An Authentic Italian Night is a Night at Cafe Goodfellas!

Have you ever wanted to feel like you were dinning with in the midst of the Sopranos? Well Café Goodfellas in New Haven, CT does just this! Not only is the cuisine true to its Italian roots, but the ambiance of the restaurant oozes with classic tributes to every great Italian movie ever made.

The complimentary garden salad, with chickpeas, and imported Italian meats is always a great way to start off any meal. Bread is also provided with imported olive oil, drizzled with aged balsamic dressing. My favorite dish at Café Goodfellas is the Chicken Rollatini; delicious chicken rolled with parma prosciutto, sautéed spinach mozzarella, pignoli nuts, topped with a mushroom and gorgonzola cream sauce. YUM, I can taste it now. The mushroom and gorgonzola cream sauce is offset by the salty prosciutto and melted mozzarella. Although this is not a low calorie dish, it is definitely worth the extra trip to the gym 🙂 An evening at Café Goodfellas concludes with a complimentary glass of Prosecco, a white Venetian sparkling wine, deliciously crisp and refreshing.

Overall, Café Goodfellas is a fabulous evening full of great food and tasty drinks. I would give this restaurant a 9 out of 10. The food presentation is precise and the staff is attentive and knowledgeable of both specials and menu items. If you are ever in New Haven, CT, head over to State Street and dine at Café Goodfellas for an experience you won’t forget!

Kristen ❤

Grilled Cheese and Lobster? Put Your Hands Together!

 

OMG, the other day I had the infamous Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Yes, you heard correctly. Warm melted Havarti cheese, chunks of fresh lobster meat, between two pieces of yummy white bread, rubbed with unsalted butter and grilled to perfection! In Oprah’s* Farewell season, she showcased some of the “best eats” around the United States and Chef Billy Grant’s lobster grilled cheese made the list. Grant is also the owner of Brico and as a  Foodie I have enjoyed many AMAZING meals here. If you are in West Hartford, CT it is worth the trip! Not convinced checked out these other dishes below.

Penne ala Vodka with Shrimp

Mustard BBQ Salmon

Simple presentation, but refined. Less is more!

Cheers,

Kristen ❤

*If many of you don’t know this…I have a HUGE crush on Oprah. Did I watch the two day season finale with a box of tissues in my hand? Guilty as charged. Was I ecstatic when I realized I was at THE restaurant Oprah had on her finale season….ummm you can only imagine! Ha, it was like Oprah herself was sitting right down next to me sharing my sandwich.

Salvatore’s in Boston!

Last night was an unexpectedly cool summer night. My family and I had all intentions of eating outside at Salvatore’s, located in Boston’s Seaport, however, with a sudden chill in the air, and an absence of humidity, we were forced inside. I know what many of you may be thinking; Salvatore’s is not on Chronicle’s recent restaurant list. Alright, I confess, with it being summer, I wanted to take advantage of Boston’s Seaport and the fabulous outdoor seating! I promise to redirect my dinning adventures and future posts back to Chronicle’s list, you have my word.

Boston’s Seaport was bustling last night.  As music resonated from The Voice Tour at the Bank of America Pavilion; hundreds of people indulged themselves in many of the areas restaurants: Morton’s Steak House, Legal Seafood’s Test Kitchen, Legal Seafood Harborside, Whiskey Priest, Salvatore’s, and Temazcal Tequila Cantina. The Seaport area is no longer a “quiet” place in Boston.

Salvatore’s, a popular Italian restaurant, is known for its good, familiar food, at reasonable prices.  They have a total of four locations, three outside the city. They have a fantastic size patio in Boston and the inside décor is simple with a modern flare. The bar is to the left of the restaurant’s entrance and is a decent size for mingling and socializing with friends and co-workers.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by a hostess, and a gentleman who seemed to be the General Manager (GM). The GM was fantastic in keeping the wait down and seating people rather quickly. Once we sat down, we were met quickly by our waiter. We started with an Antipasti Italiana, a variety of specialty meats, cheeses, artichokes, olives, roasted peppers, and mixed greens.  The plate was tasty serving relatively high quality Italian meats adequate for the $13 price. The dining experience at Salvatore’s is definitely casual as specials were placed on every table to be read at the consumer’s leisure. Our waiter was friendly and accommodating however, as his section filled, he became less attentive.

The food was tasty but nothing out of this world. Two words I would use to describe it would be homemade and hearty. The presentation on everyone’s dish was lacking, however for the price you can’t really complain.  Entrees run from $14-$28. I was disappointed to see that the Panzalla Salad arrived without the ordered shrimp. The salad consisting of baby argula, foccacia croutons, cucumbers, red onion, tomatoes, kalamata olives and goat cheese, tossed in a Chianti vinaigrette would have presented better and been the best looking dish of the evening. The vegetables accompanying the dishes were also disappointing. They appeared to be defrosted and reminiscent of the vegetables you microwave. They were tasteless and bland.

Overall I’d give Salvatore’s a six. The food was decent, the service was tolerable, and the ambiance was clean and comfortable. I did learn that they have Reggae Nights every Sunday during the summer, from 4-8 pm.  Perhaps grabbing cocktails and some munchies is the way to experience Salvatore’s. For pictures of our meals check out my Facebook Page.

Kristen ❤

A Night at Boston’s Strega on the Waterfront!

The other day I was flipping through the television and I came across Chronicles’s Top Five emerging restaurants in Boston and Cambridge. The list highlighted restaurants with a variety of flavors, Tico in Boston’s Back Bay, Five Napkin Burger on Huntington Avenue, Strega in Boston’s Seaport district, Citizen Public in the Fenway neighborhood, Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kendall Square, and Foundry and Elm in Davis Square. Inspired by Chronicle’s list I decided to make it my goal to dine at all the restaurants and report back to all my readers…

So where did I find myself Saturday night? At the gorgeous Strega on the Waterfront. As I walked up I was immediately taken back by the all glass and stainless steel entrance which oozed with modern architecture. It was a warm night and the outdoor patio was filled, with people taking advantage of good food and a cool breeze off the harbor. On the inside Strega was bustling with hungry customers and an extremely attentive staff. As I walked up to the hostess stand to check in, I was greeted warmly and told if they were able to take us sooner they would let us know. FYI, make sure you make reservations especially on the weekend; the earliest they could take us was at 9:15 on a Saturday. After checking in we walked over to the bar, nestled in the corner of a modern cocktail lounge, I ordered my favorite cocktail, a French Martini, and waited with anticipation. Within a half hour we were pleasantly sat earlier than expected. As we were brought to our table, I noticed the acoustics were quiet loud, granted the restaurant was packed with customers and a hustling wait staff, however, due to the layout of the dining room and perhaps the high ceilings I quickly realized the quiet evening I had hoped for was not plausible.

My concerns of the noise however, were soon dismissed as we were greeted by our very knowledgeable and enthusiastic waiter. The service was wonderful and our dishes came out in a timely manner. Starting with an Antipasto Della Casa I indulged myself in roasted red peppers, mesclun greens dressed in a light olive oil and vinaigrette, complimented by yummy specialty Italian meats and cheeses, paired with a full-bodied Chianti, I was in heaven.

Complimentary olives dipped in virgin olive oil and a bread assortment consisting of raison and nut, classic Italian white bread, and focaccia was also offered.  Moving onto the second course, I selected the Fettuccine Strega, which contained fresh jumbo shrimp, crisp deep sea scallops and baby spinach served in a creamy strega sauce. The dish was delicious however, between the two meals prepared for our dinner, the presentation was not impressive. As I began to eat my dish I noticed that not only was it lacking in presentation, but it had been hastily thrown together because there was a lump of uncooked pasta in my dish. Although, the dish was quiet flavorful and the seafood was fresh and crisp to perfection, the dish lacked TLC (tender, love, and care).

Overall my experience at Strega was an 8 out of 10. The food was tasty, but lacked in presentation and TLC. The décor was modern and chic however, the acoustics were loud, making it difficult to carry out a conversation.  So, if you are in mood for decent Italian food in a trendy and busy restaurant; Strega is the place for you. Stay tuned for my future restaurant adventures!

Kristen, the ultimate Foodie

Grilled Desserts for Your Summer BBQs!

 Hello Followers,

Who doesn’t like grilling in the summer?! Often times when I run at night I can smell all the BBQs lighting up, the smell of charcoal in the air and that yummy crisp taste it leaves on food, there is really nothing like it. If you want to be the talk of your next summer party try out these GRILLED DESSERT recipes. Intrigued? Read on…

 Fresh grilled pineapple on the grill, with yummy vanilla ice cream, topped with delicious toasted coconut!! Grill the pineapple until you see golden brown grill marks. For the glaze use a 1/4 cup of spiced rum, 1/4 of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla place all the ingredients in a pan and brush the pineapple after it turns golden brown. Roast a 1/2 cup of coconut (on the grill in another pan) and sprinkle on top when ready to serve. Scoop the vanilla ice cream on top for a finishing touch.

 Grilled bananas stuffed with chocolate morsels and mini white puffy marshmallows, mmmmm!! Create a banana boat out of tinfoil, place a sliced banana in the tinfoil after its stuffed with the yummy ingredients above; then cover for 5-10 minutes over medium heat.

 Core 4 medium tart apples and stuff them with a mixture of, 1/3 raisins, 1/3 cup of flaked coconut, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Place on medium heat for 20-25 minutes and make sure to cover the apples tightly in tinfoil and whooollaaa an apple crisp minus the breading aka all those bad carbohydrates 😉

 Take 3 medium peaches and remove the pit, cutting them length wise.  After sprinkling them with a mix of 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 cup of fresh blueberries, wrap them tightly with tinfoil. After 18-20 mins remove from the grill or until they are tender. Bon Appétit!

Chocolate Lovers Beware!!! Simple as step 1, haha well there actually only 1 grilling step involved in this recipe, which is to toast the marshmallows. Prior to toasting the marshmallows make sure you have prepared 2 chocolate chip cookies with a layer of chocolate fudge on the underside and place a peanut butter cup on one of the cookie’s bottoms. Then once your marshmallow is toasted simple place the marshmallow on one cookie sandwiching the marshmallow and presto!

I hope you all enjoy these delicious dessert recipies! Invite your friends and family over and light up your grills this weekend to knock their socks off!!!

Over and Out,

Kristen ❤

Brazil on the Rise!

Hello Followers,

This past January I had the privilege to visit the robust country of Brazil for an MBA business trip. Although this country has been stricken by years of government corruption and oppression; resulting in vast amounts of poverty and an ever growing unemployment rate, Brazil has vigorously worked to make a rebound. Before visiting, I was cautioned to leave all my nice belongings behind, leaving behind flashy jewelry, purses, and clothing. I was warned to always stay with a group and to never wonder off alone; reminded to use my “street smarts”. With all this preparation and caution, I stepped off the plane in Brazil, as if I was stepping into a war zone. Suspicious of everyone and ready to defend myself at any point, however I was pleasantly surprised and was greeted with beautiful palm trees, a warm sun and extremely hospitable and welcoming people.

During my visit to six major businesses: Unica (a company who converts sugarcane into fuel for economically friendly vehicles. Brazil is actually a leader in social responsibility with their use of sugar cane, with 95% of their citizens driving eco-friendly vehicles), TV Globo (the 5th largest television company in the world), Ernest and Young, Itaú (one of the biggest banks in Latin America), GE Latin America, Azul (a startup airline company based in Brazil-looking to break the trend of bus travel among Brazilians and increase Brazilian air travel), and Savanza (a social entrepreneurial endeavor aimed at helping improve the payment process and funding of Brazilian education systems). During my visits, I saw a country whose resilience and vast efforts to improve to be inspiring and uplifting.

I must say, I felt very safe in my travels throughout Brazil. While I would reiterate, that like any city, you must keep you street smarts about you, this country has a lot to offer. The people were extremely friendly and were very welcoming to tourists. Brazil is an absolutely gorgeous place and I can see they are headed for great things. This hidden gem is worth the trip! Their great architecture, set on a tropical landscape, and their lush sandy beaches, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Small little markets are nestle throughout cities side streets and the food is amazing; fresh fruit that melts in your mouth and their Brazilian steak houses, OH MY!! I probably gained 10 lbs because of these steak houses, not only were they entertaining; the meat was so fresh, falling right off the skewer. Check out my pictures below and start planning your trip today!

 

 

Their local drink, a Caprina, made with delicous sugar cane alcohol, sugar, fresh lime, and wolllaaaaaa

 

 

 

 

 

AAAAMMMAAAZZIIINNNNGGG Brazilian steak houses! With every kind of meat you can think of beef, pork, chicken, duck, chicken hearts, lamb and all are deliciously grilled!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful beaches lined with rolling mountains!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and several of my friends at the infamous Christ the Reedemer statue.

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous landscapes!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, tasting some yummy fresh fruit in a local market!

 

 

SOOO much fun, the Brazilian Samba school. The Samba is a local dance which is upbeat and lively. The school is where locals practice and reherse for their 46 day holiday, Carnival observed before Easter. Carnival is a large party celebrated by the whole country with lots of great music, fantastic food, colorful clothing, and dancing!!

 

 

 

Over and Out,

Kristen ❤

What our Jeans are Really Saying About Us!

Hello Followers,

I had to speak on this topic of Premium Denim Jeans because it fascinates me to no end. Having done a report on Premium Denim Jeans in my MBA schooling, I would like to share with you some fascinating facts which may leave you questioning your next BIG DENIM PURCHASE!! Have you ever asked yourself how could denim be $10 in one store and be $300 plus in another? Welcome to the world of Premium Denim, where it has been rumored that your selection in denim can reflect how much you know about fashion and even your income!

It’s crazy to think that people are more than willing to spend $200, $300 or more on a pair of  jeans when the denim for their jeans are coming from the same manufacture as the individual who purchased theirs at Wal-Mart.  That’s right everyone, because denim is expensive to manufacture most of them are done right here in the U.S. and come from the SAME manufacture. So why are we fashion conscious consumers feeding into the Premium Denim companies’ scheme? One theory I have is with little time and so many persuasive advertisements many of us are leery when it comes to fashion. This hesitation leads us to rely on brands and labels believing if we have theses labels we will then be viewed as fashion conscious. However, let me argue this point with a quiz below, try to guess which jeans are Premium and which are not-I bet you will be very surprised! 

 

 

 

 ANSWERS BELOW

Difficult right? Perhaps, buying the latest and most trendiest brand may not be necessary all the time. Now, I am not saying that Premium labels are not fun to have, I have some myself; however, what I am trying to argue is that you don’t have to deck yourself out from head to toe in labels. Let’s be honest, how many of us can honestly afford it?! A rule of thumb I always abide by is pairing a really nice designer blouse, pair of slacks, or even a great designer accessory whether it be a purse, belt or a pair of shades and then mix and match them with generic brands. I promise you could fool the average Joe, I have countless times!

What it most simply comes down to is pairing, people. The other night I wore a great Calvin Klein sequined mini (my expensive purchase) paired with a simple black tank which I got from Gap, black platform pumps from Steve Madden and Payless faux diamond earrings, that’s right faux, which everyone thought were real!! It’s not always about  having thick wallets, it’s about the art of deception, so deceive away and give your bank accounts a break!

Over and Out,

Kristen ❤

Answers: Sevens for Mankind, Wal-Mart (yes unbelievable right?!), Gucci, Sears Cannon River