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MA GPO and Beeriety Sam Adams Brewery Tour and Brunch!

It’s so fun being part of Girls’ Pint Out! At the end of January we had an event with Beeriety at the Sam Adams Brewery and it was a blast. The event was called “Beer for Breakfast”. With a tagline like that, how could you go wrong?

I get to be the Official GPO Photog at all the events I attend, which is just fun for me. I’ve been to the brewery more times than I can even count at this point, but our GPO/Beeriety tour was V.I.P. status and they threw in some really awesome things for us.

We started out in the Ingredient Room for an overview of the ingredients used in all beer: barley, hops, water, and yeast.

After that, we got a special stop in the Barrel Room (where I’m still the Mayor, thank you very much), which is not included on any normal tours. It was interesting to hear a little more about why they now have the Barrel Room and learn about the different brews currently aging in barrels there.

Then we headed to the Brew House, to learn more about the process of beer brewing. And because I’m a crazy shutterbug, I got the tour guide to take this picture of our group. Of course, I would be the only one in the entire picture without their eyes open.

Then into everyone’s favorite stop, the Tasting Room. Again we got some special treatment here, with a tasting of 4 different styles of Sam Adams (normally 3 are offered). Our awesome tour guide was Kate, who made sure we were taken care of.

We got to leave with some fun swag too,  a free Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass and keychain, before hopping on the trolley to the famous Doyle’s. The trolley ride was definitely unique. Our driver was great and kept fun music pumping, but also liked to have some fun with the brake which kept us all holding on to whatever we could to keep our balance.

We got to Doyle’s and enjoyed brunch, coffee, and more beer. At the suggestion of our waitress, I had Sam Adams Chocolate Bock mixed with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Never would have thought to do this on my own, but it was so delicious. As was my french toast.

Thanks to the organizers of the event, Becca from Girls’ Pint out and Sarah of Beeriety! Lovely ladies doing lovely things to make good beer more accessible to the masses.

Speaking of which, did I mention the next event is coming up this week? GPO and Beeriety are co-hosting the Winter Warm-Up at The Haven in Jamaica Plain on Thursday, February 10. Flights of Scottish beer, good people, and a restaurant with antlers as part of their decor. You should come. It’ll be a good time.

Cheers until next time!

Top 5: Food Bloggers I Love

Thanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend’s wish!

I love making my own recipes and trying out new places to eat, but I also find a TON of food inspiration through other bloggers. Whether it’s really amazing food photography, irresistible recipes, or just a unique perspective, there’s always something new to try and be inspired by.  Some of these bloggers I’ve met, and some I haven’t (but maybe will someday!) and hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

In no particular order…

Our Best Bites
Kate and Sara are two friends cooking up some amazingly delicious looking things (and I love that they have an orange slice as part of their signatures at the bottom of each post!). There’s everything from recipes to tips on food photography making it easy to find what you’re looking for. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find a tried and true menu selection here. And personally, when I think about my bestest friend Sam, it just makes me happy to see two awesome ladies working together on a food blog that they clearly love doing!

We Are Not Martha
Another example of amazing women working together is We Are Not Martha. Susie and Chelsee definitely has plenty of food ideas, but also add lifestyle tips, fun tutorials, and offer us a glimpse into their personal style. To me it doesn’t get much better than seeing a recipe for Candy Corn Ice Cream, and then a tutorial to make your own glitter flats all in the same place.

Bakerella
Everything I see on Bakerella’s blog makes me want to IMMEDIATELY get in the kitchen and try it. I’ve made cake pops with her recipe/tutorial a few times, and every single time they are a huge hit. I just got her new book for Christmas (from Sam, she clearly knows me very well) and now it’s just a matter of picking which project to try first. I really admire her creativity and love how she shares the things she loves with her readers (everything from Star Wars cookie cutters to cute cupcake liners).

The Pioneer Woman
What doesn’t Ree do? Her blog tagline is “Plowing through life in the country… one calf nut at a time.” Am I the only one who finds that hilarious? Besides her great recipes and amazing photography, she has a unique voice in her writing. I really enjoy her posts, and have found myself actually laughing out loud from her sense of humor more than once (awkward if someone overhears you, but whatever). I love when she does photography contests or just showcases of the photos people have sent in to her. I feel like our lives are very different (She’s in the country, I’m a city girl. She’s a mom, I’m not quite ready for that.) but still, I connect with her writing for some reason.

The Cupcake Blog
Pretty sure this one should be self explanatory. A whole blog devoted to cupcakes. Yup, I’m a fan. I love seeing some of the intricate designs they showcase, along with adorable cupcake related items. It’s mostly a conglomeration of things found around the web from blogs, flickr, tumblr, or items submitted by readers with links to the sources. Just seeing a cupcake makes me happy, and this blog is perfect for that.

Hope you enjoy these awesome blogs as much as I do!
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Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to support a friend’s wish. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses
Blog With Integrity
, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Top 5: Food (and drink) Experiences for 2011

With 2010 drawing to a close, I’m already thinking ahead to all the fun food and drink experience that await us in 2011. We still have a ton of restaurants to try on our Restaurant Wish List, new recipes in the making, and events to look forward to. In no particular order, here are the Top 5 Food Experiences I can’t wait for in 2011!

2011 Minnesota State Fair
Our bestest friends, Sam & Jason, live in MN (I think I’ve mentioned that many times, but anyway) and absolutely raved about the Minnesota State Fair held in August each year. I’ve never been to a state fair before. It wasn’t really something you heard about living in NY growing up. But two words make me want to go more than anything else: fried pickles. And looking at Sam’s post on the fair in pictures makes me wish it would happen every day. I’m pretty determined to make it out to MN this year at the end of August for at least a few days to experience a true state fair with my best friends!


Meet-ups with the Ladies of MA Girls’ Pint Out

This past year the fabulous Rebecca brought a chapter of Girls’ Pint Out to Massachusetts. Started in Indiana, this beer appreciation group (for the ladies only!) is really exciting to me. I’ll be contributing to the MA GPO blog and helping to plan some upcoming events. I love getting to explore the world of craft beer with the girls!

New Addition to Our Kitchen
I recently came to the conclusion that I can no longer survive without a KitchenAid stand mixer. Dane has been talking more about learning to make breads, and I’m finding that it’d be significantly easier to develop these skills if we had an appliance to help out. Now I’m on the hunt for a great deal, even though I know it’s really tough to find a sale on a mixer. Wish me luck. I hope to add a new KitchenAid stand mixer to our home soon!

Learning to Make Fresh Pasta
I have always wanted to learn how to make my own pasta. Pappardelle, ravioli, fettuccine. When it’s fresh, it’s even better. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for, but in 2011 I want to teach myself and make some fabulous dishes with Kristen and Dane’s homemade pasta. (Conveniently, you can buy a pasta attachment for a KitchenAid stand mixer. The possibilities would be endless.)

Sugaring Season in Vermont
Again, one of my goals involve our friends Sam & Jason. Last year Sam’s dad built a sugar house, which is used to collect sap and make maple syrup. We got to see it in the works, during construction over the summer. While we talked with Sam’s family we learned all about sugaring, including that the sugaring season happens in late February and March. They were sweet enough to invite us back up for the sugaring season, and we hope to take advantage of the invitation this year to see maple syrup in the making!

I hope you’ll follow along as we (hopefully!) get to have these experiences in 2011. Cheers to the wonderful things that 2010 brought, and best wishes for a delicious new year in 2011!

Infinium Toast at the Sam Adams Boston Brewery

A few weeks ago an email came from Sam Adams announcing the Infinium Toast event at their Boston Brewery. I signed up immediately. Dane and I have been to the brewery countless times, and are big Sam fans. A new beer that’s a collaborative effort with Germany’s oldest brewery? We were in. No brainer.

Infinium is an ale brewed as a collaboration between Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan. It’s very different from your regular beer, from the 750 ml corked bottle, to the sweet malty flavor.

When we got to the tasting, we got right down to it for our first glass. Everyone was given a fun Infinium glass for the tasting, along with a card good for 2 glasses of Infinium and 3 samples of any other Sam Adams beer on tap at the brewery.

I was surprised by the flavor. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was sweeter than I had imagined. Infinium was light and crisp, with a great finish.

We met up with Rebecca and Julie, who I’m working with on Girls’ Pint Out. Rebecca is the fearleass leader of the Boston Girls’ Pint Out chapter, and it was a blast to hang out with them. For research purposes, of course.

Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams, was at the event, and gave us the story of how Infinium came to be. He was great, and it was really cool to see the founder at the Boston brewery.

We had a perfect spot right next to where Jim gave his toast. Which meant I had the perfect spot to ambush Jim when he walked down to get a picture. He was really nice about it, and stopped to chat for a few minutes about how amazed he was that everyone had come out for the launch.

The Infinium Toast was a blast. Infinium retails across the country at a suggested price of $19.99 a bottle (though I recently saw it selling for $30 at a liquor store near us). Pop the cork and give it a try!

Girls’ Pint Out Meetup

If you know me, you’ll know I love beer. Until a few years ago, I was the girl who didn’t like it. I hated the taste (probably from tasting some awful beer) and didn’t understand why people drank it at all (besides the obvious). Then my eyes were opened when I tasted Harpoon UFO for the first time. Beer, I realized, is actually pretty great.

Since then I’ve fully embraced the world of beer. I love learning more about how it’s made, how different flavors can come out in different varieties, and of course, tasting it and picking my favorites.

Enter Girls’ Pint Out. I learned about this organization through my fellow brew diva and good friend, Becca. Besides being a fan of the organization, she’s now the head of the new Boston chapter of GPO.

Girls’ Pint Out is all about making beer accessible to women and promoting education about beer and brewing in general. Let’s be honest, the world of beer tends to be associated with macho men, sporting events, and fraternity parties. The ladies want their place in the beer community! We’re taking it, and enjoying every second of it.

GPO has already been really well received in Boston. With their tagline – “Gals in Grolsch, Angels of Ale” – and fun logo, what’s not to love? (although, I’ll be honest I’m not a big pink person, but I’ll take it for now).

I was super excited to  attend the first Boston meetup of Girls’ Pint Out last week. We headed to Deep Ellum in Allston, which boasts an awesome selection of beer (including great local brews), and mac and cheese with duck confit. I couldn’t wait to try it all. Oh, did I mention beer cheese with warm pretzels? UH HUH.

I got to meet some awesome ladies and had some delicious food and drinks. My biggest decisions of the evening were figuring out which beers I wanted to try.

I was SO happy to see multiple varieties of Pretty Things on the menu. Pretty Things is a small Cambridge-based craft brewery. You can only find it in MA, CT, RI, and NY (and even in those places it’s not necessarily easy to find). I tried the Jack D’Or – their flagship beer- and the Babbayaga. Both great. Also, I want those glasses ASAP.

The meetup was great. I can’t wait to see where the GPO Boston chapter goes! For more information, you can contact rebecca@girlspintout.com. Hope to see you ladies at the next event!

Great American Food and Music Festival

When my friends hear about food, they think of me. So when Sam saw something about the Great American Food and Music Festival, she immediately sent me an email with the link with the short message “You need to go to this”. I couldn’t argue with that.

I was really excited to see the schedule of performers and the list of restaurants from across the country who would be participating. The festival showcased different restaurants that came from all over to Gillette Stadium and brought their signature dishes for attendees to try. There were also bands playing, and live cooking demos.

We were hooked up with VIP passes by a friend, which made us feel like rockstars. When we arrived, we weren’t actually sure what the VIP passes meant. There was no clear signage to let us know where things were, or any information that made the difference between the VIP passes and general ticketing clear. So, we just followed people around that looked like they knew where they were going.

First we went up to the Wine and Beer Grand Tasting (which was the only thing we saw signs for, so we followed). Overlooking the stadium, the clubhouse was lovely. Dane and I focused on the beer varieties, and tried different craft beers. There was not one I tasted that I didn’t like, which isn’t shocking.

We finally found someone who looked like she worked with the festival and was answering questions for another group, so we asked her about the VIP passes and what we should be using them for. She let us know there was a VIP room past the main stage where we could hang out, eat, and do the meet and greets. So that was the catch, the VIP passes allowed us in a room where someone would take our order from any of the participating vendors and bring it to us, without any extra cost. The general admission was only for entry to the festival, and did not cover the cost of food.

We enjoyed ribs from Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis, churros from Goldie’s Churros in L.A., a steak sandwich from Jim’s Cheesesteaks in Philly, the caprese sandwich from the All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, and shrimp from Harding Lee Smith. Thankfully we were with a group of people who helped us eat everything.

I have to say, my favorite part of this day was everyone we met in the VIP room. We ended up chatting with other couple’s and others sitting near us, and we met some really awesome people. First up, while I was standing and ordering a drink, Billy Costa walked by. Billy is on the Matty in the Morning show on Kiss 108, which I listen to every single morning and it gets me through my commute (and also does a TV show called TV Diner). All I wanted to do was say hi, but I’m lame and was too embarrassed. But Dane definitely wasn’t, so he went over with me and said “Hey Billy, its really great to meet you. My wife really wanted to say hi.” Billy was very nice and shook both our hands while I said “You’re a big part of my mornings”. Seriously. I said that. He offered to take a picture then I went on my way, pretty convinced that he must think I’m nuts.

Then in came Duff for his meet and greet. Both him and Geof signed my VIP pass.

We got to chatting with another couple, and it turns out the wife writes a food blog too. They were originally from California, so we had a great time talking about things out here in Boston they should try. Shout out to Bite Me New England!

Possibly the highlight was meeting Mitch. We started talking with him, when I noticed his chef’s jacket that said Hell’s Kitchen. I immediately thought of a cool restaurant we had passed while I was in Minneapolis visiting. It was packed when we passed it, and told Sam and Jason that next time I come out we are definitely going to eat there. Same Hell’s Kitchen and we got to talking. Turns out Mitch is a chef there, and he was also doing book signings at the festival. He told me to tell Sam and Jason to come see him at Hell’s Kitchen, which of course I did.

We continued to eat and drink while we waited for the last meet and greet: Paula Deen. She came in as bubbly and southern as she is on TV, along with her husband. She signed my VIP pass, and I asked Michael if he would too, which he graciously did. Paula was just lovely.

I have to say, we had a good time at the festival, but I really don’t think I would have had nearly as much fun without the VIP pass. With the cancellations from the scheduled guests, the cost of the general admission plus the cost of food, and the lack of organization, the festival could use some work. I had no complaints while I sat and had free food and drinks, met some food celebrities, and talked with awesome people, but I did hear many people complaining on our way out. I guess when you do these things for the first time, you learn.

Overall, a lovely day with Dane and some friends. Cheers!

Our how2heroes Video!

Check it out! We’re so happy and proud to see this finished product. Feel free to send interview and autograph requests :)

To the fabulous people of how2heroes, we’re available anytime for you again! Thanks for the fun day!

Bloggers at Audobon Circle

I love this fantastic community of bloggers I’ve found. I never would have thought when I started writing that I’d end up getting to know people all over the place, not to mention getting together with them for drinks!

Last week I met up with some fantastic bloggers in the Boston area at Audobon Circle. I got there early with beccajane to stake out our table (that, coincidentally, was a sharpened to a point at one end). We checked in on foursquare, to find that Susan was actually sitting right behind us. Thank goodness for foursquare!

Slowly the bloggers trickled in. We shared some drinks, I had some dinner, and we tried some amazing treats that Pam of Cave Cibum brought with her. It’s always great to catch up with everyone after reading each others’ blogs so often.

I wish I had more time to talk to everyone. I feel like I didn’t get to say hi and chat with each person there. Thanks everyone for a fun time!

We Are Not Martha 2 Year Blogiversary

This past weekend I got to spend Saturday night with my friend Heather, some fabulous bloggers, and the lovely Susie and Chelsee from We Are Not Martha. WANM celebrated it’s two year anniversary, and these two know how to throw an awesome party.

The site: The Rattlesnake on Boylston Street in Boston
The chef: Brian Poe (@Poes_Kitchen)
The food: Amazing
The cocktails: Scrumptious, and slightly deadly.

I used this opportunity to try some new things that I’d never had before. Everything just looked exceptionally good, making it hard to say no to anything. Heather picked up the first plate for us to share.

I had no problem figuring out the cornbread. It was sweet with a great texture and had green chile, Guadalajara butter and queso fresco. Normally not a huge fan of cornbread, but this was good. The bruschetta looking things are Fig PBJ’s with fig chutney, pine nut butter, and Maytag blue cheese on toasted bread. And last, the mystery item on spoons. This looked like crab to us, and though I’m not a huge fan of shellfish, I’m still in my adventurous phase. I tried it.

Turns out I still don’t really love shellfish. Also turns out that it wasn’t crab, but it was lobster. I did love everything else on the spoon though, which I later found out was grilled avocado and creme fraiche. Grilled avocado needs to be a more regular part of my diet.

Then, things got crazy. Someone said “There’s prociutto wrapped….” and pointed to the bar. I didn’t really listen to the rest. I was all set with prosciutto wrapped anything and got myself some. Turns out? Prosciutto wrapped tuna (that was RARE) and some kind of cheese. Slightly hesitant because I’d never had tuna this way. But (again with this daring side of me) I jumped in. And I am so glad I did. It was heavenly. Tuna was perfect and everything really complimented each other. I wanted 18 more pieces of that immediately, but I behaved.

I didn’t actually get to try the cake, but it looked perfect!

Now, the cocktails were an entirely different story. Let me just say, the Snake Punch there is killer. In more ways than one. Give it a try yourself. Bet you can’t have just one.

And as if all of this wasn’t enough, Sues and Chels put together swag bags for all the guests with some awesome freebies! I already used some of the items in there.

I’ve been to the Rattlesnake before and will absolutely go again. Thanks to the ladies of We Are Not Martha for inviting me to this awesome party! Here’s to many more years of success for you two!

Cheers!

Kristen

Dante’s, Cambridge: We Libated

This past week I met up with some fabulous bloggers at a restaurant/bar that was new to me, but I had been wanting to try. We spent our time at the bar, so I only tried a few of the menu items, but let me tell you. The drinks were DELISH.

Dante’s is located in Cambridge and is in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Chef Dante deMagistris has definitely done an excellent job of creating a fun, sophisticated environment with awesome food and cocktails. Restaurant Dante’s cuisine focuses on Italian fare, with the Chef’s own twist on certain dishes and ingredients. Everything was simple, but perfect.

Let me first say, the bartenders were AMAZING. You could give them just about any ingredients and they could make you a cocktail that you would never want to put down. After meeting Peter, BeccaJane, and Julie Q, I sat down with the drink menu for some quality decision making time.

And it was a hard decision. But I ended up with the Pear Cider. No idea what the garnish was, but it was sugary, and cinnamony, and nutmegy. Nice compliment to the cocktail.

I sipped my drink slowly since I was driving home, and the bartender, apparently concerned with my slow sipping asked how it was. The drink was delicious. He told me he’d just recently created a martini that also used the cider, along with apple vodka and some other secret ingredients. But alas, it wasn’t on the menu yet. But you could probably make it anyway, right? He said yes, he could, but wasn’t sure if it was ready for human testing. That’s fine with me, bring it on. He was just kidding by the way, luckily he had personally tested it himself and lived to tell the tale. It was so yummy. No idea how bartenders can just make up these drinks that end up so yummy, but I respect the skill.

We were joined by Alison, Steven, and Not That Kind of Girl. More good company. Some other drinks had throughout the night:

We literally got to the point where we were just given the bartenders ingredients and they made something magical out of it. I also learned that if you mix vodka and champagne you should always add some simple syrup and lemon to counteract it (no idea why, but I feel special knowing it).

On to the food. We only tried a few things when we decided we needed a snack. We went for some of the “Sfizi” or “little tastes” served as antipasto. No pics of the first one, the Ricotta. It was rich homemade ricotta on bruschetta with pine nuts and salsa Genovese (very garlicy and basily). It was great. Then we had the Speck (prosciutto, pecorino ginepro and pear mostarda – kind of like a jam or reduction). Great when put all together. And the Arancini. There are no words for how good the risotto, scamorza (a cheese, somewhat similar to mozzarella), and truffle honey. Yes, truffle honey. Oh the Arancini.

Overall, definitely going back with the hubs and trying everything on the Sfizi menu. Cocktails were about $9-$11 and worth it for the awesome bartenders and their ability to make anything you wanted.

Can’t wait to go back.
Kristen

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