Toscanini’s

This past week I finally made it to Toscanini’s to try their famous B3 ice cream.  Toscanini’s is well known in Boston for their unique flavors since it was founded in 1986.  The B3 is one of their most coveted and stands for Brown butter, Brown Sugar & Brownies.  I topped mine off with their decadent hot fudge and colorful sprinkles.  The ice cream was so creamy and you could definitely taste the brown butter base.  The brownie pieces were rich and fudgy and scattered well throughout.

photo 3 The shop is in Cambridge right off of Mass Ave, and has a really cool atmosphere.  The interior walls are brick and they have huge windows looking out onto the street lined with a counter for seating.  The website states they always have 32 flavors in the store, but over the year they produce hundreds.  Head over to Toscanini’s and don’t be afraid to sample a couple flavors before you order!

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MET Bar

Well ladies and gents, it looks like I have found another one of my favorite dishes in Boston.  I am blissfully sitting in a food coma after I went to the MET Bar in Back Bay.  What started out as a fun get together with my sister and a couple of our dear friends turned into a meal that I MUST repeat before I head back to college.  Before I went to the restaurant I researched and saw the burger looked superb.  However, upon arriving I noticed an item under the Ham and Cheese selection.  It was a Croque Madame served alongside truffle fries.  After deliberation I decided to try it and it was amazing!!!!

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Thickly cut bread slathered with béchamel sauce, layered with ham and salty gruyere cheese, and then topped off with a fried egg.  It was heaven on a plate.  Not to mention the truffle fries, which were extremely addictive on their own.  My companions ordered the avocado toast, Green Guru salad, and the burger, which all looked fantastic.  Afterwards we ordered a couple of the brownie sundaes, which were brownies topped with chocolate ice cream filled with brownie batter pieces, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a cherry on top.  I was quite a happy camper if you could not tell.  The restaurant is located on Newbury St and was tastefully decorated inside with pretty holiday lights hanging from the windows.  I will be back again and again for the Croque Madam, and suggest you do the same!

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Aram’s Cafe

Aram’s is a local favorite and has been serving breakfast in Belmont since 1987.  They offer the traditional eggs, home fries, toasted muffins, and consistent service.  It is not a large establishment, but they do their best to get the food out quickly.  I ordered the Hiway Special, which came to be $8.50.  An egg and cheese croissant breakfast sandwich, with a side of home fries and coffee.

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The sandwich was exactly as described, albeit the potatoes were a little undercooked.  However, Aram’s is definitely a great place for locals to grab a quick, hearty, and satisfying breakfast.  You know what you are going to get, and everyone can find something worth ordering.

Festive Cookie Butter Granola

This granola is the best I have ever had.  It is so addicting you will not be able to put it down.  What started out as breakfast to serve alongside Greek yogurt and fruit turned into a whole day snacking affair.  The reason why it is so amazing is due to one special ingredient, cookie butter.  If you have never had cookie butter before believe me when I say it is heaven on earth.  I prefer Biscoff Crunchy Speculoos Spread which is made by grinding spiced Biscoff cookies until they turn into a consistency similar to peanut butter.  The spread is sweet and buttery and my father loved eating it by the spoon!  The cranberries and pumpkin seeds add a red and green holiday vibe and make the granola not too sweet.

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Festive Cookie Butter Granola

3 cups oats

2/3 cup cranberries

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 large egg white

1/2 cup cookie butter

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, excluding the egg white.

Whip the egg white until frothy and then gently mix it into the other bowl.

Scatter the granola on the pan and cook for 55-60 minutes.  Break apart the granola into clusters once it has cooled for a couple of minutes.

Minestrone Pasta

Seeing as a couple of people in my family have become sick this past week, I thought soup would be a good choice for a comforting meal.  My aunt had told me about a minestrone recipe she had from a friend’s grandmother and I decided to try it.  I added in beans, bacon grease, and pasta, and forgot the peas!  The pasta proceeded to absorb the broth, which was delicious, but made it so that I could no longer call the dish soup!  I served this alongside pesto bread, which is just a crusty baguette slathered with pesto and finished off in the broiler.  I also topped the pasta with fresh romano cheese.  The vegetables all melded down beautifully together and it was really filling even though there is no meat.  Next time I think I will add a little bit of wine for added flavor. photo 2

Minestrone Pasta

olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup zucchini, chopped

1 cup of cauliflower, chopped

2 cartoons of chicken broth

1 cup of water

1 can of tomatoes or 1 cup of fresh tomatoes

1 cup of asparagus, chopped

1 can cannelloni beans

1 pound small shaped pasta

a couple tablespoons of bacon grease

Directions

Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and add the bacon grease.  The temperature should be on high. Add the chopped onions, garlic, celery, garlic, carrots, and cook for a few minutes.  Add the broth.

Add 2 bay leaves, parsley, water, chopped zucchini, cauliflower and one can of diced tomatoes.

Let the soup boil for about an hour and a half, then add asparagus and pasta.

Allow to cook until the pasta is finished.  I proceeded to cover it up and let the flavors meld for around 6 hours.  I think this dish just gets better the longer you wait.  Enjoy!

Puppy Chow

Around this time of year, it is crucial to find easy desserts to give to family and friends, that also taste delicious.  Puppy chow, also known as muddy buddies, is composed of a very few number of ingredients, and is addicting!  For those unfamiliar with the snack, it is usually Chex cereal covered with peanut butter and chocolate and then dusted with confectioners sugar.  I got the recipe from here, but substituted the M&M’s for pretzels.

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Puppy Chow (it makes A LOT)

14 cups Chex cereal or a similar variety

18 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

½ cup salted butter melted

1 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

3-4 cups of pretzels

4-5 Cups powdered sugar

Combine the pretzels and cereal in a 2 large bowls.  Melt the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate together in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.

Drizzle half off the mixture onto one of the bowls and mix well to combine.  Place half of the confectioners sugar in a large paper bag and then put in the chocolate covered cereal.  Shake until the cereal is coated with the sugar.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.  Dig in!

Baked Oatmeal

I have been in the kitchen since I arrived home last night because I am finally on Christmas break!!!  Be prepared for a flurry of posts as I attempt to create everything I have saved since August.  The first baked good was for my father’s breakfast who loves oatmeal.  This dish is really simple to whip up and can be made the night before.  You can add in your favorite toppings like raisins, berries, coconut, nuts, etc.  I just added walnuts this time around.  I got the recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen.  This baked oatmeal was delicious and perfect for a winter breakfast.  It was slightly sweetened by the maple syrup, comforting from the oats, and warm from the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I baked mine the night before and just reheated it for breakfast!

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Baked Oatmeal (serves 4)

3/4 cup steel cut oatmeal
½ cup walnuts halves, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Butter a brownie pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl add all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix until everything is incorporated.
  5. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. At the 30 minute mark lower the oven temperature down to 325 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes.
  7. Serve it warm alongside fruit and enjoy!

 

JP Licks

I finally tried JP Licks after hearing rave reviews and I am so happy that I did!  Located in Newton Center, it is a small shop right by Johnny’s.  JP Licks prides themselves with their homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt, and they have 13 locations in the Greater Boston Area.  Not only do they have a great ice cream selection, but they also offer ice cream cookie sandwiches, sundaes, and ice cream cakes.

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I settled on a medium sized cone of the seasonal flavor, salted caramel, on another rainbow sprinkled cone with sprinkles on top.  If you couldn’t tell, I love rainbow sprinkles.  They just make everything look prettier!  The ice cream was amazing and filled with swirls of rich salted caramel.  The flavor was really strong and exactly what I was looking for.  Next time I am definitely going to try the peanut butter oreo which sounded right up my alley.  Maybe Ill add some of their homemade hot fudge on top!

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See that salted caramel dripping below?  That is when you know you have some amazing ice cream.

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Union St.

Union St. is a standard neighborhood restaurant and bar, nestled on a side street off of Newton Center.  Located in a pretty brick building, the restaurant is quite large, and offers multiple floors of seating.

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The menu caters to everyone with its expansive list.  I went on a Saturday night around 7PM and my group of four was able to get seating right away, even though it was busy.

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After asking the waitress for her preference between two salads I ordered the Marinated Feta and Avocado.  It consisted of avocado, white beans, toasted pistachios, mixed greens, and a citrus vinaigrette.  The flavor combination was on point, creamy from the avocado and beans, salty from the feta, and the dressing added a necessary tang.  It cost $10.50 and for that price there was not that much avocado.  My companions ordered the Buffalo Mac and Cheese, which looked amazing on a huge skillet, and the Chicken and Waffles, which also looked satisfying.

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Overall I would say Union St. is a place where you can go and be confident that you will find something worth ordering.  Although it might not serve the best food out there, and the prices may be a little inflated, it has a great ambiance, and with its large seating capacities, you do not have to worry about getting in.

Cafeteria

Cafeteria is a cute restaurant located on Newbury St, perfect for people to treat themselves to a nice lunch or dinner.  The decor is fun and inviting when you walk in, and it feels like a place young women would go for a “classy,” yet not too pricy meal.  The background music consisted of Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, and other pop artists on the Friday night I was there.  The food is dressed up American fare featuring salads, sandwiches, pizza, and entrees.

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I ordered the grilled cheese which had tomato slices, arugula, mozzarella, and fontina on crispy sour dough bread with parmesan french fries on the side.  The ratio between cheese and tomato was a bit lacking, I could have used more cheese, but the overall flavor was good.  The parmesan fries were crispy and delicious even if the parmesan flavor was not there.  It cost $9.5 before I added the tip.  My friend ordered the greek salad sandwich which was a roll piled high with vegetables, feta, tzatziki sauce, and chicken.

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Overall, Cafeteria is a fun place to go with a group of girlfriends when you want fancified American food, and a modern vibe.  After walking around Newbury St. you can be assured a solid meal and a great experience.

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