No Passport for Amsterdam Falafel Shop!

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Wanna get a taste of the Middle East without traveling out the U.S.?  Fear not, Amsterdam Falafel Shop in Somerville is here!  New in Boston since July 2012 and pushing out falafel like hot cakes.  Now dawns the questions for some…what’s a falafel?

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Falafel is spiced mashed chickpeas formed into balls (hushpuppies) or fritters and deep-fried, usually eaten with or in pita bread.  Perfect for all types of eaters Amsterdam Falafel makes eating fun with some basic order rules:

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  1. Build your sandwich carefully; there are over 21 sauces and toppings to lace your falafel balls with.  You can choose either a pita sandwich or bowl and how many balls you’d like.
  2. CRUSH YOUR BALLS!!! (love this) Make your sandwich a bit flatter so you can stuff all your toppings inside the pita pocket!
  3. Mix Up for Combinations; go gentle with some ingredients for instance the garlic can be intense.
  4. No Double-Dipping or Topping! You can only top a NEW falafel sandwich at the bar.  Makes sense for sanitation laws and purpose.

I wanted my falafel to be a mountain of amazing sensations so I topped my pita with hummus, baba ganoush (a thick spread made from ground eggplant, sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic), yogurt dill (greek style dip), garlic cream, tahini (a Middle Eastern sauce made from ground sesame seeds), and some spicy cole slaw!  Sooooo good.

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How can you really go wrong here?  The price is reasonable (at most $10 for a meal) and the toppings are so healthy.  Next time I go I’ll adding beets!

Not into falafel?  They also have fries, wait, excuse me Dutch-styled “frieten” with a lovely crunch and lovely taste.  A pretty good alternative to me. Especially with the Curry Ketchup!  Drool!

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I totally agree with the site that these locations helps one escape on a mini get away to Amsterdam, away from work and everyday troubles.  I washed my meal down with an Izze since I was in the mood for healthy carbonation.

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Opened 7 days a week, swing in to Amsterdam Falafel in Davis Square and get your Middle Eastern kick!  I have to send my thanks to Washington DC for the start of this company.  Now with other locations, branching to Maryland this company is only gonna grow and expand.  I wish them all the best!

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Stay yummy!

Amsterdam Falafel

248 Elm Street

Somerville, MA 02144

(617) 764-3334

http://www.falafelshop.com/

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Impromptu Teatime at L.A. Burdick!

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Teatime in Boston is hard to orchestrate without planning.  Some places require reservations ahead of time, meanwhile some prices are worth it ONLY on a special occasion.  However, if you’re in the mood for a pot of tea and pastries in a non-rushed environment L.A. Burdick is the place to go!

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I stumbled upon this location in the Back Bay area a couple of months ago while walking around Newbury St. after some shopping.  I fell in love with the set up and bright décor, and also with the idea that you can sit and have a pot of tea.  The other highlight for me is that L.A. Burdick is a European inspired Handmade Chocolate company!  They have holiday chocolates, bonbons, mice and penguins, drinking chocolate, bars and confections!  This location is split as both a coffee shop and a chocolate store. Lucky me!

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Dating back to their 1st location in New York City 1987, L.A. Burdick has brought to the East Coast handmade delicacies that are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea, coffee, or even a glass of champagne.  There are now, “several cafés and chocolate shops, a French-style restaurant and small specialty grocery store.”  Locations vary throughout Boston, New York City, and Walpole New Hampshire.

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Will attempting to have tea and conversation I stopped in here with a friend.  Because we wanted the moment to resemble a chill version of high tea, we ordered two pastries to share with our pot.  The lucky two of the day were the Linzer Torte Slice and Burdick’s Slice.  For tea, to keep the atmosphere relaxing we ordered Peppermint.  Tea is served as a pot of hot water with a bag on the side on a dish.  We placed the bag right in the center of the pot.

Things to know when having tea at L.A. Burdick:

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  1. It can get VERY BUSY! Have your companion grab a table ASAP if you’d like to dine in so you can place your order.
  2. You CANNOT have a pot of tea UNLESS you have a Table!  This is why it’s important to follow step #1.
  3. The noise volume can get quite high.  Don’t treat this experience as the end all for tea time if you’re looking for a quiet location.  Just relax, settle in and enjoy the company of your guest. 🙂

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Our pastries arrived first and they looked as good as they tasted.  The Linzer Torte contains almonds, spices, a layer of raspberry jam and is coated with sugar.  On Valentine’s Day THIS is the cake for “cozy celebrating”.  I loved the texture of this treat.  The jam wasn’t too thick or goopy.  The nuts really made the dessert come together with a crumbly crust.

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Next was Burdick’s Slice filled with layers of japonaise (a baked meringue flavored with nuts) and rum ganache.  The japonaise was like shortbread in-between the chocolate.  So sweet and creamy.  Great for lovers of dense chocolate.

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One of the best moments this experience was knowing I got so much for less than I would typically pay.  I shared a pot of tea for $4.75 and enjoyed two pastries for $4 apiece making my total a whopping $13.64.  Not bad for a quick fix in the city.  Next time I’m there I’m buying the drinking chocolate so I can bring in the holidays with a gourmet treat.  Mixy Mixy!

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L.A. Burdick

220 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA

(617) 303-0113

http://www.burdickchocolate.com

Being Philanthropic at Blue State Coffee!

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So I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a huge coffee drinker.  BUT I am into latte’s!

The older I get the more interested I become in coffee shops and café’s.  Something about the idea of relaxing in an upgraded library with food, drinks, and studies seems genius!  I mean how could student not stay engaged in their studies in this atmosphere?  Along the Boston University campus lies one of the coolest location for such delights, Blue State Coffee.  Mixed with coffee art, a lively staff, and library table style seating both students and locals can enjoy this space from 7am to 11pm Monday thru Friday and 8am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday.

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Philanthropist

noun

a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, esp. by the generous donation of money to good causes.”

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Founded in September 2006 Blue State set out a mission, “to offer environmentally sustainable, fairly trade coffee; to donate 2% of sales to local non-profit organizations voted on by our customer; to become a “zero” waste business, and to achieve positive change in our communities.”  I must say they are right on track.   The Boston location always has a busy dining area and constant foot track, proving to me their able to compete just fine against their corporate competitors.  And as far as donations go, “Since 2006, we (Blue State Coffee) have opened six stores and donated over $355,000 to local and national non-profit organizations that share our values.”  That’s awesome!  This list goes on for all the fantastic things this company so far achieved.

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I love how this enterprise is able to still offer common value for their product. Prices here are that of a traditional coffee house.  Pastries are under $3 while sandwiches range between $4 to $7.50 with your choice of bread (Multigrain, Cranberry Walnut, Olive Rosemary, and Country White).  Coffee is between $2 and $4.75 and are “classics” such as macchiato, cappuccino, pour-over, and espresso to name a few.  You can also just get a large iced or hot coffee if your keeping it simple.

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Craving a snack I thought why not try out a couple of pastries and a random beverage.  I ordered a Pecan Sticky Bun and Vegan Blueberry Tea Bread.  I washed down my num nums with a ginger beer Blue States carries from Maine Root.  Very satisfying for my ginger needs.

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First I tried the bun.  Sooooo sticky awesome!  This sugary pecan delight was so good!  Flaky and sweet.  A must have if your into sticky buns.

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Next up was the Tea Bread.  My only regret: not ordering tea.  This bread would have been great with a nice hot cup of English breakfast.  A perfect morning filler.  I liked the pieces of blueberry throughout and this actually marked my first time having vegan bread!

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Other recommendations I have for Blue State:

–       Turkey and Cabot Cheddar Panini (comes with chips on the side)

–       Pumpkin Pie Latte (so good, it doesn’t need sweetener!)

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Check out my coffee art! Pumpkin Pie Latte

Want to check out Blue State but don’t live in the Boston area?  That’s okay, the company has 5 other locations within Rhode Island and Connecticut.  Still not close enough?  You can order their mind conscious coffee online and have it delivered to your house!

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It’s good to know companies like this still exist where in the end your not only satisfying your hunger craving as a buyer but your also helping to give back to organizations like, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, who need our support.

See you soon! Xo.

Blue State Coffee

957 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215

(617) 254-0929

https://www.bluestatecoffee.com

Boston Love’s Boloco!

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I love that Dirty Water! Boston’s You’re MY Home!

What can I say, I’m a proud Bostonian and with the recent victory of the Red Sox becoming the 2013 World Series Champions I had to do a write up on one of the successful eateries that’s local based.  This year Boloco turned 16 years old and I thought why not stop in and grab a bite while visiting Northeastern University.

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Imagine 4 guys from the East Coast living on the West Coast decided to share what they love about wraps and burritos from the West Coast back to the East Coast.  Sounds like a lot of back and fourth, but this was how the idea behind Boloco (Boston Local Company) was started.  The chain originally dates back to 1997 when the men opened up “Under Wraps” near Berkeley College on Massachusetts Ave.  Although popular the location lasted for a few months but brought about the group’s newer converted restaurant, “The Wrap” which was later changed to “Boloco”.

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John Pepper is one of the original founders and CEO of the company and continues to keep Boloco innovative with their menu selection.  The menu is broken into a hot section and a cold section.  Options for a burrito wrap or bowl with 3 different sizes assist customers with choosing what best fits their appetite and their wallet.  Prices on the menu are under $10 making a meal within reach for the typical college student.  There’s also the choice of having a shake or smoothie if you didn’t want a fountain or bottled drink.

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Having an environmentally friendly set up within the restaurant for trash, plastics, and compost (as well as LED lighting and Paperstone countertops) it’s clear Boloco prouds itself on being a green restaurant.  They were actually the 1st Certified Green restaurant in the entire country.  Not only healthy, good for you food BUT a good for you Environment too!

I kept my order simple today yet I “goloco” ‘d it.  Goloco is when you, “create your concoction using the ingredients from the add or substitute menu.”  I got boloco rice (white), pinto beans, chicken, and shredded cheese.  The chicken served was (when alive) vegetarian fed, humanely raised, grilled thigh meat.  Good to know what were putting in our bodies wasn’t eating unhealthy.

My chicken was good as always.  I’ve been eating here since 2006.  Always juicy chicken with properly cooked rice and melted cheese.  I got to sample the buffalo bowl too (spicy buffalo sauce, bleu cheese dressing, celery, and boloco rice).  So good.  Lots of flavor and the buffalo sauce wasn’t overwhelming.  Both good options.  For smoothies my go-to is the Cape Codder (cranberries, blueberries, apple juice, raspberry sorbet, and non-fat frozen yogurt) and for shakes I LOVE the Jimmy Carter Shake (all natural creamy peanut butter, banana, skim milk, and non-fat frozen yogurt).

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The Buffalo Bowl…

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I will always visit a nearby Boloco no matter where I am in the states.  There are now over 22 locations (including Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland and D.C.) proving Boloco will continue to share their passion of providing good food and good customer service throughout the East Coast!  I love the fact that even after 16 years there in no rush to expand faster than needed.  The focus here is quality not quantity, which is exactly what brought the Red Sox to their victory this year.  It’s not about how many “all-stars” you have on a team, it’s the Drive of that team, and THAT is why Boloco is successful!

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Wishing you another 16 years and BEYOND! Xo.

Boloco

359-369 Huntington Ave.

Boston, MA 02115

617-536-6814

http://boloco.com