Monday, June 22, 2015

Lunch in the North End with the Family!

Hello! I hope that everyone had a great Father's Day. My grandfather flew down from New Jersey Saturday morning and is staying until Thursday. We picked up my grandfather (Nonno, which is grandfather in Italian) and headed to the North End. As you may have guessed the North End is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Boston. We were planning on going to Quattro (which Mom and I went to last summer), but there was an hour wait. The five of us then walked down the block to Ristorante Fiore, which we had never been to. We sat on the roof deck and browsed through the menu.

Mom and I chose to split an arugula salad with lemon juice and shaved parmesan. It was a perfect light start to a carb based meal. 

Both Dad and Nonno got the arancini (rice balls) stuffed with sausage and cheese. They both loved it, and I was happy to sample some of Dad's!

While we waited for our entrées to arrive (which took longer than we had anticipated) we discussed some of the work that Mom and I have been doing tracing our family tree. We have since worked on it, and now the tree has 140 people on it dating back to 1837. It has been a lot of fun and I can't wait to find out more about our family!

Emma ate spaghetti and meatballs! Classic and delicious.

I chose the Maccaroni al Forno. An amazing mixture of rigatoni pasta with spicy sausage and goat cheese. It was huge and I could not finish it all!

Mom got the Penne al Pollo, which had artichoke hearts, chicken, cherry tomatoes, in a light cream sauce. Like mine it was huge and she could not finish it, but she loved it nonetheless.

Lastly, Dad and Nonno got the gnocchi with sausage and mushrooms. I'm not a big fan of either gnocchi or mushrooms, but I got to say that it was pretty good! Not something that I would order for myself. 

Even after all of that we could not say no to dessert! Mom, Nonno, and I got cappuccino, while Dad got his usual double espresso. We got two tiramisus to split between the four of us (Emma does not like tiramisu) and it was so good! I love tiramisu. I have made it many times and I have had it at many restaurants. My french host mother even made me a speculoos tiramisu! Out of all of those tiramisus, this one is in the top five. It had a really good coffee flavor, that can be lost with the mascarpone filling and chocolate.

We then walked by the harbor before heading back home! All in all another very successful meal in the North End.

See you next time,

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Breakfast With Dad: Country Chef Restaurant, Wilmington MA

Hello! As you guys may know breakfast is my second favorite meal, with brunch being my favorite because I can sleep in and eat breakfast foods! So I love going out to breakfast every other Friday with Dad. We usually try to find a different restaurant or diner each week (although we haven't always stuck to that rule). So far we have tried Agawam Diner in Rowley and Shawsheen Luncheonette in Andover (which we have gone to twice and is apparently an Andover favorite because there is always a line out of the door). 

Yesterday we went to the Country Chef Restaurant in Wilmington. It is a cute little place where a lot of locals were getting their breakfast, which is always a good sign.

Upon arrival we were offered a fruit salad to eat while choosing our entrée. It consisted of pineapple, honeydew, and cantelope. The fruit was yummy and fresh, even though none of those fruits are my favorite.

The menu has egg dishes, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and more. It took me a while to decide but I got there in the end! Dad got the Linguicia special omelette, which had Linguicia sausage, feta cheese, American cheese, spinach, and tomatoes. It was served with home fries and wheat toast. He really liked it and would have it again.

I had the Boston Breakfast, which is two eggs served any style (I chose sunny side up), choice of meat (I chose sausage), home fries, toast and a small juice (I got orange juice). It was yummy but I wished that the home fries were crispier. Next time I really want to try the pancakes with chocolate chips!!

Overall I liked the place. As we were leaving there were a good number of cars pulling in, making it look like the place to get breakfast in Wilmington. I can't wait to try the next place!!

See you next time,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Plans: Volunteering, Movies, and Going to India!

Helle everyone! I hope your summer is going well so far. I am so excited for the rest of my summer because I have a lot of fun stuff lined up!

Three times a week I volunteer at the Crane Estate in Ipswich. The Crane Estate is one of the many Trustee of Reservations properties. There are tours at the great house, a tour of the grounds, and picturesque views from almost any place on the property. I work at the Casino, no, it is not a place for gambling. It was a place for the Crane's and their guests to relax and have a good time. Outside of the Casino there used to be a saltwater pool that was filled in by Mrs Crane, so the Casino was the place to cool down after a fun afternoon in the pool. Here are some pictures of the estate that I've taken during the last few weeks. 

A photo of the house during the kite festival 
The view from the house's cupola. Wouldn't this be nice for a summer home? 
Some of the salt marshes around the property
View from the Grande Allée (the rolling hills in the second photo)
On days when I am not working at the Crane Estate I am working with four of my fellow Northern Ireland students on a research paper for one of the undergraduate journals on campus. We all have our different sections to write. I am writing about some of the cultural challenges to integrated education. Going back through our notes and watching the videos (haven't seen them yet? I'll insert them below!) has made me nostalgic for one of the best trips of my life! The first video is the more academic one and the second one is the vlog style video.

Speaking of traveling, I am lucky enough to go to some amazing places this summer. First I am going to New York with my parents for Fourth of July weekend. We are seeing a Broadway musical (Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Darren Criss!!) and going on a cool walking tour of the High-line and Greenwich Village. I hope to take some amazing photos. In late July my mom is going on a business trip to India and I am incredibly lucky enough to go with her! We are going to New Delhi and Bangalore, with an overnight trip to see the Taj Mahal. Words cannot describe how excited I am for this trip! I have two trips in August. One is a four day family trip to Toronto, Canada (where I lived for three years) to see some of my mom's old colleagues and poke around our old haunts. Lastly, the four of us are going to Florida!! The first half of the week will be in Orlando to go to Walt Disney World and the second half of the week will be spent in St Petersburg to see friends! I want to see if St Petersburg has changed since I've last been there (last Thanksgiving). I can't wait to go on these four trips and to write all about them. 

As far as movies go, I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron three times (AMAZING!), Mad Max: Fury Road once (Go Furiosa), and Jurassic World (Chris Pratt!) . I am looking forward to seeing Ant Man and Inside Out. Any other movies that I should look out for? Let me know in the comments!

I know that this summer is going to go by super fast! before I know it I'll be starting classes back at American! I hope that everyone has had a good start to their summer and has fun things planned.

See you soon,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shopping and Dinner in the North End!

Hello everyone! I know that it has been a while but I want to get back into the blogging groove. I'm so happy that Summer is here and that the sun is shining (on most days). Living in Massachusetts has been good, although I miss my friends from Florida and D.C.. Two weekends ago Mom, Dad and I went into Boston for some shopping (well the shopping was for Mom and I) and eat at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the North End.

Once we got into Boston, we wandered through an arts market just as it was about to end. I wish we had gotten there sooner, but we still had the chance to look at some beautiful jewelry.

Me helping Dad with geocaching
We also bought some amazing smelling candles from a Boston-based business called Fifth & Madison. We got three candles: Molokai (Sea Salt, Gardenia, and White Musk) for Mom, Cosmopolitan (Pomegranate and Grapefruit) for Emma, and Spa Water (Rosemary and Eucalyptus) for me. They are nice and light summer scents!

While Dad waited in Quincy Market, Mom and I perused through Ann Taylor Loft where I got two shirts and a pair of sunglasses. We then walked down to the North End to go through the store Lit where I got a cute dress. 

We had dinner at a new restaurant on Hanover St called Parla. I ate here last summer with Mom, which you can read about here. Now this is not your typical Italian restaurant with spaghetti and meatballs or pizza. They change their menu on a regular basis, so you can always try something new. We got beef carpaccio and grilled polenta to start. Both were yummy, but I liked the polenta more because beef carpaccio is not really my thing.

For the main course Mom had the roasted duck breast with carrots and sweet potato purée. She loved it and let everyone have a try. I love duck and I would definitely get that again.

Dad got the most interesting dish: a ramen "carbonara." Just like it sounds, it was a mix between ramen soup with spaghetti carbonara. He really liked it and it showcased how different Parla is from the other restaurants in the North End.

I ate the seafood pasta dish with haddock, scallops, shrimp, mussels and clams. While it was not the most adventurous thing on the menu nor my favorite seafood pasta, it was still pretty yummy. I'm not a huge fan of haddock but the rest of the seafood was perfectly cooked and sauce was delicious.

We had to get Mike's Pastries for desserts just because. I've never had Modern Pastry, but I will always go to Mike's to get a chocolate chip cannoli. 

My parents and I had a great time going to Quincy Market and the North End. They are two of my favorite places to go in Boston and I have fond memories of them both. Since we live here, however, I cannot wait to explore new areas of Boston and try other restaurants. Any suggestions?

See you next time,