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Between my blog, conversations I have with friends and colleagues, and my appearance on Fox, I have probably said it a million times, but I will say it again. New Bedford, MA is a great little stop on a New England day trip. It’s not Provincetown or Portland, but it oozes with New England charm in its cobblestone streets, fishing boats, and whaling history. And it’s quickly becoming a place to wine and dine as well.

We wouldn’t have discovered New Bedford if it wasn’t for our love of Travessia Urban Winery wine, but we now visit at least a couple of times a year. On our most recent Southeastern MA excursion, we worked up our appetites tasting wine at Westport Rivers and Travessia, and we (really, I) desperately needed to eat by the time 6:00 rolled around.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Cork Wine and Tapas Bar, located right across from the shipyard, is a restaurant we have passed on our many New Bedford trips, but we had never stopped. We made a beeline from Travessia right to Cork for a fantastic wine and food experience.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar

Talk about New England charm. Cork is in the Joseph Tabor building, which has stood proudly there since 1836. I learned from Cork’s website that the building was designed to be a warehouse to produce, house and maneuver large nautical equipment. It’s an impressive structure that now makes a great space for dining.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar New Bedford

Cork’s menu is fresh and seasonal and offers small plates in addition to heartier options like fish and chips.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar

They also offer wine flights, something that I love in a restaurant. It was a wine-tasting kind of day, so I decided to go with a flight of bubbles. Surprise, surprise!

sparkling wine flight

Three glasses of sparkling wine were placed in front of me: Segura Viudas Reserva, Deor Prosecco, and Santa Julia Brut Rose. The Segura Viudas was the hands-down winner with me and the other  judges, my mother-in-law and husband. The Prosecco was just okay; while I am a fan of most bubbles, I don’t love the overwhelming pear flavor some Proseccos have. The Santa Julia Brut Rose was lovely, lots of strawberry and cherry flavors, and of course that gorgeous pink color.

sparkling wine flight

While I am usually a fan of tapas style eating, I was pretty ravenous by the time we were ready to order, and I wanted one thing, Coconut Curry Lobster: Claw and knuckle lobster meat with scallions and grilled corn in curried coconut milk. Served over jasmine rice.

To.die.for. Everything in this dish added something special, from the tender lobster to the lively curry and sweet corn and rice. It was such a filling yet light option, perfect for a hot summer day and lunch the next day. My mother-in-law and husband also really enjoyed their meals. We all agreed that the service, atmosphere, selection, and food would have us coming back again and again.

lobster curry

I’m a huge lover of wine bars, cozy places to get a glass or two, with no expectation of ordering a huge meal (unless you want to), and I wish Boston had more places like Cork and my favorite Galway wine bar, Sheridan’s.

Since we’re wine club members at Travessia, we’ll have reason to visit again in the fall, and I am making a trip to Cork mandatory.

Cork Wine and Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

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Tags: day trips, dinner, Food, New Bedford, New England, Tapas, Travel, wine, wine flights, wine tasting

If we went out to dinner every night of the year, perhaps we could eat at all of the restaurants in the Boston area that we want to try. While our waistlines and budget deny us that frequency of dining out, we definitely do love to try new restaurants whenever we get the chance.

Birthdays are the perfect excuse for going out, and last week my husband decided he wanted to give Erbaluce in Boston’s Bay Village a try. While he often chooses a steak dinner for his birthday, this year the heat swayed his decision, and I was secretly glad. (Though I do love a nice steak house martini and lots of veggie sides!)


I had an idea of where Erbaluce was located, but I was kind of surprised to see just how close it was to other places I had frequented, like Legal Seafoods and MJ O’Connor’s in Park Square, where I worked for over two years. I walked past Erbaluce many times and never saw it!

Bay Village

It is absolutely charming, housed in a brick building with overgrown, bright flowers adding to the homey, cozy feeling of the space. Inside is just as cozy, with a small bar and two small dining rooms. It was so quiet and romantic, in fact, that I decided I did not want to take photos inside and risk interrupting anyone else’s meal. I grabbed a glass of Tenuta Santome Prosecco and waited for my husband at the bar. I loved this Prosecco; instead of having really forward pear and apple flavors like some Prosecco tends to have, it reminded me more of Champagne, with a toasty nose and flavors of brioche, vanilla, and lemon curd.


All was well until a big group with a toddler walked in. The staff at Erbaluce was more than accommodating, but it just doesn’t seem like the place for a child. I definitely didn’t expect to have people constantly wandering around the dining room chasing after a little one!

sunflower appetizer

Once we got past our surprise, we settled in to enjoy some fabulous food, wine, and service. The menu featured many options that we both wanted, and in the end we were so happy with our choices. Above is the sunflower appetizer that we shared, too pretty not to photograph. It is literally the head of a sunflower with the seeds removed. It was topped with ricotta, bread crumbs, and a delicious dressing, surrounded by sunflower petals which taste just like carrots. This was a fun way to start the meal and paired nicely with my Sicilian white, Maggio Vini Inzolia “Pithoi”. I want to go to Sicily SO badly!

For dinner I went with the bluefish, always a favorite fish of mine, and here it was cooked perfectly with a beautiful sauce that included mustard. My husband had the boar ragu and pasta. We polished both plates clean.

When it was time for dessert, we thought about going home to enjoy the cake and fruit sent by family, but when we saw a honey panna cotta, we really wanted to give it a try. Erbaluce also surprised us with their signature cherry chocolate mousse and a candle to cap off the celebrations. The panna cotta was silky and lightly sweetened while the mousse was very rich and flavorful. I loved both; next time I would save more space so that I could finish them!

Panna cotta

A strong Arabic coffee infused with cardamom finished off the night and somehow didn’t keep me awake. Every morsel and sip of this meal was perfection.

arabic coffee with cardamom

Erbaluce (minus one toddler) is the perfect date night spot, quiet, romantic, with a menu that changes frequently, tons of seasonal specials, and food that is crafted like art. The wine list, all Italian wines, is impressive as well. I can’t wait to return, maybe for our August anniversary.

Erbaluce on Urbanspoon

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Tags: Boston, dessert, Dining out, Erbaluce, Food, Restaurants, wine

Speaking of lots of pink. . .

It’s Travel Tuesday, and since it feels like ages since I have traveled (It always seems to feel like that, even when I’ve just gotten back from a trip!), I’ve decided to pull out some old school photos to share a must-visit spot in one of my favorite towns, Galway, Ireland.

The G Hotel, located a short walk from my husband’s family home, is a funky and fun property with a whimsical design and some great cocktails. The design is so special because it’s done by a Galway native who is now famous for being the hat maker for many members of the royal family. Milliner Philip Treacy is responsible for the beauty of this five star hotel, and his genius imagination can be seen throughout.

G Hotel

Galway Hotel

As the hotel is actually really close to home, we’ve never stayed there, but we have had cocktails ( I can recommend the Bellini Martini: Gin or Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Peach puree, Prosecco.) and taken a tour. Each room in the dining and bar area is different, but one thing is clear; Treacy likes color and texture!

Galway Hotel

G Hotel Galway

I didn’t take photos of the spa at The G, due to privacy concerns, but it is absolutely gorgeous, soothing, and elegant. The guest rooms are the same; many offer views of Galway Bay, in addition to clean, modern, and chic décor and amenities.

If you or anyone you know is traveling to Ireland and perhaps need to step away from the pub scene for a night, The G Hotel and all of its wonder provide a great place to do so. We’re hoping to visit again in October or November, and I will most definitely return with a full report.

Do you have a favorite, non-traditional hotel or funky restaurant you can recommend?

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Tags: Galway, hotels, Ireland, Travel

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