Tag Archives: restaurants

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?

Cooking with CourseHorse

I received a complimentary ticket to this cooking class from CourseHorse in exchange for a blog post about my experience. However all opinions are my own, and my already-established enthusiasm for Tavern Road’s classes can be read here.

I remember a couple of years ago when, because I was still having a hard time working out less than seven times a week, my therapist suggested I look into taking some fun classes that weren’t fitness-related. I wish something like CourseHorse had existed in Boston back then, because it would have made me much more likely to take her advice (instead I just bought a new coloring book).

Photo by Paul Garmon

CourseHorse is a discovery and booking tool for local classes. Their community outreach manager recently contacted me about sharing an experience at one of the classes listed in their directory. Naturally I picked a cooking class at Tavern Road because I already knew I’d love it, but there were tons of other cooking classes in Boston listed. Cooking isn’t the only activity you can find. Though still in beta here in Boston, CourseHorse already has classes listed in arts, tech, fitness, language, and more. You can search by neighborhood, price point, time of day, and even skill level. Once they officially launch, the amount of classes listed will be even more extensive.

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Valentine’s Getaway in Newport

Though my stay and some food and drink were complimentary, all opinions are my own.

Jeff and I took a couple of off-season trips to Newport, RI last winter, and we were fortunate enough to be able to do so again this year on a little Valentine’s Day weekend trip thanks to the Newport Marriott. We stayed there in November 2015 and had a lovely time, so we went into this trip with high expectations that – I’m happy to report- were met thanks to a gorgeous room, above-and-beyond hospitality, and tasty food and drink.

The harbor view rooms do not disappoint.

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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?

What I’m Loving Lately

I actually had to search my own blog to see if I’ve previously done a post with this title, because it sounded so familiar. But good news – I haven’t! So here’s a little round-up of a few things I’m loving lately, because I don’t want to write a whole blog post on each of them (and I don’t think that would be nearly as fun for you to read, either).

Blaze Pizza

I’ll start with full disclosure…Blaze sent me two free pizza vouchers, and those are what Jeff and I used the first time we tried this place. But we have also been talking non-stop about it, and have made plans to return on a couple of occasions. (Both plans were foiled for a variety of reasons, but that’s not important.)

blazepizza

I describe Blaze Pizza as “Subway, but with pizza”. For a flat fee (thick crust is extra…and worth it), you go down the line and pick as many toppings as you want. Then the pizza is fast-fired at an extremely hot temperature, and ready for you in minutes. You can also add finishing touches after the pizza is done, like balsamic vinegar or – oh baby – ranch dressing. While I was happy with the creation I made above, I was very jealous of Jeff’s pizza, which escaped into his stomach before I could get a photo of it. Guess we’ll just have to go back so he can recreate it and I can get my picture! Blaze is a national chain so look for your closest location here.

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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.

IMG_8912

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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A Florida Birthday

March 22nd was my 27th birthday and I truly felt like the celebrations lasted for days and days. Jeff took me out for a great birthday dinner in Boston the Friday before, and I also visited one of my favorite bars with a ton of friends for an epic night out on Saturday. But I spent my actual birthday in Orlando, Florida with my family and Jeff.

No Florida birthday is complete without Publix cake, or a heavy dose of Lilly Pulitzer. My brother and sister gifted me a Lilly wine tote and stemless wine glasses, and my family gifted me my favorite white cake with white icing.

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Valentine’s Day Weekend in Boston

Usually I just look at Valentine’s Day as an annoyance, since the holiday makes restaurants extra busy. But this year I actually had a Valentine to celebrate with, and I do love indulging a cheesy holiday when appropriate, so I didn’t mind the crowded restaurants. I just made sure to make a reservation!

Red Hook and Manhattan. (Photo by Jeff)

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Blogger Reunion at Seasons 52!

My friend and fellow blogger (aka blend) Kelly and I have dined at Seasons 52 together three times now. It’s almost become our default place to meet here in Boston. So the Chestnut Hill Square location was a no-brainer suggestion for dinner a couple of weeks ago, when we finally found a time that worked for both of us to get together! It was the first time I’d seen Kelly since she had a beautiful baby girl a few months ago and catching up with her on family and life was the perfect way to spend a Monday evening.

Of course we started with bubbles. Looks like the champagne paps are out!

Of course we started with bubbles. Looks like the champagne paps are out!

Since Seasons doesn’t bring out bread to start the meal, I always like to pick out one of their flatbreads, because #TeamBread. The crust is delightfully crisp, and its thinness lets the toppings shine through. We love seafood and went for the lobster & fresh mozz flatbread with roasted sweet peppers, slivered scallion, and lobster sour cream. Both of us adored this, especially given how well the lobster paired with those sweet peppers.

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