Boston Restaurant Roundup: Part 2 {Seaport District/Southie & East Boston}

Did you miss my first “Boston Restaurant Roundup” post? If so, check it out here. In that post you can find lots of restaurants in the downtown Boston area, including Faneuil Hall, Financial District and Downtown Crossing.

As far as this post goes, we are moving out of downtown Boston to some of the more “up and coming” areas in Boston: Seaport District/Southie and East Boston. While these are a little more on the outskirts of the city, they are super trendy right now and draw masses of people. Here are some of my favorite restaurants in these areas- enjoy!

Seaport District

  • Row 34 is not only my favorite restaurant in the area, but probably my favorite restaurant in Boston right now. I was taken there for my birthday and have wanted to go back ever since! The décor is amazing, they’ve got a great beer (with gluten free options!) and wine list and are known for their Oyster selection. The rest of the options on the menu were just as good as the shellfish appetizers we tried. The only downside is that it is always really busy, so getting a reservation can be tough.

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  • Trade– I haven’t eaten there, but the drinks are really, really good! It’s also in a great location and has a funky style to it. The downside is that the drinks are pricey, but if you’re going for just one before dinner plans, it’s perfect!

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  • Miel– This is a French restaurant located in the Intercontinental and it’s my favorite French restaurant in Boston. I’ve only been for lunch, but every time I’ve been it’s been awesome! From their fancy salads to sliders to French sandwiches and French Onion Soup, the taste and presentation is terrific. They’ve got a really nice patio area on the water, too, which is always a plus!

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Southie

  • Lincoln– I have had dinner and brunch at Lincoln and both times I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It’s known as a “hot spot” for late-night drinking, but it’s worth a visit during meal time, too. They have a “bucket of bubbly” that is a really popular item for brunch, and they were very accommodating to gluten/dairy intolerances when I went there for dinner. If you plan on going there for your night out, I suggest getting there early (like 9pm early) or going for dinner beforehand, otherwise you’ll be in line for a long time.

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  • Stephi’s in Southie– My sister and I went there for brunch on New Year’s Day and were really pleased with the decision. They’ve got a huge bar area, as well as an open dining area, too. The wine was very affordable and the dishes had interesting and really delicious ingredients in them. I still want to go back for dinner!

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  • Moko– My sister just moved to Southie and this restaurant is right down the street from her apartment. We finally decided to go earlier this week and I was really satisfied with the menu options and the quality of the fish! I don’t often have a hard time deciding what roll I want to order, but at Moko there were so many delicious options that I really struggled! I settled on a crazy spicy roll and when I asked to have them do it without tempura, it was no problem at all. I love when restaurants are accommodating to food requests. Though the rolls were not cheap, the wine was! I got a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay for $9, which I think is a great deal. I definitely suggest visiting this little hole in the wall sushi restaurant if you’re in Southie.

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East Boston (aka, Eastie)

  • Santarpio’s– I’m sure this comes as no surprise, right?! Whenever I tell people I live in Southie, the two things they most commonly ask is if I’ve been to Santarpio’s and/or Rino’s. While I haven’t been to Rino’s (yet!), I have been to Santarpio’s a number of times and each time it has lived up to the hype everyone gives it. The pizza is absolutely delicious (the pepperoni, garlic and hot peppers is my favorite), the meat skewers are always worth getting (sausage is my favorite) and the waiters/service is worth a trip on its own! It’s certainly a “no frills” type of place, but the drinks are cheap and the food is great.

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  • Ecco– Ecco is located across the street from Santarpio’s and is actually owned by the same owners. I’ve been there for drinks a few times and dinner once and each experience was really good. The drink menu has some fun options and their taco trio plate is delicious! I’ve heard that they have a back patio, too, so it’s a great place to go when the weather is nice.

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  • KO Catering and Pies– My Eastie friends Pat and Colleen told me about this place and then the boy and I went there on our first date! What I love about it is that it’s almost on the water (it’s in the seaport district) and has outside picnic tables, pitchers of beer, live music and drinking games (corn toss, etc.). The food isn’t to be overlooked, though, as it seemingly reflects authentic Australian meat pies. I got a “floater” which means it’s a meat pie topped with mashed potatoes and gravy and it was to die for! I’m big on messy foods and this fit the bill perfectly. I can’t wait to go back this summer!

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  • Prima e Dopo– This is owned by the people who own Rino’s and was opened to accommodate the masses of people waiting hours for a table at Rino’s. It’s a small place, but they have wine (on tap!), beer and spirits, as well as a small menu. I went with my upstairs neighbor, Lisa, and my sister on Valentine’s day and we had the meatballs, pizza and something else that was a cheesy/saucy dish. I’ve also had the shrimp scampi bruschetta and everything was SO GOOD! The prices are also great.

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  • Angela’s Café– My friends Pat and Colleen also introduced me to this place- a little hidden gem Mexican restaurant. We went for brunch and I got the Mexican Breakfast Burrito and it was so good! I’ve heard that their margarita’s are also super tasty… I still haven’t had a chance to get back there to try them, though. Since they have outside seating, I’m sure I’ll make my way there some night after work for one this summer.

I think that does it for places I’ve gone to and enjoyed in the Seaport/Southie/Eastie areas of the city. Did I miss any/do you have any suggestions for places I should try? Have you been to any of these places? Wine on tap- love it or think it’s gross? Where’s your favorite pizza place?

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A Healthy Eggplant Parmesan Dinner

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the best way to get back “on track” after an indulgent weekend or few days is to make a veggie-heavy dinner that’s so delicious it reminds you how good it tastes and feels to eat clean, real food. On my way back to Massachusetts on Monday afternoon, I remembered that I had bought a baby eggplant the week before. Since I hate to waste food, and have been waiting for an excuse to take my dad’s homemade sauce out of the freezer, I decided that eggplant parmesan would be a great meal to make. Per usual, I knew I wanted to doctor up the sauce a bit, so I added in some browned lean hamburger (it was about half the price of ground turkey or ground chicken and it was 85% lean so I went for it) and extra veggies.

To cut back on carbs a bit, I cooked up a small spaghetti squash. This is one of my favorite healthy substitutions because if you have a good sauce and other things to keep your mouth happy, you won’t even notice that you’re not eating pasta! Lastly, a side of baked kale was the finishing piece of the meal… because you can never have too many veggies, right?!eggplant parmesan

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 small-medium eggplant
  • sea salt
  • approx. 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2-1 cup panko or bread crumbs
  • EVOO
  • 2 cups of sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 lemon
  • herbs and seasonings of your choice

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Directions

1. Cut open the spaghetti squash, clean out the seeds and put it into a pot of boiling water. Boil for about 15-20 minutes. While that is cooking, place the sauce in a pot and add in the chopped veggies. When the spaghetti squash is cooked, remove from the water and use a fork to shred the squash. Set aside.

2. Brown the beef and add that to the sauce and veggies.

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3. Clean and cut up the kale (removing the stems) and massage with about 4 tbsp. of EVOO, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and herbs/seasonings of your choice. Place in a baking dish and set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 350*. Cut up the eggplant into 1/4-1/2″ slices and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle some sea salt onto one side and let sit for a few minutes. Flip the slices over and sprinkle more salt on them. I heard that this helps to remove some of the excess moisture in the eggplant- anyone know more about this?

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5. Heat a pan with a little EVOO. Scramble an egg in one bowl and put the panko/breadcrumbs in the other bowl. Place the eggplant slices into the egg and then into the panko/breadcrumbs and then onto the warm pan. Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes.

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6. When each side of the eggplant slice has browned, place a small spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of cheese onto each and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Place the kale in the oven as well, stirring halfway through.

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7. Serve yourself a bowl of spaghetti squash, topped with the meat/veggie sauce and eggplant medallions and a side of kale. Enjoy!

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This meal was so delicious and can be simplified even more by replacing spaghetti squash for regular spaghetti and skipping the breading process on the eggplant. I just had time and love being in the kitchen so I went all out!

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Enjoy!

Questions for you: Do you like eggplant parmesan? Do you make your own sauce? What’s your favorite green veggie?

 

 

Wednesday Workout: Quality versus Quantity {and a 20 min workout blast!}

Hello! I hope you’re all doing well. I’m reallllly enjoying having some time off- it’s amazing to be able to go to the gym during the day and have it be empty, as well as run errands without traffic or masses of people. I could get used to this 😉

Remember how I briefly talked about how I got hung up with focusing on the quantity of workouts over the quality of them? Well, today I wanted to expand upon that a little. I remember Athena talking about going for the quality of a workout over the quantity of a workout in a post she wrote a while ago, and while I agreed with what she said about preferring to have 4 really solid and strong workouts versus 6 “meh” workouts, I found myself ignoring that last week.

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Source

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I get too wrapped up and focused on getting in “X” amount of workouts per week rather than looking at how hard/intense/strong each particular workout is and minding my body if I get up and it feels too sore to workout. With the amount I workout (often 1-2 hours per day), taking 2 rest days a week should be a priority, right? Or, at least having one of those “rest” days be something low-impact like yoga or pilates or something along those lines.

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Stupidly, though, when I know there are days where I likely won’t have time to workout (or, rather, want to MAKE the time to workout), I often force a workout into a day where I usually rest. Since I teach a double on Thursdays and often have a long workout on Wednesdays, by the time Friday morning rolls around, I’m generally very physically tired and sored so it’s a perfect day to rest. Last Friday, though, I tried to force a workout. Sometimes if I workout in the afternoon, I can swing it and be fine since I can rest in the morning and see how I feel, but last Friday had to be a 7am workout, which was just too early. I woke up sore and should have pressed snooze or gotten up and foam rolled instead of trying to force a half-assed workout.

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However, even though I got frustrated with myself for having chosen the quantity of workouts over the quality of workouts (my workouts last week were killer besides Friday!), it was a good lesson and a great reminder for me to take my own advice and focus on listening to my body and knowing when enough is enough and too much is too much. Rest days really are so important and the body gains so much more from a solid rest day than it does from a forced workout on a day that your body is giving you blatant signs that it is tired, sore and over-worked.

So, with that said, I hope that the next time I wake up for a workout and feel tired, I flash back to this post and my workout last Friday and choose sleep, foam rolling or regular ol’ rest instead of pushing my body to a limit it doesn’t want to reach.

Questions for you: Do you choose quality over quantity of workouts or do you focus on getting in “X” amount of workouts in per week regardless of how you feel?

And, for fun (and since I promised)- if you’re looking for a quickie workout today, try this! Remember to warm up and cool down as necessary. While the focus is on completing as many rounds as possible (AMRAP), please remember that good form takes precedence over speed!

20 minute workout blast

 

 

 

This Week {A day late}: Workouts, week off and things I’m looking forward to

Good morning! It feels weird posting my Monday post on a Tuesday, but I wanted to spend my day with family yesterday since I was only in Maine for a short period of time. I hope you all had a great day off (if you had one off). I’m feeling pretty fortunate this week as I have the WHOLE WEEK off. Technically, I guess it’s kind of like I’m unemployed since I’m not getting paid, but that’s ok… the new job is right around the corner now!

It’s funny, last week I had half of Wednesday off and all day Thursday and Friday and on Thursday, it wasn’t even noon before I felt bored and lonely. I have issues! The time off is good, though. I’m so busy all the time with work and teaching and blogging and being a girlfriend (<—- did you see that?! woahhh!) and a friend and a sister that I forget what free time feels like. After a few days, though, I get in my groove and appreciate it so much. A little downtime every once and a while is such a wonderful thing, and something I think most of us don’t do enough of. We have so many “obligations” that get in the way.

One fun thing about more time is that I have more flexibility with my workouts… and way more energy to do them. I was laughing last week after my Thursday double because I had so much more energy than normal. It’s not like I have a physical job during the day, but I think the fact of getting up and out of the house early, working all day and going straight to the gym just wipes me out!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I did another lunch break workout at the gym in my building. I’m so sad that I won’t have that luxury anymore 😦
  • Tuesday- I got up Tuesday morning and ran a 5K before work. I also did some core work… and something else, but I can’t remember what it was!
  • Wednesday- I actually went to a class! I know the instructor who teaches before me on Wednesday is intense so I figured I would check out her class before teaching my own. It was a really great class and totally challenged me. UXF Burn was also a fun class- we worked hard and did LOTS of burpees.
  • Thursday- I taught a stations circuit class in SHRED and then taught cardio kickboxing. It was great to have lots of energy to get me through both classes!
  • Friday- I got up and attempted a workout but didn’t get very far. Looking back, it was a dumb move. I was tired and sore and should have just slept or foam rolled, but instead I got up and tried to push myself until I realized: a. I didn’t have it in me and b. I was too sore. I knew I likely wouldn’t be working out on Sunday so I wanted to get something in on Friday, but since I did a double on Wednesday and Thursday, working out on Friday was not necessary. It’s all about quality over quantity, but stupidly, I had quantity over quality on the brain. Although I’m good at giving advice of listening to your body and not over doing it, I have a hard time following it myself. There are times when I just need to know a crappy workout isn’t the right choice. Oh well.
  • Saturday- I was finally back at the Oak Square YMCA for my cardio kickboxing class and it felt great! There was a pretty good crowd considering it was a holiday weekend.

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  • Sunday- I wasn’t planning on working out, but the boy and I were in the Twin Mountain area in NH and I was wide awake and bounding with energy (he was sleeping off the booze from the night before…) so I headed out for a 3 mile run and my standing ab workout. I feel like I just did that workout but yesterday my core, especially my obliques, was so sore!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- My sister and I went on a nice hour long walk throughout East Boston.
  • Tuesday- My plan today is to go to a 10am class at the Wellington BSC.
  • Wednesday- I’m going to dinner with my sister after teaching UXF Burn, so I will workout during the day at some point and just instruct in my class.
  • Thursday- Teaching my double: SHRED and Cardio Kickboxing
  • Friday- I bought a deal for a massage at Exhale Spa, so I would like to book a massage on Friday. Before the massage, I’d like to take a class- either a Core Fusion Cardio or maybe a yoga class?
  • Saturday- Teaching my second Saturday in a row at the Oak Square YMCA- yay!
  • Sunday- I will be in Maine (Zeke turns 1 on Saturday so I’ll be up there for the birthday party!) so I may go for a run or a walk.

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I’m looking forward to having time off! On top of that, time off with no real plans. It’s the weirdest feeling to know I don’t have to get ready for a week of work, packing lunches, planning out my days, etc. This week I hope to get caught up on lots of blog posts that I’ve wanted to write, as well as make other blog updates that I generally don’t have the time to make. I can’t wait to finally get a much needed massage- I shouldn’t push that to the back burner so often. Lastly, I’m excited to go to Zeke’s first birthday party on Saturday. I cannot believe he is already 1!!!

Questions for you: What was the best workout you had last week? Do you ever go for quantity over quality when it comes to workouts? What are you looking forward to this week?

 

Boston Restaurant Roundup: Part 1 {Downtown Boston}

It’s no surprise that I love to go out to lunch or dinner or even just for drinks, right? I love trying new places or foods or drinks and then sharing that information with all of you who read this little blog. I especially love when you guys ask me for restaurant recommendations, so I thought that I would make it a little easier for you and give you my Boston Restaurant Roundup so you can have access to all my favorite restaurants in a few different posts. I originally wanted to put everything in one post, but as I started to list out the various restaurants I’ve been to, I realized I’ve been to A LOT of different places all around Boston. Putting them into one post would’ve just been too long, so here is your first installment of my “Boston Restaurant Roundup”, which includes restaurants in Downtown Boston (Fanuel Hall, Financial District and Downtown Crossing).

Faneuil Hall/Financial District

  • Anthem– I have talked about Anthem a number of times on here, so it’s no surprise that it’s the first place I list. They are located right in the heart of Faneuil Hall, have a good wine and cocktail menu and a terrific food menu. It’s great for outdoor dining in the summer and the bar area is great for indoor people watching in the winter/colder months. If you go, you MUST, I repeat, MUST get the fondue! It is the absolute best.

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  • Granary Tavern– This is another place with a similar vibe to Anthem. I have to say that the prices are a little better and I like their wines more, so sometimes we choose this place over Anthem. It’s located on Atlantic Ave, so it’s still close to shopping and bar hopping. They’ve got some terrific salads and pizza’s and a great outdoor patio area for summer dining.

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  • Sakurabana– If you’re looking for Sushi in this area, I definitely suggest Sakurabana. The fish has always been really fresh and colorful and they have brown rice options. This is a really popular lunch place, and although it’s never busy for dinner, it’s wroth a trip. I think I’ve been there 3 times in the past 2 months. If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, they accommodate that, too!

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  • Society on High– I went here for after work drinks and loved the atmosphere. They had a great bar area and lots of high-top tables to sit at around the bar. They also had an absolutely delicious Sauvignon Blanc that I may or may not have had 3 glasses of… on a Tuesday! 😉 We ended up getting some apps and really loved the fish tacos and shrimp cocktail. I’ve been trying to get back there ever since.

Downtown Crossing

  • Stoddards– I haven’t eaten here, but my sister, Amy and I had a girls night there a few months ago and loved the bar area. We ended up downstairs, but they have an area upstairs, too. I’ve heard that the food is good, I just haven’t had a chance to get back there to try it.
  • 49 Social– Danielle, Amy and I went across the street from Stoddards for dinner at 49 Social. While this is a little more of an ‘upscale” place compared to Stoddards, it wasn’t TOO stuffy. We tried to sit at the bar area since it was certainly more casual there, but they were full so we had to go upstairs. The regular menu looked wonderful, but we were more in the mood for munchy food and asked if we could order from the bar menu- no problem at all! Everything we had was absolutely delicious- I highly recommend trying this place.
  • Sip– I recently went with my friend Lisa and we enjoyed countless drinks and a few food dishes and left there completely satisfied. I still dream about the tacos and mushroom pizza with truffle oil. The fact that you can choose what size glass of wine you want is also a really fun thing- it gives you a chance to do a tasting “flight” of various wines. The prices are also very reasonable.

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  • Gem– This triples as a great dinner spot, lively after dinner drink spot and a great post dinner drink spot. Trust me on this- I’ve done all three 😉 We did dinner first (a while ago as one of our girls nights) and loved it. We shared a salad and a flatbread and lots of wine (they have a heavy pour!). Recently, we went for after dinner drinks and loved the scene. It’s certainly not a “casual” atmosphere (more clubby than casual Boston bars), but if you’re looking for a time to get dressed up, it’s a great place to go!

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So, there you have it! Your first installment of my “Boston Restaurant Roundup”. Next up will be Southie/Seaport District and East Boston. There are lots of good places in those locations!

Questions for you: Have you been to any of these places? Did I miss any/are there any that I should try? I’m always looking to expand my restaurant repertoire, so share your favorites in the comments section!