bex77: (Default)
I had my own version of restaurant week surrounding my birthday! 

I made the most of my birthday, stretching out the celebrations to several nights, with several friends and family!  I indulged my passion to explore new restaurants and cherish old favorites in six different cities and towns!   

1) Tango Argentinian Cuisine in Arlington

They're famous for meats - steaks, sausages, lamb and pork chops - but I was most impressed with the special cold soup - gazpacho - and the polenta with parmesan and malbec mushroom sauce!  I had the mile-high pork chop with a delightful side of mashed butternut squash and sweet potato.  

2) The Loading Dock in Belmont

We had Sunday brunch at this beautiful new Mediterranean bakery, deli and restaurant.  We ate well in a quiet corner of their dining room, and brought home prepared foods like curried cashew chicken salad and soups! 

3) Texas Road House in Everett

We went late evening and found a quiet corner table for their delicious chili, house salads, steak and ribs.  Basic American food with country music and dancing servers!  And fun non-alcoholic drinks!  I
 had the red raspberry lemonade. 

4) Lobsta Land in Gloucester

My favorite place on Cape Ann with a lovely view of the salt marsh just off Rte 128. I had lobster for lunch!  They make a delicious lobster chowder!  I was tempted by the lazy man lobster or paella but went with the combo appetizer of crab cakes, coconut shrimp and calamari.  

5) Nichols Candy House in Gloucester

This is the best old-fashioned candy shop! It's run by a cheery group of older ladies who walk around the displays while you point at your favorites and they fill a box of handmade chocolate.  You can pick up lobster lollipops, jelly beans, poppycock, Boston Baked beans, molasses puffs and more!  

6) S&S Deli in Cambridge

This deli in Inman Square is on my way home from work but we rarely stop.  I was starving so we ducked in for dinner.  They have a huge menu of deli favorites and basic American breakfast, lunch or dinner choices.  Choosing is tough!  I ended up with the gazpacho and the most delicious chicken pot pie!  Oh... and blueberry blintzes.  Mmmm.... they were good at breakfast the next day!

7) La Casa de Pedro in Watertown

We enjoyed the Venezuelan treats at this restaurant with the fanciful tropical interior.  I adore their tapas menu!  Another place where it's tough to choose.  I got to taste the shrimp ceviche, sweet plantains, "Pedro's Old Times with Vargas" - a spicy pork nuggets dish, fried cheese sticks and then the paella - an immense mixture of seafood, rice, and snap peas in a cast iron wok.  

8) Oleana in Cambridge

I was blown away by this place!  It's spectacular!  I can't believe this was my first time.  I tried to make a reservation a week ahead, but ended up on the wait list with little hope.  The universe smiled on me - they finally called at 2:30 pm the night I wanted to go saying they had a 6:30 pm table!  Perfect!  We got an outdoor table in a quiet, covered corner of their magical patio, next to an open plug where I could charge my almost-dead phone!  This is another "lots of tapas with a few entrees" place owned by award-winning chef Ana Sortun.  If she puts ingredients together, you know they will coordinate to delight your palate!  I got to taste several tapas:

Deviled eggs with tuna,
Sultan's Delight of tamarind beef short rib with smokey eggplant puree, 
Fatteh- Caramelized Onion, Romanesco, Crispy Mushrooms, Pinenuts, Yogurt; 
Swordfish special meze

Sister's Lemon Chicken with Za’atar, Turkish Cheese Pancake
Hubby's Beef Shish w/ Pepper Relish, Fried Green Tomato, Tomato Brown Butter, Yogurt
My Softshell Crab with Saffron-Almond Skordalia, Heirloom Tomato, Couza Fries w/ Olive tapenade

Pistachio Ma’amoul Cookie w/ Lemon Verbena Peaches, Olive Oil Ice Cream
Sweet Corn Ice Cream w/ Blueberry Spoon Sweets, Corn Puff, Sumac Kettle Corn
My first ever Baked Alaska - Coconut Ice Cream and Passion Fruit Caramel

My companions enjoyed their creative cocktails. I enjoyed the festive drinks without alcohol!  I adored the hibiscus iced tea.  And the rooibos hot tea with dessert.  

Our server was a friendly, efficient younger woman with a way of asking how things were going that encouraged us to gush compliments to the chef.  

It is pricey but worth it for a special occasion! 

I recommend all these spots to you for happy eating!  


bex77: (Default)
 My birthday was a REALLY GOOD DAY ™. 

The weather was perfect - another clear, dry, cool 70's delight! 

The best thing I did was to take off from work!  I still woke up early but enjoyed connecting with all the folks who spread good wishes around my Facebook wall and texted and emailed and called!  

N. went out to get breakfast from Dunkin' Donuts and we watched the light and fun Robin Hood episode of "Doctor Who."  

I had a short bout of "what am I doing with my life?!" that my birthdays always seem to bring about, but tamped it down with some help from my pals and some theater work! 

I meant to take a nap, but the greetings kept rolling in and I kept answering until it was time to head out for supper.  It was so wonderful to be with my sister E. and her family!  She treated N. and I to a spectacular Spanish tapas dinner at Dali in Somerville.  We had their back dining room to ourselves, surrounded by the copper celling and pots and pans!  We ordered a plethora of small plates and shared.  I started with a fun non-alcoholic drink: the Oscaritos, which is a refreshing mix of lime juice and mint and fizzy water.  I adore places that have festive drinks for those of us who can't do liquor!  

We shared so many dishes I'm not sure I can recall them all!  So many amazing tastes!  The highlights were the
- gazpacho, so cold, fresh and spicy,
- the ceviche with it's protein-rich mix of cold seafood and citrus, 
- deep-fried cheese with honey and sweet onions
- baked goat cheese with tomato and basil 
- beef short ribs in Rioja wine sauce
- duck in berry sauce,
- scallops in saffron cream
- pheasant with bacon and mushrooms
- lamb meatballs with tomato mint sauce
- prunes wrapped in bacon filled with goat cheer and almonds
- grilled baby lamb chops with peach sauce - this was my niece's choice and definitely the best of the evening with the most tender lamb I've ever eaten, marinated in delicious spices and covered in a perfect fruity sauce! 

There were several other dishes I wanted to try - their menu is astonishing! 

For dessert I had their cool and smooth flan, covered in candied clementines!  The waiters gathered around to sing happy birthday with tambourines and present me with their metal frog candelabra!  My brother-in-law took a fun photo of me giggling at all that!  

I took a few photos - pop over to Facebook if you want to see them.  

Thanks for all the birthday wishes and being part of a wonderful day! 

bex77: (Default)
It's my birthday and I'll write if I want to! I am taking the day off from work!  

I am so lucky to have special people in my life to celebrate my birthday!  

It's a beautiful day!  The Facebook messages and texts and emails are rolling in!

I started celebrating early!  

Sunday RI Adventure

The weather was perfect - clear with a few high clouds now and then, breezy, 70… it looked like the opening of "The Simpsons!"  The sun made everything look so crisp and beautiful!  It was especially appreciated after the muggy 90's and fierce thunderstorms of Saturday.

N and I made a day of it, heading out on a RI adventure!  I have never seen the roads so empty!  It was glorious to sail down I-93 and Rte 24.  

Lunch at Quito's

We started the day in Bristol with a parking spot right out front of Quito's, a fun seafood restaurant with a covered deck right on the harbor!  We shared a flight of chowders!  We got a great table right at the front looking out over the big boats and beautiful water.  It was great to compare the Manhattan, New England and Rhode Island versions of this classic.  I liked the tomatoey Manhattan more than I thought I might, did not really care for the clear broth briny RI and adore their New England.  N. had the grilled chili lime shrimp which I found tough, dry and hard to get off the skewers.  The stuffed quahog was not great either… the stuffing was packed down and dry even after a liberal dosing of lemon juice.  Our second course was better with crunchy clam fritters and coconut mango shrimp.  N's fish and chips had two huge squares of perfect fish.  

South Beach wading

We motored on along the little roads of Tiverton and Little Compton, past the cow pastures and wineries and beautiful bays to the fantastic secret South Beach.  N. played "I'm All About the Bass" for me until we crossed into the area were there is no cell signal or wifi, so we went off the grid!  They've stopped charging for parking!  We pulled most of the way down and got a beachfront parking spot. I took a bunch of photos and a video!  There were a lot of people in the water, so I decided to be brave.  I rolled up my pant legs, shucked my socks and clogs and waded in!  It was lovely! N. tried it too!  It was a little hairy getting back to the car through the stones and getting our feet cleaned off and back into our shoes, but we managed together.  After a quick look at the peaceful Tuniper Pond across the road, we headed back North. 

Farmstand colors

We pulled in at Walker's Farm Stand.  I hadn't been there before.  It's a quintessential family farm with a mix of their homegrown veggies and stuff from elsewhere, ith some cheeses and milk and goodies for the tourists.  I got a couple ears of corn, then popped in to Wilma's Bakery for walnut pumpkin bread and a fresh lemonade!  The displays in the farm stand were so pretty, I dashed back to the car for my phone and snapped a few photos, then walked down to the fields to look out over the bay and take some more! 

Grinnell's Beach Beauty

They've locked the gate and the bathrooms.  Bleh!  But the views of the little island and the big house and the boats and the water are still spectacular.  

General Store Treats

We went on to Fall River to find the Sky Beverage General Store.  It's a beautiful rehab of an old factory building with a convenience store, frozen yogurt shop, candy store and cigar shop!  We got a few Jelly Belly Beans with odd flavors like "Movie Popcorn" and made use of their strong wifi signal to upload photos.  

Dinner Delights

Then it was time to go back to Tiverton for an incredible dinner overlooking Mount Hope Bay at The Boat House.  We had the corner table overlooking the bay!  Sarah was our waitress.  Not the best we've had but a bubbly geeky enthusiastic server with a passion for a clean table.  We started with their warm sourdough rolls and whipped butter in the cute little paper bag.  N. had their Hall of Fame spicy corn chowder with chorizo, while I tried their clam chowder.  Both are delicious!  We shared the field greens with goat cheese and pecans in a champagne vinaigrette and then splurged on the raw bar sampler with 4 cocktail shrimp, 4 Point Judith Oysters and 4 Little Neck clams.  I gloried in the baked stuffed lobster with bay scallop and shrimp stuffing... so divine!  He had their sirloin steak with fried parmesan gnocchi and the fries. The impossibly young looking manager with the braces stopped by to wish me a happy birthday.  He got a little verkelmpt when we told him this is our "go-to place" for special days.  We watched the sunset over the bay as they brought me a little dessert with a candle - the dark chocolate budino (mousse) with hazelnuts and whipped cream, which was free!  They didn't have hot chocolate so I had an ice cold glass of skim milk.  Such a special place!  

There was heavier traffic going back, but it moved along and managed to "make a pocket" away from most cars most of the way.  We made it home in record time - just 66 minutes!  Whee!

I uploaded way too many photos to Facebook.  Please check them out over there.  The sunshine made everything look spectacular! 

This is the life!!!!

bex77: (Default)
What a week it has been! Lots of birthday celebrations. It was incredible to hear from or eat with so many people! I feel celebrated and humble, and a bit overwhelmed.

It became a bit of an experiment in communication modes.

Here's how the data played out:
- Facebook 52 wall messages
- LJ 4 comments
- Email 2 (former co-worker, college friend)
- Phone 3 (mom, older sister, and one other)
- Ecard 1 (former co-worker)
- Physical card 1 (N's dad)

So Facebook is definitely the place to be on your birthday! I heard from friends in South Africa, Sweden, many states including Hawai'i, and Australia! Nothing like a worldwide birthday!

My student workers presented me with a red velvet cupcake, and my co-workers gave me Burdick's chocolate!

I was also blessed with a fabulous series of birthday dinners.

Wednesday - The Red House with Neil for lobster risotto etc.

Friday - Chez Elizabeth's with A, J and N.
Fried chicken, roasted broccoli, rice and gravy, followed by peach/blueberry cobbler with mascarpone whipped cream. And the company of my favorite three-year-old. Hooray!

Saturday - fun with theater people - a table for six at Shanghai Village in Arlington, MA for drinks with umbrellas, shared appetizers and entrees!

Sunday - more fun with theater people - a table for ten at the brand new Foundry in Davis Square. Corn chowder and spaetzle, then a free slice of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis. Finally, a birthday cake! Fun place to see and be seen.

Still have to work in dinner with my parents.

Many thanks to anyone who was in touch, and special thanks to N. and E. for arranging such great get-togethers!



bex77: (Default)

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