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For a while now, my husband and I have been looking forward to trying some of the restaurants in Boston’s Seaport area. Rewind to when we first started dating, Seaport was undeveloped, with an open lot next to the ICA, and we hadn’t been there since 2011 or 2012. To say we’ve been living under a rock for the past several years would be an understatement. But in between grad school (read grad school salary) and busting ass trying to pay off student loans and a rigmarole of other life events, cut us some slack. Anyway, the point is we went to see a movie at the ICON theater and were wowed by how much Seaport has changed and decided we needed to go there more often.

Gather, located in District Hall, was the first Seaport restaurant on my list (Tuscan Kitchen is also on there because someone on Instagram did request I review it – I haven’t forgotten). I had heard about Gather on Instagram from I forget which blogger, and looking at the menu, it seemed reasonably priced with food options we would like.

When we arrived, we first noticed that the inside was actually on the small side side, which makes sense given that it is inside an open workspace. District Hall very much reminds me of the inside of the Stata Center on MIT’s campus, buzzling with engineers vying to build the next best startup. But one thing the Stata Center didn’t have and District Hall does is a full service restaurant, which makes Gather pretty unique. But Gather’s uniqueness kinda stops there.

There was really no need to make a reservation as very few of the sit-down tables were taken, although the bar was full. Judging by the sign outside that said late-night bites, I suspect Gather wants night owl customers. We sat at a window table, even though it was raining because I wanted to see the view. On a non-rainy night or summer day, the view would have been pretty good. We didn’t realize that a lot of people go there late at night to eat. I guess that means my husband and I are relatively old. Oh well.

To drink, my husband ordered a glass of wine, and I ordered the El Jakiel Margarita. As you can see below, it has cranberry simple syrup. As a margarita girl, this one was a little disappointing. Not as strong as many margarita’s I’ve had before and judging by the photo on Gather’s website and Instagram, it was not served as reddish-pink as it was supposed to be. It was also missing the lime. Every good margarita has a lime.

El Jakiel Margarita missing its lime and some of the ingredients

This is what I was supposed to get:

My husband and I were both fairly hungry so we decided to order an appetizer. I tried to convince him to try the polenta fries, but they were deemed “too naughty” and I had to settle for the garlic wings:

Garlic wings!

The garlic sauce was good, don’t get me wrong, but there wasn’t anything overly special about it. It did pair well with the ranch dipping sauce. I did like that the wings were about 20% larger than you would normally get, which meant meatier wings. They were more filling than I was expecting.

For entrees, I ordered the gnocchi bolognese. Those gnocchi were slightly bigger than an inch on average. The bolognese sauce was quite meaty. Overall, it was good and filling, but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t make something similar at home. In other words, it was good but not particularly memorable.

Gnocchi bolognese!

My husband ordered the clam and shrimp pasta. The sauce was a very light and buttery white wine sauce. Along with the clams and shrimp were chunks of bacon. My husband is somewhat picky and doesn’t like bacon with fat on it, so only some of the bacon got eaten. He said the pasta was light and fresh but was not on the order of North End quality.

Clam and shrimp pasta!

We ended up not getting dessert since we were both stuffed at that point and none of the desserts sounded appealing. I personally would have gone for the fried dough, but he was too full.

Key Takeaways: Gather fits it’s purpose as a place to get food late or if you want a non-fast food meal after working in Seaport. The food is good, but there are a lot of places that offer similar menu items at similar quality. In other words, I probably won’t be going out of my way to go there. If you are in the Seaport area, the food will satisfy your tastebuds, but the drinks are hit or miss.

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Ever since starting this food blog, I’d be lying if I said it was easy to stay fit and eat healthy. So when my husband and I went to see a movie at Legacy Place, we welcomed a “healthy” meal from Sweetgreen, which opened their Dedham location back in February.

I ordered the chicken and brussells salad:

Chicken an Brussells salad

And I forget what my husband ordered, but this is it:

Let me just flat out say there is a reason the Google reviews of this location are weak. When we went in, the workers flat out did not look like they wanted to be there. The salads were put together half-heartedly, and for mine, the workers had no idea if they had Brussel sprouts to put in mine. For a system that clearly was supposed to resemble an assembly line for speed and efficiency, the workers were slow to take our order and move.

Furthermore, given the lack of quality with which the salads were mixed, I can’t say I’d be willing to pay the $20-some it cost for these salads again. Even still, the salads should only be costing $7 or $8 max. I shouldn’t be able to get a higher quality salad I put together myself from my work cafeteria for half the price of these, if you know what I’m saying.

Key Takeaways: Not great quality and overpriced.

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It’s always rainy in Windermere, a small town in the Lake District of England very much like Bar Harbor, Maine. Windermere was the final leg of our honeymoon before returning home and back to the grind. I was determined to get out of the city and into the idyllic English countryside in the Lake District – Windermere did not disappoint.

After spending the afternoon we arrived walking around, browsing the little shops and taking in the changes in architecture, it was time to eat. The first restaurant we went to was Porto Restaurant in Bowness. The restaurant itself spans two floors, and my husband and I were seated on the second floor. Not your typical fine dining place, they played some pretty good electronica beats in the background. They serve a contemporary British cuisine, but for some reason that night we decided we wanted some non-British food and ordered all of the specials.

For an appetizer, we ordered the arancini with shrimp. As you can see below, the arancini were a little smaller than the ones you find in Boston, but still quite crispy. A lot of places will just give arancini with some sauce. What I like about this one was the addition of other flavors like shrimp and salad. And the sauce was a cream sauce when most places give a red tomato sauce.

Arancini with shrimp!

For the main course, we both ordered a lamb dish with couscous and mango chutney. The combination of the flavors surprised us, considering this was a British restaurant, but they combined in a beautiful way. The savory flavor of the lamb and red tomato sauce was well-balanced with the sweetness of the mango.

Lamb with mango and couscous!

Finally for dessert, we ordered a chocolate tart. The dish was laid out well and presented well, with berries and celery marinated in wine (a pleasant surprise!). The tart itself left something to be desired. The crust was a bit hard. The ice cream, however, was homemade, chocolatey, and somewhat sugary.

Chocolate tart with berries and ice cream!

The next day we spent hiking the rolling green hills on the Lake District and taking a boat cruise around the area. There’s nothing like it here in the States. Supple grass and easily more sheep than people.

Hills of the Lake District!

But that night we needed another good meal, and after eating so much quintessentially British food, we decided an Italian restaurant suited our immediate needs: Villa Positano. This restaurant had a manager who ran a tight ship. We watched him direct the servers like nobody’s business. We thought he was the owner because acted almost like a Don from The Godfather, but when we asked he said he was not the owner.

Anyway, we started off with some garlic bread (no photos) which was essentially a thin pizza dough. Very good and very doughy. For the main course, I ordered simple pasta with sausage.

Rigatoni and sausage!

My husband ordered chicken cacciatore, which looked to me to be half chicken half sauce, but my husband swears it was delicious and had a rich tomato flavor.

Chicken cacciatore!

Finally, for dessert we had tiramisu. Normally you see this presented as a slice of cake, but here the presented it to us in a deep dish, almost to be eaten like chocolate mousse or ice cream and topped with cocoa powder and chocolate sauce. It was very light and the right amount for two people after two large main courses.

Tiramisu!

The following day it poured for hours on end, so rather than go hiking we chose to do a mountain tour with one of the local guide companies. The tour us through many hills and valleys, on roads not wide enough for two cars. No joke, every time a car came in the opposite direction, we had to pull over onto the grass to let them go by. The highlight of the tour was Muncaster Castle where they have a daily birds of prey show. Several of the birds swooped right over our heads. Here’s a money shot:

Money shot!

But after a long day, it was again time to eat dinner. Keep in mind that throughout this trip, we had been staying at a B&B where we had a classic English breakfast everyday. We saved the best restaurant in Windermere, Francine’s, for last. While it doesn’t have a Michelin star, it is listed in the Michelin guide as somewhere that has quality food.

For an appetizer, we ordered duck confit, which came with a toasted brioche and cranberries. The duck had some fruit and a large chunk of cheese in it. The cranberries added a hint of sweetness, but they probably weren’t needed. The duck was good on its own.

Brioche with duck confit and cranberries!

My main course was a zucchini and leek souffle, which seemed like the healthiest option on the menu. The souffle itself was moist and fluffy, though I really didn’t taste much of the zucchini or leeks. The rest of the dish consisted of parmesan cheese, peppers, and lettuce. Now that I think about it, which it added to the presentation, I’m not convinced it added to the flavor. I probably would have selected a different cheese (one that had a smokey flavor to balance the subtle flavor of the souffle). I also probably would have roasted the red peppers for a stronger flavor.

Zucchini and leek souffle!

Finally came dessert, a special consisting of a pear marinated in white wine, almond and chocolate mousse, and vanilla ice cream. The pear was quite sweet and soft to cut. It must have been marinated for hours. The chocolate mousse had the perfect consistency and a chocolate flavor that did not overpower the other parts of the dish. Overall this was a pleasing dessert.

Pear with mousse and ice cream!

Key Takeaways: If you ever get the chance to go to England, the Lake District and specifically Windermere are worth a visit. Scenic views and good food, but don’t forget an umbrella!

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As you may know, my husband and I were married recently, and went on our honeymoon to England. On the must-do items on our list was afternoon tea, a quintessentially British leisure activity.

One of the days we spent touring the British Museum and National Gallery (more on those in another article). After being on our feet for hours, we definitely needed to find a good sit-down restaurant not too far from the museum. My husband, being the Google Review fiend he is, found a place called the Mirror Room at the Rosewood. We went there for dinner and when we arrived, we could immediately tell it was upscale and dining at its finest, given the Bentley and Ferrari in the small parking area. Not going to lie, while we both make enough to live comfortably we by no means are rich and certainly not wealthy enough to own a Bentley, let alone a Ferrari. Still the wait staff were extremely attentive and polite, and obviously knew we were from the US.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, the Mirror Room has the best rated (according to a few websites) contemporary afternoon tea in London. We liked dinner enough that the waiter suggested we come back the next day for tea. And we did. I’ll save dinner for another post.

Afternoon tea consisted of three courses: sandwiches, scones and macarons, and finally desserts. At the Mirror Room, the afternoon tea is based on some art theme. This year’s theme is Cubism and Pop Art, and the two pastry courses reflected that theme.

The tea itself was absolutely phenomenal. I had two herbal teas: “Rouge Opera” composed of red fruits and vanilla, and chamomile. Doing a little googling, this is probably the company that produces the tea: Mariage Freres. My husband had the “Marco Polo” tea. We didn’t used to be tea drinkers until we went to England and now we pretty drink tea every night.

Then came time for each course. First the sandwiches, as you can see below. Four different kinds – chicken, cucumber, egg, and salmon. All four were delicious, about 4″ x 1.5″ in size, and portioned properly given that we were going to have three courses. In all honesty, the bread was white or something I couldn’t quite figure out, depending on the filling flavor. The fillings were quite good.

Sandwich course!

The second course consisted of what you would expect: scones, cookies, and smaller pastries. Here you can see some of the Cubism and PopArt influences. The macarons were a bright lemon yellow color (but mango/lime-flavored), with a white chocolate triangle on top with black and red colors (pop art). There were also some bright red raspberry choux with edible Cubism mini-paintings. My favorite parts of this course were the scones (plain with raisins) and the chocolate tarts. The tarts were more of a milk-chocolate with a creme on top. Very light. I could have eaten ten of them. And of course, we were provided with some fresh jams to top the biscuits (jams are definitely a bigger thing in Britain than in the US).

Second course: scones and cookies! Cubism raspberry choux!

Finally, we had the third course: dessert. The photo isn’t great because the front of the pastries was facing me, rather than my husband who took the photos on this excursion. But they are inspired by the artists Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, and Andy Warhol. The middle pastry was supposed to be a Campbell Soup can (Andy Warhol), but the “soup label” wore off and kinda broke. The one on the right was a blue sponge cake. In all, I preferred the second course to the third. There were some unexpected, rather daring flavors in the third course and the pastries weren’t as sweet as I’d hoped they would be (I have a massive sweet tooth).

Third course pastries!

Key Takeaways: Go to the Mirror Room to see and be seen, literally. Expect creative food and leave not needing to eat dinner. You can find The Mirror Room here.

We didn’t take photos of the inside, so here is a YouTube video from “allthegoodies” showing what the Mirror Room looks like:

The Mirror Room at Rosewood Hotel, London - YouTube

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For our latest review, we’re going to go all out with Atlantic Fish Company, located on Boylston!

A little bit of background for the rest of the post: our first visit to Atlantic Fish was in August of 2017 (sorry no photos). The weather was perfect that day, sunny and not too hot. We chose to sit in the outdoor patio area (the last outside table available!). We ate some of the best seafood we’ve ever had: the lobster fra diavolo included good-size chunks of lobster and the sauce was chunky but not too spicy. My GBFB partner (aka my now husband) ate one of the day’s fresh catches with extra lobster ravioli as a special side. What really did it for us though was the service: our waiter, a young guy, knew the menu inside and out and could accurately describe each dish. To top it off, he told us which wines paired well with which dishes, and didn’t bug us too often.

Fast forward a year. My now husband and I wanted a small, intimate, low-key wedding with just immediate family. We didn’t want to do a catered dinner and have to arrange all of that (we’re both very busy professionals, and to be honest, I never fantasized about my wedding when I was a girl). I realize that most of the people who will read this blog will want or have had a traditional wedding, but let’s be real, they’re expensive. We wanted to splurge on the honeymoon in England (and we did, as you will see in later posts).

In other words, drum roll please, we wanted to have our wedding dinner at a really, really, really good restaurant. Plus I wanted my parents to have some good seafood, having flown in from out of town. Having remembered the experience from a year before, we instantly chose Atlantic Fish as the place to eat after exchanging our I do’s. A very close second though was Il Capriccio in Waltham, where we went for a combined birthday/finishing grad school celebration.

Our dinner reservation was at 5:30 and we were seated in the back of the restaurant. Again the attention by the wait staff was outstanding. When we got there, my husband and I decided that instead of having just glasses of wine, we’d get a bottle. Because why not? The sommelier noticed immediately and made a good recommendation for us based on what we like. The rest of our party ordered drinks as well. Once all of the drinks were brought over to the table, it came time to order appetizers. For appetizers, we ordered: the lobster crab Louie, the bacon wrapped scallops, the calamari, and the chilled shellfish platter. All of the food was well-presented, and of course, fresh. My favorite was probably the lobster crab Louie – Atlantic fish provides good portions of actual seafood meat, and this was no exception. Check out the pics below:

Bacon-wrapped scallops and calamari! Raw platter!

My husband’s brother wanted us to get the shellfish tower, but it retrospect it probably would have been too much food given everything else we ordered. I bet it would have looked spectacular though.

For the main courses, almost everyone order something different. While I didn’t get photos of ever dish, I did photograph mine and my husband’s. I ordered the lobster risotto. The chunks of lobster were huge. You don’t normally get that much lobster at other places. The risotto itself wasn’t overly rich (read: too high in calories), and if it weren’t for the fact that I knew I was getting cake afterward, I would have eaten all of it.

My husband ordered the sea bass. As you can see below, it came blackened and large-portioned.

Sea bass with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts!

I can’t remember what everyone else ordered. I know my father ordered the lobster ravioli and said it was perfect. My husband’s father order the captain’s platter and my husband’s brother ordered the fish n’ chips. Both plates were scraped clean.

Fish n’ Chips!

We ended up not ordering dessert, because they were kind enough to let us bring our wedding cake there. They were even willing to but slices for us and serve it. The only part I feel bad about was that the main waiter struggled a little bit to cut the cake (it was an ice cream cake because I like ice cream and that’s what I wanted for my wedding more than anything else). If anyone from Atlantic Fish is reading this, sorry about that.

Key takeaways: Overall, the wedding dinner was one of the best of our lives, and Atlantic Fish definitely pulled out the stops to make it extra special. Impeccably run, superb wait staff, and of course delicious, fresh seafood. Atlantic Fish is located on Boylston Street in Boston.

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Every couple needs a little restaurant around the corner, somewhere they can go when they want a quiet and cozy meal, don’t feel like cooking, and is within walking distance. For us, that place is Lantana Cafe in Medford. My husband and I have been there multiple times and have always walked away with large smiles and full bellies.

Lantana offers a regular menu with the usual suspects you’d expect from an Italian restaurant. We’re talking calamari, bruschetta, mussels, salads, an array of pasta dishes, plus several chicken and seafood dishes. Every day they also have several specials: usually at least one chicken entré, one seafood entré, an appetizer, and a dessert. Here’s a photo from one time we went during the summer. My husband ordered shrimp tortellini and I ordered mussels linguini marinara. Their sauces are always incredibly rich and the portions are generous enough to provide for an extra meal.

Shrimp tortellini and Mussels linguini!

Here are some more recent photos. They always provide bread (like most places). But unlike most places, the bread is more like something in between a pizza crust and naan, and cut into pizza-like slices. The add some seasonings to the olive oil provided. As you can see in the photo, they also add some red sauce to the oil (we still haven’t figure out what it is, but it’s really good).

Pizza bread?

For an appetizer, we usually order the calamari or the pumpkin ravioli. Below is a picture of the ravioli. If the pumpkin ravioli could be a dessert dish, this would be it. That is not a criticism; it is a high complement. The ravioli themselves contain plenty of pumpkin. A lot of times, pumpkin ravioli end up with the filling in little clumps; not true here. The pumpkin filling is smooth. The sauce is unlike any other pumpkin ravioli sauce I’ve ever had. It has a cream base, and is sweet (hence the dessert comment), but not too sweet. And of course, you can’t have a complementary sauce without cranberries. My only criticism is that they probably give too much sauce for three ravs.

Pumpkin ravioli!

I ordered an item off of the special menu (there are new specials each day): chicken diavolo, with chicken, linguini, and a spicy diavolo sauce. The chicken had been cut into smaller pieces and breaded, and came out moist. The sauce had mild-medium heat, lessened by the rich plum tomato base. As you can see, the ample portion easily made for a second meal.

Chicken diavolo!

My husband ordered the chicken ornesto, which featured chicken in a orange brandy sauce with walnuts and pumpkin ravioli. You could smell fall in the air when the waiter brought out the dish. As much as I like the dish I ordered, after tasting the ornesto sauce, I wish I had ordered that. It complemented the pumpkin flavor well, and the crunchiness of the walnuts completed the dish nicely.

Chicken ornesto!

Lastly, Lantana also has a good size wine and drink list for a restaurant of its size, with pretty reasonable prices. If you go, definitely get there early enough to get a window table. The window area is quite cozy compared to the larger dining room, and you’ll be surrounded by rustic brick walls.

Key takeaways: Quality is near- North End quality, at 75% of the price (i.e. more bang for your buck). With generous portions and flavors reminiscent of home, Lantana Cafe serves up good Italian cooking in quaint, unassuming digs in Glenwood, Medford.

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Since my husband and GBFB partner is a Massachusetts native, he tends to know about all of the great places to eat outside Boston, especially those south. One such place is The Farmer’s Daughter in Easton, MA.

My husband has been there with his family multiple times; we’ve gone together three times, and I’ve always been impressed. The first time I ate the Brioche French Toast with a side of turkey sausage.

Brioche French toast with turkey sausage!

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but the french toast must have been 2.5 inches thick. What really made this dish was the honey-cinnamon butter. The honey and cinnamon were perfectly balanced and complemented the toast and maple syrup without overpowering the other flavors. The turkey sausage was sized more like a turkey burger patty, and the side includes two of them. Having had plenty of turkey burgers in my day, I know full well that turkey can end up bland and dry if not prepared properly. These turkey sausage patties were anything but bland, having soaked up the apple and onion flavors. Not too moist, not too dry, I could see myself ordering the turkey sausage again, this time putting it between a couple of hash-brown waffles or a biscuit with cheese and eggs. Farm to table sausage biscuit sounds pretty good as I write this. But I digress…

My husband had the Benedict waffle and you can see below what that looked like. He devoured the whole thing.

Benedict waffle!

His parents had the Farmer’s Choice breakfast. If you want a good, wholesome, classic breakfast with fresh ingredients, order the Farmer’s Choice. Again the pics aren’t great, but you can get an idea of what it looks like below.

Farmer’s breakfast, half-eaten!

The second time we went there, I ordered a bit of mix and match: a pancake with some of the maple ham. No photos, so you’ll have to take my word for it that the maple ham came in a good-sized portion with very little fat on it. It was thickly-sliced.

The third time we went was on Labor Day. You’ve seen these photos on Instagram, but here they are again. The breakfast burrito was almost as large as a Chipotle burrito, filled with rice, eggs, beans, cheese and salsa, and came with salad. My husband ate the whole thing and didn’t complain of hunger until long after lunchtime.

Breakfast burrito!

I ordered the Blueberry Mascarpone Waffle. The blueberry compote stole the show. I’ve had similar compotes before elsewhere – this one had a perfect consistency and the blueberries were obviously fresh.

Blueberry waffles!

We also ordered a side of sweet potato hash. Having now tried three different sides, I thoroughly believe you could make an exquisite, fulfilling meal with just the sides alone. The hash featured cubed sweet potatoes with bits of ground turkey and diced peppers and onions. Well balanced in terms of flavor between sweet and savory.

Sweet potato and turkey hash!

Finally, they offer a variety of coffee drinks, teas, and hot chocolate. My husband usually gets a cappuccino, and I usually get hot chocolate or tea. No photos yet of the hot chocolate, but it’s freshly prepared, not from a packet, and with plenty of fresh whipped cream.

Cappuccino!

Key takeaways: it’s worth saving room in your stomach for the sides. Come in expecting a gourmet breakfast, and leave happy as a clam. The Farmer’s Daughter is located in Easton, MA.

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I’ve been to Bedford Farms enough times (probably too many) that I feel I can speak with some authority on this, although I haven’t had the chance to bring my GBFB partner, aka my husband. Keep in mind this article is about hard ice cream (we don’t typically eat frozen yogurt).

Chocolate with chocolate sprinkles!

Let’s start with the portions. Definitely larger than anything you get in the city, for the amount you pay in the city. Flavors: the classics are all good here (vanilla, chocolate, etc) and natural (no artificial flavors like we’ve had at some places). Being a chocolate lover, I take the taste of chocolate ice cream seriously. The chocolate here is made with real cocoa. Rich enough to satisfy a chocolate lover, not so rich that even a chocolate lover couldn’t eat the whole cone. Consistency: definitely on the creamy side. Certainly creamier than most places in the city. As a true dairy bar should be.

Chocolate Walnut Fudge!

Recommended flavors: chocolate, coffee, vanilla, coffee oreo, oreo, mud pie, muddy river, mint chip, maple walnut, Mississippi mud, pumpkin, and last but not least the chocolate walnut fudge. If a flavor isn’t listed, it’s probably because neither I nor anyone else I know has tried it.

I recently organized an ice cream social at work, and of course went with Bedford Farms (convenient location). They have 3-gallon tubs of many flavors available, with whipped cream and other toppings available. When a coworker and I came for pick up, the order (multiple 3-gallon tubs) was available without delay and the person behind the counter helped us load our car and provided napkins, spoons, and cups. Needless to say, the social was a complete success. All of the ice cream was devoured by the end.

I have also ordered an ice cream cake from them. You get to choose two flavors and a center (something with fudge), with sprinkles on the outside and fresh whipped cream on top. My cake consisted of oreo and chocolate ice cream with fudge and oreos in the center. You can see below how tasty it was:

Oreo and Chocolate Ice Cream Cake!

They also have pies. While I don’t have a photo, the oreo pie tastes divine, consisting of oreo ice cream with an oreo crust and a mountain of crushed oreos on top. It might even be better than their cakes.

Key takeaways: Bedford Farms offers creamy goodness and excellent service. They have three locations: Bedford Center, Concord, and Burlington. Their website with listings of flavors is here.

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The first time we went to Grotto was back in January, just after Christmas. Now I am by no means a winter person. Being from a hot weather state, I hate winter with a passion and vengeance rarely seen in others, leading people to ask why I live in Massachusetts (that’s a story for another time). My husband (then fiance) and I needed a date night, just the two of us to get out of our dreary house, and I found Grotto online just by chance. It was one of those 20 degree days, with plenty of ice and snow on the streets in which we had to move fast while huddling together to keep warm. When we entered, it was dimly lit, setting the romantic mood for the evening while we tried to warm ourselves back up. The focus of the people in the restaurant was on good food and good quiet conversation.

The waiter immediately greeted us and gave us the run-down of the menu and wine list. We each ordered a glass of wine, and while I can’t remember what my husband ordered to eat, I ordered the pumpkin risotto. No photos, unfortunately, but let me just say it was absolutely, without a doubt the most perfect meal I could have ordered on that cold of a night and in that atmosphere. It came on a rather large plate, and I could instantly smell the pumpkin, warming me right up. The risotto was creamy but not rich enough to cause a calorie concern.

We loved it so much, we knew we had to go back. The second time we went was this past summer, a fairly warm Friday evening. This time it was light out, so there was a bit of natural light – just enough to get a couple of ok photos, after lots of editing.

We ordered an appetizer special, zafferano (crab ravioli), which was simple but tasty as you can see.

Zafferano!

For the main course, I ordered the veal saltimbocca and my husband the chicken parm (I think). He said it hit the spot.

Chicken parm!

For me, my favorite part about the veal was actually the polenta that came with it. We’re talking all sorts of creamy goodness, especially when when mixed with the marsala sauce. The veal itself was tender and juicy, and wrapped in prosciutto (isn’t everything better wrapped in some sort of ham or bacon?).

Veal saltimbocca!

For dessert, if a restaurant offers chocolate cake, we usually order it and perform a mental ranking. Here is Grotto’s chocolate melting cake. It’s not a traditional lava cake, but does have a very warm, soft center. It’s very rich.

Chocolate melting cake!

What I love about Grotto the most is that it’s in a basement of one of the brownstones on Beacon Hill, this little hole-in-a-wall you wouldn’t expect to serve up a fine dining experience. But it serves up a lot more than fine dining Italian. It serves up plenty of memories with a special someone. We’ll definitely return for another cold winter night’s comfort.

Key Takeaway: Go here for date night. Don’t listen to anyone who suggests other restaurants for date night. This is it. You can find it on Bowdoin St. in Beacon Hill. Website here.

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For our first blog entry, we would like to introduce everyone to Coyote Flaco in Williamstown, MA. This Berkshires town is small and cozy, tucked away in the far northwest corner of the state. Williams College, a top liberal arts school, dominates the town center, which has a couple of restaurants and an edgy, hip coffee shop Tunnel City Coffee (unfortunately no photos of the coffee shop – maybe we should go back).

But outside the city center just off of Mohawk Trail (Route 7) we found something unexpected: some of the best Mexican food in Massachusetts. No joke. Having lived in Arizona for a number of years, I personally have been spoiled (my GBFB partner is a Townie) with authentic Mexican foods and drinks and quickly found myself in despair after moving to Boston when I couldn’t find a place that measured up. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have found that place. Coyote Flaco is it.

Let’s start off with the margarita offerings. There are quite a few. I had a Patron margarita while my GBFB had a house margarita. Both were generously sized and delicious, as you can see. Perfect portions of tequila with everything else.

Margaritas!

Then there was the food. We came incredibly hungry, having just hiked Mount Greylock that afternoon. We sat in their outdoor, shaded patio, and the waitress brought out fresh tortilla chips and salsa immediately. We devoured them. Instead of ordering appetizers, we ordered entrees with a side of green plantains. Green plantains are fairly rare on Boston menus (with Casa de Pedro’s in Watertown being a notable exception). Cooked until they were soft, almost melt-in-your-mouth with a slight hint of blackening, the unseasoned plantains rivaled the ones from Case de Pedro’s, and came with a dipping sauce as shown.

Plantains!

For the entrees, we were both hungry beasts and ordered enchiladas, myself the “Enchiladas Rojas” with a red sauce and my partner the “Enchiladas Oaxaca” with a mole sauce. Both came with beans, rice, and guac. The refried beans weren’t too salty nor too dry and the rice had typical seasonings, but was not overpowering. The enchiladas were built with homemade corn tortillas thin enough to soak the juices of the sauce and meat (perfectly moist), but not so thin as to break apart flimsily. They were stuffed enough with meat and cheese that I ended up not finishing mine, despite being famished earlier. Obviously this meant no dessert, but looking at the dessert menu now, the apple chimichangas sound delicious.

Enchiladas Rojas! Enchiladas Oaxaca!

The owner is a nice gentleman from Mexico, and of course we mentioned to him how pleased we were with the meal. My only criticism is that the salsa seemed like more of a basic recipe compared to some of the salsas I’ve had elsewhere, but delicious nonetheless.

Prices, being in the Berkshires, are very reasonable compared to Boston prices. Next time we are in the Berkshires, we will go back. You can find info about the restaurant here.

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