Harvest Season Chicken Pot Pie | Classic Twists

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those dishes that sticks to your ribs, even on the coldest of days. It’s hearty, filling and has everything but the kitchen sink. It’s also a fantastic way to use up any leftover chicken or maybe that turkey you’ll be having a little too much of later this week? Other than the meat, the sky's the limit where vegetables are concerned. Use whatever you have on hand. Traditionally, chicken pot pie includes carrots, celery and peas. This recipe gives it a bit of a fall twist with diced squash and fresh corn.

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Chicken Pot Pie isn’t hard to make but it is easy to mess up. Mistake #1, do not put the pot pie in the oven if the vegetables are raw. You want them to completely cook through so that by the time it goes into the oven, the liquid will have released from the vegetables. Otherwise, you’ll get a watery pot pie and no one likes that. Mistake #2, do not forget to set a timer. Set your timer for the lowest amount of time the pot pie will need to bake. Check the pot pie when the timer goes off and check every five minutes or so until the crust is golden brown. Otherwise, I can guarantee your pot pie will burn.

To add extra flavor and change things up a bit, I added quite a few extra veggies. For starters, leeks add great flavor to any dish. Halve them and slice ‘em up and they’re good to go and they soften up just like onions. Butternut squash is an extra boost of nutrition and it adds more texture to the pot pie. You only need about a cup so be sure to plan another meal within a few days that also uses butternut squash. It’s important to make sure the squash is fork tender before moving on to the next step. It will release a lot of liquid while baking if the squash is still hard. Finally, add the corn and peas. You can use frozen but with corn being in season and abundant this time of year, I recommend using fresh ears of corn. It’s easy to shave the kernels off. Stand the ear of corn upright in a large bowl or on a large plate and use a chef’s knife to shave the kernels off. Check out the full recipe below and let me know what you think!

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Harvest Season Chicken Pot Pie
2 tbsp. Butter
2 Carrots, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
1 large Leek, halved and sliced
1 cup Butternut Squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tbsp. Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. Thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp. Rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp. Flour
2 cups Cooked Chicken
2 Ears of Corn Kernels (about 1 cup), removed from the cob
1 cup of Peas
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup Whole Milk
1 Pie Dough recipe, prepared or store-bought
1 Egg, beaten
Salt & Pepper

1 - Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a medium pot or large, deep skillet. Add the carrots, onions, leeks, squash, herbs, salt and pepper and cook until softened. Whisk in the flour, cooking until golden.

2 - Add the chicken and corn to the pot and slowly add in the stock. Stir continuously at first to avoid clumps and then let simmer 15 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 12-18 minutes until the veggies are tender and the liquid has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

3 - Knead and separate your dough into two round discs, one should be about ⅔ of the dough and the other ⅓. Cut each dish into four even pieces. Starting with the larger chunks of dough, roll each out into a circle until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Line the ramekins with the larger pieces of dough, save the smaller ones to top the pot pies.

4 - Pour the mixture evenly into each ramekin. Top with the remaining pie dough and pierce each a few times for ventilation. Brush the tops with egg wash (one egg beaten) and bake 20-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let sit 10-15 minutes longer to cool before serving.

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Warm Fall Salad with Grapes & Feta | Fall Recipes

Being in Texas for a few weeks, I understand that there are many places around the country and around the world that experience a few warm fall days, even late in the year. Chicago is definitely not one of them and I am attempting to adjust back to temperatures below 60 degrees. This is not a complaint because I thrive for cold weather but when you go from 80 to 35, it's a bit of a shock even for me. When I was brainstorming a lighter fall recipe, this warm salad got thrown together. It was a happy accident and I’m glad it happened because it is quite tasty. I also love the colors of this salad because they scream fall with the beets and squash. It's also a great fall meal when you want something on the comforting side but the weather is a bit warm for a heavier dinner.

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For starters, choose your grain. I intended to use fregola in this recipe but ended up using farro instead. Fregola is a pasta that is almost the shape and size of pearl couscous. Farro is much more dense and is like rice but thicker and a little more tough to the bite. Both are fantastic options for this dish but the farro will add an extra heartiness the fregola wouldn’t. This recipe is also a very simple one. The grain cooks according to package directions and the vegetables roast. All you need to do is whip the balsamic and olive oil and toss the salad together. Easy, right?!

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The beets turn the farro a gorgeous shade of purple which gives this dish an even deeper color. Once the vegetables finish roasting, toss them together with the farro and the balsamic-oil and the spinach. The spinach will wilt enough from the heat of the roasted vegetables. Once everything is well-incorporated and the spinach has wilted, toss in the cheese crumbles. They won’t melt entirely but they will get soft enough to have their flavor infiltrate the entire dish and every single bite. It’s quite the dinner, easy to prepare and great for leftovers the next few days.

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Warm Fall Salad with Grapes and Feta
1 cup Red or Purple Grapes, halved
1 cup Butternut Squash, cubed
2 medium Beets or 1 large, cubed
½ cup Olive Oil + 2 tbsp.
1 cup Fregola or Farro
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup cooked Chicken, diced
2 cups Spinach, packed
½ cup Feta Cheese Crumbles
Salt & Pepper

1 - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the grapes, squash, beets, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). Roast 25-30 minutes until the veggies are fork tender.

2 - Cook the fregola or farro according to package directions. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil in a large bowl to keep it from sticking. In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar and oil until emulsified.

3 - Pour the roasted vegetables and the grapes into the bowl with the fregola or farro. Add the spinach and chicken and toss until everything is well incorporated. Drizzle in the balsamic and olive oil mixture and toss until everything is well coated. Gently mix in the feta crumbles and serve.

Brunch in the Capitol | Ambar Review

For die-hard brunch fans visiting Washington D.C., Ambar on Capitol Hill needs to be at the top of your list. From decadent waffles to savory sandwiches, the brunch menu has anything you could want. If decisions aren’t your specialty, there’s always the Balkan Experience which includes unlimited plates and drinks. The restaurant has a modern, sophisticated atmosphere with friendly, accommodating service and delicious food. It’s also located down the street from Eastern Market which is a large indoor/outdoor marketing with booths from local artisans, a farmer’s market, and more. It’s a nice way to walk off brunch too.

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Sweet or savory? This has got to be the worst decision, especially for breakfast and brunch. It’s like choosing between cake and ice cream! Why can’t you have both? We ordered the Balkan experience to test a variety of plates and avoid that fateful decision. Each of these items are available in full portions as well. So for those who are less inclined to try a little bit of everything, there are plenty of options to provide a full meal for one.

The Mezze Platter which is a nice way to get a variety of flavors out of one dish. It includes homemade cornbread, a chef’s selection of cold cuts, cow cheese, ajvar spread and kajmak. Ajvar is a Serbian Roasted Red Pepper Sauce that’s a bit thicker in consistency but bursting with great flavor. It pairs well with the corn bread. The “Popara” Balkan Bread Pudding comes with a slice of bacon on top. Who doesn’t love that? Featuring aged cow cheese, milk, chili flakes and country style bacon, this is a rich and comforting dish that is also decadent. I’d enjoy this one in smaller quantities. Finally, the Potato Hash includes glazed smoked onion, house spices and garlic. Order this to compliment a lot of the other savory dishes or contrast the sweeter plates. You can never go wrong with potatoes.

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People who love their eggs for breakfast will be thrilled to know there is a section on the brunch menu dedicated to this particular protein. With two different types of Eggs Benedict, two types of omelettes and two more egg plates, it’s an eggfest! The Prosciutto Benedict comes on a muffin with ajvar and kajmak sauce. It’lly decadent dish with rich flavors thanks to the sauce and a nice salty balance because of the prosciutto. The Veggie Omelette comes topped with creamy ajvar sauce which adds a nice peppery flavor to the omelette. Also savory, although not an egg plate is the Fried Chicken Sandwich which is almond and walnut encrusted with a spring mix and apple-wasabi mayo. You may think that a fried chicken sandwich seems a little out of place for brunch but the apple-wasabi mayo is unbelievable. The sweet and spicy notes combine together alongside that unbeatable umami flavor.

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For the sweet tooth, there are several waffle flavors, toast, crepes and more. Somewhere between sweet and savory is the Cheese Pie with cucumber yogurt and mint. It's rich and creamy but balanced out by the cucumber and mint. It’s a delightful combination that’s unexpected but works regardless. The Strawberry Waffle is a traditional Belgian Waffle with nutella, strawberries and whipped cream. It’s a combination that has become as notable as peanut butter and jelly or nachos and cheese. The Poached Pear Waffle comes with a homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream. It tastes more like dessert and less like brunch! The pear is more understated in flavor though which offers a nice balance to the sweetness of the caramel and cream. Finally, if you want to be a little more health conscious, the Fruit Granola is also incredible. There’s nothing special about this dish, it’s homemade granola with yogurt and a chef’s fruit selection. It’s a nice and hearty serving which is great when you’re sharing among friends and it’s a fresh option among many other decadent and heavier plates.

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These don’t appear to be on the menu anymore but I can’t help but mention them since they were so heavenly. The beignets with nutella were a dream. Soft and pillowy, they’d melt in your mouth. Mild in flavor but nice and sweet from being rolled in sugar, they could only get better with a dip in nutella. I don’t know that I could dream up a better dessert if I tried. If you have the opportunity to try these beautiful, pillowy desserts, do not hesitate for one second. It will be the best choice you’ve ever made.

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Trying new restaurants and experience different cuisines is something I enjoy most about traveling. Ambar is a restaurant that I would have never been able to experience had I not traveled to Washington DC...well, unless I made a trip to Belgrade and picked it out of the many restaurants they must have. It was a great experience I was able to have with friends and it was so much fun being able to sample a little bit of everything. If you’re in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, stop by Ambar for brunch. It’s a fantastic experience with a wonderful setting, great service and incredible food.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Baby Potatoes | Date Night Recipes

There’s nothing easier than a chicken dinner. Ever since I got my cast-iron skillet, it’s been a world of one-pan dinners. Less clean-up, less prep. It’s the easiest way to get a great meal on the table fast. If you want an impromptu date night in the middle of the week, this recipe is a great go-to. Herbs coat the chicken surrounded by veggies and potatoes. Assemble it when you get home from work, pop it in the oven, freshen up and voila! You have a tasty, elegant dinner for two.

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Chicken Quarters are the leg and thigh of the bird still joined. They make a nice presentation which is a plus if you’re trying to impress someone or you want a photogenic plate. Since the leg and thigh are both dark meat, they’re both already full of great flavor. Giving them a nice herb coat and drizzling a little olive oil goes a long way to bring out a touch more flavor.

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Brussels Sprouts are an underrated vegetable. They’re having a bit of a resurgence after receiving a bad rep for a while because the general public has moved past the method of steaming or boiling them to cook. Roasting Brussels Sprouts gives them a fantastic flavor and the outside leaves get crunchy and almost caramelized. Roasting them whole (or halved for larger ones) with fingerling potatoes, ensures an even roasting time for all the veggies. Pair this dinner with a bold glass of white wine like a chardonnay.

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2 Chicken Quarters
½ lb. Baby or Fingerling Potatoes, quartered or halved depending on size
2 cups Brussels Sprouts
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Basil
1 tbsp. Oregano
1 tbsp. Thyme
1 tbsp. Rosemary
Salt and Pepper

1 - Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all of the herbs together. Cut a small slit in the skin of the chicken quarters. Take about one tablespoon of the herb mixture and gently stuff it underneath the skin.

2 - Spread the potatoes and sprouts on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, sprinkle the remaining dried herbs and season with salt and pepper. Mix together well.

3 - Place chicken quarters on top of the vegetables. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season the chicken with salt and pepper.

4 - Bake 35-40 minutes until the potatoes and sprouts are soft but crispy and the chicken is cooked through. Serve.

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5 Cozy Travel Destinations

There is something special about embracing the season and traveling somewhere with sparkling snow and warm drinks. Nothing beats cozying up in front of a warm fire after a long day in the cold air. It’s also a great excuse to indulge in heartier meals and nibble on that extra cookie. Because of this we created a list of our top five coziest winter travel spots to check out with your loved ones, girlfriends, special someone, or even by yourself. It’s time to embrace winter and enjoy the beauty of the season, even if it is downright freezing.

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1 - Aspen, Colorado
Known for its glistening white slopes, Aspen is good for more than winter sports. For example, restore your mind and body with mountain top yoga. Even though the yoga is geared towards skiers and snowboarders, its great whether to wind down and relax, or stretch and build muscle. For kids who are less experienced in skiing and snowboarding, there is of tubing and kid-friendly trails as well. Wind down at the end of the night with a local bonfire featuring food and s’mores. Aspen also has plenty of shopping, great restaurants, and world class pampering.

Photo by paul itkin on Unsplash

Photo by paul itkin on Unsplash

2 - Quebec City, Canada
Quebec is another great place for a cozy, winter getaway. The city is known to hold over 500 festivals per year so it only makes sense that Quebec City is home to the world’s biggest outdoor winter festival, Carnaval de Québec. Some of the activities the festival has to offer include fireworks, dog sled races, parades, parties and more. Another appeal to this city is the Hotel de Glace. This hotel is reconstructed out of ice every year.  Visitors can take part in daily tours, visit the hotel’s hot tubs and saunas and enjoy a drink in a glass made from ice.

Photo by kelseyannvere on Pixabay

3 - Trømso, Norway
Trømso, Norway is one of the places with the highest likelihood of seeing the northern lights. Take a local tour to increase your chances of seeing the lights by monitoring seasonal weather conditions. Go on a hike, go fishing, experience a dog sled or go on a whale safari. To warm up after a long, cold day, visit one of the many pubs or restaurants. The city is known for its nightlife due to being a university town so embrace your inner youth and have a night on the town.

Photo by mariamichelle on Pixabay

4 - Japan
Japan is a little more unexpected than the others, but still very much worthy of being on this list. For instance, you can visit the Sapporo Snow Festival which dates back to 1950! The festival shows off huge (some around 20 meters) sculptures made of snow. Another must see during the winter months in Japan is the Shirakawago Winter Light-Up. Homes in Shirakawago have steep roofs and light up on Sunday and Monday nights, making the town the perfect place to snap a winter photo. There are plenty of winter activities to do including snow shoeing, skiing, and ice skating. To wind down after a long day, head over to one of the many hot springs throughout the country. Many of these hot springs are shared with wildlife, so don’t be surprised to see a monkey relaxing a few feet away from you.

Photo by Tycho Atsma on Unsplash

Photo by Tycho Atsma on Unsplash

5 - Sweden
Last but definitely not least, is Sweden. For one, scientists say this is the best place to see the northern lights so don’t forget to pack your camera. Sweden is also full of winter activities like dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. To wind down, Sweden is known for their saunas which most hotels and hostels have available. Enjoy mulled wine and cookies at one of their traditional Christmas markets or sleep in the world's first Ice hotel! If these reasons aren’t enough to have you packing your bags, flights to Sweden in the winter are quiet cheap, and crowds in the winter months are almost unheard of.

Photo by aidigital on Pixabay

Photo by aidigital on Pixabay

Upside Down Shepherd's Pie | Classic Twists

I love comfort food but I do not love the amount of time most of the popular comfort dishes take to prepare. Unless it’s a cold, dreary day on the weekend when I have time to go through each step, I usually want to get something on the table in as little time as possible. Shepherd’s Pie is one of those meals. It traditionally takes close to or over an hour to prepare and includes several steps. This recipe provides the comfort of Shepherd’s Pie with the efficiency of a weeknight dinner.

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Shepherd’s Pie has two parts: the potatoes and the meat filling. Normally the potatoes go on top and the dish bakes for at least 30 minutes. To save time, I flipped the dish. Instead of baking the pie, the mashed potatoes serve as a bed for the hearty filling. It’s a quicker way to get the rich, comforting dinner on the table and you don’t have to use a large baking dish either! It’s much more practical for busy nights and the two parts are easy to pull together.

Mashed potatoes practically make themselves. Cover the potatoes with water, bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes pending how many potatoes you’re using. I find that four to six medium sized potatoes are enough for a family of four. You want to cut the potatoes about as equal as you can so they cook even. Once the potatoes are done, drain the water and set aside as you finish the filling. You can get the meat mixture going while the potatoes boil.

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For the meat part, all you’re doing is cooking the ingredients through. Start with the lamb in a bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper and brown. Once browned, add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. The vegetables should be chopped into the size you’d get from a frozen bag of mixed vegetables. The larger the vegetables, the longer they take to cook. Once the vegetables have begun to soften the liquid goes in. This is great with only chicken stock but a nice amber ale adds extra richness and depth to the dish. Similar to the Beer-Braised Beef recipe, I used Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer. I love the flavor (I have zero affiliation to the brand) and that’s something that comes rare for me with beer. Once the liquid is in, add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer for a few minutes to let all the flavors come together. While the meat mixture simmers, prepare the mashed potatoes and you’ll be ready to serve up a delicious dinner in no time.

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Upside Down Shepherd’s Pie
1 tbsp. Grapeseed Oil
1 lb. Ground Lamb (or beef)
1 large Carrot or 2 medium Carrots, chopped
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 small Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
½ cup Chicken Stock
½ cup Amber Ale
1 sprig Thyme and Rosemary
1 Bay Leaf
½ cup Frozen Peas
Salt & Pepper

Mashed Potatoes:
4 large Potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup Buttermilk
4 tbsp. Butter

1 - Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook 15-20 minutes until easily pierced. Drain and set aside to finish later.

2 - Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the ground lamb and season with salt and pepper. Break it up into small bits as you cook, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onions, carrot, celery and garlic to the meat and cook until they begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes.

3 - Add the tomato paste and cook a minute or so. It releases any bitter flavor and brings out the natural sweetness. Add the ale and deglaze the pan, scraping for a few minutes until cooked down. Add the Worcestershire, stock, herbs and flour, stirring to thicken. Bring to a simmer and let cook 10-15 minutes until nice and thick.

4 - Mash the potatoes with the buttermilk and butter until creamy. Spoon the potatoes into four bowls and top with the meat mixture. Serve.

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Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon-Maple Butter | Pumpkin Recipes

Who else goes crazy for pumpkin season? It’s my favorite time of year from carving pumpkins for Halloween to the soft and fluffy muffins at coffee shops. The flavor, the smell and the feeling of the season brings a smile to my face regardless of my mood. With that said, I wanted to bring that joy to all of you reading as well. I racked my brain for a few ways to use pumpkin in your fall cooking and came up with three recipes that I’m still drooling over, especially today’s.

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Who doesn’t love pancakes? They’re a staple breakfast food and come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. From fresh blueberry to indulgent chocolate chip, pancakes are a canvas for flavor experimentation. Pumpkin pancakes are not uncommon during the fall season. I wanted to spice them up a bit but felt that messing with the typical pumpkin pancake would be a mistake. Instead, I messed with the butter that goes on top. This Cinnamon-Maple Butter is the perfect complement to pumpkin pancakes. It would go with any of your favorite fall treats too. Spread it on toast, a pumpkin bagel, those cranberry bagels you start seeing closer to Thanksgiving or even consider mixing it with fresh popped popcorn. All of the ingredients are sustainable too so store it in the fridge for use all fall and winter long.

Pancakes are easy to make. Remember the ratio of 1:1:1 and you will manage. One cup of flour to one cup of milk to one egg give you your basic pancake base. Add in the few extra ingredients plus lots of spices and you’ve got yourself bomb pumpkin pancakes. One thing to watch out for, the canned pumpkin will add extra moisture that you wouldn’t normally have in pancakes. With that in mind, go easy on the milk and add what you need a little at a time. You don’t want your batter to get too thin otherwise you’ll have rather flimsy pancakes and no one likes those. So while that ratio is foolproof for most pancakes, when you're adding extra wet ingredients, make sure to not add all your milk at once. Incorporate it slow instead.

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Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon-Maple Butter
1 cup Flour
½ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
⅛ tsp. Allspice
⅛ tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
2 tbsp. Butter, melted
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ cup Pumpkin

For the Maple Butter:
¼ cup Butter, softened
2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 - For the Butter: Using a rubber spatula, mix together the butter, maple syrup and cinnamon until well-incorporated. Wrap with plastic wrap or place in a glass container. Refrigerate until ready to go.

2 - For the Pancakes: In one bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In another bowl, mix together sugar, egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated and then fold the pumpkin until just incorporated with the rest of the batter.

3 - Pour about ¼ cup of batter onto a griddle in a circle. When the batter gets bubbly, flip the pancake. Let it cook on the second side about 3-4 more minutes until the center is done. Repeat. Serve with the cinnamon maple butter.

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North End Neighborhood Guide

If you’re looking for a serious carb overload, Boston’s North End is your destination. With an unlimited amount of trattorias and pizza joints, the Italian neighborhood serves up famous cannolis and pizza in every imaginable style...except deep dish. That seems to be limited to Chicago and being a native, I wouldn’t trust it anywhere else. The North End is also home to several destinations along the Freedom Trail including the Paul Revere House and Old North Church. Many of the streets and sidewalks are paved with brick or cobblestone and the buildings are so old you can feel the history seeping through each crack. While Beacon Hill offers an elite experience into historical Boston, North End offers an intimate look into the lives of its residents, many people who were just like you or I. The main difference being they lived a hundred or so years ago...maybe even more. It’s a neighborhood that offers a deeper connection to the stories of those who came before us. All it takes is one walk through the neighborhood and you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

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First thing for your to-do list, walk down Hanover Street. Hanover works as the “Main St.” of Boston. It’s full of shops, restaurants, homes, businesses and more. It’s also a great starting point to use when discovering the neighborhood for the first time. Walk down the street and branch out when you want to explore. A few places in particular we recommend include:

  • Thinking Cup: this quaint, local coffee shop is serving up delicious coffee and serves breakfast and sandwiches all day. It’s a great spot to grab something on the go or sit down, grab a bite and plan out the day.
  • Galleria Umberto: bring cash and comfortable shoes because this Sicilian-style pizza joint serves up some of the best pizza in Boston. Lines are known for being long and once they’re out, that’s it for the day!
  • Mike’s Pastry: after pizza, head down to Mike’s Pastry for unbeatable cannolis and other sweets. This is another cash-only spot so make sure to have plenty on hand and be prepared to stand in line. This is a local and visitor favorite so the line can get a bit long.
  • Paul Revere Statue: right off Hanover Street, there’s this towering statue of Paul Revere on his horse. It leads towards the Old North Church, one of the Freedom Trail stops and makes a for a  great photo.
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For anyone interested in history, North End has several spots off the Freedom Trail you can knock off the list. The Paul Revere House is tucked away on North Square Street which runs parallel one block away from Hanover Street. It’s across the square from Sacred Heart Church which is a gorgeous Roman-Catholic Church. No surprise there considering this is the Italian Village of Boston. Old North Church on Salem Street is right down the mall from the Paul Revere Statue. It was the starting point for Paul Revere’s ride made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Finally, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Boston’s second cemetery. This isn’t an official stop on the Freedom Trail but has been adopted since it brings many visitors in and runs along the trail anyway.

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Still hungry? North End is loaded with plenty of wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and cafes. A few more in particular we recommend include La Galleria 33 for bomb bolognese and a traditional white tablecloth restaurant experience. The service is spectacular and I wish I could have brought home the basket of fresh baked bread. My mouth drools thinking about it. For those looking for a traditional New England cuisine experience, Neptune’s Oyster Bar is a must-visit. It’s a bit pricey so be prepared to stretch the budget and wait. Neptune’s doesn’t take reservations so get there early or be prepared to find something to do while waiting for the call that the table is ready.

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4 Tips
1 - Hanover Street is a must but also venture down Salem Street. There are a number of hidden gems from cute residences to small bakeries and shops. If Hanover Street feels historical, Salem Street feels downright ancient.

2 - Not exactly in North End, there’s a pub outside the North End boundaries on Union Street called the Bell in Hand Tavern. It’s the oldest tavern in America founded by “Boston’s Town Crier for 50 years,” Jimmy Wilson. The pub became known for only serving beer and the best beer at that. The Bell in Hand Tavern was founded in 1795.

3 - Walk through North End Park. This small but long park along the edge of the North End has one of the best views of downtown Boston. Those skyline photos you’ve seen me share and post on social media were taken at North End Park.

4 - Have a picnic in Christopher Columbus Park. Located on the waterfront, this favorite spot has gorgeous views of the water, a play area for kids and gardens. It’s also a popular spot for events.

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