Restaurant Reviews – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ https://www.thismamacooks.com Healthy recipes & lifestyle tips for busy moms & their families Sun, 25 Jun 2017 20:52:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 https://cdn.thismamacooks.com/images/2016/05/cropped-very-large-TMC-badge-512-3-32x32.jpg Restaurant Reviews – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ https://www.thismamacooks.com 32 32 Starbucks Bistro Boxes Review https://www.thismamacooks.com/2017/02/starbucks-bistro-boxes-review.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2017/02/starbucks-bistro-boxes-review.html#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:27:00 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=3500 Starbucks Bistro Boxes

When I was given the opportunity to to try out Starbucks Bistro Boxes, it couldn’t have been better timing. School had just started, which meant stopping off for a healthy snack before karate classes. While we loved stopping at a local sandwich shop, we were up for something different.

Note: this was originally written on August 29, 2011. The varieties of Bistro Boxes at Starbucks have changed. And depending on where you’re purchasing them, the Starbucks Bistro Box price may have changed as well.

Load your Starbucks app on Amazon! Or send a Starbucks Gift Card to a friend.

Why I was intrigued Starbucks Bistro Boxes

I checked out the Starbucks website and looked over the eight different choices of Starbucks Boxes. It looked like there was something for everyone, whether you were on a low carb or vegetarian. I especially liked Starbucks Protein Bistro Box.

I was disappointed that there wasn’t a gluten free Starbucks Bistro Box and that many of the boxes contained nuts. (My daughter Lucie is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.) But it looked like there was enough variety to appeal to both my kids and myself.

I also liked the ingredients – things like fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads, cage free eggs, and even dark chocolate. Check out the Starbucks bistro box nutrition: most featured a good amount of protein and fiber. However, all were high in carbs and many were very high in fat.

 

Calories

Fat (g)

Carb (g)

Fiber (g)

Protein

Chicken & Hummus Bistro Box 270 8 29 6 16
Sesame Noodles Bistro Box 350 11 50 6 15
Chicken Lettuce Wraps Bistro Box 360 19 32 4 17
Chipotle Chicken Wraps Bistro Box 380 15 35 6 26
Protein Bistro Box 380 19 37 5 13
Tuna Salad Bistro Box 380 21 24 5 23
Salumi & Cheese Bistro Box 420 26 22 3 25
Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box 480 28 39 6 18

Bistro Boxes at Starbucks can be hard to find

Off we went after school in search of Bistro Boxes. The first Starbucks we went to only had one Bistro Box left – and I had two kids to feed. We got back in the car and drove to another Starbucks nearby. They only had three boxes left. Unfortunately, the two varieties didn’t appeal to the kids. They were bummed as they’d been looking forward to having a meal at Starbucks, a special treat for them.

The next day (Saturday), I four varieties of Bistro Boxes at a Starbucks on my way home from a meeting. The grand total without any drinks for four Bistro Boxes – $27.06 including tax. The Starbucks Bistro Box price for the three meals were $6.95 each, and the one snack was $4.95.

(Update: according to my research, the Starbucks bistro box price in 2015 is around the same as it was in 2011. However, if you’re traveling and picking up a Bistro Box at an airport or convention center, expect the price to be more.)

Impressed with the taste of the Starbucks boxes

I took them home and my husband and I tried two – the Sesame Noodles and the Chicken Lettuce Wraps. The Starbucks Bistro Boxes were delicious and surprisingly filling even though they were small. The packaging was clever and the flavors were excellent. I especially liked the teeny piece of dark chocolate included – a terrific way to end the meal.

The next day I had the Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box for Sunday brunch. Cheese for breakfast – decadent!

My daughter, Lucie had the Chipotle Chicken Wraps for lunch, one of the few boxes without nuts. She told me she liked it very much. I think the idea of making little wraps with the chicken strips, tortillas and cheese appealed to her. I tried the salsa and coleslaw and we agreed that both were very flavorful.

My one Starbucks Bistro Box suggestion

If you’re going to recommend Bistro Boxes to moms looking for a quick snack for themselves or their kids, you have to have enough Bistro Boxes in stock in the late afternoon between the time school gets out and afterschool sports begin. Until you do, moms will go to somewhere else to get a portable and healthy snack for themselves or their children.

Having enough food on hand always seems to be a problem at Starbucks. Several times, I’d arrive early in the morning just to find out they were out of the egg wraps. This seems to be a problem at all the Starbucks I’ve visited across the US. I don’t understand why they can’t fix this.

Until they do, I’ll not rely on Starbucks Bistro Boxes as a way of feeding my kids after school.

Originally published on August 29, 2011. Updated with new pictures and information.

Starbucks Bistro Boxes Review. Includes a breakdown of Starbucks bistro box nutrition.
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How to plan a progressive dinner out https://www.thismamacooks.com/2016/12/how-to-plan-a-progressive-dinner-out.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2016/12/how-to-plan-a-progressive-dinner-out.html#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2016 14:51:46 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=17690 How to plan a progressive dinner out

AARP-D3

Have you ever participated in a progressive dinner? You know, where you go to one house for drinks and appetizers, another home for dinner, and finally a third home for dessert? They’re loads of fun.

However, if you’re one of the hosts, it’s a big effort to prepare dishes, make sure everything is done on time, and then clean up afterwards. Instead, why not avoid the hosting part and go out for your progressive dinner? It’s a terrific way to meet up with friends. Or it could be a fun date night idea for you and your significant other.

How to plan your progressive dinner

If it’s with friends, you’ll need to coordinate the progressive dinner and plan everything out. First, make restaurant reservations, especially if you’re a large group. Then text or email everyone the times and locations of all the restaurants. Some friends may want to carpool, too.

If your progressive dinner plans are for just you and a date, one person may want to coordinate the details and surprise the other!

Love progressive dinners but don't want to cook? Click to check out these tips on how to plan a progressive dinner out.

When picking the places you’ll be dining at, you should consider some progressive dinner theme ideas, such as all Italian restaurants in your city’s Little Italy section or picking restaurants in a few blocks radius from each other. That way you can walk from place to place – and work off some of those calories.

Think outside of the box for your progressive dinner themes. For drinks, you may want to start at a brew pub with a great appetizer menu. Or for dessert, visit an ice cream pallor or bakery. If it’s nice weather, you could visit a food truck or order your meal to go, and eat at the picnic tables at a local park.

Also, you may be tempted to order more food than you can eat, especially if it’s just you and your date. There’s nothing wrong with sharing an appetizer or dessert, or splitting your dinner entrée. Don’t be shy about asking for a to-go container for your leftovers, too.

Our progressive dinner through the Seoul of the South

Recently, my husband, Paul and I were invited on a culinary tour of Atlanta’s “Seoul of the South” area to try out amazing Korean restaurants. It was done in the form of a progressive dinner.

Appetizer and drinks

Our progressive dinner through the Seoul of the South - Suwanee Chicken & Pizza.

It’s a Korean tradition to go out for KFC and beer after work with friends. No not the Colonel, but Korean Fried Chicken! Such a place would be perfect for the appetizer and drinks part of your progressive dinner. We visited Suwanee Chicken & Pizza. Yes, they also serve Korean style pizza and a variety of beers by the can and a few on tap.

Paul and I tried both the fried chicken and the various pizzas. Amazing! We can’t wait to take our kids here because one child loves chicken wings and the other loves pizza. Be warned that this is a lot of food, so plant to bring most of it home.

Main meal times two!

Our progressive dinner through the Seoul of the South - Stone Grill.

For our main meal, we went to two places. The first was The Stone Grill, a Korean barbecue restaurant. For a second appetizer or first dinner entrée, I would recommend the spicy ribs that you dip in melted cheese. It’s a fusion sort of dish, since cheese fondue isn’t a traditional Korean food. It’s super spicy and amazingly delicious.

Our progressive dinner through the Seoul of the South - Honey Pig.

Afterwards, we went to the Honey Pig, another Korean BBQ restaurant. What makes the Honey Pig unique – besides the pig theme décor – is that they use iron-cast lid called “Ssot-Dduk-Kung” to grill meats, kimchee, and bean sprouts.

The lids are shaped like an upside-down wok with a cylindrical handle at the center, which is heated by a flame beneath. Since the grill exhaust hoods are above you, you may leave smelling a bit smoky. Your dog will love you when you get home!

At the Honey Pig, Paul and I enjoyed a variety of meats, seafood and vegetables. Incredibly delicious and of course, I ate too much!

Dessert

Our progressive dinner through the Seoul of the South - Arte 3.

Finally, we stopped at Arte 3, a Korean style bakery. Again, I recommend sharing as there as so many things to choose like patbingsu, which are Korean style ices, or waffles with ice cream.

I loved the bungeoppang, which are little fish shaped pastries stuffed with red bean paste, custard, or sweet potato. You may want to share a few drinks, too. Paul and I tried the misutgaru frappuccino, a Korean multi grain shake (more of a breakfast drink), the sweet potato latte, and yuja-cha, Korean citron tea.

Our progressive dinner was an amazing evening out. We tried new foods and restaurants, and can’t wait to go back for more meals!

How to help fight hunger during your progressive dinner

Not only is a progressive dinner a fun date night with your spouse or a unique way to get together with friends, you can also help fight hunger by dining out with the AARP Credit Card from Chase.

That’s right! By charging your meal, you can help Chase donate $0.10 to the AARP Foundation for every restaurant purchase – up to a total of $1 million in 2017.

You see, Chase and the AARP Foundation are working together to fight hunger by taking steps to feed those who are hungry now, while also developing long-term, sustainable solutions that proactively address the root causes of hunger among those 50 and older. That’s really important; because over 10 million Americans aged 50+ are affected by hunger.

By using the AARP Credit Card from Chase, not only would you be helping Chase reach their $1 million goal in 2017 to help end hunger when you’re going out for your progressive dinner, you’ll also get unlimited cash back rewards.

Get cash back rewards on dining out with AARP Credit Card from Chase

The AARP Credit Card from Chase gives you 3% Cash Back rewards on restaurants and gas. It also gives you 1% Cash Back rewards on all other purchases. There’s no annual fee and you get $100 Bonus Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Your cash back rewards are given either as a statement credit or a direct deposit into a savings or checking account. You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards and travel. All my credit cards are cash back but they only give me statement credit. While that’s nice, I like the direct deposit feature of the AARP Credit Card from Chase since you can use your cash back rewards for something special like a vacation trip – or another progressive dinner date night!

Planning a progressive dinner out with friends or as a date night is easy. Get tips on how to plan a progressive dinner, and why you should use the AARP Credit Card from Chase when you dine out. Not only do you get 3% cash back rewards, but you’ll be helping Chase raise $1.1 million to feed the hungry. Click to find out how! #sponsored #AARPChaseCreditCard #EndHunger

I am participating in a VN campaign. This is a sponsored post by AARP Credit Card from Chase. The content and opinions expressed below are my own. I am in no way affiliated with AARP Credit Card from Chase and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.

 
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In search of Korean barbecue with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase https://www.thismamacooks.com/2016/08/korean-barbecue.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2016/08/korean-barbecue.html#respond Sun, 07 Aug 2016 11:21:05 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=16020 Are you in search of Korean barbecue in the Atlanta area? Then you need to check out Breakers Korean BBQ & Grill. Don't forget to use your AARP® Credit Card from Chase to get 3% cash back rewards when you dine out! #sponsored #AARPChaseCreditCard #EndHunger

Living in Georgia, I’m surrounded by great Southern style barbecue restaurants. However, my true passion is for Korean barbecue. Luckily for me, the area centered around the I-85 corridor extending from Duluth, Georgia to Buford Highway in Northeast Atlanta is considered the “Seoul of the South” because of the abundance of Korean stores and restaurants.

A few months ago I was invited on a press tour of Korean restaurants in Duluth where I was introduced to the premier Korean BBQ restaurant in Georgia, Breakers Korean Barbecue & Grill. Since the tour, I’ve gone back with my husband and insisted my family take me there for Korean BBQ on Mother’s Day. We usually order the all you can eat dinner, which is ideal if you have ravenous teenagers like I do. My favorite dish is Beef Bulgogi, which is magnificently seasoned, though the Pork Belly comes in a close second.

Breakers is a wonderful place to take your kids because you cook your meal right at the table. It’s fun, but you don’t have to worry about smelling like grilled meat afterwards because of the state-of-the-art downdraft grills that are built into the table. If you’re unsure how to cook your meal, or need a drink refill or extra sides (like kimchee, bean sprouts, pickles, and radish wraps), you can always press the hidden button on your table for help from your server.

When we go to Breakers, I make sure to charge our meal to a credit card that gives me cash back rewards for going out to eat. Don’t have a credit card that gives you cash back rewards at restaurants? If you love to dine out, then you need to check out the AARP Credit Card from Chase. This card gives you 3% Cash Back rewards on purchases at restaurants and gas stations. If your favorite restaurant is a bit of a drive (Breakers 45 minutes away from my home) getting a cash back reward on the gas is an extra that makes me feel less guilty for wanting to drive out to Breakers every weekend.

Get cash back rewards on dining out with AARP Credit Card from Chase

Besides 3% Cash Back rewards on restaurants and gas, the AARP Credit Card from Chase also gives you 1% Cash Back rewards on all other purchases. Even better, there’s no annual fee and you get $100 Bonus Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Your cash back rewards are given either as a statement credit or a direct deposit into a savings or checking account. You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards and travel. All my credit cards are cash back but they only give me statement credit. While that’s nice, I like the direct deposit feature of the AARP Credit Card from Chase since you can use your cash back reward for something special like a vacation trip.

Fighting hunger with the AARP Credit Card from Chase

If cash back rewards on dining out aren’t enough, Chase and the AARP Foundation are working together to fight hunger since 10 million Americans aged 50+ are affected by hunger. This year, Chase is donating $0.10 to AARP Foundation for every restaurant purchase made with your AARP Credit Card from Chase—up to a total of $1.1 million. As of May 2016, Chase donated $637,633!

To learn more about Chase and AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger visit their website. You can also connect with the Drive to End Hunger on Facebook .

I am participating in a VIN campaign. This is a sponsored post by AARP Credit Card from Chase. The content and opinions expressed below are my own. I am in no way affiliated with AARP Credit Card from Chase and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.

 

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Have Buca di Beppo make you the office holiday party hero! https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/12/buca-di-beppo-office-holiday-party.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/12/buca-di-beppo-office-holiday-party.html#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 23:09:09 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=13634 Have Buca di Beppo make you the office holiday party hero! Learn how at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

This post brought to you by Buca di Beppo. The content and opinions expressed below are that of This Mama Cooks.

I’m a big fan of Buca di Beppo from way back when my company had a customer dinner at their restaurant in San Francisco. Even though it was many years ago, I remember how delicious the food was. Our company’s event planner told me she always booked dinners at Buco di Beppo since everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and could always find something on their menu that they would want to eat.

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That’s why if you’re planning the holiday party at your company, you should consider Buca di Bepoo as the perfect restaurant to order food for your office holiday party!

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Buca di Beppo takes the hassle out of holiday party planning! First of all, Buca’s diverse menu will please just about everyone at your office, from people who like lighter fare like salads to people who love meaty lasagnas.

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Buca di Beppo’s dishes are served family-style, ideal for sharing with your co-workers, family and friends. They even have gluten free and vegetarian dishes on their Classic & Custom Favorites Menu.

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Second, you don’t have to worry since Buca di Beppo can accommodate any group or budget – large or small. I know many companies have had to scale back on renting a hall or hotel ballroom. With affordable dishes from Buca, you can have a lovely holiday feast catered at the office just for the office staff. With these prices you may be able to invite spouses and kids, too!

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Third, Buca di Beppo makes catering your holiday office party very easy with your Order Party Pans To Go. Menus, pricing, and ordering is done online, though you can also call in your order if you wish. Delivery is available within a 10-mile radius for a $25 fee. Your order comes with ready-to-serve packaging, plates, utensils, napkins, etc.

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You can order dessert and soft drinks, too. You also have the choice of full or half pans (full pans serve 20 and half pans serve 10) making it easy to order just the right amount of food for your group.

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Finally, there are preset celebratory packages available as well, which can make ordering easier if your boss is having a tough time deciding:

Celebratory Package - all full pans. Choice of 1 salad: Mixed Green Salad or Caesar Salad. Choice of 2 pastas: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Penne alla Vodka, Baked Ziti or Ravioli al Pomodoro. Served with house-baked bread. Serves up to 20 $220.00 (price may vary depending on location)

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Deluxe Celebratory Package - all full pans. Choice of 2 salads: Apple Gorgonzola Salad, Mixed Green Salad or Caesar Salad. Choice of 2 pastas: Penne San Remo, Penne Basilica, Spicy Chicken Rigatoni, Baked Rigatoni or Penne alla Vodka. Choice of 1 entrée: Eggplant Parmigiana, Chicken Parmigiana or Chicken Limone. Choice of 1 dessert: Chocolate Chip Cannoli, Tiramisu or Cookies & Brownies. Served with house-baked bread. Serves up to 20 $480.00 (price may vary depending on location)

With Buca di Beppo, you’ll be the office hero this holiday season!

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Not cooking this Thanksgiving? Head out to Buca di Beppo! https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/11/thanksgiving-buca-di-beppo.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/11/thanksgiving-buca-di-beppo.html#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 02:03:42 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=13403 Not cooking this Thanksgiving? Head out to Buca di Beppo! Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

This post brought to you by Buca di Beppo®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of This Mama Cooks.

Are you traveling this Thanksgiving holiday and need to go out for Thanksgiving dinner? Or maybe it’s just you and your husband this year as the kids are off at college and don’t want the hassle of cooking just for two? Or maybe you’re working Thanksgiving day and don’t have time to cook, but would still like to have a special meal?

Well whatever the reason for not cooking this Thanksgiving, consider enjoying a Buca Style Thanksgiving Feast at Buca di Beppo!

Buca di Beppo’s Thanksgiving Feast

If you want to avoid cooking and cleaning up, go online and make Thanksgiving reservations at your local Buca restaurant – the sooner the better! Buca di Beppo locations will be open at 11 am Thanksgiving day and you can make a reservation for as late as 11 pm in case you’re working late or will be traveling. Buca di Beppo restaurants serve large groups as well as small, so you may want to gather coworkers or friends and make it an “orphan” Thanksgiving party!

Their Thanksgiving Feast includes classic meal items with an Italian twist, such as:

  • Sliced White Meat Turkey or Hickory-Smoked Ham
  • Homestyle Gravy
  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffing
  • Green Beans
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie

The small dinner serves 3 and is $53.99 and the large one serves 6 is $98.99. (Note that prices may vary by location.)

Buca’s regular menu is also available on Thanksgiving Day. They also have a gluten free menu, which you can download from their website. It features classic Italian dishes like Chicken or Veal Saltimbocca and Chicken or Veal Marsala. Not exactly traditional Thanksgiving fare, but at least you won’t get a tummy ache (or worse!) after eating.

Take the Thanksgiving feast back to your place or to the office

I’m not a huge fan of chains, but I’ve always loved Buca di Beppo after first dining there over 18 years ago in San Francisco on a business trip. So if I was on vacation, but staying at a place where I could have a sit down meal – like renting a condo or house – I’d certainly take advantage of Buca di Beppo’s Thanksgiving Feast Party Pans and take my food back to my rental. Especially since curbside pick-up is available at most locations!

Taking advantage of Buca’s Thanksgiving Feast To Go means you can save a little money on the extras like drinks for the kids, a bottle of wine, and a couple of nice desserts (since that’s not included) by going to the grocery store the day before. Another nice thing about the half pan, which serves 10, is that you’ll have lots of leftovers for the rest of your vacation, so you can cut down on dining out costs and spend that money on having fun!

Take the Thanksgiving feast back to your place or to the office. Learn how at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Buca’s Thanksgiving Feast Party Pans would also be a terrific option if you were working on Thanksgiving, didn’t have time to cook, but wanted a delicious meal to serve at home with a minimum of fuss. Or bring the feast to the office and celebrate with your coworkers.

All you need to do is make a Thanksgiving Feast To Go reservation – the earlier the better! Thanksgiving Feast To Go includes:

  • Sliced White Meat Turkey or Hickory-Smoked Ham
  • Homestyle Gravy
  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffing
  • Green Beans
  • Cranberry Sauce

The Half Pan Serves 10 and is $159.99. The Full Pan Serves 20 and is $299.99. (Note that prices may vary by location.) You can also order additional food off the regular menu.

Have you ever eaten Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant?

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Portland, Maine – A foodie’s guide https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/08/portland-maine-foodies-guide.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/08/portland-maine-foodies-guide.html#respond Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:45:00 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=12503 Portland, Maine - A Foodie's Guide - At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Last month the family and I had a chance to spend the day Portland, Maine. We walked around the town and hit up several spots that will certainly appeal to foodies looking for something unique to experience or purchase to take home.

Duck Fat

Arriving at bit after lunch time, I wanted to avoid the usual fried seafood joints off Portland’s main drag, and headed over to Duck Fat. I’d read about Duck Fat online and liked their angle. They use clarified duck fat in many of their amazing dishes from milkshakes to duck fat fried French fries.

While I was a little worried about the “Ewww, gross Mom!” factor, I figured panini sandwiches, the fries, and milk shakes would certainly please the kids. Nathan had a Panini Meatloaf Sandwich and Lucie went for the Duck Fat Fries along with some truffle ketchup.

I went for the Poutine, which is a mess of duck fat fried potatoes covered with cheese curds with a little duck meat thrown in (you have to ask for the duck meat if your server doesn’t suggest it). It’s topped with an egg and gravy if you wish. (I asked for my gravy on the side. The runny egg was plenty and the gravy, while lovely, would have been over the top.) The Poutine comes in an individual (small) portion or a large one that can be shared among several people.

I tried one of their craft sodas, an All Maine Tonic made with apple cider vinegar, which helped cut the heaviness of lunch. It was perfect because the kids and I ended the meal with an order of duck fat fried donut holes sprinkled in powdered sugar. We dipped ours into a duck fat chocolate and caramel syrup, but agreed the chocolate was best.

duck fat portland main collage

While we thought our lunch at Duck Fat was delicious, it certainly was heavy. So plan to do a bit of walking to burn it off after lunch. Also, when we showed up at 1 pm, we had a half hour wait. By the time we were seated (we had to share a table with another family as the restaurant is small and seating is limited) the wait was 90 minutes. The reason? Duck Fat was recently written up in Food & Wine magazine by Andrew Zimmerman of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods. He loved it as much as we did!

Duck Fat – 43 Middle Street, Portland, Maine

LeRoux Kitchen

If you love looking at wonderful cookware, glassware, table linens, cookbooks and more, you could spend hours just poking around LeRoux Kitchen. It’s located right on the waterfront in the heart of the Old Port, so it’s easy to stop by on your way to seeing anything in Portland. Unfortunately, the kids were not as enchanted as I was, so I could only spend a few minutes looking around before I got the, “Oh Mom, I’m bored.” look. Next time, I’ll send them off somewhere on their own so I can browse!

LeRoux Kichen – 161 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine

Bam Bam Bakery

By the time we had walked to Bam Bam Bakery, completely on the opposite end of Old Port from Duck Fat, we still weren’t hungry. However, the kids were thirsty and in need of a restroom break. And I was intrigue by their sign advertising, “Gluten Free Goodies For Everyone!”

Bam Bam Bakery is a coffee house and bakery and their selection of gluten free goodies is impressive: cakes, pastries, breaks, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pies, quiche and more. You can also get breakfast and lunch there, too.

I ordered a huge slice of scone to go that lasted me for two breakfasts. It was not only delicious but moist. I wish I lived closer. Than again, maybe my waistline does not!

Bam Bam Bakery – 267 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine

Salt Cellar

The Salt Cellar sells flavored finishing salts, Himalayan salt tiles, bath salts, and salt lamps. The store in Portland is also home to he largest Himalayan salt lamp in North America weighing in at nearly 500 pounds! The kids and I had a fun time trying out all the finishing salts. I ended up buying several types including merlot, sriracha and an applewood smoked salt.

What really intrigued me was the Himalayan salt blocks for salt block cooking. While I didn’t buy a slab (I really thought it would be a nightmare to take home), I did buy Himalayan Shot Glasses for tequila and Salty Swizzler Sticks for Bloody Marys. You can buy the salts and salt block cooking accessories through the Salt Cellar’s online store.

Salt Cellar – 172 Middle Street, Portland, Maine

Stonewall Kitchen

You may only know Stonewall Kitchen from their catalogs, but they have stores, too. There’s one in Portland where they offer demonstration cooking classes in the evenings. You can also go in and sample their jams and dips, pick up a few free recipe cards, get a free SWK “No toast should go naked” bumper sticker, and buy the cutest Maine dishtowels sold in Portland.

Stonewall Kitchen – 182 Middle Street, Portland, Maine

The Old Port House of Jerky

My kids have been bugging me to get them jerky for ages, so when I saw the North Conway House of Jerky I thought we’d stop by and get some snacks for the plane ride home. I wasn’t disappointed as they had a variety to fit everyone’s tastes. They even have vegan and gluten free products! We visited their store in Portland, but their main store’s in North Conway, New Hampshire.

Both children kept their jerky for the trip home and while Lucie wasn’t happy with her flavor choice, Nathan thought both were fantastic. I had samples of each and unlike the jerky you get at the store, it wasn’t too dried out and chewy. Good stuff for the price!

The Old Port House of Jerky – 13 Exchange Street, Portland, Maine

More about Portland, Maine

To find out more about what to do in the Old Port section of Portland, check out Portland’s Downtown District and the Public Market House.

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What makes you sparkle? #SparkleWithDASANI https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/07/sparkle-viva.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/07/sparkle-viva.html#respond Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:58:04 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=12278

Dinner out at Viva! makes me sparkle! At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet #SparkleWithDASANI #ad

This summer it seems we’ve been on the go from trip to camp to another trip to another camp. We’re barely home to eat a meal these days! My husband, Paul, has gone in one direction, the kids in another, and I’m somewhere at working in my home office accompanied by my body guard, er, dog, Nellie. So it was lovely when Paul and I could take a break from the hustle and bustle last week, and go out o dinner by ourselves with no kids around.

We had a really fun dinner at Viva!, which specializes in Argentinian style cuisine. We had empanadas, which are like small, fancy Hot Pockets. We then shared a sausage platter and had some mighty fine mini cupcakes from Gaby’s Atomic Cupcakes. Then we walked around downtown Athens, which is just lovely this time of year since all the UGA students are gone. We stopped at a couple of bars for sparkly drinks, too. Not only did it give us a chance to reconnect and put a bit of sparkle back in our relationship. But it also sparked so cooking and drink ideas for my blog.

What makes you sparkle? at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com #SparkleWithDASANI #ad

Enter to win with #SparkleWithDASANI!

Speaking of sparkly drinks, I’ll be the first one to admit that I really like drinking diet sodas. However, I know I have to limit myself and try to have no more than two a day. While I’ve tried to switch to plain water or herbal iced teas to keep hydrated, it just isn’t the same without that fizz and sparkle. That’s why I like sparkling water like DASANI Sparkling. I recently tried their lemon, lime, apple and berry sparkling water and really enjoy having an alternative sparkly drink instead of diet soda.

Learn how to win a Sparkling Getaway for you and three friends to Ft. Lauderdale at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com #SparkleWithDASANI #ad

To promote their sparkling water, DASANI is running a Sparkling Getaway for you and three friends to Ft. Lauderdale! All you need to do is show them what makes YOU sparkle by using #sparklewithdasani on Instagram or Twitter.

Make sure to like @dasaniwater on Twitter or follow them @dasaniwater on Instagram so they can contact you if you win. The Grand Prize is a Sparkling Getaway to the Westin Diplomat in Ft. Lauderdale, and includes airfare, hotel and spa treatments for four. The winner will be selected in early August. Check out http://CokeURL.com/u8szp for info and rules.

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Dining at Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Virginia https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/01/michie-tavern-charlottesville-virginia.html https://www.thismamacooks.com/2014/01/michie-tavern-charlottesville-virginia.html#respond Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:30:27 +0000 http://www.thismamacooks.com/?p=10579 Dining at Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Virginia at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Today’s guest post is from Brian Mellott of This Cookin’ Dad.

Have travel plans that include Virginia this year? If so, consider heading to Charlottesville to visit the homes of former U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. After you see how they lived, make sure to take a few moments to see how the rest of the population lived by visiting and having a meal at Michie Tavern.

Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Virginia at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

In 1784, William Michie established Old Michie’s Tavern in Earlysville, Virginia. The tavern was a place for weary travelers to receive food, drink, and lodging. It also served as the social center of the community, a place where people would gather to discuss the issues of the day, attend balls, or even to see travelling doctors or showmen. In 1927, the tavern was moved south of Charlottesville to its present location. Over time, they have moved other buildings to the site, giving the feel of all that a small way-stop would have needed to support travelers during that time period.

Self-guided tours run daily giving a little insight as to what it was like to travel in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. You can even choose from four shops, including a metal shop and a clothier, to pick up a souvenir or a gorgeous piece from one of our local artisans.

Great Southern fare “at the ordinary”

Perhaps the greatest reason to stop at Michie Tavern, though, is the incredible food “at the ordinary.” During that time period, “an ordinary” referred to a fixed price meal that was served to anyone or a tavern that served such a meal. The meal here is buffet style. You walk through the line, choose what you want, grab a drink, and take a seat. After that, the waitresses will take care of whatever you need. Just ask and they’ll bring whatever food you want.

You may be asking, just what do they serve? It’s pretty much southern food at its best. They have incredibly juicy fried chicken with just the right amount of crust and delicious pulled pork with creamy coleslaw. You can get perfectly cooked green beans and black-eyed peas –  soft, but not mushy – with a lovely back note of ham without actually tasting like ham.

The creamy mashed potatoes and the gravy are really just spectacular and you can even get beets and sticky sweet stewed tomatoes! The vegetable soup is pretty killer, a light tomato broth with vegetables cooked just so. It’s perfect for dipping in some sunny cornbread or a flaky biscuit. The food was just what I would have found at my grandma’s house when I was a child.

Southern fare "at the ordinary" at Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Virginia at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

The real surprise, though, was the baked chicken. Southern food can feel pretty heavy sometimes and I typically find baked chicken to be dry and pretty bland. You really need that crust to add some texture and flavor and to keep that juiciness in. At Michie Tavern, I was blown away with the baked chicken. It’s a lighter fare that is cooked perfectly, juicy inside with a slightly crispy skin. What blew me away was the spice mixture that they rubbed that chicken with. Salt and pepper? Sure. Some paprika for color and a bit of smokiness? Makes sense. The fennel, though, added this beautifully light licorice flavor. I really had to refrain from overdoing it!

Baked chicken at Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Virginia at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Michie Tavern is a great stop if you are out traveling across Virginia and are looking for a place to stretch your legs, go back in time, and find a healthy change from the typical fast food travel diet. I hope you enjoy!

Michie Tavern is located at 683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902, phone: (434) 977-1234(434) 977-1234. You can connect with them via Facebook and Twitter.

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