Sweet Green Fort Point

8 Apr

Out of all the thing New York City has to offer I really don’t miss much since I’ve moved back to Boston. Aside from my sister and the ability get anything I want at anytime, the one thing I truly and sincerely miss is the abundance of make your own salad bars scattered throughout all of New York. I’m talking about when you select all your ingredients and someone tosses everything together, dresses it, and packages it up for you.  You can’t walk a block in Manhattan without passing by 2 or 3 specialty salad outposts. They range from high quality top of the line chains like Chop’t and Just Salad to pretty much any bodega you might run into for gum. Here in Boston you might see a salad bar, that but that’s about it. I’d never heard of Sweet Green, but when I read they were opening a few doors down from my apartment I decided to investigate further.

Welcome to Sweet Green!

Welcome to Sweet Green!

If you don’t know, Sweet Green is essentially a salad joint that sources local organic ingredients and strives to create healthy food for a happy and healthy life. It’s my understanding this chain started in the greater DC area and has branched as far as Boston, with an additional location in the Prudential Center.  Your salad base can be a number of organic greens, or warm grains, which is a mix of quinoa and farro. One can select a pre-made concoction or create their own salad choosing from fresh toppings like avocado (costs extra), roast chicken, local cheeses, raw vegetables, and fresh clean dressings. Many options are vegan or vegetarian. Sweet Green also offers house-made soups as well as a variety of ice teas and lemonade.

The salad making assembly line and some tables

The salad making assembly line and some tables

Monthly Special

Monthly Special

The line was long, but it did give me some time to explore my options and check out what everyone was ordering. My suggestion would be to go either at 11:30 or closer to 1:00. Avoid noon.  There are a ton of employees around this neighborhood who will continue to get these tasty salads every day.

That lines wraps all the way outside

That lines wraps all the way outside

The verdict? My salad was delicious. I always feel a bit of pressure when ordering in an assembly line, so I will likely tweak my choices a few more times before I know just what my perfect combination will be. This time, I tried the warm grains with goat cheese, shredded kale, avocado, carrots, raw corn, roasted chicken, pita chips, and balsamic vinaigrette. Without question each ingredient was high quality and delicious. The green iced tea with a splash of organic lemonade was also top-notch.

Lunch!

Lunch!

Sweet Green’s identity is somewhat unique making it a little different from your classic New York make your own salad shop. Although it’s great, this niche allows it to fall just short of filling the void left in my belly when I am craving my workday lunchtime salad. I think I will survive anyway, and I will definitely be back to Sweet Green for another delicious salad.

Sweet Green is located at 372 Congress Street in Fort Point (across the street from Row 34 and in the same building as the Residence Inn)

 

Sunday at Franklin Southie

8 Apr

I normally shy away from Franklin Southie because the menu is a bit odd and I never really know what to order. I’ve had dinner there before and although it was delicious, I had a hard time with my food selection. Given that Franklin is just a short walk from our apartment, we have been meaning to give it another shot for a while. On Sunday we headed down to Dorchester Avenue for brunch and were quite pleased with our meal. Just to be clear, the menu is definitely a little strange. There is a huge selection of brunch cocktails along with non alcoholic options. For food, the menu is divided into a raw bar, small plates, large plates, and sides. It took us a long time to decide what to order because the small plates seemed like they should be large and large plates seemed overly complicated. Did we order sides or did the large plates come with them? It wasn’t clear. Regardless, a ton of items sounded like a fun and different way to brunch, so we decided to share of a bunch of plates. First, we tried the fried PB and J. House made jelly and nut praline are sandwiched, lightly battered and fried, then drizzled with honey. I suppose it’s kind of hard for that to be bad, I think I just would have preferred it for dessert.

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Mini Lemon poppy-seed Muffins to start

Delicious PB and J - just a tiny bit too much batter for my taste.

Delicious PB and J – just a tiny bit too much batter for my taste.

We also ordered a breakfast sandwich which was considered a small plate (costing 4 dollars). It was a classic bacon, egg, and cheese on an english muffin. On the side we tried the cheesy grits which were creamy and delicious.

 

Cheesy Grits

Cheesy Grits

These three items were more than enough food, but we didn’t know this, and had ordered a plate of two eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, and toast. It was all high quality but we barely touched it on top of our other food.

Standard Bacon, Egg, and Cheese

Standard Bacon, Egg, and Cheese

Two Eggs, Bacon, Home fries, and Toast

Two Eggs, Bacon, Home fries, and Toast

My “Miracle Mimosa” was also a fun way to start a Sunday. It’s a larger glass filled with ice, orange juice, and cava. Coffee was also fresh and warm.

Brunch Bevie

Brunch Bevie

Franklin Southie is pretty good, but I still just don’t like the way their menu is laid out. I found it unclear as to what is for sharing or starting and what  is a main dish or a side. I did think our service was good, but a little guidance would have been nice. All in, our meal was 40 dollars including two drinks. I think I would try it again for brunch, but I’m still a little skeptical about dinner.

Pastoral in Fort Point – Finally!

31 Mar
Entrance on Congress Street on Fort Point

Entrance on Congress Street in Fort Point

My husband and I have been waiting for Pastoral to open since we moved to Fort Point on September. After months and months of supposed openings and the occasional tease from Facebook and Instagram, last Friday, the Italian restaurant specializing in pizza finally opened it’s doors. We called ahead and secured a table for 2 at 9:00 pm. I really needed to try it after waiting in eager anticipating for so long.

Bar Area

Bar Area

 

Main Dining Area

Main Dining Area

I will go into the scene really quickly and then get right down to the food and pricing. We arrived a few minutes early and had a drink at the bar. The staff was absolutely pleasant and seemed just as excited as I was for their opening day. The bar was jumping with dinners and drinkers, so we found a little nook and stood in that corner waiting for our table. I ordered a 9 dollar glass of Montepulciano and it was served to me by a smiling bartender in a little glass water cup.  The cup fit in perfectly with the whole style of Pastoral which I saw as casual and rustic good-eats meets trendy hipster-like setting in a hot dining neighborhood. The noise level was high, but in an energetic way were we could still converse and hear at a normal decibel level.

More Beer and Wine List

More Beer and Wine List

Beer and Cocktail List

Beer and Cocktail List

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu

So. We had two pizzas. I wanted to order quite a bit more but my husband wasn’t feeling on top of his game so we just went in for the basics. Mike had a prosciutto pie with freshly cut prosciutto, fresh made and torn mozzarella, and tomatoes. I went for something a bit more crazy and tried the lemon pizza. This was topped with thin lemon and jalapeño slices, fresh mozzarella and bonito. I loved the dough of the pizza and for me it was the best part. My husband thought it was too “chewy”, but I don’t even know what that means, so I’m ignoring it. We recently came across an Eater Article of the best pizzas in the country, 3 of which were located in our old neighborhood in Brooklyn (which we frequented regularly). Point being, I think we know a thing or two about artisan pizza, and Pastoral was good. If I had it my way, I would want a few more options for these magical creations made so authentically in their pizza oven. Although ingredient quality was both high and unique, I’d like to see a few more variations on some Naples classics. Just my opinion.  All in, we paid about 50 bucks including tip. We had two drinks. Dessert looked awesome but we were too full. I will definitely save room for it next time.

Prosciutto Pie

Prosciutto Pie

Lemon Pizza. Next time I'd go without the fish flakes. but I'm not as adventurous as a should be!

Lemon Pizza. Next time I’d go without the fish flakes. but I’m not as adventurous as a should be!

All in, Pastoral is going to be a huge hit. The food is tasty, gluten-free options are available for both pizza and pasta, and it’s a fun and vibrant crowed that makes people happy. Check it out, but give them a call first and be sure to book a table!

Chimayo in Park City – Don’t go During Sundance, but go Otherwise!!

28 Mar

Park City has a surprisingly large amount of restaurants.  They range from incredible to okay, and from upscale low-key. It’s a family friendly place, but also a hot spot of those that want to pay top prices to stay in a gorgeous hotel on a ski mountain. The Sundance Film Festival adds quite a bit of appeal as well, taking over the town during the week-long celebration each year. I’ve sampled quite a few of the Park City dining options, the upscale lodges at Deer Valley, the charming stops on Main Street, and even the fast food at Redstone. If I had to pick a favorite, it would certainly be Chimayo. It’s a fun slightly upscale spot that isn’t too stuffy. The atmosphere is lively and the decor is Mexican with beautifully carved wooden tables and benches and stamped metal light fixtures. Try to get a cozy booth! With festive plates and glasses, it’s a nice place to enjoy a high quality Southwestern meal. I’ve been several times before, and when my sister and her husband joined us in Park City this year, it seemed like the obvious place to take them. Our meal was delicious as usual. Great wines, Mexican beer, and tasty margaritas (despite Utah state law prohibiting any more than 4 ounces of tequila being a part of one), and terrific food. I have the same thing every time I go to Chimayo. Stuffed Breast of Chicken “Nacho Grande Style”. This dish is an upscale twist on an American classic and is actually stuffed with cheese nachos and served with a half avocado and mashed potatoes crafted with nacho cheese. It is just as good as it sounds. We also ordered the delicious Tortilla Soup, Chimayo Style Caesar Salad, Honey and Chili Duck Enchiladas and the Crown Roast of Barbecue Spareribs. Other treats consist of Chimayo’s twist on classics like London Broil of Elk and Goat Cheese and Mozzarella Chile Relleno.  The food and the service are always excellent.

Classiest nachos I've ever had!

Classiest nachos I’ve ever had!

What was wrong with this meal? We went during Sundance. What did that mean? Two things. More crowds and more money.  Although at Chimayo reservations are more of an acknowledgment that you will be seated roughly around the time you requested, you normally are seated within 10 minutes of your arrival. During Sundance, we waited over 45 minutes for our table and had to wrestle with the drones of people coming in the from the street, opening the door to the cold, and without having anywhere to sit, it wasn’t really ideal. I guess when you add that it took us 25 minutes to get downtown from my in-law’s house, which is normally a 5 minutes drive, we were kind of ready to just sit down. On top of that, the prices were  tremendously marked up.  Chimayo did let us know ahead of time that there would be an eighty dollar price fix, but it was still a lot of money to shell out. So here’s my thought. Go to Chimayo, it’s fun, tasty, and a great option for dining on Main Street. Be prepared to maybe wait a little, book ahead, and also know that it’s going to be more expensive than going to Chilis or Ortegas. This is because it’s better and the kitchen uses high quality and authentic ingredients. I would recommend to go anytime of year, but stay away during Sundance. I know this is the best time for the local merchants to make money, and I think that’s great, I would just rather support their business without such a large crowd and such a heavy up-charge.

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Four Corners – You Can Be in Four Places at Once!

26 Mar

Four Corners - you can be in four place at once!

My family isn’t really the National Park type. We don’t take hikes or camp and despite my husband’s hopes and dreams, we probably are never going to drive cross country in an RV. Besides a trip to Yosemite that was essentially based around staying at the Ahwahnee, it’s just not our thing. We are travelers, but neither nature nor Americana has ever been the focal point of any journey.

Imagine my surprise when I learned my parents and sister were taking my nieces to the Four Corners while staying in Santa Fe. JEALOUS! Did I want to ride 5 hours in a Tahoe with two small children through the middle of nowhere just to see a place where 4 states meet? Or was this just such an unusual occurrence that I just needed to be a part of it? Either way, the date was changed so that I too could make this journey to, as my 4 year old nieces says, put my body in 4 states at the same time. After some research we learned that we should prepare for no gas, cell phone service, or food for at least 30 miles near the site. Okay, a picnic from Whole Foods it is. That’s a story for another day.

Four Corners is located within the Navajo Nation, and for those of you that don’t know, it is the place where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. We had no idea what to expect on this trip, but did know that there would be camper parking available on the site. Okay, good to know. We were way out of our league here.

I drove the first shift which was gorgeous. We left Santa Fe and 6 am and took 550 almost the entire way. On the drive we saw such a wide spectrum of scenery ranging from lush greenery to red rocks, and from white dunes to perfectly striped ancient mountains. It was incredible. We passed through two “main towns”, Farmington and Shiprock. These towns essentially consisted of gas stations, some fast food, and pawn shops. Shiprock is named for a large standalone rock structure that we saw for miles prior to driving through the town. It looks like ship, according to some people. I thought it looked like a rock, but thats okay, it was still pretty cool.

After getting lost just the one time, we continued to blaze through our last half hour on the road consisting of bumps and dirt. Barely marked, we turned into the area of our destination. After paying 3 dollars per person, we pulled on up and took a good look around. All you can see is earth. As far as the eye can see, there were no signs of people, buildings, anything. It was awesome. Of course there were some porta-potties and fry bread stands, but that was part of the experience right? There were a decent amount of cars and several campers, kids and adults, some class groups, but I got the feeling it gets quite a bit more crowded in the summer months. The Four Corners Monument itself is a large metal square marker on concrete, surrounded by viewing areas and little rock gardens – kind of a twist on an ancient Greek amplitheater. On the 4 corners of this area are stalls for merchants to sell local goods, and American Indians were present with things like tee shirts and totes bags, but also some lovely jewelry and baskets. It wasn’t tacky at all, actually, it was quite lovely.

Walking the kiddies to the site itself

Walking the kiddies to the site itself

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Getting excited about putting one’s body in 4 states! :)

After everyone took their obligatory photos with the marker itself, the girls ran around and played. Sadly, I needed to use the restroom which was as to be expected, nasty. It didn’t matter, par for the course I guess? Perhaps if we had our own camper, I would be more accustomed to this, or I would just use my own bathroom on wheels. Either way, we ended our delightful trip with a tasty whole foods picnic at a table overlooking the beauty of the American Southwest. I’ll take it.

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Pretty epic scenery

I checked online to see if there were any rituals associated with the monument or must do’s while visiting. I found none, but was so surprised by the comments of previous visitors. Many called it boring, a long ride for nothing, unimpressive, or pointless. I found it to be the complete opposite. It was authentic, not overindulged, and uncontrived. It was such a fun day with my family, and of course being able to now say I have been in 4 places at once, that’s a plus too. I’m not renting a camper anytime soon, but I would love to do something like this again. Where we all the roadtrippers going next? The Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Zion, or some other place I’ve never even heard of? I don’t even know if it was the actual Four Corners that I loved, but the trip we took there, and the ground we covered. So much history and culture that we can now, in some small way, relate to. I guess for me, as they say, it was the journey that was the reward. Zion is definitely next on the list, and yes, it’s because of Star Wars and yes, I will want to stay at the Amangiri. You can have it both ways :)

Santa Fe Bite

25 Mar

If you are a burger fanatic, you have probably heard of Bobcat Bite. It’s a burger joint off the beaten path in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This tiny pink restaurant sits up a small hill right off a main road. The parking lot of made of dust and dirt.  Although small with a simple menu, it is nothing short of delicious. Their green chile cheeseburger is an iconic meal- the New Mexican twist to an American classic. Bobcat Bite does it right. Juicy and delicious with just the right amount of spice. Not only do you not need ketchup, but you’ll be sure to eat the entire thing.

Bobcat recently moved. Sad? Not really. I had the privilege of enjoying a  green chile cheeseburger there last week. Although it’s old location has a charm and history that made it something special, Santa Fe Bite, in its new location, it not only closer to town (in fact, in town) with a much larger space (don’t expect the lines to be any shorter), but it also has a few new twists to the menu, offering weekend brunch and salads on top of their amazing burgers, chicken sandwiches, and steaks.

The best of the best!

The best of the best!

The Original Location

The Original Location

Santa Fe Bite is both delicious, fun, and comfortable. It’s the kind of restaurant everyone wishes they had in their own town. We ate there with my two small nieces, and the staff was accommodating and friendly. They also offer beer and wine, so it’s certainly adult oriented as well! Sit indoors, at their small and picturesque bar, or outdoors if the weather is warm enough. At our table we had the green chile cheeseburger (of course), chopped salad, street tacos, sweet potato fries, and some tasty looking kids grilled cheese. My advice is to go early, be prepared to wait a little, and enjoy your delicious meal! If you feel you are missing out on the tradition and charm of the old location just go ahead and drive by – the building with the sign is still there! Now, you just have the comfort of eating right in town. I had only been to the previous location once but with the new convenience, it will certainly be a part of my rotation every time I have the good fortune to visit Santa Fe.

 

 

MC Spiedo

17 Mar

20140317-065007.jpg

I was so busy waiting for Pastoral and Bastille Kitchen to open in Fort Point, I almost missed the opening of this fun new Italian restaurant located in the Seaport’s Renaissance Hotel. MC Spiedo has been open for a little over a month and I’ve been twice, so needless to say, it’s not too shabby.

The restaurant has an interesting theme which is both fun and kind of weird at the same time. The dining experience and food is intended to take diners back to the old world flavors of the Italian Renaissance period. Pros of this concept are a festive dining space- sweeping red curtains and over the top light fixtures – and some pretty awesome menu items that you definitely can’t get anywhere else. Cons are a lack of tomatoes. And this isn’t even really a con, it’s just kind of weird. According to MC Spiedo, there were no tomatoes in the 14th century. Dishes include tomato paste and what seems like tomato sauce, but nonetheless, waitstaff does like to point out the (not so) ever-present lack of tomatoes.

Putting the juicy round vegetable/fruit aside, the food at MC Spiedo is awesome. There is a food cart with well priced items like burrata and olives. The menu ranges from pizza to entrees, including a Torta which everyone must try. This pie is filled with meatballs, meat sauce, and cheese tortellini, and it’s out of this world. Wines are delicious as well.

It’s good. Go to MC Spiedo.

THE STREET – Movie Theater Heaven

13 Mar

Wow. My husband and I have visited this shopping center 3 times in the past 2 weeks. And let’s get one thing straight, it’s much more then a shopping center. This dream is in Chestnut Hill, just by the Mall and the new Chestnut Hill Square (former home of the Atrium shopping mall). The Street boasts a wide range of restaurants, shops, and a pretty incredible movie theater. It’s essentially an outdoor mall of the uspcale variety. Stores include the likes of Splendid, Lululemon, Calypso, and Pottery Barn. Resturants range from Del Friscos Grill, a moderalty priced alternative to the steakhouse, Shake Shack, Legal Seafood, Pinkberry, and Comellas, a local Italian take-out post. Added extras include Be Styled, a blow dry bar for beauty, Treat Cupcake Bar, for sweets lovers of all ages, and Sports Club LA, to work all this yummy food off. To complete this one stop shopping expirence, The Street also has a Star Market and Container Store.

With all The Street has to offer, the absolute highlight is the SuperLuxe Showcase Cinema.  A movie theater with waiter service, a full dinner menu featuring food from Davios (and all the yummy traditional movie treats like Twizzlers and M & Ms), unlimited popcorn, and super comfy seats that almost fully recline with footrests. Oh, and, a full bar. By far the best movie viewing experience we have ever had. Tickets are just a bit more then the regular movies, and in my opinion, for a date our fun outing, totally worth it. I don’t know that we will ever be able to go back to a regular movie theater again!

Whether you want a bite to eat, to catch a flick, to get your hair done or go shopping, The Street is the place to do it. And, it hasn’t been around for all that long, so great new options can be expected to open as well. I just can’t wait to go back!

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Full Bellys at Belly

6 Dec
Full Bellys at Belly

This was one good cheese plate!

My best friend and I have been to Belly quite a few times. We like to catch a movie at the art house nearby and end our night with a little wine and cheese. We’ll do glasses, bottles, one or two cheeses, that sort of thing. Although they do have a full menu including some really yummy looking fried chicken, we stick to cheese (it’s kind of our thing). The last time we indulged, we had an out of control experience. Here’s the deal.

Each day (I assume) Belly offers a different selection of cheeses. They are classified on the menu by their style with terms such as “earth”, “funk”, and “the blues”. One can select the option of having one cheese, five cheeses, or “The Mongress Loves You”. This is a selection of every cheese on the menu, including an entire small cheese (think Camembert, goat, or  baby brie). There is also an option to order Parmigiana Reggiano with local honey. Yum. When we go to Belly, the first thing we do is order our wine. The list is glass heavy but we always go for a bottle, the cheaper the better. This time, we ordered our bottle and asked our server to talk to us about the cheese. We hear about the eight varieties in detail. They sound SO good. If there are two things about my best friend and me that are true, they are that we love cheese plates and can’t make decisions. Sooooo……the Mongress Loves You won! Our waiter looked at us in way that made me feel like he thought we were secret fat kids and had at least 2 extra heads, but also in a way where I could tell he was sort of proud of us for going for it.

We drank our wine, catching up, excited about the cheese to come. Maybe we were a little embarrassed that we had ordered well over 10 ounces of cheese for the two of us, but what did we care? And then we got the cheese. Oh my Lord. It was so good. Every once of those 10 plus ounces of cheese was perfect, served with honey, plain and cranberry walnut toasts, and some nuts. Creamy, hard, semi-soft, it was the perfect combination of tastes and textures. The toasts complimented the glorious cheese, especially the creamier ones, quite well.

While we debated back and forth over our favorites, we obviously finished our bottle of wine. The cheese was almost gone, the wine was completely gone, but our conversation was far from over. Another glass! With Belly’s confusing and overwhelming wine by the glass selection (probably quite lovely for someone with a classier taste in wine and a more experienced palate) we weren’t sure what to do. I think our waiter could tell that we felt this way, or maybe he just new that we has already had a bottle of wine and essentially a pound of cheese. He offered to bring us some samples of wine to try before we made our selections. We tried 3 red wines, and each pour was at least 2 ounces. We didn’t even need that glass after that! Our waiter passionately described each type of wine in the way he’d gotten into the cheese. We hemmed and hawed, eventually ordered 2 glasses. Our waiter then brought us another treat on the house- the Parmigiana-Reggiano with local honey. It was the last thing that we needed, but we certainly ate it. It was delicious!

So, if I were you, I’d give Belly a try. Although I’d always stick to wine and cheese, lots of other other interesting things did keep coming out of the kitchen. Find it in Kendall Square!

 

 

 

Alma Nove….. A Lovely South Shore Treat!

7 Nov

My husband and I decided to check out some open houses in Hingham last weekend. When we got hungry, we decided to go to Alma Nove. Frankly, we really enjoyed it. Honestly, I wanted to go because I knew Marky Mark’s brother was the chef there – and lets face it – who doesn’t live for Mark Wahlberg. I mean, I certainly do. We drove through the town of Hingham, past gorgeous Main Street and the picturesque downtown, and headed to the Shipyard. What a great shopping center with a grocery store, shops, and condos! We drove past the Hingham Beer Works and Wahlburgers to get to Alma Nove.  It’s really a beautiful spot on the water. The room is upscale but still comfortable, high ceilings and huge windows that cover about two-thirds of the restaurants so patrons can enjoy a water view. Outdoors is a huge fire pit which I would love to sit by on a slighty warmer day – there’s a ton of outdoor seating for the summertime as well. This place seems to offer a top of the line alfresco experience, and I would love to check it out. There are also grills for outdoor cooking!

We arrived in-between meals so we took at seat of the bar. It was a Sunday, and their menu on Sunday is dinner all day. They also had some smaller bites and options as specials. Everything on the menu looked delicious, entrees, pastas and yummy sounding salads.  We had dinner plans in the city a few hours earlier so we were looking for something on the lighter side.  Although we “escaped” a heavier dish, our meal was certainly not small. Oh well, with us, it never is! We shared a caprese salad made with fresh burrata and topped with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh sea salt and pepper. It was delicous.The bread was also quite good.

Heirloom Tomatoes with Creamy Burrata and Toasts- pretty and delicious!

Heirloom tomatoes with creamy burrata and toasts was pretty and delicious!

To drink, I tried the Town Forrest, a delicious concoction made of vodka and prosecco, and a mix of fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. YUM.

Another gorgeous and delicious treat!

Another gorgeous and delicious treat!

For our main meals at our snack of a lunch that turned out to be a ton of food, I had the special sandwich and soup. Mixed vegetable soup with spiced cashews on top and a turkey sandwich. The soup was a touch bland but the spiced nuts really gave it a nice crunch and the perfect splash of taste. The bites I had with the cashews were by far the best. The sandwich was great, freshly sliced turkey served with a aioli on a soft brioche bread. Mike had the burger, which was amazing. Perfect amount of melt in your mouth burger served on an equal delicious brioche roll. The fries were great too!

Turkey Sandwich and Soup

Gourmet turkey sandwich and soup

Perfect burger - ready to be consumed!

Perfect burger – ready to be consumed!

Alma Nove, you were really fun. We’d love to check you out again for dinner or brunch, especially in the summer. We will be back!

Alma Nove on Urbanspoon

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