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Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Celebration Feast : Townsman Boston Review

townsman boston review

Happy Summer all! As you've probably surmised by now, Nick and I are both pretty big foodies. We love exploring new restaurants, and have somewhat of a tradition of seeking out fun, unique restaurants for each other's birthdays. Not too long ago it was Nick's birthday, so I surprised him with dinner at Townsman! Since Townsman was recently named one of ten restaurants of the year by Food and Wine Magazine, we were excited to see what all the hype was all about! 

Matt Jennings' Townsman is situated in Downtown Boston near Chinatown and the Greenway. It has outdoor patio seating (yes! mental note made to come back when it's more warm out), red accent seating, fun planetary light fixtures, and a drool-worthy menu which focuses on sustainability and local sourcing. 

townsman boston review

Loved the trendy ambiance! This is definitely a local spot, with a mix of suits from nearby offices grabbing a good meal after work, along with casual diners like us.

townsman boston review

Digging the back of the menu design. 

townsman boston review

Townsman's trendy, modern take on complimentary bread and butter. I was obsessed with this - how cute is that tin can? 

townsman boston review

I mentioned that I was gluten free and they actually managed to bring out delicious, life-giving cornbread to accommodate! 

Most waiters and restaurants start sputtering when I bring this up, and I don't blame them - it's tough to work around no gluten, which means no wheat or flour! So I get it. But at the same time, if anyone should be prepared for this, it should be modern restaurants, right? I was super impressed by their service and dedication to taking care of the customer's needs before we even asked.
townsman boston review

We started with the lightest and brightest deviled eggs ever! These were different than any deviled eggs than we've tried before - usually it's just the hard boiled egg white cut in half and filled with the yolk/mayo/mustard/etc. At Townsman, the eggs were coated in the mixture, in addition to fried capers, clay pepper and crispy hen skin. The plate proved to be very refreshing and comforting, and at the end of the meal we were still raving about it!

townsman boston review

Next we noshed on the Octopus a la Plancha, with plantains, mole, and citrus. I'd only ever enjoyed octopus with sushi in the past, and having a huge tentacle was an entirely new experience! It was rubbery and dense but not too tough, and the light citrus flavor offered a great contrast to the smokey octopus and it's texture.

townsman boston review

We were honored to try a dish not even on the menu! This arctic char skin and smoked cream cheese was another plate that was so different than anything I've tried before. The char skin was salty and crispy, and reminded me of a fun seaweed snack. We broke it up like chips to scoop the sour cream. This is the perfect example of why dining at Townsman is so fun - you never know what new textures or flavors you'll be trying next!

townsman boston review

As someone who loves oysters and seafood, these were an amazing stray from the traditional raw variety. These chicharron oysters were a heaven-sent melding of ocean and earthy flavors, adding a crunch and almost BBQ flavor to the oysters. Even if you're not an oyster fan you can appreciate these!

townsman boston review

townsman boston review

If you can believe it, we actually still had room for entrees after all that (but not much)! Also, how cool are these plates?

townsman boston review

I am a duck fiend, so naturally I ordered the Hudson Valley Duck Breast, with giblet jus, apricots, snow peas and chickpeas. The waiter told me the usual duck order is medium-rare, but I chickened out and ordered it medium. It was still very juicy and flavorful, but a little on the tough side, which is totally my fault for not ordering it the correct way! This is a lesson to listen to your waiter people!

In all seriousness, this plate was really delicious. The bright, citrus-y apricots were a great contrast to the duck, and who doesn't love a good snow pea? The dish normally comes with a cornmeal pancake in place of the chickpeas, but they again were super accommodating to make the plate gluten-free without us even asking.

townsman boston review

Nick ordered the Grilled Whole Fish of the day (trout in our case), with sea lettuce relish, chickpeas, and swiss chard. He fully enjoyed his plate as well, obviously!

townsman boston review

We topped off this glorious feast with yet another inventive item - this Candy Cap Ice Cream! This dish had multiple levels of flavors, including sweet, tart, earthy and maple. I'm currently obsessed with it and need to go back asap for more!

townsman boston review

I can honestly say that since going gluten free, this is the most I've felt taken care of by a restaurant! Complimentary cornbread to start off a meal is the best a gal could ever hope for, and to constantly alter the menu and tell me ahead of time which items to order without gluten is going above and beyond. 

Also, do I even need to say more on the innovative menu options? It's not your traditional dining spot - come here with an adventurous spirit and an empty belly, and you won't regret it.

From our friendly hostess and waiter, to the exciting menu, it will be truly hard to top Townsman's level of service and innovative, super unique menu!

Be sure to check out more Boston restaurant reviews, including my recent review of Gaslight in the South End, and my Boston ABC Dining project!

Comment Challenge: What's the most interesting menu item you've ever tried?

Get more fashion inspiration! Follow along on: Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest || Facebook || Bloglovin

Townsman Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 20, 2016

Blogging Behind the Scenes: How to Fake a Marble Flatlay

How to Fake a Marble Flatlay Blog
Marble Adhesive from Amazon 

Long, long ago I was a Blue Bottle barista. One day on the job, I got out a roll of quarters and bopped it on the edge of the counter to get it open. The manager came over in a frenzy and said "Stop, stop! Do you know how much this marble countertop cost?" I said nope, and he told me they shelled out $10,000 for it. 

These days, the flatlay is a crucial part of blogging and curating a flawless Instagram feed. From makeup, to clothes, recipes, and jewelry, this type of post is meant to showcase your products in a spectacular birds-eye view. Some choose to stage their flatlays on a white shaggy rug (see below), but many opt for the modern and sleek look of a marble backdrop.

A photo posted by Food & Fashion Blogger 👠🍰 (@chowdownusa) on

I don't know about you, but I'm not shelling out 10 big ones for a flatlay background. My blog sponsorships are just not quite there yet! Our apartment actually has marble but it's the wrong kind - a dark gray. Everyone knows that social media favors light, bright backgrounds! Luckily, I recently found an affordable and easy way around this, and I figure some of you may be interested in the process!

How to Fake a Marble Flatlay Blog
Kate Spade impulse buy (no regrets)

Marble Flatlay Materials Needed

  • Marble Adhesive - I bought this one on Amazon Prime for $16.99 and I'm way beyond satisfied with how the photos turned out (see finished product below). It is also very easy to work with, as it can be unpeeled from the board if stuck to the wrong place, but still sticky enough to get the job done. There was a ton of adhesive left over to add to a side table or desk too! I'm still deciding where to put it. 
  • Foam Board - Pretty much any decently-sized board will do, but I went with a 16 x 20 inch board similar to this one from Blick's.
  • Scissors
  • Any type of credit card (see my Lindt rewards card above, definitely my most-used card, don't judge)

Steps to Creating Marble Flatlay (Total time = 5 - 10 minutes)

1. Place foam board on flat surface.
2. Peel off a small section (1-2 inches) of the marble adhesive and carefully stick to the foam board.
3. Gently run a credit card over the marble adhesive to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.
4. Continue unrolling the marble, stopping every few inches to smooth out with the card.
5. Once the board is fully covered in marble adhesive, cut it like wrapping paper, fold and stick over the edges of the board.

My first shot with my newfound marble countertop is below. Think anyone will ever know the difference? You be the judge!

How to Fake a Marble Flatlay Blog

For the record, totally using these hair products from OGX on repeat. They smell like summer and happiness!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my blogger tips page, which includes Easy SEO for Bloggers, How to Take Amazing iPhone Pictures, Growing Your Blog on Twitter, and other helpful topics that I wish I knew earlier! 

Comment Challenge: What are your favorite flatlay backgrounds?

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer Wishlist: For Beach or Travel!

Summer's finally in the air, and I don't know about you, but I've got dresses, hats, bags and shoes on the mind! These are at the tippy top of my summer must-have list, for obvious reasons. Take a browse and see what catches your eye - plus, the price is right with these pieces!

I'm in swoon city over this striped bow back dress! It's a steal at $17, since you can easily wear it to the beach or dress it up for a night out! I can't wait until this one's at my doorstep!

There was never a cuter summer bag than this $13 watermelon dream

This fun dress is not only neon pink, but it has ruffles AND it's off-the-shoulder? So on trend, count me in!

Straw hats are trending, not to mention they protect the top of your head from getting burnt at the beach! This one is less than $8 and has a bow on it so it's automatically ten times cuter than other hats out there!

Hope you liked these pieces and that they inspire you to treat yourself this summer!

Comment Challenge: Which of these pieces would you love to add to your summer wardrobe?

Shop this post below!

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