Seasonal Dining at Seasons 52- A Girls Night Review

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The holidays are a busy hectic time, but you still need to make time to hang out with your best buds or to go out on a fun date night. It’s so important to take the time to have some fun and enjoy a good meal.

My friend, Nichole, and I went out on Sunday for some girl time. We did some furniture shopping… found the perfect table for the house!… and then some clothes shopping…I found the best leggings ever!… and then we went out for diner at Seasons 52. It was such a good time.

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Great company, great shopping, and great food.

Amy, our server, introduced us to the restaurant telling us all about how Seasons 52 is a seasonal restaurant with a rotating menu based upon what is in season. They highlight fresh ingredients in creative ways. We were blown away with everything.

Plus, we were blown away about her in depth knowledge of the menu, ingredients, and the restaurant as a whole. I can barely remember my own birthday some days and she had everything down pat, without sounding like a robot. There was knowledge and passion behind her information and stories.

Shortly after we sat down we were served an amuse bouche of their Lobster Salad that is on their lunch menu. It was a wonderful bite-sized introduction to Seasons 52.

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We started with one of the Chef’s Suggestions for an appetizer and another on the main seasonal menu. The Caramelized Bosc Pear and Burrata Salad ($9.50) was a featured item that consisted of a pear, proscuitto, and burrata arranged on fresh arugula, drizzled with a 15-year aged balsamic and served with piece of honeycomb.

Neither of us couldn’t get over the fact the pear and burrata salad was less than $10, especially for the quality of all ingredients. I’ve never had a burrata dish for less than $14 either. Burrata… bliss. Plus, the presentation of the salad was just so beautiful on the wooden serving board too.

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The Blistered Shishito Peppers ($7.20) was another appetizer that we just had to have. I love that shishitos and the addition of roasted corn, Sonoma goat-feta cheese and a lemon aioli all sounded amazing. Every pepper had some spice and the melty goat cheese on top was irresistible.

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While we enjoyed our meals, we enjoyed some drinks too. Nichole wanted a Cali/Oregon Pinot Noir so Amy brought her a Kim Crawford ’12 ($12) and a Schug ’15 ($14) to sample and pick from. Ultimately, Nichole picked the Schug as she had not had that previously. I enjoyed their Cranberry and Sage cocktail ($10.30) and their Ginger Agave soda. Both were incredible. Hello… candied sage and homemade ginger syrup.

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Nichole ordered the Asian-Glazed Chilean Sea Bass ($31.90) that was on the Chef’s Suggestions menu. It was served with black rice, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and garnished with micro wasabi greens. The black rice was just so cool and different. It had great texture that worked well with the tender fish.

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As soon as I saw that the Seafood Paella ($27.70) had a Maine lobster tail, I knew that I had to order it. I have really missed New England Lobster since moving to Florida. Plus, paella always rocks. This one was made with sea scallops, mussels, Chilean sea bass, and chorizo. Every bite had a great mixture of textures and flavors.

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Dinner thus far was awesome and we were really full but we couldn’t resist the Mini Indulgences ($3 each). They are little layered desserts that come in a variety of flavors like Key Lime Pie, Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte.

Nichole had the seasonal Pumpkin Pie that had pumpkin mousse and gingersnap cookie, while I had the Belgian Chocolate S’more. I can’t resist a s’mores dessert, especially one that has a chocolate cake layered with rocky road mousse and topped off with a toasted marshmallow and chocolate dipped graham cracker.

Be sure to save room for a Mini Indulgence since they are awesome. Plus, they are on the house for your first visit!

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I loved my girls night out with my friend at Seasons 52, but I am looking forward to visiting again for a great Date Night!

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While I received this complimentary dinner in exchange for a review, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Monday Munchies: Breakfast at Moody’s Delicatessen and Provisions- Waltham MA

As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!

Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions

If you ever happened to ask me what my favorite meal of that day is, I’d say it is breakfast.

It might be because of how much I really truly love eggs benedict. Plus, I make a meal egg sandwich. I toot my own horn about it, but it’s true. I rock it.

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So when I saw that Moody’s Delicatessen and Provisions, in Waltham, MA, was featured as a local a Cheap Eats in Boston Magazine‘s Feb 2014 issue, I knew I’d have to get there to devour the featured breakfast sandwich.

Besides the low price, what was so amazing about this breakfast sandwich that made it get named the Best Egg Sandwich and get featured on the cover? ALL OF IT.

But the real highlight to me was the in house made Pork Roll.

 

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What is Pork Roll?

My parents are both from New Jersey so I grew up eating Pork Roll that we would pick up from our visits to visit my grandparents. It’s a regional delicacy that hails from New Jersey. The simplest way to explain it is similar to bologna that you cook and eat for breakfast, most often in a breakfast sandwich.

But don’t just think that Moody’s is only good for Pork Roll. Oh no, they are aficionados in in a large variety of house made cured meats. If you want a great sandwich or if you want to make a fantastic charcuterie platter, then stop in an pick of some of their meats, like bologna, salami, and roast beef.

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The Moody’s Breakfast Sandwich ($6) lived up to all of the hype that I had read about over the years in magazines and on Yelp.

After years of dreaming about heading out to Waltham, we finally visited before we moved and it was worth the wait,

The buttery griddled English Muffin makes for the perfect vessel for the egg, cheese, and meat. It’s soft, but still has a slight crunch that is a perfect contrast to the fluffy egg sandwiched between layers of Pork Roll. And of course, the melted American-cheese that waterfalls down the sandwich. The jazzed up Tobasco-spiked Ketchup gives it the perfect amount of kick as well.

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Bliss. I was almost tempted to order another. I really should have.

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The 2 layers of pork roll make for the perfect bite.

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Price enjoyed their Breakfast Burrito ($6), which featured Spicy Sausage, Soft Scrambled Eggs, Green Onions, Cheddar, Barrel-Aged Hot Sauce in a flour tortila. He thought it was really good but from the bite that I relucantly shared of my sandwich made him declare the egg sandwich the (obvious) winner.

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And never one not to eat, Autumn enjoyed her 2nd breakfast of the day and had a blueberry muffin. But it wasn’t just your average blueberry muffin, it was a light and fluffy muffin that had a big gob of cream cheese in the middle of it that made it so much better than your average muffin.

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If you are in the Boston area, I highly recommend heading over to Moody’s for the most epic breakfast egg sandwich to start your day off on the right foot.

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Moody’s Delicatessen and Provisions

468 Moody Street

Waltham, MA 02453

781.216.8732

Monday Munchies: KO Catering and Pies

As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!

I had taken a winter break from my Monday Munchies series since it was just too dang cold out to go out. Just kidding. Well, sorta. It was cold, but the holidays are crazy and then from there we went into ‘moving mode’ and things got even crazier. But I’m back today and I have a great place to share with you.

KO Catering and Pies

Now, people typically think of Shrimp on the Barbie, ginormous steaks, and vegemite when they think of Australian food, but KO Catering and Pies educates Bostonians on what Australian comfort food is all about.

Since opening their first location in South Boston in October of 2010, they have selling out of meat pies left and right. Thankfully, I learned of the hole in the wall storefront soon after they opened so I have been a long time fan. At that point I was a decent 30+ minute drive to there from our house so I was fully committed when I would drive over to stock up on warm and frozen pies and sausage rolls.

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They opened a second location along the East Boston waterfront in the summer of 2012 which has a fantastic outdoor seating area that is packed during the summer. You just can’t beat hanging out with friends while drinking great beers, eating Aussie Pies, and playing corn hole.

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Their signature dish are their Meat Pies, the unofficial national dish of Australia and it’s part of the national identity of New Zealand.

A meat pie typically is a hand-held take-away dish that consists of a meat filled pie that has a pastry crust on the bottom and a puff pastry crust on top. Most often it is topped off with some ketchup prior to enjoying.

KO serves several pies, including Classic Beef ($6.35), Beef with Cheese ($6.60), Curried Vegetable ($6.00), Irish beef stew ($6.85) and Braised Lamb Shank ($6.95), and a Pie of the Month ($TBD). All of which are fantastic and have such great different qualities about each of them from their flavors to their textures of the different kinds of tender meat and vegetables.

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The crew at K.O. often hosts pie throw-downs when they invite local innovative, creative chefs to create pies that are signature of their restaurants to battle it out to get fun bragging rights and get featured at KO.

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You can also get a Pie Floater, which is any of their pies that is topped off with a scoop of mashed potatoes, gravy and mushy peas for and additional $6.50. It’s their awesome spin on the traditional pie floater that actually is a pie ‘floating’ in a bowl of pea soup.

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It’s very important to note that there is a proper way to Eat a Pie, which they so helpfully (and playfully) diagram out for meat pie newbies!

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You can pair their pies with their potato wedges ($6.50). The crisp wedges are seasoned right out of the fryer and are served hot with a Sweet Chili  Sauce & Sour Cream. I can’t resist getting these. The only issue now is that my daughter loves them as well so we have to share with her as well… ha!

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My husband enjoys their sandwiches most often. He worked near by for about a year at a satellite office for a project and went there quite often for lunch either by himself or with a group.

Like with their pies, they have a variety of sandwiches from burgers to chicken sandwiches to fish sandwiches. Everything is made to order and is really fresh and flavorful starting with fresh breads that cap off marinated meats that are topped off with zesty sauces.

The only sort of crummy situation is that their sandwiches change every now and then and I had to hear bummed my husband was when they changed out the chicken sandwich that he fell in love with.

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I highly suggest grabbing a sausage roll ($3.75) when you are ready to cozy up under a blanket and watch a good movie. Or to take to the nearby park to nosh on while you watch your kid run around. Or take it along with you for a beach picnic, just like Australians do.

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I love that KO brings everyone together around great quality food. Our 2 year old daughter is a big fan of their meat pies as they are easy to eat with a fork (or her hands!), not too spicy, and at just plain ol’ delicious.

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While the meat pies are awesome there, my absolute favorite thing to order their Spicy Shrimp on the Barbie entree($13). It’s a loaded rice and salad plate that is topped off with grilled shrimp. They provide a generous serving of 6 of very spicy Chermoula marinated shrimp that are grilled to perfection. In all, I love the fresh combination of the flavors and textures from the sweet corn and grape tomatoes, salty crumbled feta, crunchy cucumbers, and zesty lime.

It should be noted that things can add up quickly here, but I have found that most times I take things home or I will skip dinner after a filling lunch. But it can definitely sing our wallet when you go out for lunch and drop $30 on 2 pies, potato wedges, and drinks, but without a doubt the quality is top notch. It’s not like you’re just grabbing some fast food burger and fries.

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But don’t forget to leave room for dessert!

They have Lamingtons ($3) and Anzac Biscuit Cookies ($2) for dessert giving you the true experience of the land down under.

I highly suggest checking out KO Catering and Pies for your next lunch out, office luncheon, or party. From take-out to catering, you can’t go wrong with fantastic hearty meat pies, fresh salads, and sausage rolls.

I’m quite serious when I suggest KO, I made a point of going as often as I could and even went the last weekend in Boston to get one last pie fix before heading to Florida. Love it!

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KO Catering and Pies at the Shipyard

Boston Harbor Shipyard

256 Marginal St | Building 16

East Boston, MA 02128

617.418.5234

KO Catering and Pies- South Boston

87 A Street

South Boston, MA 02127

617.269.4500

Making the World’s Greatest Burgers at Fuddruckers- A Review

Fuddruckers Burger Review

When you think of getting a burger, what do think of? What do you think of for a causal lunch or dinner? Where would you go for family dining that everyone will love? How about fresh, handmade good food?  What if I told you there’s a place that covers all of that! Welcome to Fuddruckers.

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We went out to the newly renovated Fuddruckers in Reading, MA this past weekend. It was a great fun family dinner for us. Really great food for all of us. Plus, toy vending machines for Autumn. ha!

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The restaurant is located in the big Jordan’s Furniture. It might sound weird to hear that it’s located in a furniture store, but there also is an IMAX movie theater and a ropes course and zip-line activity center called, Beanstalk. It’s basically a place for the whole family to have fun from watching a movie to buying furniture to zipping through the air, above sculptures made with jelly beans, no less!

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All of that activity is sure to make you hungry, so the Fuddruckers is the perfect way to refuel you!

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Their extensive menu includes burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, fries, rings, and shakes. The decision might be tough but you’ll just have to come back for another delicious creation or take something to go (like how my husband took a brownie and didn’t even share it with me!!!).

Once you have figured out what to order, the fun begins!

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The Shakes: Hand-mixed shakes are made to order with rich ice cream and milk, and then are topped off with whipped cream and a cherry. They are served in tall milkshake glasses along with the metal cup that they are made in since they are so large that they would overflow the milkshake glass!

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I highly suggest treating yourself to a shake. There are big enough to share so it would be fun for a couple to enjoy together. They also offer kids sizes, but Autumn just enjoying taking some chilly sips of our Strawberry Nutella Shake. And I loved just how great it tasted with the fresh strawberries and Nutella mixed in.

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The Meat: Fuddruckers has beef burgers of many sizes, cooked to order, and are always “100% USDA All-American premium cut beef.” They even have ‘exotic’ meats so you can create a burger with Buffalo, Elk, or Wild Boar. All of their game burgers are all-natural, free-range, grass and grain-fed, as well as 100% antibiotic and hormone free.

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Price was adventurous and tried the All-American Burger with Elk meat which he said was noticeably different than beef but very lean and tasty. I went for the bacon and blue with beef. I loved it as the flavors all married really well together. I really enjoyed that the bacon was cut up as I find it really disappointing when I take a burger and a big strip of bacon comes with it, leaving so much burger behind with so little bacon. Bacon struggles are a real thing!

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Both of us chose to have our burgers cooked medium rare, and guess what? They were! I know that might sound unimpressive, but more often then not we either get them very rare or medium-well, so it was refreshing to actually get a burger cooked to order.

The Bun: The scratch-made buns are made every day at every location. The bun was full of air and even had the butter and sesame seeds on top. They were puffy fluffy book ends to the giant patty between.

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The Toppings:  So what shall you top these wonderful meat patties and and buns with? Oh, how about whatever your heart desires?!?!?! These is a large topping bar to create your own “best burger in the world” each and every time you visit.

The entire bar was stocked!!! Shredded lettuce, leafy lettuce, sliced onions, sliced tomato, jalapenos, pico de gayo, banana peppers, and on and on and on… Plus there are so many sauces, including bbq sauce, ketchup, yellow mustard, and their signature honey mustard, plus so much more!

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While Autumn is pretty adventurous with her palate, she is still 2 and would be happy living off Mickey-shaped waffles, yogurt, and her daycare teacher’s soup. So we just selected mac and cheese off the kid’s menu and hoped for the best. Some days she loves mac and cheese, and other days if you suggest it she looks at you like you’re crazy for suggesting it. Kids…

She really wasn’t into dinner as much as she was with all the excitement around her, like the quarter claw games with the blinking lights or the lobby full of yelling kids on the zip-line or the water fountain choreographed with music. But she ate the mac and cheese for lunch the next day and we had to break the news to her that there was no more and she kept asking and asking. She was a big fan.

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And we were as well… yeah, we tried it too, oops! If you get something for your kids, you want it to be healthy, even when eating out. The mac and cheese was an excellent choice. The cheese was a white cheddar mix, not that neon yellow orange stuff. And it didn’t taste like it was loaded with salt either, which is really important for healthy kid’s meals.

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While we were enjoying our burgers, Price and I noticed a few things at Fuddruckers that we hadn’t seen or noticed at many other places. First, you get in line to place your order, with drink cup in hand you head over to fill up and then find a table. The seating is first come first served which gives off a weird sense of organized chaos. A family was just leaving as we were walking by so we scored by not having to wait at all for a table that already had a highchair.

As soon as people leave there is a flurry of activity at the table as staff swoop in to clear the table and wipe it all down. Luckily there were plenty of workers to help with the task so no table remained dirty for any amount of time which was good because the line was out the door and spilled into the lobby for the majority of the time we were there.

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You are given a buzzer that then notifies you when your order is done. A quick walk over to the kitchen and you are able to grab your food on a well organized tray.

The good quality of food, affordable price point, and fun aspect of personalizing your burger makes Fuddruckers a desirable place to grab a meal. Plan ahead if you are planning on grabbing a meal before a movie at the IMAX theater as it can be busy!

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You’d think the line and overwhelming amount of people already seated would be difficult to manage but the staff but they just kept on pace and kept on smiling.

I spoke with the owner, Jim Boland, and general manager, Haley Davies, before and after our meal to learn about Jim’s 4 locations and what keeps both of them so happy and passionate about Fuddruckers. Jim’s genuine excitement about bringing families and friends together over a good quality meal is great to see. He wasn’t just another manager or owner happy to see a restaurant being successful, he was happy to see everyone being happy there. Shoot, they both were very hands on, even by helping clean tables. Not often you see managers, or even owners, helping the staff like that but you could tell with Jim that he liked what he did, liked his employees, and enjoyed that people enjoyed his restaurants.

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Fuddruckers is located across the US and internationally. Scattered across 35 states and 10 countries, you will find a restaurant near you.

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While our meal at Fuddruckers was complimentary, all opinions are completely my own.

 

Monday Munchies: Neighborhood Nights Out @ TAMO Bar- Boston, MA

As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!

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There is a relaxed, fun vibe to TAMO Bar. You notice it the moment you walk in with the dim lights and upbeat music in the bar.

TAMO Bar is located in the Seaport Boston Hotel, located in the Seaport District of Boston. It’s a great location as it is great for visitors to Boston to stop in for dinner before going to for a show or concert. Or maybe it’s just the perfect stop to relax with a drink by the fire after a long day on your feet at the convention center.

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TAMO recently relaunched their Neighborhood Nights menu. They offer a great deal every Monday and Tuesday night throughout the fall that allow guests to enjoy two courses each and share a bottle of wine for $40 per person. I love the flexibility with it as you can skip the appetizers and each have an entree and a dessert, or maybe you just feel like appetizers and dessert. So fun.

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Price and I recently went and had a great weeknight date at TAMO to try out their Neighborhood Nights menu.

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We decided to share an appetizer, each get an entree, and share a dessert to enjoy together on our neighborhood date night. Price and I typically share things off each others plates so sharing an appetizer and dessert is nothing new to us. But first, lets get to the good stuff, the wine.

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Of the 6 bottles of wine that are available we elected for one of their whites, the ’14 Sauvignon Blanc from Chateau Lardiley in Bordeaux. We figured we would be eating light since it was a three course meal. We didn’t want to go too heavy and miss out on dessert from being too full. Then we moved onto our tough decisions for our meal.

We started with the Salt and Pepper Calamari, a large pile of freshly fried rings and tentacles is always good.  The batter that Chefs Richard Rayment and Robert Tobin created reminded me of the batter on tempura shrimp and vegetables. It was served alongside a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Our only complaint was that it could have used a bit more heat, with extra peppers or jalapenos.  It was a nice light start to our night and first glasses of wine. Then on to the main course.

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Price selected the TAMo Burger. Burgers are traditional and safe, almost any restaurant can have a burger. There has to be something different and special about this burger if TAMO has it’s name on it it had better not be just any plain old burger. And it wasn’t.  The TAMO burger was a flavorful burger mound smothered in sharp cheddar, bacon, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato atop a nicely grilled brioche bun.

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It was one of those meals where nothing sticks out because it all taste so great in concert. And the bun had grill marks! GRILL MARKS! You know TAMO stands behind their burger and it shows.

My Tacos Al Pastor were fantastic!

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I arrived before Price and waited in the bar, and the gentlemen seated next to me ordered them and I knew right then that I would have to get them. Impressive since we actually ate tacos the night before. But I couldn’t resist.

Every bit was enjoyable with the warm tortilla, crisp lettuce, tender shredded meat, juicy pineapple, and drizzle of crema. Also, it was visually pleasing as much as it was delicious with the bright green avocado nestled next to the wedge of yellow pineapple. You really take it all in.

My only comment would be that I don’t like iceberg lettuce (with the rare exception of a wedge salad) so I didn’t love it in my tacos, but I’m just being picky.

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The night was complete with the S’mores in a Crock dessert.

I love when restaurants take the classic S’mores dessert and change it up, so I wanted to see what the chefs did to jazz it up. They crumbled up graham crackers and combined them with melted chocolate and ooey gooey marshmallow. That delightful mess is then topped off with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Admittedly, we did wait too long to dig in since I ran to the bathroom and Price waited for me before digging in solo. That allowed the gooey marshmallow to cool off and firm up a bit. So I highly suggest that the moment it is set down on your table, you dig right in to enjoy the textures at their finest. Plus, the contrast of the hot S’mores mixture and cold ice cream play off each other really well.

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Besides the awesome Neighborhood Nights special that TAMO Bar is hosting this year, they ave deals and specials on Sundays and Wednesdays. On Sunday’s you can hangout and watch football while enjoying their  “Wings 3 Ways”, which includes Buttermilk Fried, Korean Style, and Chimi’s Spicy Chicken Wings for $20. On Wednesdays they offer a wine flight (three, 2 oz. pours) for $12.  You can even have a specialty paired entree for $20. They change up their wines and pairing every week!

No matter when you go to TAMO Bar, you are sure to have a great time.

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TAMO Bar

Seaport Boston Hotel

1 Seaport Lane

Boston, MA 02210

617.385.4315

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While my meal at TAMO was complimentary, we provided our great waitress, Van, gratuity, and all opinions are my own.