Lunch

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Even though we moved to our new neighborhood a little over a year ago, we are still loving exploring it and trying out new-to-us places. Lower Mills Dorchester/Milton is a GREAT place to live, and we love it. You can read about our earlier Lower Mills adventures here.

Right after we got back from Ireland this December, we found ourselves still having a little wanderlust, and so we planned a little road trip to the Wayside Inn in Sudbury. We needed some sort of to-go breakfast, so we decided to check out The Plate, which is in Milton, not too far from us.

biscuit breakfast sandwiches

The Plate serves “handcrafted comfort food” and from my first bite of my biscuit sandwich, it was easy to see why The Plate is always crowded. It’s an adorable little shop that serves breakfast, lunch, pastries, and classic comfort food dinners-to-go.I have become obsessed with above biscuit sandwich, which comes with artisan cured ham, cheddar cheese, and red pepper jelly. Their egg sandwich comes in a close second, with its roasted tomato and spicy aioli. One I haven’t tried is their bacon, banana, and Nutella sandwich. . . but I really think I might need to soon!

pastries at the Plate Milton 

As you gear up for another cold and snowy Boston weekend (unless of course you are reading from somewhere else, hopefully a warm place), keep The Plate in mind for a satisfying, inexpensive breakfast option. I know we will likely be there one of the weekend days!

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Tags: breakfast, comfort food, Food, home, Lower Mills, Lunch, Milton, Restaurants

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might be feeling the frenzy of the holiday season starting to creep in. While I try to not let joyous occasions stress me out, I am definitely noticing that the calendar is full through January and I am trying to juggle work and life accordingly.

Since we will be traveling throughout the holiday season, including another Thanksgiving in Ireland, we wanted to take time out to get local family together before the madness sets in.

I love a late afternoon Saturday party. It’s a combination of lunch/dinner, and lighting a fire as the sun sets makes for a warm and convivial atmosphere. When entertaining, I try as much as possible to choose foods that I can prep ahead of time.

our living room

We had a ton of work to get the house ready, so easy-to-prep food was even more important. We bought our house almost a year ago, but after being scammed by a shady plumber, we have had to put off a lot of the things we have wanted to do with the house. It’s still cozy and we love it, but decorating has taken a backseat to important things like heat!

beach decor

Ultimately I would like to have a beachy/nautical house, so I have been incorporating little touches like sand dollars on a window sill, serving platters with crabs and seashells on them, nautical towels, and little lobster bowls.

table setup

lavender You won’t be seeing our house in Town & Country anytime soon,   but it makes us happy!

lobster bowls

Now for the food! I set up the table for the first hour of the party with the following:

Cucumbers topped with herb cream cheese and tomatoes – I think the red and green would be fun for a Christmas party, and it’s nice to have something light on hand when the rest of the meal is so heavy.

A cheese plate – two hard cheeses and one spreadable cheese, crackers, and bread

White Bean Truffle Dip

cucumbers with herb cream cheese

Guests trickled in, and we waited until just about everyone had arrived to put out the main course:

Bacon-Wrapped Sausage with Brown Sugar – I forgot to take a pic, but you can find one in this post. This is the easiest, most decadent party food ever.

Mixed Greens with Butternut Squash, Red Onions, Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and a Cider Vinaigrette – I roasted the butternut squash with cinnamon prior to adding it to the salad, and it was a delicious touch. The dressing was a super easy blend of apple cider, shallots, and olive oil.

butternut squash salad

Guinness Beef Stew – This stew is SO easy. Once the early prep was done, I left it on low all day. The beef was falling apart by the time it was served.

Guinness Beef Stew

Chicken Pot Pie – Another super easy dish that seems daunting, this one started with sweet onions cooked in butter, followed by chopped up chicken thighs, chicken stock, herbs, chopped red potatoes (which I par-cooked prior), and torn spinach. I simmered it on low until about a half an hour before serving, then added a bit of milk, put it in an aluminum tray, topped with store-bought crust, and baked for about 30 minutes. Sadly some of the gravy overflowed onto the crust, but it was still tasty!

Chicken Pot Pie

Pumpkin Pie Dip – addictive. This is a mix of pumpkin pie filling, cream cheese, and sour cream, served with gingersnaps and Nilla cookies. It was so easy and so good! Our guests also brought cake and cupcakes, so I didn’t make the Caramel Apple Dip I planned on.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

And finally, if you know me you may have guessed there was bubbly. We had two options of bubbles, one from Graham Beck and another from Mumm Napa, as well as Brooklyn Brewery beer and some amazing beers our guests brought, including my husband’s cousin’s homebrew which is out of this world.

I used to get so stressed about entertaining, but I feel like I am starting to get in the groove a little more. The cooking is definitely my favorite part; I wouldn’t mind leaving the cleaning to someone else!

Now I am in Thanksgiving-planning mode. Do you know what you are cooking yet this holiday season? If you need any Thanksgiving recipe ideas, check out some posts from the past!

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup (including Cranberry Cheddar Biscuits, Cornbread Sausage Stuffing, and Sriracha Maple Brussels Sprouts, a great Thanksgiving side dish!)

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

Thanksgiving wine pairings and recipes

Turkey Soup (for the day after Thanksgiving!)

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

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Tags: entertaining ideas, fall foods, fall recipes, falll cooking, family, Food, lifestyle, Lunch, nautical, recipes, relaxing, Saturday, Thanksgiving menu, Thanksgiving recipes

A winter getaway to a warm destination is most definitely a little slice of paradise. Our trip to Miami included lots of sunshine by the pool, dinner on the beach, and tons of really good food right from the start. Right after we checked in to the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel, we headed for the pool deck for lunch. The warm weather made me opt for a lighter option, a grilled Caesar salad and a glass of delightfully oaky Chardonnay.

Grilled caesarGoing for the more local flavor, my husband had a Cuban sandwich with to-die-for garlicky fries. The fries took away the light aspect of my lunch. What can I say? There’s nothing I love more than good fries.

Cuban sandwich

During our stay at the Sonesta, we visited their restaurant, Panorama, and their pool area bar a number of times for drinks and snacks. Sitting by the pool with Prosecco and soaking up the Florida sunshine was perfect, as was Sunday brunch at the pool. Panorama’s signature French Toast was covered in fresh fruit, a decadent treat to start the day (with mimosas, naturally).

Right next to the hotel was Peacock Garden Cafe, a fabulous cocktail bar and restaurant that featured live jazz in the garden. I didn’t snap any photos, but it made me feel like Hemingway was going to walk into the room at any time. I stuck to the Southern vibe and sipped mint juleps while listening to the jazz and enjoying warm Saturday night breezes. . . aaaaah.

Sonesta French ToastOne of our favorite meals of our Coconut Grove stay was at Jaguar.  As we tend to do, we sat at the bar and absolutely loved our server, who explained everything to us, including their extensive, amazing ceviche menu.

First up, I had a black pepper passion fruit capirinhia.

capirinhiaUnlike Massachusetts, Florida has happy hour, and we enjoyed discount drinks that came with ceviche spoons. In addition, we ordered the entire ceviche spoon menu and a ceviche special. Chunks of tender fish, lots of citrus, avocado, and spice filled the plate, and we had fun sharing all the flavors before moving on to a bigger plate.

Jaguar cevicheBelow is the Tiradito Nikkei, a plate made up of the following: tuna, ginger, soy, shallots, jalapeños, cilantro, lime, cucumber, avocado & sesame seeds. It woke up every sense and was fresh and light, the perfect way to eat. I could eat Jaguar’s ceviche every day. I truly miss it.

tiradito nikkei ceviche Jaguar

Chart House Miami viewsOur final meal in Coconut Grove was a spectacular one as we had lunch al fresco at The Chart House. Being obsessed with all things boating, we loved being able to see every kind of boat, from ones that cost millions to kayaks, going by as we ate lunch.

We were all about the seafood again. This crab stack, with mango and avocado, was as delicious as it was beautiful. It fit right in with the bright sunshiny day and felt like a healthy-ish lunch option.

Crab, Mango, and Avocado StackOur jumbo shrimp came with a flair, presented in dry ice. It was your standard shrimp cocktail, but it was pretty great.

Chart House shrimp cocktailFinally, we shared the “East Meets West” tuna dish, zesty tuna tartare drizzled with wasabi cream paired with seared peppered tuna & avocado, with kim chee slaw & plantain chips. Again, the flavors in this dish were off-the-hook. I think I could eat tuna tartare with avocado and wasabi cream all the days of my life. With lunch I enjoyed a tart and mineral-y Bogle Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, perfectly bright and seafood-friendly. The one downside of the meal was that our server tried to upsell us on everything, right to the very end, when he tried to pitch a credit card of some sort to us. Otherwise, he was very nice and probably just doing his job with the sales pitches. Still, we just wanted to relax.

East Meets West TunaWe didn’t even scratch the surface of the dining scene in Coconut Grove, much less the rest of Miami. This is a place for bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and of course a little spice. I didn’t know what to expect when we planned the trip and I was very pleasantly surprised.

What has been your favorite foodie travel destination so far?

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Tags: brunch, ceviche, Coconut Grove, Dining out, dinner, Food, Lunch, Miami, Restaurants, Travel

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