Archive for the ‘Apples’ category

If you don’t mind feeling like a hippy, check out the delicious Life Alive cafe in Cambridge

January 14, 2011

It’s a new restaurant based off the one in Lowell. The menu calls the joint an “urban oasis and organic cafe.” You walk inside and one of the first things you notice is stacks of fresh produce (e.g. ginger, celery, carrots) behind the counter. You see this and know you’ll be eating healthy. Then you notice the list of smoothies. They are pretty expensive ($5.99 apiece), so I was a little hesitant to get one. I ended up caving and getting the “Love Alive” smoothie (blueberry, strawberry, banana, date, and almond milk). It was quite good, though I’m not so sure it’s worth the price.

Half of my smoothie (my friend had the other half)

I arrived there around 1 p.m. yesterday, and the line to order was very long. Basically you order at the counter, take a number, and are brought your food (just like the delicious Cafe Mangal in Wellesley!). As I waited, I scanned the decor and trinkets around me. A string of white lights framed a large and inviting window in the middle of the room. I also observed lots of green plants, a row of books you can read as you dine (if you get into a book you can put down a $5 deposit and borrow it), and an arrangement of teas. The teas are in little containers; you’re free to open the containers and smell the tea before ordering.

I ordered “The Seeker,” a salad with lemon garlic hummus, chopped cashews, granny applies, cucumbers, shredded carrots, spring greens, and ginger nama shoyu sauce. The dish comes in three forms: a bowl for $7.97, a wrap for $8.50, and a demi for $5.75). I got the bowl.

My friend Katie got “The Sufi Poet,” which is a salad with red-lentil hummus, cranberries, cashews, cucumber, granny apples, shredded carrots, spring greens, and balsamic vinaigrette. She just got the demi because her appetite was smaller. I must confess I initially thought the idea of hummus in salad is strange, but it went so well with the more subtle-tasting ingredients (e.g. the spring greens and cucumber). The lemon garlic hummus added just the right amount of “ooomph.” I also loved the texture of the chopped cashews.

Everything was fresh and oh-so-healthy-tasting, and it was the perfect amount of food. I will surely go back. We sat on the bottom level of the two-floor restaurant. It really doesn’t feel like a restaurant, but rather a cozy and colorful family room belonging to young artists. There are lots of nooks and crannies for sitting with your friends, as well as a play area for the youngins. Check out this little cove we snagged:

I look forward to trying some of their other menu items. They sell grilled tortilla wraps (like “The Seductress,” which boasts hard-boiled egg, broccoli, dark greens, shredded carrots and beets, garlic, yeast, and a whole wheat tortilla); “simple snacks” (like “The Crunchy Hippy,” which contains maple almond granola, dried fruit, almond milk, and maple syrup); and rice-based dishes (like “The Goddess,” which features ginger nama shoyu sauce, carrots, beets, broccoli, dark greens, tofu, and short-grain brown rice). You can also get sides for 50 cents to $3 apiece, like sesame stix, sun-dried tomato, and quinoa, as well as “jubilant juices,” like “Hive Alive” (a mixture of lemon, apple, honey, and pure water).

Another neat touch I must mention is they have a water dispenser with glasses both upstairs and downstairs (this is important to me because I normally drink tap water). Though they serve tea, I don’t think they serve coffee.

Pretty good experience at Met Back Bay

November 16, 2010

Met Back Bay is located on Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

Last week my boyfriend and I dined at Met Back Bay for our two-and-a-quarter-year anniversary. We didn’t realize the restaurant had only been open for a couple of weeks. Our waiter was EXTREMELY knowledgeable about the wine list and food options.

We didn’t want to spend a ton on wine so we settled for a 2008 Napa Valley Chappellet red (specifically the Mountain Cuvee). It was a mixture of several grapes, and oh so smooth. Our waiter was a sommelier, and very apt at helping us choose the appropriate bottle. Within a minute of sitting down at the table we were served complimentary bread sticks with cheese. The cheese, which sort of tasted like a fancy version of cheese whiz, was served in a cute see-through jar. This was a nice touch.

The waiter also helped us decide on our main courses. I ordered the Long Island brick duck with foie gras and spiced crusted sugar pumpkin, and my boyfriend ordered the Lobster Fra Diavolo (lobster with hollow spaghetti). Our food was very good, especially my duck and his lobster. The duck was moist but not greasy (I find that duck meat is often greasy). I think the waiter said the duck was cooked with some sort of citrus juice.

I was surprised to discover that the foie gras was actually very sweet. It tasted like it had been mixed with maple syrup or something similar. This actually worked out really well, however, as it effectively complemented the savory duck and neutral-tasting pumpkin. All in all I was pleased! And so was my boyfriend. He asked the table next to us how their lobster New England pot pie was. They gave us the thumbs up, though they said it was too much to finish in one sitting. We certainly didn’t have that problem!

One negative thing was our cheesy flaky crescent rolls didn’t arrive until we were done with dinner. They were supposed to be the appetizer! The manager came out to apologize, and our waiter apologized numerous times. He clearly felt bad about the situation. They said there had been some sort of miscommunication and they are still working out the restaurant’s kinks. The rolls were really tasty, albeit a tad greasy.

For dessert we had coffee and apple cider donuts with vanilla ice cream. Once again, I wasn’t doing my body any favors, but the dessert was certainly yummy!

Overall we liked the restaurant’s decor, which included cushy red chairs, red padded walls, and a lovely bay window overlooking Newbury Street. We were lucky to score a booth right up against the bay window. We also liked the dark wood beams above us. According to my boyfriend, they “sort of gives it (the room) a traditional New England appeal.”

Being my journalistic self, I asked him to give another quote about the decor. He said: “They sure could use some art on these walls.” I personally liked the art-free walls, thinking they contributed to the room’s modern and clean-cut feel. But he thought a couple of small works of art would have done some good.

Here’s the dinner menu in case you’re interested in checking out this restaurant. I didn’t take any photos because my camera is broken:-(.

Hi blog!

October 15, 2010

Just wanted to let you know I haven’t abandoned you. I’ve been pretty busy the last week with work, visiting my parents, etc. Anyway, I’m off to Vermont today but I’m sure I’ll have pictures/entries to post when I get back.

I do have a minute, however, so I will just a note  a few observations I’ve made over the last week:

  • The political ads being shown on Syracuse (NY) television are quite hostile.
  • Refrigerated chicken sandwiches from rest stop mini marts aren’t good.
  • Babies sleep through anything (I guess they don’t need rapid eye movement sleep like we do).
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham is a great interviewee (heard him on the radio).
  • The Syracuse newspaper has become very locally focused.
  • You can get a great meal at the Little Falls (NY) Veterans of Foreign Wars post (the squash soup, salad, roast beef, mashed potatoes, carrots with cauliflower and broccoli, cherry cake, coffee and wine were to die for!).
  • Some people never age (what’s their secret??).
  • The Olive Garden’s bottomless salad doesn’t taste quite as good as it used to.
  • The Manlius Art Cinema (independent movie theater in Manlius, NY) may have uncomfortable seats but the hospitality is second-to-none.
  • Opening an old box of photos, letters and knickknacks can be quite an emotional experience.
  • One of the best places to shop for household items is the LaFayette Apple Festival (in LaFayette, NY).
  • Homemade apple donuts are fabulous.
  • Some people I saw at church 15 years ago still stand in the same pew.
  • You can rent a large four-bedroom house in East Rochester (NY) for $1,800 a month.
  • You can rent a charming two-bedroom apartment overlooking the beauteous Cazenovia (NY) landscape for $800 a month.
  • New York State is still talking a lot about government “consolidation.”
  • The Shoppingtown Mall (DeWitt, NY) still has a lot of jewelry stores.
  • Those Chilean miners looked awesome coming out of that mine (I’m sure many other people noticed this, too).

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/mattcarman/218943199

Pictures from the LaFayette Apple Festival

October 10, 2010

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for the LaFayette Apple Festival (a huge annual apple festival taking place south of Syracuse, New York). Here are a few pics I took at the event:

That's some beautiful fall foliage, huh?


People looking at crafts inside one of the many tents.

Unusual clocks for sale

Children's author Richard Mickelson signing books

Another shot of foliage

I thought this was funny.

Cute slippers for babies

I love this.

For dog lovers

This kind of freaked me out lol.

The line for the apple fritters

Apple guy

Isn't this a cool shot?

I love Christopher’s in Porter Square

September 3, 2010

christopher's restaurant in Cambridge

Isn’t the outside portion of Christopher’s Restaurant & Bar so cute?

Inside is nice, too. There’s nothing better than getting a seat on one of the bar stools (don’t worry Mom, I only have a drink or too) on a blustery, winter night. The wooden bar area and nearby fireplace make you feel nice and cozy. The bartenders are very friendly, and the clientele is laid-back.

I’ve had quite a few of their menu items. For appetizers, I prefer the spinach and artichoke dip and southwestern tofu dip. For dinner, I like their sirloin tips and chicken piccata. I’m not so much a fan of the stir fry (not too tasty) or spinach and artichoke burrito (I didn’t like the combination of spinach, artichokes, goat cheese, cheddar and mozzarella, red sauce, vegetarian black beans, mango slaw, greens and pico de gallo– call me crazy since it sounds good on paper!).

For dessert I loooovvvvee their chocolate mousse. One time I went there for an after-dinner snack and had that with a glass of their Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (best wine there). It was the perfect match! I also like their caramel apple granny pie.

For you beer lovers, they have an extensive list of beers on tap (including nine weekly specials).

This post makes it sound like I go out to eat all the time. That’s not really the case– it’s just that my boyfriend used to live right near Christopher’s so that’s where we went when we didn’t feel like cooking.

South End birthday outing

June 11, 2010

Last night my boyfriend took me out to the South End for my 29th birthday. Here are some pictures:

It was sprinkling at first.

Nice brick sidewalks

Vespas are my dream vehicle.

View of downtown

Boyfriend in front of outdoor cafe seating

Cool stairs

We each had a drink at the Union Bar and Grille on Washington Street. I had an “it’s about time,” which consists of gin, a thyme infusion, citrus, and champagne. It was amazing! He had a “union smash,” which had bourbon, mint, citrus and ginger beer. He liked his, too!

For dinner we went to the Gaslight Brasserie, a French restaurant on Harrison Avenue. The meal started off with a perfect baguette (very crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside) with creamy butter.

For an appetizer we had fried artichokes “a la greque” (don’t ask me what was in the sauce but it kind of tasted like a high-end tarter sauce). So yummy! For dinner I had choucroute (my favorite French dish!), and he had the roasted salmon filet with garlic braised escarole and a vinaigrette of lemon confit.

Both of our meals were delicious. His was significantly smaller than mine so he got a side of mushrooms. In case you are wondering, my choucroute included baked apples, potatoes, sauerkraut, two types of sausages, and two types of pork. It was in an amazing white wine sauce.

We had two carafes of ’07 Reserve St. Martin (Languedoc region of France) Cabernet Sauvignon, For dessert I had a slice of apple and caramel cake with cider maple sauce, and he had a molten chocolate cake with “creme chantilly” (whipped cream). Both were “incroyable” (incredible).

Then he had a cappuccino and I had an espresso. Wow, we ate like kings (or a king and queen in this case). What a wonderful birthday dinner!

And my bf game me two awesome gifts: a copy of my favorite movie “Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulain” that actually works in the U.S. (I got my other version in France and it doesn’t work with U.S. DVD players), and a bag of chocolate Madeleines (they’re my favorite breakfast food…perfect for dunking in coffee!).

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Hot apple juice just isn’t the same

December 2, 2009

I was recently pretty surprised  to learn that Starbucks no longer serves hot apple cider, just hot apple juice.  How disappointing. I much prefer the unfiltered and stronger-tasting apple drink.

I must give a shoutout to the Atomic Bean Cafe in Cambridge, however. Not only does it serve hot apple cider, but it also has free wireless Internet for customers.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/okibi/4141764726/

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Now is a good time to cook with apples

October 15, 2009

applesWith apples now in season, you may want to cook up some apple crisp, make an apple salad, or caramelize apple slices to put atop your waffles. Some chefs in Dedham recently gave me some tips on how to make various apple dishes.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanomak/1558653522/

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine