Friday, December 27, 2013

Nespresso Pixie Winner!

I hope you are all having a fantastic holiday season!!!  Thank you all so much for letting me in on your favorite aspects of the holiday and what makes it a "tasteful" one.  Through I have found the winner of the Nespresso Pixie Steel Prize pack!!!  Jessica- we will get it sent out to you- I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy my Nespresso!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Del Terruno Free Range Beef

This year we, here in Boston, learned a lot about the word "community".  We learned what it meant to be come together as one, to help out those who needed it and to work towards a common goal.  In the months following the bombings there were several fund raisers that were held to benefit the victims, with the intent that every piece of the profits go to the OneFund.  One of these benefits was the Boston Bites Back, a culinary event held at Fenway where Boston's best chefs came together to cook, and the residents of this city came to eat.  The intention here was to raise $1 million for the One Fund, and this meant that the chefs, while serving up inspired dishes, also must be economical with their products to make sure that as much of the profit went to the One Fund- Holliston based Del Terruno Free Range Beef company stepped in to help out- donating 100lbs of beef strip loin to the event.  An incredible donation by any standard.
Del Terruno Free Range Beef is sourced from cows who feast on fresh grass twelve months a year in Uruguay.  The cattle is never fed or treated with any type of antibiotics, animal by products or growth hormones.  This results in an incredible flavored beef.  The taste is clean allowing the true flavor of beef to be present and much leaner than ordinary beef.  This actual results in better health benefits as well.  Del Terruno beef is high in anti oxidants and beta carotene, as well as having higher levels of CLA's which have been tied to helping to fight cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

I had the honor of receiving samples of the product- a ribeye and a pound of their ground beef.

I started off with the ribeye which I feasted on as a celebration of kicking off a week of vacation one friday evening.  I am always amazed by the difference in the favor of grass fed free range beef.  Where average beef has a rich flavor from fat marbling throughout the cut, this had concentrated fat on the outside of the cut only creating a much leaner, lighter flavor.  However the beef itself was still tender and juicy just as you want in a good steak.  I loved this as a reward to hard work week and a way to kick off a week of fun and relaxation.

A few days later I made burgers.  Isn't there just something about a good juicy burger?  Honestly, every time I have one, whether it's during a summer bbq or at a fancy sit down restaurant or even in the comfort of my own home with snow falling outside, I am immediately brought to the relaxation and ease of a summer day.  The indulgent flavor of the beef, sandwiched between two pieces of bread, no matter the variety, it is just the ultimate finger food.  Del Turruno's beef brought all of that to life for me.  A full patty, juicy from the perfect amount of fat, with its natural grassy flavors enhanced with just a little salt and pepper.   Just as with the steak, this had a tremendously clean taste, while still satisfying that indulgent vibe that a burger does.

Del Terruno Free Range beef is quality, plain and simple.  Its flavor is pure, and every cut satisfies that meat craving without leaving you heavy and weighed down.  Their products can be found at:

Abba Restaurant – Orleans, MA

Alchemy Restaurant – Edgartown, MA

Atlantic Fish & Chop House –Edgartown, MA

Atria Restaurant – Edgartown, MA

Ceres Bistro – Worcester, MA

Détente – Edgartown, MA

L’etoile Restaurant – Edgartown, MA

Ferreti’s Market – Brewster, MA

Marty’s Fine Wines, Gourment Foods & Spirits – Newton, MA

Noon Hill Grill – Medfield, MA

Sweet Life Café – Oak Bluffs, MA

Taranta – Boston, MA

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reader Feedback: Falling in Love with My New Nespresso!

This past summer I had the incredibly joy to host my very first Nespresso give away.  The winner of the Pixie machine with Aeroccino+ was so delighted to have won, that he immediately offered to write a post about his experience with the machines after he'd gotten in a few months of use.  I immediately accepted that offer knowing that he'd love the machines.  This past weekend I received his thoughts and couldn't wait to share them with you!

"So after I won the Nespresso Pixie Steel Prize Package (Thank you to
Photo courtesy of A Drucker
Nespresso and A Boston Food Diary), I told Fiona that I would like to write a guest blog post as a thank you and talk a little about my Nespresso experience.  What can I say, it has been nothing short of amazing.  In the past whenever I would travel and stay in a hotel with a Nespresso machine I would become super giddy, and then immediately make about 4 coffees.  Maybe not the best idea, but man did I enjoy it.  Now that I have my own, I don’t feel like I need to drink as many as I can at one time, but rather I take the time to savor and enjoy each of my drinks.

After using my Nespresso for a few months now I have come to appreciate a few key things about it.  First, I know exactly what I am going get each and every time I turn it on, an amazing cup of coffee at the push of a button.  There are also so many different choices as far as flavors go that almost anybody will be able to find a style they enjoy.  I myself like very bold, strong flavored coffee, and after trying a few different types I have settled on the Kazaar blend as my favorite.  It packs quite an intense flavor into its little capsule, but I absolutely love it.
The second thing I love about my Nespresso machine is the milk frother.  It really is amazing!  It is so much fun to press a button and then a few seconds later have my choice of either hot or cold milk foam.  (Its also great for entertaining as everyone who sees this thing in action is wowed).  Now, you might ask the logical question of what is one to do with all this milk foam.  I have finally learned how to make a great cappuccino. When I first started making my own coffee, all I had was coffee with a little milk in it.   Now however lattes, cappuccinos you name it, no problem!
In short, I now get a perfect cup of coffee anytime I want one, in an incredibly short amount of time.  In addition to making just regular coffee, with the milk frother I can now make all types of more complex coffee beverages with ease.  I really do love my Nespresso machine!"

I LOVED reading that- because it's exactly how I feel about my Nespresso!  One simple touch and I'm enjoying lattes and cappuccino's like a pro!  Lucky for all of you- we have another give away of the exact same machine going on right now!  Check it out:

HoneyBaked Ham Winner!

Good morning all!

I have to say- I LOVED reading through all of your favorite holiday party snacks!  Every single one made me incredibly hungry and gave me tons of ideas about what to bring to my upcoming gatherings! has picked a winner for the HoneyBaked Ham gift card- and it is Erica T!  Erica- Ill send you a quick email shortly

Thanks again all!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Tasteful Nespresso Holiday - and a Give Away!

It's the most wonderful time of the year...or is it?  Don't get me wrong - this is by far my favorite time of the year.  I love snow.  I love the merry decorations that make this city even more gorgeous.  I love the change in peoples attitudes, as though there really is magic out there and we're all looking for it.  However, I often find that this season is so rushed, it's so hectic and hurried with shopping, and end of year projects, and parties and friends in from out of town that we tend to miss the most wonderful parts of this season- the enjoyment of it.
I got to hit the ski slopes early this year, so early that I was one of very few people there so I capitalized on the empty mountain to practice, work on my form, try to get as parallel as possible- and then I realized that I was missing it.  I was missing the gorgeousness of the scene around me- the views of mountaintops as far as I

could see, snow covered trees, and the gentle quiet.  So I stopped.  I looked around and appreciated.  I feel that during this hectic time, we all need a little reminder to do the same- stop, breathe and realize the beauty of everything around us.  I'm waxing a bit poetic here, but I think it's the perfect time to stop and smell the roses- or the fireplace burning - as the case may be.

This really is the time of the year to take a moment though.  It's the time to sit back and enjoy everything that you can be grateful for- whether it be family, friends, a place to rest your feet...

So here's what I'm thinking.  Nespresso, in their infinite wisdom, is looking to concentrate this year on a Tasteful Holiday.  To me, that is taking those moments to step back and enjoy every second that I can.  To smell the evergreens, to bask in the glow of candles, to munch down sugar cookies and sip eggnog, and to enjoy every moment that I can with those I love, near and far.  I truly want to taste every second, every inch of every every day as this season progresses.

I'd love to hear what makes for a Tasteful Holiday in your book?  Is it finding that choice gift that you just know will make the recipient smile?  Is it strolling through a snowy street?  Is it listening to carols?  Figure skating on a frozen pond?  Leave me a comment with what makes for a Tasteful Holiday to you and Ill enter you to win a brand new Pixie Steel machine, and an Aeroccino to help you enjoy that holiday season.  Please be 18 years of age or older, live in the continental US and leave me an email address that I can contact you through!  Deadline for entries is Monday, December 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm EST.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nespresso UMilk Give Away Winner!

And the winner is....

In the number one position- Richard!  Richard Ill be contacting you soon!

HoneyBaked Ham Giveaway

Ever since I was a kid I remember HoneyBaked Hams at friends holiday parties.  I relished the salty ham and the crispy sweet exterior, often eating far more than my fair share.  I am not alone in these memories.  For over  40 years, HoneyBaked Hams has been a staple on holiday tables, with their crowning glory of their hams, and a variety of side dishes.  These additions make being the perfect host look effortless.

In honor of the holiday season, HoneyBaked Hams would like to offer a reader of A Boston Food Diary a $100.00 gift card to make all of your entertaining needs easier and more relaxed.  

Please leave me a comment on this post describing your favorite holiday party snack, and an email address so I'm able to contact you.  Contest ends on December 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm EST. Entrants should be over the age of 18, and legal US residents.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bavarian Sliders with Kayem Minis

I can't lie, one of my favorite packages to receive in the mail is the Box O' Meat from Kayem Foods.  As the official hot dog provider for both the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots, they definitely evoke a feeling of fandom from me, and with their natural casings creating a perfect snap in their dogs, my fan feeling grows even more.

We are, of course, in the midst of the holiday season and as such Kayem sent over a Box O' Meat with a recipe to check out for upcoming holiday parties and football viewing gatherings.  I ended up enjoying the recipe far more than I had anticipated (as I helped myself to seconds).  They had selected the Bavarian Sliders for me to check out and with the mix of a salty pretzel roll, tangy sauerkraut, tender mini franks and nutty Jarlesberg Cheese, these little guys were addictive!  They are a perfect addition to a football party to keep one hand available for high fives and the other filled with a delicious snack.

Bavarian Sliders with Kayem Minis
Serves 12
Prep and Cook Time:  20 Minutes

24          Kayem Minis Beef Cocktail Franks
2½ tbsp  butter, unsalted
1½ cups  sauerkraut, low sodium
¼ cup     white wine (optional)
4 oz        Jarlsberg Cheese, thinly sliced and cut into 1 ½ square pieces
1 tbsp     Dijon mustard
12          Soft pretzel mini buns, sliced in half

Preheat broiler
Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter in a small sauté pan and lightly brown the cocktail minis over medium heat.  In a separate pan, heat the sauerkraut with the wine.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter and brush the tops and bottoms of the pretzel buns.  Place on a baking sheet and lightly brown under the broiler.  Note:  watch carefully so they don't burn.
To assemble, brush pretzel bottoms with Dijon mustard.  Top with sauerkraut, 2 minis each and a slice of cheese.  Place under the broiler, allowing the cheese to melt and bubble.
Finish with the pretzel bun tops and serve immediately!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Win a Nespresso UMilk!

Have you visited the Nespresso Boutique on Newbury Street lately?  A couple of months ago they re opened a newly redesigned space.  The new space allows us to shop the full Nespresso line of machines, try out their newest or oldest crus, and purchase our favorite coffees, as well as now giving us the opportunity to order one of their delicious coffee drinks, and a full menu of delicious breakfast and lunch items.  If you haven't yet paid them a visit, I urge you to soon.  Whether you own a machine or not, the boutique presents itself as a bit of an oasis, like giant sigh of relief hits you as you enter the store.  The whole experience is relaxing, and indulgent. 

As lucky as we are to have a Nespresso Boutique here in Boston, Nespresso's ultimate goal is to help us all achieve the same feeling of relaxation and indulgence within our own homes.  Their machines are designed to fit any decor, any space and each is designed to produce the perfect cup every time you use it.   In honor of this holiday season, when, lets face it, we all need a little more decadence in our lives, Nespresso has offered to send a reader of A Boston Food Diary a brand new UMilk machine!  

Photo courtesy of Nespresso USA
Combining the space efficient design of the U Machine with an Aerocinno machine, the UMilk makes the perfect espresso, latte and cappucino over and over again- the best way to wake up after that holiday party or end your favorite meal. 

To enter, please leave me a comment describing your favorite way to relax during this busy time, as well as your name and email address.  The contest will run until 5:00 pm EST on Monday, December 9, 2013.  Please be 18 years of age or older, and a legal US resident to enter.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gifting for the Holiday Season

It is official now - the holidays are upon us.  Soon enough trees will need a-trimming, carols will be on everyone's tongue and the season of the party will be launched.  We'll all be searching for gifts to present to our friends and loved ones, and, more often than we may choose to admit- those charming, ever so welcoming, hosts.  
Finding the perfect host gift can be incredibly challenging.  Something special is required- something you know they'll enjoy, something easy to pick up, something they may not purchase for themselves, not something too intimate, nothing too big, nor too small, and something that they may want to share, but they may want to keep to themselves.  Its a tall order, but I have some suggestions for you.
It seems that most of us can agree on chocolate being a favorite guilty pleasure.  Milk, white or dark, everyone seems to have a delicious sweet spot for the stuff, so why not present your hosts with a decadent selection? Lindt Chocolatier, renowned maker of heavenly chocolate truffles offers a perfect solution.  Holiday themed bags, bursting with 75 truffles, flavors to be customized by you, for just $25.00.  Personally, Im in love with these bags for a couple reasons- the first is simple- chocolate.  The second is moments of utter luxury you are offering to your host each time they reach for a truffle.  The external shell yielding to a creamy interior demands a pause in a busy day- the perfect reward for a well planned party.
Keeping on the chocolate frame of mind, locally made Harbor Sweets Chocolate Truffles are another great option, especially their new line of Salt and Ayre.  Based out of Salem, Massachusetts, Harbor Sweets launched this new line to capture the beauty of their ocean front location, with its salty air.  It combined this natural flavor enhancer into its famous chocolate truffles and beauty was born.   A nine piece assortment rings in at just $16.00 but has all the thoughtful ness and decadence for your favorite host.  
Of course, let's keep in mind that hosting a gathering can be a bit stressful for our friends.  The last minute details, the uninvited guests, the things that go wrong....after the fete is complete curling up on the couch in sweats with a good movie and an even better glass of wine might be all your host wants.  How about leaving a great bottle of Bridlewood Estate wine behind for them to enjoy after everyone has left?  A bottle of the Bridlewood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon sells for about $13.00.  Opening this bottle though will make your host feel truly pampered with its full body flavors full of 
dark red fruits creating a jammy flavor profile with just sublte hints of caramel.  A smooth finish completed this wine making it easy to pair with some of those party leftovers, or enjoy completely on its own.
Now maybe you want to present your friend with something that you'll all be able to dive into immediately? Perhaps something that everyone can enjoy throughout the party itself?  The company I associate most with holiday party help, HoneyBaked Hams has a variety of tasty items that will enhance or complete any party.  For $20.00 you can pick up a savory platter of Ham and Cheese bites for a perfect appetizer, or a Rum Cake sampler to help out with dessert.  Contributing a bit more?  How one of their signature 7 lb ham to really bring the party alive for about $50.00? No matter what option you choose you'll know that you are giving a delicious dish, and perhaps even better, the gift of time to your host.  
No matter what you choose to give this holiday season, lets celebrate all those amazing hosts out there who slave tirelessly to make a beautiful gathering look effortless.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Boston Love for Washinton, Il

Last week Washington, Illinois was devastated by a horrific tornado.  I know we have all seen the terrible footage of the wind monster moving across the cozy town, and the unbelievable wreckage that was left in its path. These stories are always gut wrenching, and inspire so many of us to reach out and help.  However, this tornado hit much closer to home and affected one of Boston's most beloved bloggers.  Jen, owner of Beantown Baker which I know you all are lovers of, found that her mom's home was completely leveled by the storm.  There are no words to describe the amount of loss that her family is now experiencing.  Being the incredible writer that she is, Jen put her fingers on her keyboard and created a post to help us all give the best things we possibly can to ensure that the people of Washington Illinois are receiving the care and help that they desperately need right now.

I'd like to ask you all to check out her post and give as you can.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Season's 52, Chestnut Hill

The Chestnut Hill area, located just outside the city limits, has just received a major upgrade.  A brand new shopping and dining development has moved onto Rt. 9, and this group has something for everything.  Known as Chestnut Hill Square, this new area now houses everything from a brand new Wegman's (opening in the spring), to an Equinox gym, to numerous clothing stores, and several dining options.  I had the opportunity to check out one of these new spots last week, and enjoyed a dinner at Season's 52.

Season's 52 is a national chain which has just opened its first two New England locations, the first in Burlington, MA and the second is it's location in Chestnut Hill.  Season's 52 is founded on the idea of presenting a new menu every week of the year, and incorporating fresh local products wherever possible to keep their menu seasonal, and true to the areas they inhabit.  Another key point to differentiate Season's 52 is that all of their menu items clock in at 475 calories or under, making this a very nice choice for an evening out.

I'll be honest- I had my doubts when I walked into the restaurant that evening.  I've never been a big fan of chain restaurants as I've found that they normally present pretty standard menus without much creativity.  However, as soon as I walked through the doors and my tour began I could tell that this was not your average multi location restaurant.  

The space is broken up into distinct sections- the bar area where a pianist serenades the guests seven days a week, the main dining area, a few private
dining spaces, and an area towards the back which serves as a multifunction room, with space for corporate gatherings, intimate receptions or larger parties. The kitchen is open, and every dish can be seen being made from start to finish.  The entire space is open and airy, large enough to accommodate those big Saturday nights, but still providing a certain intimacy needed for a nice evening out.

We began our meal with a sampling of their flat breads- their Blackened Steak and Blue Cheese as well as their Lobster and Fresh Mozzarella.  A thin, crisp crust served as the basis for both, a great surface to display robust ingredients.  The steak and cheese was chock full of tender skirt steak, cremini mushrooms, fresh spinach and caramelized onions, all before receiving a shower of tangy blue cheese.  The lobster had huge chunks of fresh lobster meat enhanced with roasted peppers, scallions and then a drizzle of a lobster enhanced sour cream.  Both flat breads were full of flavor, and had a great mix of decadent ingredients and fresh produce to keep things evenly healthy.

We were then served an Amuse of lump crab and Hass avocado.  This was a
wonderful single bite of fresh flavor with a little acid from a bit of pico de gallo which blended perfectly with the creamy avocado and the clean taste of the crab.  One bite of classic flavors and our palettes were awakened.

Our first course was then placed in front of us organic salmon that had been roasted on a cedar plank, served with a scallop speared with lemon grass, and served with roasted winter vegetables.  The salmon was cooked to perfection and had been roasted with a selection
of fragrant herbs which imparted their delicate flavors into the salmon as well resulting in a deeply flavorful dish.  The paired vegetables were a wonderful hearty addition with carrots and beets creating a natural sweetness to offset the delicate woody flavors from the seafood.

Our salad course was presented next, featuring a baby spinach salad, enhanced with Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and caramelized Bosc pears.  The stand out piece of this salad, which was overall incredibly clean and fresh with a classic combination of flavors, were the pears.  Chef explained that the "caramelizing" happened simply, by just roasting them, unadorned, in the oven until their natural sugars warmed and caramelized naturally.  These were delicious- warm and sweet, but without anything heavy making them guilt inducing, they provided all of the comfort of a decadent salad.

We then turned our attention to our pasta course.  Sonoma Goat Cheese Raviolis
were set among harvest vegetables, black mushrooms and a roasted onion jus.  The raviolis were tender and full tangy goat cheese.  I loved the contrast of the cheese with the shredded vegetables that both added crunch and texture to the dish, as well as a sweetness that balanced the tang of the cheese.  The onion jus added both a velvety decadence as well as a hint of acid to brighten the other deep flavors.  Others at the table declared this dish their favorite and I could definitely see their point- it had every component for keeping it interesting and delicious.

Our final savory course didn't hold any punches, bringing surf and turf to a whole new level.  Here we had an oak grilled lobster tail with a New Zealand venison chop.  These were paired with roasted brussel sprouts, truffle mashed potatoes and a red wine demi glace.  Can we talk just for a moment about Lobster....and Venison?  This is a delightful pairing.  The lobster simply grilled with clean natural flavor, and the venison with a bold meaty flavor, offset nicely with the demi glace.  It was a gorgeous pairing of flavors.  Also, it must be said- those were some deliciously roasted brussel sprouts.

Finally we ended with Season's 52 signature selection of Mini Indulgence
Desserts.  Every table receives a selection of these to pick from, and I would urge you to try several.  Current fall selections include Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Key Lime Pie, Mocha Macchiato, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust, Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road, Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli and Market Fresh Fruit.I indulged in two
of these (to my defense they are small) and chose the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli, which combined creamy ricotta cheese with a raspberry sauce, and chocolate chips, and then out of the top sat a mini cannoli shell.  My second pick was the Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse which presented layers of sticky, gooey pecan pie filling with vanilla bean mousse.  Both desserts presented a wonderful combination of textures and were just decadent to make you feel as though you had indulged, just on a small scale.  

One of the true jewels in the crown of Seasons 52 is their Sommelier.  George Milliotes is one of the few Master Sommeliers in the US and he is using his extreme knowledge to pack an incredible amount of wine into the offering.  With over 60 wines offered by the glass, there is something for everyone at every price point.  George expertly paired each of our courses and I wanted to point out the most notable.  The Aveleda Vinho Verde (2012) from Portugal was paired with our Amuse and its slight effervescence and light body was the perfect accompaniment to create a ready palate for the intricate meal ahead.  The Mer Soleil Chardonnay (2011) from the Central Coast was a perfect compliment to our Salmon entree offering an incredibly smooth mix of cream and oak without being overpowering in either.  Each sip was interesting and kept me reaching for my glass to discover the different layers of the wine.  Finally, for fun, George poured us Alto Moncayo Garnacha (2010) from Aragon.  This was an incredible wine.  If you put stock in these things, it is a 100 pt wine and with its dark red fruit flavors mingled with chocolate and perhaps just a hint of smoke that fades into a clean finish, this was a perfect wine.  I'm a little obsessed.

Season's 52 far surpassed my expectations.  Every dish was crafted artfully with care, and utilizing practices to infuse copious amounts of flavor without burdening the dishes with butter and cream.  We indulged in an incredible multi course meal, but leaving the restaurant I felt content, not weighed down as so often happens with these types of dinners.  I will confidently suggest Season's 52 as a wonderful place to dine, and to try some amazing wines...


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nespresso Limited Edition Masala Chai

They have done it again.  Honestly, since my very first introduction to Nespresso they have continuously delighted me.  Every machine I've tried has been soundly crafted and beautiful to look at.  Their milk frothers create silky smooth, fluffy foam that provides a perfect complement to a strong cup o' Joe.  Then there are the coffees.  Each that I've tried has presented itself in a perfect light for all of my moods.  Whether its an early morning wake up call, a mid-morning jolt between meetings, or a wind the night down light cup, each has been met with a variety of strengths and even a flavor dabbled for good measure. While I am not usually a huge fan of flavored coffees, Nespresso's true flavors have hit the spot each time.  Let it be said though that their latest Limited Edition, out just in time for the holidays, has blown the others out of the competition.

Boasting a cozy blend of cinnamon, star anise and clove, the Masala Chai brings together all of wonderful flavors of this season.  As soon as I brewed the first cup, my kitchen was filled with the homey scents of fall- the same wonderful spices that fill our pumpkin pies and remind us of the crunching of leaves beneath our feet.  My first sips were gently hinted with the same.  This is the part I love most about the flavors from Nespresso.  They don't smack you in the face with flavor.  Coffee, the true flavor of coffee is primary, with just these wonderful background notes of spice.  

I have to urge you all to go and check out the new offering from Nespresso- it will be the perfect complement to your holidays.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Kensington, Theatre District, Boston

A brand new apartment building has opened in the heart of downtown Boston, and is taking luxury city living to new heights.  Located just steps from the Common, Downtown Crossing, Chinatown and the Theatre District, The Kensington is offering their residents the ultimate in location, but their amenities stretch far beyond just their physical space.

I had the opportunity to join into the opening festivities a few days ago, and
found that as soon as I entered the building, my mood calmed, as my surroundings changed from the hub bub of the city, to a peaceful, spacious entry space.   As I wandered to the elevators to begin my exploration of the common areas and a few sample floor plans, I found the mail room, complete with a TV panel tracking resident packages, T schedules, the weather, and ticket prices for events in the area.  Conveniently located to be seen as residents leave the building, this information is definitely a helpful tidbit.

I started my tour on the 6th floor, where the common areas for the building are housed.  The Kensington houses multiple function spaces, each with their own unique feel.  There is a conference room for those days where residents can leverage their home to host colleagues or simply escape to a quiet space to work on a presentation or hold a conference call.  Beyond the work spaces there are multiple social spots.  Intimate rooms outfitted with comfy lounge furniture, as well large spaces for big groups complete with a pool table.  And then there's the patio on the 6th floor...the patio that that includes a gorgeous pool with plenty of sunning seating around it.  Beautiful views of the city abound as residents can splash their cares away.

Of course if you want a harder work out, the
6th floor also contains a full gym, with studio space for classes.  I have toured a fair amount of residential gym spaces, and hotel gyms, and I'm a pretty picky gym user over all, I can very honestly say that this was a great gym space.  A variety of equipment, and a host of both free weights and kettle bells made this a place where a very complete work out could take place. 

I rode up to the 23rd floor to check out the model units that were open for touring.  Every unit I toured was impressive.  Beautiful floors, kitchens with appliances a cook like me swooned over, ample space for entertaining, washers and dryers in every unit and big closets.  The most impressive however that I saw was the studio.  Now I've lived in a studio and hated every minute of it.  With my bed on display from every spot of the apartment it made me shy to entertain.  The Kensington however eradicated this problem completely.  Here the studios have a bed space all it's own.  Four walls and a pocket door separate
the space from the rest of the unit, however the walls are partial which allows light to enter the bed space creating an open and airy feel.  Oh, and the bed space can fit a king bed with room to spare and has a closet.  Doesn't really seem too "studio" like to me. 

I walked into The Kensington expecting to be underwhelmed.  I've been to other luxury apartment buildings in the area and they've seemed cold, and cookie cutter.  However, The Kensington I could move into immediately.  It seemed that they have thought of everything from jumbo size washing machines on every floor to a guest sweet for those overnight guests you want staying closer to you than a hotel but not too close. ;-).  If you're in the market for a new pad-definitely check out The Kensington.  Beautiful spaces, gorgeous views and great amenities. 

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...