spoon and Opus Affair were at three locations with pastries and coffee by Kate Holowchik, pastry chef at jm Curley/Bogie’s Place.

IMG_2043First stop 1 & 2 Mount Vernon Square (off River Street) where Kelly Carmody and Dave Poutre were painting. Travis, co-founder of Soon Spoon was also there with lemon poppy seed bars with a balsamic strawberry swirl. Super tasty. We huffed up Mount Vernon Street and worked off some calories from the lemon poppy seed bars…

IMG_2062Second stop was 55 Mount Vernon Street (Nichols House Museum) where Greg Horwitch and Vcevy Strekalovsky (above) were painting and Graham Wright, founder of Opus Affair, was there with our next dessert.

IMG_2068Carrot cake cheesecake with pickled pineapple.

IMG_2078The beginning of Greg’s painting.

IMG_2079Flowers at the Nichols House Museum.

IMG_2099And finally stop #3, 32 South Russell (Peter Faneuil House, back garden off of South Russell Street.) Chef Kate Holowchik was there with her bacon s’mores brownies. Sally Casper was in the courtyard painting.

IMG_2093Kate previously worked at Les Zygomates in the Leather District before taking the newly created pastry chef position at jm Curley. Did I mention that she didn’t use any butter in this recipe, just the bacon fat she rendered from the bacon on top of the brownie….yum!

Check out Soon Spoon’s next pop up dinner! They’re partnering with Kitchensurfing!

What: Indonesian Family Style Dinner

SoonSpoon and Kitchensurfing are teaming up to bring you a 5 course family style Indonesian dinner by Chef Retno Pratiwi with 5 beers paired by Gabe Bellegard Bastos (beer writer for Eater).  Please join us on Saturday, June 14th to explore, share, and enjoy this authentic Indonesian meal. The menu will feature traditional and unique dishes such as Combro (deep fried grated cassava filled with a spicy sambal tempeh) and Krim Mangga Ketan Item (mango coconut cream with sweet black rice). 

When: June 14, 6pm Where: Private Home, Brookline How Much: $55 Tickets: http://bit.ly/1pGJJys

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IMG_4271It has been a long winter, and we have been waiting a long time for the Brookline Spa to complete its renovation.

IMG_4276The old space was run down, but it had a certain charm to it. The inside now has a whole new updated look.

IMG_4272Check out their menu here. They are now open at 6am on weekdays, so stop in and grab some breakfast!

IMG_4275I went with my standby- the Italian sub. Still as delicious as ever…glad to have my go-to place back!

Brookline Spa

75 Harvard Ave, Brookline, MA

http://www.thebrooklinespa.com

Brookline Spa on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0046Jen and Tara have been friends since they were teenagers. A few years later, they made that dream they had when they were teenagers, of opening a business together, come to fruition.

IMG_0724Located on Parmenter Street in the North End, this cute shop is full of surprises!

IMG_0741The carry a variety of gourmet nuts and chocolates – they can even assemble a custom gift basket for you.

cocoanuts3Shira Melen of Northlight Baking Co. sells her delicious macarons here. They come prepackaged and make great gifts, or you can buy a few loose ones as a special treat for yourself.

cocoanuts2Melen’s macarons come in a variety of flavors, none of them ordinary:

(in the prepackaged box above) kalamansi – hybrid citrus fruit, tart; lavender - infused with lavender buds; london fog- blue flower earl grey tea (MEM tea)and vanilla bean; orange blossom - milk chocolate, orange blossom water; passionfruit

Other flavors include:

dirty chai - homemade chai spice shell with espresso filling; ginger – milk chocolate ganache infused with fresh ginger; milk chocolate coconut - milk chocolate ganache, toasted coconut; mint chocolate; salted caramel ganache; pink peppercorn & rose- *temporarily out of stock, back soon!; mango lime

IMG_0708Spoonable is a caramel company based out of Brooklyn. Michelle Lewis uses the best quality ingredients available and makes flavors like: Buttery Apple Pecan, Peppered Orange, Brooklyn Butterscotch, Chewy Sesame Caramel, Flowery Lavender Caramel, and Spicy Chili Carmel.

IMG_0716McCrea’s Candies is the brain child of Jason McCrea. Jason, a former chemist, has created something very special. His caramels come in flavors like Black Lava Sea Salt, Tapped Maple, Ginger Fusion, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Highland Scotch and Basil Cayenne.

IMG_0709Dude, Sweet Chocolate makes dark chocolate inspired creations. Chef Katherine Clapner has over 20 years of experience as a pastry chef, working in places such as New York and London. Clapner has creative names for her products, above is fungus amongus: Fungus Amongus Toffee is made case specific to go with cheese especially washed rind, triple or double creams. A very buttery and creamy toffee made with local cream, local butter, porcini mushroom powder and toasted pumpkin seeds. All of which were added to alleviate the getting stuck in your teeth and the over sweetness of normal toffees. Other items include: Stag Party Fudge, Chubby Nuts, Crack in a Box and a Loco for Cocoa bar.

IMG_0711You can assemble your own assortment of chocolates and truffles from their case.

IMG_0723They have a variety of high end chocolate bars: Raaka bars come by way of Brooklyn. Unlike other chocolate bars, Raaka does not roast the cocoa beans and every batch is made by hand. Their bars are certified organic, certified fair trade, soy free, nut free, and vegan. Flavors include: Espresso, Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Coconut Milk, Chili Rum Punch, Ghost Pepper and Bourbon Cask.

IMG_0721Dick Taylor chocolate is a small batch bean to bar company out of Arcarta, CA. Check out their website, I think it is really visually appealing. These two former boat builders make chocolate in flavors like Black Fig,  Maple Coconut, and Fleur de Sel.

IMG_0713Everywhere you look there is chocolate!

IMG_0715Truffles come in delicious flavors like ice cream sundae and sticky bun! Stop in and pick up some delicious treats!

Cocoanuts

27 Parmenter Street, Boston, MA

http://cocoanutsboston.com/

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