Need a Holiday Sugar Fix? Head to Danvers.

Posted: December 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bakery, Cakes for Occasions, Danvers | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Whether you’re in need of treats for a holiday gathering or looking for a wow-them hostess gift, Cakes for Occasions is the place to go.

The Danvers bakery has been featured on “TV Diner,” “The Today Show,” and even “Home Shopping Network,” so we were eager to see what all the fuss was about.

Walking through the door is like stepping into a sugar-fueled fantasy. Rows of gorgeous cakes, pastries, and cupcakes await your ogling pleasure, as well as shelves full of cookies, candies, and all manner of treats. We love the fact that you can see into the decorating kitchen to watch cakes being created.

Owner Kelly Delaney had a few minutes to chat with us and told us about the store’s recent renovations, which doubled the space this summer. Delaney is smart, funny, and clearly knows her business.

Overwhelmed by the array of treats, we opted to try a few varieties of cupcakes. The cupcakes range from traditional chocolate and vanilla to gourmet flavors like Death by Chocolate, Mocha Bliss, 24Karrot, and Strawberry Grand Marnier. ($1.25 to $2.95).

There’s nothing worse than a cupcake that’s all décor and no flavor, but these beauties weren’t just pretty to look at. The chocolate cupcake topped with coconut frosting was lush and moist, and the frosting had rich coconut flavor. The snowman-topped holiday cupcake we brought home for our junior tasted garnered raves as well. She was delighted that the frosting was “light and creamy, not heavy and gross.”

We also tried a few of cocktail-inspired mini-cakes dubbed Cupcakes After 5 ($2.25). Both the Champagne & Strawberries and the Kahlua Mudslide were delicious, but we didn’t find them particularly boozy. And because they are smaller, the topping-to-cake ratio gives a sweeter overall experience. For the price, we’d go with the larger specialty flavors.

Those with special dietary needs will be glad to know that bakery is not only 100% nut-free, but also offers options for gluten free and sugar-free treats, so don’t be afraid to inquire.

Cakes for Occasions has a .pdf Holiday menu and online ordering at their website, but we suggest stopping by the bakery for the full sensory experience.

Cakes for Occasions
57 Maple Street, Danvers
(978) 774-4545
www.cakes4occasions.com

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Fresh, Fast, and Fabulous

Posted: December 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bakery, Breakfast, Cafe, Daily Harvest Cafe, Danvers, Vegitarian/Vegan | No Comments »

We love the idea of fast casual, but we usually find the food sub-par, particularly the freshness of the ingredients. We found just the opposite at a recent lunch in Danvers’ Daily Harvest Café. To be blunt, this place is what we wish Panera Bread was.

We had soup, sandwiches, and a sweet treat, and all exceeded our standards. The roasted vegetable soup ($3.99 for a cup) was hot and full of flavor. It was also full of delicious vegetables.

The turkey melt includes grilled asparagus, caramelized onion, provolone cheese, and honey mustard ($8.49). It’s a good-sized sandwich served on harvest wheatberry bread with all-natural turkey that is not your typical restaurant/deli fare. The Thai wrap is also generously sized, with huge pieces of white-meat chicken; moist Jasmine rice; carrots, cucumber, and peanuts for crunch; and light peanut sauce ($7.99). We appreciated the sandwiches came with a choice of carrots or apple slices in lieu of the ubiquitous chips.

There are a lot of things to like about the menu, including four or five soup specials each day, vegetarian and vegan options, a breakfast menu, a kids selection not full of processed foods, and coffee drinks like chai latte and caramel macchiato. The prices are on the high side for lunch, but you pay almost as much for inferior ingredients served by surly staffers at other fast casual places.

We were tempted by the cheesecake brownies at the counter, as well as the good-looking muffins, but we somehow couldn’t resist trying a frosted cinnamon bun ($3.25), which not surprisingly was fresh, not overly sweet, and delicious.

The next time you need something wholesome and delicious in the Danvers area, definitely head for the Daily Harvest.

Daily Harvest Café
103 High St, Danvers
(978) 777-4123
www.dailyharvestcafe

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Not Your Typical Coffee and Donuts

Posted: February 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cherry Farm Creamery, Danvers, Sweets and Treats | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

We’ve heard of breakfast for dinner, but ice cream for breakfast—in January, no less? Still, it was for a good cause, so off we went to Cherry Farm Creamery in Danvers this weekend. They were celebrating National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (who knew?) by serving special flavors on Saturday morning and donating half of the proceeds to the HAWC organization.

The creamery went all out for the event, making fresh waffles for waffle sundaes and coming up with great flavors like banana grape-nut and maple bacon, so we were glad to see a line out the door when we arrived. Yes, it was chilly, but it was also fun and thought-provoking. The maple ice cream with real bacon crumbled in was especially interesting, with a strong maple flavor mixing with that wonderful salty element.

Our waffle sundaes were amazing—the waffle soaked up the melting ice cream and mixed with the delicious hot fudge. The coffee ice cream with chocolate-glazed donuts mixed in truly put it over the top, and one of our party opted for the bacon topping. We didn’t try it, but there was a sundae option featuring a warm blueberry or strawberry Pop Tart, and in addition to bacon, toppings included granola, warm maple syrup, and warm blueberry sauce. Maybe we should have ice cream for breakfast more often…

Cherry Farm Creamery
210 Conant Street, Danvers
(978) 774-0519
cherryfarmcreamery.com

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I Pazzi: We Wanted to Love You, But We Just Couldn’t

Posted: November 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Danvers, I Pazzi, Italian | No Comments »

A series of service missteps and kitchen issues added up to a very disappointing meal last weekend at I Pazzi in Danvers. We had heard good things about their authentic Italian food, but we had serious issues with flavor, among other things.

The menu looked very interesting, with traditional Italian fare mixed with the somewhat more exotic, including pasta with pheasant or wild boar meat sauce. We ordered a bottle of chianti, and our bread plates were filled with an artistic blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.

But as we waited for our appetizers, which took more than 30 minutes to appear, we also waited for bread to dip into the oil. After we reminded the waitress, she brought warm rolls in the style of scali bread. A nice touch, although not appreciated by those in our party who dislike sesame seeds. Our appetizers were just okay, a very small timballo of eggplant that needed more flavor or at least texture ($8), and clams and mussels with a nice sauce for dipping the bread ($10).

With the exception of the osso buco ($29), which was tender and had good flavor, there were issues with all of our dishes. The beef filet was tender and cooked properly, but the peppercorn/cognac sauce was bland ($30), as was the garganelli with pheasant ($25). The salmon filet was wildly oversalted on top, although the rest of the filet was tender and quite good ($22). The thin slice of polenta underneath the salmon had no flavor at all. The asparagus on several plates, along a side dish of spinach, was delicious.

The menu description of the filet did not mentioned any accompaniments, so we asked and were told it came with asparagus and potatoes. But when the plate arrived, there were no potatoes; they were also missing from the veal shank plate, and no explanation was given. When we asked, we were told they had run out of potatoes, with no offer of a substitution. A couple of minutes later, the waitress returned and offered us polenta or pasta as a substitute, so we said we would try one of each. Neither had any flavor, so we were again disappointed.

With so many options for great Italian food on the North Shore, we’re a bit puzzled as to why the dining room was packed full (although, granted, it was a Saturday night); we certainly won’t be returning any time soon.

I Pazzi
50 Maple St, Danvers
(978) 777-1955
www.ipazzirestaurant.com

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Tastings and Fests: Our Weekend Picks

Posted: October 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Danvers, Event, Marblehead, Rockport, Salem, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

There are some terrific tasting events coming up this weekend, and even a few tonight. Shubie’s Marketplace in Marblehead has a special Graham Port and cheese tasting from 4:00 to 7:00 this evening.

If you’d rather check out offerings from local restaurants for a good cause, head on over to the Danversport Yacht Club where the Danvers Educational Enrichment Partnership holds its 12th annual Wine & Food Tasting from 6:00 to 9:30.

For more offerings from local eateries, Marblehead Chamber of Commerce hosts its Octoberfest on Friday evening, with a food and spirit tasting at the Corinthian Yacht Club from 7:00 to 9:00.

Saturday is a day of dueling festivals. First, Rockport will hold its HarvestFest which features a full day of activities, staring around 11:00 am. There will be a Local Fare Fair with all sorts of local foods, a cooking demonstration, a harvest lunch from Market Restaurant, and a seafood throwdown. Cape Ann Brewing company will be on hand offering tastes of some of their unique brews from 12:00 to 5:00. Sarah Kelly gives more insights into the festival in this video.

If you’d rather spend the afternoon navigating craft brews and fine wines, Salem HarvestFest is the place for you. Sponsored by Magic Hat and held at the Knights of Columbus in Salem, you can taste samples from participants like Cody Brewing, Classic Wine Imports, M.S. Walker, Mayflower Brewing, Turtle Creek Winery, Select Beverages, Still River Winery, Bay State Wines, Charles River Winery, Cape Ann Brewing, Wachusett Brewing Company, Ipswich/Mercury Brewing, Harpoon, Berkshire Brewing, Oskar Blues, Naragansett and Arborway, and Clown Shoes. There will be two sessions, the first from 2:00 to 4:30 and the second from 5:30 to 8:00.

Last but not least, don’t forget that Sunday marks the beginning of Cape Ann Restaurant Week. For six days, participating Cape Ann restaurants will offer a three-course dinner for $25.00 per person (not including beverage, tax, or gratuity). It’s a great opportunity to get out and try places that you’ve been meaning to or visit old favorites. Follow the link to their website for a list of participating eateries.

Up next, as usual, are additional weekend picks from some of our pals in the North Shore Bloggers Consortium.

Good Morning Gloucester brings you the best of Gloucester MA and surrounding communities. From the docks to the restaurants, the sporting fields to the art scene and anything in between, if it’s happening in Gloucester it’s generally covered on GMG.

Click here for Joey’s weekend picks

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Jane Ward writes fiction and is the author of Hunger (Forge, 2001) and The Mosaic Artist (to be released).  She is currently at work on her third novel, The Welcome Home.  She also writes about food – in a weekly blog called Food and Fiction, and as a contributing writer to the online regional food magazine, Local In Season – because she loves to cook and eat.  And so does everyone she knows.

Click Here for Author Jane Ward’s Weekend Picks

fifthjoyweb_500

5thjoy is a blog about the things that make life shimmer: Food, Fashion, Feathering the Nest and whatever glinting Flotsam floats our way.

Click Here For Abby Cahill O’Brien’s Fifth Joy Weekend Picks

The Two Palaverers are the husband and wife team of Rob and Laura Ciampa, two passionate New Englanders who have spent decades exploring the highways and byways of New England in search of regional character, culture and cuisine. Their goal is to recognize the people, places and things that exemplify the character of New England. Join them as they palaver about New England.

Click Here For The Weekend Picks From The Two Palaverers

At its core, LynnHappens.com is a place to find out what’s happening in Lynn. It features an events calendar, local weather, arts and events coverage, photo galleries, complete City Council videos, letters to the editor and more.

Click here are for LynnHappens.com editor Seth Albaum’s picks for the weekend

Food For Thought- Heather Atwood

As a painter and writer, Heather Atwood spent a lot of time waiting on tables in great restaurants. While struggling with color and line, she was also learning how to roast a great chicken, and what it means to balance textures in a dish. She’s been interested in good food ever since. Married, the mother of two daughters, Heather now lives in Rockport, Mass. and is the food columnist for the Gloucester Daily Times. She is featured regularly in Taste of the Times videos and her writing can also be seen in the Wednesday food section of the Times.

Click here for Heather Atwood’s Weekend Picks

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Brutole Proves Location Isn’t Everything

Posted: September 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, Brutole, Danvers, Mediterranean | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

If we hadn’t heard from a couple of sources that the food at Brutole was outstanding, we would probably have turned around in the parking lot. This restaurant has got to win the award for strangest location ever: it’s a high-end Mediterranean restaurant located on Route 1 next to a Motel 6.

Once inside, it’s easy to forget where you are. The luxurious décor and lighting put you in the mood to dine, and the outstanding service makes you feel you’re in good hands. By the time the warm artisan bread arrives with olive oil (mixed tableside with cheese and pepper flakes), you’re a convert.

We started with the caesar salad ($10), which was outstandingly fresh and coated with the perfect amount of dressing. The duck breast with mushroom risotto and a blackberry reduction ($14) was also a winner, three large slices cooked to medium-rare and ready for that delicious sauce.

The hefty portions don’t stop with the appetizers. The prices at Brutole are similar to those you’d find in Boston, but the portions are about double. For example, the rack of lamb was cooked to our requested medium, absolutely delicious, and accompanied by a very tasty lentil/vegetable mix. At $41, it’s the most expensive entrée on the menu, but definitely worth the splurge in terms of flavor, and with six good-sized chops on the plate, we were able to make another meal of the leftovers.

We also enjoyed the grilled salmon ($28), which came with silky horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. The sea bass with white bean compote and spinach ($34) was great, especially combined with the sautéed mushroom side dish ($9).

Desserts are often a disappointment, even at fine dining establishments, so we’re pleased to be able to recommend saving some room when you dine here. The crème brulee was creamy and satisfying ($9), but it was outshone by the strawberry rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream ($10). It’s served in a loaf pan, wonderfully crisp and decadent, and the perfect size for sharing.

It was a great ending to the meal, but we received one final service before we left—a bag with nicely packaged leftovers was handed to us in exchange for a number, rather than dumped on our table. Brutole may not be located in a charming area, but that didn’t stop it from winning us over.

Brutole
65 Newbury St, Danvers (first driveway after Rt 114 east exit)
(978) 777-6633
www.brutolerestaurant.com

Brutole on Urbanspoon

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J-Mart in Danvers: Convenient, But Not Abundant

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Asian, Danvers, J-Mart, Marketplace | Tags: , , | No Comments »

As much as we love discovering the wonderful Asian-food treasures at H-Mart, we were hoping J-Mart in Danvers could save us a trip to Burlington if we only needed a few items. But it was not to be—this is more of a convenience store with some Asian items than an Asian food market.

There is no fresh produce in the store, and the freezer shelves were not laden with goodies. We did see frozen round wonton wrappers for making dumplings and some packages of steam buns. On the non-perishable shelves, we were pleased to see rice stick, nori, unsweetened coconut, wasabi paste, and shrimp paste. The rest of the small store consists mainly of cookware, Asian candy, and coolers with ice cream treats.

There were some issues when the store first opened with it being closed during business hours that have now hopefully been resolved. When I visited last week, the gentleman at the register assured me the store is open from 10:00 to 8:30 Monday through Saturday and closed all day Sunday. The store does not have a Web site; it has a Facebook page, but it’s not exactly filled with information.

J-Mart
120-A Water St (Rt 35), Danvers
(978) 767-9229
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Danvers-MA/J-Mart-Asian-Food-Store/131127030234506

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Hometown Food Fun for the Holiday Weekend

Posted: July 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Amesbury, Danvers, Event, Manchester, Marblehead | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The Fourth of July weekend isn’t about fancy foods and upscale restaurants; it’s about family and friends, picnics and barbecues, and celebrating our small historic towns.

So if you’re looking for sustenance in between the friends and the fireworks, here’s a handful of hometown-style food events that may be of interest.

As part of its Amesbury Days celebration, the town will be hosting Amesbury Brewfest 2010 tonight, July 2, at 5:00, an invitational craft brewer festival. It’s geared toward smaller, lesser known brewers who put quality above quantity and features locally-produced faves from the likes of Cape Ann Brewing and Haverill Brewery.

Marblehead holds its annual Festival of the Arts this weekend, and one of its yearly traditions is the St. Michael’s Church Lobster Roll Luncheon and Snack Bar. A better bargain can’t be found—you can get an excellent lobster roll, drink, chips, and dessert for $14, or substitute a hot dog for the lobster roll, and it’s only $5. All proceeds go to local charities, as well as St. Michael’s sister parish in Arcahaie, Haiti. The luncheon is available from 11:00 to 3:00 on July 3, 4, and 5.

In Manchester By The Sea, the Rotary club will host its annual Red, White & Blue Pancake Breakfast at Tuck’s Point on Saturday July 3rd. Strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream not only make the pancakes patriotic, but extremely tasty. Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets can be purchased from the Parks & Recreation Department Office. They will also be available today from 12:00 to 3:00 in Manchester front of Crosby’s Market.

On Sunday the 4th, the traditional Highland Bean Supper returns to Danvers from 2:00 to 6:00 on the Village Training Field. On offer will be hot dogs, rolls, beans, coleslaw, bottles of water, and possibly candy and coffee sold separately. Price for adults is $5 and $3 for kids, with the proceeds going to Troop 155 Boy Scouts. This Danvers tradition was retired last year, but dedicated locals brought it back.

And if you are looking for local activities and fireworks, check out this handy list of celebrations by town. Wherever you end up, have a terrific holiday weekend!

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Nine Elm Gift Certificate Winner!

Posted: July 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, Bistro, Danvers, Nine Elm American Bistro | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Wow! Not only did we receive over 100 entries, but you guys came up with a terrific list of north shore eateries. Several places were mentioned twice, and the ones noted three or more times were an interesting mix; Nine Elm and Sawasdee in Danvers, Tryst and Cielito Lindo in Beverly, 62 on Wharf in Salem and Riverview in Ipswich.

But you really want to know who won, right? We used the random number generator at Random.org and the winning entry is #95! Congratulations to Michael, who encouraged us to get carnivorous at Fire Bull in Peabody.  He will receive a gift certificate worth $100 to Nine Elm American Bistro. (Michael, please email us your mailing address and we’ll get the gift certificate right out to you. And don’t forget to check back in and let us know how your meal was.)

Thank you so much to everyone for entering the giveaway. Never fear, there will be plenty of future opportunities to win tasty prizes, so keep an eye on the Dish!

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Dish Giveaway: Gift Certificate to Nine Elm

Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, Bistro, Danvers, Nine Elm American Bistro | Tags: , , | 111 Comments »

North Shore Dish is excited to announce our first-ever giveaway! And believe us, this is a contest worth entering.

We are giving away a gift certificate worth $100 from Nine Elm American Bistro in Danvers.  The Boston Globe said Nine Elm “deserves to be a regional draw,” and we agree. We’ve enjoyed dinner there on several occasions, and you can find our post about the bistro here.

How to enter

To enter, leave a comment on this post answering the following question: What North Shore restaurant is your favorite hidden gem?

That’s all there is to it! Your answer has no bearing on who wins—we’d just love to hear your feedback.

Contest rules

Deadline for entries is midnight on Thursday, July 1, 2010. A winner will be chosen Friday, July 2 by a random number generator and notified by e-mail. You must enter a valid e-mail address with your comment. US residents only, one entry per person. Good Luck!

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