Eating in Boston

You guys. I have always said that I am not a city girl. But I could definitely get used to the restaurants here. And foodie places in general. Eataly is my new favorite vacation spot...jk Italy would be cool too ;) Anyways, I got to the city after a stressful drive (I don't trust my car) around 4:30. My friend, Sierra who I was staying with is the best and led me to a street that had ample parking! I parallel parked like a boss (I actually love parallel parking) and then proceeded to overpay the meter. I thought I would air on the side of caution and pay the maximum time (4 hours) and then realized the meter was only monitored until 6pm. Good job, Megan. Way to be aware. (insert emoji rolling his eyes here). Before I left for Boston I stopped to get a roll of quarters just for parking purposes but this one accepted cards. Decided to use my card to save my quarters even though I have plenty and then realized there is a charge for using cards...MEGAN!

Moving on, though. Sierra told me to meet her at Hynes Convention Center so I put my headphones in and turned on my maps app. Yes, I was that girl. I didn't even listen to music, just my directions. It was a beautiful day to walk and I covered part of the marathon course! Luckily Sierra spotted me crossing the street and "picked me up" right by Newbury Street. We just walked along the street for a good 20ish(?) minutes chatting. I loved being outside and being able to catch up. There was never a lull in the conversation because there was so much to talk about. It's so fun meeting up with my friends who are dietitians (I admire you all!) and talking about nutrition, but also enjoying delicious food, the city, the outdoors, etc. I didn't even think about my knee until we walked down stairs to get to the tapas restaurant...that hurt.

I had made a reservation at Tapeo on Newbury Street but we definitely DID NOT need a reservation at that time of day. It was really nice to be there early without many other customers (plus I am a grandma and eat at 5-5:30pm most days). The bar was adorable and I would totally sit there the next time I went. It felt like a little bodega in Spain with all the beautiful tiles. I should have taken a picture...

My friend told me that she liked the sangria and since there were a few on tap (YES, I said on tap!!) I asked the waiter for his favorite. He said the sangria royal because it's less sweet than the others and the strongest. Being a person who strongly dislikes any juice in her sangria (I blame Turks and Caicos for that), I went with his suggestion. I knew I was only going to have one glass and we were going to be out for a bit so I wasn't concerned about it being on the stronger side. Sierra went with a glass of red wine.

We decided to get a few tapas to share. Tortilla espanola with a spicy creme fraiche sauce came out with some bread and hummus. The bread was SO FLUFFY! And the tortilla brought me right back to Sevilla and sitting at my host mom's dining room table. She made the best tortilla. The spicy creme fraiche complemented the potato omelet so well! We also got the chicken croquettas. I love croquettas, any flavor. It's basically a fried dough ball but full of flavor! The waiter recommended the spinach with pine nuts and golden raisins in an oil dressing. This was really good and I liked that the spinach wasn't overly cooked. It was slightly wilted but still held it's shape and had a bit of a crunch to it. I am not a fan of super soft spinach.

My all time favorite dish of the night was the lamb meatballs in a truffle cream sauce. The meatballs alone were fantastic and so flavorful but coupled with the truffle cream sauce it was out of this world. Anything truffle rocks my taste buds' world. As with any meatballs in Spain they were served with peas. I forgot this and need to remember to add peas to my own meatballs! So so so good. I would go back just for the albondigas (meatballs in Spanish). Sierra said my Spanish was so good, but I think she was just being nice :)

We chatted and chatted until the sun started to go down a bit and we decided to start the mile-ish walk back to the car. Sierra wanted to take me to Eataly and I had no idea what it was, but Sierra knows me well and it had the word "eat" in it so why not?! Boy am I glad we went. I was also relieved that there were escalators...(for my knee pain). We got side tracked in the cookbook section and I was seriously contemplating buying the wine and cheese swatchbook (below). They even had Bayley Hazen in there! My absolute favorite cheese. If only I could remember the wine to pair with it...I guess I do need to buy the swatchbook. Maybe I will buy it for myself for graduation...

We explored the hand made pasta. One was black because it was made with squid ink! There was a wine section, too, but we didn't go in there. The cheese section was beautiful and right by the wine. Then there was a meat section where you can get thinly sliced jamon. That's the Spanish word but I'm not sure how to say ham in Italian. They had a bread section which was gorgeous and overflowing with every kind of bread you can imagine and lots of baguettes. There was an Italian processed foods section which was fun to meander through. We found a pistachio spread that one guy proclaimed is better than Nutella! Bold statement.

The best part is that there is a "food court" to sit down and enjoy the many flavors of Italy. It's a fancy food court, don't worry. I almost wished we ate there but it was super busy! Next time. And it was great to have some Spanish tapas which I can't find anywhere in Vermont. We did get gelato from Eataly, though! And being the terrible guest that I am missed my opportunity to treat Sierra and then forgot to tell the cashier that I got a medium cup instead of a small. Whoops. The people there said I looked like a hazelnut girl so I got hazelnut and pistachio. They were spot on. I loved the flavors! I thought you could only get two flavors in a medium cup but boy that left me feeling full. When was the last time I had gelato though?! And it was such an experience.

I've been on such a dessert kick lately and let me tell you, dietitians and future dietitians eat dessert too. We don't just eat fruit and vegetables. We eat cheese, gelato, fried croquettas, bread, etc. We drink wine, sangria, etc. We love food. Sierra and I were talking about why we went into nutrition and she said because she loves to cook and I said because I love experiencing food. I love how it brings people together. I love how it encompasses the values and passions of different ethnic groups and cultures. I love the memories it evokes. I love the flavors and the tastes. I love the excitement. I love the variety. Eataly brought all of this excitement out for me. Thank you, Sierra!

We got back to Sierra's super cute apartment and watched last week's Grey's Anatomy episode while I iced my knee. Then we crashed and I mean crashed. I fell right asleep. I had my own room too! When does that ever happen when visiting someone?! Sierra had a towel laid out for me and everything. Amazing host. She even made me coffee while I got ready and had breakfast in the morning.

Now I am doing work at a coffee shop near her apartment before I drive back into the city this afternoon for my unofficial interview. I have my favorite blazer on which matches my glasses (I wish you could put emojis in blogs because I would definitely use the spirit fingers emoji right here).

Seriously hoping my car makes it back to Vermont since I will be driving at night on a long, empty highway. Wish me luck...

Sweet(s) Love

If you want a cookie eat a cookie. If you want ice cream eat ice cream (it's FREE CONE DAY so you better be eating ice cream). If you want a donut eat a donut (I want a Holy Donut). img_5773

(How many times will I show this picture...)

It's Girl Scout Cookie season. It's Easter season. It's OFFICIALLY creemee season!!! Heck, it's Spring and it's rainy and that just makes me want to enjoy some sweets (hello, instant gratification).

creemee

I came across an article today that left me speechless. I won't get into the specifics of the article because let's be honest, the journalist was just doing his/her job. The article was a perfect example of what is called diet culture (aka restrictive eating, labeling foods as good/bad/off-limits, calorie counting, etc.), but it inspired me to write this post.

Let me break this down. First, all cookies/cakes/ice creams/donuts are not created equal, nor should they be. Sure the peanut butter cookies have more calories than the plain sugar cookies or an ice cream with mix ins like nuts or candies has more calories than a plain vanilla. The peanut butter cookies contain peanut butter, though (shocker, I know), which is nutritious and has vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, etc. "Plainer" sweets have fewer nutrients, but also fewer calories. No cookie is better than another. A cookie is a cookie (and I love cookies). No ice cream is better than another. None are good. None are bad. Maybe some taste good and maybe some taste bad, but cookies/cakes/donuts/ice cream do not have moral value. Eat because you want to or because you are hungry. Consider the nutrients that you're providing for your body. Consider how the food makes you feel. Does the food bring back memories?  I remember all my previous free cone days in the land where Ben and Jerry's originated and this may be my last one here for a while (grabbing a tissue). Today I tried Frozen Flakes, which is Ben and Jerry's rendition of Frosted Flakes. I grew up eating Frosted Flakes every day as a child and my dad always commenting with, "Theyyyy'rrreeee great!" when he came downstairs in the morning.

Second, why can't we enjoy desserts (or all foods for that matter) in peace without thinking about what we need to do to burn them off? This stimulates disordered eating and the dichotomous thinking that sweets are bad and once they touch our lips we need to compensate because immediately that cookie goes straight to our hips. Wrong. We are sculpted by society to believe that we "need" to cut back later in the day (aka restrict) or burn off what we should not have just indulged in in the first place. That is disordered eating. Dessert is part of normal eating. Cookies are food. Donuts are food. Ice cream is food. Dessert is not the enemy. Sweets provide calories, fat, carbohydrates and some protein (maybe).  What makes dessert different from dinner or breakfast? NOTHING. Because sweets are not bad. Eating cookies is not wrong.

apply cake

Legalize all foods, including Girl Scout Cookies, donuts, ice cream, etc. And if you can't then seek out a dietitian to help you trust your body and learn to enjoy all foods again. I am not saying this is an easy process. But what I am trying to say is that the media supports diet culture and society encourages restriction. If this is ever going to change we need to look at articles with a critical eye and wonder if what is being said is supporting the diet mentality. Guaranteed most of the time it is. If you truly want a cookie eat the cookie and enjoy it. If you want to go to Free Cone Day then enjoy Free Cone Day! Every eating event is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your body. Isn't that exciting?

 

Special thanks to my friend Christine for editing this post and providing insight.