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VocoLife – saving money every time you dine out

Eat dishes. Get money. It’s not magic, it’s VocoLife. When friends go out together, everyone wins. VocoLife partners with over 500 of the best restaurants, fitness studios, and brands to get you rewards every single time you book with friends.

Why use it?

Every time you dine out with VocoLife you save money. VocoLife has partnerships with dozen’s restaurants and businesses in and around Boston to provide you and your friends with exclusive offers every day. Discounts vary depending on restaurant. For example. you might save $8 off the bill if each person in your party spends $25 or each person in the party might receive a your choice of a $7 credit for Uber, Amazon or Starbucks 24 hours after the reservation. Not bad, right?

How it works

First, you and your friends have to download the app. The user-friendly VocoLife app saves you, on average, 40% every time you eat out. These savings are seamless because When you set up an account with the app, you add in your payment information.

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To use the app to eat out, you have to dine with at least one other person. You make a reservation using the app, then you invite your friend(s) to join the reservation via the app. At the end of the meal the bill gets split automatically and charged to the card on file. However, you can choose to divvy it up otherwise via the app. The best part, besides the savings, is that you don’t have to wait for the check when you’ve finished, nor annoy the wait staff asking to split it between your party! 

Sushi @ Crudo.
Sushi @ Crudo.

List of Boston-area Restaurants on VocoLife:
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Asgard Irish Pub & Restaurant
Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca
Bambara
Basho Japanese Brasserie
Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro
Bergamot
BISq
BLR by Shojo
Brown Sugar Cafe
Casa B
Central Bistro Boston
Coppersmith
Crudo.
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar
Double Chin
Estragon
Fairsted Kitchen: Supper, Libations, Late Night
Fajitas & ‘Ritas
Flame Hot Pot
Genki Ya (Boston)
Hong Kong Boston, Faneuil Hall
Hops Test Kitchen & Raw Bar
Il Molo
Kayuga
Kingston Grille & Bar
Kinsale Irish Pub & Restaurant
Koy Boston
Lavoile
LE’S
Les Zygomates
Lulu’s Allston
Mei Mei Street Kitchen
Menton
Mix-It Restaurant – Cambridge MA
Naco Taco
Nine Tastes – Thai Restaurant
No. 9 Park
Oleana Restaurant
Pasta Beach Boston
Petit Robert Bistro
Puritan & Company
Red Lantern Boston
Rigoletto Ristorante
Salvatore’s (Downtown)
Salvatore’s (545 Washington)
Select Oyster Bar
Shōjō
Sol Azteca Boston
South End Buttery
Spice Thai Cuisine
StreetFood Revolution
Taberna de Haro
Takemura Japanese Korean Restaurant
Tapestry
Tasca Restaurant
The Brahmin American Cuisine & Cocktails
The Butcher Shop
The Fireplace
The Friendly Toast – Boston, MA
The Friendly Toast – Cambridge, MA
The Merchant
The Tap Trailhouse
Thelonious Monkfish
Tresca
Trophy Room
Troquet
Typhoon Asian Bistro
Warehouse Bar & Grille
Waxy’s – The Modern Irish Bar
Wen’s Yunnan Noodle & Ramen
Wu Er by WOW Barbecue

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The savings don’t stop at eating out. Savings to work out at fitness studios like Xtend Barre, Rock Spot Climbing, and Turnstyle are abundant. 

I have a promo code for $10 off your first meal – or workout – with promo code JESSICAGLUTENFREE. Simply enter the code after you download the app and instantly save $10 off!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review. All my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Boston’s First Pokéworks is Now Open in Somerville

Are you familiar with Pokéworks? If not, then you must read this post then head to Somerville ASAP! Poke is a Hawaiian raw fish salad that can be made with yellowfin tuna, salmon, or numerous other fish and a variety of seasonings. Lately, especially on the West Coast, it has been popping up in a number of fast-casual chains, and now its made its official debut in the Boston area with its first Somerville location at 261 Elm St. in Davis Square!

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Pokéworks couples high-quality seafood with traditional Hawaiian ingredients like furikake, hikiki seaweed, mango and macadamia nuts. Popularized for this viral poké burrito (over 46 million views) and known for offering a variety of sustainable, curated and customizable options, Bostonians now have chance to try this new food fad. 

The poké movement was huge when I was living in NYC but I never made it to Pokéworks, so you can image how excited I was to be invited to check out the new location in Somerville. 

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Pokéworks has many gluten free options. All of the proteins are gluten free. Three of the saouces, inlcuding Classic salt, Wasabi aioli, and Spicy Ginger, are also gluten free. All sauces are made without dairy products and suitable for vegetarians. The seaweed salad is also gluten free. 

The menu includes a number of pre-designed bowls and signature burritos, which I would recommend for first timers. Customers can also go the DIY route by choosing a base – a bowl with white or brown rice or quinoa, a a wrap with white rice and seaweed, or a salad with chopped romaine, up to three proteins (various fish, chicken, and tofu options), vegetable and fruit mix-ins (edamame, mango, etc.), sauces, and toppings (seaweed salad, pickled, ginger, avocado, etc.)

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The sushi burrito is literally a giant portion of sushi, wrapped up like a burrito. And it is delicious!

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And the bowls are equally delicious. The fish tastes fresh and the sauces and flavorings are spot on, without being too spicy. 

Pokeworks is worth the trip to Davis Square. Have you been yet? What did you try? Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite Poke dishes are. 

Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Boston Restaurant Review: Wagamama’s Gluten Free Menu Options

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 9.24.14 AMWagamama, the Japanese-inspired casual dining restaurant, known for its famed noodle dishes, as well as flavorful rice dishes, and fresh fruit juices, offers a variety of gluten free and healthy menu options. Wagamama combines fresh and nutritious food with friendly service and value for your money.

I recently had lunch at the Faneuil Hall location with my friend Becca. (The 3 other locations are Prudential Center, Harvard Square, and Lynnfield.)

The servers are trained to help with any dietary questions you may have. While many of the dishes use ingredients that contain gluten, they can modify some recipes to remove or replace those ingredients.  Each restaurant location offers a nutritional and dietary guide, listing the ingredients and allergens of each dish, including eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, shellfish, etc.

Gluten Free Menu Options include:

Edamame
Raw Salad
Seaweed Salad
Itame Curry (rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup topped with chicken or tofu, vegetables, and garnished with cilantro and lime)
Yasai Cha Han (stir-fried brown rice with tofu, squash, egg, snow peas, sweet corn, mushrooms, and scallions and served with a side portion of miso soup)
Yaki Soba (teppan-fried rice noodles with chicken, shrimp, egg, beansprouts, peppers, red onions, scallions, mushrooms, garlic, and sesame seeds)
Yasai Yaki Soba (with rice noodles)
Chili men (stir-fried chicken or tofu, zucchini, red onions, peppers, mushrooms and snow peas in a spicy tomato chili men sauce served over rice noodles)
Chicken Ramen (ramen noodles replaced with rice noodles)
Moyashi Soba (rice noodles in a vegetable soup topped with tofu and vegetables)

Wagamama prides itself on the quality and speed of its service and dishes are prepared immediately, ensuring they arrive at the table freshly cooked. Although this means dishes may be delivered at different time, the Wagamama philosophy is: don’t wait—just dig in and share!

And that is exactly what we did. Becca and I started with the edamame appetizer, served with your choice of either salt or chili and garlic salt. We chose the later, which was a bit spicy but delicious nonetheless.IMG_5980

We also shared the seaweed salad with a ‘special’ gluten free sauce. I will say that their seaweed salad is by far the best I’ve ever had and the first seaweed salad I’ve had in a long long time.

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For my entrée I ordered the Chicken Ramen. The gluten free version is completely different from the menu description. The description says “Noodles in a chicken and pork soup topped with grilled chicken breast and baby spinach, garnished with menma and scallions.” The dish is made gluten free by replacing the ramen with rice noodles. Our server informed me that the chicken would be bland (Even though she was right, I don’t think servers should ever use the word “bland”).  I ordered it anyways because I wanted soup. It was fine, but she was right, it was bland. The chicken had no flavor, but the broth did, and the ample portion size was filling! IMG_5982

Besides the “bland” chicken, I am still a fan of Wagamama with its reasonably prices, great portions, and gluten free selections.  They are very willing to customize dishes for all allergens and it’s very reassuring that the manager brings out the gluten free— and all other allergen— items. Wagamama is the perfect place to grab a quick and healthy lunch or dinner.


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Send Me Gluten Free: Gluten Free Subscription Box

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

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Gluten Free Options at Muqueca Restaurant // Inman Square, Cambridge

Many Americans associate Brazilian restaurants with rodizio style all-you-can-eat buffets or churrascarias, where skewers of meat are brought to your table and sliced directly onto your plate.Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 2.40.44 PM

Muqueca is a different kind of Brazilian restaurant. Rather than the focus being on meat, most of the menu items at Muqueca are seafood based. Muqueca is both the name of a charming restaurant in Inman Square and the name of a national dish (typically spelled Moqueca).

Naturally, Moqueca is the signature dish here. Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood stew originating from the states of Espirito Santo and Bahia. Moqueca is cooked on top of the stove in clay pots. The seafood is poached in a rich broth, which is seasoned with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, olive oil, and annatto— a natural coloring seed. Coconut milk, palm oil, and if you like, a zest of hot sauce can be used to add flavor, although I personally don’t think you need any of that.

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Moqueca with fish and shrimp

Moqueca is available in a variety of ways: fish only (a mild, flaky white fish); fish with shrimp, mussels, or calamari; or “completa,” with shrimp, fish and mussels. Not a fish eater? Moqueca is also available with plantains and/or tofu.

Moqueca is naturally gluten free. It is made to order and served in the same clay pot it is made in so there is nothing to worry about. The clay pot is served still bubbling from the oven, and waiting for it to cool down is not easy while the savory flavors and bright colors leave you salivating.

We tried two types of Moqueca:  Fish and Calamari ($22.95) and Fish with Shrimp ($22.95).

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Moqueca with fish and calamari

Although Moqueca is called a stew, the broth is very thin and there really isn’t much there to even be called a soup. Nonetheless the dish is rich in flavor, absolutely delicious, and expertly prepared. The portion sizes are quite large and no one could finish their meal.

For appetizers we shared fried plantains ($5.95) and fried yucca with dried beef ($7.95). The plantains were delicious and the yucca were fine.

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Muqueca has two fryers, and one is completely gluten free. Unbelievable, right? I don’t know if they did this for people with gluten allergies or not, but one fryer is used for foods containing flour and the other for frying foods without flour.

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Cod Capixaba

The main highlight here is the moqueca and other fish and seafood dishes. In addition to the two moqueca dishes we also tried the Cod Capixaba ($23.95), salted cod with hard boiled eggs, plantain, coconut milk, tomato, cilantro, and onion. It had a strong coconut flavor and was my favorite dish of the night. Most seafood dishes are served in clay pots with a side of rice.

For the carnivores, there’s red meat on the menu too, including sirloin, roast pork loin and tripe stew. There are also a few vegetarian options, and several dishes can be made with tofu. The juice bar features fresh all natural tropical juices made with passion fruit, acerrola, acai, mango, graviola, and pineapple to name a few.

Located in Cambridge’s Inman Square—where there are quite a few great restaurants, both new and old—Muqueca is worth a visit. If you are in the area, even as an out-of-town visitor, Muqueca should be on your list of places to go.


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Muqueca on Urbanspoon

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Instacart – Grocery Delivery comes to Boston & NYC! // $10 off your first order

You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep in an hour or two, for a delivery charge of as little as $3.99. Sounds too good to be true, right?

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Well thanks to Instacart, a grocery delivery service that delivers in as little as an hour, this is actually possible. Instacart, a website and an app where you order your groceries from your favorite stores, recently launched in Boston and connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores. In Boston, this includes Whole Foods, Shaw’s, Market Basket and Costco. Instacart is not affiliated with these stores, but it makes shopping there so much easier.

I have a busy life and getting to the grocery store is not always easy, nor is it on the top of my “favorite things to do” list. I mean who likes going to the grocery store at 5pm? The lines are long, the people are moody, and I’m usually hungry. And lets face it, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to go to the grocery store.

Eating a gluten free diet makes this even more of a chore. I shop at multiple food stores because each one offers different gluten free items or significantly different prices for the same product. Instacart lets you mix and match from various stores. So rather than having to run all over the city to different grocery stores, someone else can do the schlepping for me!

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With delivery prices as low as $3.99, and free for orders $35 or more this is a no brainer. I can definitely spend $35 in one shopping trip, thanks to the high prices of gluten free items. The minimum order is $10. Deliveries can be made in less than two hours but can also be scheduled for specific times or days when you’ll be home. The company says its fastest delivery was made in 12 minutes. Instacart also offers a service similar to Amazon Prime: for $99 a year, all under two hour deliveries over $35 are free.

I placed my first order at 5pm today. I ordered items from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods. It was easy to browse items by aisle, as you would in a grocery store, and I could filter by brand and/or dietary preferences including gluten free, organic, kosher, and vegan. This was a huge time saver. I was impressed with the number of gluten free products on the site. It’s not like food delivery/take out sites that don’t always list the gluten free options- you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.

Can’t find what you are looking for? It’s impossible to list every single item a grocery store carries. Luckily there is an option to Add a Special Request/Custom Item. All you have to do is include a description of what you are looking for the, the more specific the better, and you can even add a photo, which I did to make it easier for the shopper.

What happens if something is out of stock? When something is out of stock at the store Instacart will do their best to replace it with something similar. During checkout, you can choose specific replacements for any item, or ask for no replacement of an item. If you allow it, your shopper will call from the store to confirm replacement items.

You can view the status of your order and make changes and if the Shopper has not started working on your order, you can add to, modify or cancel your order very easily.

My first order:

Placing my order was super easy. I ordered food from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods.

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Photo Courtesy of Instacart, this was not my actual order.

My shopper called me because an item I wanted wasn’t in stock, but they had another flavor, so I told her that was ok. She also told me she was having a hard time finding the special request item I had added to my order. That didn’t surprise me because I know that not all Whole Foods carry that very new item. A few minutes later I received a text message with an estimated delivery time. My shopper actually arrived 15 minutes before the estimated time, I can’t complain about that!

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I was impressed with the quality or service and communication. I also really liked the convenience and ease of the entire processes.

Prices are set by Instacart and may vary from what you may see in your store or your sales flyer. However, you will see the price for each item when selecting your grocery list. I found that the prices were very similar, if not the same, as what I typically pay for my groceries. For example a carton of Almond Breeze Almond Milk at Whole Foods cost $1.99 in the store and on Instacart. There were some items that seemed a bit high to me, Barbara’s Bakery Puffins at Whole Foods sell for $3.99 and a bit more at Shaw’s, about $5.99-$6.99. On Instacart the price at Whole Foods was also $3.99 but at Shaw’s the Puffins cost $7.99.

After your order(s) is delivered you receive both a text and e-mail. If any replacements had been made the e-mail will show this as well as the adjusted price. You are also asked to rate and tip your shopper. Tipping is not required but shoppers appreciate recognition of their hard work. You can tip in cash or using your credit card during checkout or after delivery.

Instacart is available in and around Boston and NYC (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Woodland Park) 7 days/week from 9am-midnight, depending on local store hours.

 

 

Want to give Instacart a try? Use this link or enter promo code GlutenFreeBostonGirl to get $10 off and free delivery on your first order!

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I did receive $35 of free groceries from Instacart, but all of my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beacon Hill location

Gluten Free Ice Cream at J.P. Licks {Dairy Free & Vegan options too!}

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I love ice cream. I will eat ice cream no matter what the temperature is outside. So when I was recently presented with the opportunity to go to J.P. Licks and sample their ice cream flavors I was ecstatic!

J.P. Licks is a Boston-based company. They opened their first location in Jamaica Plain in 1981. Known for their high quality, homemade cream, the unique, intense, and ever changing flavors, as well as their ice cream cakes, they now have 12 locations throughout Boston and the greater Boston area, with their 13th store opening this spring in Assembly Square, Somerville.

Beacon Hill location
Beacon Hill location

At J.P. Licks you can taste as many flavors as you’d like before placing your order. But you should be kind to the servers and only try a few. Luckily for me, I was there with a group of bloggers specifically to sample their ice cream. So I didn’t feel so bad asking to try so many flavors!

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J.P. Lick’s offers many gluten free flavors of their ice cream, soft serve yogurt, hard yogurt, NutraSweet yogurt, Yogurt X, sherbets, sorbets, toppings, and cake ingredients.

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*Note: They rinse, sanitize and disassemble the machines between each flavor. Flavors containing gluten products are produced on the same machinery as gluten free products.

JP Licks also offers dairy free, lactose free, and vegan ice cream made from coconut, soy and/or hemp. For a complete list of ingredient information click here.

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Ice creams containing nuts are kept in a separate cooler than non-nut containing ice creams. If you have a food allergy or sensitivity don’t hesitate to speak up. They will wash the scoops and even scoop out of a fresh unopened bucket of ice cream if you need them too because just like you, they don’t want to risk cross contamination either.

Every month J.P. Licks comes out with new monthly flavors, some which end up becoming regulars on the menu. Each month the flavors get more creative than the last!

This months new gluten free flavors include:

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Photo Courtesy of Katie, of Katie’s Boston Cuisine

I tried the Mint Irish Lace and Madagascar Vanilla Coconut, which is my new all-time favorite.

In addition to ice cream, J.P. Licks roasts their own Fair Trade Certified Organic coffee!

Photo Courtesy of Katie, Katie's Boston Cuisine
Photo Courtesy of Katie, of Katie’s Boston Cuisine

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Photo Courtesy of Katie, of Katie’s Boston Cuisine

They even have espresso bars so you can order lattes and cappuccinos, and skip the long lines at Starbucks.


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Disclaimer: I attended this event free of charge. I was not paid to write this post. All my opinions are my own.

J.P. Licks on Urbanspoon

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Dine Out Boston Gluten Free Options (Formerly Restaurant Week)

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Perhaps you’ve heard – Restaurant Week is now Dine Out Boston. Whatever name it goes by, I’ve still got you covered when it comes to gluten free options.

From March 16th-21st and then again from the 23rd-28th participating restaurants will be offering tasty prix fixe lunch or dinner menus (or both). New this year are the three pricing tiers for each meal period. Lunch menus are available for $15, $20 or $25, and dinner menus are priced at $28, $33 and $38. Price and number of courses vary by restaurant.

Below is list of participating restaurants that offer gluten free options on their Dine Out Boston Menus. Some offer full Gluten Free menus while others have a few gluten free options on the menu, or can accommodate very easily by subbing gluten free pasta for regular, etc.

If you would like me to add your restaurant to this list, or if you are a gluten free diner who has recently enjoyed a gluten free Dine Out Boston meal somewhere else please let me know and I will be happy to add it to the list.

Dine Out Boston Restaurants with Gluten Free Options:

 Disclaimer: This list is my own personal list based on personal and past experiences.

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Kitchensurfing: Bringing Personal Chefs into Your Kitchen & Fine Dining In to your Home {and $100 promo code}

My girlfriends and I are always looking for any reason or excuse to get together to eat, drink, and have a good time. Rather than go out I decided to invite a few friends over for Girls Night, and hired a chef through Kitchsensurfing, to make us appetizers and dessert. Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 2.09.05 PM

I love Kitchensurfing, I’ve been using the service for a few months now for private dinners (Valentine’s Day is coming up!) and a cooking lesson (click on the links to read about my other KS experiences). My friends, on the other hand, were newbies, and they were just as excited to try something different, as I was to introduce them to Kitchensurfing.

So what is Kitchensurfing?

Kitchensurfing is a marketplace for chefs of all kinds. It’s a service that allows you to bring chefs into your home to cook you a personal and customized meal. From hobby chefs to Michelin star chefs, you can browse the chefs on the site, view their sample menus, read their reviews, and book any of them. From private cooking lessons in your home, to meal deliveries, to a private dinner party for two or fifty-two, KS allows you to ‘shop’ around based on your own needs, wants, budget, and diet.

How it works:

  • Browse the list of chefs, read their reviews and sample menus, and pick one you’d like to have cook for you. Send them an e-mail and voilà, you’ve got yourself a private chef.

OR

  • Submit a “Match Request”. Fill out a form stating what you’re looking for (party size, budget, date, time, etc.), any dietary restrictions or allergies, preferred cuisines, and anything else you want or don’t want. Your request will be sent to all the chefs matching your criteria. Chefs will then contact you to customize a menu. Once you’ve found a chef and a menu that you are satisfied with you can book your chef!

The booking process is incredibly east and it is ok to say no if you don’t like an idea or menu item. So be specific about your likes and dislikes along with any dietary restrictions.  All the chefs I’ve worked with were great with communicating with me prior to the booking, and customizing the menu to my likes and needs. And remember, the chefs want you to enjoy every last bite, so be upfront and honest!

Keep reading for your $100 code….

Our Girls Night was such a blast! The menu looked amazing, and the food turned out even better than we could have imagined. My friends loved every moment of it and could not stop talking about trying KS on their own.

Chef Stephen Coe created a menu of tapas and dessert. Each course was delicious and beautifully crafted. The freshness and flavors of each dish were impressive; we cannot say one bad thing about any of this food.

Red and yellow beet salad with shaved sheep cheese, candied pistachios, and a blood orange aged balsamic over local greens.IMG_6251

Sashimi Tuna served over seaweed salad with pickled ginger, sesame seeds, and siracha sour cream and rice crackers.IMG_6255 IMG_6252

Grilled Oysters with pancetta, fennel, bee pollen, chives, and grated sheep cheese. IMG_6262

Scallops with artichoke hearts, romaine, olives, basil, tomatoes, and capers.IMG_6263

Warm chocolate soufflé with strawberry tarragon and white balsamic purée.IMG_6261 IMG_6260

The awesome folks over at Kitchensurfing have provided me with a $100 discount code for YOU, my readers! Click here to claim your $100 voucher and discover what Kitchensurfing is all about. The code is valid Monday, February 3, 2014 through Sunday, February 16, 2014. Your meal needs to be booked prior to the 16th, but the date of the actual meal could be after this date.

And you don’t have to live in Boston; some chefs are willing to travel all over the state, even to Maine!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pictures from my previous Kitchensurfing Experiences

Romantic Meal for Two by Chris Hallahan

– Late Season corn soup served hot with a ragout of lobster, bacon, and corn
– Kale salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette
– Blue Fish pan seared with crispy skin, over maple glazed carrots and fall vegetables
– Pumpkin & carrot cake (dairy, gluten free)IMG_4988

Cooking Lesson with Michelle Lahey:

-Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Tzatziki
-Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Butternut Squash
-Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
-Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

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Drop of Plated Meal prepared by Mark Hardin

– Arugula, Carrot & fennel salad with a creamsicle vinaigrette, sunflower seeds & orange slices
– Braised Lamb Shank slowly cooked in tomatoes and garlic. Served with a gravy made from its own juices. Accompanied by Roasted root vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes
– Mini Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake Garnished with powdered sugar and a fresh raspberriesIMG_5950 IMG_5947

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New Holiday Menu & Gluten Free Options at Au Bon Pain

I was recently invited to attend blogger/media tasting at Au Bon Pain, hosted by Chief Brand Officer, Maria Feicht and Executive Chef/Director of Culinary, Roger Bowles. Unfortunately, I had to work and could not go. But, lucky for me, I was invited to check out the new holiday menu and gluten free options at a later time.

When you think of Au Bon Pain what comes to mind? Bagels? Sandwiches? GLUTEN?

Yes, they do have a gluten-filled menu, but they also have many gluten free options, including; salads, soups, a chicken harvest rice bowl, oatmeal, hot and cold lunch bar items, and other gluten free snack options.

Au Bon Pain strives to create healthier yet flavorful convenient options for everyone. ABP’s website offers nutritional and allergen information for every single menu item.Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 10.50.34 AMAt Au Bon Pain, items are clearly marked if/when they contain allergens. I like the variety of gluten free options available at each location and I am happy that Au Bon Pain is recognizing this opportunity to give their customers more information about their products.

I’ve eaten at Au Bon Pain numerous times but I had no idea that the company was founded over 35 years ago in Boston! Au Bon Pain has over 250 locations world wide, including Thailand, Japan, and Kuwait.

Six times a year, the company introduces new seasonal items to the menu, and sometime they become permanent fixtures. The New Holiday Menu only includes one new gluten free option. It’s disappointing there’s only one GF option, but once you try the GF Thai Coconut Shrimp, you won’t care about the gingerbread cookies or peppermint shortbread!

The Thai Coconut Shrimp is a blend of petite shrimp, red peppers, carrots, bamboo shoots and lemongrass in a coconut and curry broth with a touch of spice and fresh lime. This is not the type of soup I would expect to find at this café, but I am pleasantly pleased that it is on the menu and I hope that it becomes a mainstay! IMG_5937

And, Au Bon Pain now has K-Cups! Awesome right?? I drink coffee, from a Keurig machine, Every. Single. Morning. So this was great news for me!

Au Bon Pain has over a dozen locations in Boston and Cambridge. To find a location near you, click here.

Au Bon Pain on Urbanspoon

 

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Our Gluten Free Cooking Lesson with Kitchensurfing & 25% off code

Kitchensurfing brings a chef into your kitchen for parties, lessons, and so much more.Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.34.17 AM

Kitchensurfing (KS) is a marketplace for chefs of all kinds. From hobby chefs to Michelin chefs, you can browse the chefs on the site, view their sample menus, read their reviews, and book any of them. From private cooking lessons in your home, to meal deliveries, to a private dinner party for two or thirty-two, KS allows you to ‘shop’ around based on your own needs, wants, budget, and diet.

Last month Jeremy and I had a wonderful, restaurant-quality, 4-course meal with Chef Chris Hallahan. We were blown away not only by his culinary talents, but also by his passion for food and locally sourced ingredients. He was friendly and engaging, and answered all our questions. You can read all about our first KS experience here.

The whole experience was so wonderful that I decided to use KS again, but this time I wanted a cooking lesson.

After browsing a few profiles and menus to see who would be a good fit for a gluten free, dairy free cooking lesson we chose Michelle Lahey. Michelle is a Boston based personal chef and I love her blog, The Economical Eater, so I was thrilled when she replied to my request for a cooking lesson for my sister and I!

The Menu for our cooking demonstration:

Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Tzatziki
Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Butternut Squash
Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BarsIMG_5677

Services Included

  • Ingredients
  • Cleaning
  • Transport

Michelle’s food was fantastic. She was engaging, super friendly, and really easy to talk to. She was really knowledgeable about vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free food, such a relief!

Michelle’s menu incorporated fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.IMG_5652

I really like Brussels sprouts but have never cooked them myself, so I was eager to learn to do this once and for all. And it’s much easier than I thought!

Our previous attempts at making veggie burgers have all failed. Michelle’s recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers was easy to follow and can easily be swapped with different types of beans and spices. We loved the Middle Eastern spices and flavor combinations in this burger.IMG_5649The vegan tzatziki was also easy to make and paired perfectly with the burgers. This is something I plan on making again. Since going dairy free I hadn’t eaten tzatziki. I was surprised with the simplicity of the recipe. Michelle used So Delicious almond based yogurt and also recommended coconut yogurt was well. I haven’t been able to find plain coconut yogurt so I just bought the almond yogurt when I made it.IMG_5679The pumpkin chocolate chip dessert bars were to die for.  My sister and I felt like we had died and gone to heave. The secret ingredient— garam masala—gave the bars an unbelievable flavor. They were absolutely incredible. And lucky for us she left us her recipe so we can make them again and again! The recipe is also available on her blog.IMG_5680

Not only did Michelle show us how to prepare the food, each step of the way she explained what we were doing with all the ingredients and how each one contributed to and played a role in the dish.IMG_5659

We enjoyed learning new recipes that we can now add to our repertoire. I like that Michelle focused on healthy, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. We liked everything about this meal and we felt good eating it.IMG_5677

Click here for a 25% off coupon for your next Kitchensurfing booking! This code is valid through Dec. 31 (you don’t have to have your meal prior to the 31, it just has to be booked by that date). This code can be used on any KS service.

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.