Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ category

Thank you, Amanda!

July 9, 2011

To thank my fiance and I for helping her edit her book, my friend Amanda sent us lots of goodies from Baltimore Coffee and Tea, a family-owned coffee roasting business in the Baltimore area. She said this is where she buys her coffee. I can’t wait to try all of this out!

These came with an almond biscotti but I already ate it-- yum!

Mont Saint-Michel breakfast tray

June 22, 2011

My fiance just got me a breakfast tray for my b’day (I’ve wanted a breakfast tray for a long time). He ordered it from WardMaps on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, and had them print a photo of Mont Saint-Michel on one side. Boy do I love it.

P.S. I visited Mont Saint-Michel (it’s in northern France) about nine years ago. I went there by myself and would really like to show it to my fiance/anyone else who’d like to come along.

Going to Charleston, South Carolina? Then stay at The Anchorage Inn

March 25, 2011

I already mentioned that my fiance surprised me by booking a room at The Anchorage Inn in Charleston, South Carolina instead of the Days Inn. Well, I find it necessary to expand upon the awesomeness that is The Anchorage Inn. Until last week I’d never stayed at quite a place. Let me list some of the bed and breakfast’s notable characteristics.

  • The inn is on Vendue Range in the heart of Charleston’s historic district. Not to mention it’s just steps from a fountain, park, pier, and Charleston Bay.
  • The Anchorage Inn is affordable. According to my fiance, it’s just $20 per night more expensive than the Days Inn. It’s funny because the other hotels on Vendue Range are much pricier. Sure, they might have doorkeepers and valets, but if you can do without those frills The Anchorage Inn will save you major moolah.
  • The inn takes you back in time. Originally built as a cotton warehouse around 1840, the building is furnished with handcrafted reproductions of seventeenth century English decor (the area was settled by the English in 1670).

This picture shows some of the sitting room's decor.

A lamp in our room

  • Staff are friendly. There’s always someone sitting at the front desk, ready to answer any questions you may have. Our first day in Charleston a young man helped us figure out which beach to visit. In fact, he firmly suggested we check out Folly Beach and the nearby Morris Island Lighthouse. We appreciated his assurance, especially because the outing proved wonderful.
  • Daily breakfasts are included in the price. Breakfast is served between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.; meal items include orange juice, grapefruit juice, coffee, cereal, fruit, yogurt, bagels, biscuits and gravy, danishes, and muffins.

Biscuit with gravy

  • Daily wine and cheeses are included in the price. This was one of my favorite parts of the vacation. Each day, starting at 4 p.m., the inn served complimentary wine (red and white), cheese (including cheddar, jalapeno cheddar, and Swiss cheese), and crackers. As we enjoyed our food and drink in the sitting room, we conversed with Anchorage Inn guests from all over the country and even world (e.g. we met a couple from England and a woman from Malaysia). We made so many new friends.

Wine and cheese table

  • Nightly sherries are included in the price. Every evening, from 8 to 11 p.m., the hotel provides sherry for its guests. Either before or after dinner you can stop by the sitting room, enjoy a glass (or two) of the cordial, and chat with anyone else who happens to stop by. Although these weren’t as popular as the wine and cheeses, we highly enjoyed them.

Enjoying my sherry

In short, be sure to stay at The Anchorage Inn if you’re ever traveling to Charleston!!!

I’m in Charleston, South Carolina!

March 14, 2011

My fiance and I arrived in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday evening! We are spending five or so days here for vacation. It’s so sunny and warm (high of 75). We left Boston on Saturday morning, and headed toward Connecticut. Connecticut traffic really slowed us down (as a result of this horrific accident), but we eventually made it over the border to Westchester County, New York.

We had lunch in charming Tarrytown, which sits right beside the Hudson River. We chose the Tarry Tavern, a Main Street locale prioritizing locally grown ingredients. I wasn’t that hungry, as I had enjoyed a calzone and yogurt in the car. So I just got some acorn squash soup, which was amazing.

My fiance had a “TT Wagyu” burger that he called “one of the best burgers” he’s ever had (the meal included bacon onion jam, white cheddar, and hand-cut fries).

Before out meals arrived, they served us rolls with butter.

Here are a few photos from Tarrytown:

This phone booth was in someone's front lawn.

The Hudson River is in the distance.

From Tarrytown we headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge.

We drove through some more of New York and New Jersey; then we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Delaware.

We went through Delaware, Maryland and part of Virginia, before stopping in Ashland, VA. After getting prices from several hotels off the rest stop (including a somewhat sketchy hotel with a glass barrier protecting the concierge), we settled on a Quality Inn. Ruby Tuesday was right across the street, so we went there for dinner.

My fiance had lobster macaroni; he said it was rich and very good.

I had one of their tilapia specials. It included a bruschetta sauce, grilled green beans, and white cheddar mashed potatoes. I must say, Ruby Tuesday has really improved their offerings since I was in high school.

The next morning we stepped outside and it was gorgeous out (about 60 degrees and sunny). We decided to take a picture so we’d remember this moment.

We got back on I-95 and drove until Wilson, North Carolina. There, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. We had yet another fabulous meal! My fiance had meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni and cheese.

I had grilled chicken pieces with green beans and steak fries.

Our meal came with corn muffins and biscuits.

While we were in the car, we played the state license plate game (where you write down the names of all the different state license plates you see).

I fell asleep somewhere in North Carolina. Before I knew it, we were in South Carolina. My fiance and I loved the lush greenery on the side of the road.

We stopped at a McDonald’s for coffee (by the way they reacted to our request you’d think no one drinks coffee in South Carolina), and then got back on the road. Around 7 p.m. we arrived in Charleston. We drove by an industrial part of the city that wasn’t so nice. However, things improved as we got closer to downtown.

I thought we were staying at the Days Inn but my fiance completely surprised me. He had booked a room at The Anchorage Inn, an adorable bed and breakfast on Vendue Range right by the Waterfront Park.

Just so you have an idea of how cool this place is, each day they have a continental breakfast, a 4 p.m. wine and cheese, and an 8 to 11 p.m. sherry. Not bad, huh?

Panera coming to Porter Square in Cambridge

February 28, 2011

There’s this sign where the old Qdoba was located:

Qdoba closed in June of last year; the storefront was vacant until this display recently went up. I’m not sure when Panera will open, but I’m glad it’s coming. I love their chocolate croissants, free coffee refills, and sandwiches. Plus, they have free wireless Internet (providing an alternative to the somewhat-cramped Bruegger’s across the street and Porter Square Books, which also doesn’t have a ton of space for using your computer).

What we can learn from the French

February 25, 2011

What we can learn from the French

It’s been seven years since I last lived in France, but I picked up on a lot while I was there. Plus, I’ve visited France a few times since 2004. I know you can’t clump everyone together and say they’re all one particular way. But you can point out things you noticed about many of the people you encountered.

  • The French know how to eat healthily.

This has been written about a lot (e.g. French Women Don’t Get Fat) so I’ll stick to what I observed personally. I noticed that French people (in general):

  • Don’t snack between meals (and when they snack they just have a cookie or a few pieces of chocolate)
  • Eat big lunches and relatively small dinners (That way, they have something to look forward to during the work day AND don’t go to bed on a full stomach.)
  • Have small breakfasts with coffee (Because they have big lunches, they don’t need a huge breakfast. And, coffee helps suppress your hunger).
  • Drink water with their meals (much healthier than soda, of course)
  • Eat lots of vegetables
  • Eat a wide variety of foods (For example, they don’t just eat chicken and beef. They eat chicken, beef, ham, pork, duck, rabbit, horse, fish, bull, boar, guinea fowl, oysters, mussels, shrimp, sea urchins, etc.).
  • Finish most meals with a dairy item (yogurt or cheese) and a piece of fruit
  • Take their time eating

I think all of these habits are good for you.

  • The French exercise less than we do.

But, because they eat healthily they don’t really need to exercise. I mean, their daily activities (walking, doing chores, etc.) are enough for them to get their daily dose of movement. Maybe we should follow their lead given this recent Wall Street Journal article.

  • The French take time to cook.

Obviously, this point relates to the first point I made. But I will expand on it a little here. Most of the French people I encountered just go out to eat for special occasions. The rest of the time they make their own meals. This allows them to control what goes into their bodies, save money, and go out to nicer places when they do go out. They also have a fair amount of dinner parties; those provide a great opportunity to see their friends and share their favorite recipes.

  • The French are polite.

OK, maybe this is a real stretch. And maybe their politeness often masks their true feelings. But frequently I observed French people saying (or doing) the right thing at the right time. Say your brother-in-law just died, for example. The next time they saw you they’d start off the interaction with a “Oh, I’m so sorry about your brother.” Or when they are invited to a dinner party they bring along a gift. While these might seem like obvious things to do, I’ve noticed this type of behavior isn’t always practiced here (and yes, I’m guilty of not being polite as well).

  • The French are experts in their fields.

In France, it’s really hard to get into a particular field when your degree is in something else. So, you’re forced to find a job in your area of expertise. While this certainly limits you choices, it helps ensure you’re good at your profession (or at least better at it than your average bear). Here, you might just get a sales job because you’re deemed friendly. But you don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of how to be an effective salesperson.

  • The French are into equality.

I’ll always remember this one particular experience I had while teaching English in France. I was in a fifth-grade classroom, quizzing the children on their knowledge of animal vocabulary. One of the students– Yoan (pronounced “Yo-on”)– was answering practically every question correctly. Each time I interrogated the pupils, his arm would shoot up in the air. Sometimes no one else would raise their hand, so I had to pick him. He’d get the answer right, and I’d congratulate him.

Well the class’s main teacher (a French woman) was not a fan of Yoan’s behavior. Whereas I viewed his ability and willingness to answer the questions as a positive thing, she viewed it as a horrible thing. She started screaming at him, saying it was not his place to answer so many questions. The others deserved a chance, she said, adding that he couldn’t participate any more. While most Americans would consider her reaction unfair or harsh (I think), it actually worked. Once he stopped raising his hand, the other students began participating in the exercise.

  • The French are fashionable.

They don’t necessarily have many clothes, but they know how to pick out items that fit them right. Sometimes this means spending more money on individual garments, but overall they might even spend less than your average American.

In a future post, I will write about what the French can learn from Americans.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/2036413105

Cabot’s in Newton: Yummy food, sort-of-pushy waitress

January 10, 2011

Two friends and I at Cabot's

I went to Cabot’s in Newton for brunch on Sunday. I had never been there before, and heard great things about their homemade ice cream. Well I didn’t get ice cream because it was the morning. Instead I ordered eggs, wheat toast, and grapefruit. Everything was good (though it seems hard to mess up these things), especially the fruit (very fresh). I enjoyed the coffee as well. I only have two complaints about the joint:

  • Our waitress was a little pushy about us ordering. (We were waiting for a friend, and she even said “If it starts getting crowded you might have to leave.”)
  • The bathrooms aren’t too clean, and you have to go up a sketchy staircase to get to them.

Bruegger’s discussion #985739

December 31, 2010

Yesterday morning I was in Bruegger’s. I couldn’t help but listen to the conversation two girls were having. I call them girls, but they probably were in their early 30s. Their discussion went something like this:

Girl 1: “My company is really into tracking metrics.”

Girl 2: “Oh my gosh, so is mine! What metrics do you track?”

Girl 1: “Well our number one metric is usage. But usage can be soooo hard to track! I mean, just because a customer has one of our tools running on his computer doesn’t mean he’s actually using it!”

Girl 2: “Totally. I totally see what you mean. We haven’t really come across that problem yet, but I hear you.”

Girl 1: “And have I told you yet about my thoughts on developers? I mean, we have to work with them, but it’s soooo difficult. I mean, it’s such a struggle, finding that perfect balance between pushing them to give you information and giving them their space. You don’t want to annoy them too much.”

Girl 2: “Wow, I really agree with that assessment.”

Girl 1: “And it can be so hard to get customer feedback. I try, and nothing happens. Our response rates are so low.”

Girl 2: “Same here!”

Girl 1: “And whenever we release a new product, we only call it the beta version for two months. We used to call it the beta version for longer, but we’d get so many calls from confused customers. They wouldn’t understand what beta meant.”

Girl 2: “Oh, we haven’t run into that problem yet. But we just might one day!”

The conversation continued with the one girl bringing up supposed work issues, and the other girl interjecting supportive statements. I found this dynamic amusing. Plus, I thought it was funny these girls were so loudly and passionately discussing the intricacies of their work lives when everyone else was stuffing bagels into their mouths, reading the newspaper, or conversing quietly.

Pastries and Christmas tree

December 12, 2010

This has been a weekend of eating pastries (not to mention cookies) and doing Christmas-y things (like getting a Christmas tree). Yesterday for breakfast I stopped by Modern Pastry in Medford, and had this apple turnover.

The guy at the counter said it’s the pastry shop’s specialty, so I thought “Why not?” It was pretty good, though I generally prefer breakfast pastries with less filling. Otherwise, it feels more like dessert than breakfast. This pastry shop, which also has a Boston location, has been recognized by the TLC television channel.

Sign on window

This morning I had a raspberry-flavored pastry from the Sweet Spot Bakery in Melrose.

The treat was a gift so I’m not exactly sure what it’s called. I liked it a lot better than the apple turnover because it had the perfect amount of fruit filling (not too much) and the ideal blend of flakiness and moistness. I will surely stop by this bakery myself one day!

My boyfriend and I also got a tree for our apartment. Here’s a picture of the tree on my car.

Here’s a picture of the tree set up in our apartment.

We are waiting for the boughs to drop a little more before putting up decorations. I’m not used to having a real tree, and love the amazing scent it produces!

A nice day in Boston

November 20, 2010

I just got a new camera so I thought I’d post some of its first pictures. Today I went to Beacon Hill to have breakfast at Cafe Vanille.

My boyfriend spotted the bakery’s croissants a few weeks ago and said they looked delicious. So he brought me along to try them. The cafe was so crowded we had to eat outside. I got a regular croissant and coffee and he got a chocolate croissant and iced latte:

Everything was amazing. The croissants were crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. Usually I have to dunk my croissants in coffee for them to taste delicious but with these there was no need for that. When we were done we gave our crumbs to all the birds eying our breakfast. This is them having a feast:

Here are a few other pics I took today:

Boston Common park

George Washington statue

Galleria Florentia on Newbury Street putting up holiday lights

John Hancock Tower

Trinity Church

Outside The Shops at the Prudential Center

For lunch I ordered a McGreevy’s Cuban at McGreevy’s pub on Boylston Street. My roasted pork, ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, pickles, and chipotle mayonnaise were supposed to come in a baguette but they did not:

That was disappointing. When a girl wants a baguette she wants a baguette!


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