Davio’s 30th Anniversary Celebration to Benefit The Greater Boston Food Bank

Davio's 30 Anniversary

Davio’s 30 Anniversary

Wednesday, October 21 from 6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse (Event and Ticket Information)
75 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116

One thing that is certain to capture my heart is a celebration for a great cause. I am excited to announce one of my favorite restaurants, Davio’s will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 with food, drinks and dancing to benefit the The Greater Boston Food Bank. This is a great opportunity to enjoy cocktails, wine, homemade pastas, desserts while mingling local Boston celebrities and sports players with live music by French Lick with WYC Grousebeck! Tickets are $200 per guest and 100% of the proceeds raised will be donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank. I hope to see you there!

Would you like to see your upcoming event listed or invite me to check it out? Contact me!

New Summer Menus in Boston

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

Ahhh, summer! As the city packs away remnants of the dreadful reminders of its epic winter, everyone is heading out to enjoy summer every way possible. Winter in Boston is famously freezing but summer here can also be terribly unbearable. The good news is there are plenty of ways to stay cool and enjoy summer before we have to return to bundling up and complain about winter again. Two great places are sure to welcome you inside from the heat with their new summer menus: Haru and The Tip Tap Room.

Haru, located at 55 Huntington Avenue in the Back Bay, is a great place to enjoy summer indoors.The following summer dishes and cocktails are available now until October 6:

HARU Bluefin Crab and Corn Fritter

HARU Bluefin Crab and Corn Fritter

From the kitchen:
Bluefin Crab & Corn Fritter: blue crab, corn, green onion, ginger, Thai basil and an Old Bay dressing ($8)
Tuna Tataki & Tomato Salad: seared rare tuna, vine ripened tomatoes, avocado and fresh herbs in a light lemon vinaigrette ($16)
Watermelon Roll: snow crab, green onion, mint and watermelon that is topped with shrimp and served with a lemon dressing ($18)

Watermelon Lemonade and Cucumber Matcha Margarita

Watermelon Lemonade and Cucumber Matcha Margarita

From the bar:
Cucumber Matcha Margarita:
Avión Silver tequila, Ty Ku Cucumber sake, Luxardo and matcha mixed in with a housemade cucumber-jalapeño ($7.50)
Watermelon Lemonade: Absolut Citron, Ty Ku Silver Junmai, St-Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh watermelon, lemon and thyme syrup. ($7.50)

Sounds delicious, right?! Everyone will surely look for retreat from the heat and some will flock indoors to cool off so  call 617.536.0770 or visit www.harusushi.com to make your reservation!

If you are unaware, one thing you should know is Boston does brunch and we brunch HARD!

Tip Tap Room - Tip Tap Breakfast

Tip Tap Room – Tip Tap Breakfast

Tip Tap Room - Biscuits & Gravy

Tip Tap Room – Biscuits & Gravy

Chefs Brian Poe and Douglas Rodrigues of The Tip Tap Room, located at 138 Cambridge Street in Beacon Hill are offering the following summer brunch menu:

From the kitchen:
Summer Vegetables & Herb Frittata: tossed greens, black truffle vinaigrette, home fries ($10.95)
The Signature: three-egg omelet, mushrooms & vegetables, toast, home fries ($12.95)
Lobster Scrambled Eggs: fines herbes salad, home fries, toast ($17.95)
Skillet Roasted Scrambled Duck Eggs: duck confit, spring onion, petit potatoes, tossed greens  ($11.95)
Roasted Spring Onions & New Potatoes: bacon, pecorino cheese, black garlic ketchup ($9.95)
Strawberry French Toast: Devonshire double cream, walnut crumble, rhubarb syrup  ($12.95)
Smoked Cheddar & Corn Griddle Cakes: (corn butter, bacon, pomegranate, brown butter crisped eggs ($10.95)
Corned Brisket Red Flannel Hash: black garlic, fried farm eggs, baby herbs ($14.95)
Fried Calamari: licorice glacé, preserved lemon yogurt, shishito peppers – ($13.95)
Biscuits & Gravy: buttermilk biscuits, pork sausage patty, lemon-thyme gravy ($10.95)
Baked Open Face B.L.T.: thick toast, broiled Idiazábal cheese, fried egg ($11.95)
Glazed Short Rib Grilled Cheese: Gruyère cheese, red kosho – ($12.95)
Fruit & Granola: (mint, angelica, yogurt ($8.95)
Tip Tap Summer Salad: Eva’s Wild Greens & Mints, herbs, ricotta salata, cucumber, zucchini, bing cherry vinaigrette – ($12.95)
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad: Harry’s Berries, aromatic herbs, angelica vinaigrette, black pepper honey tuile ($12.95)
Hearts of Palm Panzanella Salad: Idiazábal cheese, nectarine, balsamic vinaigrette, grilled sourdough ($13.95)
Prosciutto Parma Plate: Asparagus & herb salad, capers, roasted cherry tomatoes, arzak egg ($14.95)

They are also offering new sides this summer!
Asparagus: lemon oil, parmesan ($5)
Griddled Ham: thick-cut, black forest smoked ($6)
Cheesy Eggs: three scrambled, cheddar, chives ($5)
Mixed Greens balsamic vinaigrette ($5)

From the bar:
The Tip Tap Bloody Mary: Spicy pickles – $10
Violetta: vodka, violet liquor, fresh lemon, cava ($12)
Bittersweet in Barcelona: Cocchi Rosa, cava, sugar – ($12)
Sangria: white peach or blackberry red ($8.50)
The Three Doshas: ginger & lemon bourbon, lemon, honey, mint ($12)
Cold Toddy: (Ethiopian cold brew coffee, chicory ($6)
Rosemary-Yuzu Limeade: (rosemary, lime, yuzu – $6)

The next time you are stumped for brunch options or looking to try new dishes, check out The Tip Tap Room. For more information, please visit www.thetiptaproom.com or call 857.350.3344.Also, follow The Tip Tap Room on Facebook and Twitter.

My mouth watered as I write this post and definitely look forward to bringing friends and family to try these new summer dishes. Tell me, which food or drink mentioned here caught your attention and would like to try? If you do go and try these new dishes and drinks, please share with me your thoughts and experience. I would love to hear all about it.

See you around town!

Boston Life Events: Week of June 15, 2015

Wednesdays 6:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Fitness Line Dancing (Free)
Refectory Hill at Franklin Park (overlooking Blue Hill Avenue)
Dorchester, MA

Join Mz. Rythm and the Boston Rythm Riders ever Wednesday through Labor Day at Franklin Park to learn or practice line dancing. Bring your sneakers and dress comfortably to get fit in a fun way for the summer!

June 17-28, 2015
17th Annual Roxbury International Film Festival (Event and Ticket Information)

Saturday, June 20
Juneteenth Celebration (Free)
Franklin Park

Bring the whole family to the annual Juneteenth Celebration at Franklin Park!

Saturday, June 20 from 12:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Hot Dog Safari (Event and Ticket Information)
Landsdowne Street
Boston, MA

The 26th Annual Hot Dog Safari, a fun-packed day of family and food will be hosted by The Phantom Gourmet to benefit the Joey Fund and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Governor Charlie Baker has been elected as the “Grand Marshal” of the Hot Dog Safari. Landsdowne Street will shut down and delicious treats will be offered from Windy City, Harrow’s Chicken Pies, Kowloon Restaurant, Dunkin Donuts, Fuddruckers, Richardson’s Ice Cream, and more. The Boston Children’s Museum will also be there with family-friendly activities. Tickets are Tickets are $10 in advance or at the door for $15 per person. Children under 10 years old receive complimentary admission.

Would you like to see your upcoming event listed or invite me to check it out? Contact me!

Beantown Life Community Events: Week of March 23, 2015

Friday, March 27 from 3:00 P.M. -7:00 P.M.
FINAL Dorchester Winter Farmers’ Market
Great Hall in Codman Square – 6 Norfolk Street in Dorchester (Corner of Talbot Avenue and Washington Street)
Last chance for a farmers’ market in Dorchester until the summer market season starts in June. Featured vendors:

Sunday, April 1-May 20 from 6:30 P.M. – 7:45 P.M.
Earthseed Free Community Yoga (info and registration)
122 Dewitt Drive
Roxbury, MA

Would you like to see your upcoming event listed or invite me to check it out? Contact me!

Thirsty Thursday Tech Talk: Wine Apps

Remember that amazing bottle of wine at dinner the other night or the lovely champagne at that event but the name escaped your mind while at the wine shop? No more wondering or guessing because in this age of technology, there are wine apps! I know, I know,  more apps to download and clutter your phone BUT these are handy. In fact, it was how I was able to catalogue some of the wines I sampled at the 2015 Boston Wine Expo.

Drync (Free – Apple App Store or Google Play): Simple and easy to set up and use. Take a clear picture of the wine label and the app will find the matching wine name and vintage. You can rate the wine and write your own tasting notes you can share on FaceBook and Twitter. If you are a little shy about sharing your notes, this app allows you to write a private note for each wine in your catalogue. One of my favorite features of the Drync app is the option to add a wine to your wishlist or purchased list. More importantly, Drync includes a purchase and delivery feature!
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Vivino (Free- Apple App Store  | Google Play | Windows Phone): For the social wine lovers, this app offers more sharing options that includes Instagram and Google+ in addition to FaceBook and Twitter AND you can also follow other wine enthusiasts who use the app! Additional app features include wine ranking in the region/country/globally; where it is selling nearby; winery information; winemaker notes; serving tips; and vintage comparison. There is an option to write notes or review but no additional private option. For the more serious oenphiles, Vivino also has a premium option for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 annually.
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Are you using any wine apps? If so, which ones are you using? If not, how do you keep a catalogue of wines you sampled and like?

Beantown Life Community Events: Week of March 6, 2015

Thursday, March 5th 6:30-8:30pm
Franklin Park Boston2024 Olympics Meeting
Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse

Hear from organizers to learn about plans for Franklin Park. You will have a chance to ask questions and engage in a community discussion. Read more about the plans and see maps on the Franklin Park Coalition website.

Friday, March 6 from 3:00 P.M. -7:00 P.M.
Dorchester Winter Farmers’ Market
Great Hall in Codman Square – 6 Norfolk Street in Dorchester (Corner of Talbot Avenue and Washington Street)

Friday, March 6 from 6:30 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
Dinner & A Movie (tickets)
Haley House Bakery Cafe
2 Dade Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

FILMS:

The No Name Painting Society
Maestra
Cowboys of Color

 Would you like to see your upcoming event listed or invite me to check it out? Contact: info@lifebyzen.com

Recap: 2015 Boston Wine Expo

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Wine lovers from all over came to Boston to attend the 2015 Boston Wine Expo on Valentine’s Day weekend despite feet-high mounds of snow, freezing cold temperatures and a forecasted snow storm. Thank you to my generous friend, The Passionate Foodie, I attended this year’s Boston Wine Expo and had a GREAT time! I made some great connections and found new wines I absolutely loved! I tend to favor full-bodied red wines, especially dry varieties but last year, I started to challenge my palate and ventured out to try other varietals because there are so many great wines out today to enjoy. Actually, it is how I first discovered vinho verdes last year.

At the expo, I discovered wines from the country Georgia (not the American state) and fell instantly in love! Georgia wine making dates back to 8000 BC using Kvevri also spelled Qvevry which are clay pots buried underground. The full grape, skin and stems are used that gives the wine a different character. My favorite Georgian wine is Kindzmarauli Marani Kakhetian Royal 2012. This gorgeous amber-colored white wine finishes with a lovely floral, citrus note.
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My other favorite are the sparkling wines from Bragationi Wines especially the Bragationi Rouge Sparkling Wine ($16). This is a an amazing surprise to my palate! This was fruity, fragrant and just lovely from start to finish. It is important to note that Georgian wines are one of the best wine buys for your wallet at under $20.
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Speaking of sparkling wine, another fave of mine at the expo is the Bortolomiol Ius Naturae Brut, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore ($15), an organic prosecco from Italy. This is delicious from the first sip and only gets better with each following sip.
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Also from the Bortolomiol winery, is Miol Prosecco ($10), an extra dry prosecco that is great in taste and such a bargain!
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Adega de Borba Alentejo Reserva Vinho Tinto ($15) is an incredibly delicious red wine from Portugal and easily one of my top favorites at the event.
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I also had the great opportunity to visit the Vintner’s Lounge and sample exclusive wines and champagnes. Here, I had the amazing chance to try The Monte da Ravasqueira Vinha das Romãs 2012 ($25) is a beautiful red wine from Chile, one of my favorite wine regions.
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Of the many great champagnes I enjoyed was the Henriot Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($50-$60) with lovely notes of citrus and honey.
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The food at the Boston Wine Expo included cooking exhibits, tasty samples from restaurants and vendors! In the Grand Tasting Room were delicious caramels made locally by McCrea’s Candies in Hyde Park, MA. I really enjoyed the Highland Single Malt Scotch Caramel. I only wish I tried some more!
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The Living Room was a crowd favorite with the Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs and Haru served a mouthwatering seafood ceviche with octopus, scallops and shrimp.
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In the Vintner’s Lounge, The Palm served steak that was phenomenal!
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Sportello warmed us up with their Spicy Tomato Soup which was velvety and comforting on a cold day.
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Frigid temperatures and several feet-high snow did not dampen the great energy of wine lovers who attended including yours truly. I had such a wonderful time that hope to attend again next year.

Did you attend this year’s wine expo? If so, what were your favorites?

How I Learned My Seasonal Allergy Became Ezcema and How I Found Relief

*Non-sponsored post


In late July, out of nowhere, I had this sudden onset of severely itchy skin rash on my inner shin, thighs, and elbows. I was miserable because nothing seemed to help which stressed me out and the summer heat only made it worse. At first, I thought it was an allergic reaction so I eliminated some foods temporarily to identify a possible food allergen, switched to a dye-free, hypoallergenic detergent, and milder soap (sadly ditched my favorite Dr. Bronners) and lotion – no improvement. In my desperation, researched online for relief and found recipes for oatmeal-based concoctions which only provided temporary relief. The rash on my shin got worse and turned blister-like so I rushed myself to my doctor’s office. She was on leave and instead, I was by another physician in her office. He confirmed an allergy and suggested it is perhaps an environmental one like seasonal allergy which I do suffer from that may have changed and showing up on my skin. He prescribed a steroid ointment that can only be used for two weeks. Well, I did not need two weeks because I felt relief as soon as I applied it and the first 24 hours was the longest I went itch-free. He also recommended shorter hot showers and no rubbing either as it is still considered scratching. He stressed the importance of taking my seasonal allergy medicine (Allegra) regularly. I am not a fan of taking medications so I did not always take it daily. Stress and overheating are also major contributors to skin allergies aka eczema so he suggested staying cool and using ice packs to stop itching.

My skin healed began to heal and I still continued to find the right body cleansers and moisturizers after showers. In my search, I found Eucerin Skin Calming Dry Skin Body Wash. It contains natural omega oils and the consistency is that of an oil-based cleanser. It does not lather up but definitely cleans the skin well. Over time, no new breakouts appeared but the itching would still come on but not like before. A few weeks later at my monthly appointment with my esthetician, she recommended Cerave Moisturizing Cream as a body moisturizer and mix the cream with vitamin E oil. Still desperate to stop this problem and prevent it from returning, I heeded her advice and surprised at how quickly my skin recovered. When I returned for my appointment the next month, my esthetician, too, marveled at my skin’s improvement. A few months later at my annual physical, my primary care physician was back and we reviewed my visit without her. She started to recommend Cerave and I beat her to it and told her I have used it at my esthetician’s recommendation. Her last recommendation was to spend some time in the sun and allow my skin to get some sunlight with sunscreen, of course.

I have lesser breakouts now and able to stop it before getting worse by applying the ointment which I started to use less after my first major breakout. It is also important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water daily. Products I simply could not give up and overjoyed they are gentle enough to complement my new body skin care regimen are from LaBella Body Care.

Over the winter, I alternate my Eucerin oil body wash with LaBella Whipped Soap Souffle, a whipped glycerin-based cleanser with olive and almond oils that is a dream to wash with and leaves skin very well-moisturized. Also alternate the Cerave with LaBella What You Shea Body Butter, a mix of shea and soy butters with sweet almond, avocado and safflower oils. I previously reviewed other LaBella Body Care products here. If you have not checked out LaBella Body Care natural products, go now and mention I sent you!

One year later, no major breakouts at all. In July, I started training for a 5 mile race in September which involves running outdoors at a park nearby and sweating profusely and still no major breakouts. *throws confetti*

What skin issues are you or have been dealing with as an adult?

A Day in the LIfe of LifeByZen: Reflection on Self-Care

Self-care means different things to people. Lately for me it has meant letting go of emotional holds to things, situations and people that do not reciprocate my time and effort. No, I did not cut them off but simply stopped extending myself by giving so much access to me or being immediately available to others. I decided to give more time to me and my own joy.

I recently started running at the push of a coworker to run a 5 mile race in September. If you don’t count running after my daughter when she was a toddler, I have not run since high school where I was on the indoor track team. Wooo, that was eons ago! I signed up in July and still training with two weeks to go before the race. Training has been great and challenging with some good and awful days. With each run, I become more focused and learn so much especially about myself. One of my biggest challenges with training for this race is my mind is still on my old track team training which is go fast. I ran short distance so that’s my original programming which does not work with this 5 mile training which requires a different pace… and patience. Lots and lots of patience.

#running #bigbadwolfrun

A photo posted by @lifebyzen on

As I take more time training, doing more yoga and meditating, rebuilding myself sort of just happened eventually. It also has encourage me to be more social and share experiences with others I normally would shy away from before. The thing about self-care and rebuilding yourself, others notice before you do – some for better and worse. As for the latter, you have to let that go too because that is not your burden. Find your joy and revel in it, that is your responsibility to yourself.

So share with me, what do you do to bring yourself joy?

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