Massachusetts

Wedding Tasting Vlog

The would have worked better for Wedding Wednesday, but I just had to talk about that Pokémon Direct!  In truth, last weekend was a bit all over the place– we definitely ate a lot, and we got some really cool adventures in as well!

See for yourself:

South Shore Adventures

I’m so glad I decided to split last weekend up into two vlogs!  This one mostly focuses on Monday– we took the day off to scout the location for our engagement photos and to meet our florist!  The weather was awful, but we’re so happy with what we’ve chosen and the progress we’ve made!  See for yourself:

Fall Photos

I promised to share some photos from my Blue Hills hike last week, but looking through my photos… I fell in love with my cemetery shots.  Enjoy autumn in the suburbs with these photos!

Be sure to follow me on instagram for more photos!

Au Revoir, August

It’s so hard to believe that August– and with it, summer– has come to a close.  This month and this summer went by way too quickly, but I do have some fun instagram snaps and memories to share with you.

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[1] For good measure, here’s a picture of my face before I dyed my hair. To see me blonde, check instagram out now! [2] We took a Duck Tour and got this beautiful view of Boston from the Charles. What a pretty city! [3] That “we” I’m talking about is my family. My aunt, uncle, and cousins came for a visit and it was wonderful! [4] Sunset from Castle Island. Finally, I got to check a couple of summer bucket list items off my list. [5] Here’s another– beautiful Rockport, MA! I wound go back here in a heartbeat. [6] Pokémon Worlds was held in Boston and I attended to watch some Swiss rounds and buy a bunch of things. [7] I ate bananas foster crêpes which checked off two major cravings! Looks at these adorable succulents, too. [8] I started running and feeling skinny enough to wear this crop top that I’ve owned for 3+ years for the first time ever. [9] I had good days and bad days, and washed a bad one down with rosé!

Top Chef Boston: Final Four & Family

After another tough elimination last week, the final four enter the kitchen to a bit of a surprise.  Padma announces that there will be no Quickfire Challenge this week.  There will also be no elimination this week.  Instead, the winner of the challenge will go straight into the finale in Mexico!

Each cheftestant is responsible for both an appetizer and an entrée.  Because of the extra work, each receives a sous chef in the form of a family member– Melissa gets her mom, Alice; Gregory gets his sister, Jessica; George gets his dad, Mr. Tony; and Mei gets her brother, Harly.  The family member is in charge of the appetizer and the chefs can’t touch it!

The challenge makes me long for summer, as they head to Island Creek Oyster Farm in Duxbury.  They dredge up some oysters and also get some other beautiful seafood options provided by Island Creek.  IMG_1188Then they head to this gorgeous house in Gloucester where the spend the night before the challenge.

The chefs talk about the challenges their families create.  George used to work for his father and is unsure how the role reversal will go.  Mei, a self-professed control freak, is very apprehensive about having to work with her brother.  There are some really nice moments too.  Melissa’s mom Alice is really the star of the episode.  “No Sesame Street, always cooking shows,” she says of her daughter fondly, “That’s not a normal child!”  She jokes further about asking Melissa where she wanted to go to college.  When Melissa replied not college, CIA, Alice asked, like James Bond?!  Too cute.  Having said her father is not supportive, Melissa is lucky to have this awesome mom.  Mei confesses that both her parents are like Melissa’s dad.

The next day, against a gorgeous seaside backdrop, the chefs and families serve up their dishes to a table including judges Richard Blais, Padma, and Tom.  Here’s what they make:

Gregory paid more attention to his sister's dish than his own and wasn't happy with the cook of his fish.

Gregory paid more attention to his sister’s dish than his own and wasn’t happy with the cook of his fish.

Melissa's mom made a fantastic custard and was even ahead of schedule.  Melissa's dish was raved about, saying it was the best lobster ever and the veggies were the star.

Melissa’s mom made a fantastic custard and was even ahead of schedule. Melissa’s dish was raved about, saying it was the best lobster ever and the veggies were the star.

Mr. Tony was able to take direction from his son, but maintained his pride.  When Tom asked how he prepared his dish, he says that he prepared it, but in George's way.  Hah!

Mr. Tony was able to take direction from his son, but maintained his pride. When Tom asked how he prepared his dish, he says that he prepared it, but in George’s way. Hah!

Mei and her brother ended up working together well and both dishes came out great!

Mei and her brother ended up working together well and both dishes came out great!

 

The top two are Mei & Melissa, and the winner, headed straight to the finale is Melissa!  Her mom is elated and through tears proclaims, “I just had such a good time!”

I cried too.  It was lovely!

But it’s back to fierce competition next week at a new time!  (Yup, Top Chef is moving to 9 pm Eastern!  Thank goodness; I’m so tired.)  Who do you think will join Melissa in Mexico?!

 

Top Chef Boston: First Thanksgiving

The Top Chef house is greeted by a lovely guest– Boston’s own Tiffani Faison, Top Chef season 1 alum.  I was just talking about Tiffani and her restaurant with some Boston bloggers earlier this week, so it was especially nice to see her on my TV!

Well, Tiffani takes the chefs on a little field trip to an Ocean Spray cranberry bog.  Growing up, our sports teams were part of the Cranberry Conference, so like, they’re pretty important to Massachusetts.  I’ve been super into cranberries as of late, be they in my sangria or dried and in cookies.  I’ve never had to harvest cranberries, though, which are cheftestants have to do.  The first four to fill up their crates get an advantage in the Quickfire!  Katie, Adam, Gregory, and Doug finish in that order.

Back at the Top Chef kitchen, Padma and Tiffani announce the cranberry Quickfire.  The 4 winners of the cranberry harvest get to use a high quality pantry to make a dish highlighting cranberries.  The rest of the cheftestants have a lower quality pantry of packaged goods.  Tiffani tells them to stay away from Thanksgiving and to make a year-round cranberry dish.

  • Mei has no problem with the lower quality ingredients.  She makes “sweet and sour pork, homie” that lands her in the top 3.
  • Doug’s doesn’t exactly take Tiffani away from Thanksgiving, but she says it “tastes like fall in New England.”  If you’ve been to New England in the fall, you’d know there’s no higher compliment than that.  Doug lands in the top 3.
  • Katie made cranberry borscht which a lot of people were skeptical of.  It worked out, though, since she won the Quickfire and immunity for the elimination challenge.
  • Katsuji, who used skirt steak for tartar, Adam, who didn’t even like his dish, and Stacy, who’s been struggling under the pressure of representing the city, are the bottom 3.

For the elimination challenge, the cheftestants are headed to Plimouth Plantation to cook and honor the First Thanksgiving.

Plimouth Plantation is a horrible field trip, and I’d imagine, an equally horrible place in which to cook.  There are a lot of pits and spits and smoking.  Traditional First Thanksgiving fare includes a lot of seafood.  Duh guys, this is Massachusetts!  Plymouth is coastal.

Tom is joined by Ken Oringer as he checks on the cheftestants.  All the smoke has everyone’s eyes watering.  “I guess some of the tears will give some flavor to my food,” ventures Katsuji.  Gregory thinks, “in the spirit of Thanksgiving, getting a bird on the table is important,” as he cooks goose inside a sweltering hut.

The Top Chef Thanksgiving table of course includes Tom, Ken, Padma, Gail, descendants of the Mayflower, and Wampanoag tribe members.

Here’s what the table is served:

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The cool thing is that all of the dishes are really well received.  Everyone impressed at this table, and I had no idea who to expect to be on the bottom!

On top this week are Doug, Katsuji, and Mei, who are all very much proving they’re forces to be reckoned with.  Katsuji wins!

On the bottom this week are Stacy, Melissa, and Gregory.  I’m sad to see all of them there.  I’m sad to see Stacy be asked to pack her knives, but there’s always Last Chance Kitchen!  Plus, Stacy seemed really relieved to get rid of that pressure.

With restaurant wars coming up next, it seems so unfair that we have to wait until December!

What did you think of The First Thanksgiving on Top Chef: Greater Boston Area?