Category Archives: boston

Family! Fun! Boston! (and Marblehead!)

image_23The whole Martin clan came to Boston this weekend to move in my sister, aka my and Mike’s roomie for the summer. We adventured around Copley Square on Saturday, including a stop at Restoration Hardware and, OMG. I’m moving in. Mike told me 1000000 times I would love it there, but obvi I didn’t listen until I actually went to shop visit. Beeeaa-uuuty.

On Sunday we spent the day in Marblehead, with perfect weather and an impromptu photo shoot or two (see last photo). Family fun for all ;)

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How to Beat the Heat: A Photo Essay

image_15It was hawwwwwt in Boston this weekend. 95 degrees-sweating by 8AM-get me near a fan rightnoworI’mgoingtolose it HOT. Mike and I spent the weekend beating the heat, and – despite the constant state of sweating – it ended up being one of our favorite weekends in Boston!

So you wanna #beattheheat? Here’s what you can do…

image_21Step one: ICE CREEAAAAM, duh. Rainbow sprinkles FTW.

image_17Step two: Get near the water, ASAP. We took the ferry out to Spectacle Island and it was perfect! It was pretty deserted and we found a little spot of beach to have a picnic and dip our toes in the water. image_18

image_19image_16image_13 image_12 image_11 image_9 image_8 image_14 image_7 image_6 image_5image_4Step three: Recruit someone else to make dinner for you. Why sweat in the kitchen when you can have your own personal chef making you grilled pizzas??! Thanks, Mike and Katy!image_3 image_2 image_1 imageimage_3Step four: Find some more water. Get in it. Try not to get eaten by a snapping turtle.

imageStep five: Find some shade. Get in touch with your natural side.

image_2 image_1Step six: YOGURTLAND. One just opened in Coolidge Corner and OMG. OH.mg. The flavors are out of this worrrrld and? Unlimited free samples. Get on it.

Step seven: Decide that the day your apartment reaches the highest temperature is the day you’re going to clean it out. Assist your roommate (ahem, MIKE) in cleaning out their closet (ahem, FIFTY T-SHIRTS [and one pair of soccer cleats FROM HIGH SCHOOL] LATER) and collect a dumpster-sized mass of garbage and donations. Feel suuper zen after ridding your apartment of all Mike’s the clutter.*

Step eight: Fall into bed after a full and glorious weekend and try to figure out how to sleep in a way that the bed/sheets/blankets/your clothes don’t touch your ridiculous left-shoulder, right-kneecap sunburn. Make a mental note to get better at applying sunscreen.

*This has nothing to do with beating the heat. I just needed the world to know that Mike has been hoarding t-shirts (and millions of various other items, see: this insane glove collection) and my intervention saved him.

Boston in the Golden Hour

boston collage

There’s a magical hour right before sunset where the world looks extra perfect & beautiful and you have to take 100,000 photos of everything because it might never look that beautiful ever again. After last week’s Cambridge eating tour (400 miles + 400,000 calories)*, Mike and I walked across the Salt ‘n Peppa bridge, down Charles street, and into the Boston Common. We stopped for some hot chocolate to warm up, then ventured out to walk on the frozen swan pond (is that what we call it? Swan Boat Pond? Public Garden Lake? Body of water inside the Public Garden where the swans live?? Do you know what I mean???), feeling like a couple of BAMFs. Then we headed back down Commonwealth Ave to catch the T just as the twinkly tree lights were turning on. MAGIC, I tell ya.

*Only exaggerating by a factor of 100.

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{selfie fail}

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Cambridge Eating Tour Adventure

eating tour mapLast weekend, Mike I planned to spend some time poking around Cambridge. Naturally, “poking around” translated into “searching for food” and we ended up on an eating tour of sorts. I loved that our adventure took us to so many new places we had never even heard of before, AND since we walked the whole thing (almost 5 miles!) none of the calories counted ;) Here are some pictures from our adventure, followed by a list of the places we went to!DSC_0015Three words, five syllables: Bel.gian-waff.les-YO.

DSC_0003DSC_0028Who knew there was an entire store dedicated to honey? Who knew I liked honey? Revelation.DSC_0018PicMonkey CollageDSC_0031DSC_0040Couldn’t resist making Mike play model. #hipsterDSC_0043DSC_0044DSC_0053Vegetable samosas FTW. These were goooood. Like, I-don’t-even-like-Indian-food-and-I-still-thought-they-were-good goooood.DSC_0058Pistachio + coffee Oreo

Our last stop was at The Friendly Toast but they sat us in THE DARKEST corner of the whole restaurant so I didn’t snap any pics. We ordered this:

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 1.42.05 PMand it was everything I could ever hope for and more.

Then, we walked a million more miles back into Boston and I snapped a million more pics, which I’ll share another day, another time. DSC_0090

Cambridge Eating Tour Adventure

  1. Zinnekin’s – Belgian waffles in Harvard Square
  2. Follow the Honey - Just outside Harvard Square
  3. Dosa Factory – Indian food in Central Square
  4. Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream – Inman Square (right next door to Christina’s Spice and Specialty Foods, which has every spice and random baking supply you could imagine!)
  5. The Friendly Toast – Kendall Square

We didn’t stop at these places this time around, but here are a couple more of my favorite Cambridge eateries:

  • Flour – bakery in Central Square
  • Sweet – cupcakes in Harvard Square
  • Area Four – bakery/bar/pizza/etc. in Kendall Square
  • Bon Me – Vietnamese food in Kendall Square

 

Sibs in Boston!

DSC_0106My brother (Peter) and sister (Emily) came to visit me and Mike in Boston this weekend, and on Saturday we braved the cold & wind for a little adventure. We headed to Harpoon’s new beer hall (which was our back-up plan after discovering that all the brewery tours sold out only an hour after opening!!) where we tasted some beers and scarfed down soft pretzels with IPA cheddar, garlic parmesan, and maple cream cheese dips. To DIE.

Then we took Emily to try her very first lobster roll and poked around the Seaport and Fort Point Channel (obvi stopping by Flour for homemade oreos). These visits always feel too short but I was so happy to have them here! Come back soon, sibs!

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Blizzard Bonanza

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NEMO!!! Love ya to pieces.

Disclaimer: I don’t have a car or house to shovel out and wasn’t affected by power outages or transportation delays (perks of being on a school snow day schedule) so to me blizzard = play time. Major playtime.

Mike and I headed out Friday night in the height of the blizzard to hang with my old roomies (perks of having besties two blocks away) and almost became insta-snowpeople. Observe:

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On Saturday we (I) made Nemo pancakes because HOW COULDN’T I, then we bundled up and hopped into our cross-country skis to ski around the ‘hood. Cross-country skiing is HARD, yo. I was sweating like a wildebeest and almost-crying but eventually channeled my inner snow bunny and got the hang of it. We dropped our skis off at home and hippity-hopped around town, took 1,000 photos, and came home to eat Kraft mac and cheese and drink hot cocoa. It was wonderful :)

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I asked Mike if he had any spare gloves I could wear. This is what he presented me with…

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PicMonkey Collage

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Weekend Happenings

DSC_1323Hooray! It’s already Tuesday! Three day weekends are whaaaatttt’s UP.

Here’s our weekend, in photos…

image (1)|Cornell alumni conference in Boston this weekend. Hey Ezra!|

PicMonkey Collage|Happy Birthday, Mike! Despite the 55 sparklers, we didn’t burn the building down! Don’t tell our landlord this happened!|

image (1)|Yellow birthday cake with milk chocolate frosting from the Flour cookbook|

IMG_6494|Copley Square|

IMG_6495|BPL|

IMG_6496|Favorite brunch spot|

DSC_1278|Paris? Boston? PARIS.|

DSC_1321|Pink tea|

IMG_6500|Artsy|

IMG_6497|Spiced raspberry shortbread|

IMG_6498|Fresh grapefruit juice|

IMG_6499|We’re hoping they start recognizing us as regulars soon|

IMG_6501|South End love|

IMG_6502|Discovered Siena Farms South End. Adorable little shop with tons of local food & produce!|

IMG_6486|Warming up with hot cocoa from The Buttery|

IMG_6487|Credit to Mike the paparazzo|

IMG_6491|Flour Back Bay. We saw Joanne Chang!|

IMG_6489|One of each, please|

IMG_6492|Free day at the MFA|

DSC_0034|Mario Testino. So glad to have caught this exhibit before it left Boston!|

DSC_0043|Creepy flying people|

DSC_0038|Exactly|

How was your weekend? Anyone else wishing today was a snow day?

Brunch at Mistral

PicMonkey CollageYesterday, Mike and I went to brunch at Mistral with our friends Julie and Paul and OH MY GOSH. IT WAS SO GOOD. We’ve been meaning to go for awhile and I’m really not sure why we waited so long because… holy yum.

Before heading over, Mike and I perused the menu and lost our minds over the deliciousness. Pear beignets. Greek yogurt panna cotta with pistachio granola. Lemon poppyseed pancakes. Rosemary ham and gruyere omelette. HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE JUST ONE THING??? 

You can’t. Which is why I plan to go back 19 times or however many times it takes me to eat my way through the menu. (J/K) (but not really)

image_1When we sat down, the waiter brought over a warm cinnamon crumb muffin which was 80% crumb, 20% muffin. The perfect ratio of crumb to muffin, in my humble expert opinion. (I love crumbs.) Then we read the menu 18 more times and I freaked out about not making the right decision because HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE JUST ONE THING? #foodFOMO

I ended up ordering the milk chocolate chip pancakes with banana brûlée and warm Nutella. Yes, it was everything I hoped for and more (SO FLUFFY AND CHOCOLATE-FILLED). Yes, I made the right decision. And yes, when I wanted to bring the leftovers home and the waiter accidentally threw them in the garbage, they made a brand-new batch of pancakes and presented them to me in a doggy bag. Which Mike and I later demolished in a mere 1 minute and 42 seconds.

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You should… probably go.

{Guest Post} Roasted Strawberry and Graham Cracker Ice Cream

Today’s post is coming to you from a fellow Boston blogger, teacher, upstate New Yorker, food lover and overall enthusiast of life; my real-life friend, Anna! Not only did this dear friend make me THE BEST ICE CREAM OF MY LIFE, but she also agreed to share her post right here on The Sweet Life. Girlfriend knows whats UP.

Thanks Anna, you’re the best!

Hi everyone! I’m Anna and I’m totally excited to be here today and totally PUMPED to talk about ice cream.

ICE CREAM! Who doesn’t love it? And MELANIE! Who doesn’t love her?!

Melanie and I have been blog friends for awhile now. We like to take the occasional trip to Weggies together, eat tasty foods around the Bean together, and most importantly, eat strawberry and graham cracker ice cream together.

Making ice cream was one of the things I put on my summer bucket list, and if you know me, then you know I am not messing around. This summer bucket list of mine? I’m taking it VERY SERIOUSLY.

VERY.

So when Melanie randomly tweeted “I want someone to make me graham cracker ice cream and I want them to do it NOW.” I just said to myself, “DONE.”

Short side story: Once upon a time there was a gas station in Upstate NY that sold an ice cream called “Crumbs Along the Mohawk”: graham cracker ice cream with caramel swirl. I KID YOU NOT. It was real. It was my favorite ice cream EVER, and still is to this day. For my birthday last year, my boyfriend Zan bought me an ice cream maker and actually found the recipe for Crumbs Along the Mohawk online. Best boyfriend ever? I THINK SO.

Aaaaaaaanyways, I made the ice cream back when it was my birthday, did a little happy dance because it tasted exactly like the ice cream from the gas station and then, when Melanie tweeted her need for graham cracker ice cream, I KNEW it was time to make it again.

PLUS is was on my bucket list, remember? Everybody was about to win here.

And by everybody, I mean me and Melanie.

Below you will find the two ice cream flavors I made the night Melanie came over. In addition to the graham cracker, I made a roasted strawberry as well, from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook. I decided to make two, well, because, WHY ever NOT? Plus, Jeni’s strawberry ice cream is made with cream cheese and buttermilk. HELLO, DELICIOUS. I like to call this combination “Strawberry Cheesecake”. YEAH. Get excited.

(You will, of course, need an ice cream maker. I have a Cuisinart, but I’m sure any ice cream maker will do.)

Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream (from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home)

Ingredients:

for the roasted strawberries-

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

for the ice cream base-

1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used half and half)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 oz (4 tbsp) cream cheese, softened

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp light corn syrup

1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. To roast the strawberries, preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the strawberries with the sugar and place in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring to combine. Roast for 8 minutes, just until soft. Allow to cool slightly.

2. In a food processor or a blender, puree the strawberries with the lemon juice. Measure 1/2 cup of the pureed mixture and refrigerate the rest for another use (I threw it in a smoothie).

3. To make the ice cream base, mix 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl, mixing to make a smooth slurry. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt. Set aside.

4. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside.

5. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup, heating to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, cooking until slightly thickened (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.

6. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Stir in the 1/2 cup strawberry puree and buttermilk, mixing well. Pour the mixture into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag into the ice water. Allow to stand for about 30 minutes, until chilled.

7. Churn ice cream according to ice cream maker instructions. Pack the ice cream into an airtight storage container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Stewarts Shop Crumbs Along the Mohawk Ice Cream (from One Lovely Life)

Ingredients:

For ice cream base:

4 egg yolks

1/4tsp salt

2/3c sugar

2 1/2c half-and-half

2 tsp vanilla

For caramel sauce:

2/3c sugar

1/4c butter, cut into small pieces

1/2c half-and-half

1/4tsp salt

Additional:

1/2c-3/4c crushed graham cracker

1c graham cracker pieces

(This comes out to about 1/2 of my graham cracker recipe)

Directions:

Make ice cream base:

In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks and salt. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Pour 1/2c of the creamy mixture into the eggs and salt and whisk to temper the eggs. Return mixture to saucepan and stir over low heat until thickened to a thick sauce. It should resemble the consistency of light alfredo and should coat the back of a spoon well. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Strain into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate till cold. To speed up the process, set the bowl containing the ice cream mixture in a larger bowl filled with ice and water and keep in the refrigerator.

Make caramel sauce:

Pour sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and let sugar melt to make an amber-colored liquid. Stir in butter and half-and-half and continue to stir over medium heat until mixture comes together as a sauce. Stir in salt. Remove from heat.

When ice cream base is cold, begin churning in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. For me, this meant about 30 minutes in the Cuisinart. At about 25 minutes, I added half of the caramel sauce and the crushed graham crackers. Before putting it in the freezer, I stirred in the remaining caramel sauce and the graham cracker pieces, then froze until ready (about 2-2 1/2 hours)

Makes about 1 1/4 quarts (about 5 1/2cups)

ENJOY!

Thanks for having me over here on The Sweet Life today, Melanie! And thanks for helping eat the ice cream!!

Fourth of July, In Pictures

Happy 5th of July! I hope your 4th was full of relaxation, fun, FOOD, and fireworks! This was my and Mike’s first 4th of July in Boston, and we were lucky to be invited to a sa-weeeet roof deck in Back Bay with a fabulous view (Thanks J+P!). Even though it downpoured as soon as the fireworks began, I loved every second of it and even managed to snap some pictures before my camera got completely soaked (#reasonnumber17Ihaveinsurance). Here are some shots from our day…