Weekend Wonders

This past weekend my parents were in town visiting and we enjoyed a packed full three days of explorations and cannolis. Lexington itself is home to some top-notch restaurants, such as my go-to, Vine Brook Tavern. But it’s also home to some of America’s first historical sites, some of them just around the corner from my apartment. I love stumbling upon monuments I remember learning about in my high school American History class, like Paul Revere’s capture site.

Concord is the next town over and is home to Henry David Thoreau’s famous cabin on Walden Pond. We were able to spend an afternoon wandering through the quaint downtown area and seeing some of the attractions for ourselves. They have some great shopping for such a tiny town – my favorite being a nautical/beach store, Jack + Toba (makes me feel like I’m back home on a Florida beach!). We also ate dinner at a delicious farm to table restaurant called 80 Thoreau. My favorite course was dessert, as per usual, which was a lemon soufflé with pistachio ice cream.

If it isn’t already obvious, my favorite part of the weekend was exploring new dining options with my parents. We’re lucky enough to have a connection to one of the authentic Italian restaurants in the North End. My dad’s cousin, Ann, owns Dino’s Cafe on the corner of Salem & Prince Street. We were lucky enough to be able to stop by and try some of the delicious food for ourselves. I chose the lobster ravioli and my parents split a mouth-watering veal parmesan sub. The food was beyond anything you could ever imagine, so authentic and flavorful I felt like I was studying abroad in Italy all over again!

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The best veal parmesan sub this side of the Atlantic!

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Fresh lobster ravioli in a cream sauce.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Ann over cappuccinos and gelato in a classic Italian cafe around the corner from Dino’s called, Vittoria Caffe. The best cappuccino I’ve had in a while! It was so wonderful to be able to meet up with family and feel at home in the big city. Ann even has a photo of the Grieff family hanging up in Dino’s and my grandfather is pictured in the back top left corner, how’s that for an authentic family restaurant!

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Of course, we couldn’t leave the North End without heading over to the world famous, Mike’s Pastry shop to get not one, but three cannolis. As the Godfather would say, “leave the gun, take the cannoli”.

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An espresso chocolate chip cannoli – words can’t do it justice!

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You know you’re in the North End when all signs lead to Rome!

All in all, it was a great weekend spent with family exploring the city some more. It’s always great to have some tender love and care!

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All Things NYC

This afternoon, I’m heading to South Station to hop on the Amtrack and head to the Big Apple. I always love visiting New York City to take in all it has to offer: the people, the food, the sites, the culture, and the fact that your bucket list is always never-ending -there’s always something new and exciting you haven’t done just yet.

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Isn’t this view enough to make you want to go visit?!

Ever since graduating from high school (was it really only four years ago!?), I’ve had my mind made up on setting my sights towards getting to New York City for the long run. Only time will tell, so for now I’ll have to settle on spending a few days there to celebrate my friend Danielle’s 22nd birthday by seeing Beyonce & Jay-Z in concert (yes, dreams DO come true!).

For those of you making a trip to NYC or just in the process of thinking about it, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite things to do/see/eat/and much, much more in the city that never sleeps:

–  Smorgasburg, the most awesome flea market you will ever attend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tons of food trucks/carts, craft jewelry, artwork, vintage finds. A hipster’s playground!

–  Momofuku, literally one of my favorite NYC restaurants. You definitely need a reservation, but if you go late enough at night with a small group you can sit at the bar. My favorite dish: the steamed buns (soooo good!)

–  Big Gay Ice Cream, craving ice cream on a hot summer day? This is the place to go whether you’re a nutella-lover, chocolate & sea salt fan, or just want something different in the realm of ice cream, it’s a MUST have!

–  The High Line, for the best view of the sunset head to the High Line and take a sunset stroll before catching dinner. Along the path you’ll come across native art such as this neat mural:

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–  The Met, for some history & art head here. The building itself is a force to be reckoned with and it houses some of the world’s most famous art pieces as well as really innovative exhibitions. Oh and be sure to make it up to the roof top for the most serene view of the city looking over Central Park.

–  Think Coffee, rumor has it Ryan Gosling hangs out here when he’s in town. Coffee lovers unite here for a welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a warm pastry and espresso while people watching in the Village.

Nizza, the best spaghetti & meatballs in the city hands down! Located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.

Juliette, a quaint, quiet French restaurant tucked away in Brooklyn with a rooftop seating area perfect for a July summer night. They have delicious sangria!

Lincoln Center, whether you come here to see a show or just to walk through the courtyard it’s a beautiful area to take in the scenery. You may even stumble upon an impromptu, free outdoor performance!

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Washington Square Park, after a long day it’s always nice to walk through this park and people watch or grab a spot on the grass for a good read.

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The Smith, craving a hearty brunch with a bloody mary in hand? Head here!

Grey Dog Cafe, for a low-key brunch with a big ‘ole cup of joe, this is the place to go.

As Sinatra said, “start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!”