Posts Tagged ‘Blog and Tweet Boston’

blogger flywheel class

By Kristina

PicFrame (1)

Today was another big post-baby fitness milestone: the first spin class! I took a blogger class via Blog and Tweet Boston, opting for the spin one with Catie Macken. I’d taken Azure Campbell‘s Flybarre class with Jen and my sister the week before, and that kicked my butt just as much as it did when I tried it for the first time earlier this year (with pregnancy modifications).

It was great to see familiar faces like Danielle, Jessie, and Elissa when heading into the studio. I chose a bike in the back–was really glad that they let us choose our bikes this time. Spin felt a lot better than I expected it to. It really is so much easier without an enormous baby bump, heartburn, and decreased cardio ability. I couldn’t hit some of the higher RPMs but could handle the recommended torq (and, with my newfound mommy upper body strength, felt a lot better in the arm song than I expected). I like that all past performance data is saved for you so you can make accurate comparisons and track progress.Since the last class I took in June, I improved my total power by 52, average mph by 2, and average torq by 2. I was really surprised to find that I’d gotten my highest total power ever in spite of not being in shape.

I found Catie very motivational, with easy to follow cues and a good variety of speeds and resistance. It’s hard to have spin workouts that feel like all hills or all sprints. Her playlist was fun too–a little Justin Bieber, a little Taylor Swift, and a little rock. She offered helpful tips such as “think of it as a forward-backward motion, not up and down” and direction on how to position our upper bodies. She also offered us earplugs at the beginning of class. I didn’t take her up on it, but some other bloggers mentioned that they’d had trouble understanding her and wished they’d taken them. We only saw the Torqboard at the beginning of class and during the final races during the last song. I’m glad she did that because I didn’t feel demotivated by it (which I may have done if it had been shown a lot).

Some promos that are happening this month (from the Flywheel newsletter):

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, BACK BAY!
We’re thankful for two years of flying with you, Boston! To celebrate, we’re offering you an unlimited wheel membership for only $220 per month, or you can become a FlyPlus+ member (unlimited Flywheel & FlyBarre) for only $270 per month – that’s $50 off our regular rates! Sign up now – this amazing offer expires on November 30.

FREE FLYIN’!
December’s cold. Warm up with a free class, on us! For every 4 times you ride in November, you’ll get one FREE wheel credit to use in December (if you pulse 4 times, you’ll get a free barre credit). See the front desk to get started!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary class. I was not paid to do this post. All opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links in this post.

Camille Albane

By Kristina

camillealbane.jpgLast Wednesday, I went to Camille Albane salon on Newbury Street for #BloggerBeauty, a makeup + hair party provided for Blog and Tweet Boston. Fellow attendees included Amanda, Amy, Emily, Jane, Janelle, Jen, Jessica, Jilian, Katherine, Kelsey, Morgan, Trianna, Victoria, and Whitney.

Friendly staff members welcomed us and told us about the history of Camille Albane’s Newbury Street location, which opened last April, and the overall brand history (including its relationship to Dessange). In spite of the impressive salon pedigree, the staff and the atmosphere were both down-to-earth. We chatted more over sparkling water, espresso, macarons, cheese, crackers, bread, and olives while groups of bloggers were taken to the hairstyling stations. I enjoyed the bonus mingling time (with bloggers and staff). At other blogger events, it’s hard to get to know fellow attendees with the fast pace of activities (especially if it’s CrossFit or Barry’s Bootcamp)! The mingling time also enabled me to find out cool Paris trip advice from Amy and that those very Laduree-looking macarons came from Whole Foods.

When it was my turn for hairstyling, my lovely stylist Liliya assessed my hair and talked to me about what I wanted (which, as it always is, more volume). She shampooed my hair while I sat in a ridiculously comfortable massage chair and watched the latest Paris runway fashions parade by on a flat-screen tv above the styling stations. She then put a moisturizing masque in my hair for about five minutes before taking me back to the hairstyling station. I was a bit intrigued by the Pigma color masques, but I think they would not have shown up on my hair. She used mousse on my hair, then worked her magic with a rolly brush to create a sleek, voluminous look, finishing it with some hairspray. I then proceeded to the makeup chair to let Jen work her magic with the new spring line of eyeshadows. Normally I would only pick such a bold blue for my running shoes or tank tops, but upon seeing Jen’s extremely well-done and bright makeup, I told her “I trust you, do what you want!” She put on a champagne base, blended in some blue shadow, and then lined my eyes with dark blue shadow. Jen’s work verified the theory that blue eyeshadow accentuates brown eyes 🙂

The salon sent us home not only with pretty hair and bold eyes but with blue + white makeup bags, shampoo, and conditioner. My only quibble? That we couldn’t do the event a few hours earlier and then go out and show off the results! I would definitely recommend checking out Camille Albane for its posh location, friendly customer service, and wide variety of hair cut and color options. The Yelp reviews on the bayalage look particularly favorable.

Camille Albane
252 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116
617.379.3220
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PopChips Palabok

By Kristina

When I arrived home after the PopChips cooking competition, I pondered how to use the original or BBQ PopChips in an inventive way that enhances flavor and texture. Their light, airy nature makes them ideal for a crumb topping, binder for veggie or meat burgers, or as a vehicle for tiny hors d’oeuvres. I thought of incorporating them into arepas, scallion pancakes, or a Filipino caesar salad.

I circulated through my mental recipe box for something that would “pop” with crumbled PopChips…and landed on pancit palabok, a favorite Filipino noodle dish from childhood. My mother cooked lots of Filipino food: empanadas, chicken adobo, lumpia (egg rolls), and variations of pancit. I loved being in the kitchen with her, watching her create the recipes from her little green recipe box. I especially loved getting to cut up the hard boiled eggs for topping pancit with our little egg slicer. Now that I live in Somerville, I have to ask her for advice by text or phone when I’m attempting adobo, pancit, or other dishes.

scan0001 Party time, circa 1981 #nofilter

Filipino food has a lot of Spanish and Chinese influences, with lots of interplay between sweet, sour, and salty flavors. Pancit palabok is a rice noodle dish topped with a shrimp-based sauce (whose red color comes from achiote powder), hard boiled eggs, shrimp, ground pork, scallions, garlic, and pork rinds. The pancit is usually served with kalamansi limes, which add a nice citrusy kick. I thought the PopChips would be a great healthy substitute for the crumbled pork rinds (chicharrons) that usually top the dish. My PopChip of choice: brown rice, quinoa, and chia (bought them post-competition to make sure there were enough for topping all of the pancit palabok).

There are many variations on palabok toppings: bacon, chorizo, tofu, tinapa flakes, mussels, and calamari. Likewise, the sauce ingredients span a wide spectrum of ready-made to homemade. Some folks use Knorr shrimp boullion cubes for the sauce while others make their own shrimp stock using the shells from their prawns. My variation includes zoodles (zucchini noodles), shrimp, tofu, and calamari.

palabok

This makes a lot. My fiance and I each ate a serving for dinner and there was enough left over for 3-4 more servings.

Noodles
4 zucchini

1. Put zucchini through a spiral slicer to make zoodles.
2. Put them in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for two minutes to “cook” them.
3. Place noodles into serving dish (or on plates).

Sauce
1.5 oz seafood stock (I used Glace de Mer)
4 tablespoons flour
1 packet Goya Sazon
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
*in retrospect, I wish I’d added some olive oil here.

I should have started the sauce by mixing oil/grease and flour and cooking those together before adding the shrimp stock, water, Goya Sazon, fish sauce, and soy sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Toppings
31-40 large shrimp (I used Whole Foods frozen cooked shrimp and thawed it)
1 pound calamari (rings and tentacles)
1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
fish sauce and soy sauce for marinade
2 cups PopChips
1 head garlic, minced
4 hardboiled eggs (chopped into wedges)
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup chives, chopped
avocado or olive oil
limes for garnish

1. Marinade the shrimp and calamari in fish sauce and soy sauce (about 30 minutes).
2. Fry the tofu cubes until golden.
3. Put the PopChips in a large ziploc bag and poke a hole in the bag. Roll a rolling pin over the bag until the PopChips are crumbled.
3. Toast the garlic and PopChips in a pan with about 3 tablespoons of oil until golden. Name them Pop-Chipcharrons.
4. Grill the calamari for about 2 minutes (until the rings and tentacles turn opaque).
5. Heat the thawed shrimp in a pan.
6. Mix together the shrimp, calamari, tofu, and sauce in a large sauce pan. Simmer for about five minutes.
7. Spoon the shrimp, calamari, tofu, and sauce mixture over the noodles. Top with the hardboiled eggs, scallions, chives, and Pop-Chipcharrons. Add lime to taste.

IMG_9960

Overall, I was happy with the dish. The zoodles’ lightness and freshness complemented the shrimp, calamari, and tofu. The hard boiled eggs (cooked according to the Mark Bittman method) turned out well, as did the calamari (which I cooked fresh for the first time). I liked that the Pop-Chipcharrons added the same light, airy crunch that real pork rinds do. For next time, I will work on improving the consistency/intensity of the sauce (perhaps with my own shrimp stock). I may also try this as a lettuce wrap with pork carnitas.

who will be popped?

By Kristina

Before the Blog and Tweet Boston Kitchensurfing cooking competition on Thursday at WorkBar, I imagined that a Ted Allen-esque character would introduce the chefs and their ultimate cooking challenge: create an appetizer, entree, and dessert using popchips plus ingredients like ras el hanout, quahog clams, and green jello.

IMG_9810

Alas, there was no “popping” block or fierce battles commentated by Jamie Bissonette, Tiffani Faison, or Joanne Chang, but there was some lively presentation by Aprons Off, Food is Love, and Perfect Bite.

While the Kitchensurfing chefs prepared their food on portable cooking stations, we sipped Polar Seltzer and Cran-Cods.

IMG_9811Polar Seltzer

IMG_9817Erin, Semirah, and Kerrie

IMG_9816Polar Seltzer and Cran-Cod

IMG_9829The Cooking Stations

We tried three dishes: a corn and cheddar soup, Vietnamese banh mi, and chicken and waffles. All chefs smoothly incorporated the popchips into their dishes so that they provided texture and complemented the flavors. The soup included popchips in the soup and as garnish. The banh mi had popchips in every single component: pork, mayo, pate, and baguette. The chicken and waffles used the popchips for breading and as the “waffle.” I found the chicken and waffles to be the most creative because of its riff on an old classic. I wanted to like the banh mi the most because of how much I love non-popchip banh mi, but I narrowly preferred the warmth and richness of corn & cheddar soup by Food is Love.

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Corn and Cheddar Soup

IMG_9845Banh Mi

IMG_9847 Chicken and Waffles

I’m looking forward to the popchips contest in which we create recipes using popchips (but in our own kitchens and not for lots of hungry bloggers!) by March 18. Readers will vote on the submissions and the winner will receive prizers form popchips and Kitchensurfing. There are so many possibilities for popchip use: binder for burgers, crumbs for breading, infusion in sauces, as a base for small appetizers, and many more!

Del Frisco’s Steakhouse

By Kristina

Today I attended a complimentary lunch provided for for Blog and Tweet Boston by Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, an upscale steakhouse located on Liberty Wharf in the Seaport District close to Jerry Remy’s, 75 on Liberty Wharf, and Tezmacal. For more casual occasions, there is a Del Frisco’s Grille in Chestnut Hill.

IMG_9717 restaurant

Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff serving samples of the VIP cocktail (clementine-infused vodka with pineapple juice) and pomegranate martini.

IMG 1 VIPcocktail

IMG 2 pomegranatemartini

We ate in the Harbor Room, a sizable room ideal for engagement dinners, rehearsal dinners or private parties. I sat with Jess, Erin, Liz, Jen, Jill, Tali, and Semirah. We got to try a wide variety of the Del Frisco’s appetizers, salads, entrees, steaks, and dessert, with many dishes served family-style. The staff even brought out display versions for us to photograph. Overall, I enjoyed the food and would come back for a special occasion.

Appetizers

We tried the following excellent appetizers. I’d be tempted to make a meal of them!
– Ahi tuna tartare with citrus, capers, kalamata olive spread and crostini
– Shanghai-style fried calamari with sweet chili glaze, bean sprouts, cherry peppers, crushed peanuts and scallions
– Crab cake with Cajun lobster sauce

IMG_9722 tuna 1 Tuna, Individual Portion

IMG_9724 tuna 2Tuna, Family-Style

IMG_9730 calamari Calamari

IMG_9728 crab cakeCrab Cake

Salads

After appetizers came the salads, both of which would have been filling entrees (ahi tuna salad if looking for a light, fresh meal and steakhouse salad if looking for a rich, substantial meal).
– Seared ahi tuna with shaved napa cabbage, arugula, mango, chilled noodles, toasted almonds, tomato, avocado, ginger-sesame dressing
– Steakhouse salad with broiled prime strip steak, deviled egg, baby mixed greens, watercress, avocado, cherry tomato, bacon, parmesan, blue cheese & horseradish lemon dressing

IMG_9733 ahi salad 1Ahi Salad, Individual Portion

IMG_9737 ahi salad 2Ahi Salad, Family-Style

IMG_9732 steakhouse salad 1Steakhouse Salad, Individual Portion

IMG_9738 steakhouse salad 2Steakhouse Salad, Family-Style

Entrees

The waitstaff kept the food coming, bringing us a variety of entrees to try. My favorites were the filet medallion, corn, and mushrooms.
– Prime shaved steak sandwich with au jus and horseradish sauce accompanied by house-made chips
– Sole francese with lump crabmeat, baby arugula, cherry tomato, lemon chive beurre blanc
– Ribeye steak, strip steak, and filet medallions
– Sides: Harpoon beer-battered onion rings, corn, mushrooms, and potatoes

IMG_9734 steak sandwich Steak Sandwich

IMG_9748 soleSole Francese

IMG_9743 medallions 1Filet Medallions

IMG_9767 ribeye stripRibeye + Strip Steaks + Mushrooms

IMG_9769 onionringsOnion Rings

IMG_9759 cornCorn

IMG_9758 potatoesPotatoes

Dessert

The final offering was a six-layer lemon doberge cake topped with lemon buttercream icing. Cakes are made fresh every morning. I’m not surprised–these probably sell out every night!

IMG_9774 lemon cakeLemon Doberge Cake

IMG_9773Jess with the Display Slice

IMG_9788 coffeeCoffee…much needed to fight the food coma!

Check It Out

IMG_9787 executive chefExecutive Chef Derek Barragan

Del Frisco’s
250 Northern Ave
Boston MA 02110

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