a taste of days gone by.

Okay so now that I’m back to storytelling and sharing with you all the things I’ve been doing, places I’ve been and adventures I’ve been having, no story is complete without some reviews of the culinary experiences that got me through the last 6 months. This is probably one of my favorite ways to measure time and I’m already ready to get back to these places as soon as I can!


Good Life: 28 Kingston St., Boston, MA

After a particularly celebratory day at work, me and a few members of my work girl gang had a formal sit-down lunch at a nearby spot, famous for their "sandos". Upon entry, Good Life is a dark space with high ceilings and serves up some "hole-in-the-wall” vibes but one or two steps in and you notice the coziness and warmth of a place that is definitely a neighborhood bar for those that frequent the Financial District. We sat at a table that was snug against the window and I instantly noticed how it felt more pub-like than many places in Boston that try to pass themselves off as the real deal. I had never been before so I made my selection based on the input from my friends and went with the fish tacos. I hardly every have fish for lunch, let alone gently fried cod and salsa fresca, so I figured this was my chance. When the dishes arrived I was worried that three tacos and Mexican rice would be too heavy but was pleasantly surprised that the red and green cabbage mixture paired with scallions, cilantro and chipotle mayo was a zesty combination. (And no, the avocado wasn't extra.) I would recommend this spot to anyone who is wandering around the city and needs a break from the cold or wants a change of scenery from the typical grab-and-go options this neighborhood has to offer.

BreakfastQuesdailla | vanessainboston.com

Fusion Cafe: 607 Main St., Reading, MA

A three day weekend is the perfect excuse to make time for new things. Over Columbus Day weekend, P and I packed in about as much as we could when it comes to fall adventures and a proper brunch date was most certainly on the list. Because we've started the housing search, it's been fun to find new places we might not otherwise visit and familiarize ourselves with communities that could soon be ours. Fusion Cafe in downtown Reading was an excellent find. What seems to be modest in decor is certainly made up for in flavor and the breakfast menu has enough Latin-inspired dishes to spice up your typical brunch selection. As someone who usually opts for coffee in the morning, a green juice felt like a refreshing choice and it couldn't have been a better balance to my breakfast quesadilla which was a lighter Tex-Mex version of a grilled cheese and complete with eggs, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. This is a spot that is more for the breakfast and lunch crowd so work it into your weekend if you can and if you share my affinity for caffeine, a cappuccino to-go is never a bad idea!

PowerBowlLunch | vanessainboston.com

B.Good: 84 Summer St., Boston, MA

I get sooo many questions about my lunch choices during the week and more often than not, what you're seeing is a healthy bowl or salad from somewhere in the Financial District. After nearly five months at my new job, I've had the opportunity to taste test just about every healthy, carry-out option within walking distance of my office. What I have found that some are popular for a reason and B.Good is one such place. What I love about B.Good is that they offer a wide selection of choices, from the light and fresh to the cozy and comforting and everything in between, all while being environmentally and ethically conscious about where their food comes from and how it's treated. This makes me feel good about my choices whether it means that the produce was harvested using a sustainable method or it supports a small, local farm. I also know that what I’m putting in my body is natural, clean and fresh so I don’t have to think twice about whether it’s ACTUALLY good for me. When it comes to lunch options, B.Good is basically my BFF.

PEIMusselsDinner | vanessainboston.com

Ballo Italian Kitchen & Bar: 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville, CT

On a recent day-cation to Mohegan Sun, P & I joined a few friends for dinner at this finer of dining options on the casino property. I'm always down for a good noodle or pasta dish and a sneak peek of the menu had prepared me for their white clam sauce and of course, a solid pour of wine. I was able to take a glance of the decor in the space when we walked by to check into our room and it did not disappoint; arches, stone and other accents make you feel like you're in the midst of a medieval Italian feast. Our table was graciously gifted a table-side creation of gourmet macaroni and cheese (called "Macaroni a la Torchio") which was stirred into and out of Grana Padano cheese right in front of our eyes. Not one to resist a seafood taste test, P and I also split an order of the P.E.I. mussels to start and they were the garlicky bite I needed to hold me over until our main courses arrived. The service was wonderful and our waitress treated us as if we were old friends (exactly what I would expect from a polished Italian experience like this). Everything about our experience at Ballo was the perfect start to our night out and has me looking forward to returning the next time we’re planning at night at the casino.

SouthAsianBeerWingsLunch | vanessainboston.com

These Guys Brewing Company: 78 Franklin St., Norwich, CT

When P and I head out on day- or vacation adventures, we also plan a stop on the way that helps us fuel up for whatever is ahead. Usually, multiday trips are easier to plan because we have the opportunity to make sense of the map before us but on this September day, en route to Mohegan Sun, we needed a late lunch and something that would keep us full until dinner but not too full that we couldn't enjoy our experience. I pride myself on being able to find some neat spots and These Guys Brewing Company was exactly that. Local breweries intrigue me because we have one in my hometown that I think is such a novelty. It's also fun to get a sense of the local flavor (literally) by drinking what they're pouring. To accompany our tasting flight, we decided to split an appetizer and some more standard main dishes. Now, full disclosure: I'm not usually a wing person, not because they're not delicious but because they tend to be a mess and heavier. But boy, am I glad I didn't miss out on trying the South Asian Beer Wings . The description was what intrigued me and the sweet and tangy sauce is what ultimately made this our favorite thing. I decided right then and there that whatever that sauce was is my absolute favorite condiment and I'm wondering, if I ask really nicely, do you think These Guys will send it to me?

I’ve linked above to all of these places so you can check them out the next time you’re nearby! Have you already been to any of them? What is your favorite dish? Tell me in the comments!