Chopps

Recently, I had the pleasure of dining at Chopps in Burlington with some of the Blog and Tweet Boston members. We were greeted at the door with sparkling wine from Napa’s Mumm and then moved into a private tasting table overlooking the kitchen for an amazing lunch spread. Here is a peek into some of of the dishes we were able to try:

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Prosciutto with melon, hazelnuts, and arugula
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Maine lobster cocktail
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Soba noodles with tomatoes 
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East coast halibut with mushrooms, pea shoots, and lemongrass broth
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Line-caught cod with corn puree and fingerling potatoes 
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NY Strip steak
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Housemade Tots Chopps 9
Chefs David Verdo and Daniel Bruce

I had such a great time at Chopps with Blog and Tweet Boston. I really loved the soba noodles — such a nice and light dish. Of course, their steaks were cooked to perfection and served with an amazing homemade butter. The fish dishes were also really great–I’m already a fan of halibut, but I really liked the addition of mushrooms and pea shoots. If you’re in the Burlington area and hungry I’d definitely recommend having lunch or dinner at Chopps!

*My meal at Chopps’ was complimentary, but all opinions, photos, and thoughts are my own.

Workout Wednesday

Biking
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You can probably guess by all my Instagrams and Tweets that my new favorite activity is biking! Its been really fun the past few weekends to bike all around town — to the beach, restaurants, and even the farm! After buying the bike and helmet I invested in a few other key items — a bike basket, a rear bike rack with a detachable grocery bag, and a mirror.

While the basket is cute and the bag makes trips to the farm or beach a breeze, I really think the mirror was the best purchase. Even though we have a lot of bike lanes, it is still a little scary to ride on the road with cars, so the mirror lets me see when cars are coming up behind me and it makes taking turns so much easier!

Have you tried biking?  Even if you don’t want to buy your own bike, a lot of big cities now have a bike sharing program — like Boston’s Hubway or NYC’s Citibike! Just don’t forget your helmet!

Dave’s Fresh Pasta: Part II

After we ate our amazing risotto, we learned how to make gnocchi. Most people know that gnocchi can be made with potatoes, but apparently its very hard to make a nice light gnocchi because it can be easily over mixed, but a great alternative is the ricotta gnocchi!

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We only used four ingredients in our gnocchi — ricotta, pecorino, sautéed spinach, and flour. I definitely want to try this again soon, but I will leave out the pecorino.

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Everything got mixed together in the bowl, but we were careful not to over mix it. We don’t have the “starchy” problem that can happen when mixing a potato gnocchi, but Jason told us it wasn’t necessary to over mix this kind either.

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We each took turns making the gnocchi. We would pull off a small ball of dough, roll it out, and then use the knife to cut it up into small bite sized pieces.

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It was important to make sure the gnocchi was all the same size so that they would cook evenly. I also really liked how they looked with the spinach mixed in– I’m thinking that a sun-dried tomato gnocchi might be in my future!

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Since there were so many of us we made all of the gnocchi pretty quickly! It might take a bit longer for just one or two people, but it was pretty easy to roll it out and cut it.

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Jason suggested we use a simple butter and sage sauce for our gnocchi, as a heavier marinara or alfredo sauce might overpower our delicate pasta!

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Our 2nd finished product! Even though I don’t really like pecorino cheese I did try a few pieces, mostly to try out the texture. It was actually pretty good (I didn’t really notice the pecorino), and the texture was definitely light and fluffy, not heavy at all!

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All of us with our chef instructor, Jason, at the end of the night! If you’re in the Boston area and want to learn how to make some incredible pasta I would definitely recommend taking a class at Dave’s Fresh Pasta! In addition to gnocchi and risotto they also do classes for Asian dumplings, pasta sauces, Vietnamese cuisine, and even fresh mozzarella! Bon appetit!

Dave’s Fresh Pasta: Part I

Last week Doug and I went to a gnocchi and risotto cooking class at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square. Organized by my friend Kimiko, we met after work with a few other couples and rolled up our sleeves for a hands on cooking lesson!

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We made three types of risotto — a tomato and fontina cheese risotto, a mushroom and truffle risotto, and a fire roasted eggplant risotto.

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While we listened to our instructor, Jason, talk about the different risotto techniques and tricks we sipped on some wine and nibbled on cheese and crackers.

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All of the risottos started the same — some onions, Arborio rice, and white wine. From there each started to differ as we added into the mixtures different broths (mushroom, chicken, and vegetable) cup by cup.

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Taking my turn stirring the risotto!  Its definitely one dish you have to watch closely and stir very carefully. You can’t walk away for a minute!

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Taking a little photo break!

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Fire roasted eggplant!  We literally just put the entire eggplant on top of a gas burner on high, and then flipped it over once it was nice and charred.

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Adding in all of our ingredients. I was really surprised that we put them in after cooking the rice, and not while the pot was still on the stove.

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The finished products!! My favorite risotto was the mushroom and truffle, but I also really liked the fire roasted eggplant. I didn’t try the other one since I don’t like fontina cheese, but everyone said it was great!

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Some of the boys trying out the final product!! Stay tuned for Part II where we make a super easy ricotta spinach gnocchi!

Inspired

Bentley

Yesterday I spent the day on my college campus for my office’s annual women’s conference!  This was my third year attending the conference, and every year I really look forward to the event. They have several breakout sessions on topic such as Networking, Family & Careers, Sponsorship, Navigating Career Paths, Leadership, and more. They also have a keynote speaker — she is typically a woman from the greater Boston area who has an amazing story to share about her career path and life. This year’s speaker started as the receptionist of a national advertising agency, and 30 or so years later she is now the CEO and Chairman of the company. She really had such an amazing story.

During one of the panel sessions they mentioned some really interesting statistics. Apparently, men get promoted based on their potential, while women get promoted based on their performance. While totally unfair, the only silver lining is that when women reach the top, they are usually more prepared and trained for the role than a man. But, it is still harder for a woman to get herself to the top since she has to prove herself with her performance first.

I wouldn’t call myself super passionate about women’s issues, but I always leave the conference feeling very energized and inspired. I also get very nostalgic for my college since its always held on my campus. One thing I am considering is getting more involved volunteering as an alumni. On a similar, yet different, note I am finally joining the Junior League this year.  It’s been on my list of 60 before 30 and they only take new members in the spring. Here’s to a new year of fun and exciting volunteer adventures!