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Have you heard of The Daily Table?  We’d be reading about it here and there and finally made a trip last week. It’s one of my new favorite spaces.

The Daily Table

Here’s the story:

Daily Table is a not-for-profit retail store that offers our community a variety of tasty, convenient and affordable foods that will help you feel and be your best; food that will keep you moving forward, not hold you back.  We provide both “grab-n-go” ready to eat meals, and a selection of produce, bread, dairy and grocery items all at prices that will put a smile on your face, and designed to fit within every budget.  Many of our items are prepared fresh daily in our own kitchen onsite.

We offer an upbeat, clean and friendly retail store environment that is open to everyone in the community.  We can offer these daily values by working with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food to us, or provide us with special buying opportunities.

In this way, we are able to keep prices affordable for all our customers.  Our meals are priced to compete with fast food options, making it easier for families to eat healthier within their means.  And all the food in our store is informed by guidelines set for us by a leading group of nutrition experts, which makes it easy for our customers to make great food choices.

hummus

We held off on going to Daily Table for so long partially because we weren’t sure if it was open to all, and we certainly didn’t want to take away from anyone who could really benefit from shopping there. Then, while at the Dorchester Winter Farmers Market (another favorite), we were encouraged to visit and learned that everyone is welcome. The more shoppers, the more support the concept receives.

The Daily Table is bright, colorful, and inviting, with a friendly staff, and it relies on volunteers to keep costs down. Every time we have visited, the selection has been different, as the food is excess food from the store’s partners. I love that the selection varies, and we’ve decided to start our shopping here each week to plan meals around what they have, then supplement at the regular grocery store. On past visits, we’ve seen amazing deals on wild tuna (two hefty steaks for $5), spicy chicken burgers (four for $2.99), and organic yogurts, which are $0.49 each. Five pound tubs of hummus for $2.99 and baby carrots for $0.49 per pound make for plenty of healthy snacks that are affordable for a family.

carrots One of the really great things about The Daily Table is their made-on-site pre-made meal program. So far I have tried the delicious curried butternut squash soup, pulled pork pizza, and my new favorite, chili lime coconut chips, and everything has been so good. You can peek into the kitchen while you shop, and just like with the grocery items, prepared foods also often change. I’ve seen curries with rice, beef stew, quesadillas, sandwiches, and more. The prices are extremely competitive with fast food, making eating healthier much easier for busy people, especially the many in our community who hold multiple jobs to make ends meet.

The Daily Table Kitchen

coconut chips Shopping at The Daily Table has allowed us to save money and discover new ingredients. It’s also made me get creative in the kitchen, and in general, it just fills my heart with happiness for our community, which is full of great people who deserve the opportunity and access to healthy food. Eliminating food waste while helping people eat better? It just makes sense.

The Daily Table is a big step in the right direction to alleviating some of the issues created by food deserts, and I am proud to support this pilot program.

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Tags: community, cooking, Dorchester, Food, food blog, groceries, grocery shopping

One of the best parts of being a blogger is the opportunity to learn about ways in which I can use this blog to promote good. The other night I attended a Hearth Shares dinner at Brasserie Jo. Hearth Shares kicks off today, and you can learn more about this initiative to end homelessness below.

Hearth Shares  Hearth Shares is underwritten by Citizens Bank

 

This holiday season, Boston diners can once again give meaningfully with as little as a $1 donation at area restaurants through Hearth Shares (www.HearthShares.org), a local fundraising initiative to end homelessness.  The program offers restaurant goers the opportunity to easily add a voluntary donation of $1 or more to their bill. Launched in 2014, the program has raised $80,000 to provide support for the Boston area homeless community. Supported by Citizens Bank, 100% of proceeds from Hearth Shares will benefit Hearth, Friends of Boston’s Homeless and a select group of other nonprofits working to end homelessness in the Boston community.

 

Boston Chefs and Restaurateurs Ming Tsai, Jeffrey Gates along with Chef Chris Douglass, Chef Nookie Postal, Chef Jamie Mammano, Chef Jeffrey Fournier, Chef Nicholas Calias and many others have signed on to support Hearth Shares at their restaurants.  They follow in the footsteps of Fergus Henderson, Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett and Ashley Palmer-Watts who support the program’s London counterpart, StreetSmart in their restaurants.  Since 1998, StreetSmart has raised over $10 million for homeless programs in London and has over 500 participating restaurants.

 

WHEN: November 20, 2015 – December 25, 2015

 

WHERE:       Participating restaurants in Greater Boston include 51 Lincoln, 80 Thoreau, 224 Boston Street, Aquitaine Boston, Ashmont Grill, The Backroom, Battery Park, Beat Hôtel Brasserie, The Beehive, Bella Luna & The Milky Way, Blue Dragon, Blue Ginger, Brasserie Jo, Cinquecento, Commonwealth, Estragon, EVOO, Gaslight Brasserie, Juniper, Isabella Restaurant, L’Andana, The Local Newton, The Local Wayland, The Local Wellesley, The Merchant, Metropolis Café, Mistral, Mooo…, Ostra, Sorellina, South End Buttery, Sweet Basil, Sycamore, Tavolo, Teatro, Waban Kitchen, and Za Restaurant Arlington & Cambridge.

 

Brasserie JoThe dinner was very special, in a private room at Brasserie Jo, and gave us the opportunity to learn from representatives of Hearth, Citizens Bank, and Friends of Boston’s Homeless. The commitment to making a difference for Boston’s homeless, and in particular the elderly homeless, was such a passion of these people, and I got to discuss the issue in depth with the President of Hearth, which houses homeless elders in Boston. The simple act of acknowledging the homeless as human beings can be life-changing, and the work these people are doing both made me feel incredibly grateful but also driven to do something to make the world a better place.

Everything we ate was incredible, starting with Pastrami Salmon, Dried Dark Rye, Sauerkraut Bon-Bon, Salmon Roe.

salmon amuse

Fresh butter and baguettes for everyone at the table added that bit of French flair and flavor that I love about Brasserie Jo.

Brasserie Jo

Brasserie Jo  My phone, may it rest in peace, failed for most of the meal, so I don’t have many photos. I now have a new phone and hope to not have any problems in the future. The wonderful menu created for us was as follows:

· 1st Course: Roast Beet, Pickled Shallot, Hazelnut, Goat Cheese Mousse Salad

· 2nd Course: Green Circle Chicken, Parsnip, Chanterelle Studel, Heirloom Carrots

· 3rd Course: Baked Alaska, Pumpkin Meringue, Apple Cognac Genoise, Cinnamon Ice Cream

beet sakad

Brasserie Jo’s chef came out to talk to us and to let us know how important Hearth Shares is to the restaurant. Getting guests to opt in is a bit of a competition, and Brasserie Jo really encourages its staff to promote the initiative.

Brasserie Jo chef

I am so happy that I was able to attend this dinner. I am hoping to volunteer at Hearth in the near future. With all going on in the world, this event and the Hearth Shares initiative is a true reminder that most of us are good and want the best for each other. If you are in Boston and planning on dining out in the next month, please consider one of the Hearth Shares restaurants!

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Tags: Boston, community, Dining out, events, Food, homelessness

Taste of the South End is next week! This night full of chefs is the perfect excuse to get out of the house this March, which will hopefully come in like a lamb rather than a lion!

A little about Taste of the South End from one of Boston’s favorite chefs:

“The Taste of the South End is Boston’s premier food & wine event in our neighborhood and it brings together all of the South End chefs for the AIDS Action Committee. It is a fine way to both raise money for a wonderful organization that does vital work in our community and also have fun saying hello to friends, neighbors and colleagues. I would not miss this event for the world,”  -Chef Gordon Hamersley.

I haven’t been to the Taste of the South End in a few years, but the last time I went I had an amazing time. I have heard it just gets better every year. This year’s Taste of the South End lineup includes SO many favorite restaurants like B & G Oysters, Cinquecento, Myers + Chang, and Sweet Cheeks. The night promises to be delicious and all for a great cause.

image

I have a pair of tickets to give away, and I am going to choose a winner at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. To enter, just take a peek at the Restaurants page and let me know in the comments   what restaurant table you would want to visit first. For an extra entry, tweet “ I want to win @tastesouthend tickets from @traveleatlovemm.”

Good luck!

About AIDS Action Committee

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. Many of the people who seek services at AIDS Action have more pressing, immediate priorities than HIV—which can rank third or fourth on their list of concerns after homelessness, malnutrition, or domestic violence. That is why in addition to HIV counseling and testing, and needle exchange, AIDS Action provides services in mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal support. Additionally, most of our clients have average annual incomes of less than $10,000 a year.

AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. In 2013, AIDS Action formed a strategic alliance with Fenway Health that will allow the two organizations to work more closely together and improve delivery of care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Tags: Aids Action Committee, community, events, Food, taste of, Taste of the South End

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