Category Archives: eating tour

Cambridge Eating Tour Adventure

eating tour mapLast weekend, Mike I planned to spend some time poking around Cambridge. Naturally, “poking around” translated into “searching for food” and we ended up on an eating tour of sorts. I loved that our adventure took us to so many new places we had never even heard of before, AND since we walked the whole thing (almost 5 miles!) none of the calories counted ;) Here are some pictures from our adventure, followed by a list of the places we went to!DSC_0015Three words, five syllables: Bel.gian-waff.les-YO.

DSC_0003DSC_0028Who knew there was an entire store dedicated to honey? Who knew I liked honey? Revelation.DSC_0018PicMonkey CollageDSC_0031DSC_0040Couldn’t resist making Mike play model. #hipsterDSC_0043DSC_0044DSC_0053Vegetable samosas FTW. These were goooood. Like, I-don’t-even-like-Indian-food-and-I-still-thought-they-were-good goooood.DSC_0058Pistachio + coffee Oreo

Our last stop was at The Friendly Toast but they sat us in THE DARKEST corner of the whole restaurant so I didn’t snap any pics. We ordered this:

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 1.42.05 PMand it was everything I could ever hope for and more.

Then, we walked a million more miles back into Boston and I snapped a million more pics, which I’ll share another day, another time. DSC_0090

Cambridge Eating Tour Adventure

  1. Zinnekin’s – Belgian waffles in Harvard Square
  2. Follow the Honey – Just outside Harvard Square
  3. Dosa Factory – Indian food in Central Square
  4. Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream – Inman Square (right next door to Christina’s Spice and Specialty Foods, which has every spice and random baking supply you could imagine!)
  5. The Friendly Toast – Kendall Square

We didn’t stop at these places this time around, but here are a couple more of my favorite Cambridge eateries:

  • Flour – bakery in Central Square
  • Sweet – cupcakes in Harvard Square
  • Area Four – bakery/bar/pizza/etc. in Kendall Square
  • Bon Me – Vietnamese food in Kendall Square

 

Colorado Snapshots {Part 1}

You know I couldn’t resist! Now that I’m settled in vacationland stop #2 {the Jersey shore} and have gone through my Colorado photos 12353228 times, I’m so excited to share them with you! Today’s pictures come from our first couple days in Denver, which, surprisingly enough, were all about food.

{Mike posing with his own personal food truck}

{Award-winning Pinche tacos}

{Fine cuisine on a stick. Sign. Me. Up.}

{French fry-stuffed gyro uhhh HUH}

{Me & Fina}

{Cupcake truck}

{Bacon chocolate cupcake}

{Rotunda inside the state capital building}

{Blood orange soda, new favesie fave}

{Giant peeping bear}

{Flight of beers at Denver Beer Co.}

{Maple bacon, PB&J, glazed, chocolate crueller, s’mores, chocolate caramel pecan. Best. Donuts. Of. My. Life.}

Stay tuned for some s-e-r-i-o-u-s scenery in {Part 2}!

Paris: According to Mike

Hey friends!  Today I have a VERY special guest poster: my Paris partner-in-crime and boyfriend Mike!  We decided a Paris recap would be a perfect excuse for Mike to make his blog debut, and I’d be lying if I said he didn’t take his post writing VERY seriously.  I’d also be lying if I said there weren’t notecards and highlighters and hours.of.editing. involved.  This is what I get for dating a law student.

Get pumped up! Here’s Paris: According to Mike.

This is hard.  I am not a creative writer and I am definitely not a blogger.  I have learned a lot from Melanie’s blogging – I know not to eat my food before a photo is taken, I know how to help switch camera lenses, I know why pinning on Pintrest (?) is important, and I finally got a Twitter account.  But this is hard and if you are expecting to laugh, read phrases with mid-sentence periods, or learn a new recipe, then this may not be a post for you. (If you are a family member, then this may give you more info about Paris than I have said over the phone).

As I think about our trip there are a few moments and a few themes that standout – but more importantly (like anyone who has interviewed for a job) I can identify my strengths and my weaknesses.

My (Parisian) weaknesses

Obviously, this trip was about food. We ate a ton of it, we stood in line to wait for it, and we searched for hours to find it.  Why did we search for hours? Well… like blogging, I have weaknesses.

1. MAPS

 Apparently one of those weaknesses is planning a trip. Before we left I had a great idea – put all of our restaurants, shops, bakeries, etc. on to one map so we could find everything and be efficient. However, my plan failed because my “asterisks” on the map were way too large and most of my notations got us within a few blocks of our goal.

This led to some frantic wanderings and sadly a few missed shops. (“Fromagerie 31,” “the shop with the best crepes,” and a restaurant with “sud ouest” in its name were never found.) It also meant I spent way too much time hiding my face in my map…

On the other hand, because we got lost in Saint Germain des Pres, Melanie got to meet her first French Bulldog in Paris… Minnie. It was love at first sight.

2. FRENCH

I would like to thank Ms. Ferrara, Prof. Hin Tun, and Prof. Luks for my many years of French lessons, I would also like to apologize for butchering the language for one week in March 2012. Here are two quick examples:

-Ordering water. This has always been a challenge for me. In France, like in many European nations, when you order water from your waiter you may be ordering an expensive bottle of Evian. There is a way to order “tap water” but I CANNOT do it.  During our trip I accidentally ordered Evian, I made a waiter avoid us for an entire meal, I ordered one glass of water with no refills, and a few times I actually got us a pitcher of tap water.  However, it was stressful, it was awful… someone please teach me how to do this correctly.

-Ordering anything really. The afternoon we went to the Musee d’Orsay I was not feeling well. (I felt a little bit like this gargoyle.) Melanie wanted lunch and I was not feeling up to a big meal. So I wanted to be smart and order something that would help me feel better. My four-year old, non-doctor, self decided that ice cream was exactly what I needed. Unlike ordering water, I felt confident ordering some citrus ice cream.  I knew almost every word on the menu and any ice cream dessert called “Le Colonel” had to be exactly what I needed to feel better. Oh how wrong I was.  The word I didn’t know was “Cachaça”. Do you know what that is? It turns out that instead of ordering a nice bowl of citrus ice cream, I ordered one scoop of lemon sorbet, an entire lime (rind included) ground up into bits, and two-thirds of a glass of Cachaça. Cachaça is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice. This was my biggest French fail of the trip. But because the drink cost more than the admission ticket to the museum and because the setting was so beautiful; I manned up and finished it.

3. PHOTOGRAPHY

I have a problem. I do not know how to take just one photo. Maybe I just like pretending I am the paparazzi or maybe its because I’m always afraid the perfect photo will be out of focus, but I take lots of photos. This is the real reason we took 1,300 photos in 6 days – because Melanie had to delete 300-400 of my photos.

For example, when trying to take one photo of Melanie – I took 12.

When I wanted a picture of Melanie leaving a great cafe – I made a stop motion movie.

Using a Melanie phrase: “I’m sorry, I’m not sorry.”  We got a few good photos didn’t we?

4. PARIS SHOPPING RULES

Like ordering water, another repeated failure was my conduct in Parisian stores.  Did you know you couldn’t take photos in grocery stores? Did you know that you can’t serve yourself in chocolate shops? Melanie got a few good laughs as I got yelled at by store managers.

One of these illicit photo shoots was to support Stirrings (a Nantucket/Boston company). We were surprised to find it in one of Paris’s best food markets – Au Bon Marche. However, as I rearranged the bottles to get the best shot (with flash), a store manager quickly came running over to tell me that “It is not possible to take photos in the store.” Oh well, I am a tourist and I already got a bunch of other photos in the store.

Almost instantly after the photo-fiasco, I got yelled at for picking out chocolates in a tiny shop.  This french store has been run by the same family for seven generations and had a great selection of marshmallows, caramels, and chocolates. Maybe it’s part of their history, but the employees in white gloves are the only people that can place your chocolates in perfect little cellophane bags. When an employee approached and saw me jamming marshmallows into a wrinkled, ripping bag she was horrified at best. (She also asked if I had touched anything with my bare hands – prepared to throw out anything I had contaminated). Luckily the chocolate and caramels were good enough to replace my sinking feeling of embarrassment.

5. LENT

My last weakness is staying vigilant to Lent. This year I gave up soda (mainly because Melanie was horrified to learn just how much Coca-Cola I drink each day). On Sunday, we got up with the sun to go to mass at Notre Dame. It was a beautiful French service, where I spent more time paying attention to the windows and stonework than to the readings. After church we went to a small boulangerie on Île Saint-Louis and bought a vegetable tartine, a chicken sandwich, an obligatory pain au chocolat, and a palmier. Our riverside lunch, listening to 1930s music played by a band on Pont Saint-Louis, was a highlight for the trip. However, my lunch included a European Coca-Cola (which I love because it uses sugar instead of corn syrup) and I broke my Lenten season sacrifice. I confess.

A few strengths: “Practice for Paris”

Just to rebuild my self-esteem (and because I’ve had some french wine and french chocolate to help inspire my blogging) I think I should list a few of my strengths on this trip.

I warned Melanie for all of January and February that we needed to “practice for Paris.” My memories of a previous trip to Paris are mainly lots of walking, lots of bread, and lots of wine.  This is slightly different from our Boston lives – and we needed to practice.  While I can’t speak for Melanie, I can proudly say that I got ready for Paris.  And this is why I was prepared.

1. I was ready with the camera to document each food shop and eating experience.

2. I had hit the gym to be ready to carry any and all of Melanie’s purchases (including an excessive amount of macarons and chocolates).

3. I knew to pick random churches for a quick visit. (Which explains how we found the practice session for “Concert Spirituel” at the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde. We were able to walk in to a beautiful church to listen to the “Choeur Fra Angelico” sing with the “Ensemble Instrumental de Paris.”)

4. I figured out the pricing system at E.Dehillerin, which apparently stumps many tourists. (If you’re into cooking and love good deals on knives, cooking supplies, pots and pans this culinary supply store is a must see!)

Despite my many weaknesses, this was a trip of a lifetime. I hope all of you can travel to Paris and have the great weather, food, and moments that we got to experience for six days.

{Paris: The Sights}, {Paris: The Eiffel Tower}, {Paris: The Food}, {Paris: The Details}, {Paris: By Night}

Paris: The Food

Something I learned in Paris?  French peeps do NOT like you to take pictures of their food/displays/inside their stores.  They were all “NO PHOTO” and I was all “Je ne parle pas francais.” *click*click*

And American tourists wonder why the French hate us.

Unfortch, this means I didn’t get 2108325 gorgeous food photos as anticipated.  Here are the ones I did manage to snap!

(The above photo is macarons + marshmallows from Pain de Sucre.  Chocolate+toasted coconut marshmallow is MAJ.)

This was the first of many picnic dinners.  Baguette + cheese + ham + red wine.  Sitting on any random park bench in Paris having a picnic while watching the sun set is my idea of heaven.  Like really, truly, actually…when I die I want to go to heaven in Paris and eat baguettes and drink wine and admire the Eiffel Tower (Mike you’re invited too).  Sorry for the unexpected morbidity.

Lis.ten.  While we’re on the topic of “When I die and go to heaven in Paris…”, we need to talk crepes.  Because a freshly made Nutella-stuffed crepe would most certainly be my dessert of choice in heaven.

I love, love, loved how many outdoor food stands and markets we stumbled upon.  They are EVERYWHERE and the food always looked absolutely gorgeous!  We found amazing (and completely random) food while exploring the Marais, including: donuts + HUMONGOUS cotton candy (above), as well as a churro man and the best falafel in the world (NY Times said it!) at L’As Du Fallafel.

Worth every one of the fifty minutes we stood in line.

Another nummy neighborhood was Île Saint-Louis, where we had a “try every French pastry” taste-test behind Notre Dame and made the trek to the original Berthillon for the best ice cream potentially of my life.  I got salted caramel ice cream and Mike got pear, both of which tasted EXACTLY like their namesakes but in ice cream form.  Highly recommended.

It goes without saying that if you don’t try french onion soup while visiting Paris, you haven’t lived.

Sidewalk cafes are another obvious MUST.  We spent hours sitting at cafes, sipping wine and watching the world go by, feeling so very French.  But despite my best attempts to speak like a local, eat like a local, and look vaguely bored, I have a feeling I didn’t blend in as much as I had hoped. Can you spot the American here?

Something else I learned?  French people hate veggies.  It’s possible that the pickles & three bites of lettuce pictured above may have been my ONLY source of veg the entire trip.

And finally, finally…

my dream come true.  Macaron heaven.

(Hey people? Macaron is different than macaroon. Macaroons are made of coconut, macarons are not.  You can remember this because macaroon has two “o”s and so does coconut.  You’re welcome.)

Mike and I tried about 4 gazillion macarons, many of which went unphotographed because I stuffed them in my mouth too fast.

Macarons are the cupcakes of Paris.  They are everywhere, in every color and flavor imaginable.  We got different flavors at each new place, but decided to try salted caramel every time so that we could proclaim “The Best Salted Caramel Macaron in Paris”.

The winner was (obviously) Laduree.  Salty and sweet and chewy and caramely and if you ever go to Paris and don’t bring some back to me we’re no longer friends.

{Other fave macaron places include Pierre Herme, Pain de Sucre, and Fauchon.}

So there you have it!  {Some of} my favorite Paris foods.  Next up will be Paris: The Details!

Find Paris: The Sights here.  Paris: The Eiffel Tower here.

NYC Eating Tour: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the NYC Eating Tour!  We left off yesterday at the Union Square Christmas market.

Since we were in the area, Emily and I decided to stop by Fishs Eddy, recommended by Anna over at Dear Friend.

Fishs Eddy is a mecca of kitchen goods – plates, glasses, cake stands galore.  My idea of heaven!

They even had a Charley Harper line – my favorite!

For dinner Emily and I went to S’mac and waited in line for 25325 hours.  But when that buffalo chicken mac & cheese arrived, we realized it was SO worth the wait.  The photo totally doesn’t do it justice, but the mac comes in a skillet straight from the oven for optimum ooooey gooey chee-z-iness.  Give me buffalo mac and cheese and peanut butter buttercream and I’m set for life.

The next day we set out for Francois Payard Bakery for some MORE macarons.  We decided to limit ourselves to just one macaron (since we were heading to brunch afterwards), and chose the Cookies ‘n Cream flavor.  It was PERFECT.

We were early for our brunch reservations, so we popped in to Murray’s Cheese Shop and juuust couldn’t resist tasting a cheese straw.

After a belly full of snacks, we made our way to brunch at Sweet Revenge.  Emily had heard about their red velvet waffles online and we knew we needed them in our lives A.S.A.P.

Though I’m 98% sure the waffles were simply red velvet cupcake batter fried into waffle form, they were some of the BEST I’ve ever had.  And they were served with whipped cream cheese and SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE.  These people know the way to my heart, for realz.

Finally, we met up with Alix and Kaitlin (hey ladies!) for brunch #2 at Cafe Cluny.  Though there were no Amy Poehler sightings, the food was deeeelicious and it was great to catch up with some college friends!

All in all a fabulous two days of eating in NYC.  Splitting everything with my sister let us try more amazing foods without getting too full – the best of both worlds.  Can’t wait to go back!

NYC Eating Tour: Part 1

Sorry for the delay in posts, my friends!  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and took some time to relax and recharge :)

I spent the past 5 days eating, chillin’, spending time with family, and eating some more.  You would think I would get sick of all the Christmas goodies, but nope…still going strong at around 75 cookies/day.

I realized I never posted my pictures from the NYC eating tour with my sister a few weeks ago, so here’s a peek into our eating adventures!

First stop was Laduree for some french macarons, which I basically peed my pants over.  After the 6 failed macaron attempts, I was preeeettttyy pumped to have some perfect macarons.  And perfect* they were!

Next stop was Momofuku Milk Bar, where we got red velvet soft serve (to.die.for.) and an {unphotographed, unbelievable} compost cookie [chocolate chips, pretzels, potato chips, corn flakes, coffee grounds] which I plan to recreate in the very near future.

Then we went to Rice to Riches and split a pecan pie rice pudding.  It was HEAVENLY.

Next up was Lulu’s Sweet Apothecary for a vegan raspberry donut and the BEST dairy-free ice cream I’ve ever had.  We had a taste of the peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream and it tasted just like frozen creamy peanut butter, in the best possible way.

Then we popped over to the Union Square Christmas market and found MORE macarons, including a s’mores flavor and a Snickers one.  Love.

Be on the lookout for Part 2 tomorrow!

*Except for the rose-flavored one, which, truth be told, I spit out.  Roses should be looked at but never eaten.

Chicago Eating Tour: Vol. 4

I’m baaaack! I can’t believe how long I’ve been holding out on you with this final eating tour post. Just trying to build the drama, you know?

I should start by saying that the meal I’m about to describe has become the new Best Meal of My Life, BUT I will always keep a special place in my heart for honey spaetzle.

It should also be noted that I ate until I exploded. Literally. I looked like Violet Beauregarde when she turns into a giant blueberry and the oompa loompas have to roll her away. It wasn’t pretty.

So. Let’s set the scene. For my and Mike’s final night in Chicago, we were looking for a REALLY good place to eat. Our gracious host CJ had called to make reservations for the three of us almost a month prior at Girl and the Goat, only to find that they were booked solid for months. Months! We called around a few other places in an attempt to make a reservation elsewhere, but since I knew that we couldn’t go to Girl and the Goat, that was the only place I wanted to eat. I get obsessed with things.

Long story short, we decided to show up at the Goat around 9:30PM and see if they might have a late-night opening. I believe the good-food gods were looking down on us because lo and behold, they were able to take us at 10:30PM! Which is 11:30PM Eastern time, so basically I ate a 10-course meal at midnight. Hence the Violet Beauregarde roly-poly issue.

Regardless, we were THRILLED to get a table and even MORE thrilled when we discovered that the owner, Stephanie Izard (winner of Top Chef Season 4) was sitting just a few tables away. Total foodie celeb!

Here is what we ordered. Please try not to judge the excess of it all. This was a once-in-a-lifetime meal, people!

To start:

Buenos dias bread with coffee butter and blueberry vinaigrette.

Spence wheat bread with peanut butter butter and honeycomb.

Small plates:

Squash blossom rangoon with crab, chive yogurt, toasted almonds.

Kohlrabi salad with fennel, evalon, blueberry, toasted almonds, ginger dressing.

Gjetost pancake with heirloom tomato jam, shiitake mushrooms, black pepper creme fraiche.

Ham frites with smoked aioli, cheddar beer sauce.

Escargot ravioli with bacon, tamarind-miso sauce.

Braised beef tongue with masa, beef vinaigrette, salsa verde.

Goat chorizo flatbread with ajvar, peppers, green tomato, apples, fresh ricotta.

Goat liver mousse with peach mostarda, corn relish, crumpets.

Wood oven roasted pig face with sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, potato stix.

Dessert:

Goat cheese bavarois with brown sugar cake, citrus blueberries, marcona caramel.

Chocolate bouchon with foie fluff, salted toffee, milk chocolate sorbet, gooseberry compote.

Our waitress was so fab that she brought us two desserts even though we only asked for one. And because she knew to bring me the chocolate bouchon even though I pretended I was too full to eat it, she is my new best friend.

Highlights: 

Foie fluff. Hi. I don’t even really know what foie is (just looked it up…wish I hadn’t) but I do know that they replaced the butter in the marshmallow with foie fat. Which brought fluff to a whole other level I never knew existed.

Peanut butter butter.

Peanut butter BUTTER. I want peanut butter butter in my life every minute of every day and I want it to be with me always. The end.

Cheddar beer sauce. Are you for real?

High/lowlight: I ate a pig’s face. The good news is it didn’t look like a pig’s face. The bad news is I knew it was a pig’s face. Oink.

All in all a perfect finale to the Chicago Eating Tour, with unbelievable foods I never expected to try, let alone like! If you ever visit Chicag0: GO to Girl and the Goat, eat your heart out, and don’t look back.

Chicago Eating Tour: Vol. 3

I owe you a BIG apology for the delay in Chicago Eating Tour posts. I know you’ve all been hanging on my every unbelievable-food-describing word. School started up last week and then I was in NYC this weekend and THEN I went to the eye doctor’s and had my eyes dilated and couldn’t see and walked straight into a large group of tourists (sorry I’m not sorry). This relates to nothing and  I’m really just looking for an excuse to show you this picture and make you wonder if I might be part alien and/or werewolf.

Which I’m not, but thanks for the concern.

Let’s talk lunch.

When in Chicago, you must get a Chicago dog. And you MUST get said dog at Portillo’s with “the works”: mustard, relish, chopped fresh onions, sliced tomatoes, a pickle spear, and sport peppers on a poppy seed bun. Try to order it without any of these things and it’s like a scene out of a movie: the crowd goes silent, everybody stares, and the person behind the counter says “You want what??” and refuses to serve you. Trust me.

And, because I am Polish, it was a major requirement that I also get a Polish dog, which is basically the same as a Chicago dog but with kielbasa instead.

Nummers.

Mike and I had time for one final meal before flying back to Boston, and decided to stop at Grahamwich for a sandwich. I knew I had to go there based on the website alone. Seriously, check it out. Super cute.

Grahamwich has all kinds of awesome things on the menu, things that I am not cool enough to ever think of. Like the g’wich popcorn (topped with grated parmesan, chopped chives, sea salt, black pepper, and truffle oil) or the vanilla bean soft serve (which comes with warm nutella, caramelized banana, and marshmallow fluff). And don’t even get me started on the roasted banana and nutella croissant panini breakfast sandwich. Meow.

Mike and I opted to split the waldorf chicken salad sandwich, which had grapes, candied walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola, and shaved celery on multigrain bread, with a side of the g’wich “pickles” (various local veggies pickled right in the store). It was just enough food to make up for the excessive eating from the previous days.

Grahamwich also makes their own soda. It was a cool place that has a little something for everyone – highly recommended!

Sidenote: Grahamwich is next door to Posh, an amazing home goods store that has zillions of vintage and European flea market finds – glasses and plates and maps and napkins galore. An added bonus!

Chicago Eating Tour: Vol. 2

Welcome to Volume 2 of the Chicago Eating Tour, otherwise known as “the time I spent 3 days in a new city and all I did was EAT”.

Though I ended up being blown away (windy city, get it? GET IT??) by the amazing meals and restaurants, I was initially most excited to see what the bakeries in Chicago had to offer. More specifically, how to maximize cupcake exposure.

But a girl cannot live on cupcakes alone, so Mike and I decided to forgo a full morning (yes I eat cupcakes before noon, don’t you?) of cupcakes for a trip to one bakery and one cupcake shop.

First we stopped at trekked to Bake.

WELL worth the expedition. I loved the atmosphere, from this awesome wall of words (want this in my kitchen) to the handmade “Yes{backwards s} weRe OpeN” sign from the owner’s son on the front door. Right up my alley.

Mike and I split a raspberry and chocolate muffin for breakfast because I figured it would cover our daily intake of fruit. Desperate times call for desperate measures?

Then I had a mental breakdown while trying to decide which goodies to order from this spread:

And ended up ordering one of everything.

Luckily Mike stepped in and said we would just like an M&M cookie and a banana chocolate chip cookie, pleaseandthankyou. Often I worry what might happen without someone rational to occasionally (and necessarily) reel me in. I have a feeling it would have something to do with a broken scale and The Biggest Loser.

Then we immediately hopped on the El (L? Elle?) and headed straight for More. I’ve noticed that Chicago likes short, to-the-point names for its eateries. Brunch. Bake. More. It’s like Chicago is speaking to me. Yes, okay, I will brunch and bake more. I GET IT.

I loved the way More displayed their treats. It was like walking into a wall of cupcakes that are all screaming EEEEAAAATTT MEEEEE.

Once again I got overwhelmed and tried to order everything. There were 15+ flavors! Some included bacon! How is a girl to decide?!?!?! It’s just not fair.

Here’s what we went with:

Black&White: Marble cake with chocolate buttercream and white&milk chocolate shavings.

Salted Caramel: Vanilla cake with caramel center (UNREAL) and salted caramel buttercream.

Blueberry: Blueberry cake (good) with blueberry buttercream (eh) and fresh blueberries.

Valrhona: Dark chocolate cake filled with chocolate cream and topped with chocolate ganache and GOLD. Which I’m still checking my…ahem…toilet for.

All in all, fabulous cupcakes with so many original and seasonal flavors. Gimme more.

This concludes CET:v2. Just the tip of the iceberg of Chicago bakeries, but all the more reason to go back soon!