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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tuscan Kitchen with Dining Playbook, Billy Costa & Jenny Johnson

Tuscan-Kitchen-Burlington-Dining-Playbook

Let's face it, passion is contagious. I recently had the pleasure of attending a dinner at the amazing Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, MA with Dining Playbook, Billy Costa, Jenny Johnson, and Tuscan Kitchen founder Joe Faro, and it was so inspiring to hear Joe's story and passion behind his restaurants. 

Joe visits Italy at least 2-3 times per year, and brings back authentic Italian dishes for us to enjoy in New England! We had an epic meal with great company and conversation, what's better than that? They're even opening a Boston location in Seaport this fall, can't wait to visit! Read on to see what we dined on.

Tuscan-Kitchen-Burlington-Dining-Playbook

Tuscan-Kitchen-Burlington-Dining-Playbook

Tuna crudo is one of my favorite dishes!

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So honored to be in such great company - listening to the wisdom of Billy Costa, Jenny Johnson, and Joe Faro!

Tuscan-Kitchen-Burlington-Dining-Playbook

This steak was so flavorful and delicious, and the potatoes were seasoned perfectly. My favorite dish of the night!

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This plate had such an epic preparation. They torched the inside of the parmigiano cheese wheel, then put the pasta inside of it to absorb the cheese, and finally topped it with grated truffle. In the end it was a perfectly light and subtle dish.

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Dinner was topped off with a dessert platter just as impressive as the rest of the meal. This was a feast to remember, and I absolutely recommend Tuscan Kitchen for upscale Italian in New England! Don't forget to check out their new Seaport location opening soon!

Comment Challenge: What's your favorite Italian dish?
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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Spectacle Island with Boston Harbor Cruises

*Note: This is a sponsored post, thanks for supporting those who support Chow Down USA! All opinions are my own.

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

From its comforting warmth to leisurely adventures, summer is my favorite season. One of the best ways to soak up the last rays of summer are with the striking views from Boston Harbor Cruises and Spectacle Island. They offer a fun Sunday outing 6 more times this year, so definitely take advantage before the season is over! Take a look at our fun in the sun below!

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

The cruise itself is about 30 minutes long, with a two-story boat which includes a bar and snacks. The views of Boston Harbor are pretty amazing, from the skyline to the boats and islands. It's a great way to step outside your usual routine and gain a little perspective.

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Once on Spectacle Island, we were greeted with delicious food from Chef Barbara Lynch, as well as drinks from Harpoon Brewery. So perfect!

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

We strayed a little farther from the rest of the group to explore the island, and discovered this yurt. Apparently there's an artist rotational program that takes place here in the summer. We met the current artist, who was recording sounds from the island and turning it into music. So interesting to see such a different way of living!

Spectacle-Island-Boston-Harbor-Cruises

Not too shabby! Walking back to the boat, we got to see the sun setting behind the Boston skyline. Be sure to check out the Boston Harbor Cruise and Spectacle Island soon!

Comment Challenge: How are you soaking up the last rays of summer?

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Importance of Friends with Itz Spritz

*This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support Chow Down USA! Photography by Brad Bahner.

itz-spritz-why-friends-are-important

With its warm weather and endless fun activities, summer is the perfect time to get together with friends. Sometimes it's easy to take them for granted, but friends are honestly invaluable. Even the most independent people can benefit from the community of your closest pals, and studies have shown that friends can literally extend your lifespan and make you healthier (more on that below)! 

We got together with Itz Spritz for a summer hangout on the Charles river docks to celebrate the importance of good friends. If you haven't tried Itz Spritz, I cannot recommend it enough! It's a fun and bubbly alcohol spritzer with delicious and unique flavors like Elderflower Citrus, Cucumber Lime Twist, and Golden Pear! The Elderflower was our favorite, but they're all phenomenal! 

Read on to see why friends are so important, including scientific studies to back up the importance of your pals!

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Dress: Madewell


1. They Make You Laugh & Live Longer

Friends are great for comedic relief and to put things in perspective. Whether you're feeling upbeat or blue, your pals are there to put you in the right mindset and laugh for hours on end. I really believe that laughter is the best medicine, so this is a priceless gift. It's no wonder that a 2010 study showed that the effect of social ties on lifespan is twice as important as how much you exercise.

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2. They Listen & Problem-Solve


Nothing is better than a group of friends when you have a story to tell. Whether it's an adventure story or something small, your friends are there to experience life with you and share each other's hopes and dreams. Sometimes it's nice to bounce ideas off of others, and your friends are always there to help you problem solve everything from careers to relationship advice. 


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Dress: Madewell

3. They Keep You Healthy


You know how when you're with friends you feel a general sense of happiness and safety? Studies have shown that those with strong social ties are actually physically healthier than those without. This seems intuitive but there's actual science to back it up! 


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4. They Support You and Keep Your Mind Sharp


When you need a leg up, your friends are there to lift you up and support you. Apart from keeping your body healthy, interacting with friends and combating loneliness actually reduces the risk of dementia - so stay social to keep sharp! 


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5. They Challenge You

Another important form of support is to have friends who challenge you. From trying new things, to being true to yourself, you can count on your pals to push you to be the best version of yourself.

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6. They Bring New Experiences

Friends bring new experience to the table, from travel to activities to foods. Growing up in the super diverse San Francisco, I'm grateful to have friends from many different backgrounds who showed me so many different foods and cultures, all of which shaped the person I am today.


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7. They're Fun

Friends are the best form of stress-relief because they always bring the fun! Whether we're traveling the globe or just chilling on the docks of the Charles Esplanade, you can count on your pals to bring laughter, great conversation, and fun antics.


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itz-spritz-why-friends-are-important


itz-spritz-why-friends-are-important

itz-spritz-why-friends-are-important


Itz Spritz was the perfect way to elevate our hangout on the Charles. They're made with just 5 all-natural ingredients, all of which are gluten-free. There is zero malt, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or coloring in these drinks, just simple ingredients. Plus, I love supporting a female-founded business! The founder Kate comes from a family-run beer business, and set out to make her very own sparkling adult beverage that caters to modern tastes without compromising on calories. Basically, Itz Spritz is everything you want, and nothing you don't!


Comment Challenge: What Makes Your Friends Important To You?


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