Tag Archives: brunch

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.

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Journey to Western Mass: Part 2

Did you miss part one of my recap? Click here to read! Also, for any of my readers who live in Boston and love fitness, I’m hosting an Instagram giveaway for two tickets to the Jimmy Fund Fit Fest taking place this Saturday on the Esplanade. Enter here!

When I last left off, my boyfriend Jeff and I were convening with our friends Matt and Dave in the lobby of the Hotel Northampton for dinner. One of the best parts about our trip was the fact that our hotel was located right in the center of town, and we could walk everywhere! We took a short stroll to Bistro Les Gras, a farm to table restaurant with menus that change daily. First we got a round of appetizers, including a fantastic steak tartare.

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Three out of four of us went with the burger as our entree, thanks to recommendations from many locals we’d talk to throughout the day. The burger lived up to its reputation, and its flavor made it obvious that it was ground in-house.

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Weekend Trades

I haven’t been up for doing much writing lately, so I’ve been fairly absent recently – my bad. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that forcing myself to write is a whole lot more frustrating than letting this blog go post-less for a week or so. Good has been happening lately, but a whole lot of bad on the emotional front as well. Sounds like a prime time for Trade Em Up Tuesday.

Seems I'm not alone!

Seems I’m not alone!

I would not trade…trying out a tasty new-to-me restaurant. Friday night I selected Marliave for a girls night with Jeannie and Allie. The menu looked super promising and I’m always down for starting my weekend with a good meal out. Despite some iffy service, we all really enjoyed our food and drinks! French restaurants do damn good French fries.

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Long Newport Weekend

Once I got going writing yesterday’s post, I knew this recap of the long July 4th weekend in Newport, RI would have to be a two-parter. So many photos and so much to say! Thankfully I woke up at 5:30AM for no reason this morning, actually feeling quite well rested, so I was able to sneak in a quick run and sit down here to blog before starting my work day. Let’s pick up where we left off:

Sunday 7/6

So I woke up and despite feeling guilty about what I’d eaten/drank the day prior, I also just didn’t feel like going running or doing cardio of any kind. Our timeshare complex had a gym that I walked into and said…wtf? It had three machines, dumbbells that maxed out at 10lbs (not that I’m strong man or anything, but come on!), and not even a space to do abs and no bench. So I basically did arms for 20 minutes, abs from the now-longer-than-30-days ab challenge, and called it a day. I was happy to be able to hightail it to Mokka Coffeehouse down the street to get some work done!

The shop was adorable as you can see from the above photo, and the iced coffee DELICIOUS. I had it a few other days on my trip and definitely recommend this place, though Coffee Grinder is still my favorite coffee place in Newport simply because of the waterfront seating (unfair advantage). After plugging away for a couple of hours I got hungry and found out my family was having lunch at a diner. I just didn’t really feel like eating diner food, and OK I was having anxiety over it, so I decided to take my current read and check out Newport’s newest farm-to-table (this term is, to me, becoming overused) restaurant – Stoneacre Pantry.

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Boston Brunchers Ride-N-Dine

Psst…Tina is hosting a giveaway today on behalf of my employer 90+ Cellars! She’s giving away two tickets to our Boston Rose Cruise, so if you’re nearby or want to plan a weekend in Boston be sure to enter. She also is sharing a discount code!

I received the fitness class and meal in this post free of charge. All opinions of my experiences are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

As I mentioned last Friday, this past Sunday was my first Boston Brunchers event, featuring one of my favorite pairings: fitness and food! Or riding and dining, as the name of the event would suggest. Bloggers and social media gurus gathered in the gorgeous Chestnut Hill Square for a Soul Cycle class, followed by a sampling of the Brio brunch menu.

The workout ended up being perfectly timed because I was out and about the day/night prior and I stayed in bed right up until it was time to get ready to leave! Jeannie (of course she joined me!) and I were running a bit late but thankfully the ride actually began at 11:45AM. Just like my last Soul Cycle visit, I had a great experience. I loved both instructors but actually found this one, Molly, to be my favorite overall (Erin, you’re still awesome!).

My favorite part of the class was when Molly encouraged us to make it “not about losing 5 pounds, not about toned triceps”, but about what of SUBSTANCE we wanted to gain from being there. (Source)

The playlist was out of this world, and the arm portion killer on the shoulders! The 45 minute class was just what I was in the mood for and made me feel empowered and strong. I was going to perhaps splurge on a pricey tank top, but I had taken a cab home the night before and that was $20 gone, so I just couldn’t let myself do it! Some day!

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MIMM (Heavy on the Friday)

The winner of the Talcott Mountain Music Festival ticket giveaway winner is Tiffany! Your tickets are in the mail 🙂 Thank you to all who entered and remember that you can still purchase tickets to the next two shows here!

Happy Marvelous In My Monday! Last night I was COMPLETELY wiped from a weekend of fun…and still felt wiped this morning (hello, Monday). I had one night of not enough sleep (Friday) and one good night’s sleep (Saturday), but that good night was not enough to make up for Friday. Friday was definitely the most energy-exerting, fun, friend-filled, delicious part of my weekend. The rest was great too, but you will find today’s MIMM post heavy on the Friday.

Thanks Katie for the marvelous mindset!

Marvelous is…a chef’s tasting at Pond House GrilleMy good friend Jill and I had the privilege of experiencing a tasting of small plates, prepared for us by Executive Chef Jordan Stein, for dinner on Friday night. We also sipped on some magnificently crafted cocktails and experienced a floral course, involving dry ice! I will be doing a full blog post this week about the experience so stay tuned. For now I’ll be a tease (though some of you may have gotten a sneak peek of more photos on Instagram).

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For Love of Fairfield

I’ve already showed Kaitlin (of For Love of Carrots) my turf, and the time came this past weekend for her to show me hers – Fairfield County! I visited her from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon and she showed me a great time. Then again, I knew she would since our tastes are so similar! Prime example number one – we both wore black tops, black shoes, jeans, and statement necklaces to dinner.

Saturday Night

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I borrowed the necklace from Kaitlin, the queen of statement necklaces!

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M(aria)IMM

You still have until 11:59PM (EST) tonight to enter my giveaway for an Albion Go Long Crew tee! THUMBHOLES my friends!

I’ve been really lucking out in the blend date department lately. I spent last weekend with Kaitlin, and this past Saturday I hit the road for Stamford in the afternoon to stay with my lovely fellow Connecticut blogger Maria of Pappa Don’t Preach! And if there’s one word that describes our time together, it’s gotta be MARVELOUS! I hereby declare today’s MIMM post…M(aria) In My Monday!

Thanks Katie for helping us all see the marvelous side of things every Monday!

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Father-Daughter Boston Trip

Thank you so very much for your kind words in response to yesterday’s post (no worries if you didn’t read, after all I’m the weirdo publishing on Christmas :-P) and my confessions about being NOT so kind to myself. I’m happy to report that so far since that night this past Saturday, I have been doing a much better job of enjoying this special time of year. After all, it’s not like I’m travelling and attending holiday events every day!

Each year, my family exercises a special holiday tradition (yup, another one!): my sister Hannah, my dad, and I travel to New York City from December 23rd to 24th for fabulous meals, shopping, and the Today Show (we get on TV every year!). But this year Hannah had to work, so my dad had the great idea to keep the tradition alive, just on a smaller scale. He and I set off for Boston this past Sunday morning to brunch, shop, cocktail-it, and stay in a fancy Marriott!

White wine and snacks for the Marriott rewards point holders! Unfortunately the apples were no bueno.

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Foodies Take RI – Part Two

If you missed part one of my RI foodie trip, which consists entirely of time spent in Newport, you can check it out here! I took this trip 8/10-8/12 and, true to Caitlin form, and just now getting around to recapping it. I hope you all had a good Labor Day weekend!

Sunday:

I awoke and was shocked to find that Jeff and I had slept TEN HOURS! AKA I’d slept til 8AM – which felt strange, yet appropriate, since the day before I’d slept until only 6:30AM. I felt full of energy and had the desire to expend some of that on a quick run. I didn’t feel like I had to run – I wanted to! So I laced up my Reebok ZigNano Fly 2 sneakers and headed out on a 26 minute jog. It got kinda ruined by side stitches at the end, and I was going for 30 minutes, but I decided I was done and headed back to the room. I don’t even know how far I went, but a spontaneous run of a random length and unknown distance was just what I needed to start my day on a chill, stress-free note.

FINALLY!!!

Any Carrots n Cake readers will recognize the place I am posing in front of in the photo above – a Mary Lou’s Iced Coffee!!! I spotted one in, of all places, a Shell station near our hotel. And Tina isn’t lying when she says this place has the best iced coffee ever. THEY DO! The flavor doesn’t come from syrups, but right from the bean! I had to get a photo in front of the counter!

Jeff got Banana Nut Creme, and I got Hawaiian Chocolate Nut – we both asked for our iced coffee to be served black, of course! Jeff’s flavor was the winner, but mine, with its coconut-chocolate flavor combo, still was heaven on ice. We drove into Newport’s town center to enjoy our beverages.

Jeff had no sunglasses and was having squinting issues, so I lent him a hand. Or a pair of sunglasses.

It was so nice to once again spend our morning chatting, caffeinating, and looking at the water! The people watching scene in Newport is great too – I could just sit for hours and be content. Not easy for me to say, since I am so often in go-go-go mode.

Third time the place remains a charm!

Of course we got hungry for breakfast soon and after much unsuccessful searching for a brunch spot, ended up back at Diego’s. Fine by us!

Haitian Swizzle – Jalapeno-Infused Haitian Rum Barbacourt, Velvet Falernum, Tiki Bitters, Fresh Lime

We also continued our drinks-before-noon trend. #sorrynotsorry How could I pass up a drink off this gem of a cocktail menu?!

The Beano – Bloody Mary with Black Bean Puree!

Jeff certainly went for a special beverage that I wish I’d ordered! By far the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted – and I don’t usually like Bloodies!

Diego’s Huevos – White Corn Tortillas, Black Beans, 2 Sunny-Side Eggs, Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa, Ripe Avocado, Diced Veg, Baja Aioli

I made a stellar brunch choice, if I do say so myself! Not only was the above dish filled with all of my favorite things – runny eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa, aioli, veggies, carbs… 😉 – but it was ordered off the $5 portion of the menu!

These kinds of pics are becoming a Cait Plus Ate standard.

After our amazing brunch, we said a final goodbye to Diego’s (no we, didn’t go back a fourth time) and did some more Newport exploring!

Ohhhh lover, lover…

What is up with this giant T-shirted bear?

SAD!

Clearly he’s less experienced with goofy pics.

These sea creatures have human legs!

I knew I wanted to visit another Tina recommendation, The Lawn at Castle Hill. The Castle Hill Inn is a beautiful hotel tucked away from the busy center of Newport. To get there, one has to drive (or bike!) through rural, scenic roads – but it’s worth the slightly out-of-the-way trip. And guess who I got to experience it with?!

That’s the Castle Hill Inn in the background!

My CT blend (and practically neighbor) Bethany, of More Fruit Please, was visiting Newport with her now-fiance, Farhan. Thankfully, the fates aligned and Jeff and I were able to meet up with them for our visit to the Lawn! Bethany and I have been trying to get together since we went to the CT Veg Fest and Wesleyan Foodstock together, and it was such a treat to not only do so, but to do so in such a gorgeous setting!

The Lawn at Castle Hill’s cute Adirondack chairs – and their breathtaking view – are open to the public. Of course, classy and refreshing cocktails are available!

Cucumber Collins – New Amsterdam Gin, Cuke Puree, Lemon Juice, Seltzer Water

I could actually see the cucumber seeds floating about in the puree at the bottom of my drink. It didn’t taste as strong as I usually like, but was perfectly refreshing for such a warm day and I appreciated its simplicity.

Jeff’s choice, the Rum Swizzle (I think), was definitely sweeter.

Of course Bethany and I put our blogging hats on, and were taking photos with our iPhones and cameras!

Caught mid-tweet, I’m sure.

I’m sure Bethany’s big, fancy cam got some amazing shots!

I’m so very happy that I got to see Bethany and Farhan again, as well as introduce them to Jeff!

After dropping the two of them near their car, Jeff and I headed to Narragansett for the destination that started our plans for the entire weekend – Crazy BurgerA reader, Tom, had recommended the vegan hotspot for me on my blog’s Facebook page, and one look at the menu told me this place was meant to be visited by me. Funny enough, after Jeff and I had planned out our weekend, Heather even blogged about Crazy Burger, adding to the torture of waiting so long to finally try the place!

Jeff and I took a quick walk by the Narragansett shore, but we were disappointed when we didn’t find many – or shall I say any – little shops to visit! Oh well…I was hungry for dinner already, so we decided to go ahead and get Crazy.

Instagramming like a fiend.

Obsessed with the back of that Urban Outfitters shirt. Got it on sale in Baltimore.

As Jeff and I walked into Crazy Burger’s outdoor seating area, I literally gasped.

Could I have asked for a more serene place to conclude my weekend of trying to BE a serene foodie? I don’t think so.

The mis-matched cloth napkins were a cute touch.

We brought a bottle of red wine I’d gotten from a lovely Groupon deal from Radford Dale – AKA “The Winery of Good Hope” 🙂

Impossible decisions…

Even after beginning to sip on my glass of red, I still wasn’t feeling any less anxiety over making the impossible decision of what to order for dinner! I went back and forth between MANY options, and finally decided on a vegan burger with a curry flair, because I have been LOVING curry lately.

Chana Masala: Celery, tomato, mushroom, onion, ginger, chickpeas slowly stewed in curry, garam masala, allspice, then bound in rice. Served on grilled naan!

I cannot tell you how wonderful my Chana Masala sandwich, housemade pickles, and slaw were. So I’ll show you.

Lucky for me, Jeff isn’t a ketchup fan, so I stole his homemade ketchup to add to my burger! He actually chose a vegan burger that I’d been contemplating getting.

Birdie Mae: Grilled tempeh, purple sticky rice, sweet tater, roasted sunflower seeds, rosemary-pumpkin pesto grilled in a tomato tortilla.

The Birdie Mae was certainly an option I know I would have enjoyed if I’d ordered it – Jeff let me have a bite, and also some of his sweet potato fries. They were super yummy – but no ION 😉

After having no dessert Friday OR Saturday night, when I really kind of wanted it, I was not about to let this chance to not only have dessert, but have VEGAN dessert paired with red wine, pass me by. Dessert and red wine is my favorite food and wine pairing ever.

Wine…

It was kind of a no-brainer. I love carrot cake. So when I saw a vegan version on the menu, I had to have a taste!

…and dessert.

I was sure to not let a bite pass my lips without the company of a sip of red wine. Jeff and I shared the slice above and it was pure bliss. I finished the meal and felt perfectly satisfied…so glad I’d had room for dessert!

However, though I did revel in my eats, sips, and time with my friends as they happened on Sunday, I had trouble reveling after the fact. Almost the entire way home, my mind was consumed with thoughts that started with, “You shouldn’t have.” How could I have had several drinks each day for the last few days? How could I have topped it off with a dessert? I shouldn’t have done such a SHORT run that day. I shouldn’t have skipped working out the day before. In the last ten minutes of the ride home, I really felt like I was on the verge of tears.

The floodgates opened the second I walked through my front door. I know I’m 23 and I should be hating the fact that I still live at home, but I really don’t. And one of the many reasons I don’t is because when I come home and I’m stressed and scared and I need my mom – she’s usually right there for me. I let it all out to her, I just shared with her exactly why I felt guilty and like I’d done a whole lot of things I shouldn’t have done.

And then I followed that up with exactly why those things are OK, and how proud of myself I was (and still am) for experiencing Newport the way it’s meant to be experienced, and for having that fabulous meal at Crazy Burger, and for recognizing that a weekend away is just that – a weekend AWAY – and you always come BACK to your routine. The fact that I planned this trip in the first place was huge because I knew these thoughts would “attack” me and intrude at some point, but I was ready for it. I was ready to fight and to say, fuck this, I’m not going to let fear hold me back from going to one of my favorite places in the world!

Complete with my Max Fish Tiki Dinner lei 🙂

So I hung up those little wooden flip-flops my parents bought me on Saturday night at one of my favorite Newport shops, Frazzleberries, outside my cubicle at work. And every time I walk by them, even now almost a month later, I’m reminded of my courage and of my fun experience, and I can smile knowing that I have no regrets about missing out.

Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break from your normal, “safe” routine?

Have you ever been to a vegan cafe like Crazy Burger?