Not Your Average Joes

A few weeks ago, I got to visit the newest Not Your Average Joes (NYAJ) location in Waltham. It opened in late August. Our local NYAJ location is in Watertown, so it was fun to visit another location. They have over 24 locations along the East Coast.

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As the other diner arrived, we gathered in the huge bar area, with the counter top which had fossils in it, very cool!

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It was a cold and rainy night, but we wanted to look at the outside patio. It can accommodate 50 diners and includes an awesome fire pit. It was really neat. Pictured below is Chef Jeff Tenner who dined with us.
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We dined mainly from their Fall menu (with some classics like the mustard-crusted chicken), but they just announced their winter menu, so check it out.  NYAJ is one of my favorite restaurants because their dishes are made-from-scratch, is affordable, and their service is fantastic. We got a tour of the restaurant and we also were one of the last tables on weeknight, so I was able to take pictures without disturbing others after our meal.

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Here’s a wide angle of the bar.
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We also got a tour of the kitchen, yes, the kitchen, prep kitchen, and also the walk-in freezer.

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We also got to see their pizza oven.IMG_1724

One of my favorite things about NYAJ’s is the onion focaccia bread made from fermented dough. And then the grated romano cheese dipped in canola oil.

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We shared lots of appetizers, including these the mango shrimp rolls (left) and deviled eggs (right) topped with crushed potato chips. I loved the shrimp rolls dipped in the peanut sauce. IMG_1739

I didn’t try the butternut squash flatbread but it also included pesto, brussel sprouts, caramelized onions, smoked mozzarella and balsamic reduction.
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Another favorite was the buffalo caribbean chicken tenders. The sauce had a little kick to it!

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Here’s one end of the table and Jeff explaining the dishes as they came out.
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My absolute favorite of the night was spaghetti squash bolognese. I was apprehensive about trying it because I love the classic so much. This version was made with mushrooms, roasted spaghetti squash, and sauteed spinach- so good!

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The Super Crunch Salad was pretty cool. It had grilled chicken, quinoa, green apples, pistachios, avocado, spinach, mint, and cilantro with a orange-sesame dressing. If you want a salad, order this!
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I didn’t try the rosemary skewered scallops over couscous, but it looked so good. IMG_1750

I also loved the roasted chicken with house-made butternut squash ricotta cannelloni.
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The desserts came and the cameras came back out!

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First up was the goji berry apple crisp served with vanilla ice cream.
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The carrot cake was naturally gluten free! IMG_1761

I feel like the peanut butter thing stole the show though. It is Joe’s claim to fame and has peanut butter and chocolate chunks folded into vanilla ice cream with oreo crumbs, whipped cream, covered with hot chocolate and caramel sauces.
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Thanks for NYAJ’s Waltham location for a fantastic event.

Note: I received my meal for free but these are my opinions.

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Progressive Dinner at Bel Ari and Les Zygomates

A few weeks ago, the Blog and Tweet group was invited to a progressive dinner featuring Bel Ari and Les Zygomates, both in the Leather District of Boston.

#bosbloggerGreat Italian restaurants don’t have to be in the North End! Bel Ari is modern Italian and I loved it. The space was gorgeous and we had a private dining room.

#bosblogger We started with whipped ricotta with honey and pistachio on cranberry bread. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the ricotta but it had great texture and flavor.

#bosbloggerNext was one of my favorites from the evening, the arancini balls. These were stuffed with risotto and goat cheese.

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For my entrée, I picked the Shrimp and Lobster Potato Gnocchi. I haven’t had much gnocchi, so this is something that I’m learning about, but this was super light and not heavy. It had oyster mushrooms and a cream sauce.

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After finishing our entrees, we walked next door to Les Zygomates.

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Again, we had a private dining room in the back of the restaurant. This place was beautiful! The artwork was just magnificent.

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Les Zygomates is a French bistro and wine bar that also has live jazz.

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For my entrée here, I picked the beef. It was cooked perfectly and so memorable!

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A picture of our table!

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I loved seeing this wine art and the silhouette of the dining guest in the bottom right.

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Unfortunately,  I had to leave before having dessert so I missed out on that. I enjoyed both meals at Bel Ari and Les Zygomates and hope to be back to each! Check them out.

Note: I received my meal for free but these are my opinions.

 


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Life Lately

I wanted to try out a new way to post things, straight from twitter. Here we go!

On Friday night, I had dinner with an old co-worker and then we went on a Boston photo shoot in the dark!

Nope, didn’t work.  I’ll embed from Flickr instead.

The swan boats in the lagoon.

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The little bridge (I couldn’t find it’s name) was the world’s shortest suspension bridge before being redone and converted.
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I’ve gotten back into running, as I’ve signed up for the Tufts 10K for Women on October 12th. I started training two weeks ago and the race is 4 weeks from tomorrow.

Fall is finally here. Sweatshirt and jeans weather. Pumpkin beer and apples and soups! My favorite time of the year!

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Terramia Ristorante

Here are few of my favorite pictures from dinner at Terramia Ristorante. Untitled

I went to Terramia a few weeks ago with the Boston Blog and Tweet group and knew most of the bloggers at my end of the table, including Jodi (to the left of me- front right), Janelle (to the right of me), Kerri (across from me), and Adrienne (front left). Lovely group of ladies that I am thankful I know!

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I snagged a picture that someone took with Jodi’s phone of us!

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Here’s what Terramia looks likes from outside. It’s right on Salem Street in the North End. You’ve probably passed by if you’ve walked down Salem Street. It’s on the left walking into the North End.

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Below are the fried zucchini blossoms- amazing!

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My other favorite appetizer was the lobster fritters with crispy sweet potatoes on top, over a balsamic honey glaze.

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I also enjoyed the caprese salad (fresh buffalo Mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil).

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You can see the inside, which is small and cozy. They say that they specialize in creative interpretations of Italian classics. You won’t find only red sauce dishes here!

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They opened in 1993 and have about a dozen and a half tables for 2. It’s very intimate, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. We were there on a Sunday and basically took over half the restaurant.

Jodi ordered the risotto of the day, which included wild mushrooms and asparagus.

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I ordered ravioli of the day, which was fig and mascarpone cheese. It was so good. If you ever see it, order it!!  Kerri’s veal chop is in the background.

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For dessert, we tried/sampled/split the tiramisu, bread pudding, and flourless chocolate cake. All wonderful. I couldn’t pick a favorite.

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They are participating in Dine Out Boston this year, which is August 16-31. They will have a 3 course prix fix dinner menu for $33. Check them out!

 

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Volunteer in Boston with One Brick

Looking for ways to volunteer in Boston?

My work encourages volunteerism, so I have been looking for opportunities recently. I have volunteered several times with One Brick Boston, including a few 5k events in Cambridge.

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I love the way that One Brick Boston is set up. They partner and support local non-profit and community organizations and create a unique, social and flexible volunteer environment for people like me. One Brick posts opportunities to volunteer without the requirements of individual long-term commitments. I don’t always know what my schedule looks like months in advance and I can’t commit to the same day each week or month. I like to look at their calendar a few weeks out and pick events to volunteer. From their website:

Our ‘commitment-free volunteering’ allows you to choose when you volunteer, rather than having to make commitments for a certain number of volunteer hours, or agree to be available every week at a specific time.

My first 5K, I worked the bag check and had a fun time working with the other volunteers and runners before and after the race.

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Another way to help is to use a special link before making an Amazon.com purchase. Amazon donates 7% of the total sale to One Brick.

In April, I volunteered at the Banned in Boston event. The Governor and other local politicians and media people put on a comedy show.

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Before the show, I was stationed with other volunteers to check in people by looking up their name on an iPad app and by giving them different colored wristbands.

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Check out One Brick Boston if looking for ways to help out in Boston.

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