Dinner At Sarma, Somerville, Mass.

Green garlic and zucchini keftedes at Sarma, Somerville, Mass.

I love Oleana. It is one of my favorite places to sit outside and share small plates with friends. The food is incredible. Sofra makes my favorite chocolate chip cookies. And they both make one of my absolute favorite desserts: chocolate-hazelnut baklava. So when Sarma (a joint venture from Cassie Piuma and Ana Sortun) opened, I couldn't wait to go and I had really high expectations.

It actually took me longer than I thought to get over to the restaurant, and I finally ended up having dinner there a couple of weeks ago with Emily and Daisy. The restaurant is not really close to anything, so I was surprised at how crowded it was when we walked in. (I've also read that parking is hard to find, and I did drive around a little bit but didn't have much trouble finding a spot on a nearby street.)

The concept is similar to a tapas restaurant, with Sarma offering small, seasonal plates that are meant to be shared (meze). I am always up for sharing lots of little plates!


Chunky Turtle Ice Cream From Scoop Adventures

Chunky turtle ice cream

The rule when making caramel, especially when starting with just sugar, is never walk away from the stove. But my washing machine was singing and my sugar wasn't melting yet, so I ran downstairs to switch the laundry in the middle of making caramel. When I got back upstairs and looked in the pan, there was a small puddle of deeply browned caramel in the middle and I thought I'd lost it, but as I mixed that caramel into the rest of the sugar, the whole mixture turned a lovely deep amber, and it actually came out just perfect.

Sugar for caramelCaramel

Why was I making caramel?


Aruba Restaurant Highlights


My mom and my two sisters and I recently spent a week in Aruba for research. No, you didn't misread that. We went to hot, sunshine-filled Aruba and spent days working on our tans, reading books for fun, playing cards, and filling up on grouper for research.


Things I'm Lovin'

Just wanted to share some things that are making me happy lately…

Image from Crate & Barrel website

Colorful Zuma Trays at Crate & Barrel. I'd been eyeing these trays every time I went into Crate & Barrel and finally decided I needed one. I went with dark green, and I love it! I think it will be such a fun piece to incorporate in summer table settings.


Dinner At Bondir, Concord, Mass.

Bondir, Concord, Mass.

Hi, friends! You may have noticed that I was kind of quiet this past week. That's because I was in Aruba, finally getting some warmth and sunshine and spending quality time with my mom and sisters (posts to come on some great restaurants there)! Before I left, though, Jeff and I made a last-minute decision to go out to dinner, and after looking over lots of menus from various restaurants I want to try, we decided to see if we could get a table at Bondir in Concord. There was a spot available at 8:45, and even though that's a bit later than we'd normally go out, we took it. Concord is about a half-hour drive from us, so the late reservation gave us plenty of time to get ready (and time for me to do some last-minute packing) and to make the drive out there.

We parked on Walden Street, where Bondir is located, and I looked around at all the stores (closed because it was after hours) lining the street and was confused as to where Bondir might be in the midst of them. We walked a little ways down the street, and at the end of the row of stores, set back a little, was the restaurant.


Whole Grain Sampling Day

Whole Grain Sampling Kit

Today is Whole Grain Sampling Day! You may remember that last year I was a whole grain ambassador, and I am happy to be a whole grain ambassador again this year. What does that mean? It means I get to tell you all the great things about whole grains!

Whole grains contain the three edible parts of a grain: the outer bran layers, which are rich in fiber and B vitamins; the germ, which is full of antioxidants; and the starchy endosperm. Because refined grains have the bran and germ removed, they are missing a lot of essential nutrients. So if you're trying to get the biggest bang for your buck healthwise, whole grains are the way to go.