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If you’re anything like me, waiting in line is the last thing you want to be doing, especially during a weekday lunch rush. That’s why I’m so excited about Toast’s new app, Toast TakeOut, an online ordering platform that makes it easy to skip the line every time you order food. They’ve got so many of my favorite restaurants and cafés — Tatte, Jugos, Ebi Sushi, Dumpling Daughter, and so many more.
I’ve already placed an unhealthy amount of orders at Tatte. Their new Downtown Crossing location is right across the street from my office, so it’s hard to resist their sweet pastries. Also, their Crunchy Halloumi salad has become one of my go-to lunches, especially now that I have an easy way to order it.
Basically, I just pull up the Toast Toast TakeOut app, select the Tatte on Summer Street, and add my salad (and usually a pastry) to my cart and pay in advance. One thing I love is that the app makes it easy to customize your order so you don’t have to worry about the restaurant getting it right. The best part is I can avoid those famously long lines at Tatte, and just grab my lunch and head back to the office.
Another order I placed recently was at one of my favorite dumpling spots, Dumpling Daughter in Kendall Square. I was in Cambridge for a meeting, and I wanted to pick up some food on the way home, so I pulled up the Toast TakeOut app to see what was available near me, and when I saw Dumpling Daughter, it was hard to resist. I’m about as obsessed with their dumplings as I am with their super delicious crispy Brussels sprouts. So I ordered a bunch of dumplings and Brussels sprouts, and then I just dropped in to pick up my order on the way home. It couldn’t get much easier than that!
Then, time to eat!
You can download Toast TakeOut on the App Store. And here are just a few great spots available on the app that I recommend checking out:
Tatte — try the Crunchy Halloumi Salad and you won’t regret it
Ebi Sushi — my go to sushi spot
Jugos — I love their açaí bowl and their avocado toast
Sal’s Pizza — because sometimes their chicken bacon ranch pizza is exactly what I need
Saloniki — loukoumades are always a good idea
Anna’s Taqueria — chances are I don’t have to tell you their burritos are the best in Boston
Eventide — for a brown butter lobster roll that you won’t stop dreaming about
Thanks to Toast for sponsoring this post. All opinions shared are my own.
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If you love sushi as much as I do, the idea of All You Can Eat (AYCE) sushi is like a dream. Fortunately, Boston has a growing list of restaurants offering AYCE menus. Before visiting, here are a few things you should know about AYCE sushi restaurants:
At restaurants serving AYCE sushi, the AYCE menu is usually different than the a la cart menu. More expensive rolls like ones with lobster aren’t usually included.Most restaurants serving AYCE sushi have pricing that varies depending on the day of the week. Weekends are more expensive than week days.Most places have a policy where you have to pay if you have leftovers (meaning you ordered too much and can’t finish it).Pricing and availability of AYCE changes, and isn’t always updated on restaurant websites or social media. I recommend calling first to confirm the price and availability before visiting.
A few Boston-area restaurants serving AYCE sushi:
Yamato I and Yamato II | Brighton & Back Bay
Yamato is probably the most well known of the AYCE sushi restaurants in Boston. Their original location is in Brighton, and they have another in the Back Bay. Their Back Bay AYCE dinner pricing is $29.99 from Sunday to Thursday and $31.99 on Friday, Saturday, and Holidays.
5 Spices House | Malden
5 Spices House in Malden is a great spot in Malden that I just tried a few weeks ago. They serve AYCE sushi and AYCE hot pot. Pricing for weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun, holidays) dinner is $25.95 for sushi, $25.95 for hot pot, and $31.95 for hot pot and sushi.
Nijiya Sushi | Medford
Nijiya Sushi is an AYCE sushi restaurant in Medford. Their price for weekend dinner is $23.99.
Sushi Factory | Allston
Sushi Factory is another AYCE sushi spot that opened up in Allston at the end of 2017. They charge $21.95 for AYCE.
Empire | Seaport
On Wednesdays, Empire serves their “Sushi Unlimited” menu. You can order as much as you want from a select list of rolls for $29 per person.
Red Lantern | Back Bay
Red Lantern, sister restaurant to Empire, also does a special “Sushi Unlimited” menu. On Tuesday nights, guests can order as much sushi as they want from a select list of rolls for $29 per person.
Sushiemon | Symphony
Sushiemon, located on Mass Ave by Symphony Hall, serves AYCE sushi for $22 per person.
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If you’re looking to make a better BLT sandwich, I’ve got three suggestions for you: 1) add avocado, 2) use high quality, fresh bread, and 3) make it with North Country Smokehouse bacon. North Country Smokehouse is one of the country’s few remaining family-owned smokehouses, and they’re based locally, right up in Claremont, New Hampshire.
North Country Smokehouse provides a range of smoked meats including bacon, sausage, ham, and more. Their products are handmade in small batches by their team, and they offer traditional, certified humane and organic varieties. The products are also free of added growth hormones and antibiotics. Long story short, I know I’m getting great meat and I don’t have to worry about all of the dangerous additives that you can find in other bacons.
North Country Smokehouse also just released a new sugar-free bacon line. I used their Organic Applewood Smoked Sugar Free Uncured Bacon, along with some fresh baked bread, crisp lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados to make some Avocado BLTs for lunch last week. I loved how the smoked flavor really added to the sandwich.
So next time you’re assembling your favorite sandwich or cooking up some bacon for breakfast, try North Country Smokehouse. You can find their products at Whole Foods Market, Stop & Shop, Hannaford’s Supermarket, and Big Y. You can search for retailers selling North Country Smokehouse products here; you can also shop their store online here.
Thanks to North Country Smokehouse for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions shared are my own.
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Nachos, anyone? I don’t know about you, but nachos are my go-to snack. Whenever I’m watching a movie or hanging out with friends, they’re one of the easiest things to make, and they always just hit the spot. And I’m sure you don’t need a recipe for nachos — it’s like the one thing we all could make in college, right? But, if you’re interested in seriously stepping up your nacho game, let me introduce you to Riceland Food’s Leftover Turkey and Cheesy Rice Skillet Nachos made with Riceland Long Grain White Rice. Trust me, rice will take your nachos to the next level.
And these were pretty simple to make. All you have to do is cook the rice (I used Riceland Long Grain Rice!), and set it aside. Then combine a bunch of the ingredients in the bowl including the rice, some leftover turkey (or chicken, that’s what I used), salsa, corn, beans, sour cream, and cheese.
Then, take a giant skillet, line it with tortilla chips, and layer and spread the mix in the chips. After, sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake for 20-25 minutes.
You’ll have a beautiful plate of nachos with perfectly melted cheese, and you can top it with whatever you’d like — I went with guacamole, sour cream, olives, and onions.
For the full recipe from Riceland, click here.
Put this in front of your friends next time they come over for movie night, and I promise they’ll be impressed!
Thanks to Riceland Foods for sponsoring this post. All opinions shared are my own.
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I was back in my old neighborhood this weekend for brunch at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square. While I’ve been there a few times for dinner, this was my first time visiting for brunch, and it was such a treat!
My friend and I started with some of their cereal inspired cocktails — the Peanut Butter Banshee topped with Reeses Puffs and the Fruit Loop Cosmo topped with a string of Fruit Loops!
For food, we started with a few of their super yummy Lobster Sliders.
Then for our entrees, I went with the R. House Burger, complete with sharp cheddar, bacon, and caramelized onion on an English muffin. My friend went with the Crispy French Toast, which I was happy about because I needed something a little sweet after the burger and salty fries.
Then, one last cocktail — the AppleJack Sidecar which was complete with a rim of Apple Jacks crumbs!
Check out Russell House Tavern at 14 JFK Street in Harvard Square. And if you’re looking for a holiday gift for a foodie friend or family member this season, consider getting a gift card to the Grafton Group. During the holidays, they running a promotion offering a $100 gift card for every $500 spent on gift cards purchased. The Grafton Group includes Russell House, The Hourly, PARK, Temple Bar, Grafton Street and State Street Provisions. The gift cards can be used at all of their restaurants.
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One of the questions I get asked the most through DMs, emails, and all the other ways people reach me is about what apps I use for editing my photos. So I’m doing a round up here for all of the photo apps I use, and what I use them for. I hope you find it useful!
But before I get into the apps, I’ll let you know what I’m shooting on. Probably about 95% of the time, I’m using my Canon EOS Rebel T5i with an 18-135mm lens. To quickly put the photos on my iPhone, I just take the memory card, use an SD card reader, and import them to my phone.
That’s when I begin the editing process!
Snapseed - for spot brightening
This app was well worth the few dollars I bought it for a few years ago. It really comes in handy when I eat at a dimly lit restaurant and I want to brighten up the dish a little bit, but not brighten up the entire picture. I also use Snapseed to remove blemishes — like stains or crumbs — using their “healing” feature.
Facetune - for smoothing and color adjusting
I use Facetune if I need to smooth something, or if I need to adjust a color. For example, if I need to make an avocado a little more green, or a plate a little more white.
VSCO - for filters
VSCO is by far my favorite app to use for filters both because of the number of filters they have, as well as the quality. There are a few I really like — if you’re familiar with the app and the filters, I love: E5, E6, E7, E8, HB1, and HB2. I also like to use VSCO to sharpen or improve the clarity of the images, and brighten an image.
ColorStory - for filters and texture
ColorStory is another great app for filters. If I’m looking for something a little more fun, I’ll often use ColorStory instead of VSCO. But I use ColorStory most often for adding what ColorStory calls “texture” and “confetti.” The Textures are basically an assortment of filters you can use to apply things like speckles or light or coloring that makes your picture have a vintage feel to it. The Confettis are filters that allow you to add things like snowflakes or ice cream to your photos.
Unfold - for combining multiple pictures
I’ve started using Unfold in the past couple of months, and I’ve gotten so many questions about it. This app is great if you want to combine a bunch of your photos into one slide for Instagram stories. I’ll often use this app if I’m doing some Instagram story slides on a restaurant visit, and I want to show off multiple dishes in one slide.
Have any great apps you’re using? Comment below and let me know.
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I was so happy to check out Alcove last week, a great spot that opened up last month inside the Lovejoy Wharf building in Boston’s West End. They have a beautiful space, complete with a stunning view of the Zakim Bridge, and a menu filled with so many of the things I love most — great veggie dishes, charcuterie and cheese, a raw bar, and so much more. I’m so excited to have this spot as a place to go for dinner before games or concerts at The Garden.
When I visited Alcove last week we started with some caviar (note: this was a preview of a special coming to their holiday lunch and brunch service!), wine, and the Fluffy Bee cocktail, a drink of rum, ginger, honey, egg white, and pollen.
Then, their La Quercia Prosciutto, a dish of prosciutto, fresh stracciatella, and whole wheat fried dough. The perfect combo, right? We also tried their Charred Haas Avocado and the Pickled Egg and Sparrow Arc Farm Vegetables.
Then, their delicious Moules-Frites topped with a saffron aioli, paired with an order of Brussels sprouts.
For dessert, their Chocolate Pudding and the Pine Nut Caramel Bar (note: the caramel bar is another item that was a preview and coming to their holiday lunch and brunch service!).
Alcove is currently open for dinner seven days a week, located at 50 Lovejoy Wharf in Boston. For the holiday season they’re doing a special lunch and brunch service. Holiday brunch will run on Sundays from 10:30am to 2:30pm starting on Sunday 11/25. The holiday lunch service will run Monday through Saturday from 11:30am to 2:30pm starting on Monday 11/26.
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I originally authored this article for the Boston Patch. It has been slightly adjusted from its original version.
Whenever I'm out to eat, whether I'm on assignment or not, I'm always one of those people constantly snapping pictures. And while you're more likely to find me capturing pictures of my food rather than pictures of the space, sometimes a restaurant's interior can be just as beautiful as the cuisine it serves. Here are a few of Boston's most Instagrammable restaurants that will have you hashtagging #InteriorGoals.
Nahita
You won't be able to resist pulling out your phone and snapping a few pics at this recently-opened spot in the former Liquid Art House space. This Back Bay spot boasts sky high ceilings, giant columns, beautiful wall murals and lots of plants. Nahita is a space unlike any I've seen in Boston, and so is its menu. They serve Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese) style cuisine with Turkish influences. You'll find lots of ceviche, sashimi, tacos and more at this wonderful new spot.
Terra at Eataly
Terra is another Back Bay restaurant overflowing with greenery and impressing guests with their space. This restaurant, on the third floor of Eataly Boston, is complete with ceiling windows, beautiful tile floors and hanging plants. It's a great place to go on a cold sunny day in Boston when you want to imagine you're somewhere warmer.
Glass House
You won't be struggling to find sunlight at Kendall Square's Glass House either. This restaurant, which has been recognized by interior design magazines and associations, is an impressively designed glass building with a central bar, tile floors, and an eye-catching green booth that wraps around two sides of the dining area. Its menu is complete with a raw bar and some American and international-inspired dishes like roasted chicken ramen, Thai beef salad, fish tacos and more.
Yvonne's
When this restaurant opened in Downtown Crossing in 2015, guests and publications were calling it the most Instagrammable restaurant in the city, and it definitely still ranks as one of the best. Yvonne's library lounge features shelves full of books, hanging portraits and ornate ceilings. By the bar you'll find marble floors, decadent crystal chandeliers, and gold accents. Even the bathroom, complete with an orange velvet couch and a colorful chandelier, is an Instagram-worthy space!
Citrus & Salt
Citrus & Salt has been a hit since opening at the end of 2017 in the Back Bay. Guests can't get enough of their playful margaritas, colorful soft serve, and of course, their beautiful space. With pink walls, hanging lights, and colorful murals, the space will just make you feel like having fun — whether you've had a few margaritas or not.
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I originally authored this article for the Boston Patch. It has been slightly adjusted from its original version.
While I'm not a vegetarian by any means, vegetables are one of my favorite things to eat. To me there's nothing like crispy Brussels sprouts, a perfect creamy squash soup, or a hearty kale salad. In fact, I'll often go a few days without eating meat and not even realize it. In the Boston area, that's become increasingly easier to do over the past few years with the addition of so many great vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Whether you're a vegetarian yourself, dining with one, or just looking to enjoy a more plant-based meal, consider some of these great Boston-area restaurants.
Life Alive
This casual vegetarian spot is one of my favorite places to grab a healthy lunch. Life Alive serves a wide selection of warm grain bowls, salads, soups, smoothies, juices and more. You'll leave their Cambridge or Brookline location feeling full and nourished.
Littleburg
You'll find delicious veggie-centric scratch cooking at this hit pop-up restaurant, and if you're like me, you won't even realize it's vegan until you start asking questions after your last bite! Littleburg has been popping up at restaurants and breweries around the city serving bites like shiitake sliders, veggie burgers, fried eggplant gyros, and more. Their next feature will be at Taco Party in Somerville on Tuesday, October 30 from 6-9 p.m., but you can follow them on Instagram or Facebook for more updates on their upcoming events.
Mighty Love Food
Vegetarians and veggie-lovers should add this new Downtown spot to their lunch roster. In addition to smoothies, bowls, and toasts, at Mighty Love Food you can get healthier versions of some of your favorite indulgent dishes like their tacos made with avocado and black beans, veggie burgers, and my personal favorite, their take on spaghetti and meatballs — squash ribbons with mushroom and black bean "meat" balls.
Forage
This wonderful neighborhood spot in Cambridge serves a seasonally changing menu driven by local ingredients. While Forage does serve meat, they're very vegetarian friendly. They offer their chef's tasting menu in both vegetarian and vegan form. If you're dining with a vegetarian and you still need your meat fix, add this spot to your list.
Table at Season to Taste
The Table at Season to Taste is another restaurant where both omnivores and vegetarians can have an exquisite meal. This quaint, 20-seat Cambridge restaurant serves four course prix fixe menus that can be made vegetarian upon request, so vegetarians need not worry about missing out on this award-winning spot!
True Bistro
This restaurant in Somerville is well known to the area's vegan and vegetarian community. True Bistro in Somerville has been open since 2010, and serves an entirely vegan menu. Whether you're a vegan or not, I recommend their olive tapenade and sweet potato raviolis.
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Last weekend I had an awesome time with my friend heading to Hudson, MA to have dinner at Less Than Greater Than and ice cream at New City Microcreamery. If you’re a Bostonian, you might be familiar with the New City Microcreamery that opened up a few months ago in Cambridge. It’s an awesome ice cream shop with some seriously delicious scratch-made ice cream, sauces, and toppings.
Well, New City Microcreamery actually got started in Hudson (about an hour outside of Boston). Their team also has two restaurants in Hudson, Rail Trail Flatbread and Less Than Greater Than, which is actually located at the back of New City. That’s where we started last weekend during out trip out to Hudson. Less Than Greater Than is a speakeasy style restaurant, so you have to find the “secret” entrance at the back of New City, and turn on a light to wait for someone to come let you in.
Once we entered and sat down, we started out with some cocktails including one of the ones that they make with liquid nitrogen — they basically take the ice cream base, add alcohol, then whip and freeze the combo with liquid nitrogen. How awesome is that?! We went with the Black Palmetto, which is a vanilla base with Filipino rum, Averna, and chocolate funk.
Then, some starters — their Farm Egg with roasted hen of the woods mushrooms, and their super delicious crab cakes.
For our entrees, the Bolognese and the Faroe Island Salmon. Perfection!
It was hard to resist their dessert menu, but we knew we were heading to New City afterwards so we had to hold out.
I was so excited for ice cream. I’ve been dreaming about New City ever since I tried it when they opened their shop in Cambridge. And while I don’t know a lot about making ice cream, I have tried my fair share of scoop shops throughout the state, and New City was just beyond — so smooth and creamy. I learned that part of what makes their ice cream so good is that they make it using cold liquid nitrogen, and that process apparently makes smaller ice crystals, giving the ice cream its super smooth texture.
Since their ice cream is so tasty, picking flavors wasn’t easy! My friend went with a fall inspired cone — Apple Crisp and Pecan Pie, and I went with a sundae of all of my favorite things — cookie dough ice cream, cake batter ice cream, caramel sauce, hot fudge, crushed waffle cone, and walnut blondie crumbs. Talk about a sugar high. But totally worth it.
Check out New City Microcreamery’s menu here. You can visit them in Hudson or Cambridge. Check out Less Than Greater Than’s full menu here.
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