Food for Thought Friday

High Five ya’ll! Friday has arrived!!

How was your 4th of July? I hope you celebrated America in good spirits and also enjoyed the launch of Jay-Z’s new album if you’re into that stuff (I am!)

This food for thought Friday is totally appropriate for yesterday’s major holiday!


The establishment of our country was, rightfully so, fueled by the desire and need for change from England. We let go of the fear of wondering if we’d be able to make it on our own without their support. We persevered and we moved forward to create what our beautiful country is now! Land of the free, land of the blogging freaks!

So the reason I went to San Francisco on a whim was because I needed a change. The past month has been rather stressful for me in the sense I moved out of my apartment, I got into grad school and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to work 40 hours a week and get my Master’s and there’s been so much going on with my friends and family!

I needed to breathe.

One of my biggest anxiety stressors is traveling alone. It’s minor anxiety I get, but anxiety nonetheless. What causes it I think is fear I’ll get super lost and not be able to find my way home, my cell phone will break and I’ll lose all my money. I mean, that’s KIND of extreme, don’t you think?!

So when I planned the trip, I overlooked my fears of being alone in a different place and just went with it.

I got lost in neighborhoods I’ve never been in and enjoyed it.

I went through a flight fiasco of a trip getting cancelled and talking my way onto another plane calmly.

Fear is all in your head.

Not accepting change is fear that you won’t be able to adjust to what you don’t know.

But you ALWAYS do.

Whether it’s a break up and now you are single,

you’re moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone,

you’re planning a dinner party and trying a new recipe,


you’ll get through it.

Trust yourself and trust you’ll find out what you need to know when all is said and done!

This weekend I’m going to the Berkshires to see the kids I used to work with last summer at Camp Lenox. It’s one of the most special places I’ve ever been to and I’m excited to see all the campers.

Have a great weekend!




The Graduate.

My baby brother graduated high school! I can’t believe the former “Budda” looking baby has transformed into this handsome, talented and intelligent young man. I’m so proud of him and I’m also so excited he will be in Boston right down the road from me studying Computer Science at Wentworth Institute of Technology!


One thing that really excites me about big events like this is that I know, 100% we will go somewhere nice to celebrate. A new restaurant, Copper Door is in Bedford, NH and we spoiled ourselves with delicious wine and food.

Right off the bat, the interior design/decor of the restaurant is rustic, country and warm. I loved it! I can totally see myself cuddling up here in the fall/winter.

Copper Door

Split a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Calamari and they brought warm, kneaded, pull-apart bread to the table.


The Wood-Roasted Haddock served with fingerling potatoes, corn & crab hash, and pearl onions. Delectable!

I ordered the grown up Shepard’s Pie which as we ALL KNOW, comes with beef, corn and mashed potatoes on top. Well, Copper Door made it a little grown up and fancier, throwing in juicy, tenderloin beef chunk, pearl onion, corn, and peas swimming in a Port wine gravy. It was utterly fantastic and I could only finish about half of what was presented to me in a personal sized skillet.


Kyran, myself and my Mom at Copper Door.

My brothers and I never have had a giant graduation party, although we do love attending them! We’ve always saved that moment for quiet, intimate family gatherings, in fact I think the three of us prefer it! I love going out to eat with my family, which is a rare occasion because Tim has the most deranged schedule known to man at the hospital, Kyran is living up his social life and I always have engagements on the weekend.

It was a lovely celebration with the family! What’s your favorite family restaurant to go to in New England? In the world? Let me know!



I Love You, San Francisco.

San Francisco, you’ve done it again.

I was feeling pretty bored recently and decided it would probably be best if I took a mental/visual break from work and took an impromptu trip to San Francisco. Since I visited last year, I’ve always dreamed of going back so I was thrilled that it worked with my schedule. This trip wasn’t much a tourist-based adventure, but more of me adapting to a “local” experience. I was able to visit two friends that lived out there and got an opportunity to explore the city on my own.


I spent on Haight with my friend John. It was a gorgeous day out, happy people buzzing about everywhere. San Francisco has got an INCREDIBLE thrift-store scene. The consignment shops have an impressive selection and I was happy that I was able to snag a few pieces I knew I wouldn’t really find in Boston. We stopped inside the RVCA headquarters store. LOVE the atmosphere in here and I think it’s so awesome they have a mini art gallery where customers can purchase items on display:


We grabbed lunch at People’s Cafe on Haight. It was somewhat amusing, because my friend John and I both met in Newport, RI which also has a People’s Cafe where the vibes and decor are very similar. It’s a cute little place, with typical cafe fare, nothing jumping out at you but will most definitely satisfy your needs. A warm, gooey grilled cheese sandwich with fries and my comfort food cravings were kicked to the curb while I people watched!

People's Cafe

We wandered into Mission Hill, which is a young, hipster filled neighborhood. It’s gorgeous on a sunny day. Plenty of eclectic shops, restaurants fill the area to keep you occupied for at least an entire day.


I grabbed $3 empanadas from this place called Venga! right on Valencia street and they were delicious. I’ve never really had empanadas before, so I tried the Sweet Corn empanada (Corn, Red Bell Pepper, Mozzarella) and the Five Pepper Manchego Cheese empanada. Needless to say, I’ll be investigating some new places to grab empanadas in New England.

SF Stores

A couple noteworthy stores to drop into on your visits: Therapy, Accidental & Artifact, NU.

Saturday Night

I met up with my friend Bruce who I knew would show me a great time in SF because he knows how much I love a good food scene! He brought me to this swanky, chic wine bar called the Press Club! We ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc off quite the extensive wine list and ordered some bites of their food menu. We shared Duck Meatballs, a Charcuterie with a great meat selection and a soft, fontina esque cheese Bridgid Abbey’s Cato Corner Farm!

 Press Club

Then we went to this speakeasy bar called Tradition. It’s supposedly a MUST when hitting the evening scene in SF and I can see why. I love bars/restaurants that adopt a theme and stick strongly to it! I was taken aback by all the cocktails from each “age” and loved that it pays tribute to American history. Very cool.


I slept in unfortunately but ended up meeting Bruce in Pacific Heights. An adorable neighborhood in SF that offers a ton of upscale clothing shops and cafes. We went to La Boulange cafe so I could get something light for lunch. Apparently Starbucks as taken items from here to their empire?! I’m pleased! I ordered the La Boulange house salad, endives, fried egg, thick cut bacon bits and artisan bread, I was satisfied completely!

La Boulange

We walked around towards the Marina near Golden Gate but it was so foggy and misty, unfortunately I didn’t get to see a nice view. We met up with his friend Justin and the three of us drove to Sausilito, over the bridge, where they popped my oyster cherry! I think I’ve always been nervous to try oysters solely because they look gross. When I tried to “dress” my oyster up, in short, it tasted AWFUL. But Bruce was kind enough to do it for me, and the ones he fancied up where pretty good. We got some gelato and drove to Daly City, where they brought me to this chain restaurant that specializes in wings. I was essentially in a food coma thanks to these guys but I had a really fun time exploring the greater SF area.


Time to go home! I went back to Haight just to kill time before my flight and do some shopping. It wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it was on the weekend.


Thank you kind girl for staying in the picture. You really complete it! 

Haight IS pretty touristy but all in all, the history behind it is amazing and I truly did love spending every day I was in San Francisco strolling around.

San Francisco, for good reason, is one of the best cities to visit and live in. With various neighborhoods, whether upscale, lowkey, trendy, hipster, whatever- SF has got it for you. It also is considered one of the food capitals of the world and I can see why!

Maybe one day I’ll be back, with all my bags, ready to stay.

I’m not sure where my next trip is going to be yet. I have Miami, Philly, New York, DC, and the Outerbanks in the running. Well, D.C. is in September, Philly is in October, and all the other ones are pretty much whenever I get bored again!

Till then, take some time to dine and unwined. Ya know, just because we all need that mental break sometimes 🙂



A Cafe Fit for a Queen

This Food for Thought Friday is a special one, and I’m excited to share it with you all.

Every now and then we’re inspired by people who just wake up and go for it.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity of interviewing a young woman, Alex Puglisi, St. Anselm ’11 Alum, who opened up her own cafe in Manchester New Hampshire:

Cafe la Reine


With an exposed brick wall, wooden floor and crates, Cafe la Reine is totally rustic and comfortable.

My first impression of meeting Alex, right off the bat, I knew she was a cool girl. A wonderful and bubbly personality, I can see why this cafe will be a success. She greeted everyone who walked in throughout the interview with a genuine “Hi! How are you?” She’s smart, innovative and most importantly she has a vision she’s sticking to!

Where did you get the idea to start Cafe la Reine

I knew I wanted to have my own business and I honestly really loved coffee! Manchester needed a good, quality coffee shop. I wanted to try and tie it into the “Queen City” and because of the French population, I came up with the name of Cafe la Reine.

Who/What/Where inspired you?

For places, I’d say Diesel in Davis Square (in Boston) was a big inspiration to me. If you’ve never been, it follows a theme that’s totally industrial. For instance, they have actual pipes that separate where you wait in line. The front of the store is a garage door that opens up in the summer, there’s road signs, stuff like that. Little details like which added to the overall theme was something I wanted to try and achieve here.


Where’d you get the idea to name the sandwiches/salads after former Kings and Queens?Ingenious!

I have to give credit to my dad on this one who gave me the idea to use famous kings and queens as the names for the food items we serve. He even joked about me serving something called “Queen Latifah”. Could you imagine saying, “I’d like one Queen Latifah, please?”Haha!


Karis: I tried the Mary Tudor which is a flatbread that comes with chicken, bacon, smoked gouda and BBQ sauce. I didn’t realize heaven could be placed between two pieces of flatbread until this moment.


What was the process like to start this business?

I tried at least 40-50 different types of coffee, trying to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t like about each and every one. I had a table for criteria and notes. It took about a year. We sell Boston Common Coffee at Cafe la Reine. (Karis: you guys, this coffee is SPECTACULAR. I am a huge fan with the wide selection of flavors, toffee nut iced coffee is fantastic!) We just opened in March so we’re still learning things along the way. For instance, daily coffee flavors. When we first opened we had Swiss Chocolate Almond and people were just like “Uhhh..”. I’ve learned so much. My team and I put in a ton of effort to accommodate to the customer to make Cafe la Reine great experience. 


Owning your own coffee shop is a strenuous job. How has it affected you  personally?

I have an incredible support system with my friends and family. In the beginning I was working from open to close and it was a lot to handle but I kept telling myself, to keep doing it. And finally, it got better. 


Alex Puglisi (Right) Owner and Founder of Cafe la Reine with her cousin Danielle

Alex’s Favorite:

Coffee from Cafe la Reine: ANY ICED COFFEE!

Item of the Cafe la Reine Menu: Oh man. This is tough. I love them all but if I had to bring it down to two, the Isabella or Mary Tudor from Cafe la Reine

Restaurant: Shadi’s. They’ve got everything from grape leaves to the standard tabbouleh and hummus. It’s amazing.

Last Meal on Earth?: Tripoli’s Pizza in Lawrence, MA. The BEST pizza ever.

You guys have to check out Cafe la Reine on 915 Elm Street in Manchester, NH!

Delicious iced coffee, sandwiches available all day and baked goods to seal the deal,

it’s easily a cafe fit for a queen!

Check out the menu here!


#TBT Cakes in Paper Cups.

I remember the day I finally realized the significance of the name behind the term “cupcake”.

I pretty much had to stop traffic, take an extra 30 minute lunch and put up a billboard.

Cupcakes are easily my favorite desserts of all time. It’s a bundle of goodness thrown into a handheld paper cup. It’s genuis.

Remember when we were growing up and your birthday fell on a day during the school week? It was like an unwritten jackpot. MOM WAS MAKING CUPCAKES FOR ALL YA FRIENDS! Bright and early, on your birthday, after all the hugs, kisses, high fives, “Congratulations on making it to 7 years, kid” I’d watch my Mom frost her infamous golden vanilla cupakes with funfetti frosting.

Oh yeah. Today was MY day.

I’d waltz in class, thinking I was badder than Rihanna herself, and everyone acted as though they were going to pause and genuflect before me. What was better than knowing you had a cupcake smother after recess? Essentially, NOTHING.


Now my cupcake obsession has turned towards exploring different flavors. I only recently gave into the red velvet obsession and I’m kicking myself for joining in this late in the game. I prefer the tiny cupcakes, so I can have an excuse to try more, although I do enjoy the occasional indulgence in those giant Crumbs cupcakes (the raspberry filled one is one of my all-time favorites there!)

What did you used to bring to school on your birthday? What’s your favorite cupcake flavor?

Tomorrow’s Friday everyone! WOO!!!


There’s Only ONE “Republic”

So if you didn’t know already, I grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire (Well, Goffstown, really). Anyways, Manchester’s probably most famous for the Mills.

Yup. THOSE mills.

Before I left for college, Manchester wasn’t really known for the dining scene (at least in my opinion) but recently there have been a ton of quaint cafes and bistros popping up everywhere. I think within the next few years Manchester has the opportunity to reinvent itself as an eclectic and extremely smaller version of Boston! So without further adeui

Introducing….Republic Cafe and Bistro of Manchester!

My friends talk nonstop about this restaurant and I finally got the chance to go. Beth’s brother works as a chef there and when we used to eat his concoctions in high school, I was amazed even then, so I knew I was in for a treat.

It’s the first farm-to-table restaurant I’ve ever been to in Manchester and damn. They did it right!


Cocktail and Dining Menu- has that farmer’s “tablet” feel


Drinks with my parents! Oh goodness. They are probably my favorite drinking buddies and I find no shame in saying this. I got the Love Child, a fruity concoction with tequila. Dad got a Guinness, typical and Mom got iced tea (snooze, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere lady!)


I shared the Chopped Greek Salad with my Dad. I’m all about ordering multiple plates and sharing with everyone so you have a little bit of everything. My biggest issue with salad is I look like a dinosaur chopping on leaves. This was chopped nicely and with everything tossed together in a light dressing, it didn’t weigh me down.


I got the fried eggplant, garlic broccoli and herbed ricotta flatbread. When it comes to flatbreads/pizzas, I have this down to a science. This was probably one of the better flatbreads I’ve had, it wasn’t skimpy on toppings and the ricotta was so rich, it paired nicely with the eggplant and broccoli!

Mooooove over, everyone! Republic’s coming through!


Food for Thought Friday


-A very lost teenage entertainer.


“It’s good to know the ones you love will always be in your heart. And if you are very lucky, just a plane right away.”

-Sex and the City

So none of my friends really went that far away from me post-college and trust me, I’m grateful for that. But now that we’ve all gotten over our initial fear of being alone in the world and discovering things on our own, people are beginning to warm up to the idea of getting out of the northeast.

In about two weeks I’m heading out to San Francisco to visit one of my good friends I met in Newport, RI. It’s always been my dream to live out in California but I always had the fear I’d miss out on something from home or miss my family too much. That and the fact I’m literally obsessed with Boston.

I think once my friends start moving away it’ll definitely be sad to know I can’t just hop in my car and be a 15 minute drive from them. But that just means there are more reasons for me to travel and it’ll make the next time we see each other that much more special!

A relaxing weekend planned for this girl. Tomorrow I’m testing out dyeing my hair! Crossing my fingers and hoping it goes well!


Boston Insider Spotlight: Kelsey Murray of Tickle Me Pink

I am so excited to be launching this new series: Boston Insider Spotlight!

Every month, I will feature a wonderful and talented Boston Bloggers to share their favorite foods/restaurants/activities/you name it in Boston! Boston, though small in comparison, is still a city chock full of hidden gems and places that aren’t advertised well or have “locals only!” status. And that’s what this segment is here for!

Starting off the series is my dear friend, Kelsey Murray of Tickle Me Pink!

Kelsey and I went to college together at Salve Regina University. She is one of the bubbliest people I know and I’ve had the honor of watching her begin to make a name for herself in the fashion blogging industry. With incredibly sophisticated and chic style, Kelsey is truly one of a kind.


Name: Kelsey Murray

Blog Name and Address: Tickle Me Pink >

Occupation: Associate Wardrobe Stylist/ Northeastern University Graduate Student/ Lifestyle Blogger

Where ya from: Needham, MA

Tell me about Tickle Me Pink: Who and what inspired you to start this blog?

Tickle Me Pink is a fashion and lifestyle blog that I started in January 2013. I have been following blogs for over a year now. I originally started one my junior year in college and just knew I wasn’t researched enough to curate the kind of content that I could be proud of. I spent months following other blogs, researching graphic designers, getting to know different blogging platforms and applications. I brainstormed a lot. I figured out what I didn’t like and what I did like and what types of series my blog would have. I contacted a graphic designer in November and launched it in January. I actually started it for one of my media classes at Northeastern  – that’s why there were some more serious class posts. I am happy that I had a regimented blogging schedule for homework because now its second nature. Tickle Me Pink is a collaboration of lifestyle, décor, fashion, design and sparkly goodness. 

I have a lot of summer events coming up. What should I wear to…

Dinner on the first date: You want to be cutesy but also hot. I suggest a cute pair of dark wash skinny jeans, wedges, a loose fitting, long t-shirt and a structured blazer. The blazer or the t-shirt should be a bold color like a hot pink or red to make the outfit more informal. Oh – and a statement necklace is more than necessary.

Sunday Brunch w/ the family: A romper if you can pull one off. I can’t but my sister can and she always looks fab. Of course I am thinking of a fun day on Newbury Street but of course tailor your outfit to the venue you choose. Then add pair of dolce vita wrap sandals, a J.Crew fedora, a cross body Michael Kors bag in black and some awesome bracelets. Oh – and Marc Jacobs aviators.

5 Year High School Reunion at a local bar: You want to look hot but not trashy. I suggest a body fitting dress that accentuates your body. I love me a Rag & Bone or Rebecca Taylor ensemble with some killer heels.

Bridal Shower: A pink skater dress (flouncy and girly) with nude pumps. Oh – and a nude Tory Burch envelope clutch.

The Annual Company Picnic: White buttons down Equipment shirt, J.Crew Café Capri pant in a fun print and a pair of smoking flats. Don’t forget your fab Ray Ban wayfarers in tortoise shell and a Marc Jacobs Natasha Bag in white to stash your Gray Chevron throw blanket.

Untitled #67

What is your favorite restaurant in Boston (include the meal(s) you like!): My favorite restaurant in Boston is the Top of the Hub. Located on the 52nd floor of the Pru – you just can’t beat the views. Plus they have a fab jazz band up there on Sundays during brunch hour. I’ve got a champagne taste on a beer budget. But I try to go as often as possible. When I am there I always split a bottle of Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir from Sonoma. I start with a hub chopped salad, followed by either the filet mignon or rack of lamb. And of course I have tried about every single item on the dessert menu – but I always go with the Boston Crème Pie. There are plenty of yummy restaurants in Boston but looking down upon my city whilst I enjoy a cocktail is one of my favorite things.


Top of the Hub! Image via Tumblr

Woo! You have a free Saturday to do whatever you want. How would you spend it in Boston?

Wow this is a hard one!  I would probably start out with brunch at Stephanie’s on Newbury St. And of course I would peruse the shops afterwards. Beacon Hill is a 10 minute walk so I would traipse through the Commons and maybe feed a duck or too. Once in Beacon Hill I would visit my favorite farmers market while holding hands with someone special. Then, I would hop in an uber cab and have it take me to the North End where I would dine at Villa Francesca – my favorite Italian restaurant. There I would indulge in a homemade chocolate chip cannoli. I would then bop around to the many bars and restaurants in the area trying samples of gelato and consuming copious amounts of cocktails. I would end up at Tia’s on the Waterfront right around happy hour. Then I would probably begin to take slightly blurry Instagram photos with my friends before choosing a bar on Boylston St. or in Faneuil Hall to dance the night away.

What’s one place you HAVE to go to if you’re not from the area & you’re only in town for the day?

Gosh – this is hard too! Okay I mean the typical tourist visits Newbury Street, Faneuil Hall or the North End. And while I think those are essential neighborhoods in Boston – I need to give a shout out to the Seaport District. It has recently been inundated with restaurants, hotels and shops- there is a magnificent view of the water. Legal Harborside has a third floor bar that is so fun at night. And Harpoon Brewery is such a fun Saturday adventure – with their tours and tastings it doesn’t get much better. 

Any restaurants/bars that are “hidden gems” you want to share with readers?

My “hidden gem” would without a doubt be Mike’s Pastry. Like OH MY GOD. Clearly I love food. I can’t get enough. But Mikes Pastry is one of the best cannoli’s in the entire world. Located in the North End!


Mike’s Pastry’s Cannoli!! image via Pinterest.

If the apocalypse was coming, what would your last meal on Earth be?

Wow – wayyyy to hard. First of all I would demand that it be three courses. I would need water with lemon and pinot noir as my cocktails of choice. I would start the meal with a loaf of white bread slathered in butter. That would be followed by an 8-ounce filet mignon cooked medium. Sides would include buttered, garlic-mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus (hold the Hollandaise). And of course my dessert platter would include both chocolate covered strawberries (only milk chocolate) and a piece of 7 layer chocolate – chocolate cake. BOOM. 


Everyone loves a good glass of wine! Image via Tumblr.

Be sure to follow Kelsey’s blog, Tickle Me Pink!


You Got Beef…Bourguignon #TBT

Finally! My Recipes section is ready to go. Now, I’ve been cooking for quite some time but I never actually follow recipes. I kind of just throw things together and improvise along the way.

In honor of #ThrowbackThursday I followed one of the greatest pioneers of food of all time in my eyes.

So I’m totally excited to share my experience of channeling my inner Julia Child and whipping up a delicious birthday dinner for my Dad, of the French classic, Beef Bourguignon and Garlic Mashed Potatoes!

The recipe comes from the French cookbook I just got about two weeks ago. Very easy to follow and tasted spectacular.

Beef Bourguignon

Check out the complete recipe under the category “Recipes” On the left sidebar!

Tomorrow, I’m debuting my new series “Boston Insider Spotlights” Featuring Boston Bloggers!


The Annual Summer Cookoff

Since the 8th grade, every summer I’ve celebrated the beginning of the glorious season with a cookout/potluck with my girlfriends and it’s become my most favorite tradition we’ve ever had.

This year it just so happened to fall on the weekend of one of my closest friend’s birthdays, Deanna! Killing two birds with one stone- I love it! It was also the hottest weekend of the summer so far, rocking a solid 90 degrees from Thursday-Sunday. But after we suffered a terrible winter, I figure an uber hot weekend is bearable.


Out of my six girlfriends, I’m the only one that eats an array of meat. Well, Ellen enjoys a great piece of chicken every now and then but everyone else is at least a vegetarian and have very healthy eating habits.

I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a classic plate of bruschetta, pink sangria and Sam Adams Summer Ale.


I also invested in $2 napkins with a cat tangled up in a set of blinds which was needless to say, a humorous touch to the occasion.


Here’s what everyone brought!

Hollie– always super punctual!, brought a lovely dish of kidney beans, chickpeas, avocado, corn, tomato

Deanna (Birthday Girl!)-covered the bases with comfort food (YES!) and brought a homemade pizza with tomato sauce, goat cheese and olives

Bethany-one of the best bakers in all the land I know of, whipped up a pineapple upside down cake with cherries.

Emma– adorable and adventurous, slaved away at till 11pm the night before, cooked a nutty bread served with “40 spices” hummus

Ellen-along with her killer sense of humor, brought a orzo salad with tomato, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs

Aaron (Dee’s Boyfriend and one of my close friends)- the first boy to join in on the potluck in it’s entire history, brought Cool Ranch Doritos and Miller High Life. He clearly takes the cake.


Everything was utterly delicious. When I have guests over I always use small plates and encourage everyone to try a little bit of everything, tapas style.

We had a great time catching up, especially since I can’t remember the last time the 6 of us girls were together! It’s a rarity I’ve come to cherish dearly when it happens and I most certainly don’t take advantage of it.

We had a ball going through our yearbook from Senior year of High School playing the name game and reminiscing of ‘the glory days”.


Our 5 Year High School Reunion was this past Saturday, we rang in a beautiful Bruins victory at one of the local bars catching up with some familiar faces. All in all, a superb weekend!

Happy Wednesday!