Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rainy Day in Boston

We woke up to a rainy chilly day on Saturday in Boston.  After our fun filled day on Friday, we were fine with taking it easy. 


So we slowly motivated and got bundled up to go explore.


Of course our first stop was brunch!  We headed over to Southend Buttery in the Back Bay neighborhood, which was really close to our hotel, The Chandler Inn.  This brunch was super good!  IMAG0317

We started with coffee and their house scone.  Something about hot coffee, warm scone, cold butter, and yummy jam just makes me happy!  So happy I had to have a bite before I even could take a picture.  It’s kind of like someone got the hand caught in the cookie jar – that would be me!


For our main courses:

Joe went with Huevos Ranchero – 2 eggs over easy, cheese quesedilla, black beans, crispy home fries, sour cream and guacamole – YES PLEASE!


I went with the Tradition Buttery Breakfast:  2 eggs over medium, pancakes and bacon – a classic – you can’t go wrong!


Just delicious!!  Fueled up and ready to go…  now where to go to get out of the rain and cold?  A museum of course!  We made our way over The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  This is a little different museum in the it’s a personal collection of art housed in a building specifically built for the collection.  Really they can do a much better job explaining it.

Excerpt from Isabella Stewart Gardner website:

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is housed in a stunning 15th-century Venetian-style palace with three stories of galleries surrounding a sun- and flower-filled courtyard, the museum provides an unusual backdrop for the viewing of art. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's preeminent collection contains more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, rare books and decorative arts. The galleries house works by some of the most recognized artists in the world, including Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Manet, Degas, Whistler and Sargent. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened to the public on the evening of January 1st, 1903.

Fenway Court, as the museum was called at its inception, is the only private art collection in which the building, collection and installations are the creation of one individual. Isabella Stewart Gardner's vision that the museum remain as she arranged it "for the education and enrichment of the public forever" is reflected in every aspect of the museum.

To learn more about the museum hop over to their website.

After a couple hours in the museum and some more walking around town it was time for a quick bite of lunch.  A fellow blogger, Jeannine was so sweet to give me the low-down on some of her favorite spots in Boston.  One of which was a really cool burger spot that was created by two college friends called, B Good.  Their concept is to make fast food real – by real people.  They want to create fast food you can feel good about eating.  And boy did we feel good about eating this super delish burger!


We went with the Adopted Luke beef burger:  mushrooms, caramelized onions, swiss cheese, and homemade bbq sauce.  And of course we needed a side of fresh cut sweet potato fries.  The burger was cooked perfectly – nice and juicy with just a hint of pink inside.  The toppings were in perfect proportions not too many falling out everywhere.  The sesame seed bun toasted lightly held up well to the BBQ sauce of juice of the burger.  The fries were big and rustic – no doubt that they had been cut in house and made that day.  (Mouth watering over here!)

Dinner on Saturday was VERY good!  More tasty tales to come…

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Starting off right!

We had a nice and early flight into Boston.  We arrived around 10:30 to a brisk day – about 45 degrees – burr!  We dropped our bags at the hotel, hopped back on the T and headed to the Italian North end.  The Boston foodies gave us the tip to be at Neptune Oyster as soon as they opened.  And boy were they right!  We were there when they rolled up the gates, grabbed two seats at the bar and settled in for some tasty treats!  Before we even had placed our order the place was full!



We decided it only made sense to start with some oysters.  We got 3 different kinds: 1 from the west coast and 2 from the east coast.  I thought I kept the list so I could tell you the exact ones but can’t seem to find it!  Bummer!  But needless to say they extremely fresh and the perfect way to start of our New England trip!


We also decided to try the Hamachi Crudo.  They really let that Hamachi shine!  Sliced thin with a jalapeno-lime vinaigrette, shaved red onion and cilantro.  This was so light and fresh.  A delicate dish without being at all pretentious. 


And then for the real reason we were there…  THE LOBSTER ROLL!  Oh.Me.Goodness.  This was amazing.  The roll was warm and toasty.  The lobster fresh and overflowing.  The butter covered it all in an expertise proportion.  The fries were crispy on the outside – soft on the inside.  Truly the perfect sandwich.  We mentioned multiple times throughout the weekend that we could always go back and get another Lobster Roll.  It was that good!


After filling our bellies with some amazing treats it was time to work it off!  And what better way to do that than a bicycle tour of the city.  I had been following Groupon for Boston and happen to come upon a Groupon for Urban Adventures.  (following along one of the coupon sites for the city you’re going to be visiting is a great way to find some deals!)  Urban Adventures does different tours of the city via bicycles.  I loved the idea of seeing the city up close and personal.  So we donned our helmets, got fitted for bikes and we were off!

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The “City View” tour shows you a really nice portion of Boston in about a 2-1/2 hour tour.  Check out our route:

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And some shots from the tour:

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Beacon Hill


Charles River


Fenway Park


Downtown & Harbor


Overall a great way to see the city, learn some history and get some exercise!  I would highly recommend it – but make sure you pack some gloves and a warm hat in case of cold weather.  We weren’t prepared and had to go shopping real quick!

Can you believe all this was in our first day!  And we still haven’t made it to dinner – we love to pack in the activities!!  For dinner that evening, we headed to a little neighborhood on the south west side of Boston, Jamaica Plains.  This was a really cool neighborhood – it reminded me a little of Charlotte’s NoDa but bigger.  We ate at Ten Tables, a small intimate restaurant where the food takes center stage.  The restaurant was very romantic – i.e. dark!  So I wasn’t able to get any photos of the food but believe me it was tasty!

We started with cheese of the day – a very strong bleu that came with almonds, honey and fruit paste and the house made Charcuterie with traditional accoutrements.  For entrĂ©es I had the housemade Cavatelli with fava beans, peas and ricotta salad. I really enjoyed the freshness of this dish.  There was a lightness even though it was a pasta and fava beans and peas added a nice brightness.  Joe went with the Moulard Duck Breast with red rice, shitake mushrooms and spring onion jam.  The duck was cooked perfectly and the combination of the earthy mushrooms with the sweetness of the jam made a scrumptious bite!  Unfortunately with all the bread from our cheese and charcuterie we neglected to leave room for dessert!  Bad bad – I know!

Whew!  And then we went back to the hotel and fell into bed – that was one FULL day!  Saturday was much more laid back, you’ll see!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back from Boston

We had an amazing time this past weekend in Boston.  If you follow me on twitter you’ve seen a few of the stops we made.  We ate some yummy, yummy food.  And we ate A LOT!  If you know me at all – you know I like to research.  I like to plan.  I like to make lists.  So you put that together with traveling to a new city – I may be a *bit* overzealous.

So to start my research I go to your normal sites: Tripadvisor, Google, and Fodors. But because food determines our route (hey at least I’m keeping it honest),  I scoured Chowhound before we went because you should go where the locals go and see what they love.  Who better right!?!  So I asked the foodies of Boston where we should go, and boy did they answer.  That’s what I love about Chowhound – passionate people about restaurants in their area!!

So our plan as of last Wednesday:

Lunch: Can't decide b/w B&G Oyster or Neptune Oyster
Dinner: Ten Table JP

Lunch: Regina Pizzeria
Dinner: Can't decide b/w Scampo OR Coppa OR Island Creek Oyster

Brunch: Craigie on Main
Dinner: Myers + Chang

Lunch: ??

We had good direction but still a couple of questions.  After reading all the replies from the Chowhounds, we tweaked our plan a bit.  So when we left bright and early Friday morning this was the final draft:

Lunch: Neptune Oyster
Dinner: Ten Table JP

Lunch: Regina Pizzeria
Dinner: Erbaluce

Quick breakfast: Southend Buttery (our brunch reservation. isn't until 1:45 so we'll need something to sustain us through church!)
Brunch: Craigie on Main
Dinner: Myers + Chang

Lunch: Island Creek Oyster - since we plan on hitting Fenway Park in the a.m.

Well as you know when traveling, no matter how much planning you do there are still speed bumps and you must go with the flow.  We had some weather challenges and tweaked our daily outings to match better with the weather.  I’m going to break up our “reviews” by days because it would be too much to get in one post!

So come back soon and hear about our lunch @ Neptune Oyster and Ten Tables @ Jamaica Plains.  Oh and we did do some actual historical sites as well!  Can’t wait to give y’all all the dirt!  And because I cannot have a post without a picture or two…  Some eye candy to entice your taste buds…





Can I just say I want to go back!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The British are coming!!!

We are visiting this lovely city this weekend and CANNOT wait to share all the good times!

Hope your Easter weekend has been amazing as well!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dinner with a Foodie

You may remember when Joe and I tried out Halcyon during Charlotte's Queen's Feast (i.e. Restaurant Week).  Well I met a *new* friend there this week.  Kelly is the brains behind the super cute and informative blog, Foodie Fresh.  She's got great tips on eating fresh and healthy! You've got to check out her perfect egg here - life changer people!  But as we all do - Kelly enjoys a splurge meal too.

We had been chatting on twitter about restaurant recommendations, when Halcyon came up.  We decided this would be a great reason to finally meet in person and enjoy some delicious food!  Kelly did a great break down of our meal.  Hop on over to her blog to check it out!

It was so great to meet a fellow Charlottean blogger and she was extremely warm and welcoming.  We had a great time chatting and look forward to exploring other spots in our lovely city in the future!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flowertown Festival

On our way home from Charleston, we stopped in Summerville SC for what we thought was just a small town festival but we were pleasantly surprised that this was a full blown event!

The booths went on for days!  They had all kinds of different vendors, foods, drinks, and arts & crafts!  We had a great time just moseying along all the different aisles.
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And walking around downtown Summerville was fun too!  Check out this beautiful architecture!
We love checking out beautiful homes!  If you want to see some more beautiful homes hop over here.  Have you been to any spring festivals recently?  Any upcoming that we should make sure we check out?  Do tell!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Panzanella Salad with chickpeas

As you already know, we were in Charleston this past weekend for the Cooper Bridge Run.  We decided to have a laid back evening at home and use Jon’s Big Green Egg.  We normally cook up some tasty treats when we go to Charleston.  Remember this – yum!  So this time we thought we’d try Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Puree'.  And once again we hit it out of the park!!
The pork was perfectly cooked and the sweet potato puree was such a great compliment to the spicy meat.  We also made a Panzanella salad to go with our dinner.  This salad has become my “go-to” dish.  It’s super easy.
Panzanella Salad with chickpeas
1 can chickpeas – drained
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/2
1 cucumber – peeled / diced1/2 c. chopped fresh mozzarella
1/4  Sweet yellow onion – diceLg Bunch of Fresh basil – chopped
French baguette loaf
Cut baguette into 1/4” cubes.  Toss lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread on cooking sheet.  Bake until lightly golden brown.  Set aside to cool.
Cut vegetables, herbs and cheese and place in large bowl.
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Toss vegetable mixture in vinaigrette allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.  Add toasted bread cubes right before serving.
This is soooo tasty!!  We’ve made it multiple times and it’s been a huge hit!  Let me know if you try, it’s a perfect salad to make for your next cookout.  And now that the markets are starting to open you’ll have great tomatoes to choose from!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bridge Run 2011

We just got home from an AWESOME trip to Charleston SC.  We went down to run the Cooper Bridge Run!!

2011 Design

We had so much fun! 

Since my brother, his wife and their 2 girls live in Mount Pleasant we had the perfect peeps to meet up with.  We hit the road Friday night and headed to MP – we had a total of 5 peeps running and 2 peeps cheering us on!

As cheesy as you know I am…  we had to make t-shirts:

Front:  The truth is you can always run faster / Back: Hey, the truth hurts

The day was perfect for a run.  It was a tidbit chilly but once the sun got out it warmed up very nicely. The race started in “waves” for the first time this year.  It worked nicely to help with the bottleneck effect.

Natalie and I ran the whole race together.  We did really well at keeping each other on pace.  When I was dragging she would pull me through and vice versa.  I was super happy with how well we ran.  We walked up the incline of the bridge but other than that we RAN the WHOLE way!!  I was definitely starting to feel it a little in my knees at about mile 4, but thankfully with Natalie’s help I pushed through.

And we made it to the FINISH LINE!

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It was a great time!  There’s talk of making it a TRADITION!!

We had a whole bunch of fun this weekend that I’ll be sharing more with ya later on this week!!  What fun did you get into this beautiful warm weekend??