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Being a Boston food and travel blogger as well as  a publicist/social media consultant has always been an interesting combo for me. It’s definitely helped me to grow my circle of blogger friends and contacts, allowed me to stay in the loop on local media and events, and it’s helped me craft how I want to interact with (and how I DON’T want to interact) other bloggers.

It’s always fun when the two come together in one place, and on Monday that’s exactly what happened. A bunch of Boston bloggers came together at the Olive Connection Brookline ( client of mine since summer 2015) to taste Nautical Gin cocktails and an array of wines that a colleague of mine works with.

Olive Connection Brookline

The event was a casual get-together that allowed bloggers to check out the beautiful gift items that the Olive Connection has for the holidays and to mingle in a festive setting. It was fun!

cheese and charcuterie

Olive Connection is a beautiful store offering so many different artisan food items like charcuterie, pastas, sauces, coffee, tea, and of course olives, olive oil, and vinegar,

rainbow pasta gift  

pasta and sauce They put out a delicious spread of snacks that featured ingredients from the store such as bruschetta, shrimp with amazing artisan cocktail sauce, crudite with a beet horseradish dip, and more.

holiday food spread

And my favorite, brownies made with their blood orange olive oil.

blood orange olive oil brownies

Nautical Gin was on hand with their beautiful bottles of craft American gin, making their signature Gimlet cocktail as well as a festive Gin and Jam cocktail made with local Doves and Figs jam.

For the cocktail recipe, visit the Nautical Gin Instagram page.

 

gin and jam Nautical Gin cocktail

Nautical Gin makes a great holiday gift! Find it in a store near you: http://www.nauticalgin.com/where-to-buy.html

 

Nautical Gin cocktails

All of the wines we tasted were delicious and perfect for holiday entertaining.

Don Melchor

Trivento Golden Reserve

Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem

Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir

St Urbans-Hof Wiltinger

Ferraton Pere et Fils Samorens White

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio

Trivento Amado Sur Torrontes

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc

Grazing on small bites, cocktails, and sips of wine while mingling with really interesting and fun bloggers was a wonderful way to spend a chilly December evening!

Thank you to all of the Boston bloggers who attended and to our hosts the Olive Connection, the wineries, and of course Nautical Gin for the cocktail gin-spiration.

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Tags: bloggers, Boston, Boston bloggers, Brookline, Food, food bloggers, gifts, gin, gourmet, lifestyle bloggers, PR, small plates, social media, wine, wine bloggers, wine tasting, work

It’s been a while since I have shared a bunch of random favorite things, and I have been collecting photos for just that purpose. Look at these crazy leggings. . . they are actually one of my recent favorites, picked up on super sale at American Eagle on Martin Luther King Day weekend. They’re comfy and bright, and I love wearing them around the house with an oversized sweater and slipper booties while I work, because I can quickly go straight into workout mode if I get a break in my work day.

barre and yoga

I’ve been working with Barre & Soul yoga and barre studios, and as part of my work with them, I get to take classes. Their virtual classes are amazing; you get a Skype call right on your computer and take the class from home. The instructor can see you, and you can see her, so there’s plenty of motivation and form correcting. I love starting my day with one of their Vinyasa yoga classes, and their 11:00 am Cardio Barre on Sundays kicks my butt.

dorchester ymca

On the workout front, we’ve also joined the YMCA in Dorchester, which is a really impressive facility that is incredibly reasonable. It’s $53/month for both of us! It has a pool, classes, spinning, a great fitness facility, sauna, steam room, etc. I can’t believe I used to pay $95 a month for just myself at a downtown gym!  I want to get more into a schedule with classes at the Y, mixing in a few Barre & Soul classes in, along with a few runs per week.

hand and stone massageIn addition to the Y, we also became members at Hand and Stone Massage. A monthly payment of $49.95 includes a massage and some really great discounts. I find that massages really help me physically and mentally, and now it will be guaranteed that I go for one every month. I will definitely look forward to that day!

On the food front, we’ve been eating a lot of delicious things. Too many. I haven’t done very well on the healthy eating front. If abs are made in the kitchen, mine are made of brioche and Nutella these days.

nutella french toast

Nutella and Bacon French Toast at the Plate in Milton. . . do I need to say more?

polenta

We love The Townshend in Quincy, and on a very cold Friday night, we had a cozy date at the bar, complete with an incredible polenta and wild boar ragu. I think this would be on my top 10 comfort foods list.

fireplace dinners with wine

The Daily Table continues to be a favorite spot for finding great ingredients. The above tuna steak was perfection with veggies and a sesame/ginger marinade that I threw together. Dinners picnic-style by the fire are also my favorite; they’re cozy and romantic and turn every night into a date night.

chicken parmesan in a skillet

My chicken parm is another date night at home favorite. I love skillet meals that start out on the stovetop and then finish in the oven. This one isn’t breaded; my homemade tomato sauce smothers pan-fried chicken, and fresh mozzarella and basil top it off. Another top comfort food for the winter!

I recently also finally got to the brick-and-mortar location of Mei Mei Street Kitchen, and it was incredible. I loved the spiked Fire Cider cocktail and this charred cabbage salad, which was crunchy and cozy and tangy, delicious.

mei mei street kitchen

I can’t finish this post without a mention that this past week I lost one of my favorites of all time, our cat Smuckers. Since the day we adopted her over 11 years ago, she was a constant companion and source of laughs, a cat-dog in her behavior, loving, full of purrs, but only for me and Eric. Anyone else she would try to kill.

IMG_0027 She had a larger-than-life presence, and it was hard to watch that slip away Friday night, but we loved her so much we knew we had to let her go. Smuckers was adopted from the MSPCA, and I can’t stress enough how incredibly grateful rescue animals are to be yours. A little piece of my heart is missing these days, but I’m also just trying to be grateful that we had her in our lives.

xoxo

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Tags: Boston, Brookline, exercise, Food, Restaurants, workouts, yoga

Last week was quite the week! I learned, above all, that I can not go out three nights in a row. I was nice and disciplined with my workouts and buying vegetables and healthy meal ingredients, but somehow I ended up wining and dining around Boston instead. I am excited to have no plans this week. You know you are getting old when. . .

All kidding aside, I felt pretty lucky all at all of the delicious sips and bites I got to have over the last week. One dinner, Post 390′s Farm to Post, will get its own post (ha) later in the week, but below are a few places I highly recommend if you are looking for restaurants in Boston to visit.

 

Barcelona Brookline

Barcelona Wine Bar, Brookline

 

I had a work engagement at Barcelona in Brookline, meeting a few visiting journalists who are on a very exciting journey around the US. More on that later, but because of their visit, I got to feel like a complete VIP at the gorgeously appointed new wine bar in Brookline’s Washington Square. A cold, crisp glass of Verdejo in hand, I got the menu rundown straight from Chef Steven Brand, who is doing delectable things at Barcelona. Its menu is different than other locations, and they seem to be having a ton of fun with it all while being incredibly knowledgeable about wine, food, cocktails, and especially jamón.

 

jamon

Part of the training included a professional cutter of jamón being flown in from Spain to teach the delicate, precise art of cutting this special meat. Another plus? Barcelona’s bread comes from nearby Clear Flour Bread, an obsession when I lived in Allston.

Barcelona Wine Bar

In addition to an extensive tapas menu and several types of paella, Barcelona stocks a fantastic by-the-glass wine list. It’s definitely a good place to go to try a few new wines while enjoying lots of little bites. And really, how beautiful is that bar?

Barcelona Wine Bar

Bistro du Midi, Croque and Cocktail Tuesdays

Par Avion

Bistro du Midi, a favorite I have visited many times, has launched a new deal that makes going out on a Tuesday a little more delicious. Every Tuesday at the bar and cafe, Executive Chef Robert Sisca will present several $5 croques including a weekly ‘skinny croque’.  There will be wine and cocktail pairings by Beverage Director Todd Lipman.

On this visit, we enjoyed the Par Avion cocktail along with three different Croques, a traditional, a smoked salmon and Gruyere, and a skinny Croque made absolutely addictive with pesto. Buttery, warm sandwiches and cocktails? Park me at Bistro du Midi Tuesdays this winter!

skinny croques

Cinquecento ( Times Two) We have had two fantastic experiences at Cinquecento in the South End so far, one a Saturday night date and another a Friday night double date with friends. After making our way through most of the menu on two visits, we have to say that we are huge fans. (Please excuse the size of the photos!)

Cinquecento Boston

Cinquecento feels like a chic-yet-comfy Roman trattoria, and they make some gorgeous food. From the kale salad (my favorite) to big bowls of pasta to creative cocktails to a great wine list. Cinquecento delivers.

Cocktails at Cinquecento

 

salumi at Cinquecento

 

It’s really hard to not order everything at Cinquecento, but a salumi platter is a great way to kick things off. And the Rigatoni alla Norcia (Fennel Sausage, Cognac Cream,‏ Basil, Pecorino) is to-die-for, especially on a cold winter’s night.

pasta at Cinquecento

The service at Cinquecento is really above and beyond as well. The first night we were there, I kept my coat on for awhile, and the manager came over to see if I wanted the heat turned up. That’s service, if you ask me!

As you can see, I have been eating up a storm. Barcelona Wine Bar, Bistro du Midi, and Cinquecento all made for fantastic wining and dining destinations in the Boston area over the past week. The Boston area is definitely the place to be these days when it comes to food and wine, and I am excited to be a part of it.

Where have you been dining lately?

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Tags: Boston, Brookline, cocktails, Dining out, events, Food, Restaurants, wine

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