great food

Lunch with a view, a water view at that, at Pier 6

Honestly, when it rains, it pours. Happy days of lunching with my blogger buds (is that our group name?) continues as we visit another lovely lunch place – Pier 6 in Charlestown.

Now, if you know me, you know I am the type of person who has rules, likes rules (well, until I don’t) and generally obeys rules. I think it’s a first born thing. Maybe not. Anyway, when a sign says “No Parking – Street Cleaning” – I observe that rule – even if I didn’t see the sign at first and it means running out to my car…twice. Pier 6 has parking – so just park in the lot and avoid the crazy making, even though it was totally worth running out to my car – gorgeous clear day, special bonding time with my friend who had to move her car, too. And I worked up an appetite for, and thus could justify eating so much of this delicious tasting lunch.

 

So lunch was chatty and fun and fantastic. This local find is a great place for a get together with friends, a working lunch (try not to get distracted by the view), a first (or a fiftieth) date, a work party or a special event. Wonderful service, delicious entree and snacks, yes, great bar snacks. So about those rules I have. I rate places based on an undisclosed and ever shifting algorithm although this is only time I will ever admit to using an algorithm or even knowing what one is. What are the factors? Location (amazing), ease of parking (I don’t care if I have to pay – just have some parking), quality of food (outstanding), quality of service (personable, professional and friendly), and cleanliness (top marks. And, yes, I do check bathrooms).

On all of my counts, Pier 6 comes out as a top choice. We had, among other things, gorgeous oysters, a wonderful lobster roll and a perfect cheese plate that already have me planning another visit. Check out Deb’s blog A Little Bit About A Lot of Things for a rundown on our tasting menu.

Also, there are so many decks to walk out on and soak up the view – it’s also fun site to explore. Located in Charlestown right on the water and just steps from the U.S.S. Constitution. I wish I had known about it when our family visited – it would have made that afternoon a little sweeter and I might not have had to buy that feather pen.

Follow Pier 6 on Instagram

and contact them here for reservations.

Disclaimer: I was hosted as a guest of Pier 6 for lunch. All opinions are always, and always will be, my own.

McDonald’s In The Kitchen, Fairsted Kitchen that is.

A Surprise From McDonald’s at Fairsted Kitchen

 

When I got the invitation to Fairsted Kitchen, it was a given that I would say yes. Every time I drive by it, I remind myself that we need to have dinner there, then I get home and life happens and I forget, again, at least until the next time I drive by.  And when I saw that McDonald’s was hosting and Executive Chef Stephanie Cmar (yes, foodie friends, of Bravo’s Top Chef and of Stacked Donuts fame), was going to cook only with McD’s ingredients, I was intrigued. How would this work? What would the menu look like? And most importantly…Would there be fries?!

Photo credit: Debbie Grubstein

 

And not only were there fries – there was a bar of fries!  Everyone talked, laughed and nibbled as we circled the table and there were lots of stories because…fries. And I was so excited that the charming and twinkle lighted exterior of Fairsted Kitchen was a perfect preview to the lovely space within –  warm wood tables, lovely vintage mismatched china, and a welcoming staff. What a wonderful antidote to a cold and rainy night.

Dinner was, as expected, fantastic. And made only from ingredients that would be used in a McDonald’s kitchen. The first up: chicken croquettes with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree and our hosts explained that the fresh produce was the same used in McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps.  I learned that McD’s sources from local distributors when possible.

Next up, gnocchi made with actual McDonald’s french fries that were put through a meat grinder. Wow, super clever Stephanie Cmar! The Bolognese made with sausage and 100% ground beef, was delicious! I also learned that McD’s uses 100% beef that is ground, then formed into patties and flash frozen, and made with no additives or preservatives. Good to know.

Dessert was seriously the biggest doughnut I have ever seen. It’s okay though, years of training had prepared me for the challenge and I was undaunted. Doughnuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel made by Stephanie (McD’s uses USDA grade A fresh eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour).

 

Served with a perfect cup of coffee (from McCafe) and made with 100 percent Arabica coffee beans. I loved McDonald’s coffee when it was Newman’s Own and I love it now, too. A great price for great coffee.

Stephanie Cmar Fairsted Kitchen McDonald's In the Kitchen

Photos* were taken by Debbie Grubstein, friend, food blogger extraordinaire, and all around wonderful person. Thanks, Deb!

*except the coffee cup so you can see why Deb is good to have around!

This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Thank you!

 

Vine Brook Tavern’s Secret Menu

Vine Brook Tavern is one of those charming old buildings that you walk by, and make note of, because it is so quintessentially New England. The real surprise happens when you walk inside. The incredible care taken to make this restaurant welcoming and understated is outstanding. The decor feels comfortable and luxe at the same time – not an easy effect. And the food! Well, the food is painstakingly planned and prepared for by a dedicated staff. And delicious.

I attended a blogger lunch and we ordered off the lunch menu and it was lovely. One of the bloggers is a vegan and she let me take a pic of her lunch (see above with the avocado in the skillet). It is a wonderful creative and versatile kitchen that is vegetarian friendly.

I tried a beautifully presented and delicious flatbread with Serrano ham, caramelized onions, eggs and pea shoots.

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I had the highly recommended, and rightly so, steak sandwich. I had to take half of it home (and that never happens).

 

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I also tasted the delicious chopped salad, too. IMG_1365

 

 

What is the secret menu? Well, Vine Brook Tavern has a pizza to go menu that is well-known to the locals (and now to you). Check out the menu and order ahead. If it’s not ready (there’s only one pizza oven – and it’s worth the wait), grab a drink at the comfortable bar until they call your name. IMG_1371

We were seated downstairs and it was lovely and lively. There is a lovely upstairs (the flags in the windows) with a private room available. This would be a great, centrally located place to have a family get together.

I tell you, I travel for food. This was a quick jaunt to neighboring Lexington and I’ll be heading back there with my family in tow very soon. Need more info?

Vine Brook Tavern http://vinebrooktavern.com/

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/VineBrookTavern

Twitter https://twitter.com/VineBrookTavern

 

I was treated to lunch at the Vine Brook Tavern as part of a Blogger Blunch (yes, that’s really a word) and I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are, as always, my own.

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