Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Theater - This Weekend


Holiday Delights at Gloucester Stage Company

Heidi Dallin brings us another impressive medley of holiday vignettes, dance numbers and even a singalong. With a cast of over 40 local kids and scenes from everything from Little Women to the Christmas Carol, a Hanukkah celebration and a "football game" version of The Nutcracker, the show is ever changing and the performance always great fun for the whole family. Show opens tonight and runs at 7pm Thursday-Saturday with a 2pm matinee Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets here at

A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theater

A local holiday favorite performance, the NSMT returns to a more traditional interpretation of Charles Dicken's classic tale of the rebirth of the greedy Ebeneezer Scrooge through an evening long journey among memory and specters. The show has been a holiday highlight for 19 years and this year's show is by far the best yet. We saw it Sunday afternoon and it was everything we love about this tale - gorgeous costumes, hilarious hooligans, haunting ghosts, terrific dance numbers and a cast that works together magically, and some who have shared that stage for the whole 19 year run of the show. Don't miss it, this year's is positively wonderful.

"Live Women Knitting", Hot Chili and Cold Beer - Men's Night Picks

It's the most wonderful time of the year, the night we send unseasoned boys out to fulfill our Christmas Wishes.  Don't worry, the shop and barkeeps have got them covered with food, sales, beverages and gift-wrapping all over Main Street tonight. Tonight's picks:

Present - a seasonal gift shop great for picking up special handmade gifts for mom, wife, secretary and daughter. The ladies at Present will be offering hot chili and "Live Girls Knitting" tonight

Life is Good - shrimp dip, cold beer and 20% off regularly priced cool clothing for the whole family

Jewels of Gloucester - wine, cheese and crackers and 20% off 

Guisseppe's Pizza and Piano Bar - the Final competition of "North Shore Voice" singing competition will mean this place will be packed with revelers and hecklers. Expect a wait. But it'll be worth it.

Palazola's Sporting Goods - will be serving up wine, cheese and crackers plus 20% off stuff for well, you guys

Alchemy Bistro - "Two Buddys" show at the Alchemy of Art Gallery to benefit the Gloucester Education Foundation. EJ LeFaveur and Joey Ciarametaro combine their painting and photography collections for a show and sale with 10% of proceeds supporting the GEF

The Cave - artisnal wine and cheese shop will be offering "Caveman" Chili, cold beer, pate and rat cheese plus discount gift certificates. Who wouldn't love a Cave Gift Card? I would. Please tell my husband

Greenlife - organic and earth friendly clothing and gifts
20% off your WHOLE purchase plus chips and dips, local and artisanal cheeses and organic crudite 
Advice, ideas & gift wrapping from our helpful and expert team.

Common Crow - 20% off your most expensive item, plus free dips& crudite & cookies!

Seaport Grille - FREE Chowder from 4-7PM, Entertainment: Kevin Smith 7PM-10PM, 1/2 Price Appetizers, and A $100 and $50 Gift certificate will be drawn at 10:00PM. You must be present to Win!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gloucester Glitterati Holiday Feast

Let's be honest.  Only a food addict would dedicate this much time to talking about, photographing and promoting food and restaurants as a hobby.  This blog is not my job.  It's what I do with my free time.  Some people play Soduko.  Other's bowl. Some belong to book clubs or gardening clubs or golf clubs. I eat. 

And I belong to a club that's all about food. We call it the Gloucester Glitterati, and it's a gathering of female foodies who meet monthly to share recipes, stories, plans, tips, and, of course, a fantastic meal.

Our monthly food writer's dinner is typically held at a local restaurant, culminating in articles aplenty about what we ate, what we drank, what we are individually working on and what we are going to work on together.  The social media buzz in the aftermath of each monthly meeting is electric and the photographs that circulate are positively mouth watering.  It's my favorite night of the month.

This month's gathering broke tradition in that we opted for a potluck at the home of Sheree DeLorenzo, foodie, chef, business woman and owner of Cruiseport Gloucester, an impressive new part of the local skyline with a working international cruise dock, a giant, gorgeous function room, a smaller function room and a full-service restaurant.  She's a new addition to our group, and makes the best bolognese I've ever eaten. 

Add to this mix Open Kitchen producer
Patrycja Pawlak

 with her ever-on image recommendations (hide the wineglasses like the politicians do. It's not good to have all these drinks in the photos), Heather Atwood, cookbook author, food columnist, fashionista and supermom, Melissa Abbott, formerly the ad sales manager from the GDT and perhaps one of the most prolific producers of home hewn food products (she came with goodie bags of homemade sun dried tomatoes, a spice blend and even blackberry brandy), and competitive chef Laurie Lufkin, and her collection of award winning recipes for everything from potato salad to baked goods and you'll understand the caliber of culinary contributions that set our table.  Be jealous.
I brought a recipe from a product I am reviewing.  And it definitely held it's own at this high stakes fete.The "Stir it Up" Pepper Jelly Asian Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps were incredible.  The sweet heat was PERFECT in contrast to the creamy heat of the red cabbage slaw and soft butter lettuce leaves with crunchy won ton, pecan and golden raisin "crouton".  
The post on the recipe is here:

We ate buttery crumbed macaroni and cheese, a persimmon and pomegranate salad that was as gorgeous as it was gloriously balanced, rich lasagna and Bolognese, pumpkin bread that would make your grandmother jealous, lemon squares, gingerbread cookies and wine and honey French bread that I could have consumed by the loaf.  It was, as usual, the feast of all feasts.  

Links to the Gloucester Glitterati's blogs are listed here.  Always great sources for recipes, kitchen tips, restaurant reviews and food events, I recommend subscribing to all of these blogs.  I read them every day, at the gym.

"Stir it Up" Pepper Jelly Asian Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe and Product Review

Food review, why me? Why not?

I’m a foodie and a restaurant rat and a blogger and an enthusiast and I'm mad-dialed-in on social media. I'm also a former personal chef and a cookbook author and a restaurant marketer and currently, pretty open to projects, barter and contract. 

So it's no surprise that restaurant owners and marketing reps would reach out to me for a review on their menu drop, product launch or special event.  These are the perks of being a lifestyle blogger.  I said I love to eat.  I especially love to eat for FREE. So when someone sends me food to try, I'm in.

But I'm a food snob and something of a clean foodie.  With 20 years in the restaurant industry in every role from bus girl to manager to director of marketing to personal chef (I owned a fitness and food business for many years), I'm not interested in eating anything sub-par.  And I wouldn't serve it to my family or friends.  So you know I wouldn't offer it up to the girls in my club, my foodie club, the Gloucester Glitterati.  These ladies cook, write about, photograph, video, promote and sell nourishment at the highest culinary level, from the purest sources, often from their own hives and gardens.  This is a tough group of critics to present with a product test recipe. I brought out my "Stir It Up" Pepper Jelly test drive for this one.  Thank heavens it rocked it or I might have to take up Soduko.
The pressure to produce an impressive contribution was intense and my desire to incorporate my newest product review, "Stir It Up" Cuisine's Pepper Jelly meant the stakes were high, and producing something amazing on a weekday, as a mom, meant bringing gourmet food production into my regular family style cook session.  That meant only one thing - crock pot.

There's no single more important culinary tool in my house than my crock pot.  None.  It is filled weekly with soup, meat for pulling, sauce for using on meatballs, homemade pizza and as a started to be frozen till the next soup is needed.  My mother is a crock pot cook.  She's amazing and efficient and healthy and frugal and clever and I know nothing else.  Crock pot cooking is healthier, faster and great for making multiple use bases for bulk cooking. Plus, it's only one dish.

The "Stir it Up" Pepper Jelly Asian Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps were incredible.  The sweet heat was PERFECT in contrast to the creamy heat of the red cabbage slaw and soft butter lettuce leaves with crunchy won ton, pecan and golden raisin "crouton".  This is hands down the best this recipe has ever come out, and it's really, truly all about the perfectly balanced Stir It Up Pepper Jelly.  I didn't have to change it at all to get the flavor I was looking for.  It was already there.

Here's how to make it yourself.

Asian Pulled Chicken
1/2 jar "Stir it Up" Cuisine Lime Pepper Jelly
2 lbs chicken breast, rinsed and trimmed
3/4 c rice vinegar
2 generous scoops pickled ginger
1 tbs sesame oil

Combine ingredients in crock pot and cook for 5 hours on low till you can "pull" chicken with a spaghetti spoon.  Cool. Serve in butter lettuce leave "wraps" topped with Cabbage slaw, Crouton mixture and a dollop of remaining Pepper Jelly. Recipes below.

Cranberry Horseradish Cabbage Slaw
1/2 bag shredded cole slaw mix
1/2 bag shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons cranberry horseradish mayonaisse (I use Boar's Head Brand)
1 tbs sugar
Stir wet ingredients till mixture is even.  Toss in lettuce.  Chill 5 hours.

Won ton, Raisin and Pecan Crouton
Mix 1/2 bag won ton crisps (the long skinny kind) with a 1/2 bag of golden raisin and spiced pecan salad topping.

Serving it up - drop 1 serving spoon of chilled pulled chicken into a washed lettuce leave, add slaw and crouton. Top with a teaspoon of additional pepper jelly and roll into a delicious, light, bite-sized sandwich.

This recipe will be the first in the long long long overdue follow up to my first cookbook ,  "Eat Well", which I wrote in my days as a fitness trainer and chef.  Be patient, though.  I'm not so good at translating "A littla this and a littla that" into measurements.  This will take time. PS, they make sweet gifts.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Joey C and NorthShoreKid Lay Out the Lineup for Saturday's Middle Street Walk Family Day

As a "downtown" mom living in the heart of the oldest inhabited neighborhood in Gloucester, the hubbub of our annual "Middle Street Walk" is our family's favorite festival of the holiday season,  with the antique homes of Middle Street decorated in period style and every community building filled with arts, crafts, music, food, magic and cheer for the young and the young at heart.  Highlights include narrated trolley rides along Middle Street, complete with some island trivia, the lighting of the lobster trap tree (adorned with buoys made by children at Art Haven) and a host of performances by some of the most talented musicians on the island.

From morning till night, the streets of Gloucester's downtown are filled with families enjoying wonderful, free holiday activities and celebrating those old timey traditions that make the holidays truly special.

Never one to reinvent the wheel, I looked to Gloucester's own Joey Ciarametaro at Good Morning Gloucester blog for the 411 on the jam packed lineup of events for our annual "Middle Street Walk" on Saturday, December 8, 2012. With some help from NorthshoreKid, Joey's put up this comprehensive list of fun family stuff for the holiday season, all within walking distance downtown in Gloucester.

Dress warm, bring cocoa and plan to stop for lunch at one of the Main Street restaurants to make sure you take it all in.  There's so much to do...

To quote Joey, "chickity check it out"

There's also a facebook page:

Listen for the Songbirds

Cape Ann's own Songbirds Choral Ensemble will by filling the streets and shops of tonight's downtown Ladies' Night with the sounds of Christmas starting at 6pm. These lovely ladies will stroll and sing throughout the evening to set the soundtrack to what will surely be a joyous evening out in Gloucester.

Ladies' Night is Upon Us - Here's Your Itinerary

Ladies Night "Spin for Diabetes" at Lone Gull Coffee House

Stop by and help raise money for Diabetes!
To benefit Insulindependence, an Organization that runs fitness and adventure programs for people affected with diabetes.
Funds raised helps other volunteers run local (monthly) events for adults and children with diabetes.
Gift Basket from New England Running Company
12 Bottle Case of Wine
Please visit the website at for further information on how you can help.

Leavitt and Company Trunk Show, Live Music and Raffle at Franklin Cape Ann

Holiday Trunk Show and Annual Gift Certificate Raffle and (upstairs)for Ladies Night Out, downtown Gloucester at The Franklin Cape Ann!! Music, too!! 5pm-11pm, Swing by for Adorable Accessories at Affordable Prices!! Live music (downstairs) with Rich Figurido and Pete DiStefano 8-11.

Ugly Sweater Contest at Toodeloos & Island Art And HobbyCome in to either store form 6-11 PM on Ladies Night (this Thursday) and enter our "Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest" - the tackier, the better :) Who will take the prize?? PS, you must be wearing the sweater...Prize to be announced later.

Open House, Favors
and Raffle at EnVogue Salon

5-8pm at 96 Washington Street
FREE gift upon entering
Refreshments will be served
Discounts on gift certificates & Product SALES
Tel {978} 281-8870

PLUS - snacks, beverages, discounts and lots of treats at retailers throughout downtown.

Share a laugh, a photo, a raffle, holiday cheer and a good time with the women of Gloucester and support local businesses.