Boston – Food Truck Throwdown!

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I had been looking forward to the Boston vs NYC Food Truck Throwdown all week. I love food trucks all the time, but especially when there are a whole bunch in one spot! Sidenote: I also really love food courts. I can totally relate to the Gilmore Girls episode where Rory and Lorelai introduce Emily to the food court with a sampling of every type of cuisine available. I’ve also always wanted to compile my own food court smorgasbord. I am quite indecisive though, so it’s kind of odd that I enjoy the variety so much.

I thought the trucks might be serving smaller, sample sized portions, but everyone seemed to have their regular menu. I went in with the intention of trying NYC food since I see a lot of the Boston trucks around all the time. That didn’t happen, but I’m really happy with what we tried! Paul was standing in line at an NYC truck while I scoped out other menus again. I kept passing Penny Packer’s and couldn’t deny the amazing smell hovering over their area. I had never seen their truck before, they had a fairly short line, and their specialty, the Porchetta sandwich, was only $5 so I hopped in and grabbed one. They were cranking those sandwiches out – they got it down! Paul was still in line and said he just read on a forum that the Porchetta is a must-try and the place he was waiting on had only ok reviews. So in less than 5 minutes he had a Porchetta in his hands too.  This sandwich was AMAZING! Delicious, juicy, flavorful pork with a layer of crispy skin, plus a fruity relish (with whole cherries!) and a toasty, but soft bun. Whew, that mouthful. It was like, the perfect sandwich. I can’t believe it was only $5 because I was stuffed. Now, I had imagined that I would sample lots of stuff at the event, but I was so full! We decided to leave and come back for dinner, but that didn’t happen either. Oops! Even though we didn’t take full advantage of all the trucks, I think we made a good decision. I don’t know who won/what awards were voted on, but as we were leaving Penny Packer’s I heard one of the judges on stage say it was the best Porchetta he had ever had. Score!

Update: They won best Boston AND best overall!! I knew we picked well. Nuchas was the NYC truck that I wanted to try because I love empanadas – wish we had because they won best NYC! Shucks.

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Boston Places – Clover

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Ahh this is the second time I’ve tried to write this post (my browser crashed last time without saving)! Even at my first attempt, it was 2 months late and now I think it’s almost been 3 months since I visited Clover! However, I still think this is appropriate because May is here and food truck season is in full swing. At least in my mind. Plus, this food is so bright, fresh and perfect for the warm weather. I ate at the Harvard Square location when I took these photos, but now I really want to pay a visit to a truck. Should be easy to find – they are everywhere!

I remember when we were here, it was really cold and gloomy. I was so happy to walk in and enjoy some colorful, summery food and drinks. This place is called a food lab for good reason. They are always trying out new ways to make health food super tasty. I actually didn’t even realize the place was vegetarian until after I ordered because I saw words like ‘barbecue’ and ‘BLT’. The menu changes seasonally and as they concoct new things, but the really good stuff stays put. The order dude was pretty honest and told us that some of the seasonal drinks were fun to try, but not the best, like the maple soda. We stuck to some tried and true favorites (according to him) and got the chickpea fritter. I’m sure you guys can tell how absolutely huge this thing is. Even though it was messy and too big for me to finish, I really enjoyed it! Very satisfying without feeling too heavy because all the ingredients taste so fresh.

I really like the idea behind this place and the fact that they pay so much attention to where their ingredients come from. I love any place that can make me happy to eat healthy because goodness knows I’m a sucker for cheese and carbs when it comes to eating out (and eating in general). I want to eat healthy so bad, but I can’t quit the cheese! Eating at Clover was really fun. I like the open atmosphere that lets you watch the assembly process and they had a band playing too. It Seemed like a fairly popular place for those Harvard kids to study…I mean, not only do they serve brain food, but they also serve beer. So yeah, heh heh.

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Hibiscus and some kind of fruity lemonade. I’m not sure what drinks they have now, but these were pretty refreshing!

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Too. full. for. fries. But I still ate some and liked it.

DSC_1866A monster.

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Watching them work. You can also watch from the seating area above them.

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Harvard kids love to color. Fun!

Sunday in Boston

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Yesterday was such a beautiful day! We were on our way  to the Arnold Arboretum, but got distracted by a big crowd, music, and news trucks at Copley Square. We headed over and saw that all the signs, flowers, and toys left for the bombing victims had been collected there. The place was packed with people writing messages, snapping photos, and just taking everything in. Each time I’ve been in the area of the marathon has been emotional. From seeing the closed down street being investigated, to seeing the bombing sites and boarded up windows for the first time, and now this collection of mementos – it’s very surreal. Today, the tulips were blooming, people were singing, dogs were playing, and strangers were uniting. It’s tough to see these memorials, but also comforting to be around people leaving behind so many positive messages. I had my camera handy since I thought we would be hanging at the arboretum. Hopefully we will go there soon! Although the tulips were so beautiful, that I didn’t mind skipping it for today. The sun and shadows made them look like a painting – it was crazy. No edits on the tulip photos below, and they looked just as cool in person. I couldn’t narrow the photos down, so there are lots! Hope you enjoy.

Oh, and one other thing about today. We were on CNN! Haha. They were all over Copley Square. We stood with a crowd of people by the CNN station so that our families back home could see us. I think only my sister caught it in time. Who knows, maybe some of you saw me and just didn’t know it! : )

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Thankful

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Was last week just the worst, or what? I still can’t believe that so many awful things happened all in one week. And I really can’t believe that some of the awful things happened in the place that I currently live. We walked down to check out the marathon last Monday and only got to experience the cheering and celebration for maybe 5 minutes before we heard that there was an explosion at the finish line. We were miles away, but the news definitely changed the mood almost instantly. We hurried back home, turned on the news, and immediately felt sick.

That sick feeling didn’t go away for next 4 days. We were on lockdown while the search was going on and man did I stress myself out. We weren’t that close to Watertown, but the uncertainty, chaos, and inability to step outside to make sure everything seemed okay out there was just so scary. I could hardly eat because I tend to get really, really nauseas when I’m nervous! I had to take news breaks in order to keep my nerves at bay. Some really sweet girls in the building brought smoothies to everyone, which was a nice little distraction. We were pretty freaked when we heard a knock at our door though. We had been hearing warnings to not open your door for the last 24 hours and didn’t know what to do! As soon as I heard friendly voices talking about mangos in the hall, I figured it was safe. Of course, I would open the door to a food conversation whether my door had been knocked on or not.

So yes, this whole experience was incredibly scary, but also really eye opening. Whenever any kind of tragedy happens, you hear so many stories about people coming together in strength. This time, I saw the strength up close – not just through the news, but on the streets. It’s amazing and so inspiring. It’s too easy to let all the horrible events we see on TV cast negativity  over your mind and attitude. It feels absolutely hopeless at times. Like there’s nothing that can be done to keep these things from happening. This whole experience has shown me that the best thing I can do is to continuously put positive things out into the world. I’ve now seen how much the positive truly outshines the negative and I hope that my little blog here can a space for positivity and fun. I have some ideas a brewin’ that I am so excited to put together. Everything that’s been going on has thrown me off on posting here, but blogging has definitely been on my mind!

I’ve been trying to write this post (in my head) for days. I’m not sure if I’ve articulated everything that I’ve been feeling or wanted to say, but it feels good to write this out. I am very ready to get back to posting less stressful content! And last but not least, I just have to say that I’ve never been so thankful for all the officers out there! I heard one cop say on the news “I feel like a firefighter I’m gettin’ so much love!” Haha! They deserve every bit of it!

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So many people loved the comfort dogs that were hanging out near the site of the finish line. So sweet!

IMG_4343So many thanks.

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While walking town a crowded Newbury St., silence hit at each blocked off corner.
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Donut Sandwich!

20130405-171809.jpgToday was an exciting day. I have to admit that I’m always a sucker for fast food novelty releases (love this blog). I promise, I really don’t eat that much fast food, but I definitely have fun making special trips whenever something ‘so-weird-it’s-good’ comes out. I’ve actually been meaning to make one post about all the funny things I’ve tried lately! I still will, but this one deserves a dedicated post. I’ve heard about the donuts-as-buns fad, but hadn’t tried anything. I found out from my brother, who is always my partner in novelty food crime, that Dunkin’ Donuts released a glazed donut breakfast sandwich in Massachusetts. I think the fact that DD has not been announcing which locations have them or really how long they will be around made it more exciting. Paul found the one place that has it in the Boston area, and luckily it was not too far away. Although it’s kind of in a random location if you ask me! All the more mysterious.

Anyway, we got our hands on them and dug in. Well, Paul dug in…I took pictures from every angle and then dug in. I was immediately surprised by how soft, warm, and pillowy the donut was. And then I was even more surprised by how tasty I thought it was! I’m not even a big breakfast sandwich eater, so I wasn’t expecting to love it. I was more expecting to feel a little sick halfway through, but it’s actually not a very heavy sandwich. I read one review that said it’s lighter than eating a bagel sandwich, which I now totally get. I feel a little bad for posting this, since it’s such a limited release…but I figured some of you might be interested in seeing what it looks like! I would like to try making it myself at some point. Let me know if you’ve tried making something like this or if you’ve tried donut buns (lol) at a place near you!20130405-171824.jpg

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InstaBeps :: Puppies, Cookies, Repeat

20130224-230519.jpgThe past couple weeks truly have been all about puppies and cookies. I certainly can’t complain! Despite that, it’s somehow managed to also be an incredibly stressful couple of weeks. One day in particular was so hectic that it literally made me sick. Ugh! I think things will be getting back to normal very soon though! I know that I tend to post a lot of puppy pictures on here…I don’t even have a puppy of my own, unfortunately! I usually walk just a few dogs during the week for some extra cash and for fun.  I helped someone out for a few days recently and met sooo many dogs. This explains why there might be a bit of a puppy overload here for tonight. I’m guessing you all won’t mind that too much. I also ate/bought an inexcusable number of cookies. Some I made, some were gifts, and some were just on sale, but very few were shared. Oops.

PS I’m stealing the ‘Insta-name’ title from a post I saw from Sincerly Jules! I thought it was too cute not to. 20130224-230710.jpg

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I don’t think I’ll get used to stumbling across this view. A pretty wonderful Valentines afternoon. 20130224-230840.jpg

Took me a while to fashion a vase. I was so surprised and excited to receive these pretty roses! 20130224-230905.jpg

I could have posted way more cookies pictures…I’ll stick with this one to reduce embarrassment. 20130224-230919.jpg

Awesome guy! 20130224-230928.jpg

Clam chowder cravings are pretty easily satisfied around here. 20130224-230940.jpg

Weekend hair projects…20130224-231134.jpgI nearly let these strawberries go bad! Turned them into a delicious quick bread.

Snowy Snaps

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The past few days have felt very similar to when Hurricane Sandy visited Boston. Everyone in town was stocking up on bread, water, and cookies (or was that one just me?). Luckily, just like Sandy, Nemo didn’t wipe out our power or anything. We don’t have a car here, so digging out wasn’t a big issue either. And thank you MBTA for getting the public transit running so well today! I kind of tried to downplay the hype in my mind because being from Colorado, it feels like everyone freaks out a little more here. I can’t imagine schools being closed days in advance or driving bans put in place! Every channel we have was reporting on snow and only snow all day (we only have like 4 channels, but still). They were pretty darn accurate with the predictions though! We ventured out on Saturday after it finally stopped snowing to snap some pics and check out the aftermath. City snow storms sure are different from the suburban storms I’m used to. I can understand the freak-outs a little more now! No garages to hide your car in around here! It was so weird to walk around the quiet streets. It was also fun to be surrounded by other curious wanderers, families heading to sledding hills, and dedicated car owners already digging their spots out. It seems like most people made the best of it and had a nice time with friends and neighbors. Of course, today was a bit of a different story. Slush, sidewalk mazes, and rain…yes, rain! Such a ‘well at least it’s not raining’/dark cloud moment.

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20130211-191828.jpgpeek-a-boo20130211-191915.jpgsnow puppies! 20130211-191929.jpgthese are gonna be here a while…20130211-191941.jpgso fun