Tuesday, April 10, 2018

FREE CONE DAY 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Free Cone Day
It's that magical day that ice cream lovers look forward to every spring. It's Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's. Every April, the Vermont-based ice cream maker says thank you to all of its customers at all of its stores by giving them free ice cream cones or cups. I enjoyed their cookie dough today at their store in Natick, Massachusetts. I arrived just before the line started stretched around the corner. Going back for seconds or thirds is actually encouraged by Ben & Jerry's as long as you don't mind waiting in line again.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

LARGE, FLAVORFUL MEALS AND A BIG BUDDHA AT SAMBA STEAK & SUSHI

Sunday, April 08, 2018
Samba specializes in Japanese and South American fusion.
One of Samba's hibachi plates.
A koi pond surrounds their massive statue of Buddha.
Samba Steak & Sushi
Framingham, Massachusetts
sambaframingham.com

Cultures come together at Samba, where Japanese and South American flavors are influenced by each other. This restaurant is huge. There's a large hibachi section where chefs cook for small and large groups alike. Their gigantic Buddha statue watches over diners here. There's also a bustling bar and a more intimate dining area.

We started out with vegetarian spring rolls, which were delicious. There are countless apps like vegetable tempura, chicken tempura, edamame, and buffalo tuna rangoon. Sushi fans will love Samba. Order it a la carte or as part of a meal. They even have a Party Boat for 4 with 57 pieces of Sushi for $99. Special entrees include their Mango Filet Mignon with fresh mango, Seafood Jambalaya and Miso Chilean Sea Bass. Samba also offers several salads, rice & noodle dishes and clay pot curry.

I was thrilled to find out that customers can order from the hibachi menu even if they're not sitting in that section. I enjoyed a heaping plate of salmon with vegetable rice, fresh vegetables, shrimp and salad. The flavors, the portion, everything about this meal was so satisfying.

Friday, March 30, 2018

REIN'S DELI: A TASTE OF NYC IN CT

Friday, March 30, 2018
Ham & cheese sandwich
Vegetable chili
Pickles start off every meal!
Rein's has been in business since 1972.
Rein's Deli
Vernon, CT
www.reinsdeli.com

You don't have to drive all the way to New York City to find the perfect deli. Just head to Vernon, Connecticut for a meal at Rein's Deli.

This restaurant is massive. If you go for breakfast or lunch on the weekend, don't get turned off by the line. It goes fast and there's plenty of room for everyone. Once you sit down, it's time to conquer Rein's menu. There are hundreds and hundreds of dishes. For breakfast there are omelets, egg sandwiches, French toast on challah bread, pancakes, bagels, cheese blintzes, sour cream coffee cake. You want it? Rein's has it.

For lunch, Rein's has so many soups that they publish a soup schedule on their website! Rein's makes ever sandwich under the sun from peanut butter & jelly to their famous pastrami sandwich. I ordered their fantastic ham & cheese sandwich. The ham and cheese were piled high and the bread was perfectly soft. Rein's also has a huge dessert menu with lemon meringue pie, cheesecake, apple pie and a warm noodle pudding made with egg noodles, sour cream, cottage cheese and raisins.

Rein's Deli's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Fridays and Saturdays, they don't close until midnight. They have a full bakery and deli, along with a refrigerated section allowing customers to take home their flavorful foods.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

CLASSIC ITALIAN DISHES AT ERICA'S

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Meat Lasagna
Erica's is open for dinner only.
Baked Goat Cheese
Every meal begins with this delicious bread.
Erica's
Ashland, Massachusetts
www.ericasristorante.com

Don't drive too fast or you'll miss it! Erica's Ristorante is nestled in on Front Street in Ashland, Massachusetts. Open for dinner only, many locals enjoy grabbing a seat at the bar for a drink or two. Eat Up New England ventured into their dining room for a tasty Italian meal.  

Erica's offers small plates and appetizers to start. The baked goat cheese was a star. The cheese was bubbling hot and is perfectly complimented with the tomato and basil it's topped with. Other apps include (vegetarian) arancini, pappardelle with veal meatballs and steamed mussels.

For dinner, I ordered a large portion of meat lasagna. Lots of ricotta. Lots of meat. Just like lasagna should be. There are so many pasta dishes on their menu - from orecchiette with sausage to butternut squash ravioli. There are also 14 inch pizzas, sandwiches and dinner salads. There is a fabulous-looking tiramisu for dessert, but I had no room left after that lasagna.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

BRUNCH WITH A FREE BLOODY MARY OR MIMOSA AT THE LOCAL

Saturday, March 10, 2018
Chicken and waffles with sausage gravy
All brunch main courses come with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa
The Local
Wayland, Massachusetts
www.liveeatlocal.com

I've always been a fan of The Local's West Newton, Massachusetts location for dinner. They have a hip, nighttime vibe with delicious flatbreads, burgers, salads and mac & cheese dishes. Today, I was excited to try their Wayland restaurant for brunch.

All of their main courses cost $16 and come with a complimentary mimosa or Bloody Mary. I loved their refreshing Bloody Mary, which had just enough spice. Choose from their Brunch Burger, avocado toast, pancakes, smoked salmon lox, classic eggs benny, short rib skillet hash OR be like Eat Up New England and indulge in their fried chicken & waffle. The boneless chicken and waffle is topped with a SAUSAGE GRAVY, making this one filling and fantastic meal. The gravy is sooo good.

There are also smaller portions like a cheese omelet, pancakes, scrambled eggs and a Belgian waffle. They come with apple slices or fried potatoes BUT do NOT come with the free alcoholic beverage.

Brunch is served at all of The Local's locations on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

A VENTI-SIZED SURPRISE AT STARBUCKS

Thursday, March 01, 2018
My free iced latte thanks to a stranger with a warm heart.
Last Saturday, I stopped by the Starbucks in Newington, Connecticut for my morning coffee. I stood in line as usual. I placed my order for a grande iced vanilla latte as usual. But then, something unusual happened.

The barista said, "Your coffee is free today. A nice lady paid for everyone's breakfast." She quickly flashed a Starbucks gift card, implying the woman placed a large amount of money on the card. I was stunned. So was everyone else.

With politics and gun control dividing everyone, how nice that an anonymous stranger tried to bring everyone together, if only for a moment, with a random act of kindness.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

PULLED PORK MAC & CHEESE AND FOOD THAT WILL FILL YOU UP AT 110 GRILL

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese
110 Tater Tot Poutine (with the gravy on the side)
Apple Cider Sangria
110 Grill in Wayland, Mass.
110 Grill
Locations across Massachusetts
www.110grill.com

110 Grill is not one of those restaurants that has been around forever. Its first location is opened in Chelmsford, Massachusetts in 2015. Since then, they have been quickly expanding. With its spacious dining rooms and outdoor seating, 110 Grill is the perfect place to spread out with the family. Its large bars, high tables and large drink selection are welcoming to the after work crowd.

Comfort food is where it's at 110 Grill. Just look at their appetizers. There are BBQ chicken nachos, crispy fried pickle chips, tater tot poutine. For dinner, there are salads, steaks, sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads. Chef specialties include shrimp & clam linguini, Cuban swordfish, sesame ginger chicken and chicken caprese parm. I overindulged in the ever-so-outrageous pulled pork mac & cheese. Dig for the cavatappi pasta under a pile of crispy onion rings and BBQ pulled pork. They should hand out medals for people who can finish this behemoth.

110 Grill is quickly expanding across Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In Massachusetts, locations are planned for Worcester, Wrentham, Woburn, Maynard in 2018. They will open in Manchester and West Lebanon, New Hampshire this year. 110 Grill is also opening a location in Albany, New York this year.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

BEAT THE WINTER BLUES AT THE WAYLAND WINTER FARMER'S MARKET

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Bagels from Bagel Alley
Cannolis filled right in front of you!
Seafood chowder - enjoy some there or bring a bag home.
A large crowd on the first Winter Farmers' Market of the season.
New England winters can be brutal. The cold. The endless snow storms. It starts to feel like spring is NEVER going to be here. Every Saturday this winter, Russell's Garden Center in Wayland, Massachusetts is giving everyone a break with their Wayland Winter Farmers' Market. Each week, dozens of local vendors fill their greenhouses with fresh food. If you're a good lover, than THIS is the event for you and the perfect way to get rid of the winter blues.

The Farmers' Market is a wonderful way to sample many tasty local flavors. There are wines, fruits, vegetables, bagels, popovers, even a nacho grilled cheese sandwich. I enjoyed some seafood chowder for lunch, along with some perogies. For dessert, I chowed down on a cannoli, which was filled right in front of me and dipped in chocolate chips.

The Winter Farmers' Market is going on through March 10, 2018 every Saturday from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Follow "Wayland Winter Farmer's Market" on Facebook to see photos from each week's event and for a look at the vendors who will be there.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

SUNDAY BRUNCH AT BULFINCHS IN SUDBURY, MA

Sunday, January 28, 2018
Everyone gets a plate of pastries to kick of Sunday brunch.
Farmer's Omelet
Huevos Rancheros
Bullfinchs serves brunch on Sundays only and dinner nightly.
BULLFINCHS
Sudbury, Massachusetts
www.bullfinchs.com

Sunday brunch at Bulfinchs in Sudbury, Massachusetts is like dining in the the city, without the long ride and the meaty check. Throw in their LIVE jazz band and you have the recipe for the perfect Sunday morning.

Brunch at Bullfinchs begins with a complimentary plate of pastries. There are scones, a muffin, coffee cake and a croissant. It's served with just enough butter and strawberry jam. For a moment, it felt like we were in France!  Enjoy a cocktail, coffee or some juice as you want for the main course. 

There are many filling favorites for brunch, meals like sausage & potato waffles, smoked salmon & bagel and a belgian waffle. I enjoyed their "Farmer's Omelet," with cheddar, mushrooms, ham, tomatoes and onions. The cheese was oozing out of the side, just the way I like it. If you're in the mode for lunch, try their mussels, pecan chicken, salads (apple, Caesar or beet) or pizza. 

Brunch is served every Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It gets busy, so Eat Up New England recommends reservations.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

BOOZY MILKSHAKES & BIG BURGERS AT BRGR BAR

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
"The BRGR"
Thin Mint Adult Milkshake
BRGR Bar in Portsmouth, NH
The BRGR Bar
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
www.brgr-bar.com
 
The BRGR Bar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire specializes in burgers that are so BIG, you may need to cut them in half with a knife. This is a family restaurant, but it also has a full bar that makes many adult milkshakes. I loved the thin mint milkshake with brownie bits, rum and peppermint schnapps. Other boozy milkshakes include an apple pie ala mode, "The Oreo Lift" and special Christmas milkshakes around the holidays.

Knowing that the burgers are huge, we skipped on the appetizers like buffalo brussel sprouts and mac, cheese fritters and poutine. I ordered "The BRGR," TWO patties with American cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and a special sauce. Fantastic! It came with a pile of fries, which you can substitute out for a salad or tater tots. Also on their menu, a burger called "The Mac Daddy," which is topped with mac & cheese. Or try one of their  tuna, turkey or duck burgers. Vegetarians have not been forgotten about. There's a "Just Beet It" burger and an "Earth Burger" made of quinoa. 

The BRGR Bar has another location in Portland, Maine with another restaurant opening soon in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

THE J&M DINER IS BACK OPEN AND BETTER THAN EVER

Sunday, January 07, 2018
Welcome to the new J&M Diner!
Pull up a chair at their coffee bar.
Wicked Monte Cristo
Massive pancakes
J&M Diner
Framingham, Massachusetts
jmdiner.com

The J&M Diner in Framingham, Massachusetts has been a favorite since it opened in 1998. Last March, the family-owned breakfast spot suffered a major setback when it burned down. Its sign was about all that was left. Now, it hangs proudly in their new location on Worcester Road.

The new J&M Diner's menu has all of the hearty breakfast favorites that regulars have come to love over the years. There are massive pancakes. One is enough, unless you just ran a marathon. To them with fruit, whipped cream or chocolate. They also cook up several specialty omelets and egg dishes. I enjoyed their Wicked Monte Cristo this morning. This monster is packed with turkey and ham in between cinnamon and sugar French toast.

The service couldn't be any better at the J&M Diner. A word of warning, wait time on the weekends can be over an hour, but the food is well worth it. J&M Diner is open everyday from 6am-2pm, except on Christmas.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR AT ASSEMBLY SQUARE

Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Steak frites, fries and mushrooms at Earls
Key lime pie at Southern Kin Kitchen
It wouldn't have been proper to end 2017 without a good meal. This year, Eat Up New England and friends checked out some of the restaurants at Assembly Square in Somerville, Massachusetts. We enjoyed dinner at Earls. We started off with a couple of apps. Their warm spinach and three cheese dip was very good. It's complemented very nicely by artichokes and feta cheese. For dinner, I enjoyed their steak frites, fries and marinated mushrooms.  We went to the Southern Kin Kitchen for dessert. Their key lime pie is fantastic! Happy New Year to all of my readers! May 2018 be full of good food.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

EAT UP NEW ENGLAND'S FAVORITE DISHES OF 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017
Before the ball drops on 2017, let's take a look back at some of Eat Up New England's favorite dishes of the year. Enjoy the look back and have a safe and happy new year.
Hot lobster roll - Dead Eye Dick's - Block Island, RI
Taco Mac - Mr. Mac's in Portsmouth, NH
Fried fluffernutter - Biltmore Bar & Grille in Newton, MA

Baked ziti with meatballs - Panza, The North End, Boston
Pumpkin pancakes platter - Flapjacks in Lincoln, NH
Julia Child's shortbread with raspberry jam - Gaslight in Boston
Local sausage flatbread - North Country General in Jamaica, VT
   

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CLASSIC ITALIAN AT PANZA IN THE NORTH END

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Baked ziti
Classic Italian food at Panza
Panza
Boston 
www.panzarestaurant.com
 
There's nothing like the North End at Christmas. Every restaurant is decorated. There are huge wreaths with big bows. Holiday pastries on display. Panza fits right in with its large snowflakes hanging in the windows and Christmas music playing in the dining room. It offers the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the season and enjoy a classic Italian meal.

Panza is cozy, just like other restaurants in the North End. Daily specials are handwritten on a mirror. The menu is full of Italian favorites and every meal begins with Italian bread with olive oil. Appetizers include calamari, bruschetta and grilled Italian greens. Entrees include hearty staples like chicken or veal picatta, eggplant, chicken or veal parm, braised beef short ribs and seafood risotto. 

Pastas include linguine carbonara, spinach & ricotta ravioli, lobster ravioli and linguine with clams. I ordered the baked ziti. This was a HUGE plate of pasta with two incredibly flavorful meatballs. Those meatballs were the star of the show. I had enough for lunch the next day and the leftovers were just as good as fresh.

Monday, December 11, 2017

CHEF MARIO BATALI ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Monday, December 11, 2017
Celebrity Chef Mario Batali is being accused of sexual misconduct by four women over the course of two decades. He is off of "The Chew" while he's being investigated. Batali is also giving up daily oversight of his restaurant empire, which includes Eataly and Babbo in Boston.

Three of the alleged victims worked for Batali. Among the things he's accused of: groping the chest of one woman and grabbing one from behind and holding her tightly against his body.

Batali released a statement saying in part, "I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family."

Monday, December 04, 2017

CHRISTMAS IN A CUP AT EINSTEIN BROS. BAGELS

Monday, December 04, 2017
Einstein Bros. Bagels
www.einsteinbros.com

If you're looking for a taste of Christmas in a cup, then check out the Cinnamon Winter Blend at Einstein Brothers Bagels. This hot brew is made with cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Plus, all cups are bottomless, so drink up! They also have a snickerdoodle bagel, cinnamon caramel latte and a tasty Croque Melvyn for the holidays.

Einstein Bros. has several locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut, along with a shop in Concord, New Hampshire.
 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

INSIDE OF THE NEW WHOLE FOODS IN SUDBURY

Saturday, November 25, 2017
Whole Foods is the first to open in a new development in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Check out the cheese section, where there is plenty of sampling.
Local pretzels for sale with a side of mustard.
There are many self-self stations like this one.
There's even a Clover restaurant inside of this Whole Foods, along with a Pressed juice spot.