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Our recent weekend at Nobnocket Boutique Inn on Martha’s Vineyard was full of delightful experiences all over the island, including lots of good food, drinks, and beer. We learned that winter on Martha’s Vineyard means some places are closed, but there is still plenty to see and do, all without the crowds of summer!

On our first night on the Vineyard, we came in out of the cold into the warm and glowing dining room of State Road in West Tisbury.

State Road MV

A favorite of the Obamas and Vineyard locals alike, State Road was cozy and romantic with a great wine list and a fun cocktail list using soft spirits. Restaurants currently can’t sell hard liquor, which instead of feeling like a limitation, actually played into their favor. The mixed drinks were like none we had before, in the best way possible!

State Road Martha's Vineyard

I kicked dinner off with a Respect, which was very similar to a Dark & Stormy.

cocktails

We were debating ordering the whipped lardo, when it was presented to us, compliments of the kitchen. I swear, Martha’s Vineyard just reads my mind!

lardo There is something about radishes + fat + salt that is incredible, and this rich, smoky treat made it even better. A little crunch, a little salt, a whole lot of decadence.

I’m usually good about skipping the bread, but not when it’s buttery, lightly sweet, house-made brioche with Foie butter. We could have happily existed on the lardo and bread/butter for the evening!

brioche We read about State Road’s burger night, which happens on Thursdays, so we had to add a burger to our order. A good burger and excellent fries is one of the ways we judge a restaurant, and we can say we will definitely try to come back for burger night!

State Road burger

farm salad

We also shared and devoured a farmhouse salad with an incredible buttermilk dressing (ranch-like, but fresh and way better) and the roasted Katama Bay oysters with a flavorful Gremolata. When on Martha’s Vineyard, you have to have oysters!

roasted oysters

We rounded out this freezing night with a perfectly tender beef short rib with farro and pickled mustard.

Oof, it was a lot of very good food!

short rib

IMG_0267

Because I wanted to try the entire cocktail menu, I went with a nightcap before heading back to our cozy home-away-from-home, where we enjoyed one of State Road’s famous chocolate bars. As we enjoyed our dinner, we saw people leaving with stacks of these chocolates, named for Martha’s Vineyard towns. They are one of the hottest and most delicious items on the island, an a must-taste souvenir.

State Road was the perfect spot to spend a winter evening, and I can just imagine how fantastic it must be in warmer weather as well. They generously provided a gift card toward our dinner; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails, dining, Food, Martha's Vineyard, Travel, travel blog

In addition to being beautiful and filled with incredible art and music, Galway Ireland is a dining destination that just continues to add to its world class culinary scene. Restaurants in Galway take advantage of their island home, serving some of the best seafood around. A somewhat mild climate means year-round local vegetables, and all of that glorious Irish farmland results in the best milk, cheese, butter, and meat you can find.

People from around the globe have discovered this, and you can now find a huge variety of cuisines in Galway. On our last visit, we had a cozy evening at Il Vicolo in the Bridgemills before heading to Salthill for a Christy Moore concert. . . which was fabulous, by the way.

The Bridgemills location is important to note, as it means the restaurant is nestled along the banks of the River Corrib. We visited on a raw November day, but I had to step outside to soak up the views and cozy outdoor space, which would be glorious when the weather is nice. In the summertime, the sun sets super late in Galway, and I can picture us out there for a late dinner, 10:00 even, with beautiful evening light. Maybe in July!

Galway Bridge Mills

The building, which is over 430 years old, has been impeccably restored and is a must-visit on your trip to Galway. In addition to Il Vicolo, it houses a variety of shops and other businesses.

Il Vicolo Galway

Il Vicolo’s interior reflects the building’s history, and it is just incredibly cozy and romantic. It’s perfect both for a date night or for a group get together, where lots of red wine and pasta are consumed and chatting happens late into the evening.

Il Vicolo Galway Cannonau di Sardegna Speaking of red wine, I was in charge of choosing a bottle, and with two recent Sardinian wines on my mind, I went with a Cannonau from the island.  A little jammy, with notes of cocoa, this wine was like a big warm hug on  chilly, rainy night. We sipped it in the glowing candlelight while talking about one of our group’s upcoming wedding in Italy.

   mussels Il Vicolo is the perfect place to share plates, and while I only got photos of two dishes, we dove into several of their specialties, focusing on seafood. Mussels are  go-to in Galway, and I almost always order them. These were no exception, plump, juicy, tasting of the sea and of the martini and shallot broth.

Calamarata, pasta shaped like calamari, was dotted with fresh clams and squid and just a kiss of sauce. With pasta like this, you really barely need sauce!

seafood pasta

Not pictured: earthy and delicious wild mushroom bruschetta and homemade meatballs

It was hard to decide on what to order at Il Vicolo, but with the experience being so deliciously memorable, we know that it will be a regular stop on our visits to Galway.

If they could deliver a bowl of pasta and a glass of red right now, all would be well!

 

 

Eating in Galway

Kai Cafe

Galway cocktail bar, Tribeton

Aniar

Ard Bia at Nimmo’s

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Tags: Food, food blog, Galway, Ireland, Ireland blog posts, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

We are embracing winter this year! If you’ve been reading/following me on social media, you might know that summer is far and away my favorite time of year, and I have a really hard time dealing with dark and cold.

Last winter and recently I have read articles on the Danish concept of hygge, the idea of coziness and a positive state of mind and mental well being. Hygge is about the feelings that come from creating a cozy space and positivity, and I am trying my best to keep this concept in mind.

After a very busy work week, we had a quiet Friday night in by the fire. Friday happened to be Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas in Irish. This is celebrated as a day for women, who tend to do much of the Christmas shopping and cooking, to relax. And relax I did! My husband waited on me with our favorite Indian takeout as I sat with sparkling wine by the fire. We watched The Missing (so good!) and went to bed early.

sparkling wine by the fire  

With hours of cozy sleep under our belts, Saturday morning was full of energy, and we walked to our favorite Irish bakery, Greenhills Bakery in Adams Village for giant cups of tea and a shared chocolate croissant. Hearing Irish spoken in Boston is always a delight, and we soaked up the homey atmosphere before walking a bit more in the snow and deciding a proper brunch at Lucy’s, also in Adams Village, was necessary!

Greenhills Bakery

Look at that biscuit!

The food at Lucy’s is delicious, and with snow falling outside, there was such  cozy vibe inside. We lingered over our meals, not checking phones, just talking and watching the snow fall before venturing out for our beautiful winter wonderland walk home.

 Lucy's Dorchester

snow day

  After another quiet night in, we decided that Sunday should be for hiking at World’s End. We should have brought our snowshoes, but instead laughed and trudged through the drifts to get to high points, where we enjoyed amazing coastal views. It was SO fun.

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham

Hiking always works up an appetite, and especially when it’s snow hiking, so we headed to nearby Hingham Shipyard to try Trident Galley & Raw Bar. They had live music, an incredible brunch menu, and excellent service.

Trying to be a little healthy, we shared a beet salad and the short rib hash, which was a spot-on recommendation. It was amazing.

short rib hash

I love splitting plates like this; we were full but didn’t feel awful, and we got a taste of a couple of great dishes. The live music was a nice touch as well. Covers of old favorites, not-too-loud, and uplifting, it was a lovely addition to brunch.

 

Trident Hingham

 

Hingham Shipyard

After even MORE outdoor wandering at the Shipyard, we decided we needed a little bit more time outside, and stopped at the Milton Yacht Club on the way home to capture the setting sun and beautiful late afternoon winter light.

Milton Yacht Club 

I thawed out with a hot Epsom salt bath before pouring a glass of Navarra wine and whipping up Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup (with kale).

chicken bacon stew

It was the perfect weekend. I realize I can either hate this time of year or spend more time being grateful for all I have to get through it – food, shelter, warmth, love. I think if I can keep that focus, I can make it to spring!

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Tags: brunch, cooking, Dorchester, hiking, Hingham, Nature, New England, outdoors, recipes, snow, winter

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