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One of my favorite things about Boston, and especially the hospitality industry here, is that it is so full of just really good people who care about the communities they live and work in. Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Summer Solstice party at Steel & Rye, one of my favorite restaurants ever. The party featured eight amazing chefs, all there to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an organization doing incredible work with kids and families in the community. 

Chefs included Jeremy Sewall, ICOB & Row 34; Daniel Bojorquez, La Brasa; David Punch, Sycamore & Little Big Diner; Joshua Smith, Moody’s Deli & Moody’s Backroom; Pierce Kelley, Bondir; and Chris Parsons, Brendan Joy and Adrian Vasquez, Steel & Rye.

raw bar 

As we arrived, I noticed the ice sculpture full of Island Creek Oysters and had to get a photo of the Boys & Girls Club engraving before it melted! The oysters were so cold and briny and delicious, summer in New England in a single bite.

island creek oysters


   gin cocktail

Inside we were welcomed with a refreshing, summery gin cocktail and a busy, festive atmosphere full of delicious food!

gin cocktail

Steel & Rye’s new pizza oven was definitely getting put to use! They recently introduced pizza to their menu, giving us just another reason to go there.


steel and rye Throughout the night, we mingled with old friends and made our way around the space to sample what the chefs were serving up.

steak salad from sy We were all obsessed with this fattoush steak salad that Sycamore was serving.  I also really love Sycamore, so I was not at all surprised that their dish was one of my favorites.

steak salad



Chef Jeremy Sewall from Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 offered up these lobster cups, which made me think of the lobster tacos at his former spot, Lineage. Those were amazing, and I am really going to miss that place.

tuna tartare Other bites of the evening included an incredible tuna tartare, a beautifully decorated and very generous short rib from La Brasa, a beautifully plated, cool cucumber dish from Bondir, pizza, and a massive charcuterie display from Moody’s.

short rib strawberries and cucumber pizza 

Most importantly, throughout the night we had the opportunity to buy raffle tickets and bid on silent auction items, with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. We heard from club staff and members and learned about some of the programs that they maintain the community. The Kids Cafe, for example, provides 300 hot, healthy meals per weeknight for kids and families during the school year and 700 per day during the summer. As we know, for many kids summer isn’t fun. It’s a time that meals had in school go away and with the Kids Cafe, the Boys & Girls Club are helping to create better food security for families in Dorchester. The club’s Safe Summer Streets program provides a place for teens to hang out until 11 pm during the summer, giving them not just a safe place, but a sense of community and care during a time of year when violence spikes in the area. In addition to their daily programs, the clubs also send many kids to camp each summer and they partner with many other organizations, including Team MR8, on sports leagues and other initiatives.

We learned at the event that Steel & Rye supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester year-round, including having kids come into the restaurant to cook. This just makes me want to eat there more! In a world that seems to be so full of violence and hopelessness these days, this event was such a wonderful reminder of all the good that’s out there and of all of the really talented and compassionate chefs we have in the Boston area. I hear it may be an annual event, and I definitely will be there next year!

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Tags: cocktails, events, Food, Milton, Steel & Rye, summer

For past Just Add Cooking posts, click here, here, and here!

As part of my affiliate partnership with Just Add Cooking, I receive a portion of the payment for any new orders made using the code TRAVEL. I will be donating any referral fees I receive to Boston’s Forgotten Felines who are doing awesome work taking care of the many, many abandoned cats on the streets of Boston.

It’s no secret that I love Just Add Cooking, and as my three month partnership comes to an end, I know that I will be ordering at least once a month. Having everything portioned out perfectly for recipes and knowing what I am going to make for three dinners each week is the best. And Just Add Cooking sources ingredients locally from right here in New England.

My Just Add Cooking June Meals:



Our first meal of the week was a delicious Jambalaya. I loved that this recipe was super easy and the rice went right into the pan with everything else to cook, making clean up easy as well. I loved the addition of cloves to the dish and the sour cream topping; the contrast of the two was really interesting and ended up making the meal for me. This made leftovers for two lunches in addition to a filling dinner, which is always a bonus for me. I hate figuring out work day lunches!


Chicken and Cauliflower

chicken and cauliflower

I accidentally filled my social calendar last week and was out for dinner a lot, so this second meal ended up being a couple of days of lunch. Working from home allows me the flexibility to sometimes cook during the day, and I love it!

This Chicken and Cauliflower Two Ways was the perfect veggie and protein meal and incorporated cauliflower both seared and mashed. I love mashed cauliflower as a veggie side, and this one included just the perfect amount of cream.  Bacon and chives brought this dish together, offering a lot of flavor without a ton of fat or salt.


Grilled Vegetables and Feta Pita


The third dish of the week was Grilled Vegetables and Feta Pita which we ended up not being able to make until Friday. Luckily, all of the ingredients held up well, and we may have cheated and added flank steak. Staying home and grilling on a Friday night is my all time favorite way to spend summer Fridays, and this meal was perfect. It was super easy, and the ingredients were so flavorful, especially that feta!

Overall, I would definitely order and make these meals again. Thank you to Just Add Cooking for providing this delicious cooking experience for me!

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Tags: cooking, Food, food blogger, Just Add Cooking, recipes

Dining in Dorchester just gets better and better! This year we’ve seen the arrival of Dorset Hall, and just a couple of weeks ago, Lower Mills Tavern opened their doors (and windows) to a very excited neighborhood. In that stretch alone now, we have Ester, BRED (and awesome burger place), Kapow (for Thai), The Ice Cream Smith, and Sweet Life Bakery, which is now open for drinks and dinner. We can walk to the are from home, and it’s nice to be able to split up a meal – drinks in one place, appetizers in another, an ice cream for the walk home.

I won’t lie; I was sad when Lower Mills Pub closed. It was a neighborhood-y no-nonsense pub with a great pint of Guinness. I know it had plenty of regulars who miss it, but I am excited about the new life that has been breathed into the space.

Lower Mills Tavern

Lower Mills is a very cute area and is accessible by the MBTA trolley from Ashmont Station. It’s also very easy to get to by car, and parking in the area is plentiful.

Brown Derby

We’ve had two great experience at Lower Mills Tavern so far; I am a big fan of their Brown Derby cocktail but also love that they have a bubbly on the menu that is NOT Prosecco. I prefer my bubbles to be dry, and the One Hope Brut is delicious.

Charcuterie On our first visit, we went for the charcuterie, Beer Braised Pork Sliders, and Bacon Batter Hushpuppies with Chipotle Sausage Gravy.

sliders While we didn’t choose the healthiest items on the menu, we did choose a whole lot of deliciousness, especially the hushpuppies dipped in gravy. Portions were great for sharing, and these three items left us full and happy.

hush puppies On our second visit, we kicked off the evening with oysters. These were from New Brunswick and were nice and briny and small, just the way I love my oysters.

New Brunswick oysters

My husband had the already-famous LMT Burger,  while I went for the Fried Chicken Sandwich without the bun and a salad, trying to be sort of healthy. Aside from the whole “fried, smothered in cheese, topped with bacon, and dipped in buttermilk ranch” bit it was totally healthy. Salad!

This was so good! Lightly fried with a nice crust and with the perfect toppings. This sandwich without the bread will be a craving of mine in the future!

fried chicken

The staff that we have encountered at Lower Mills Tavern have all been super friendly and accommodating; everyone is very excited about the opening and being part of the community. I am thrilled to have another place for local date nights and for meeting friends and neighbors.

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Tags: Boston, Dorchester, Food, Lower Mills, Restaurants

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