Rocking the Guac (Judging) at Painted Burro

Every now and then I take a look at my schedule and notice just how many of the awesome plans on my calendar are a result of this blog. It leads me to have what some may call a “pinch me” moment. Never when I started Cait Plus Ate did I imagine it would give me the opportunities it has, from awesome events to sneak previews of restaurants to fantastic vacations and staycations. Today I wanted to share one of those pinch-me moments with you all: the chance to be a judge in a guacamole competition!

This past Sunday was Painted Burro‘s 5th annual guacamole making contest, and I was asked to be one of the four judges. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited No Kid Hungry, and attendees were able to taste all ten guacamole recipes. We four judges determined the grand prize winner, and the audience voted on a People’s Choice winner as well. The prizes were pretty awesome: $400 to the restaurant, the winning guacamole featured on the menu for a week, and the best prize (to me)…anytime reservations for a year.

My fellow judges were my good friend Matt of @SimkoSays, Tiffany of the fantastic @BostonFoodies, and local meteorologist Michael Page. (Be sure to check out Tiffany’s blog post if you want to see some awesome pictures of the guac entries.) While we judged, we got to sip on drinks from Painted Burro’s amazing cocktail menu. I stuck with the house margarita, and it was delicious.

The creativity of the contestants, in both their recipes and presentation, really impressed me. Some brought out cocktail pairings, one sang a song, and another had a handmade sign for her guac.

Recipes featured creative ingredients like cactus, pomegranate, plantains, and hominy.

In the end I had two entries tied for first on my scorecard, and it turned out the other judges agreed with me, because those both took the top prize – a never-before-seen event at this competition! The two guacamoles that came out on top were the Chorizo Con Queso (add cheese to anything and I’m all in) and the Anything But Plain-tain-amole, a super creative guac that featured – you guessed it – plantains. In a very generous move, Painted Burro did not ask the tied winners to split the grand prize, and rather gave a grand prize to each of them.

The judges and the winners!

Not only did judging this competition give me the chance to try more guacamole than I ever thought possible, but it also helped me discover an awesome new restaurant. I had never been to Painted Burro before, and was so impressed by the cocktails, service, and atmosphere! During warm weather the windows are open, making this an ideal summer day drinking spot. I can’t wait to go back and try more of  the food!

Overall it was a great day of rocking the guac for a good cause. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to consume anything avocado-related again, but I’d give it maybe a few more days.

What’s the most creative guacamole you’ve ever tried?

Weekly Wins #2

I really enjoyed writing my last Weekly Wins post, so I’m back with another one, because it’s honestly an easy way to share what I’ve been up to lately…and that’s a whole lot. Without further ado, here are some wins from this past week.

Workout Win

It’s been awhile since I set a mini fitness-related goal for myself, but last week I came up with a new one when I took Reid Eichelberger‘s TRAINxCARDIO class at Everybody Fights‘ Financial District location. What a tough workout! The routine featured moves I never do without an instructor asking me to, like jump squats and lunges, rope swings, and suspension training mountain climbers. And we all know that the workouts we hate most are usually those that are best for us. So I’ve decided to strive to sign up for one TRAINxCARDIO class per week. I think adding those kind of explosive HIIT moves to my routine will only make me stronger and, more importantly, will make me feel great.

Recipe Win

Last week I made a fantastic new recipe, Skinnytaste’s Cheeseburger Casserole. Jeff called it a “next-level American Chop-Suey”. This tasted incredible, especially leftover, and was so easy to throw together! I definitely will be making this again.

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Signs of Spring

The weather is FINALLY warming up here in Boston, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Winter has gone on long enough and I’m ready for patios, sundresses, and rosé.

Last weekend was Cochon555, and I was thrilled to attend the event for the first time ever. But more notably, I was thrilled by the fact that I was able to attend this indoor/outdoor event in merely a sweater and leggings. No jacket, no problem. Plus the warm weather made the above pictured Fernet Branca Menta Cold Brew all the more refreshing.

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Latest Boston Eats & Sips

It’s been awhile since my last round-up of awesome food and drink I’ve had lately in Boston! But that doesn’t mean I’ve been short on items to share. In fact, I’ve just been short on time to do so because there has been so much to taste these days. My Restaurant To-Do List never ceases to grow, and neither does the list of spots I hit up regularly. Here are some eats and sips I’ve tried recently, at restaurants both old and new.

The Jesuit @ Ruka Restobar

Ruka Restobar, located inside the Godfrey Hotel in Downtown Crossing, is from the same folks behind Yvonne’s and Lolita. While the food hasn’t necessarily been calling my name (just not my type of cuisine), the creative drink menu is right up my alley. Upon visiting the bar area with some coworkers, I immediately noticed a beautiful drink being served in some of the coolest glassware I’d ever seen. I knew I had to try it.

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FitReserve vs ClassPass

FitReserve gave me no incentives or compensation for writing this post…I just thought others would find it interesting!

When ClassPass got rid of their unlimited class option, I knew I was going to have to make a switch. The maximum amount of classes offered per month is now ten (for $120/month), and if I wanted to go with that option, I would have had to buy another studio membership elsewhere. This was not something I was willing to do. And before you ask…no, I did not consider just getting a gym membership. My gym days are far behind me in the sense that I now recognize just how much better the workouts I get in classes are than doing weights, the StairMaster, etc, on my own. And I’m willing to pay a premium price to get those better workouts.

But I was NOT willing to pay over $200/month for fitness classes, so I decided to give FitReserve a try. The fact that the first month was 20% off gave me the extra push I needed to take the plunge, and I’m glad I did. FitReserve is currently active in Boston and NYC, and unlike ClassPass, they offer a 20 class package. It costs $185/month, but if you use all 20 classes, that comes out to less than $10/class…a steal when you think about the price of a membership at some studios. But ClassPass’ unlimited option was a steal too, so what makes FitReserve different from ClassPass? What are the pros, and cons, to making a switch?

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