Name: Miss Niss

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    Itadaki – Boston

    December 8th, 2014

    The subject line of the email inviting Miss Niss to try a new-to-her Boston Back Bay restaurant included the word “ramen.”  The easy part was saying yes the this dinner invitation; the difficult part was finding time to go!

    A few weeks ago, Miss Niss found time to try Itadaki, a Japanese restaurant and bar on Newbury St.

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    The dark lighting, exposed brick walls, and dimly lit candles set the mood for a unique Japanese experience.

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    To start, I ordered the Cucumber Sake-tini, made with Effen Cucumber, Reiko Sake, St. Germaine, and Gingerale.  I love cocktails with cucumber and St. Germaine, and this was no exception.  I would go back to Itadaki just based on the drink menu!

    But the food was delicious too.  I’ll admit I was disappointed (and surprised) that none of the ramen soup I was so looking forward to enjoying was vegetarian.  Luckily, there were several other options on the menu that caught my eye.

    IMG_0237We shared the Chamame Edamame, special nutty flavored edamame with sea salt.  It tasted a lot like regular edamame, salted to perfection.

    For my dinner course, I ordered Baked Eggplant with Miso Cheese Sauce and Itadaki Signature Cheese Gratin.

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    The eggplant was the most unique eggplant I’ve had at an Asian restaurant.  The slices of eggplant were perfectly tender and the tangy miso cheese sauce perfectly complemented the dish.  The gratin is a Japanese style macaroni and cheese, made with white onion and mushroom cream sauce.  It is such an unexpected dish at a Japanese restaurant. I mean, have you ever had mac and cheese with chop sticks?

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    I can proudly say that I have!  And, it was among the best mac and cheese in Boston.  The sauce was so creamy and the cheese on top had those brown spots reserved only for the best mac and cheese.

    My friend loved her fresh sushi too.

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    Not one to pass on dessert, we shared the Japanese Style Flan and Strawberry Mochi.

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    I’m not sure what was so Japanese about the flan; it tasted like a regular flan, creamy and decadent.  The strawberry mochi tasted like rich strawberry ice cream inside a soft doughy bun.

    We had a fun and delicious meal at Itadaki, combined of both traditional and unique Japanese flavors.  Take a break from this busy holiday season and enjoy a night out at Itadaki!

    What new-to-you restaurants have you tried lately?

     

     

    This meal was provided complimentary.  As always, our opinions are our own.

     

     

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    Spice up your Summer Grilling

    July 3rd, 2014

    I’d never heard of Coleman’s mustard or COOKINA grilling sheets before I was asked if I wanted to participate in the Summer Blogger ‘Grill – Off’ hosted by COOKINA and Coleman’s Mustard, but I thought who doesn’t love summer grilling and mustard?  I sure do!

    Soon enough, my package of goodies arrived at my door.  I received one COOKINA Barbeque Reusable Grilling Sheet, Coleman’s Dry Powder Mustard, and Coleman’s Original Prepared Mustard.  I tasted the mustard immediately.  It looked like plain yellow mustard.  I put a big smear on a cucumber stick and was blown away.  This is no ordinary mustard.  It tastes a lot more like wasabi than a typical mustard.  I checked the ingredients – there is no horse radish!  Just mustard.  Very spicy mustard.

    Since the mustard reminded me of wasabi, I thought an Asian marinade would be appropriate.  Then I thought better of my audience.  Not everyone likes such a spice so instead of marinating vegetables, I made a sauce to use as a topping for grilled vegetables.

    In past summers, My Mr. and I have grilled frequently.  This summer has been so busy that we’re barely home for dinner and sadly have not used our grill once!  Luckily, my parents had us over to grill.  I took control of the veggie side of the grill and finally had an opportunity to test out my grilling sheet and mustard sauce.

    I started with sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

    I started with sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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    You can’t even tell, but the COOKINA grilling sheet is on the left side of the grill under the veggies.  I cut the sheet to fit the grill.  I actually read the directions – rare for me, I know – and it said you can cut the sheet.  It also said you don’t need to use any fats when grilling.  Too bad I had already added the olive oil.  The sheet is nonstick and not only suited for grilling, but a replacement for tin foil wherever you may use it in cooking or baking.  I see cookies on a COOKINA sheet in my future.  My favorite part of the COOKINA sheet is not the ease of use or the nonstick surface.  It’s the fact that this sheet can make any grilling surface vegetarian!  I won’t have any meat touching my vegetables!  My parents know this and actually keep the left side of their grill vegetarian for me, but now I can bring this reusable sheet to any barbeque and ensure my vegetables are vegetarian.

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    Anything grilled on a COOKINA reusable grilling sheet gets grill marks as if it was grilled directly on the grill.

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    My grilled zucchini also tasted just as delicious as if it was grilled directly on the grill.  And this Spicy Mustard Sauce only took it up a notch.  It was a hit with the whole family.

    You too can celebrate summer grilling with COOKINA.  The brand is hosting a social media contest and the winner gets a trip to Las Vegas!  Tag your photo featuring COOKINA on Instagram or Twitter with #YesYouCanCOOKINA or upload your photo to their Facebook page to enter to win.  COOKINA is available at Home Depot, and you can visit their website for more information.  The easiest place to buy Coleman’s mustard is Amazon.

    Spicy Mustard Sauce
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    1 T sesame oil
    1-3 T Coleman’s Mustard, depending on how spicy you like it!

    Stir all ingredients together in a dish.  Top your favorite grilled vegetables, meat, or fish.

    What have you been grilling this summer?

     

    I received COOKINA Reusable Grilling and Sheet and Coleman’s Mustard products for free.  My opinions are my own.

    1 Comment "

    Brunch at Puritan and Co

    April 2nd, 2014

    Last weekend, Miss Niss had the pleasure of joining the Boston Brunchers for Sunday brunch at Puritan and Co in Inman Square.  It’s been a long while since the last time I brunched with this wonderful group of bloggers, and I was so excited to see Renee organized another brunch at a new-to-me restaurant.

    Immediately upon entering Puritan and Co, I made eye contact with the pastry table.

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    What other restaurant can you name that even has a pastry table?  The croissants, the donuts…

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    I wanted a bite of everything.

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    And then I looked up and saw Renee waving to me from the table.  I settled into my seat, chatted with old and new bloggers, and soon enough we had coffee and brunch cocktails.

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    The coffee was actually a big weak for my liking, but my mimosa hit the spot.  Our server brought us plates full of each pastry from the pastry table to sample as we enjoyed our brunch beverages.

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    Based on looks, I expetect the Boston Cream Donut to be my favorite, however the Dulce De Leche and Coconut Danish blew me away by surprise.  I didn’t think I liked coconut, but combined with the dulce de leche and flaky danish this was a unique and scrumptious pastry.  It was clear that all of the pastries were baked fresh.  The donut, lemon corn muffin, and chocolate cherry blondie were are creative twists to breakfast pastries and had me really looking forward to my main meal.  I actually would’ve been happy to eat this whole plate of pastries as my meal.  Anyone else?

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    My Spinach and Cheddar Scramble also surpassed my expectations.  This seemingly simple dish was anything but.  The ratio of eggs, cheddar, and broccoli was perfect and it was cooked thoroughly, just how I like it.  The arugula salad was a light side dish, and the small toast was deceptively well buttered and tasted like fresh homemade bread.  My whole meal was delicious!

    I am so glad I had the opportunity to dine at Puritan and Co with the Boston Brunchers and discover a new restaurant to add my brunch rotation.  Thanks for organizing another successful brunch, Renee!

    This meal was provided complimentary to the Boston Brunchers.  We only paid a tip.  As always, all opinions are my own.

     

    2 Comments "

    Boston Wine Expo 2014

    March 31st, 2014

    Back in February, Miss Niss attended the Boston Wine Expo at the Seaport Wold Trade Center.

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    I was really excited to check out the Wine Expo for the first time, and to see how it compares to the Mogehan Sun Wine Fest.  After experiencing both events, I can tell you that they are very different.  The Boston Wine Expo is set up in a huge space which allows the wine to be well organized by geographic region, a whole separate section for food vendors, and it never felt crowded even though the room was buzzing with people.

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    I love Italian wines, and they were easy to find with the large hanging banners throughout the room.

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    The Mr. has a fondness for South American wines, so we split our time between the two sections.  The wines available were high class wines and tasting pours were generous.  We took photos of our favorite bottles, but I don’t recall not liking anything I tasted.  The food at the Boston Wine Expo also set it apart from other wine events.  There was a row of food vendors almost as long as the room.

    The truffle popcorn was as good as it sounds

    The truffle popcorn was as good as it sounds

    This chocolate granola could've used more chocolate!

    This chocolate granola could’ve used more chocolate!

    Of course I tried the Blonde chocolate - and of course it was delicious with its caramel notes.

    Of course I tried the Blonde chocolate – and of course it was delicious with its caramel notes.

    A bite of eggplant rolatini from Sebastian's in Revere, MA had me craving more.

    A bite of eggplant rolatini from Sebastian’s in Revere, MA had me craving more.

    We each made our own spice mixes, thanks to Celebrity Cruises.

    We each made our own spice mixes, thanks to Celebrity Cruises.

    Even this wine was surprisingly good!

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    The most surprising wine I tasted and enjoyed was TY KU Sake.  I never thought of sake as a casual wine that I could enjoy as a whole glass, but TY KU changed my mind.

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    The Coconut Sake reminded me of Malibu rum, and I would happily drink this one as a cocktail.

    My Mr. and I had a lot of fun drinking our way making our way through the Expo.  We even bought a vacation!  It may not have been our smartest decision to buy a vacation at a Wine Expo, but I don’t think we’ll have any regrets when we’re relaxing in the Berkshires this summer.

    When we were ready to leave, we wanted to grab a bite to eat before we headed home.  We meandered across the street to Tamo in the Seaport Hotel.

    My veggie tostada was fresh and tasty.

    My veggie tostada was fresh and tasty.

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    His Tamo Burger was juicy and satisfying.

    His Tamo Burger was juicy and satisfying.

    The Boston Wine Expo is well worth the ticket price for the experience of tasting so many different wines, chatting with knowledgeable wine connoisseurs, and tasting new foods.

    Have you ever been to the Boston Wine Expo?  What’d you think?

     

    My tickets for the Boston Wine Expo were complimentary.  As always, all of my opinions are my own.

    2 Comments "

    Boston Wine Expo 2015

    March 16th, 2014

    Better late than never.  That old saying is still true, right?  A month ago, Miss Niss had the pleasure of attending the Boston Wine Expo for the second year in a row.  The event was even better this year.  There seemed to be more wine and more food – all of the things that make the Wine Expo so much fun.

    Have you tried 90+ Cellars? It's like the TJMaxx of wines. Fine wines at a discount. What's not to love?

    Have you tried 90+ Cellars? It’s like the TJMaxx of wines. Fine wines at a discount. What’s not to love?

    Delicious chocolates from Birnn

    Delicious chocolates from Birnn

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    Red velvet strawberry cheesecake with cream cheese frosting

    Red velvet strawberry shortcake with cream cheese frosting

     

    The photo in the background is so vibrant it's like I'm in the vineyard.

    The photo in the background is so vibrant it’s like I’m in the vineyard.

    Au Bon Pan has a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. They're crispy and full of chocolate.

    Au Bon Pain has a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. They’re crispy and full of chocolate.

    I love samplng olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the Wine Expo. This Greek olive oil tasted so fresh and full of flavor.

    I love samplng olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the Wine Expo. This Greek olive oil tasted so fresh and full of flavor.

    My favorite balsamic vinegar made with truffles!

    My favorite balsamic vinegar made with truffles!

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    I love Pasta Chips in every variety. Yes, I sampled each one and took home a back of Garlic Parmesan.

    I love Pasta Chips in every variety. Yes, I sampled each one and took home a back of Garlic Olive Oil.

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    I also love Brownie Brittle in every flavor. Such a smart creation, the flavor of brownies in the texture of a chip.

    I also love Brownie Brittle in every flavor. Such a smart creation, the flavor of brownies in the texture of a chip.

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    I love seeing new wine and food vendors at the Expo.  Just like last year, we sampled our way through the Italian and South American sections and tasted one delicious wine after another.  We ate our way down the food aisle and filled up on chocolates, cheese, popcorn, desserts, and sliders for the meat eaters.  It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

     

    I received 2 complimentary tickets to the Boston Wine Expo.  As always, all opinions are my own.

    No Comments "

    Celebrating National Pancake Day with Nutella

    March 4th, 2014

    Today, Tuesday March 4, is National Pancake Day! The Foodies love pancakes and are happy to celebrate this national holiday for a versatile breakfast indulgence. Growing up, Miss Niss had pancakes at home every Sunday, so celebrating National Pancake Day only feels natural.

    While I don’t make pancakes every Sunday anymore, I do make them quite often on weekends.  I’ve experimented with a few recipes and a few ingredients, incorporating Greek yogurt or almond milk, but my favorite pancake recipe is the one I used to eat every Sunday at home with my parents. (Thanks, Mom.)

    The recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook, and I found it here online. When Nutella offered to send us two jars in order to celebrate pancakes, I knew my go-to buttermilk pancake recipe was the one to use. The recipe is so simple, and the pancakes cook light and fluffy and taste delicious. These buttermilk pancakes are the perfect canvas to “spread the happy” with Nutella. Allow me to introduce Pancake Man.

    I'd be grinning from ear to ear if I was wearing a whipped cream suit and hat too!

    I’d be grinning from ear to ear if I was wearing a whipped cream suit and hat too!

    Pancake Man and Pancake Lady love their whipped cream hairdos,

    Pancake Man and Pancake Lady love their whipped cream hairdos.

    Even Baldy is happy!

    Even Baldy is happy!

    A-Tooch and Miss Niss go way back with Nutella. When we were roommates in London, we ate Nutella with everything from ice cream to cookies to, you guessed it, a spoon. We’ve always loved Nutella and are more than happy to celebrate National Pancake Day with Nutella.

    As part of Nutella’s “Spread the Happy” campaign, they’d like to spread happiness to one lucky reader. One of you will also receive two jars of Nutella to enjoy with pancakes, waffles, toast, apples, your finger – or however else you’d like to eat it!

    To enter this giveaway, leave a comment telling us your favorite way to enjoy pancakes. Are you a buttermilk pancake fan? What are your favorite pancake toppings?

    The giveaway is open until Thursday, March 6, at 7 PM ET.  One winner will be selected by random draw and notified by Friday, March 7.

    Two jars of Nutella were provided complimentary.  As always, all opinions are our own.

    4 Comments "

    Candied Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese, Mozzarella and Vodka Sauce Pizza

    February 24th, 2014

    We make a lot of pizza here in Miss Niss’s home, and this pizza using up leftover ingredients is probably the best one to come out of the oven. It has so many ingredients I don’t know what to call it without listing them all, or calling it The Best Leftovers Pizza Ever.

    IMG_2501Using some leftover ingredients from the birthday dinner my Mr. cooked me and some ingredients from our Valentine’s Day dinner we cooked together, The Best Leftovers Pizza Ever is topped with fresh sliced mozzarella, chopped candied sweet potato, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and drizzled with creamy tomato vodka sauce. It was so simple and so delicious I just had to share it with you!

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    What’s the best pizza to come out of your oven lately?

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    Brunch at Beat Brasserie

    February 15th, 2014

    Two weeks ago, Miss Niss had the pleasure of joining the Boston Brunchers at Beat Brasserie, formerly Beat Hotel, in Harvard Square.  We’d just received our first few feet of snow in Boston.  Since then, we’ve received a few more feet of snow and as I am writing this, there is another foot of fresh snow falling outside.  Enough, already!

    Snow storms cause me to crave comfort food.  It’s a safe assumption I’ve been eating plenty of comfort foods these days.  High on my list of favorite brunch and comfort foods are pancakes.

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    Beat Brasserie satisfied my pancake craving with uniquely savory pancakes.  I shared Wild Flower Honey and Lemon Pancakes with my fellow Brunchers.  I liked that they were fluffy, full of flavor, and offered something new to the girl who usually opts for chocolate chips.  There actually is no brunch entree with chocolate on the menu, which is a little disappointing and surprising to me.  To get my chocolate fix, I ordered a hot chocolate.

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    Hot chocolate is served in an individual pot.  This makes a cute presentation and keeps the extra chocolate hot until I’m ready to drink it.  The hot chocolate tasted like real chocolate, melted with milk.

    My table companions and I shared everything we ordered.  In addition to the pancakes, we ordered a coffee cake, an omelette, an eggs benedict, and a bowl Azteca. Beat Brasserie must change their menu often, because I don’t see the exact dishes we ordered on the menu anymore.

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    We enjoyed this thick slice of a berry coffee cake; now there is a pumpkin coffee cake on the menu.

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    I believe this was a mushroom, spinach and fontina omelette, but now there is a tomato, mozzarella and basil omelette on their menu.  Their new omelette sounds better than the one we had two weeks ago.  I am a picky egg eater, so I don’t always chose them when I am out for brunch.  This omelette appealed to me though so I gave it a chance.  When I cut into the omelette to share it, I cut through a big chunk of spinach and was excited to see so much of it.  After I gave out pieces of the omelette, I was surprised that I had also given out almost all of the spinach, as it was concentrated on one half rather than spread evenly throughout.  The eggs seemed too liquidy to me; I’m not sure if it was just too cheesy for my taste or if the omelette was lightly cooked. I like my eggs completely dry and cooked so long they start to brown.  This omelette was either too cheesy for my liking wasn’t cooked as long as I’d prefer.  Others may love a super cheesy omelette.  The fries were delicious, nicely crisped and seasoned.

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    Not photographed, the girls I dined with voted the Braised Short Ribs Eggs Benedict their favorite entree of the day.

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    We were seated in a prime spot near the stage.  I enjoyed the live music, and appreciated it was loud enough to liven up brunch, and not too loud that you can’t have a conversation.

    Beat Brasserie has an eclectic collection of savory dishes.  If you love savory brunch, this is the spot for you.  I prefer a sweet brunch, but am tempted by their dinner menu.  The Earth Bowl and Thai Bowl are calling my name!

     

    This meal was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own. 

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