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...

Portsmouth Stay-Cation

I call visiting Portsmouth a stay-cation because I usually just hunker down with the twin and her pup. We don't explore that much anymore. Sometimes I get antsy by this because I love going out to new restaurants and exploring new places, but I love just being in the presence of my sister. And who doesn't love cuddling with a dog?! If you don't enjoy that we won't be friends. I got to Portsmouth Sunday evening and went for a quick 3 mile run after being in the car forever. I am also trying to stay on top of my training while away which is hard. I cooked up some "power" bowls for dinner (aka quinoa, chicken, roasted brussels/carrots/mushrooms, avocado, and siracha). We of course had some wine with dinner. Monday morning I slept in a bit and got ready for a bit day in Portland. I should have ran in the morning but the weather said it felt like -12 out...no thanks. Instead I spent the time preparing and getting ready (no I do not normally need a full morning to get ready). I also managed to get a little bit of homework done.

Around noon time Greg picked me up to head to Portland. What a guy to be willing to travel with me :) We had a blast (in my humble opinion). For a recap of my eats in Portland please see my previous post. It was a seriously delicious day. We watched Neighbors 2 and then Greg and I also watched How to Be Single. So funny.

Tuesday morning Julie and I got up to run 4.7 miles before the snow storm. It was flurrying but not bad out yet. Then I ventured into downtown Portsmouth with the pup to get a cup of coffee and coffee beans to take home. Why is it that I spend $15 on coffee from Portsmouth, but won't do the same and splurge on Speeder and Earls at home? I don't know, but that is going to change.

I got some homework done while Julie worked from home and then come 2pm it was time to start out movie marathon. First up, Safe Haven. Such a good Nicholas Sparks movie. We had some tea while watching and the electricity only flickered off twice. The wine was insane. It knocked down a huge tree across the street. We also watched Amy Schumer's Leather Show on Netflix and laughed for the whole hour. That evening I made pasta carbonara with chicken, kale, peppers, and onions. It turned out delicious. We also enjoyed a glass of rose that I got this past weekend (thank you Dad!). I had googled what to eat with rose because I figured it would be worth while. We ate that while Julie caught up on Greys Anatomy. Then we watched 10 Things I Hate About You and boy do I love that movie. We ended the night with Chicago Med before we both fell asleep. I would call that a good snow day.

Wednesday I woke up to sun and a dog jumping on me. Is there any better way to wake up in the morning? I decided I would do some homework in the morning while Julie was at work and then go outside for a run and to play with the dog. Well after lunch (leftover pasta carbonara) I ventured outside and made it .36 miles. There aren't any neighborhoods that close to Julie and the sidewalks were nowhere to be found. The roads are also very narrow with the snow and once I was sprayed by a plow twice in a matter of 5 minutes I turned around. It wasn't worth the frustration or the potential danger. Instead I shoveled out Julie's neighbor which hurt my arms so much. And then threw some sticks in the yard for Lyla to chase.

I'm sitting here having a dilemma. I am trying to get my runs in...but it's not going well. I'm not one to go to the end of the moon (that's a saying right?) to get these things done. I am getting better about convincing myself to run on mentally tough days. And while I didn't want to do it, I did make it outside and start before turning around. I called Julie's gym and it costs $25 to go for a day...um poor graduate student over here...I'll only go if Julie goes too because then the price gets cut in half. I'm also cooking dinner tonight to pay my keep as Julie put it...and I want to cook something epic.

I ended up combining a few different recipes to make my own version of Jeanne's amazing lasagna which she said comes from a cookbook called Silver Palate. I switched it up by using a bechamel recipe with olive oil and adding ground turkey and more vegetables and different cheese.

While I was cooking the lasagna we heated up garlic bread from Shaw's because there is no such thing better than bread when it comes to me and Julie. I also bought us some Apothic Inferno, which was soooooo good! Definitely one of my favorites. The bourbon flavor is spot on. I served salads on the side of the lasagna and more garlic bread of course. See below for the recipe.

We ate dinner while watching This Is Us and then watched a movie called Impossible. It's about the 2004 tsunami and it was so moving. I definitely teared up at times and Julie, Greg, and I were on the edge of our seats. Well not Greg so much. Lyla was snoring so that brought us back to reality.

Before leaving Thursday morning I went for an early 5 mile run with Julie. It was cold, but the sunrise was beautiful and I loved exploring side streets of downtown Portsmouth with her. Portsmouth is such a pretty town. Headed out around 8:15am to get to Boston for my informal interview and what do you know...another cylinder in my engine broke. Nothing could stop me from getting to Boston though and it's a perfect excuse to spend the night at home before driving back to Burlington in the morning.

Lasagna for the Soul (adapted from The Silver Palate)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut small
  • 2 bell peppers (I used red and orange), cut small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (look for one without sugar!)
  • 1 recipe for bechamel (Angerer, 2013)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • spices as desired

Method

  1. Cut the vegetables while cooking the noodles according to the package directions.
  2. In a large saute pan cook the onion in some oil for about 2 minutes before adding desired spices (garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, etc.). Then add the peppers and eggplant and cook well.
  3. Once vegetables are no longer crisp pour them into a bowl and cook the ground turkey in the same skillet. Cook until no longer pink.
  4. While the turkey is cooking, mix the olive oil and the flour in a pan for the bechamel sauce. Once combined and no longer lumpy, add the milk stirring consistently over medium heat. You will need to continuously stir as the sauce will thicken and clump/burn. Do not let this happen. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in desired spices.
  5. Spoon half of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Top with the turkey and then the vegetables. Cover with 1/2 of the bechamel sauce and about 1/3 of the cheese. Then add the other 1/2 jar of the tomato sauce before topping with the last of the noodles, bechamel and cheese.
  6. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut into pieces according to your hunger level. Great with a side salad and some crispy garlic bread.

 

 

References:

  1. Lukins S, Rosso J. The silver palate cookbook. New York, New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. 2007. Print.
  2. Angerer D. Olive oil bechamel - the blog. http://www.danielangerer.com/. Published May 7, 2013. Accessed March 15, 2017.