local finds

Spring is here!

Well, almost – we do live in New England after all. So just relax and, for goodness sake, don’t plant anything yet. Maybe buy plants for your porch that you have to take in every night if you must. Or do what I do – visit local nurseries for inspiration and my version of color therapy – Hillcrest Gardens in Needham has a sweet greenhouse where you pretend it’s not nasty outside.

Easter is almost here, too, and I have several favorite shops: Just Next Door and Greentail Table in Newton and Gift Garden in Milton – okay, so it’s happens to be next to The Plate which is my favorite place to pick up treats when visiting my parents. They have the most gorgeous coconut cakes, and everything else is delicious, too (yes, I have tried almost everything on the menu. You’re welcome). It’s also above The Fruit Center Marketplace which has a small but mighty floral department. another favorite is Volante Farms where they have a great selection of adorable candy in addition to their wonderful local produce, meat and dairy items. Order ahead from Lyndell’s in Somerville for gorgeous custom cakes and sweet cupcakes.

So here are some of my finds – please note the matzo and seaweed (!) that I included in my gift packages to my daughters. While we don’t observe Passover, we have been to our share of Seders hosted by family or friends and the two holidays do overlap this year. Great hostess gift ideas at Just Next Door, Greentail Table and Gift Garden.Need inspiration for non-candy items for the kiddos? Try theses headphones from BuddyPhones great sound quality and sized to fit the little ones. These volume-limiting kids headphones are waterproof and wireless and come in cute designs. Unicorns! Thanks Deb for the photos!

photo by D Grubs http://www.dgrubs.com/
Photo credit D. Grubs
photo by D grubs http://www.dgrubs.com/
Photo credit D. Grubs

More non-candy ideas? Books, art supplies – anything from our favorite Crayola crayons to these cool Copic markers, a family puzzle or game.

Another fave is the charming Wellesley Books for a great selection of gifts for all ages, and, of course, books.

From Wellesley Books

Top 10 Children’s Picture Books of 2018

Disclaimer: I received Buddy Phones only to facilitate in this review and promptly gave them to someone with small children. All opinion are, and always will be, my own.

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!

 

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