Boston's Freedom Trail and historic North End ~

I was born just over the Zakim bridge in Boston, and I've lived here all of my life.  However, I haven't taken the time to see what millions of people who come from all over the World come to see.  At least not since I was a teen anyway.  Oh, I go into Boston, just don't spend lots of time walking around and really appreciating it's beauty and history.  Last week my sister and I did just that.  We went on a walking/pizza tour of the Freedom Trail and North End.  It was so much fun and we learned a lot.

There are over 100 restaurants in the North End, in just 2 square miles.  Most are quaint and small, but have fabulous food.  The pictures I took are just a sampling of what you will find in this historic part of Boston.

Here's some pictures I took.  Well, this is one that our Tour guide took in front of Paul Revere's House.  You can no longer go inside, but it's a beautiful house even from the outside.

Boston's first building.  You would walk by here with out ever giving it a second glance, never knowing.  Most buildings here are not labeled or marked well.

Our first pizza stop was for a Sicilian slice.  The lines are long even at 11am.  So go early if you are going because this place makes their dough in the morning and once it's all gone, they close.  No hours are posted here.  But it's pretty safe to say, they don't stay beyond 2pm.

A Sicilian slice right out of the oven at Galleria Umberto, well worth the 20 minute wait!

The first Chocolatier and Printer, shops shared each side of the building.  Both are museums now, re-enacting the process for the public for free.  The first chocolate made here was a cocoa of sorts, or an aperitif.

This picture below is not a full view of the Old North Church, because while it's historic, many people still live herer.  And on this day in the neighborhood someone was moving and a big truck was  parked and blocked my view.   It's very beautiful in person though.

I love the story of The skinniest house in Boston.  Andwho knew?  A father left his land equally divided to his two sons.  The older son built the house on the right, leaving no room (or so he thought), for his younger brother to build anything.  But when the older brother went off to War, the younger brother built this narrow house and attached it to his older brother's big house.  The entrance is through the alley, lol!

Our tour guide Anna brought us our second slice of pizza from Regina's Pizzeria.  She said the lines are so long and seating is really tight, so we ate in the Courtyard.  It was a beautiful day a picnic too.  Anna was born and grew up in the North End, but has since moved away.  Her mother still lives there though and she was filled with trivia.

Here is our slice from Regina's.  It was heavenly.  A nice, thin crust with sauce and melty cheese.  I know, melty isn't a real word....  :)

I love window boxes and this house looked so pretty, even with the grate on the window.

The shops are so quaint and the area is pristine.

The neighborhoods do not have any yards, so lots of roof top gardens appear.

Right behind this building to the right, you can see the harbor.  Wouldn't it be so nice to live so close to it?

When you are in the North End, you feel very removed from the City, but if you look down the street, you can see how close we were.

What tour would be complete without a trip to the oldest cemetery?
It's just a park now though....

Our last stop, another tiny spot to have yet another slice of pizza.  This one was the real favorite of my sister's and mine.

We could barely finish it, but it was delicious.  And that ended our day with a big smile and very full stomachs.  

If you are ever in Boston, consider a walking tour.  It was great fun and even better food!   


Pho1 Woburn, Ma. Vietnamese food at it's best...

Yellow curry with pineapple, chicken and vegetables.

Pho Ga ~ A delicious fresh noodle soup with chicken, rice noodles and herbs.

But my absolute favorite dish is Spicy Basil Fried Rice ~

If you are ever near Boston, do give this little gem of a restaurant a try and if not, run to your nearest Vietnamese restaurant.  The food from that Country is outstanding.

Organic Tricolor Quinoa stir fry, easy, healthy & delicious

A couple of years ago, I tried white quinoa and was totally unimpressed.   Although I wanted to have a healthy substitute for rice, quinoa didn't cut it.  No matter what I did, it was not light and fluffy like rice.  It was kind of mushy for me. 

So I decided to try this Organic Tricolor Quinoa from Trader Joe's.  While the white grain is a little softer, the red and black grains are nice and crunchy.  

I do my normal stir fry, just julienne my vegetables to about the same size, and give them a quick stir fry in a wok on high heat.  All you need is a tablespoon of canola oil for your stir fry.

To cook the quinoa, it's almost the same ratio as rice, two to one.  But, there is a difference.  I know this isn't common (or it could be), but I found that after I cooked the quinoa for 15 minutes and drain it in a fine mesh colander, it retains it's integrity and does not get mushy.

So when your vegetables are tender, just add 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa to your skillet and toss for one minute.  An optional but delicious addition is to add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to the finished dish.

If you'd like amounts of vegtables, here they are.  You can mix and match whatever vegetables you have on hand, just keep them about the same size.  You can also add cooked, cubed meat or 1/2 cup of black beans for protein.

1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 large red pepper, sliced thinly
1 medium zucchini, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 large stalk of celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal

I've joined Foodie Friday today at:


You say Tabbouleh, I say Taboule ~

I was bringing lunch to the beach last weekend for about 6 friends and wanted something that would hold up for the day, or even a few (leftovers are so good).  I decided on this Tabbouleh salad because of it's simplicity and thinking what a refreshing dish for one of my luncheon menu items. I also made Turkey wraps with red leaf lettuce, feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion and sliced fresh tomatoes.  It made a nice lunch and it was so easy to do.  My friends all said they loved it and I told them how easy it was to make.  And I kid you not, because making the turkey wraps took far longer to make, lol!  

I found a recipe with a boxed mix and decided to try it.  So I bought a box of Near East brand and followed the directions on the box (so easy), and while it sat in my fridge for a half hour, I chopped the veggies and made the dressing.

Here's the recipe from the Sunkist site.  I did adapt the amount of the dressing I used.  I cut the olive oil to 1/3 cup and used only the juice of 3 lemons.  Added a teaspoon of salt to the dressing too.  I used this recipe because it called for boxed Tabbouleh/Taboule.


  • 1 box Near East® Taboule mix (5.25 oz)
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped radish (about 1 bunch) * didn't use
  • 2 1/2 cups vine ripened tomatoes (about 4 tomatoes) * I used roma
  • 6 medium Sunkist® Lemons, juiced * I used 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cup extra virgin olive oil * I used 1/3 cup

Instructions: (Makes 4 servings)

  • Follow step #1 of the Taboule mix directions on the box. * I followed the directions on the box and then mixed the rest of the ingredients in.
  • Stir in parsley, mint, green onion, radish (didn't use) and tomatoes.
  • Mix in lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Toss, cover and chill for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Yields:
  • 4 - 6 as a plated appetizer/salad.
  • 6 - 8 servings as part of a multi course sit down meal.
  • 15 - 20 for a pot luck buffet.
*Tip on tomatoes.  No matter what I am doing with fresh tomatoes, I always seed, salt, chop or slice and let drain for about 15 minutes and then pat them dry.  In my opinion it helps make the tomatoes stand up longer in a recipe.


SK's Double Chocolate Banana Bread (adapted)

When I see a post from Smitten Kitchen's blog, my eyes and ears perk up.  And I usually like if not love most of the things that I have chosen to make from her.

This one didn't disappoint either, it's delicious.  It's really a chocolate lover's dessert, while the flavor of the banana shines through. The only change I made was to add chopped walnuts along with the semi-sweet chocolate chips.  After all, what is banana bread without walnuts?  

Here's the link to the recipe:

And here is the picture of it right after I took it out of my oven.

And a picture of it sliced.  Yum!  Oh it's so easy to make too.


Bermuda ~

Getting away on vacation is so nice, doing it on a cruise ship is the best ~

Bermuda is gorgeous, a place to return to again and again.

Sun, surf and pink sand.

A beautiful blue lagoon.

And the most beautiful aqua blue ocean I have ever seen.

Back to reality now.... sigh!


Thai Carrot, Ginger, Apple and Cilantro soup ~

I belong to a board named and get many tips about restaurants, recipes and food in general.  If you haven't heard of it, just google it.

This recipe was submitted by juju, who got it from a cafetaria.  It's her favorite carrot recipe.  I needed a soup for work this week and made this little gem over the weekend.  It caught my eye because I love anything with Thai flavors.

Here's the recipe:

Thai carrot ginger soup:

3 lbs young carrots, peeled and rough chopped
1 lb onions, sliced thinly
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
1 leek sliced thinly, washed
2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped fine
2 cloves garlic
1 apple, ripe rough chopped with skin
1 stalk lemongrass, whole, bruised with a knife
1/8 lb butter, cubed
1 cup of chicken stock
½ tsp red thai curry paste
1 cup orange juice
½ bunch cilantro chopped
4 cans coconut milk
2 tbsp olive oil
Fish sauce to taste (around 2 Tablespoons)
Lime juice to taste

Add the butter and oil to a heavy bottom stock pot. Turn the heat on low. Add the onions, celery and leeks. Sweat out the onions, celery and leeks until fragrant and soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, ginger and thai curry paste. Mix well and cook for two minutes. Next add the carrots and lemongrass. Cook for five minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk along with the orange juice and apple. Bring to a boil and season again with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Working in batches puree the soup in a blender. When it is smooth add the chopped cilantro and fish sauce and lime juice to taste. It usually only take a tsp of each.

I halved the recipe and it made plenty.  It's really delicious,  thanks juju.