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The Best Frozen Appetizers From Trader Joe’s
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The Best Frozen Appetizers From Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is my all time favorite for mostly everything. It’s great because you can get pretty much everything you’ll need to host any sort of function from the frozen food aisle. You could be craving any cuisine – Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, etc and they’ll have something for you. They have everything ranging from the child at heart, mac n cheese balls, mini pizzas, and pigs in a blanket to “fancy” apps like tempura shrimp and vegetable samosas. 

I love hosting and getting friends together, but I also love a good easy and affordable way to continue to do this. After a busy day, the last thing I want to do (most nights) is to spend an hour or two cooking. I was having a girls night so I went to my local Trader Joe’s and here are my favorite frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s. 

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip – $2.99

This creamy and cheesy dip is always a crowd pleaser with my friends. This is always one of the first appetizers to be finished because you can have so many things in the dip and it’s perfect. I’ll normally leave out pita chips, celery, and carrots with this dip. 

Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions – $4.99

A puff pastry, melted cheese, AND caramelized onions — is there really anything more appetizing? Although these bites are one of the more pricey options but they’re sooo delicious. I also think about how much it would be for me to buy all the ingredients for these and then how long it would take to make them and hope they turn out instagrammable. These are two-biters so be ready with some cocktail napkins. 

Crabless “Crab” Cakes – $3.99

These cakes have all the textures and flavors of seafood-based cakes but they’re made with jackfruit. I’m not vegan or gluten free or any of those things but I’m always down to try a healthy option, and I did. Then these quickly became a go-to. I’ll cut these up on a platter with a few different sauces to dip in and you can’t even tell they’re not real crab cakes so your guests will think you’re extra fancy. 

Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower – $4.99

The outside of this has a nice crispy texture but once you get to the cauliflower it doesn’t hold and it’s softer. The flavor, however, is still there. The flavor is similar to kung pow chicken. It’s $4.99 which like the pastry bites I feel like is a lot but with this you get 1.5 pounds of food which is a lot for people to keep munching on and is healthy! 

Meatless Meatballs – $3.99

Again, I’m not a vegetarian but I do have a few friends who are so these are always my go-to protein when hosting so everyone can enjoy! They will fool any meat-loving person and they’re so easy to leave out. I leave them in a shallow bowl in a vodka or marinara sauce (I have heard even in BBQ sauce they’re good) with some toothpicks and boom done.

When I was doing some research for this post, I found a lot of delicious sounding frozen appetizers that are season. When the holidays come around, I’ll try them all and give you my favorites. 

Just some more reasons why Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store in the history of grocery stores. Have a favorite app that I missed? Let me know! I’m always down to try more! 

~ XOXO, Amanda

NOURISH

Your Guide to Cheese & Wine Pairing

Wine and cheese are two of life’s greatest pleasures and they just so happen to be two of my favorite things. Finding the perfect wine and cheese pairings is something I love to do, With every new cheese I try, I always think to myself, which wine would be perfect with it. Or vice versa. There’s so much to take into consideration with wine and cheese pairings, like texture, acidity, and tannin. I am a firm believer in that both are delicious on their own, but when paired perfectly, magic can happen. This leads us to the million dollar question:

Which Wines Pair Best With What Cheeses?

If I had my pick, I’d more often than not pick a red wine. I used to only drink Moscato in my early days which makes me cringe now. But my palette has been refined (THANK GOD) and now I can appreciate a nice rosé, or sauvignon blanc on a warm summer day.

Merlot & Garlic & Herb Cheeses

Merlot is a medium – full bodied red, typically with hints of plum, black cherry, and black tea. It pairs perfectly with the flavors from this spreadable cheese (like pictured). Since Merlot is a dry and fruity wine, blending it with this tangy flavorful cheese will give the wine the perfect combination of sweet and savory that we all know and love. The cheese will also help bright out the fruity flavors in the wine.

Sauvignon Blanc & Feta

This light bodied and dry wine gives off hints of citrus & grass which makes it perfect for feta’s soft and fresh taste. Since sauvignon blanc is light and feta is soft, neither flavor will over power each other. You’ll love how these both subtle yet complementary flavors go hand in hand perfectly.

Cabernet Franc & Brie

“Cab Franc” as everyone likes to call it, is a medium – dry wine  where you get flavors of raspberry, bramble, and sometimes even bell pepper.  Brie is soft and creamy, and one of my favorites. Brie is very creamy and buttery which compliments this wine’s savory flavors.

Crisp Dry Rosé & Goat

This light – medium bodied, and dry rosé often with splashes of raspberry and cherry and goat cheeses are very subtle in flavor, it needs a subtle wine so the flavor doesn’t get overwhelmed. Since you’re getting that crisp finish with this wine, the goat cheese will go along with the soft and ripe sip that the wine brings. Think of a perfect summer picnic with a rosé and goat cheese. I am also a big fan of sauvignon blanc with goat cheese if you aren’t a rosé fan.

Riesling & Blue

Riesling is often light and dry with subtle peach and other stone fruits in flavor. People oftentimes stray away from stinky cheese like blue when wine pairing, but these two are perfect. When you pair blue with a sweeter wine like the riesling, it will help balance out that “funk” and give you a more mellow and sweet taste with the cheese. These stinky cheeses give both a unique texture and flavor so don’t leave them out.

Pinot Noir & Comté

This pinot is a light – medium bodied wine with a dry taste, giving off earthy tones and ripe red fruits which pairs great with this cheese because it’s a nutty cheese with medium firmness. Comté can give off hazelnut and brown butter. Neither of these have a robust flavor which lets the flavors from each come out.

The Best Wine and Cheese Pairings

What I’ve learned is – don’t be afraid to experiment or get creative with your pairings! With wine and cheese pairings balance is the key. You want to be able to taste both the wine and cheese and let them compliment each other vs. one 100% being overpowering. If you want to learn more about how to build the perfect cheese board, read my blog post!

Did I leave out a good pairing that you love? Let me know!

~ XOXO, the wine lovin’, Amanda

A picture of in n out food
NOURISH

What You Need to Know About the Secret Menu at In-N-Out

If you’ve visited Southern California or the west coast, chances are people have told you that In-N-Out is a must try. And I couldn’t agree more. It’s not hyped or overrated, it’s a necessity. In-N-Out is slowly but surely moving East & I can’t wait for the dream that one opens up in Boston (I can dream, right?).

In-n-out menu at the drive thru

The Normal In-N-Out Menu

They have their basics of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, drinks, and milkshakes. Every burger comes with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, raw onions, their famous sauce and of course a toasted bun. Listed on their menu is a “double-double” which is your typical burger just with two patties, I thought it was a little self-explanatory, but you can never be too careful with the newbies. That’s the easy stuff, now we get to the good stuff.

In-N-Out Secret Menu

A Neapolitan milkshake at in n out

Maybe it’s not so secret to everyone anymore, it’s easily accessible online. But here’s an insider look at the menu.  

  • Animal Style: your delicious burger with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, extra spread, and grilled onions. FYI: You can have any burger made animal style.
  • Animal Style Fries: fries with cheese, spread, and grilled onions.
  • Double/Triple Meat: number of meat patties without any cheese.
  • Protein Style: instead of a bun, your burger is wrapped in lettuce. Any burger can be made this way.
  • X by Y: X = meat patties with Y = number of cheese slices. For example, you could say a 3 x 3 or a 4 x 3.
  • Flying Dutchman: two meat patties with two slices of cheese. Nothing else.
  • Grilled Cheese: buns with two slices of cheese, toasted of course.
  • Neopolitan Shake: your typical strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla shake for when you can’t decide which flavor to get. You can also pick and choose any combination of them.
  • Cheese Fries: fries that are loaded with cheese.
  • Root Beer Float: your classic root beer float. You get a root beer soda with vanilla ice cream.

My go to order? Protein style, animal style, with fries and a Neopolitan shake. I am drooling just thinking about it! Enjoy your meal at In-N-Out, as if I needed to actually tell you that.

Animal Style everything from the in n out secret menu

~ XOXO, the animal style lovin’, Amanda

Up close of the perfect cheese board
NOURISH

How to Build The Perfect Cheese Board

If you’re like me in the slightest, you love cheese. I love the idea of a perfect cheese board and I’ve been trying to perfect making the best one for my girl’s wine nights. Simply put a charcuterie board is, “a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes” aka a board filled with delicious meats, cheeses, and yummy snacks. It’s perfect for an appetizer and goes great with wine!

Cheese boards are one of my favorites also because they’re so easy. You don’t have to have the “perfect” one as long as you have yummy sides, and most people don’t really care how it looks (unless you bring it to me, then I’ll judge you, JUST KIDDING!) But you can keep some essentials in your kitchen and then at a moments notice you can just add what you need and you’ll be ready to go.

What You’ll Need:

Cheese:

A selection of cheeses, as a general rule of thumb – get one hard cheese, one soft cheese, and one firm cheese. My go-to cheeses are: brie, blue, asiago, something spicy (like a pepper jack), and 

Meats:

Don’t forget the meats! I normally go for prosciutto or salami. Other popular meats are speck, coppa and chorizo.

Spreads:

Some popular spreads are spicy mustard, honey, balsamic glaze, or any type of jelly. This allows just an extra layer of deliciousness to any mini sandwich you make.

Fruits/Nuts:

These are great to add for a few reasons, one they taste great on their own so it’s a great way to clear your palette in between trying different meat/cheese combos.

Bread/Crackers:

My go to’s are always water crackers and a french loaf. If you want something else or something extra crunchy then I’ll throw in the Fig & Olive crips from Trader’s.

Tips for the Perfect Cheese Board

  1. Bring the cheese to room temperature before you make it. This will help you be able to cut it perfectly and arrange it onto the board. When your cheese is room temperature it will actually bring out it’s natural flavors.
  2. Change up your cheeses. I try to always incorporate a new kind every time I make one, this way I get to try and constantly perfect the board. The mix of the different types of cheese textures I think is key in finding the perfect balance.
  3. Don’t precut/slice all of it. This way if not all the cheese is eaten you’ll be able to save some for yourself later! Bon Appétit magazine says that if you cube the cheese it looks too much like “an afternoon snack for children” and then if you cut it too thin then the cheese will start to “sweat” and lose its flavor.

 

My Perfect Cheese Board

Gouda Cheese (I prefer extra aged but this varies from creamy to aged to extra aged) | A type of Cheddar | Asiago Cheese | Brie Cheese (double or triple cream) | Pepperoni Log | Roasted Red Peppers | Spicy Dijon Mustard | Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Balsamic Glaze | Fresh Loaf of French Bread | Water Crackers | Olives (I don’t personally like these but I add them when I entertain) | Seedless Grapes | Fuji Apples (sliced in thin sheets not wedges)

Favorite Combinations:

Gouda + Fuji apple

Gouda + Pepperoni + Mustard

Water Cracker + Brie + Grapes

Water Cracker + Asiago + Roasted Red Pepper

French Loaf + EVOO + Balsamic

French Loaf + Gouda + Roasted Red Pepper

Water Cracker + Manchego

The Perfect Cheese Board

~ XOXO, the cheese-loving, Amanda

Creamy Mac n cheese with hot sauce
NOURISH

My Favorite Cozy Crockpot Recipes

Cold days are never ending here in New England which means cooler nights that are perfect for crock pots and warm dinners! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for you all to try! I love coming home after a day at work, or running errands whatever it may be to the smell of dinner! These are easy recipes that taste great, what could be better?

Crockpot Chili Recipe

Chili is one of my favorites, and the leftovers taste just as good the next day!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cans of diced or crushed tomatoes(2-14 oz cans)
  • 1 can (14 oz) of tomato sauce
  • a clove of garlic
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green)
  • 2 cans of kidney beans (red or green)
  1. I brown the meat about 80% and cook the onions with the garlic
  2. Throw every else in the crock pot for 4-6 hours
  3. Garish with greek yogurt (or sour cream), cheese, and green onions. I of course add hot sauce. And wa-la! Your chili is done and delish!

Crockpot Tortilla Soup Recipe

I think this one was my favorite because it was SO easy! I was nervous because I’ve never done a crock pot without cooking the meat first, but it did it’s job and cooked the meat!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.50 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn (1 bag)
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 1/2 onion
  • Toppings:
  • Sour cream/plain greek yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Green onions
  • Cilantro
  • Diced avocado
  • Tortilla strips

Case and point why this recipe is so easy!

  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix everything else! And then put it on top of the chicken.
  3.  Cook on low for 4 hours. The shred the chicken (I did this right in the crockpot) and then cook for another 2 hours on low. If you are going to put this on while you’re at work, you can also shred the chicken before you serve. Serve with your favorite toppings & enjoy!

Cheesy Crockpot Mac ‘n Cheese

This isn’t necessarily healthy, but #treatyoself right? Because I think we all have a soft spot for mac.

What you’ll need:

  • 12 oz box of pasta (I used shell because I love when the cheese fills the inside)
  • 1/3 of a cup of sour cream
  • 1 10 oz can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 6 TBSP butter, cut into 6 tabs
  • 4 cups of shredded cheese (I used 2 cups of pepper jack and 2 cups of Monterey Jack)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  1. Cook pasta until it’s about 80% done, otherwise it’ll turn into mush in the crockpot (yes, that did happen to me the first time.)
  2. Mix in sour cream, can of soup, milk, garlic, dry mustard, and salt/pepper. Mix until it’s well combined.
  3. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top & gently stir in it.
  4. Place the butter cut on top, cover, and let it cook for 2-3 hours.

This mac is really the creamiest, and I of course add hot sauce on top. I give it a double thumbs up and really understand why/how “bulking” in the winter is really a thing.

 

~ XOXO, Amanda with the very full belly

NOURISH

My Favorite Trader Joe’s Finds

I love Trader Joe’s for many many reasons but I find their food is so easy to throw together and you can make delicious meals and not break the bank. So here are a few of my favorites and what I buy every time I go.
They are constantly adding new things – snacks, dinners, frozen apps, and my favorite: WINE!
I’m almost like a kid in the toy store when I go and here’s why/what are my favorite finds:

Trader Joe's Favorites l Boston, MA

Cheese – I find their cheeses have unbeatable (except Costco) prices. My favorite: pepper jack jalapeno, triple cream brie, garlic and herb goat, and asiago.
Green dragon hot sauce– Where else can I find “verde” hot sauce? Is it the same as your local taco shop? No way, but it does just fine
Sweet potato fries – They’re frozen, you throw them into the oven (I throw some everything bagel seasoning on them) and then BAM they’re so so tasty. And a perfect side, I’ve also attempted to make these myself and they don’t nearly come close.
Mac ‘n cheese – If you’re tired and craving something delicious, here is your go-to. Throw it in the microwave/oven and you have restaurant quality mac!
Everything but the bagel seasoning – This is hands down my favorite thing that traders has. I put it on everything, literally everything. From an avocado to eggs to chicken, it makes everything “plain” taste AMAZING.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust – I had been wanting to try and make this for awhile when I saw it here. I tried it, and am hooked. It’s the pizza without the carbs, and to me, it tastes like one of those thin crust pizzas – not like you’re being super healthy.
Raviolis – I looove these as well! They have so many flavors that you can’t go wrong with. I’m a fan of the arugula mushroom and the lobster. You feel like you’re being fancy when in reality you’re still lazy.
Turkey Meat Balls – I love these because they’re so easy. I put them in a pot with the sauce as the pasta cooks and by the time the pasta is done – BAM! Your whole meal was done in 5 minutes.
Cauliflower Rice – I love this with their frozen Mandrain orange chicken which I also think is a must buy. They go well together and you have a meal for about $7 for two which 1) tastes good and 2) can’t beat the price
Pollo Asada – This is perfect for #tacotuesday, taco salads, or really anything. They also have other meats that are already seasoned like lemon pepper, and they will randomly have new ones are well!
WINE – Their wine selection is like no other. You want a cheap wine, this is your place! My favorites: Barrel Ax – Red blend and Pino – cherry blossom. My favorite game to play? Me and whoever I’m with pick out a random one and see if it’ll become a new favorite.
Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing – Sounds weird, I know. But you won’t be able to get enough. I eat salads a lot at work, and still to date, haven’t gotten sick.
Frozen Chocolate Croissants – These come in a pack of four. You put them out overnight and they grow. Throw them in the oven in the morning and cut up some fresh fruit and you are feeling like you’re in Paris.
Chia and Flax Seed Peanut Butter – I’m a big fan in general of peanut butter so it’s hard for me not to like any, but with this I feel like I’m just being a little bit healthy(ier).
Classic Original Water Crackers – These go great with cheese, and the calorie content in these vs your average crackers is a lot lower. So it’s a win win for everyone!
Veggie and Flax Seed Tortilla Chips – These are just good chips. They’re thick, but not too thick meaning you can eat chunky salsa with them and they won’t break. Which I think is hard to find these days!
~ XOXO, the full Amanda
Nachos at Loco
NOURISH

Southie Food Tour

If you’ve stayed up to date on my instagram I am always eating! I really can’t help it because there’s so many new places in Boston popping up all. the. time. And I don’t even remotely keep up!

Back story: we live in South Boston, MA which goes by “Southie” in these parts! And the food scene is unreal, it’s amazing. Here’s some of the popular places we’ve tried or are regulars at. Before you read, make sure you grab your stretchy pants!

Lincoln Tavern: This was one of the first places I ate at when I moved to Boston, and I quickly became obsessed! Their food is amazing. I kid you not. Their brunch has SO many good options, and I think they put a magic potion in their hollandaise sauce, because I have no idea why it’s so good. But their pizzas, burger, salads, it’s all so good.

Brunch in South BostonLincoln Breakfast Pizza

Capo: This place is an italian spot, and is it as good as the North End’s authentic italian? I wouldn’t say so. But does it curb the cravings for some pasta? Sure. It also turns into a live music bar downstairs at night, but you have to get there early to be able to go down..like by 8pm. What I would get: I think it’s always better to go with their specials and obviously the cheese board.

Punk & Poet : You walk in here, and it’s a giant “I HATE MONDAY’S” neon sign glowing, and you immediately think, yes me too. They have a wall of old books, like you’d be in your grandparents office which creates a cute vibe. They have great brunch foods, buffalo chicken bene, potato bombs, HUGE breakfast sandwiches. And fresh pressed coffee! What I would get: Benedict, sourdough sandwich, and of course potato bombs.

Benedict at Punk and Poet

Amrheins: I wanted to go to this place at first because they have “A’s” on all their cups…get it? “A”manda. Yes, it’s cheesy, I know. What I would get: buffalo chicken dip, roasted beet/goat cheese salad, and chicken pot pie.

The Broadway: I think the brunch is where it’s at. Or the burger, throw an egg on it and call it brunch. I’d say they’re famous for their boozy donuts. What to get: any of the breakfast pizzas. And the espresso martini, because it’s on tap!

Espresso Martini The broadway burger

The Paramount: My favorite thing to do here is grab a breakfast to go, take it down to castle island and have a little picnic. Whether it’s an omelette for breakfast or a buffalo chicken wrap for lunch, it’s always consistent and good. What I would get: buff chick wrap, cobb salad, or an omelette.

Loco Taqueria: They have me hook, line, & sinker with their margaritas! We’ve been there more than a few times and whenever someone visits a marg from Loco is always on the list. But what I am also obsessed with from here is their nachos. Nachos in Boston that satisfy the craving are hard to come by- and they have it down! What I would get: a marg, duh, you at least have to try a coconut one, but my favorite is the el hefe or house, nachos, and throw in some shrimp tacos (every taco I’ve had is good, so I don’t think you can do wrong).

Nachos at Loco

Coppersmith: This place has a food truck in it, does that say enough? There have a killer roof deck on top, with fun string lights. They have a projector that comes down to watch all the great sport games. What to get here: all. the apps. Southie tots, spare ribs, brussels. You name it, they’re all good.

Publico Street Bistro: For winter, they turned this place into a ski lodge/winter wonderland with fire pits outside and really encouraged people to sit on the patio (and freeze) but drink and eat! A great use of space if you ask me. Their claim to fame in my book is their brunch- if you go for lunch/dinner, I’d be safe and get a flatbread. What to get: bag of beignets and chilaquiles.

Kitchen door at publico Chilaquiles at Publico

Local 149: So this place has a lot of different things that sounds good, what drew me in here was the lobster mac muffin (see below) where I had to go in and try it. Very fun. What to get: fruity pebble waffle sliders and steak and tots…just make sure you spend the rest of the day at the gym.

Lobster MacMuffin from Local 149

Fat Baby: They are known for the sushi and cocktails, what more do you need in life? They have a lot to choose from, and they just opened not too long ago so the wait time has been long. I’ve only been once but need to go back to try more things! What to get (so far): Mai-Tais, dumplings, crab rangoons, spicy crunchy maki, and spicy tuna roll.

Fat Baby South Boston

Now I know Southie is only a small part of Boston but as you can tell…I’ve never been hungry from the day I’ve moved in!

~ XOXO, Amanda

NOURISH

Currently Craving: Lobstahhhh Rolls

You’re moving to the east coast? You’ll eat a lot of seafood. I got this countless times, so I decided to start my hunt: to find the best lobster roll in New England, a lot of these are in Boston though. Here are my first (few) I’ve had and enjoyed:

They put lobster on everything here…nachos, sushi, fries..not that I am complaining or anything but the classic “lobster roll” is 100% where it’s at, where the pride stays in New England. And don’t worry as I keep trying new places, I’ll be sure to share them as well!

The Lobster Shack : This was the first one I went to, last October when I visited Boston/Maine. I thought it was life changing, and I was hooked. They were huge, and not to mention delish! The scene here? A total shack, my favorite. It’s on the side of a building and normally there are two people that work there, one to cook the food and one to take orders. There’s no denying that this lobster was fresh.

Luke’s Lobsters: There are a few of these in the city. And I was first attracted to their logo, the stores are pretty cute as well. They have good rolls, but what’s better? The lobster bisque, I’m not sure what exactly they do to it. But it hits the spot!

Row 34: This is where I had the first option for warm and buttery, or cold with mayo for a roll. And where I learned always to go with warm. This roll stays in my top few, and from the people I’ve spoken with, they agree. I took a bite, and went into heaven. The scene? Not your “shack” type place, but not super fancy. And the bun? Brioche-ey and buttery, and delicious.

James Hook: This place looks like one of those rented bungalows that you see at schools or construction sites, but it has to my surprise it has very good lobster rolls. It’s a local favorite 100%. It’s a fast paced, like order and get out. There’s a few tables but you sit outside, or across the street has a park. Their bread, could have been better. It was dry and not like a brioche bun, to my belly’s disappointment. You can also buy some fresh seafood to take home!

Kernwood Country Club: I’ve ate here a few times- lobster more than once. I can’t tell you where they get it, but what I can tell you is it’s always good. Always fresh. Always satisfying. Always will be going back for more. Short, sweet, and to the point. But the bread here? Not worth the carbs, skip it and save it for a good bun.

Bostonia : So this lobstahhhh roll, sounds amazing. It has corn, aioli, avo, cilantro, and a few other things in it. It sounds amazing, but there’s a disconnect, I think because there’s so much going on. I like to let the lobster speak for itself. What I would go here for? Their bloody’s..but we’ll get to that at a different time.

Kelly’s Roast Beef: So this place, is your typical “burger” spot on the beach. Except they have roast beef in their name? Yeah, I was confused too. But I’ve heard people say these are favorites. And of course I have to try everything, and it didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t a brioche bun, like my belly likes, but it wasn’t dry. Worth half the carbs.

Bob’s Clam Hut: This place we went on a rainy day, and it had a line wrapped around the building. And it was worth the wait. I love the little clam shack vibes, easy and quick, yet so delicious. They’ve been doin’ their thing since 1956, and has been featured on DDD. They had a “the numbers” poster which I found amazing, and so hard to comprehend..get ready! They serve…47,175 lobster rolls, 1717 gallons of clam chowder, 4200 gallons if tartar sauce, 11,416 pounds of french fries PER YEAR. So obviously they know what they’re doing.

Sullivan’s: By far the cheapest one I’ve had, right on the water in my neighborhood. They also have very good soft serve, so you can get dinner and dessert all in one. It’s a typical order it, then eat it outside, my style. I was honestly a big fan of their clam chowder, a perfect compliment to the lobstahhhh roll.

Belle Isle Seafood:

Sanders Fish Market:This one? A little market in Portsmouth, a little off the beaten path, but I’m always willing to go the extra mile for food. Would I do it again? Ehhhh. What I would probably do is buy lobster and do something myself with it- lobster mac, pasta, salad, something but get their roll. The lobster itself was good, but the roll overall? Not extra mile worthy. If I can be honest..

The Barking Crab: This place has a fun atmosphere, right on the water, live music, and a large drink selection. They have a shareable drink, which I’m always a fan of. They also have the warm or cold option- like I’ve found out I went with warm. And it was good, not amazing, or heaven-esc, life changing. A typical New England roll, but here’s the catch..the service SUCKED. To the point where I was so flustered on leaving a tip. Our waitress didn’t check on us, our food took over an hour, getting a check, a box, more water, anything was impossible. And that carries weight with me, for a broke 20 something year old. I have to spend my $$ wisely. So with all the other options here, I’d skip.

Boston Harbor Hotel : They do these nights “Summer in the city” where they have live music and you sit outside, have drinks and apps. It’s a very fun way to spend a summer night. They also have little lobster sliders, which are beyond adorable. Even better? They taste amazing. I was very hungry when I had it, so I’m not sure if my growling belly was biased, but it’s drool worthy.

Lobsta Land: This is the one place that put a twist on the classic roll, and pulled it off! Maybe because it had avo? The bun was also a delicious brioche bun, buttery, and the perfect addition.

Pauli’s: Pauli’s is in the north end of Boston and a local deli/restaurant. A lot of take out/deliveries during the lunch hour. And you can order either hot or cold, of course I went with the hot. It’s perfect to grab and go sit by the water or on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Neptune Oyster: Neptune is crazy busy all the time. But you have to make time to go! What we did was put our name in around 11:00 AM and then they give you a call about 15 minutes before the table was ready so you can make your way back – and we got called back around 6:45 PM. We got lobster rolls, lobster tacos, and oysters. I loved it all!

Yankee Lobster: Yankee is one of my favorite lobster rolls in Boston! It’s easy to get to, there’s inside and outside seating and the rolls are huge! I’ve tried both hot and cold and believe it or not I like them both. Their patio is also puppy friendly, which in my book is a huge plus!

B&G Oysters: This restaurant is located in the South End and has the cutest little patio! I was obsessed and needed to go! Any warm weather day in Boston = patio dining. You can’t not sit outside with the majority of the year being cold. This lobster roll was definitely top 5 in Boston! You can even take a oyster shucking class, how fun!

Can’t decide? Let’s rank my top 3!

  1. Row 34
  2. Yankee Lobster
  3. Neptune Oyster

Have a lobster roll I missed? Let me know! I’m always on the hunt to try new ones!

~ XOXO, the lobstah’ loving, Amanda

NOURISH

Currently Craving: Burgers!

Don’t worry guys, this isn’t going to be all about McDonald’s, Burger King, etc etc. We’re all (most of the time) better than that. As most of you know, or will come to know, I really do try and eat well most of the time, but I’m also a big fan of “cheating” like a good burger and fries. Gourmet if you will, comfort food. So here’s just a few here in San Diego (some chains) that have pleased my belly.

  1. Beef ‘N Bun: A total local favorite, total diner-ish vibe. But they do something right! I grew up going here, and it keeps me coming back.  I think the best part- the milkshakes. All my family and friends lend towards their peanut butter, but you know me have to make everything complicated- chocolate peanut butter banana, YUM! They also have a big aquarium, so you can stare at Dory while you chow down.  What to order: Quarter pounder, with cheese, and no mayo, french fries (duh), and a peanut butter milkshake. 
  2. In N Out: The classic, a west coast staple. Yes, I think it’s good. But would I want it every week? No. But as I think about it, I’m not sure that I would even “crave” a burger a week. I am a new found fan of their protein burger, animal style (of course) and anything animal style, fries, grilled cheese, classic burger. Who doesn’t love pickles and grilled onions? In-n-out is always consistent, everywhere you go. San Diego, Nevada, Northern California….Oh, and I don’t wanna spoil everything, but they do have a secret menu. What to order: Anything animal style, and I promise you can’t go wrong. 
  3. Luce’s: I heard about this place from a coworker, and of course had to try. They have a greaaat happy hour, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever. But their burger was to die for (insert dramatic music)- I’m not sure if it’s the garlic aioli or how juicy it was, but the fries also had parmesan and arugula on them, also my favorite. The atmosphere here was cute and the staff was friendly. I now refer to this place as a “hidden gem.” What to order: Good thing this place has ONE burger, but the garlic aioli makes up for any other thing you would ever want. But also Sangria, YES! 
  4. Bare Back Grill: This is a New Zealand style cafe,  and about a block from the ocean. They have about 10 burgers to choose from. Of course, I got the spiciest (Kiwilango) which wasn’t spicy and needed to have extra hot sauce added (shocker). Their sweet potato fries were the best part, with blue cheese on top. (Here vs. their other restaurant you have to ask for dipping sauce, which I highly recommend. One is like a roasted red pepper and the other one is a wasabi one.) Overall, for unique style burgers that have different options for your taste buds, I’d say this is your place. Plus there have BIG steins of beers for $5 on happy hour (if you like beer). What to order: Kiwilango, add extra jalapenos, and extra hot sauce, with sweet potato fries, and maybe a side of avo? 😉 #avocadooneverything
  5. Anny’s: You walk in, and immediately see the menu, and you can’t miss that there’s so many options for burgers. It’s almost overwhelming except they all sound amazing. Which makes it that much harder to pick. Going with the #basicbitch I am I got a turkey burger with avocado and of course anything spicy. It was delicious, which I was expecting. The other burger we got, was the blue cheese burger which wasn’t as basic, but it was definitely the better of the two. It has kind of a fast food vibe, but not taste.  What to order: Maybe one of each on the menu, juuuust kidding, we’d have to rush you to the hospital, I really liked the blue cheese, and hot sauce, of course, plus waffle fries. 
  6. Hodad’s: a San Diego staple. The line sometimes wraps around the corner, but who minds waiting when the food is worth it! They have a VW van that you can sit in inside, how fun is that! Aite. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone I told you that.) They also apparently hand you get the burger and you have no idea how you fit it in your mouth..just squish it down allowing the juices to run down the side, and take your first be super good milkshakes, I hate to say, but I’ve never had one…after the burger and fries, I don’t have any room! It’s in a total hippy town (OB) so don’t wear anything nicer than jeans, and make sure to show off all of your tats. What to order: They also don’t have many options, I’m #basic and go with the smallest cheese burger, add jalapenos, and of course fries. You can add bacon, for all you bacon lovers out there.7. Corvette Diner: You go for the atmosphere, hands down. It’s a fun place, they come and throw gum and straws at you. They’re all dressed up in ’50s gear, have an old (beautiful) car in the front when you walk in, play ’50s music, have an elvis DJ, and do little dances every hour. I grew up going to birthday parties here, so I still love to relive those days and go here. They have fun types of burgers, this one has peanut butter on it, which isn’t bad for a bite, but I’m not sure I could eat the whole thing. What to order:  Dante’s Inferno, and a cookies n cream shake. 8. Burger Lounge: This is a farm to table place (plus), I also like them because they always have seating outside which allows drool to be running down my leg (no, not from me, from Gatsby). I 9/10 times at a burger place will get a turkey burger if it’s offered, and I think burger lounge may be my favorite. They also have a quinoa veggie burger which is on my list to try (so stay tuned for that update). I’m also a big fan of their fries (maybe I’m a fry person?). They have these little green drops of heaven on them and I’m not sure if that’s what makes them amazing or whattttt else. Pictured below, is lavender mint lemonade, perfect! (Maybe bring some vodka to add;) whoops, you didn’t hear that from me.) What to order: Turkey burger, add avocado, and fries. BAM! 9. Rocky’s: Their lunch special is what draws everyone in, $13 for a burger, fries, and a beer. It’s a small bar, cash only, with the only difference between their burgers are cheese and how big your meat patty is, so that makes the indecisive person like me happy (whoops). I’ve heard “best burger in SD” about it for so long, and yes, it is good, but best of all time? Dear lord, that’s a big saying. Definitely worth going to. The bouncer makes people move according to how large your party is. So if you’re two people, he’ll make you move for a larger group if one comes in. What to order:  Cheese burger, and fries (to share). From trying many burgers in my life, as well as recently, trying to compare and name “my favorite” or “best ever” I learned that there’s so many types! It’s so hard to compare, you have Bare Back and Anny’s where they’re like gourmet with their options and then you have Beef ‘N Bun and Rocky’s where you have maybe 3 options. But all in all, all delicious and mouth watering. I hope you try all these, and go to the gym before and after;) just kidding! Embrace your inner fat kid today, you deserve it.

~ XOXO, Amanda (& her fully belly)

NOURISH

Currently Craving: Brunch

Yes. Absolutely. Of course. ALWAYS WANT BRUNCH. Are just a few thoughts when the thought of brunch comes into my life? So maybe you live in San Diego and I have now given you weekend plans for countless weekends to come…or maybe you don’t and well, you can just sit there and drool. But here are some of my favorite places to…well…brunch, just to name a few.

 

  1. Claire’s On Cedros: I’ve only been here once, I’ve heard the talk about it, so I thought I’d check it out. Service: SUCKED. I don’t know what side of the bed our waitress woke up on, but it was not the right one. The food: worth it. Eggs bene on a croissant? Okay, yes since you’re twisting my arm. LOL JK, I will gladly. Plus it’s like an old little house converted into a restaurant. 
  2. Caroline’s Seaside Cafe: Brunch with a view….yes please! It’s right on the water, so you can stare at your food, and the ocean! What more do you need in life? Not to mention, the food is a m a z i n g. I always get a veggie scramble, always. I sure do love my eggs. They also have their own bakery where I would swear they make their own bread, cause it tastes like it just came out of the oven. Oh, and they have dog bowls, so Gatsby approves. Yes, you do see a cinnamon roll peaking on the other side of the fruit, whoops! 
  3. The Cottage: Just be mentally prepared for an hour wait. But they do text you, so you can walk down to the cove, or around the shops. And then you’ll get a text “your table is almost ready.” It’s perfect, unless you’re so hungry you might die. Thennnnnn, I wouldn’t recommend. I always get their eggs bene, of course. Whoops, sorry I’m predictable. But it’s so good, I just can’t pass it up, plus there’s so many options. California (always the best option) who doesn’t opt in for avocado. Traditional, if you’re basic. And then a carne asada one with a chipotle hollandaise.  The french toast is goooood too.  But I just can’t look back on my life knowing I could have gotten the eggs bene. 
  4. Parkhouse Eatery: What first enticed me about them? Avocado hollandaise. Yes, you heard correctly avocado. They also do almost potato “mush” but I was a fan. My favorite thing here is also the mimosa flights. Real fruity. This place is also super close to Balboa park so you can go walk off all the calories you had at brunch. (don’t worry though, always worth it) my one drag? hot sauce, it wasn’t hot and they only had one option. This place also gets the Gatsby paw of approval. Also pictured below, you see the best boyfriend, holding his utensils, just waiting so patiently for me to get the “winning” shot.
  5. Herringbone: The classy way to do bottomless mimosas, or rose.  This is one place where I am always torn to get eggs bene, or chilaquiles. Probably ends up being the hardest decision of my day #basic. But this place is the CUTEST, I love it, there’s a tree inside with vines everywhere. The servers are always so friendly. Also here, you have to get their cinnamon bun for an appetizer. Yes that is acceptable with brunch. Have one bite and split it with the table. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
  6. Cody’s LaJolla: This place I will always be grateful for because they first gave me Marie Sharps Hot Habanero Pepper Sauce which will make your lips sting, but it’s so good you can’t help it. It’s also a cute little cottage, and the eggs bene to. die. for. but here…would be the one place I would dare get anything but bene….the french toast. Is melt in your mouth goodness. I don’t know what they put it in it. But the bread, butter, syrup, strawberries, everything is a perfect combination. This place also gets the Gatsby paw of approval. 
  7. Barbarella’s: You walk in and look to the left and the whole size of the side of the wall says “i love you so much” good warm fuzzy feelings already. The person who owns this place is so festive. I love her so much and I don’t know her, and yes, if you know me, I’ll be her when I’m older. Halloween is the most festive, you have to go during that time. One other place where I have suchhhhh a hard time deciding between eggs bene or chilaquiles. Sometimes you just have to get both, am I right? 
  8. Fig Tree Cafe: I owe this place my brunch addiction, it was the first place I had eggs bene. Who would have thought it would turn into this…but it did. They have “upgraded” potatoes, and when they bring it up, the answer is yes. They are life changing. I’m drooling just thinking about them. Gatsby gives them a big paw of approval because the servers will sometimes bring him bacon. 
  9. The Patio: I have not have one bad thing from this menu. From their sandwiches to eggs bene, to soups and salads. They normally have pulled pork bene, which I could do without, so for brunch I normally go something else. They have dog treats for when you bring your dogs, so guess what? Gatsby paw of approval stamped. 
  10. Red Card Cafe: A new little hip spot, my favorite thing about this place? The kitchen has a giant window so you see him make everything. We went on a slow Saturday morning, and he even came out. The crepes here are so good, I got confused if I was in San Diego or Paris…who knew. They also have chipolte hollandaise sauce. The best might I add.