Have you been to Columbus Hospitality Group’s new restaurant, Bar Lyon? We have been anticipating its arrival for quite some time since our dad is French. It seems that French restaurants come and go in this city, and it can be difficult to find a good bistro with affordable fare.
A month ago, Matt and I finally got to try Bar Lyon. I had made a reservation a few weeks earlier, which I’d recommend doing as its been a popular spot. (It’s easy to make reservations through Resy on their website here.)
Right off the bat, I loved the ambiance of Bar Lyon. It has a true bistro feel with plush leather benches and tables close together. We had already perused the menu at home, so we had a good idea of the dishes we hoped to try. Since I can’t eat dairy at the moment, I knew I would have to talk to the waiter to see what would work given my dietary restriction.
Our waiter was so nice. He checked with the kitchen, and they were able to make most of the dishes work for me. It was so nice to have so much choice!
Matt and I shared the P.E.I. Mussels to start and tasted incredibly fresh and delicious. We then each ordered the Bavette Steak with fries. The fries were insanely good. I think they had some garlic on them, so they felt a little different without being too different.
Unfortunately, none of the desserts could be made without dairy, so we skipped dessert. Matt and I were both incredibly satisfied with our meal, and can’t wait to go back again soon.
Have you been to Bar Lyon? What new restaurants have you enjoyed lately?
Photos courtesy of Bar Lyon / Columbus Hospitality Group.
Can you believe it’s June? Here in New England, ice cream is a thing all year round, but especially as the weather warms up, a frozen treat feels even more delicious. Today or over the next few days, plan to stop in to City Hall Plaza for the 37th Annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl — the nation’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival. Proceeds benefit patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber, so this is an indulgence you can feel really good about!
The festival runs on June 4th, 5th, and 6th, from noon to 8pm. Event day ticket prices are $10 for children and $15 for adults (under 2 free) — a 3-day pass is $20. (Tickets can be bought online here, or purchased at the entrance to the event.) Ice cream will be served by Baskin Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Edy’s, Friendly’s, and Hood, along with Greater Boston fan favorites like Bart’s Ice Cream, Blake’s Ice Cream, Vice Cream, Beckon Ice Cream, and Yasso, among others.
For adults, Scoop@Night on June 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. features unlimited ice cream under the big tent and two adult beverages provided by Harpoon Brewery and local wineries. The area is open to adults ages 21 and up with a separate $30 admission ticket.
So much fun, and for such a good cause!
Image Credit: Courtesy of Dana-Farber, photos by JC Lines.
Before the new wave of fast-casual restaurants serving veggie-centric bowls and salads came about, Life Alive was serving rice, kale, and veggie bowls from their Central Square location. Other locations in Salem, Lowell, and a new space in Brookline also serve the same healthful foods. Plus, we learned that a location in Back Bay is in the works!
While I have heard that the newer Brookline location has a more airy and modern feel, the Central Square Life Alive slants more towards the hippie granola side of things, in a good way. I have been known to invent reasons to go to Central Square so that I have an excuse to stop in and order “The Adventurer” bowl — a combination of Sesame Ginger Nama Sauce with corn, beets, broccoli, kale, cheddar, tofu, legumes, and Tamari almonds, over quinoa and brown rice. This sounds like it would not be good at all, but it is delicious!
Although Natalie and I have been fans of Life Alive for many years, we realized that we haven’t ever reviewed it on the blog. Sometimes our tried-and-true favorites don’t make it on here, and we wanted to make sure to share it. This is such a gem for people like us, who like to eat mostly plants. We recreate bowls in this style at home too, with a combination of grains, greens, roasted vegetables, and a sauce like this one. We are excited that they are expanding, and can’t wait to see what comes next.
Have you been? We would love to hear about your tried-and-true favorite restaurants!
I’ve been on a huge cooking kick. As I’ve mentioned before, Remy has a milk protein allergy and is sensitive to soy as well, so since I’m breastfeeding I have tailored my diet accordingly. It can be surprisingly difficult to eat out when watching both dairy and soy. I find that soybean oil and soy lecithin are in many random foods!
In an effort to not have any issues with Remy’s intolerances, I’ve been cooking more meals at home, and the positive side effects have been saving money and eating better. Matt and I plan out our meals for the week each Sunday, and I really look forward to this ritual. I find that meal planning makes you more appreciative of what you’re spending money on and what foods you are putting in your body. I love using Paprika, a recipe manager, to store all of my recipes. The app (they also have a desktop version) has a useful meal planning feature, grocery list, and you can even maintain a list of what’s in your pantry so you don’t buy something you already have at home.
I took advantage of a sale over the holidays and bought an Instant Pot, which has upped my cooking game. Most notably, it has made me less intimidated to cook meat. It’s especially great for making recipes that you want to keep warm until dinner without much thought. A few of my recent Instant Pot successes include these chicken tinga tacos, carnitas (which are finished in the oven… a crucial step for max crispiness!), and this chicken tortilla soup (omg, make this tonight. It is unbelievably good!).
Here are some other recipes that have been in our rotation lately:
Crispy Broccoli with Lemon from Smitten Kitchen is one of our go-to vegetable recipes. You’ll have to practice lots of restraint to not eat the entire batch off the baking sheet. Always buy extra broccoli; it cooks down a lot!
Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile. We often include these melting sweet potatoes in our big weekly vegetable roast. I love having roasted veggies in the fridge ready to eat alone or to put in rice bowls. This black bean and sweet potato enchilada recipe is one of our favorites, and if you are dairy-free just omit the cheese and make your own dairy-free enchilada sauce (many store bought brands contain cream.).
On a cold day, a little spice can really warm you up. This peanut slaw and soba noodle recipe is a delicious and seriously easy spicy recipe. It stores in the fridge well, too, if you don’t eat it all in one sitting. Another Cookie + Kate favorite is this extra vegetable fried rice. So easy to throw together and a great way to use that random leftover carrot or bag of spinach.
This recipe for chicken parmesan is definitely not dairy-free, but I had to include because it’s one of my favorite recipes for when I can eat cheese. I haven’t tried any vegan cheeses yet. Are there any brands you’ve tried and liked?
Chicken Noodle Soup is a go-to in our house whenever someone is sick. We love the recipe from Matt’s grandfather but sometime you need something super easy. For those days, this is our favorite recipe.
Have you been to a Wegmans grocery store? People that grew up in Rochester, New York, are huge fans and I have long wondered why. What could be so awesome about a grocery store?
Wegmans has had a presence in New England for the last several years, but last spring they opened a store in Natick, the largest one in the New England area. In addition to two floors of shopping, a burger bar, their famous ready-to-eat options and alcohol, the store hosts special events like wine tastings and cooking classes. It is also connected to the Natick Mall, so on a cold winter day you don’t even have to go outside to grocery shop and peruse the mall — win, win!
We were recently invited in to try a Cooking with Kids class, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Recently Milo has been “helping” me in the kitchen and it’s an activity that we’ve both been enjoying. We mostly stick to these foolproof muffins, and it works best to have everything portioned beforehand so Milo can pour and mix.
I went on to the Wegmans website to look at the upcoming options and we quickly settled on a sushi class. How fun! We arrived on a Saturday morning and were sent to a room on the first floor, where they also offer wine tastings and host other events. The room was adorably set up with hats, aprons, a packet with menus plus coloring pages and crayons. We sat down and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. In total I think there were 15 kids, plus adults. Most of the kids were around 6-8 years old, which I think is the perfect age group for something like a cooking class. Although Milo is only 2, he had a blast. The class went at a great pace (important with impatient toddlers!) and allowed ample opportunity for the kids to mix and try their creations.
The class was led by three Wegmans employees including Megan, who is a service manager. She was wonderful and so attentive! I was also really impressed by how well the team managed allergies, which there were a few of in our group. Our younger sister is allergic to peanuts and I am always sensitive to allergies and appreciate when they are taken seriously.
First up, we made a poke bowl with marinated tofu, rice, cucumbers, carrots, and a sauce. The team was able to capture the attention of this young audience — no small feat!
Milo was especially intrigued by the chopsticks. The instructors also passed out gloves, which most kids seem to love to wear (in fact, Milo is often sporting our kitchen gloves that I use to wash dishes).
Milo liked mixing the sauce, of course.
He is an extremely picky eater, but he likes rice! Next up, we made a sushi roll, which Milo didn’t eat but it was fun to make. The classes are 1 hour long and cost $10 for a child plus hands-on adult. They have several coming up that look really fun, like this pizza class. Space is limited and tickets need to be purchased in advance by visiting the store’s customer service desk. Wegmans will be adding more classes, so be sure to check www.wegmans.com/natick for the full lineup of events at that store.
Thank you for having us, Wegmans. We had so much fun, and can’t wait to try a different class soon!
This post is sponsored by Wegmans Food Markets. Thank you for reading!
We love the holiday season — all the beautiful lights, the special meals, and of course the fun of holiday shopping and gift giving! However, especially with little ones keeping us extra-busy, we find that the planning and shopping is so much more enjoyable when done in advance, rather than rushing at the last minute. That’s why we teamed up with Legacy Place to host a fun party for local moms, at the very beginning of the winter holiday season. (RSVP here!)
Please join us at Legacy Place on Wednesday, November 28th starting at 11am for an indulgent day of hors d’oeuvres and mimosas, holiday crafts and card-making with Paper Source, and holiday cooking tips from Williams Sonoma. (You can come earlier for an optional SoulCycle class that morning to get you moving!) Each attendee will receive a swag bag (yay!) with gift cards and coupons to make their holiday shopping at Legacy Place a little easier. (Maybe you can even get a little something special for yourself — this event is all about treating ourselves!) Sneak away to join us and indulge in some fun while cross some to-dos off your holiday list. We would love to see you!!
Itinerary — Wednesday, November 28th
9:30am — Complimentary SoulCycle class for those who are interested, showers and toiletries provided. *If you would like to take the SoulCycle class ahead of this event, please email me at email@example.com to reserve your spot.*
11am — Arrive at Aquitaine, Legacy Place, 680 Legacy Place, Dedham, MA 02026
11:15-11:30am — Welcome, Hor D’oeuvres and Mimosas at Aquitaine (refreshments available throughout event)
11:30am-12:30pm — Holiday Crafts and Card Making at Paper Source / Holiday Cooking Tips at Williams Sonoma (Half the group will be at each location for these workshops, and then the groups will switch.)
We only have space for 20 people (others will be added to the waitlist), so make sure to RSVP on the Eventbrite page and follow @LegacyPlace on Instagram to attend. Feel free to invite your friends too — we are so looking forward seeing you!
For several years now we have been participants of the CSA program at Siena Farms, and we love it. When I lived in Montreal we belonged to two other CSAs there, and sometimes the vegetables weren’t packaged well or were a little past their prime, or were only onions (haha!), but the boxes from Siena Farms are always filled with such glorious produce. I love how CSAs force you to get comfortable with different vegetables than the ones you pick out at the store through force of habit. This year we had tons of shishito peppers (so good blistered in a hot pan and sprinkled with fleur de sel) and eggplants (which I mainly cooked in ratatouille or roasted to make an easy and delicious baba ganoush) — both didn’t figure much into my cooking repertoire before joining a CSA, but now I have found ways to really enjoy them. There have also been plenty of my perpetual favorites, like gorgeous tomatoes (which I always mean to do something else with, but instead make caprese salad, every time) and beautiful radishes (so refreshing on salads or right from the fridge).
Each year, Siena Farms hosts a farm tour for the CSA members, and this year my parents, Natalie, Matt, and Milo all came along. It was drizzling a little, but we were all still game to traipse around the fields, and soon enough the sun peeked out. The farm is such a gorgeous place — you could almost feel transported to a different time, with the fields surrounded by trees and the vast sky overhead. Sipping a glass of wine, along with a cup of chef Ana Sortun’s kohlrabi and hazelnut soup (of Oleana and Sofra, she is married to Farmer Chris), as evening fell was a pretty perfect fall scene. Here are few pictures, if you would like to see!
Once September rolls around, there is a tendency to start thinking it’s fall, but there are actually a few weeks of summer left, and this weather is making that clear! We are aiming to make the most of late summer — although hopefully the temperatures will be a bit more moderate the next few weeks.
Have you gotten a chance to visit any of the city’s beer gardens over the summer? There were a few sprinkled around in past years, but this year it feels like the biergarten scene has really blossomed, and that makes us so happy. I am such a fan of sitting outside, and our city is seriously lacking in patio space for restaurants, bars, and cafes, so anything that ups the chance of sipping a cold drink outside sounds good to me! Here are a few beer gardens in Boston to check out while you still have the chance:
Night Shift Brewing Along the Charles
Everett-based Night Shift Brewing is now operating two “Owl’s Nest” beer gardens along the Charles through October — one on the Esplanade and the other at Boston’s Herter Park. Both spaces are family-friendly and welcome dogs. You can check out the hours and the menus here. (A nice way to cap off a walk by the river!)
Trillium on the Greenway
The Greenway makes such great use of their space — we are always amazed by all their programming. This year, their beer garden with Trillium Brewing is located at Atlantic and High Street, and is also serving local wine. The space is family- and dog-friendly. Check out their FAQs and updates here.
Dewey Square with Downeast Cider
Downeast Cider is hosting a “back porch” party at Dewey Square many days of the week (see here for hours). With cider (of course), wine, beer, and occasional live music, there is something for everyone. We love the energy of Dewey Square — such a nice spot to relax and watch the city go by.
Notch Brewing has a 2000 square-foot biergarten outside facing the river at their brewery in Salem. We haven’t been yet, but love the idea of sipping a drink while watching seals and birds in the water. (Well-behaved dogs are encouraged, and under 21 is ok with parents except for Friday and Saturday after 6pm.) More on their Salem location here.
Notch Brewing on the Road with the Trustees
The Trustees are involved in so many great programs, and after long New England winters, find that their “desire to spend as much time outside feels both urgent and medicinal.” Haha, so true! In that spirit, the Trustees teamed up with Notch Brewing to bring their mobile biergarten set-up (family friendly activities, session beer, food, and entertainment) to various Trustees properties over the last few months and continuing into November. Upcoming events will be held at Powisset Farm in Dover, the Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Appleton Farms in Ipswich, and Castle Hill in Ipswich. So many beautiful places! See more information on the Trustees website.
It may still be summer, but apple picking season has already begun! The last few years, I find myself heading to the orchard towards the end of the season. The last few years, I find myself heading to the orchard towards the end of the fall. Of course, different varieties peak during the season, and there’s nothing better than enjoying a hay ride in a cool fall breeze. I am all for going early on and again later in the season, to make the most of all the apple varieties. I am still thinking about all of the fun we had last year when we went apple picking in Maine. Milo was so little!
My favorite apples are Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Cortland. Here is a cool guide to when different kinds of apples are ready to pick and what they’re best used for (eating, baking, and/or sauce) in New England. Below I am sharing a few of the best places to go apple picking near Boston. I’d love to know: which orchard is your favorite?
We grew up going to Honey Pot Hill Orchards throughout the year, but the fall was always our favorite. It has become a really popular orchard, so we recommend going on a weekday if you can swing it. Even if there is a long line for warm apple cider donuts, it’s worth the wait. We love perusing the pumpkins, climbing the rickety ladders in the orchards, and visiting the farm animals.
As a Honeycrisp lover, Parlee Farms has been on my list of orchards to visit. Honeycrisp are their most popular apple and covers almost 40% of their 15 acres. Don’t worry though, they offer 20 other varieties of apples in case Honeycrisp aren’t your favorite. I have heard great things about their farm stand and farm animals.
A few years ago, we wanted to take Weber apple picking. For health reasons, it is really difficult to find a dog-friendly orchard. We stumbled across Drew Farm in Westford, and they allow dogs. Your dog has to be well-behaved and on a leash at all times. This orchard is also much quieter, and in addition to its orchards there is a small roadside farm stand.
Have you been to Red Apple Farm at the Boston Public Market? It is hard to miss the mouthwatering smell of freshly-made apple cider donuts as you enter the market. This year, I am hoping to make it west of the city to check out their farm… and of course to eat several of their donuts! In addition to apple picking, Red Apple Farm offers weekend BBQs, hay rides, and a chance to visit with friendly farm animals.
Tougas Family Farm also offers a ton of apple varieties from August to October (you can see their full list with descriptions here.) True to its name, I have heard that Tougas Family Farm is a great place to bring kids. They have a farm store and a picnic area so that you can enjoy some donuts (and whatever else your heart desires!) from the store.
Have you heard of The Trustees? If you’ve been living in this area for a while, you’ve probably visited or heard about their properties, which include the Crane Estate and Crane Beach, Fruitlands Museum, the Cape Poge Lighthouse and beach on Martha’s Vineyard, the Old Manse in Concord, and many more. Founded in 1891, The Trustees were the first land preservation nonprofit of their kind in the world, and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation organization. Today, they own and care for more than 27,000 acres, and protect an additional 20,500 acres. Their properties range from working farms to community gardens, campgrounds, beaches, and historic sites. Find a complete list of all locations here.
Along with protecting and managing these areas, The Trustees also organize a huge number of events and programs, like the cooking classes at the Boston Public Market, farm-based education for kids and adults, hiking, paddling, and more. Their working farms run CSA programs and also donate to food pantries, and the community gardens in underserved communities help to promote local food systems. The Trustees also advocate for legislation that supports land conservation and historic preservation and address climate change. WOW. I was surprised to learn of everything they are involved in!
As city dwellers, we are making a point of getting out and exploring nature on the weekends, and a bunch of things on my list have to do with The Trustees. Here are a few fun things for the summer months:
Trustees on Tap Traveling Biergartens with Notch Brewing
Salem-based Notch Brewing is bringing their tap truck to Trustees properties this summer and fall — so fun! The events are family friendly, and include live music, scavenger hunts, and more. Upcoming events are at a variety of locations, including the Crane Estate, Francis William Bird Park in Walpole, Powisett Farm, the Fruitlands Museum, and more. See the full schedule here.
Mobile Farmer’s Market and Community Gardens
The Trustees Mobile Farmer’s Market will be in the Seaport on Thursday afternoons through November 8th (and also acts as a CSA pick up location). The truck carries all-local food, and on other days of the week brings fresh, local food to areas of the city with limited food access, along with public and senior housing. Such a great initiative. (The Trustees also manage 55 community gardens across Boston, where people can connect with others in their community while growing fresh food.)
Tunnel Teller by Alicja Kwade at Castle Hill
Alicja Kwade is a well-known Berlin-based artist who is interested in exploring structural properties and the subjectivity of space and time through her work. Tunnel Teller is her first large-scale public art work in the U.S. This immersive structure is designed to challenge the viewer’s notions of space and perception, and is on view through April 2019. I am curious to check it out, maybe before heading for a swim at Crane Beach!
Serena loves to see farm animals, and is so excited to say hi to cows, chickens, and goats. This summer, I definitely want to stop in at one of the Trustees community farms. Last summer, we made a quick visit to Appleton Farm in Ipswich, and it was so cute. There were lots of paths for walking around the property, and the chickens and rabbits were thrilling for Serena, haha. Open Barnyards at Weir River Farm (Saturdays 10-2) in Hingham and Powisset Farm (Wednesdays 1-3 and Saturdays 10-2) in Dover sound like really cute events. (P.S. Natalie recently revisited another area farm.) The FARM Institute on Martha’s Vineyard also seems like an interesting place to visit — it is an example of very rare sandplain grasslands, and is a working farm with cows, sheep, hens, and turkeys.
Boston Public Market KITCHEN
The Trustees is a founding member of the Boston Public Market, and manages the KITCHEN, a space within the market dedicated to cooking classes, demonstrations, and education. There are lots of fun classes on the calendar we have been meaning to check out — I’ve had my eye on the truffle making class with Taza chocolate! ;) You can see all upcoming programing here.