Wednesday, July 30, 2014

IT'S NATIONAL CHEESECAKE DAY!

Happy National Cheesecake Day! It's a day to celebrate the Golden Girls (and my) favorite dessert. The fine slice you're looking at is from Joseph's By The Sea in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Homemade whipped cream. Fresh Maine blueberries. It doesn't get any better than that! Eat Up New England also recommends the cheesecake at Juniors at Foxwoods and Times Square, First & Last Tavern in Connecticut and Winfield's on Block Island, RI.

By the way, the Cheesecake Factory is offering slices of cheesecake for HALF PRICE today and tomorrow. ,

Saturday, July 26, 2014

TASTY TACOS & MARGARITAS AT AGAVE DOS

Strawberry margarita
Pulled beef tacos dinner
Every meal begins with free chips and salsa.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is the home to many wonderful restaurants and Agave Mexican Bistro Dos is one of them. It's called "Dos" because this is the second Agave restaurant around. Their other location is in Newburyport, Mass.

The Portsmouth restaurant has lots of room for you and your friends. There are two floors with two full bars. They offer 100 different kinds of tequila. You've got to try one of their margaritas. They are huge and refreshing on a hot summer day. Every meal starts with chips and salsa. They'll bring you seconds, but don't fill up because the portions are large. I ordered the carne tacos with pulled beef. You can have your tacos soft, medium or hard. The medium are just that, a little soft and a little hard. They're very good. The three tacos came with a large portion of Mexican rice and refried beans topped with Chihuahua cheese. 

Agave has all of your favorite Mexican dishes. There are burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, along with their daily specials. They also have several soups including tortilla and black bean soups and cheese & corn chowder. Salads include steak, Caesar and shrimp & avocado. 

www.agavedos.com ,

Monday, July 21, 2014

THE TASTE OF HARTFORD IS HERE!

Get your fork and knife ready! Hartford Restaurant Week's, "Taste of Hartford," 2014 is here! Starting today through August 4th, you can get a three-course meal at your favorite Hartford, CT restaurant for $20.14 to $30.14. More than 30 restaurants will be taking part. See a full list HERE.

Eat Up New England highly recommends First & Last Tavern. Their 3-course meal us $25 this year. Start with a salad. Choose from their wickedly good scrod, stuffed eggplant, chicken marsala or pasta alforno for the main course. For dessert, choose between their New York cheesecake and a hot fudge sundae. Go for their cheesecake, it's one of the best slices around! ,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

SIZZLIN' SUMMER SPOTS: SUMMER SCOOPS


Summer Scoops in Plainville, Massachusetts is a newer ice cream shop, but it's already attracting a big following. All of their ice cream comes from Attleboro's Bliss Bros. Dairy, which is legendary in the area. 

Summer Scoops offers all of your favorite flavors like chocolate chip, cookie dough and coffee Oreo. You can also find more exciting flavors like strawberry cheesecake, salted caramel chocolate pretzel and bourdon caramel pistachio brittle. Summer Scoops also dishes out some pretty enticing sundaes with their soft serve. I enjoyed a wafer cone of my favorite Bliss Dairy Flavor, their wild blueberry crumble. This non-fat frozen yogurt is flavored with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries and packed with pieces of graham crunch. 

You can find Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery and eat your ice cream while enjoying some of their garden displays. 

www.summerscoops-osbornenursery.com/ , ,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SAMPLING THE BEER AT CAPE COD BEER

Free tasting glass
It's been really humid out lately, so why not cool off with a trip to Cape Cod Beer? The brewery is located in Hyannis and there's a lot to do here, including sampling their beers. 

There are several beers on tap to satisfy the novice beer drinker to the picky beer geek. If you're a fan of dark brews like Guinness, you'll want to try their Cape Cod Porter. They also have a Beach Blonde Ale, a Red Amber Ale, IPA and a Summer seasonal beer. You can sample all of them and more in their store. A tasting is only $5. You'll get 5 chips, which you can use for five glasses of beer. You even get to take home the tasting glass for a souvenir.

Their store is full of CCB merch, including glassware, shirts, hats, books and local foods (like beer peanut brittle). Of course, you can buy different-sized bottles of their beers and some brews even come in cans.

CCB offers guided tours of their brewery each day at 11am. If you're not there on time, you can still take a self-guided tour.

www.capecodbeer.com , , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FINE DINING AT WINFIELD'S ON BLOCK ISLAND

One of the best meals I ate on Block Island was at a restaurant called Winfield's. Every meal at this fine dining spot begins with think slices of bread that's served with an amazing olive oil, garlic and cheese dipping sauce. You get the whole clove of garlic and this stuff is very good! Don't fill up on the bread because they have several tasty apps to choose from. Among the choices, there's lobster mac & cheese, tomato crab bisque and seared scallops. 

For dinner, I enjoyed a large cut of swordfish with potatoes. It was delicious and filing. Other dinner options include roasted half-chicken, pan seared catfish and the vegetarian friendly sweet pea ravioli. By the way, every Sunday Winfield's offers a friend chicken special with sausage gravy, coleslaw and a biscuit.

If you're fortunate to still have room for dessert, I'd recommend the cheesecake. Our waitress told us her friend makes it for them. We also had a nice slice of blueberry cake. Of course, dessert and menu options differ by season, so you may want to call ahead first.
 
Contact
1 Corn Neck Road 
Block Island, RI 02807
401-466-5856
Full Menu ,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

SIZZLIN' SUMMER SPOTS: MARVEL'S LUNCH BOX

If you don't want to go all the way to Cape Cod on a hot day, stop off in Hull, Massachusetts. This town is home to the beautiful Nantasket Beach. There are many spots to pick up a meal by the beach, including Marvel's Lunch Box.

This is one of those great old school beach restaurants with a casual vibe. You can sit inside or walk right up and place your order at their pick up window. Marvel's has seafood favorites like New England clam chowder, lobster, clam and tuna rolls and clam strips. They also make hot dogs, burgers and other sandwiches on the grill. I ordered the clam strips plate, which came with a generous portion of fried clams and fries. They don't skip on the ketchup or tartar sauce either. Marvel's will bag your food up so you can eat right on the beach, which is across the street. My favorite part of the meal: the taffy they include with your order.

www.marvelslunchbox.com , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

IT'S RESTAURANT WEEK IN PROVIDENCE

It's another sure sign of summer. It's restaurant week in Providence, Rhode Island. Three-course lunches are only $14.95 and three-course dinners are $29.95 or $34.95. Dozens of restaurants are taking part. For a full list, check out this website: www.goprovidence.com/RW/ Providence Restaurant Week goes through July 19, so you still have plenty of time. For more, follow @GoProvidence and tweet your food pics using #PRW14. Don't forget, Boston Restaurant Week is going. It runs from August 17-22 and August 24-29.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

CRUMBS BAKE SHOP CLOSES ALL LOCATIONS!

The Crumbs shop at the Natick Mall
It's proof that the cupcake craze is cooling down. Crumbs Bake Shop has abruptly closed every single one of its stores. Even the ones in New York City. 

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal Crumbs announced the sad news, "Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its devoted employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options." Days ago, the chain was suspended from Nasdaq, which triggered a default on its debt. As of 8:45 am/ET on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the Crumbs website was still up as if nothing had happened.

So, why did this popular cupcake shop lose it all? My educated guess: they expanded way too quickly. At first, Crumbs was an NYC thing. I would always stop by during a visit to the city and get my favorite, the Baba Booey. But then, I noticed I could get the Baba Booey at Crumbs in Natick, Mass. Then, I could order it at a couple of locations in the Prudential Center in Boston. Crumbs quickly popped up at the Providence Place Mall in Rhode Island. Then, Westfarms Mall in Connecticut. You get the picture. Too many stores in too little time with too few customers. It's too bad. There's still hope that Crumbs will get it together. Maybe they will reopen a few of their NYC spots. For now, at least we will have Georgetown Cupcake. 

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

WOULD YOU SPEND MORE THAN $200 ON A DRINK?

I was going through some old pics today and came upon this gem. I took this picture at a place called Tavern at the Park in Chicago a couple of years ago. A cocktail called Cloudgate on their menu costs $175! Well, look closer and you can see why. It comes with something shiny for your special someone to keep. The drink now costs $221 and is now a mix of pear vodka and champagne.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

SIZZLIN' SUMMER SPOTS: THE LIGHTHOUSE IN WELLFLEET CENTER

The Lighthouse restaurant has been in Wellfleet Center on the Cape since I was a child. I've always admired the Nauset Light on its roof and wondered what it would be like to eat at this restaurant. So, after so many years, I finally checked out The Lighthouse for lunch.

We were seated at a sunny table at the front of the house. To my right, the bar was buzzing with World Cup fans. It wouldn't be trip to the Cape without a lobster roll, so that's what I ordered. It usually comes with fries, but I substituted them for a salad with raspberry dressing. The lobster roll was fresh, with big chunks of lobster meat and I enjoyed the salad. 

The Lighthouse is open for all three meals. For breakfast, there are a number of omelets you can choose from or build you own. They also serve eggs any styple, French toast, pancakes (including plain, blueberry and M&M's) and a Belgian waffle. 

There are many soups on their lunch menu. There's clam chowder, lobster bisque and Portuguese kale soup. Apps include Wellfleet oysters, shrimp cocktail, mussels, calamari, chicken fingers and loaded fries. For lunch, choose from several burgers and classic sandwiches like a turkey club, tuna melt and a seafood reuben. Also on the menu, Cape Cod classics including fried clams and oysters plates. There are a bunch of salads on their menu including a cobb salad, waldorf with walnuts, apple & raisins and a spinach & goat cheese salad.

Dinner is served at 5 p.m. and includes much larger plates. There's Cioppino Pasta with lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels and littlenecks. They also have lobster alfredo, broiled scallops, penne bolognese, jambalaya and steak tips. How good does all of that sound?

If you're in Wellfleet on a Thursday night, you might want to stop by for Mexican Night at The Lighthouse. On the menu: build your own tacos, quesadillas, nachos, enchiladas, fajitas and more.

www.thelighthouserestaurantwellfleet.com

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COMFORT FOOD & COLD BEER AT POOR PEOPLE'S PUB ON BLOCK ISLAND


If you're looking for a tasty meal in a relaxed atmosphere on Block Island, look no further than The Poor People's Pub. This restaurant is the place to go on the island to watch the World Cup, take in some live music at night or to sip a beer on their outside patio. They also have an area to play corn hole with your friends!

PPP has a full bar with specials on pitchers of beer. A pitcher of Narragansett is only $6.00. And, yes, they have the Dell's Summer Shandy! For lunch and dunner, PPP has all of the standards, from several burgers, fish and salads to pizzas and sandwiches. They will also wow you with some meals you wouldn't expect to find at a place called Poor People's Pub. Take my dinner, mac & cheese topped with a heaping portion of pulled pork. It's comfort food at its best and most delicious. They also have a lobster and corn chowder that their customers rave about. 

You can't miss this place, especially since they have an old car out front with their logo on it. PPP also has another location in Sanbornville, NH.

Contact www.pppbi.com , ,

Thursday, July 03, 2014

GET A RED, WHITE & BLUE BAGEL FOR THE 4TH

Bruegger's Bagels is offering a special treat at their bakeries today and tomorrow, this red, white and blue bagel! Don't worry. It doesn't taste funny. That's just dye you're seeing. Happy 4th of July everyone! ,

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A VISIT TO THE HOME OF CAPE COD POTATO CHIPS

Cape Cod Potato Chips are so good, aren't they? You'll see them at every picnic you go to this summer. They're at so many restaurants and grocery stores. Cape Cod Potato Chips really are a New England tradition, but did you know you can also tour where the factory where they are made?

The CCPC factory is right at the beginning of the Cape, in Barnstable. It's the perfect way to start any vacation. As soon as you pull into the parking lot, you'll smell those famous chips. Tours are self-guided on weekdays. Workers make different flavors everyday, so you never know what you'll see. If you're wondering why I haven't posted any pics from inside the tour, it's because they have a no photography rule. But I can tell you, you'll get a birds eye view of the whole process from potato to chip with lots of history about CCPC along the way. At the end of the tour, they'll even hook you up with a couple of free bags of chips. You'll also find full-sized bags of their chips and popcorn in their gift shop, along with shirts, shot glasses and other momentos.

The tour is FREE and you can learn more at www.capecodchips.com. , ,

RUN TO COOK IN NEWTON, MASS!

Cook is one of those restaurants that I loved everything about from the moment I walked in. Beautiful decor. A happy vibe. The place was PACKED with a wait on a Monday night. And, oh yeah, there's there flavorful food.

Their menu is full of all of my favorites. There's a 3-cheese ravioli and a bolognese. How about some lobster sliders on a hot summer night? Next time. This visit, I scarfed down their wild mushroom flatbread. It's topped with a generous portion of cut mushrooms, caramelized onions and ricotta cheese. They also offer some really unique snacks like a tasty homemade pretzel. It's not covered in salt and is served with some sweet mustards for dipping. Other snacks include popcorn with bacon & caramel and truffle fries.

Cook also has a full bar that's stocked with too many cans to count and a bunch of draft beers. I drank up some Wachuset Blueberry with fresh blueberries.

Cook is open for lunch and dinner daily, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Contact: www.cooknewton.com ,