a family filled (fat kid) fairfield weekend!

if fun = pounds, then this weekend was lots of fun. (three and a half according to my scale, to be exact.) thursday night i headed down to fairfield after work.  in tote was a bacio cake (dark chocolate & hazelnut) for my dad i had ordered from modern pastry earlier in the week.

IMG_0771as my mother stated about seven hundred and fifty three times, this cake is so good. im a big mikes pastry gal, but when it comes to cakes, moderns has a leg up in my book (minus the fact they don’t have bags for their cakes. that made carrying it, along with my luggage, in 97% humidity, with no cabs in sight….interesting. read: i had a breakdown and started crying in post office square.)

friday morning i relaxed in bed for a bit after waking up and finally got around to watching the first episode of top chef.  im SO excited that this season was filmed in boston. especially if it means they keep showing this guy… swoooooon

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once i rolled my bloated bod out of bed i decided to hit up the tanning bed- gotta keep up that base for vegas baby! the place that i used to go to in fairfield randomly shut down (which was annoying, i still had tans there!) so i found a new place on yelp to try out.  i actually really liked the place- they had nice beds for reasonable prices (it was in the bob’s plaza on the post road for any fairfielders reading) but was def a bit caught of guard by this sign:

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um….how often does that happen that they felt the need to post a sign?! yikes. after i got my bronze on i headed to trader joes to pick up some cookies & cream cookie butter i had read about on a blog for my brother. the kid loves oreos and trader joes can usually do no wrong, so figured it was a must try.

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it tastes pretty much like smashed up oreos in frosting- aka im not allowed to buy it for myself because i would eat the whole jar with a spoon. (actual suggestions for use on the jar are spread on pancakes, waffles, eaten with pretzels or on top of ice cream. i still think a spoon seems like the best option.) while i was there i also picked up some of my favorite mini brie bites and a jar of coconut oil.  i have no idea what im going to use this for, but a lot of recipes ive seen lately use it- so figured might as well keep some on hand. aka it was an impulse buy. oh, and my mom had bought me a box of pumpkin seed brittle from TJs that is absolutely delicious if you’re a brittle fan (which i am.) i ate half the box in the middle of the night.

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gave my brother his gift when he got back from school and then he gave me mine- ahhh! im so exciteddddd. good work little bro. (something tells me mom helped you pick out this one…)

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i read about the yonanas on carrots n cake a while back and have had my eye on one ever since. i have a huge sweet tooth, so this will at least give me a healthier night time treat! (plus i can stock up on ripe bananas super cheap at haymarket.)  once i make a batch, ill give you a full review! speaking of reviews- how hysterical is this review for the yonanas on amazon?! i almost died laughing when my brother read it to me!

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 6.41.49 PMfor his birthday dinner, alex chose to go to modern apizza in new haven. in case you’re not from connecticut, new haven is the place for pizza. id been to pepe’s and sally’s before, but never modern.

Untitledside note: the camera on the iPhone is good, but after using my real camera lately, the pics just don’t compare! (so sorry, these tasted better than they look.)

and because four people clearly need three medium pizzas, we ordered (from left to right) a white clam pizza (my choice), a fresh tomato pizza (my moms choice) and a bacon pizza (alexs choice). we also ordered all of them well done, which usually i love, but mine was a bitttt too dark around the edges.

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clearly, that stopped me from eating it all. HA. psychhhhh. we all cleaned plate. normal. since we were in a total food coma, we headed home and ate some oreo dirt pie and leftover cake (because that’s what you’re supposed to do when your full is eat more, right?) the parents headed to bed and alex and i watched silence of the lambs (birthday boys pic- 18 means rated R moviessss.) i hadn’t seen that movie in ages and forgot how good it is!

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saturday morning was party prep time sine we had the family coming over for our big birthday bash!  i picked up ingredients to make laurens guacamole (really tough guys: premade guac + a container of feta.) apparently no one else in my family likes guacamole (?!) so i ate about half of it on my own…. healthy fats, right? right.

Untitledwe also had ordered subs from jersey mikes that were awesome! my favorite: the italian with extra pepper relish (<- if you like spicy, make sure you add these to your sub!)

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maia also brought over some spinach pita- my favorite! (too bad my brother ate almost all of it and i only got one slice. i swear, im not angry at all….grrrrr.)

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pretty soon my favorite little buddy came over and we spent time walking up and down the stairs….

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rolling the big ball around

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and of course there were lots of snuggles!

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always love spending time with little sophia grace! i can’t believe how big she’s getting. pretty soon it was time to blow out the candles. october birthdays: chris (49), me (29), olivia (21), alex (18), and soph (2)!

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everybody make a wish!

that night i headed out to south norwalk to meet up with some girlfriends and pete (who i hadn’t seen in months!) we went to harlan publick that had a really cool outdoor space with bocce (although it was a bit too cold to be outside) and i loved how the inside space was decorated- exposed beams/pipes, funky hanging old-looking lights… i can’t think of the word to describe it now (not modern… gah… what is it) but was a lot of fun! would def recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.

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headed back to boston at around two o’clock on sunday. since i knew the diet was going to be starting HARDCORE today, i figured why not add on to the calorie count with a little pad thai. my current thai delivery spot is thai bistro on high street. they are pretty good, but not out of this world, so im open to suggestions!

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wide noodles are where its at.

so i think that about sums up the weekend! now i need to go eat vegetables, drink water, and unpack. (maybe. if buster lets me.)

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oh, and i finished up brothers & sisters on netflix and need a new show to binge watch. anything good i might have missed?! let me know!

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(b)logs favorite eats: october 2014 edition

so a friend from college recently reached out to me (hi caroline!) and said she was coming to boston and asked for some restaurant recommendations. i get this question every now and then from friends, so figured i’d put together a little list of my current top ten favorite places for lunch, dinner, and brunch! will make updates every now and then, and will (eventually) do some top ten places for drinks, take-out, etc.

*note, there’s obviously a bias towards the north end/downtown, especially for lunch, since that’s where i spent 75% of my time… ok who am I kidding, 95% of my time… so restaurants in other neighborhoods, im sorry you didn’t make the cut- but feel free to lure me to your neck of the woods ;)

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sam lagrassas sandwich
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lunch (in alphabetical order)

  • chacarero: financial district http://www.chacarero.com
    what they serve: chilean sandwiches
    my usual order: small bbq chicken with everything, extra spicy
    (b)’s notes: the bbq chicken itself is already pretty spicy, so first timers should probably skip the extra spicy part. but if you like spicy, then go for it! (and if you don’t, just order the regular chicken- still delicious)
  • ernestos pizza: north end http://www.ernestosnorthend.com
    what they serve: pizza
    my usual order: fried eggplant & ricotta OR chicken bacon ranch
    (b)’s notes: i don’t care how hungry you are, order one slice, at least to start. it’s literally a quarter of a large pizza!
  • granary tavern: downtown (sit down) http://www.granarytavern.com
    what they serve: american/pub
    my usual order: chicken fried chicken
    (b)’s notes: won’t sugar coat it, these are basically just chicken tenders. but like, chicken tenders on crack. oh so good.
  • james hook & co.: financial district http://www.jameshooklobster.com
    what they serve: seafood
    my usual order: lobster roll & a stuffed quahog
    (b)’s notes: this place is a trailer, but don’t let looks deceive you. if you want reasonably priced, tasty seafood lunch in a jiffy, this is the place to go.
  • monicas mercato: north end http://www.monicasboston.com
    what they serve: fresh cut deli sandwiches & italian specialties
    my usual order: small italian with everything, extra hots
    (b)’s notes: warning, there is no menu. but these are the best sliced to order subs you will probably ever have. and they are huge. just get the italian, or the mozz/tomato/basil/prosciutto  and thank me later.
  • the parish cafe: back bay (sit down) http://parishcafe.com
    what they serve: sandwiches and beer. lots of beer.
    my usual order: onion rings & a beer
    (b)’s notes: they have lots of sandwiches that people love, but honestly, the reason im coming here is for the onion rings and a beer. (so read yelp for sandwich suggestions)
  • pasta beach: downtown (sit down) http://www.pastabeachrestaurants.com
    what they serve: pizza, pastas & sandwiches
    my usual order: fungi pizza, but you can’t go wrong with anything really.
    (b)’s notes: just be prepared, the service can sometimes be slowwww… but i think its worth it
  • paulis: north end http://paulisnorthend.com
    what they serve: sandwiches and wraps
    my usual order: the killer bee on a whole wheat wrap or the california wrap
    (b)’s notes: i eat here WAYYY too much. and get it delivered even though i live a few blocks away. it’s hard to go wrong with any of their sandwiches. oh, and the chocolate chip cookies are also pretty unreal.
  • sam lagrassas: financial district http://www.samlagrassas.com
    what they serve: sandwiches
    my usual order: pastrami corned beef combo & fries
    (b)’s notes: this. place. gets. busy. but its one of the best sandwiches in the city, especially if you like corned beef or pastrami.
  • yankee lobster company: seaport http://www.yankeelobstercompany.com
    what they serve: seafood
    my usual order: lobster roll or fried clams/fried oysters.
    (b)’s notes: this place is def a hidden seafood gem. shockingly, there aren’t all that many seafood places in boston. this place is a hole in the wall but they’ve got everything you want and it’s all delicious. (just be prepared for paper plates, this place ain’t fancy)
  • honorable mention:
    • vitos tavern: north end ($$) http://www.vitostavern.com
      what they serve: bar food
      my usual order: bacon cheeseburger, honey siracha wings & a vitos ale
      (b)’s notes: in a sea of italian this is a great little sports bar! the burgers are huge and delicious and wings are half price on wednesdays!

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dinner (in order that i thought of them, aka the order in which i love them the most)

  • the gallows: south end ($$) http://www.thegallowsboston.com
    what they serve: american
    my usual order:  the poutine, pork corn muffin, carpet bagger burger, stoners delight dessert (peanut butter banana and fluff brûlée) & the brazen bull cocktail.
    (b)’s notes: could you tell i love everything here? the space is unique and awesome, the owners/staff are awesome, the food is awesome, and the cocktails are, you guessed it, awesome.
  • scampo: beacon hill ($$$) http://scampoboston.com
    what they serve: high end italian
    my usual order: start with the ciccio bread and then get the lobster pizza.
    (b)’s notes: this place isn’t cheap, and you have to dress up a bit, but it is totally worth it. not only is it delicious (hello, lobster pizza) but its inside the beautiful liberty hotel, definitely a must if visiting!
  • panza: north end ($$) http://www.panzarestaurant.com
    what they serve: italian
    my usual order: linguine alla pescatore with the fra diavolo sauce
    (b)’s notes: when you walk down hanover st. you will see a line wrapping around the block for giaccomos. don’t get me wrong, their italian is delicious. but i think panza is just as tasty AND they take reservations. also pretty cheap compared to some other spots in the north end. like….
  • neptune oyster: north end ($$$) http://www.neptuneoyster.com
    what they serve: seafood
    my usual order: lobster roll (cold)
    (b)’s notes: you will have to wait. a while. so get there right at 5 and put your name in- they will call you so you can continue to walk around the city. but this place is not to be missed! (if it wasn’t like $30 for a lobster roll it’d be number one on my list… but its the best lobster roll out there. and order it hot. i like cold. but get the one with hot butter if its your first time.)
  • navy yard bistro: charlestown ($$) http://www.navyyardbistro.com
    what they serve: american
    my usual order: ginger sake salmon
    (b)’s notes: this place is tiny but almost everything on their menu is delicious. charlestown is not the most convenient spot, but def worth the trip!
  • al dente: north end ($$) http://www.aldenteboston.com
    what they serve: casual italian
    my usual order: mussels marinara and literally anything else on the menu as long you order it with the homemade fussili (i usually do veal parm or pasta with the a’matriciana sauce)
    (b)’s notes: the homemade fussili is a must! like everything is delicious, but ordering it with the homemade pasta kicks it up about 50 notches.
  • blue dragon: fort point ($$) https://www.ming.com/blue-dragon.htm
    what they serve: asian fusion
    my usual order: braised short rib potstickers & a trillium beer and some form of noodles
    (b)’s notes: ming tsai. seriously, do i need to say more. swooooooon.
  • myers & chang: south end ($$) http://www.myersandchang.com
    what they serve: asian fusion
    my usual order: pork & chive dumplings and the cold dan dan noodles
    (b)’s notes: order a bunch of dishes and share! i recommend 3-4 for two people!
  • sonsie: back bay ($$) http://www.sonsieboston.com/home
    what they serve: american
    my usual order: cheeseburger pizza, duh.
    (b)’s notes: this place is great because you can have a nice sit down meal if you want to or just meet up with some friends, have some nice drinks, and order a pizza that tastes like a big mac.
  • mooo: beacon hill ($$$$) http://mooorestaurant.com
    what they serve: steak house
    my usual order: filet mingnon
    (b)’s notes: be prepared to drop bank. but the food/steaks are worth it. there are a bunch of steakhouses in the city, but i think this one is my favorite. love the ambiance as well!
  • very very honorable mention:
    • toro: south end ($$$) http://toro-restaurant.com/boston/
      what they serve: tapas
      my usual order: the corn, and anything and everything else people want to share with me
      (b)’s notes: this place should be #2 but you just probably won’t get a table. like i have trained my brain to forget this place exists so i don’t get depressed i don’t eat their more often. but if you do go and magically get a table- get the corn! (but sorry, you. will. wait. forever.)

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brunch (i admit i’ve been slacking on my brunch game, so there’s not quite ten… also, they all serve, you guess it, brunch. so skipping that part.)

  • south end buttery: south end ($$) http://www.southendbuttery.com
    my usual order: shaved ham & manchego eggs benedict on a homemade biscuit
    (b)’s notes: start with the buttery basket. all little pastries and jams that are perfect to snack on while you sip a mimosa and catch up with friends.
  • the beehive: south end ($$) http://www.beehiveboston.com
    my usual order: short rib benedict or the eggs shakshuka (poached eggs and sausage over polenta with a tomato sauce)
    (b)’s notes: this place always has live music and you feel like your in moulin rouge. love.
  • tupelo: inman square ($$) http://tupelo02139.com
    my usual order: oyster po’boy or the dude (fried chicken, eggs, biscuits & gravy)
    (b)’s notes: sometimes you just need a little southern comfort food. and this spot nails it. boy did i take biscuits and gravy for granted every morning in college…
  • north street grill: north end ($$) http://www.northstreetgrille.com
    my usual order: brie stuffed french toast
    (b)’s notes: i typically go for savory breakfasts, but i love this french toast. everything on the menu is delicious though (but, like most places in the north end, be prepared to wait a bit- but not terrible as long as you have a smaller party or its just you stuffing face.)
  • joes american bar & grill: multiple locations ($$) http://www.joesamerican.com
    my usual order: a greyhound
    (b)’s notes: ok i order food too, but if you like greyhounds, they are the best in the city. (they fresh squeeze the grapefruit juice, usually to order.) food wise, i like the crab cakes and the club sandwich (although sometimes that’s hit or miss)
  • honorable mentions:
    • stephanies on newbury: back bay ($$) http://www.stephaniesonnewbury.com
      i don’t go here often, so i don’t have a usual order, but its kind of a boston staple (at least in my mind) and I’ve also never had anything bad! word on the street is the mac and cheese is divine.
    • bostonia public house: downtown ($$)
      http://bostoniapublichouse.com
      ok, so brodie rudely went without me (just kidding love you) so i have never actually ate here, but he said the brunch was fabulous. i have, however, drank here several times and it is def in my top ten places to get a glass of wine (that list to come another day)
    • mike and pattys: bay village ($)
      http://www.mikeandpattys.com
      so this place is more a breakfast to-go place than brunch, but it has THE best egg sandwich ive maybe ever had, ever. the fancy is comprised of a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, avocado, red onion, and house made mayo (!) on multigrain bread and it will knock your socks off. I’ve never ate anything else but its been voted one of the best breakfast places for years so im sure its all good (but seriously, why would you order anything else…)

phew! ok, there are SO many more places i love, but this is a good start! now, time to get ready for the family birthday party- cant wait to see soph! will be back on monday with a full weekend wrap up including my brothers delicious birthday pizza dinner (read: i ate an entire pizza.) can’t believe my little brother is 18, sigh… where does the time go!

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a #TBT to distract myself from ebola.

currently on a bus back home for the family birthdays. normally I don’t mind the bus- it’s sooooo much cheaper than the train. and I’m poor.

something I forgot to factor in when doing the usual megabus/amtrak debate this trip: ebola.

I’ll cut myself some slack because ebola is usually just something I self diagnosis myself with on webmd when I get a cold, not something i might actually contract. but let’s be honest, if you’re going to get it, it’s probably going to be from bus folk…

so to distract myself from the woman talking loudly about how she feels sick and thinks the “plague” is spreading, here’s a little #TBT to my favorite birthday party. (note: tiaras have always been a must.)

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i need a xanax. and a piece of that cake so I can eat my emotions. and to be off this bus. if I catch ebola from the woman sitting next to me and die, know that I loved you. (and bury me in a tiara, k?)

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