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Greg and I have been going to Lamb Jam for the past couple of years and my sister and brother in law have been going since it began in Boston.
Lamb Jam is one of the best foodie events in Boston. You have great restaurants competing for the best lamb dishes, games, vendors, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
For the most part, this years event was enjoyable. I wasn't thrilled with the venue though. The Innovation and Design Building was too small for the number of tickets sold. The outside area was always packed, and the inside area had long lines and hardly anywhere to stand and enjoy the dishes.
My absolute favorite dish was from La Brasa Restaurant. North Star Sheep Farm braised lamb dumplings with coconut, peanut sauce, and molasses. The dish was tender with a little texture from the coconut and pomegranate seeds. The flavors were bold and satisfying!
Even though this event wasn't as good as the year before we will definitely attend again in 2020!
When booking our trip there weren't any non-stop flights available and Aer Lingus offered the best fare and schedule for our needs. I'm a terribly nervous flier so I always make sure to reserve seats (Aer Lingus was an additional fee for seats). I'm also lactose intolerant so I called customer service to request a special meal.
On the day of our flight we checked in with ease and luckily the security lines weren't too long. Aer Lingus does not participate in the TSA precheck process so keep this in mind when flying with them. At the gate, boarding was swift and easy. Our seats 14 A and C were two seats together on the left side of the plane. The plane is newer, clean, offers wifi, power outlets, and a good variety of in-flight entertainment. The seats themselves were a little on the narrow side and there was a large gap between the seat and the window that wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, the staff either gave my special meal to someone else or didn't get the notice. I'm tempted to believe that it's the first one because I did receive a special meal on the way home.
We landed in Dublin and with only an hour in between flights we made our way to our next gate. I definitely wasn't prepared to walk outside in the cold and rain and upstairs to get onto our plane but that's exactly what we did. A couple of hours later and we were in sunny Barcelona. We made it through customs and immigration easily and found our driver from Suntransfers. We booked premium taxi round trip transfers (luxury sedan) with Suntransfers and I highly recommend them. The price quoted was reasonable, their website is easy to use, the drivers were ready for us, and the cars were nice and clean.
During the middle of our vacation, I changed our pick up time with Suntransfers for our drive to the airport. The change was easy to make and I received confirmation. At 7:30 on the dot our driver arrived and helped us with our luggage. We were dropped off directly in front of the Aer Lingus counter and proceeded to check in. I tried to print our boarding passes at our hotel but failed to do so. We hit a small snag because of this but we received our boarding pass, and check our luggage through to Boston. Once we land in Dublin we'll have to stop at the connections desk and reprint our next boarding pass.
At security, we had a very short line and didn't run into any issues. After security you go through a duty-free shop, then customs and immigration, then another duty-free shop, and finally to our gate. One last bread with Jamon for breakfast before we board our plane. Our flight definitely didn't leave on time but when you have two flights landing and taking back off to Dublin and the same time one plane isn't going to be accurate. Just a couple of hours later and we landed in Dublin. In Dublin we easily found the connections desk and asked for our boarding passes to be reprinted. Next, we went through security and finally U.S. pre-clearance. I love having Global Entry! It's so nice to walk through the shortest line, scan your documents, and be on your way!
At our gate, we had a little time before boarding so we relaxed with a book. This time the plane was boarded from the front to the back so we were in the first economy section to board. We found our seats and settled in for the 7 hours to Boston. During this flight, I did receive my lactose-free meal which consisted of chicken, rice, and roasted tomatoes. It was definitely bland but I appreciated the protein. I have no idea how this happened and it was a first for us but we easily landed in Boston and our bags were the first off the plane! Score! We picked up our car and were on our way home!
After dinner we braved the frigid temperature and bitter wind for the 5 minute walk up to the Boston Opera House. We showed our tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate factory then made our way to the D entrance. Our seats offered us a great view of the whole stage and we were on an aisle with a few empty seats next to us! It was perfect! As we were looking around we noticed a lot of kids and started to worry that this show would be more geared to just kids.
Charlie and the chocolate factory is definitely a show for everyone! The scenes are adorable, the cast our incredibly talented, and the wit is definitely for adults but appropriate for kids. We highly recommend this show!
Fine dining can mean different things to different people. For me I look for impeccable service, inviting atmosphere, high quality ingredients, and innovative food.
We recently tried L'espalier in Boston to celebrate Greg's birthday. Unfortunately, the dinner was almost a complete letdown. I made a reservation noting the celebration as well as my dairy allergy. The day before our reservation we called to confirm my dairy allergy. The staff member noted our reservation and clarified that I couldn't eat any dairy (including butter and goat's milk cheese). An hour later another staff member called to confirm our reservation and our dairy allergy but didn't ask any questions this time.
We arrived on time for our reservation, checked my coat, and were shown to our table. Our waiter came over to welcome us and again asked if I could eat butter. That would be a no. We opted for a bottle of wine and the chef's tasting menu (our preference is always a chef's tasting or an Omakase).
The inconsistencies in service and food prep, along with the lack of high-quality ingredients (note that it is truffle season) left us disappointed and we wouldn't return.
Every summer we take Porscha clothes shopping for the upcoming school year. Last Sunday we decided to head to Newbury Street with my parents. We were a little too early for the shops to be open so we popped into the Nespresso Boutique Bar. The staff welcomed us and let us push together two tables by the window. We all ordered beverages, mine being a delicious dairy free Turmeric Latte. I didn't get to partake but we also ordered a few macarons for a little treat.
After our beverages we hit a few shops. In the area we visited we love All Saints, Lush, Nordstrom Rack, and Zara. Porscha found so many pieces that were perfect for her at the Zara sale.
Walking back to the car my mother needed a bit of a rest and so we decided to get lunch in town. Greg and I wanted to try Snappy Sushi for a while now and here was our opportunity. The staff were friendly and helpful. My mother couldn't make it down the stairs and luckily they have an elevator in the restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant was using the elevator as storage so it took a few minutes to get it functioning.
We were seated downstairs by the sushi counter and our server brought over waters for us. To start our lunch we decided to try the Karaage (fried chicken). The chicken was hot, crispy, and not overly seasoned. My mother ordered the chicken don which she enjoyed but kind of wished she ordered the karaage for her entree. I ordered the cold ramen. My entree was very flavorful with two types of sauces. Porscha ordered the chicken sushi and was very disappointing. The dish was bland and unappealing. The restaurant was out of the first 3 ramens on the menu so my father ordered a different type the waiter recommended but it was a bit too smoky for my taste. Greg ordered sushi and enjoyed it.
If I could have continued walking it would have been great to pick up some dessert at Georgetown Cupcake or the new FOMU pop up. Instead, lunch we picked up our car and made our way back to my parents house where Fred and Beefy were waiting for us.
Our plan was to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum but we had a few issues come up and so we didn't leave the house until later in the day. We decided to enjoy a late lunch at Shojo in Chinatown. The staff was super nice when we asked to sit at a lower table instead of the high top they showed us to. With this air cast on my foot, high tops aren't very easy!
We ordered a couple of cocktails and I fell in love with the Don Papa Daquiri. The drink was light, sweet and yet still refreshing. We decided to order a bunch of dishes to share. We ordered the duck fat french fries, kimchi fried rice, pig bao, sesame charred greens, bulgogi bao, and pork belly dumplings.
The kimchi rice has a great texture and isn't overly tart or hot. The duck fat french fries are hot and crispy, the dumplings were nicely done but the sauce was a little too tangy for my taste. Both of the baos were soft with tender meat and fresh toppings. The star for me was the sesame charred greens. The greens still had texture but were tender and the sauce was a great blend of savory, sweet, and nutty.
Our next idea was to get Bubble Waffles to go but once inside the shop we couldn't find anyone to work the booth. We were disappointed for a minute but then I remembered a bakery following me on Instagram that looked interesting. Just a block away was Bao Bao Bakery. Inside the shop, we were met with meticulous displays, welcoming staff, and stunning pastries. We purchased several individual pastries, walnut cookies, and a traditional egg tart to go.
With dessert in hand, we made it back to my car and drove to my parent's house (who were watching Fred for us). The pastries from Bao Bao Bakery were beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Each pastry was creamy, not overly sweet, and offered bold fillings. Our favorites were the creamy and decadent caramel and the smooth and balanced raspberry cheesecake.
Porscha and I went for a ride with my parents and came across The Scotty Dog. The hot dog stand with car service was adorable and unexpected. The staff welcome you with a smile, are friendly, quick with orders, and make sure everyone is happy with their food.
We've now dined twice at The Scotty Dog and can't complain about anything. We've tried everything from a plain hot dog to a Reuben dog, to sweet potato fries. My personal favorite hot dog is the BLT dog. The BLT dog is a jumbo hot dog wrapped in bacon, topped with lettuce tomato and mayo and served in a french bread roll. It is savory, soft, and has a bit of bite to it. A perfect bite!
Whether dining in your car, sitting at their tables, or taking food to go you can't go wrong with the casual and tasty hot dogs.