Category Archives: Boston

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?

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

28th Birthday Celebrations

As usual, this year I felt like I celebrated my birthday (I turned 28 on March 22nd) for at least week. From get-togethers with friends, to a day off from work, I had a blast.

I decided to switch things up (from the usual, Highball) and do my “friend birthday party” at Capo Restaurant in Southie. I fell in love with Capo’s new downstairs Supper Club lounge during my first visit, and knew right then and there that it would be the perfect spot for a birthday gathering.

Obviously I wanted to look my best, so I enlisted the help of the ladies at Best Dressed, the dress rental shop that dressed me for New Year’s Eve. Once again, they picked something off the rack I never would have tried on my own. But I went into the Charlestown location hoping to find a jumpsuit, and find one I did. (Full disclosure: I received 50% off my rental in exchange for showing Best Dressed so much-deserved love on this blog and on social media.)

Continue reading

January Recap

I can’t believe it’s already February! I (mostly) have let blogging get away from me so far in 2017, so I decided to write a post recapping what I’ve been up to so far this year (aka in January). It’s honestly not anything different than what you might expect, but what can I say, I’m fairly predictable. Let’s go.

Cooking

I’ve continued to experiment in the kitchen with fun recipes that both Jeff and I can enjoy. I used this recipe to make some super easy meatball sliders, and made my best round of calzones yet – one buffalo chicken and one Hawaiian. I also made some of the “usual suspects”, like taco salad and tater tot trash dip (on Jeff’s birthday).

Capo’s New Lounge

I already was a fan of Capo in Southie, but last Thursday I had the chance to attend a media event for their new lounge, and I have to say it may be the coolest space I’ve ever seen in Boston!

Picture your grandpa or uncle’s old wood-paneled basement, and you’ll be able to picture Capo’s lounge. The walls are decorated with kitschy decor like taxidermy animals and light-up booze signs. Corners with couches and coffee tables make visitors feel like they are actually hanging out in someone’s home.

Photo Credit: Mike Diskin

Photo Credit: Mike Diskin

Photo Credit: Mike Diskin

Photo Credit: Mike Diskin

And best of all, Capo does not ruin the vibe of this lounge with a DJ. Instead they bring in live music like brass bands, which fits the atmosphere perfectly.

Photo Credit: Mike Diskin

Did I mention the cocktails are fantastic, and that eating in the restaurant upstairs gets you easier access to the lounge downstairs? I know what my game plan is for the upcoming weekends!

#VibeWithATribe

I have been visiting Recycle Studio through ClassPass for awhile now, but was still excited to attend RPR‘s #VibeWithATribe blogger event at the studio this past Saturday. A group of bloggers took a spin class taught by one of my favorite Recycle instructors, John. We followed up our good sweat with bubbles courtesy of Champy and snacks/juice from Pressed.

I received a pretty awesome Recycle gift bag, which has become my new gym bag! Inside were lots of goodies including a gift card from local Boston fitness brand Crane & Lion. I’ve already used it to order a pair of leggings and can’t wait to try them out!

The bag I received (photo courtesy of @Recycle_Studio on Instagram).

The leggings I ordered! They’re on sale right now, FYI.

ClassPass Debate

Speaking of ClassPass, I’m still not sure what I want to do fitness-wise after my next cycle with them ends. Right now I’m getting 20 classes per month for $120, which is a great deal and pretty much the amount of classes I’d want to use in a month. But I’m only getting 20 classes to “ease” me into their new structure of 10 classes per month for $120, which I definitely can’t stick with. I’d need to buy a membership elsewhere to supplement that! Right now a few options I’m looking into are FitReserve, a similar platform to ClassPass that could offer me 20 classes a month (yay!) but at an increased price of $185/month (boo…but still a good deal when you look at price per class). Or if I want to keep my monthly fitness fees the same, I could join Turnstyle for $120/month and get unlimited access to spin and bootcamp classes. The only issue with that is, I really like how platforms like ClassPass and FitReserve give me location flexibility. Turnstyle has a few locations but none of them are as convenient for me as some of the studios on ClassPass/FitReserve, like Charlestown Cycling Club. My head is spinning just as I type this…what’s a class-addicted girl to do?

Wine

I wanted to give a shout-out to a Prosecco I recently discovered. I usually don’t drink Prosecco because it’s too sweet for my palate, but my parents gave me a bottle awhile back and I found it in the fridge this week. I decided to open it when I made our calzones because it would pair well with the spicy buffalo chicken, and was pleasantly surprised by how dry it tasted! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a champagne girl through and through, but this $10 bottle of Prosecco is more in my price range.

Food, going out, fitness classes, and wine. Yup, I’m pretty sure that this is all standard stuff. Still it was a good January overall (with temps that weren’t TOO frigid – yay!) and I’m excited to see what February brings!

What was the best part of your January?

Any recommendations for what I should do after I leave ClassPass? Has anyone tried FitReserve?

Any recommendations for another cheap, dry sparkling wine?

A Best Dressed New Year

I received a complimentary dress rental in exchange for an honest blog post about my experience. All opinions are my own. Read to the end for a special discount!

I started thinking about New Year’s Eve a few months before December 31st, because Jeff and I made our New Year’s plans pretty early on, the second we found out the Timberfakes (Boston’s Justin Timberlake cover band) were going to be playing the Middle East in Cambridge. We did the same thing last year, and knew it was a solid way to spend the last night of the year.

Continue reading

Recent Boston Eats

It’s been awhile since I shared some of the good food I’ve experienced here in Boston, so I figured I’d comb through my camera roll and highlight anything I found in there that was taken recently. In my eyes, if I took a picture then the food must have been good (the exception, of course, being if the lighting was awful…in that case, no photographs are taken).

Bar Mezzana: Pasta

If you haven’t tried Bar Mezzana yet, drop what you are doing and go there now. You don’t even have to read the rest of this post; I’m confident the experience you end up having will tell you why I’m recommending it. The restaurant is located in the South End’s luxury Ink Block apartment complex and focuses on pastas, raw seafood, fresh crusty bread topped with all varieties of spreads, and prosciutto with house mozz. LOTS of house mozz.

barmezzana

I personally cannot stay away from the pastas. I’ve sampled three so far and can’t wait to return for more. I’d recommend all of those three: orecchiette with sausage and fennel, paccheri with lobster, and another variety with rabbit that looks like it’s off the menu now (darn). For dessert, go for an espresso martini. Bar Mezzana’s bar staff is super knowledgeable and this espresso martini is probably the best I’ve ever had.

Continue reading

Exploring Plum Island With Maven

I received my Drive Maven experience as well as some of the food in this post free of charge, but opinions of my experiences are 100% my own.

Jeff and I had a great time during our recent trip to Blue Inn in Plum Island, MA. That was thanks in part to our mode of transportation, a red 2016 Cadillac ATS from Maven. Maven is a car-sharing service, similar to ZipCar, that is offered in Boston, LA , Chicago, and other large cities. But the biggest – and best – difference from ZipCar is that, for a limited time, Maven is free to join! Once I heard about that major benefit, I was completely on board when the company offered us a car to take on our weekend getaway.

img_1634

Maven has nine different vehicle pickup locations in Boston, and we picked the one closest to our Charlestown apartment, the Government Center parking garage. The Maven app actually serves as the keys to your car. Once next to our Cadillac, I was able to use my phone to unlock the vehicle. Jeff also downloaded the app onto his phone and, signed in under my account, had access to unlock and lock the car as well. Which worked out well, since I usually (always) ask him to drive.

Continue reading

Cooking Classes at Tavern Road

Though I received this experience free of charge, all opinions are my own.

Though I haven’t been writing too much lately thanks to an issue with my comments (they all disappeared and I’m not sure where they went…has this ever happened to anyone else?), that doesn’t mean I haven’t had anything to write about. I’ve got a few upcoming posts planned, sharing both fun events I’ve been to and some cool stuff I’ve got coming up. This post falls into the former category. Last month, I got the chance to try one of Tavern Road’s new cooking classes with my friends Matt, Georgina, and Jeannie. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night!

Tavern Road is located in Boston’s Fort Point, between the Seaport and Southie. The food, drink, and decor of the restaurant mirror the creativity and innovation often found in the neighborhood (there seems to be public art around every corner). The bar program, headed up by Insta-celeb Tenzin Samdo, is a go-to of mine for both funky and classic cocktails. Chef Louis DiBiccari’s menu of “street food” is mostly small-plates, influenced by global cuisine while composed of an impressive amount of local ingredients. Personal favorites include the burger, anything involving bluefish pate, and all of the tacos.

trcookingclass922-0420-2

Though Tavern Road has hosted wine and guest chef dinners for awhile now, Chef Louis recently started teaching these weekly cooking classes with a focus on using ingredients purchased from the farmers market as recently as that afternoon. Each Tuesday at 6:30PM, students gather for hands-on learning – and eating. And let’s be honest, if there’s eating involved, I’m very likely to say, “I’m in!” So, I did.

Continue reading