Wednesday, June 20, 2018

MYSTIC CAFE IN MANCHESTER, VERMONT

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Italian sandwich with chips
One of the many beers on their menu.
Mystic Cafe offers customers a bright and inviting atmosphere.
Mystic Cafe
4928 Main Street 
Manchester, Vermont
 
The town of Manchester, Vermont is known for its shopping. There are tons of outlet shops. It is also the home to Orvis. There are also many cozy restaurants in town like Mystic Cafe.

The Cafe's menu features comfort foods like soups, sandwiches, flatbreads and salads. I really enjoyed their Italian sandwich, filled with thinly sliced meats and cheese. There's also a grilled cheese stuffed with three different cheeses. Order some tomato soup with it for dunking. Dinners include entrees like lamb sliders, paella and a boneless chicken caciatore.

Mystic Cafe offers brunch on Sundays with waffles, eggs dishes, frittatas and sandwiches. There are plenty of coffee options including lattes, espresso and cappuccino. They also serve alcohol, with many local beers, wine and sangria to choose from.

EAT UP NE FAVORITE: THE LOBSTER POT

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Clam strips & fries plate
Cup of clam chowder
The Lobster Pot has a raw bar with oysters, cherrystones & shrimp cocktail.
The Lobster Pot is known for their HUGE lobsters, which they will cook for you.
THE LOBSTER POT
Buzzard's Bay - Wareham Line, Massachusetts
http://lobsterpotrestaurant.biz/

When the sun starts to shine and the temperature rises, The Lobster Pot is the first place Eat Up New England goes for an authentic seafood meal. This restaurant boasts an extensive menu with all of the Cape Cod classics.

I LOVE their clam strips plate. It comes with a pile of clam strips, crispy fries and cole slaw. I usually order a cup of their fantastic clam chowder to go with it. Other seafood dinners include fish & chips, oysters, scallops, calamari, shrimp and whole clams. The Lobster Pot also offers baked and boiled haddock, lobster and scallop dinners. Their lobster rolls are also amazing and jam-packed with fresh lobster meat. Be sure to check out their tank of live lobsters to eat. Some of them are pretty big. Their menu also includes burgers, a hot dog, grilled cheese and the summer classic, corn on the cob.

Customers can drink up at The Lobster Pot. They have a bar that's stocked with beer and wine. For dessert, there are frappes and ice cream sundaes.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

FOOD TRUCKS GALORE AT METROFEST

Saturday, June 16, 2018
Say Cheese! Grilled Cheese Food Truck
The Pickleback
MELT Food Truck
Classic Poutine from MELT
The food trucks are a huge draw at MetroFest.
It was food trucks on parade today at the annual MetroFest in Framingham, Massachusetts. This traditional community event kicks off the summer ever season with local vendors and a line of food trucks. I sampled a few of the trucks, starting with Say Cheese! I loved their Pickleback grilled cheese with bacon, cheddar and dill pickles stuffed in the sandwich. I also can't turn down poutine so I ordered the Classic Poutine from the MELT food truck of Worcester. The fries were topped with gravy and a generous amount of cheese curds. If I had an extra stomach, I would have ordered a Bobbie from the Cappriotti's food truck.  I also saw an amazing looking taco quesadilla from another truck.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

$9.99 FOR A LOBSTER ROLL PLATTER? YES, PLEASE!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
A taste of summer in the city. Tonight, Uno's was offering lobster platters to their Insiders members for just $9.99. Needless to say, their Framingham location was jumping. That's a great price at any time, but with the sky high price of lobster meat this season, it's a STEAL. PLUS, it comes with clam chowder, fries and cider cole slaw. Uno's Insiders Club is one of the best restaurant programs. It's free to join and they hook up members with great deals like this one all of the time. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

GIGANTIC & FLAVORFUL BURRITOS AT "BUENO Y SANO"

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
One BIG burrito!
Baja Burrito
Bueno Y Sano's Acton, Mass. location
Bueno Y Sano
Acton, MA 
www.buenoysano.com

In Spanish, Bueno Y Sano means "Good and Healthy." This delightful local Mexican chain sticks by its name, offering healthy and local foods without skimping on the portions. Just look at the Baja Burrito I ordered at their Acton location. The thing is almost the size of a football. It's also packed with flavor. The Baja is stuffed with grilled chicken, bacon, white rice, black beans, pico de gallo, cheese, lettuce, onion and chipotle sour cream. The bacon and chipotle sour cream really add some flavor to this burrito. I ate the whole thing, but was stuffed for the rest of the night!

Other specialty burritos including a breakfast burrito with eggs, beans and cheese. There's even a spicy Thai burrito with rice, red cabbage slaw and Thai peanut sauce. Customers can make their own burritos and tacos with steak, chicken, pulled pork and grilled chicken. All burritos can be made into bowls. There are also several vegetarian options like spinach & garlic, tofu, mixed grilled veggie and bean burritos. Bueno Y Sano also serves up salads and quesadillas.

Bueno Y Sano was started by a UMass Amherst alum in 1995. It's original store is still in business in Amherst and there are now many other locations including in Springfield, MA and Burlington, VT.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A TASTE OF PUERTO VALLARTA IN CONNECTICUT

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Puerto Vallarta has several locations in Connecticut including this one in Newington.
Camarones Mexicanos
Everyone gets bottomless chips and salsa!
One of their fine margaritas.
A good excuse to enjoy some tequila!

PUERTO VALLARTA 
Newington, CT
www.puertovallartausa.com

You don't have to travel to Mexico to experience the flavor of Puerto Vallarta. Eat Up New England recently enjoyed a hearty Mexican lunch at their Newington, Connecticut location.

Puerto Vallarta makes sure its customers don't go hungry. A waiter came rushing with chips and salsa before we had taken off our coats! When we ran out, they brought us more. 

Puerto Vallarta's menu is HUGE. Choose from tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, salads, soups, burritos and a long list of house specialties. I ordered the Camerones Mexicanos (Mexican shrimp) from their lunch menu. I was presented with a large plate of shrimp over rice with peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. They are served with tortillas so you can make your own tacos. This large and delicious dish was just $9.99 at lunch. If you save room for dessert, they offer traditional favorites like tres leches cake, churros and deep-fried ice cream.

Puerto Vallarta has other locations in Avon, Danbury, Middletown, Orange and Southington. It's the perfect spot for a mouth-watering Mexican meal whether your group is big or small.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

CRAFT BEERS & LOCAL FOODS AT VERMONT'S KINGDOM TAPROOM

Tuesday, May 01, 2018
A stout with a sample of a vanilla porter.
Artichoke dip & chips
BBQ beef brisket with herb-roasted potatoes
Kingdom Taproom serves craft beer and locally sourced foods.
Kingdom Taproom
St. Johnsbury, VT
www.kingdomtaproom.com

Kingdom Taproom brings some of New England's best craft beers and locally-sourced food together. This gastropub is located in northeastern Vermont and is well worth a stop on the way to Canada.

At lunch, we were handed a beer menu which included an impressive selection of beers, many of them from Vermont and other New England states. I settled with a stout and was delighted when our server also presented me with a sample of a vanilla porter that they had on tap. Now, that's service. BTW, Kingdom Taproom always has a current list of their beers on their website.

The food is as tasty as their beer. We began with their cheesy artichoke dip and chips. I really enjoyed their BBQ beef brisket sandwich. I ordered it with herb-roasted potatoes, which were a tasty twist on regular fries. Also on their menu: several salads, flatbreads, mac & cheese and California BLT. For dessert, there's a root beer float but they also serve a Dark Beer Float with beer and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

INSIDE OF THE BRAND NEW WEGMANS IN NATICK, MASSACHUSETTS

Sunday, April 29, 2018
The new Wegmans at the Natick Mall is finally open.
This location has its own Mexican restaurant called Blue Dalia.
An impressive cheese section where there are plenty of samples to enjoy.
Fresh veggies on the second floor
Live lobsters and some creatively packaged vodka on the second floor.
The massive new Wegmans at the Natick Mall finally opened today. Eat Up New England stopped by this afternoon and there was plenty of parking in the parking garage. The store was packed with first-time shoppers, which is to be expected on opening day. 

This mega grocery store features two huge floors. Upstairs, there is a bakery, fruits/veggies section, prepared meals, hot/cold buffets, a large cheese section, seafood, and a restaurant called The Burger Bar. Downstairs, customers will find frozen & refrigerated foods, dairy, cereals and a large wine, beer and liquor section. 

The soon-to-open Blue Dalia restaurant is also on the first floor. Roberto Santibanez will serve as the Mexican restaurant's culinary director. He is the chef and owner of Fonda's third locations in New York City. Blue Dalia opens on May 4th.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

EAT UP ON THE ROAD: POUTINE IN CANADA

Saturday, April 28, 2018
BBP poutine from Mache in Montreal
Italian poutine from Dunns Famous in Montreal
Chicken poutine from stHubert
Eat Up New England is just back from a relaxing and food-filled trip to Quebec, Canada. Trying kinds of poutine at different restaurants was one of the many highlights. Poutine originates from Quebec and is made of fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. But, as you'll see there are many tasty variations in Canada.

The first place I enjoyed this dish was Mache in Montreal. This small restaurant was recommended to us because it's a place where the locals eat. They have several poutine dishes on their menu, but I settled for one that they call BBP where the fries are covered in ground beef, bacon, cheese curds, peas and house gravy. This dish was so large that I couldn't finish it!

The next poutine I enjoyed was at a place called Dunns Famous in Montreal. They are known for their smoked meats. I loved their "Poutine Italienne," which substitutes the traditional gravy with their homemade meat sauce. Amazingly good and filling.

I also LOVED a chicken poutine at the chicken restaurant chain StHubert. This dish was made of breaded chicken chunks drizzled with BBQ sauce, plenty of cheese curds and gravy at the bottom of the dish. 

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.