Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sushi and Chinese at Yujo in Dracut

Estogo ditched its location in the former Burger King in DTL last March and found new digs along the Merrimack River at the former Lin Garden in Dracut.  The Mo and I used to go for the dim sum brunch on occasion before China Star put them out of business (my own thought) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Party At Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington

Every year I scope out nearby venues for our annual corporate holiday party.  With so many new restaurants opening in Burlington, it was a tough choice.  Previously we've had our parties at Ristorante Fiore in the North End, the former Beacon Grille (now Strega Prime) and Seasons 52 just last year.

We had a trial run at Tuscan Kitchen  at a small business dinner and everyone thought the food was exceptional.  I decided to go ahead and book our party with Wendy Feener, the events coordinator who was helpful in choosing our banquet menu.  We booked the Sicilia room which boasted a fireplace, LCD Screen and an a separate entrance to the outdoor patio (for the warmer months.)

Sicilia Room at Tuscan Kitchen Burlington
image via Tuscanbrands
For cocktail hour, we made the other guests jealous when the servers brought out our raw bar with oysters on the half shell and colossal shrimp cocktail. We also had our own bar where the booze was flowing freely.  That's one of the best things about our parties, it's always an OPEN BAR!  I overheard someone say, "I wish I was at that party!"

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Thai and Lao Cuisine at Lanxang Star - Dracut

Taopica Balls Appetizer
Recently celebrating their Grand Opening on December 7th, Lanxang Star has taken the place of Thai Parima on Lakeview Ave in Dracut, MA.  Similar to other Southeast Asian restaurants in the Lowell area, the extensive menu captures the essence of Thai and Laos cuisine.  Although each Southeast Asian country has it's own staple dishes, it's kind of hard to pin point the exact origin. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Business Dinner at Strega Waterfront Boston

I went here for a business dinner with a group of 10.  We started off with drinks at the bar.  All the bartenders and cocktail waitresses are beautiful and friendly.  Their uniform consisted of heels and black mini skirts.  Throughout the bar area, there were complimentary passed Hors d'oeuvres that included shrimp cocktail, scallops and bruschetta.  All were very good.

We were promptly seated for our reservation.  There were a few other parties going on at the restaurant and space is tight.  The coat check was located in an odd area in a makeshift rack by the bathrooms. It was a bit difficult maneuvering through the patrons of the party that spilled out from their private room into the main dining area.

Service was great!  We knew our server from another steakhouse as well as Fiore in the north end.  He was wonderful and eager to please.  The wine kept flowing and he made sure not one wine glass was every empty.  I loved it!

The fried seafood and balsamic appetizer was great.  I didn't see any scallops but the calamari and baby shrimp was plentiful.  The burrata  (fresh buffalo mozzarella) was creamy and delicious.  Everyone was a fan of the Rosetta's famous meatballs.  Each meatball was HUGE and could be cut up into 5-6 pieces to share.  It was tender and moist.  The rollantini di nico was also very good.  I was disappointed that we only got one order for a table of 10 but the morsel I had was great!

Veal "Salmtimbocca" $32.00

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekday Dim Sum Brunch at Hei La Moon Boston

We had an early flight back from vacation into Logan airport and wanted to find an affordable place for breakfast on a Tuesday morning.  There was street metered parking in Chinatown and we walked across the street Hei La Moon for dim sum.  

The restaurant was very clean and the servers were not pushy at all (no pun intended).  Food was average.  Since it was still so early (9:30 AM) they didn't have some of my favorite dim sum specialties like calamari, crab claw balls or clams in black bean sauce.  
Steam pork wrapped in bean curd, steamed pork spareribs and chicken feet

Monday, December 1, 2014

Barrachina - the Original Birthplace of the Pina-Colada

"If you like Pina Coladas, getting caught in the rain"

That pretty much sums up our time in Puerto Rico. Drinks and the occasional downpour. Lucky for us, the rain were mere sprinkles and the sun was still shining.

Typically, we like to find places to eat through recommendations by the locals or places we find on our own.  We TRY to stay away from tourist places but I really wanted to check out Barrachina, the self proclaimed "Original Birthplace of the Pina Colada." Who doesn't love Pina colodas? In fact, I think I drank one everyday on the Celebrity Cruise (thank god we had the booze package.)

We were sick of shelling out the $20.00-25.00 cab fare from Isla Verde to Old San Juan so we decided to save money and take public transportation.  We were told the buses were not reliable but we took the risk anyway.  We waited at a bus stop for a good 30 minutes before the right bus came along.  When we got on, I thought, "Finally, AC, this won't be so bad." To my surprise, their was a crazy "possessed" guy on the bus yelling vulgar profanity for the whole 45 minute ride.  It was really awkward and uncomfortable.

The morning was spent souvenir shopping in Old San Juan.  There were lingering "Black Friday" deals going on, even though it was Monday.  Most of the designer stores in the area (Coach, Dooney & Burke, Guess, etc) had 50% off entire store in addition to an extra 15-40% off.  I scored some bags and sunglasses from Coach for less than $30.00.  (On a different note, I parted way with my favorite pair of Coach sunglasses a few days before at the beach at La Concha from being thrown around in the ocean by massive waves)

We arrived to Barrachina a little past noon and seated in the beautiful courtyard.  It was so cool to see poinsettias in a hot climate.  I usually associate the red holiday plants with Christmas in New England.

Barrachina Old San Juan Courtyard

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bebo's BBQ chicken and ribs in Isla Verde Carolina Puerto Rico

I remembered about this place after a fellow FB friend posted a picture of her and her friends at this hole in the wall joint in Isla Verde Puerto Rico.  I'm still overwhelmed with completing all my posts from Nov vacation that the blog posts are slowly making its way to the live version. I wish we had free internet on the cruise!

Anyhow, after a night of trying our luck at the Ritz Carlton San Juan casino, my friends and I jumped into a rental car and followed Google Maps and headed towards Bebo's BBQ in the Carolina area for some late night grub.  When we arrived, there was a short line that seemed to take forever to move.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tapas & Flamenco Dancing in Old San Juan

After numerous unanswered emails and phone calls, I was finally able to get a hold of someone at Triana Tapas & Flamenco Restaurant.  I made a reservation for 9 for Saturday night and we were confirmed! I was happy and relieved.

The entourage cabbed it into Old San Juan for a dinner filled with tapas and flamenco dancing.

Of course it was too good to be true, once we arrived at the restaurant, they couldn't find our reservation and the restaurant was full to capacity.  The manager assured me that I must have made reservations at a different restaurant but I brought out my smartphone and showed him the phone # and details confirmed, "show starts at 8:30 PM and lasts approximately 1.5 hrs."  He quickly changed his tune and said they would try to get a table for our group.

The restaurant decor is pretty cool.  There were string lights and lanterns hanging in the lobby and a corner with flamenco costumes displayed.

Awesome Segway Tour in Old San Juan Puerto Rico

The highlight of my trip in the Caribbean had to be the Segway Tour of Puerto Rico.  At first, I was a bit sticker shock at the price close to $100.00 USD for the 2 hour "Fortifications" Tour that included lessons, entrance fees, and a segway for each person.  The tour would take us through the places listed below historical landmarks in the Old San Juan area of Puerto Rico.

I tricked my 50+ year old mom into doing the tour. She thought we were going to drive around in a van, little did she know, she would be driving a Segway of her own.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rumbaba Sailboat charter in St. Thomas

After reading numerous reviews and going back and forth with many business owners, my friends and I chose Rumbaba for snorkeling adventure in St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  The staff was quick to respond to my inquiries and seemed pretty laid back, they didn't even ask for a deposit.

We went with the half day 4 hr snorkeling tour that included unlimited Caribbean cocktails, a few places to snorkel as well as appetizers.  I was sold at UNLIMITED COCKTAILS.

Thanksgiving on Celebrity Cruise

Ever since the Mo and I went away last year for Thanksgiving, we love the idea of making it a tradition. Normally in the states, I'd wake up early to warm up the oven, decorate the house, cook the turkey and make sides.  We've hosted more Turkey Day festivities than we can can count on our fingers.  Sometimes, change is nice.  Waking up on a beach to breakfast already made and a drink upon request is a brilliant idea!

Thanksgiving 2013  Boracay, Philippines
This year, along with our moms, a few pals of ours ditched the cold weather for a Caribbean Cruise for Thanksgiving, We flew to

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Specialty Dinner at Normadie on Celebrity Summit

We bit the bullet and "splurged" the extra $45.00 per person on the Normadie "Exquisite fine dining" experience on the Celebrity summit.  The menu is described as French & Continental.

There was some confusion with the original reservations (on my part) but they were flexible to switch it around a few times for us.

Celebrity Cruise stop in Grenada

On Wednesday, our Celebrity Cruise docked in St. George's Grenada.  We took our time and enjoyed breakfast before getting off the Summit.  We walked up a steep hill to our first destination, Fort George, overlooking the bay.  It was a few bucks to get in and some effort but the view was worth it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Champagne Snorkeling & Titou Gorge with Bumpiing Tours in Dominica

We did the Roseau Valley Treasures (wet tour) with Bumpiing Tours.  They were quick to respond to email inquires and their itinerary and instructions with detailed and informative.  Dominica reminds me of Costa Rica with its lush greenery and beautiful views.

The first stop on the tour was snorkeling at the Champagne Reef among the warm bubbles.  The activity included snorkels gear (fins, masks, and life jackets).  Since we had a late start (our fault), supplies were limited but the found us snorkeling supplies from another vendor nearby.   Our group was small, consisting of only 10 people.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Grand Tour of St.Kitts

When we arrived in St.Kitts, it was raining cats and dogs. I kind of regretted organizing an island tour with Grey's Island Excursions, since the weather was not cooperating.  We met Thenford Grey at our meeting point at the Arrivals Hall at the end of the cruise ship pier and waited for our tour to start.

There were a few other groups that day and we were had a semi-private group lead by his brother (forgot his name?), who was a bit more straight forward, dry and had less charm.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ATV with Gecko's Island Adventures

Our first port on the Celebrity Summit Caribbean 7 day cruise was St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Being the first full day, we wanted to take it easy in the morning and relax and check out the ship.  We booked a later tour/excursion for Fredericksted St.Croix after lunch.

After looking through all the choices and reading reviews on Trip Advisor, we went with the ATV Tour with Gecko's Island Adventures.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Qsine on Celebrity Summit

Awaken your inner foodie on a culinary journey

Celebrity Cruise Qsine Specialty Dining
I always look forward to specialty restaurants on cruises.  Sure, you can save money and just eat at the buffet or the Main Dining room but I was intrigued by what I've read about Qsine on the Celebrity Cruises.

The prix fixe dinner was set at $45.00 per person.  Since we made reservations for the first night of sailing, we were entitled to a 20% credit.  Sure, I took advantage of that deal.  (Later I found out that they frequently give 20% off throughout the cruise)

Isla Verde and Peruvian Cuisine at Ceviche House

We arrived in Puerto Rico before the break of dawn and checked into our condo to nap for a few hours before exploring Isla Verde.  It is MUCH cheaper to rent a condo in Pueto Rico than it is to get a hotel room.  The local tax is 9-11% for hotel rooms, the later percentage is for hotels with a casino. In addition to taxes, most hotels charges an additional 10-15% for resort fees.  A handful even charge mandatory 10% service fees.  No matter how great the deal was that I found on Hotwire or Travelzoo, the final price was more than what I wanted to pay.

I found our cute Oceanside condo via Airbnb.  The rental accommodated up to 4 people and featured a huge flat screen TV, WIFI, in unit washer/dryer and a patio overlooking the ocean.  I was completely sold when I saw the price was $90.00 a night and that included transfer to and from the airport. (Since we were staying there on both ends of our trip, it included transfers to and from our cruise pier as well.) 

View from our balcony 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Artisan Italian at the brand new Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington

Before Tuscan Kitchen opened, there wasn't much selection for Italian dining for business lunches in the Burlington area. L'Andana was only open for dinner, Macaroni Grill was more on the casual side so we were left with Papa Razzi's.  My office mates and I were stoked to hear about the highly anticipated Tuscan Kitchen opening in New England Executive Park.

We had people visiting from out of town and I picked the new venue to host our business dinner. Wendy, the Private Dining Manager was extremely helpful with helping us coordinate the event.  I liked that there were no room fees or minimum requirements although we did have to select from the pix fixe menu.

Our group started off the evening with the Salumi e Formaggi that stimulated everyone's taste buds. Each wood platter entailed perfectly cured prosciutto, sopresata, parmigiano cheese, creamy burrata and the truffle honey was the icing!  It was wonderful.

Tuscan Kitchen Salumi e Formaggi 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Brunch at the Stonehedge Inn & Spa

Being Fifi, my friend guilt-ed her finance into treating the ladies to a gourmet brunch at the Left Bank Restaurant at the Stonehedge Inn & Spa in Tyngsboro, MA.  We got there around 9:30 AM and there was only one other couple finishing up their meal.  We were seated in the enclosed patio area where there was ample windows and sunlight and we were able to enjoy the late fall foliage.

Stonehedge Inn & Spa
Image via Stonehedge Inn & Spa Website
The three of us couldn't decide on anything so we each got a breakfast entree to share "Family-Style", my favorite way of eating!

Monday, October 20, 2014

MIYA Sushi & Asian Cusine in Downtown Lowell

The Mo and I had plans to meet up with friends for a few drinks in Downtown Lowell.  They were running late so we decide to grab a quick dinner at a downtown eatery.  The "Grand Opening 10% discount" sign above the new MIYA restaurant caught my attention. I'm always in to try a new restaurant and definitely a fan of deals!  The new Sushi/Asian restaurant is in the location of the former Etsogo restaurant on Merrimack street.  (Etsogo moved to a new location in Dracut, MA)

We arrived  a little after 6 PM on a Friday night and the restaurant was empty.  I thought, "Oh boy this doesn't look good." (When we left, there were more diners that trickled in! I guess no one cool eats in DTL at 6 PM!)

The servers were very eager to please as we were the only diners.  The restaurant had a complete makeover and it definitely looked a new establishment.  There were no reminisce of the old Burger King, where I use to frequent circa  1998.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rancho Tipico Hispanic Cuisine Food in Lowell

For most people, their social life dwindles down in the Fall.  For us, it just keeps getting busier. Within the past week, we've celebrated 6 birthdays and an anniversary.  In additional to all that, we're also attending a baby shower tomorrow.

To kill 4 birds with one stone, my friends and I got together for a casual dinner party at the DeLorie's home.  Since she herself just had baby Liam a couple weeks ago, we thought we'd order take out to make it easier on everyone.  Typically we get the Cambodian staples from Heng Lay or Simply Khmer but we wanted to try something new and Hispanic Cuisine came up.

Chicharro de Cerdo
Fried Pork

I reached out to my friend Amsi for recommendations and she mentioned Bani, Delicias Paisas and Rancho Tipico.  Since I would be ordering for 12 people, I wanted to go check out the place and see the food beforehand.  We arrived at Bani and there wasn't much in the glass display.  I asked the man if there would be more food in the evening and he advised that he would be closing at 6 PM today. He recommended La Differencia on Middlesex St but I vaguely remember them having bad reviews.

We walked a block over to Rancho Tipico on Salem street where the vibe was quite different.  There was music playing in the restaurant and a line of people waiting to be served.  I felt like I was in Puerto Rico.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Buen Provencho Puerto Rican staples in Hamilton, NJ

The Mo and I headed down South to NJ to surprise my cousin Pam who just welcomed her 2nd baby girl Mali.  After running around for most of the weekend, we grabbed a late lunch before heading back home.  I did a Yelp search and found a place within walking distance from her house. It was literally steps away.

Buen Provencho  Restaurant & Cafe is a brand new establishment that just opened its doors in the summer.  The menu features authentic Puerto Rican staples that includes mofongo, pernil as well a handful of popular sandwiches you would find on the island itself.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mekong Restaurant in Lowell

A couple of our friends are huge fans of Mekong Restaurant on Broadway Street in Lowell.  We rarely make it over to that side of Lowell unless we need to cut through to get to DTL.  It was my aunt's 60th birthday weekend and we wanted to try a different place for Cambodian noodle soup.

The small restaurant is an older Cambodian restaurant and is still a mom & pop's type of joint.  There were only two employees working the dining room and it was obvious one of them was the owner.

The restaurant has not gained traction as its other competitors in the highlands that attracts a younger, high tech, "social media" savvy crowd.  There are only a few Yelp photos and those belong to an employee of the restaurant.

We went there on a Saturday morning and there was only one single diner at the establishment.

We started off with a couple of apps and ordered the Cambodian eggrolls as well as huy keung.  The eggrolls came sans garnish.

Mekong Cambodian Eggrolls with taro

Monday, September 22, 2014

Walrus + Carpenter Gastropub

A few of my coworkers and I attended a manufacturing training for one of the lines we rep.  Located in Milford, CT, Q-tran produces low voltage power supplies and transformers for our lighting application requirements.  We arrived on a Sunday evening and the VP of sales, Gean,  graciously invited us to dinner at Walrus + Carpenter in Black Rock, CT.  I had no idea where we were going so I didn't have time to do a Yelp preview on the venue.

Upon arrival, we were greeted to a sign with pig logo and as well as a silhouette of a pig on the side of the building.  My first impression was that it was one of those fancy "Farm to table" restaurants that served locally grown and produced foods, similar to Gibbet Hill.

Image via http://www.walruscarpenterct.com
We entered the restaurant and it had a rustic, trendy vibe. I felt like I was at a hipster eatery in Brooklyn, NYC.  We were seated in a corner "picnic-style" booth with one side being just a bench. I joked with the group and said I thought I was going to have a "Britney Spears" moment every time I had to get up.

The ambiance of the restaurant was a relaxed, chill-out kinda mood with dim lighting.  All that was missing was the hanging Edison pendant light bulbs with the displayed filaments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hub on Wheels - Boston, Ma

My friend, Sophea got the Mo and I to sign up for a "leisure" bike ride in Boston called Hub on Wheels.    For one day of the year, the city closes down the entire 10 miles of Storrow Drive for the event.  Participants start and finish at the City Hall Plaza in government center and riders can opt for a 10 mile bike ride, a 30 minute bike ride or even a 50 mile bike ride.  The charity event supports Boston Bikes, Special Olympics and Boston Parks & Recreation.

Best Cambodian Yow Hon Hot Pot in Lowell

After concluding our 30 mile bike ride at Hub on Wheels in Boston, Bubba, Fifi and I wanted to replenish the 2000+ calories that we burned.  The original plan was to go to Hot Pot Buffet in Chinatown but I had a business trip that night and needed to be back in Lowell in time for my ride.

I suggest the next Best hot pot I could thing of, the Cambodian Yow Hon Hot pot at Heng Lay Restaurant in Lowell. The Mo and I have eaten almost everything on the menu, in fact, I've posted the most pictures on the Yelp website.

Most of my friends can agree that Heng Lay has the best Yow Hon broth in Lowell.  It's sweet and sour and the consistency is always rich.

I pre-ordered the Cambodian specialty meal ahead of time and advised the restaurant that we would arrive within 30 minutes.  We also got spicy calamari as an appetizer to share.

Heng Lay Spicy Calamari

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival by Fenway

Almost every weekend, the Mo and I drool over the dishes we see featured on the Phantom Gourmet TV show.  As many times as they hosted the event, I've never had the opportunity to attend.  This year, I tried to get a group together for a discounted rate of $30.00 versus paying $40.00.  I was unsuccessful and threw in the towel.

I received a text from my brother the night before the event asking if I wanted to go to the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival, VIP status.  How could I say "No" to that? The comp tickets were provided by one of the even't sponsors, Dadgar Insurance.

We arrived at Fenway close to 11:00 AM and there was already a line across the bridge.  I forgot to dress the part and wear purple.

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival Line

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Setha and Lee's Grand Wedding in Poughkeepsie

I have to admit, when the "Save the Date" arrived in the mail, I thought to myself, "Really Setha... a Thursday wedding????" Once we stepped foot on the grounds of The Grandview , we could see why the couple wanted to have their dream wedding there.

The waterfront venue had a picturesque panoramic view of the Hudson River and bridge.  Now I understood why the wait for a weekend wedding was more than a year.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dumpling Cafe in Boston's Chinatown District

I've been researching possible destinations for our next adventure and China keeps coming up.  Sure, there's the Great Wall of China, Jiuzhaigou, and the Forbidden City...but I think the foodie in me is more interested in the local Chinese cuisine. I'm not talking about lo mein, pork fried rice or general gau chicken (after all, we all know that's American Chinese food... right? ) 

I'm intrigued by the handmade fresh dumplings and wontons and this Xi'an Dumpling Banquet that I keep reading about. Depending on the establishment, diners pretty much feast on a beautiful assortment of 20+ varieties of veggies, meat and seafood steamed greatness.  The dumplings are locally made and served fresh. I'm already a huge fan of dim sum, I'd be in Dumpling Heaven!

Dumpling Cafe 
695 Washington Street
Chinatown Boston

Monday, September 8, 2014

Creative steamed buns at the Bao shoppe - Astoria NYC

After spending the day poolside in Brooklyn, Setha and I walked up and down the streets of Astoria in search of a place to grab a quick bite to eat.  It was a weird time to dine because it wasn't quite lunch and we would be eating dinner in 4 hours.

I told her I could go for Latin food or Asian food and she pointed out a little storefront.  She said "I think that's a Vietnamese but I don't think they have Pho or anything like that." I was so confused, how could a Vietnamese joint NOT have pho! I looked at the sign and I was sold immediately when I read the word "Bao" on the sign that said the Bao Shoppe.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mama's Empanadas

Who doesn't love empanadas? These delicious snack pastry with meat filling will always have a place in my heart whether we are in Costa Rica, Mexico, New York City or even Lowell!

Mama's Empandas Astoria NY

I arrived to NYC late last Friday night for Setha's bachelorette party.  By the time I got settled into her apartment, it was close to midnight.  We were too tired, hot and sticky to go bar hopping.  We walked around Queens for a bit to look for a place that was open for a bite to eat.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Emerald Rose in Billerica

Located in Billerica, Emerald Rose serves a wide variety of food for lunch, dinner, and as well as a semi "late-night" menu.   On Friday's, they offer a 1 pound prime rib special.  I've never actually had it but the display (on Friday nights)  always temps me on my drive home.

The fine Irish restaurant and pub is a short 5 minute drive down 3A from work,  Although my coworkers and like the restaurant, some of us prefer Newtown's Grille lunch specials starting at $4.99 and the delicious wings!

Since it was labor day week and the "end of summer" a few of us headed to the restaurant for one last patio lunch.  School was back in session and the restaurant wasn't busy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chau Chow City in Chinatown - Boston

Every so often, my friends and I like to venture into Boston for some Chinese grub at Chau Chow City.

Last friday, we were in the area and made plans with friends for dinner.  We started off with some drinks and a couple rounds of Scorpion bowls with the Bacardi 151 flaming in the center.

Chau Chow City Scorpion Bowl 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tapas at Masa's Woburn

I used to go to Masa's in Woburn ALL THE TIME when it first opened its doors a couple years ago. We met up with the Mo's siblings and uncle for drinks and dinner on a Tuesday night during Boston Restaurant Week.

We started off with the Tapas Combo which included 10 morsels of the tapas of the day.  Since we sat in the bar area, the plate only set us back $ 5.00 per a platter since we were dining between 5-7 PM or all day on Thursdays.  I was so excited that they had the bacon wrapped dates and ordered a couple of extra pieces at 50 cents just so I could indulge.

Masa's Woburn Tapas Combo $ 10.00 / $5.00 during Special Times

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yow Hon Cambodian Hot Pot at New Happiness Restaurant - Lowell

The Mo's uncle from out of state was in town and invited all the nephews and nieces for a family Hot Pot Yow Hon Dinner at New Happiness Restaurant in Pailin Plaza on Branch Street in Lowell.  There were almost 20 of us so we grabbed 2 tables.  I loved that the venue was BYOB and we were able to bring two magnums of wine for dinner.  During the summer, the restaurant is also open until 10:00 PM, which is really convenient for those wanting a later dinner.

We started with the fried calamari which was served with the Cambodian pickled vegetables on the side. The batter and texture was great.  It was so good, we actually ordered 4 orders of the appetizer, total.

New Happiness Restaurant Fried Calamari 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Anniversary Dinner at Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton

Oh my, how quick a year goes by! This time last year, the Mo and I were celebrating our matrimonial bliss with loves ones as we drank and danced the night away.

To celebrate our anniversary, the Mo and I made dinner plans to go to Gibbet Hill Grill, a "Farm to Fork" fine dining establishment in Groton, MA.  A few months ago, we received a very generous gift certificate from the Broads who also live in the area and recommended the unique dining venue.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Besito Mexican Restaurant - Part "Dos"

My coworkers and I anxiously awaited the opening of Besito Mexican Restaurant at the Burlington mall.  It was probably not the best idea that we went for lunch on the 2nd day the restaurant opened.  Our lunch took over an hour to prepare and we basically had to eat soggy tacos at our cube.

(What's really important to note is that the management team took really good care of us. The manager comped our meal that day and even gave us a $ 50.00 gift certificate.)  They didn't have to do that. It was really nice of them but I know that they also want to make a good impression.

Although the restaurant is located at the mall, the storefront of Besito stands out.  It's modern, elegant and beautiful.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Best Chicken Noodle Soup at David's World Famous in Woburn

One of the salesmen at the office was feeling a bit under the weather and wanted a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup for lunch.  I quickly Googled "Best Chicken Noodle Soup Burlington" and David's World Famous  in Woburn ranked at the top of my search results.

We got a bit lost getting to the eatery since it's tucked away in a heavily industrial/commercial on Commerce Way.  It was quite the "hidden gem" alright!

We arrived to a small shop with 6-7 tables and a window to place your order.  The menu featured regular deli meat lunch staples along with unique items like Chinese Duck Breast, Grilled Shrimp sandwiches and a Middle Eastern Falafel Roll-Up.  They also have Sriracha Hot Sauce as one of their "spreads". I thought that was so awesome! 

My favorite part was that they offered soup and sandwiches combos for a FRACTION of the price you would pay at Panera.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I always feel like I spend so much money at Panera. (Not that I was paying...)  At David's World Famous,  a cup of soup and 1/2 sandwich it was $ 7.45 and for a bowl of soup and 1/2 sandwich it was $ 7.95.  

The 1/2 sandwich options included:
  • Roast Beef
  • Turkey Breast
  • Caprese
  • Homemade Chicken Salad
  • Tuna Salad
Although the soup is on a rotation basis, I looked ahead for the rest of the week and it seemed to remain "Grandma's Chicken Noodle" and "New England Clam Chowder."

David's World Famous Chicken Noodle Soup
CUP $ 3.95 / Bowl $ 4.45

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Scrumptous and fun filled Bar Harbor Wedding Reception

Shame on me, it's been nearly 2 months since I did the post on Angel and Bryan's Oceanfront wedding ceremony in Bar Harbor Maine.  Although time has elapsed, I still remember the day vividly; the taste of the succulent Maine lobsters, the beautiful flower arrangements and details and all the fun and excitement on the dance floor and most importantly how beautiful and happy the newly weds looked.

Margaritas and Mexican Sampler at El Potro in Downtown Lowell

It was a beautiful Friday and the Mo and I headed towards Downtown Lowell for an evening stroll. Our intent was to grab dinner at one of the food trucks at the Lowell Wine and Food Festival  but the options were limited to only about 4 trucks serving meals.  Sam's truck, Spiceventure was present and was the most popular truck with the longest line.

We nixed our plans and walked by different restaurants in the area with outdoor patio seating. Although the atmosphere was lively, we didn't really want to pay the premium prices for food and drinks at Cobblestones  or Fuse Bisto.

We heard about El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill from our friend Bryan, who lives in the downtown area. He mentioned that they had fish tacos and that the food was reasonably priced and good. Although we're not die hard fans of Mexican cuisine, we decided to give it a try!

The restaurant was happening on a Friday night.  All the patio seats were taken and the indoor seating was nearly full.  After a short wait, we were able to grab a table outside.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Food Stalls at the Lowell Folk Festival

Every year the Mo and I attend the highly popular Lowell Folk Festival.  We don't visit to take in the global musical performances and admire the artists; we go to eat the food and drink the booze.

Since there are three different setups for the ethnic food tables, it's hard for us to make it to all of them. We try to get one or two staples from each tent and share.  Pricing is really reasonable with heavenly appetizers starting at $ 2.00 each to dinner entrees in the $ 7.00 range.

To say the least, we started our food tour starving and felt like we needed to be carried out on a wheel barrow by the time we left.

Although Lowell has had a bad rap in the past, the city has transformed into an up and coming city with great restaurants, art studios and unique shops in the downtown area.  The state university has earned many prestigious awards and recognition and the city's arena and stadium has attracted many visitors over the past decade.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour and more!

After a fill filled weekend at Jay Peak celebrating the wedding festivities of Angela and Chandler (aka "Changela", we headed to Waterbury, Vermont to take part in some touristy attractions.

First we headed to Cold Hollow Cider Mill which is known to have amazing apple cider and the best cider donuts.  Until then, my favorite cider donuts have been from Parlee Farms in Tyngsobro, MA.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paulyna Khmer Wedding Ceremony in Lowell

A couple weeks ago, the Mo's younger brother, Paul got hitched.  The couple chose to go the traditional route and had a Cambodian wedding celebration with multiple ceremonies throughout the day.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Taste of Cambridge

My friends and I attended the 12th annual Taste of Cambridge, a fundraising event that supports local Cambridge non profits within the community.  Over 100 restaurants within the area and vendors get together and provide samples and tastings of their food and beverages to sponsor the fundraiser as well as promote their business.  Some of the beneficiaries include Cambridge Camping, Transition House, Paine Senior Services, Margaret Fuller House and the Institute for Health and Recovery.

The General Admission ticket is $50.00 and includes entrance to the food tasting and (4) full glasses of beer and wine or specialty mixed drinks.  The VIP ticket is $75.00 (We paid $ 65.00 through a corporate discount) and advertised to include a raw bar, grills and craft beer and craft punches served by celebrity bartenders.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Brown's Lobster Pound: The Best Seafood in New Hampshire

The Mo and I try to get to Brown's Lobster Pound at least once a year.  The food is consistent and always taste fresh and good.  I hate eating fried food that tastes like its been cooked in oil that's 3 weeks old!

If we are leaving the beach on a late Saturday afternoon in the summer, chances are the wait is significantly long!  The New England favorite serves up seafood along with other summer time staples, hot and fresh off the grill.