Restaurants

WIAW: Miami & Soft Food

by agirlandhermutt on February 5, 2014

Just a few days ago I was in Miami enjoying some warmth, sunshine and a little bit of humidity. Today it is snowing until it can’t snow no mo’.

I’m all home and cozy riding the storm out. The crockpot is doing it’s thing. Hot chocolate is steaming next to me. I’m working away on my computer. If I can’t have warmth, this will work.

Despite having my wisdom tooth out and traveling for a few days last week I did have some good eats. Join me for a warm and toasty WIAW!

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Everything I ate over the past week has been kind of soft. The first day this meant mashed potatoes from Whole Foods. I could seriously eat those suckers every.single.day. But my butt wouldn’t think thank me. So instead I moved on to my mock “baked potato soup”.

It is really just pureed cauliflower and chicken broth. This dish is just so easy to make it’s stupid.

After eating mashed potatoes and soup for two days it was time to head to Miami. Honestly, I didn’t eat that much while I was out of town! There is a first for everything. Dinner the night we arrived was at Sushi Samba. I have been to a few of the NYC locations before and I found that their rolls were just a little overpriced for what you get. Instead I split a sashimi platter with a friend. It was a small amount of food, but just enough to get us pleasantly full. The fish was fresh and it was the right introduction into more solid foods!

I’m not a fan of eating before I work out so the next meal I had was on Saturday after our FlyWheel class. We had brunch around 2p (!!!) at Palace Bar.

I went with the Arepa Benedict.

Arepa bread topped with 2 poached eggs and chorizo topped with hollandaise sauce and pico de gallo. Served with homefries.

I decided to leave off the hollandaise and I kind of wish I hadn’t. This was an extremely dry meal. Like can’t bite through the bread tough. I also can’t stand green peppers and the homefries in the middle were mostly peppers. How do people eat those things?! Frown face.

I was starving by the time we ate so I chowed down on the whole thing minus the peppers. It was a bit of a bummer. Fortunately, there was some sangria involved that made everything that much better!

By the time we were done playing out in the sun and on the beach I was in need of a nap. I am the queen of cat naps. But when I wake up? Whoa buddy. I will be starving. This time was no different.

We got all dressed up and headed out to dinner at IceBox Café, a restaurant that describes itself as being fresh, natural, well-balanced dining.

I was craving some seafood and Iron Skillet Sea Scallops caught my eye.
Sea scallops, miso broth, wilted kale, edamame, shiitake mushrooms

It pains me to say this but this meal stunk. The broth was quite good, but its kinda hard to mess up miso soup. There were only about 3 little sprigs of kale and 3 stems of mushrooms with the edamame. It was all bland, dry and had no flavor. I ended up throwing it all in the broth! I also ordered a side of roasted vegetables that was so pathetic I didn’t take a pic. They were also thrown in with the scallops and broth. Since I live in Boston I am used to higher prices but for $29 I was expecting at least 4 smaller scallops or 3 bigger sized scallops. These were just average size. Nothing special.

On another note, the service at Icebox is THE WORST. Our server was extremely nice, but almost nothing happened. We ordered drinks and they didn’t come till after we got our meals…30 minutes later. There was a bottle of wine that she was going to bring a chiller over to the table, but she ended up bringing it at the end of the meal. They were out of EVERYTHING. It just felt disorganized and there was no sense of urgency. It was frustrating.

The next day we at at the Shake Shack. I devoured my meal before anyone could ask for a bite or I could remember to take a picture. Imagine a mushroom burger and some fries. It was fantastic. :)

By the time I got home Sunday night I was in the mood for MY food. You know how that works. You just crave normalcy and not eating out. I went right back to my “baked potato” soup.

Only this time I got a little lazy with my food processing of the cauliflower and it came out to be more of a grits consistency instead of a creamy soup.

So ta-da! Shrimp n’ Grits!

I’m back to eating almost anything I want now. Crunchy food are still a little tough but I’m getting there. I see a few more cauliflower creations in my future either way.

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This might have sounded a little whiny, but my time in Miami was a blast. The food just wasn’t anything to write home about. Bonus…I maintained my weight over the weekend. BOOM!

See ya soon!

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Weekend Recap: Restaurants, Workouts and Puppy Love

by agirlandhermutt on August 27, 2013

I’m ready to start the week!

Technically, it is Tuesday so you are probably well into your week. Good for you! I’m a little slower to get moving. Right. Lets get to a weekend recap.

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Friday

I took Friday off from any form of exercising. Well, unless you could me walking from my car to a restaurant exercising.

Boston is smack dab in the middle of Restaurant Week. Just in case you aren’t familiar with Restaurant Week is, it is 2 weeks at 2 different points in the year where specific restaurants put together a 3 course meal and offer it for $38.13. Last year it was $38.12 and next year it will be $38.14. It is a nice way to try out some more of the expensive $$$ restaurants around town for less money.

The BF and I decided to hit up Cinquecento. I’ve been once before and really enjoyed it. This time around I enjoyed it just as much! The service was great, the food was fantastic and the ambiance was fun but a touch romantic.


Chicken & Broccoli Rabe…Mmmm.

Saturday

I’ve been nursing a little bit of a tweaked leg injury for the past week or so. At Thursday’s bootcamp I didn’t participate in the majority of the running exercises and was feeling a bit frustrated. I thought about skipping my usual strength training class on Saturday morning, but decided to just go and do what I could. I’m so glad I did! I ended up feeling top notch and having a beast of a workout. I was pleasantly pleased.

I followed up with a day of being an adult. I washed clothes, cleaned my house and took a nap. The final reward for a hard day’s work was a movie, The World’s End.

 

I love a good British comedy. Sometimes I’m not exactly sure what they are saying, but it sounds funny so I laugh.

Sunday

I had full intentions of just hitting up my usual yoga class for some nice stretch & relaxation. Fun Fact: I took a class in college called Stretch & Relaxation. 😉 However, when I got to the gym I was notified that a “new schedule was released”. I asked to see it and was given the exact same schedule as I have at home except someone took a black sharpie to it and put a “X” over yoga on Sunday. Seriously.

I figured since I was there I would just hop on the elliptical and go until I got bored. It took me 1 hr and finishing the book I was reading before I decided to call it a day. I headed home, gathered up the mutt and then headed out for a walk and trip to the park.

In fun fashion news…I purchased a pair of patterned workout pants. It isn’t anything crazy but it isn’t plain ol’ black. Eek! I want to wear them all of the time! I feel so daring and out there.

 

The weather was just fantastic over the weekend and I tried to soak it all in with dinner on the patio, lots of outdoor Korky time and opening every single window in my house.

I can feel summer leaving and for the first time in years, I’m going to miss it! I am not a huge fan of the heat, but this year I was a little less fat so the heat was a little more tolerable. 😉 The BF and Kork both appreciate my new love for the outdoors.

Monday

Since I’m always a day behind on these weekend recaps I figured I would add in what I was up to on my Monday.

I started the week with some serious sweat. Surprised?! Back to the whole nursing a tweaked leg thing. I think part of my problem has been trying to fit too much between my bootcamp classes on Tuesday and Thursday. Spinning has been suffering and I haven’t really enjoyed it for the last few weeks. I decided to switch things up and went last night instead. I was kind of prepared to not be into it, but since I paid ahead of time I figured I would just go and suck it up.

Long story short…don’t want to go to the gym?! Do it anyway!It felt so good to have fresh legs on the bike instead of recovering from bootcamp legs. It made a world of difference and I think I’ll follow this schedule till the end of my session.

I came home and whipped up some Zucchini Pockets. I’ll be sharing more on these tomorrow.

Last, but certainly not least, I realized at the last minute that yesterday was National Dog Day. Here at A Girl & Her Mutt, we love a good celebration. I let Korky know he was the best dog a girl could ask for and then gave him a bone that I let him chew under my bed in peace. Everyone was happy at the end of the day.

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I hope you all had a great weekend! I’ve got a busy week coming up and I’m trying not to get too excited about the holiday weekend coming up. It is only Tuesday for goodness sake!

See ya tomorrow!

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Boston Brunching: Blunch at Vine Brook Tavern

by agirlandhermutt on June 18, 2013

A few days ago I was giving my opinion on some popular breakfast spots to stop at to a friend coming to visit Boston in a few weeks. Each time I thought of a place I would instantly say, “Ooohh! They have the best brunch!” Boston is just a brunching kind of town. I’ve had my fair share (and then some) of fantastic brunches and many of them have been with the Boston Brunchers.

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to join up with my Brunching friends after a long hiatus and check out Vine Brook Tavern in Lexington, Ma.

On a sunny Sunday morning I joined a few other brunchers at a beautiful wood table for a little community dining. The restaurant wasn’t busy, but there was a nice sprinkling of guests throughout the two store building.

The restaurant has a farmhouse type of feel with the wooden tables and textured cutlery, but is modern and cool at the same time. IMG_6883

There is a nice sized bar that would be perfect for enjoying a drink or grabbing a bite to eat.

The folks at Vine Brook treated us to a variety of their menu items including a few cocktails. Our server, Ashley, guided us through some of the history of Vine Brook while we waited for our food to arrive.

Vine Brook resides in a building that was built in the 1830s and was the site of the first post office in Lexington.  They serve “Blunch” on Fri-Sun from 11:30-3 and start serving dinner at 5 every night of the week.

The first bits to hit the table were a few cocktails.

  

  

Latin Lebowski (cachaca, chocolate malted milk, agave, ancho chile)- This tastes just like chocolate milk. Which means that it goes down just as quickly as chocolate milk!

Elderberry Cocktail (St. Elder, Scharffenberger, soda)- I love a good soda based cocktail and especially one with elderflower, but unfortunately this one didn’t stand out as much against the group as the others.

Moscato Mist (Moscato, white grape juice, Prosecco, frozen grapes)- This was so light, but sweet and delicious. The sweetness of the moscato with the bubbles in the prosecco was perfect. The frozen grapes were like little bonuses!

Hemingway Daiquiri (rum, maraschino liqueur, lime, grapefruit)- This was my favorite of the bunch. It was a just a touch tart, refreshing, and filled with crushed ice. This sounds silly, but I LOVE crushed ice. This makes a huge difference in a drink and this made it perfect for me!

Caipirinha (cachaca, lime, sugar)- Traditional drink, but a little too much lime and sugar for me. It seemed to be a favorite for the table though!

After a few “CHEERS!” around the table it was time for some food.

Sopressata Flatbread with cherry bomb peppers and aged provolone.

This pizza was one of my favorites of the morning. The crust was the perfect combo of crunch and doughy. The cherry bomb peppers added a touch of heat that was on point when paired with the aged provolone. This sucker could easily be split between a few people too! Typically when we are at brunch I take a little piece and move along so I can have enough room to taste everything. I loved this one so much that I took two pieces and could have had more!

Smoked Salmon Club on everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.

This was a fantastic brunch sandwich. The savory salmon made a great combo with the slightly garlic everything bagel. The only thing that was a bit…odd…was that this sucker was HUGE! It is a double decker and a bit hard to handle. It was nice to get a big taste of the cream cheese in on the second layer though. Hard to handle or not, I would definitely order this again and messily gobble the whole thing up.

Crispy Challah French Toast with maple pecan butter, blueberries and maple bacon.

Thick slices of challah are coated in cereal to get a nice crunch on the french toast. The maple pecan butter was a lovely sweet addition to the plate. I’m usually a savory person for breakfast, but I thought this was delectable.

Shaved steak sandwich with horseradish dijon, sauteed mushrooms, carmelized onions, sharp American cheese and house chips.

I’ve never been a fan of shaved steak. There is something about the texture that throws me off. For me this sandwich just kind of blends together with no flavor that stands out. The chips are dynamite and I would love to add these to the side of any meal they serve at Vine Brook.

Turkey Burger with avocado, house mayo, munster, and fries.

If you ever wondered if I was being honest when I review something that I was given for free, then here is where I prove that I am always a woman of my word. This turkey burger was so disappointing. It *looks* absolutely stunning when it came out. There was melty cheese, tons of avocado and fantastic fries. Unfortunately the turkey burger itself was a funky texture that was entirely too mushy. It tasted more like a homemade veggie burger than a turkey burger. I couldn’t really taste the munster either. Combined with a soft bun and this was just a fail for me.

Lets end the review of the food on a good note though!

Farmhouse Pizza with runny eggs, corn, onions and other fresh vegetables from local farms.

I never really understood the big hub bub about runny eggs until about a year ago. Now any time I see them I get all kinds excited. I loved the idea of a runny egg on top of a pizza! There were so many little fresh bits on this pizza and the amazing part was that I could taste all of them. Sometimes flavors become muddled when too much is together, but in this case it was the exact opposite. They all worked together to create a great blunch pizza.

While we were hanging out enjoying our food we were treated to a little entertainment from another server. Joel Edwards is a trained opera singer and put on a bit of a show for us. It was such a fun surprise! (PS. This was filmed for Vine so that is why it is a bit weirdly cut.)

After our meal we were given a tour of this gorgeous restaurant. Our brunch was on the first floor so we went to check out the second floor where there is a more table seating for smaller parties, another bar and a room that can be used for special occasions.


I love the light fixtures and all the wood flooring. It adds to the charm and cozy feeling of this large restaurant.

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There is also local art, historical photos and décor that make this place feel like it could easily be  your “local” hangout where people remember you when you come back over and over.

I absolutely adored this restaurant. The food, the cocktails, the atmosphere. A note on the staff…I know they picked their best servers for our visit, but all staff that I came in contact with was just as friendly and helpful. Five stars all the way around!

I will DEFINITELY be returning to Vine Brook Tavern and look forward to trying out their dinner menu. Save me a spot at the bar Vine Brook?!

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Many thanks to Boston Brunchers and Vine Brook Tavern for a wonderful brunch!

*Just a Note: Brunch was provided to me free of charge by Vine Brook Tavern. As always, all opinions are all my own!*

 

 

Vine Brook Tavern on Urbanspoon

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