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Brunching like a boss at Il Casale

Brunching like a millennial and a boomer boss.

I brunched. Back in the day, when it was a huge thing, you know, in the 80s, when I had disposable income and all weekend to myself. Then, the 90s and the aughts and babies, and brunch was not an option, heck, hot food was barely an option.

So now, my college aged daughter brunches with friends and I am charmed. I love the idea of it and it makes me smile to myself that she has a group of friends who brunch. And I was not even remotely jealous that she was brunching, because, I could, too, technically. In recent years, we were at far flung volleyball tournaments or, sleeping in. But then the season ended, and I was asked if I wanted to go to brunch. Yes, please. And with great group of friends who blog – this is great because we all take food pics and no one minds if you need more light or another minute to get the shot. This definitely would not have worked with babies.

So, where do grown-ups brunch? Il Casale in Belmont is a perfect balance of grownup but casual. Live music, special drinks and fantastic food. Pick a good friend group who likes to share food so you can taste everything. The menu is expansive and wonderful, and, yes, I had a digestif, and it was delicious.

 

This is a great local find – and there are Belmont and Lexington locations.

Brunch is great, but you need to eat the rest of the week, too. The full menu is available for take out, and they have a party planner menu that has everything from house made pasta (gluten free available,too) to lasagnes and whole roasted Sicilian chickens.

Enjoy!

 

What a Treat – Muji on Newbury Street

When visiting NYC, I stumbled upon the Muji Store in Times Square and I was transfixed. The quiet, tidy and calm interior was in such stark contrast to the street outside. And everything was so well curated – all super practical, yet beautiful items. Household goods, clothing, no brand names. Just gorgeous, functional items. I was smitten. And I’m not alone. There are legions of loyal Muji fans, and luckily for us, they just opened a shop on Newbury Street in Boston. So whether you already love Muji or have never heard of it, check it out.

Photos courtesy of Sharon Schindler (@SchindlerPhotos), who I talked into going to the opening, and who takes much better photos than I do. Thanks, Sharon!

 

Muji Website

Sharon Schindler Photography

 

 

The Power Lunch at Ocean Prime

Working from home and being a stay at home mom have two major things in common. You have to pass the dirty laundry or unmade beds all day unless you deal with them, and neither one usually includes glamorous lunches, or heck, sometimes lunch at all – do grilled cheese crusts or a yogurt eaten at your desk really count as lunch?

So, back in the 90s (BK – before kids) when I had an office job, we went out to lunch. Sure, it was usually to grab a sandwich but sometimes, we ate at nice places. You know, tablecloths, good service, yummy food. And as it was the decade of the Power Lunch, and while I mostly booked lunches for others, it means that I know a good lunch.  Ocean Prime is a great place for a power lunch, or a fun, out-with-friends lunch.

 

Recently Ocean Prime Boston on Seaport Boulevard hosted three super bloggers and me, to a power lunch of our own. Some of us dressed for it (Debbie, I am looking at you) and some accessorized – I wore big earrings- for our big lunch.

Okay, to start with the Prime Lunch menu is wonderfully curated:

First Course: Point Judith Calamari, Creamy Clam Chowder or Ocean Prime House Salad

Entrée: Parmesan Crusted Chicken Caesar, Teriyaki Salmon served with Shiitake Sticky Rice and Soy Butter Sauce or Petite Filet served with Whipped Potatoes, Haricots Verts and Cabernet Jus

Dessert “Indulgences”: Chef’s Selection of Hand Spun Sorbet or Five Layer Carrot Cake 

I had the calamari, the petite fillet and the carrot cake, and I’d order it again, too. Don’t see anything you like? Not to worry, check out this expansive menu, and that’s just lunch. Ocean Prime boasts a made from scratch kitchen and can happily make substitutions. There is even a gluten free menu and they do have options for vegetarian and vegan diners, including salads, pasta with vegetables and quinoa cakes.

This is a great place for a work meeting (now that’s what I call a working lunch), a work party (great private rooms) or place for a family dinner. My family is trying to find a place for a great 50th birthday party for my sister and this would fit the bill. Fantastic food, gorgeous atmosphere, super friendly staff. So if you’re out and about in the Seaport District, at either the ICA  which is just around the corner, or at the Seaport Trade Center, Ocean Prime is a great place to recharge.

 

Ocean Prime in the Seaport District
140 Seaport Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210
Map & Directions »

Trade Up Your Night at Trade Boston

img_7392Happily, I was invited to a hosted Parent’s Night Out at Trade (Boston), a wonderful restaurant on Atlantic Ave, and since the chef/owner is Jody Adams, I knew I was in for a treat, actually, many delicious treats. And we, the parents, star researchers that we all are, sampled most of the items on the menu. You are welcome. I also had a stint at their lively Patio Party with Dave Dudek and had snacks before dinner (and even some dessert – hand made oreos that were too good to pass up) where I imagined I still worked in town and got to stop for drinks on my way home. I don’t but, hey, it could happen. If I did work in town, Trade would be at least a weekly stop in. This food is seriously wonderful. What did we try? It would be easier to list what we didn’t try. But I’m up for the challenge.

The brushetta – just dig in, worth the small mess you might make. And I did make a mess but the architect and landscape architect I befriended – partially because they were charming and friendly and maybe a little bit because they were standing in front of all the food – covered for me and then we ate some kind of puffed up fried shrimp that were incredible. Sadly I didn’t get as far as the oyster bar…there’s always next time though! Then Dave and I saw our group and moved inside for more food!

And more starters – all exceptional – a perfect buttermilk fried quail, squash and sweet potato pancakes (two separate dishes in case you were wondering), and falafel pancakes, and chicken meatballs in a tomato vinaigrette. Yes, all that and more. As in a few flat breads like the mushroom and fig, the Tasso ham and smoked gouda, and the lamb sausage with eggplant.

Not yet daunted and excited to try more of this beautifully prepared and presented food, we pressed on to the entrees: a perfectly prepared salmon with shredded kale salad, an wonderful roasted half chicken with fried potatoes, lemon aioli and charred romaine, and steak with arugula, french fries and baked rigatoni with spicy lamb ragu.

The menu is fantastic, and the entire staff is charming. We were seated next to the cool wine vault and we got to chat with Chef de Cuisine Cory Seeker. Great place with a great atmosphere and a perfect place for any get together – date night, a private party or just drinks (and apps!) after work, or parents night out! Valet parking available or there is a garage right next door – super easy, super fun night out.

Partners in Fun

 

#momsnightout at TRADE. Babysitters across the board…bartender, keep ’em comin!!

A photo posted by tradeboston (@tradeboston) on

 On Instagram:

redshutters

davedudek

ohbabyboston

kimworld

mamamyung

umommy

kristinadanahy

and me, capabilitymom

540 Atlantic Avenue, Boston MA 02210

(617) 451-1234

Mon – Thu: 11:30am – 11:00pm, Fri – Sat: 11:30am – 12:00am

Sun: 5:30pm-10:00pm

 

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