springtime sampler

We finally had some decent weather this past weekend and I was absolutely desperate to get out of the house. We’d never been to New Bedford, a town hailed for being one of the most important whaling ports in the 19th Century, so we made the one hour drive down from Boston and checked out some sites that Joseph had picked out.

The highlight was definitely Margaret’s (actually across the river in Fairhaven), a small, unpretentious seafood restaurant that we picked based on strong Yelp reviews. It was packed but turnover was fast enough that it seemed that no one ever had to wait. They had yummy focaccia at the table waiting for us before we even sat down which is both delightful and dangerous for someone who loves bread as much as I do. We both got seafood plates that had slightly different content, but pretty much the same sauce. The food – especially the huge, sweet, and plump mussels – was delicious and the prices were friendly on the wallet. Simple food done well, amazing prices, awesome service. If you’re ever in the area, I definitely recommend stopping by.

We also stopped by Lydia’s, a Portuguese Bakery, for some somewhat unmemorable pastries.  We knew nothing about Portuguese pastries and had no idea what to get, so that may have been the problem.  Next we headed to Sid Wainer & Son, a specialty food wholesaler with a retail store open to the public where you can get a $300 jar of winter truffles and enough free food samples to constitute a small lunch. Make sure to bring a jacket if you want to peruse their well-stocked cheese room.

Next was Travessia Winery, an urban winery that sources most of their grapes from a vineyard in Massachusetts. The Pinot Grigio and the Chardonnay are well worth skipping, while the Vidal Blanc and especially the red blend Jester, whose grapes are sourced from California, are tastier. Mostly I was just glad that you saved $2 off the tasting by opting out of getting the “free” glass.  Anyone want any winery wine glasses?  We have enough to stock a small restaurant.

Apparently I did too much walking on Saturday, because by Sunday it was suddenly much harder to walk. That didn’t stop me from going to the free Batch Ice Cream and Taza Chocolate tasting at the Taza Chocolate Factory! There was no way that I was going to miss free locally made chocolate and ice cream. Batch Ice Cream, of Jamaica Plain, MA, uses local and organic ingredients to make their ice cream from scratch. All their flavors are real — they come from real vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, coffee beans, and their handmade caramel, not from bottles. And Taza, well, I’ve already professed my love for their stone ground chocolate!  Taza topped off the ice cream with chocolate sauce and my favorite, chocolate covered cocoa nibs.  They’re nutty and fruity and crunchy and covered in chocolate and if you ask me, they are the epitome of the perfect topping for ice cream.

Hungry yet?  Well, if you’re not in New England, don’t worry, Taza is now sold in more than 40 U.S. states, Canada, Germany, and the U.K. and you can also order online which means you can ship those cocoa nibs right to my front door (or yours, whatever :)). Batch is only currently only sold in Massachusetts and ice cream doesn’t ship so well, so you’ll have to make the trek out here for it.

As great as that tasting was, it didn’t quite fill my need for frozen treats for the day. And as much as I wanted to dig into some more yummy, creamy ice cream, I was trying to maintain some degree of restraint so we headed to Chill in Brighton for some fro yo and ice cream. Joseph got the chocolate peanut ice cream and I got the mango frozen yogurt. We both went simple and skipped the many topping offerings. I asked for a small but ended up with a medium – so much for restraint!

Our last foodie stop of the weekend was to the H Mart, an Asian supermarket, which is significantly less crazy on a Sunday night.  By then my knee was really bothering me, so it was pretty much just a quick run through the sushi-grade fish aisle.  For dinner that night?  A nice big platter of homemade sake maki (salmon rolls). Sorry, we were too hungry and I was camped on the couch with an ice pack, so no photos of that. And tonight Joseph has promised me unagi-don (unagi sushi rice bowl), which makes me very, very happy.

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