All posts by leahklein

As far back as I can remember, I would wake up from my nap time to the smell and sounds of something cooking in the kitchen. I would stumble out of my bed and slowly make my way to the kitchen. My mom would be there chopping, stirring, mixing, or washing. I would rub my eyes take a deep breath and eventually be awake enough to either taste something she was chopping or ask to help out.

The Art of Wooing with Chocolate: Langham Chocolate Bar


The Langham Boston has so much to offer when it comes to being romantic.  There is the Chuan Body + Soul spa and indoor rooftop pool to the swanky yet relaxed Bond Restaurant and the sparkling chic champagne lounge.  When it comes to aphrodisiacs though, the winner may be chocolate and the ultimate chocolate experience is definitely the Langham Boston’s Chocolate Bar at Café Fleuri.

ChocolateBar-2This year’s theme is art and incredible sculptures made of chocolate adorn each themed table.  There is Street Art, Pop Art, Surrealism, Sculpture and Modern Abstract. Cocktails even have an art theme with Dalì’s Melting Chocolate Clock-tail among them.


Celebrate a romantic date with your sweetheart at the chocolate bar as the live jazz band fills the air with sweet sounds.  The chocolate bar is a “meal” to delve into slowly and to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace.  The space at Café Fleuri allows you to feel secluded together enjoying one another’s company as the rest of the room seems to fade in the background.

You can also celebrate Valentine’s Day together as a family. With the chocolate fountain, ice cream bar, and fresh out of the oven cookies and ice cold bottles of milk, chocolate lovers of all ages will be perfectly content to stay the afternoon sampling goodies that rival the imagined ones in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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The Chocolate Bar at Café Fleuri in the Langham Boston is available on Saturdays from September through June.  It is $42 for adults and $32 for children 5-12 years old.  Children under 5 are complimentary. There is an additional savoury menu for those who want, but usually a little bowl of house made potato chips, warm nuts or popcorn (which is part of the Chocolate Bar) does the trick and you can continue exploring the 100s of different chocolate pastries and confections.

Reservations can be made by phone: (617) 451 1900  or email and seatings are available on Saturdays at 11:00am, 11:30am, 1:00pm and 1:30pm.


Deux Etoiles at Deuxave: Above and Beyond

Chef Chris Coombs has received many accolades all well deserved and hard-earned. Clearly, Chef Coombs knows what he is doing on more levels than one because he has at least one other star in the kitchen at Deuxave. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Pastry Chef Shaun Velez to chat about his pastry journey and to see (and taste) what he is creating at the intersection of Comm. Ave and Mass. Ave (Deuxave), a long way from E. 65th Street (DANIEL NYC).  

Chef Velez left a path towards science for one in the culinary world and discovered pastry.  Something about the intersection of his science mind, artistic vision, and ability to get the most out of his talented mentors (most notably Ghaya Oliviera of DANIEL), produced an incredible talent, that I’m not sure Chef Velez really acknowledges, but I am certain Chef Coombs recognized upon hiring him.

Tasting Chef Velez’s creations, was a revelation for me. I realized that saying “I’m not a dessert person.” Is a bit ridiculous.  It is a like saying “I don’t like beverages.”  Of course you like beverages.   You might not like all kinds of drinks but you do drink. Some people go for cocktails, others like a nice cold glass of water or milk.  There are times when a nice hot cup of coffee or tea really hits the spot.  Wine is wonderful with just the right food and if wine won’t do then a beer or cider will be just right.  

Dessert is complicated.  It isn’t one thing that can just be dismissed as an entire category of food. What I realize is that dessert is difficult. Fry something up and add some salt to it and I’m happy.  Throw some butter, sugar and flour together and I might not be. The perfect dessert is hard to come by and ho hum desserts are a dime a dozen. Give me a dessert menu and I’m looking for the least chocolate, something tart or tangy, and anything with custard or fruit is a bonus.

At first glance, on Chef Shaun Velez’s menu, the Meyer Lemon Vacherin served with meyer lemon sorbetti, black pepper chantilly, red currant gelée and matcha paper caught my attention.  I was certain it would be my favourite dessert.  On the menu, one was chocolate and I never go for chocolate.  Another was a crème brulée and those tend to be a crowd pleaser but rarely done well so I was ready to write that one off.  Then, there was the Baba au Calvados which was intriguing but did I really want to revisit a heavy boozy old school dessert?  The blood orange tart was intriguing though because I love blood oranges and the savory sesame custard and thyme ice cream seemed like just my kind of thing.

So there I was ready to try two desserts that might be just right for me and three that I’d just have to politely nod and sample and repeat my “I’m just not a dessert person.” mantra. 

Let’s just say I was so wrong.  The only thing I got right is that the Vacherin was a favourite.  It’s hard to say that it was a true favourite because I liked so much about each of the desserts.  Tasting 5 of chef Velez’s desserts side by side should have made it easy for me to pick a favourite but instead it made it nearly impossible. The components of each dessert were spectacular alone and pure magic all together.  And shall I remind you that this is coming from someone who until yesterday was “not a dessert person”?  This may be the first time I’m looking forward to going to a restaurant for the last course rather than taking a bite of someone else’s last course as an after thought.

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It is really hard to put into words the “x factor” that these desserts have.  I just want to emphasize that although the desserts are all beautiful, their beauty goes way beyond the eye. The process begins with thought, and with an almost scientific method that Chef Velez has when creating these dishes flavour upon flavour.  Somewhere between that first thought and the final plating emerges the art, the true art of this pastry chef. I have tried to describe what I loved in each dish below, but words definitely do not do them justice.

Baba au Calvados with a ginger biscuit, orange cream, a quince gelée and ice cream served with an extra pour of Calvados. This baba au Calvados had the earthy warm flavours of quince, ginger and orange but still a lightness and brightness to it. Creating something with these ingredients and having it come together in this way really highlighted the talent that Chef Velez has.

Do you know what’s better than chocolate and orange?  Chocolate, coffee and orange blossom water. The cocoa rocks on the plate are a delicacy in and of themselves. I could not write this chocolate dessert off (as a person who admittedly likes chocolate in candy bar form and bonbons but not typically as cake) but the orange blossom ice cream had me falling hard for the Café Epicé. The Café Epicé is a chocolate dacquoise, spiced coffee mousse, cocoa rocks, orange blossom ice cream.

Crème Brulée that shatters all expectations.  There is a hazelnut powder, passionfruit confit, the best foam and pastry cream you may ever taste as well as an impeccable hazelnut ice cream.

Meyer Lemon Vacherin, which is a meringue filled with whipped cream (not to be confused with the cheese Vacherin).  The matcha paper is more than just a sculptural element (so tasty and a perfect texture on your tongue). The candied rind of the meyer lemon contrasts perfectly with the sweet crunchy meringue and the pepper in the chantilly subtly adds a note of spice.

Blood orange, sesame custard, and thyme ice cream topped with this sesame and sugar sculpture was delectable.  The sesame in the sugar doesn’t just look incredible. It tasted like a dessert of its own.

Superbowl: The Edible Experience Boston Edition 


The Superbowl is a televised event wherein friends and family gather, beer in hand, surrounded by a lot of snacks and tasty foods, periodically cheering and groaning.  Essentially, its like Oktoberfest minus the parade (we always had a parade in Kitchener- Waterloo) and with a bunch of men parading around a field in jerseys amd tights instead of Lederhosen.

I have nothing against the sport, spare me the cheerleaders (can we not modernize what it is to be cheerleader?), and concussions are definitely an issue worth resolving. I am sorry that the Patriots aren’t playing and their losd was so freaking close!  When it comes down to it, I’m just in it for the beer, food, and excuse for a party.

Lucky for us Bostonians, we don’t even have to prepare our own feasts. Some of my favourite restaurants have half-time show worthy menus and all you have to do is reserve, pay and pick up.

Formaggio Kitchen

Superbowl Special! Formaggio Kitchen Sidewalk BBQ annual tradition continues! Every year, the saturday before Superbowl Sunday, Formaggio Cambridge rolls out their gigantic kettle grill and cooks BBQ favorites.

Pre-orders are recommended: large orders (5+ items) before 4pm on Wednesday and smaller orders (1-4 items) Friday before 4pm. Everything is prepared on Saturday and can be picked up Saturday after 11:00 a.m. or on Sunday after Formaggio opens at 10 am. Menu includes pulled pork, lamb and chicken, hot dogs and sausages, brisket, half chickens, pork ribs, and a variety of sides such as baked beans, slaw and potato salad. For the full menu, click here.

Myers + Chang

The folks over at Myers + Chang are still taking orders for their Superbowl Takeout Package, which will set you up with amazing food for your Superbowl party (or Payton Manning retirement party) including:

  • 1 whole chicken (Indonesian fried chicken)
  • 1 pint guacamole
  • 1 bag of chips
  • 1 pint green papaya slaw
  • 1 quart of potato salad
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 6 Flour Bakery cookies

These packages are available on a pre-order basis. Each box will feed 4-6 individuals for just $125

(sorry! No substitutions or allergy accomodations). Superbowl Takeout packages will be available to order from now until Thursday, February 3rd. Email Heather at with any questions or to order

Craigie on Main

$75 Package Feeds 4-6 and includes:

  • 1 Slow-roasted Milk-Fed Baby Pig’s Head
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Black beans
  • Guacamole
  • 2 different salsas
  • Cabbage slaw
  • Cornbread
  • 12-pc. Crispy-fried chicken wings, Nuoc Cham, Crispy Garlic

Additional $20/Rack

Rack of Crispy Spice-Crusted Heritage Pork Ribs

Tickets are listed by preferred pick-up time, between 12pm-6pm. For multiple racks of ribs, please purchase separate tickets.
Tickets are non-refundable.

Night Market

Night Market is also offering a selection of pre-order, takeout Super Bowl specials perfect for feeding hungry fans on the big day. The Super Bowl specials include:

– Wings ($0.75 each for 25+ pc)

Available in Tebasaki, Numb-numb, Dry Numb, Fu Sauce, Rendang, Coffee BBQ, or Black Pepper Honey flavors

  • – A pint of Numb Nuts ($10)
  • – Tea Eggs ($15)
  • – Chips & Dip Platter ($15)
  • One pint of dip and chips
  • – Mixed Grill Platter ($42)
  • 5 yakitori, 5 Xinjiang meatballs, 5 sukiyaki western skewer, 5 imperial pork skewer
  • – Mixed Vegetable Grill Platter ($38)
  • 5 Japanese eggplant, 5 shishito pepper, 5 marinated mushroom, 5 okinawa purple sweet potato
  • – Potato croquettes with rendang sauce ($25 for 25pc)
  • – Chix & mushroom wonton with roasted plum sauce ($25 for 25pc)
  • – Build your own green curry carnitas tacos ($35)
  •  Includes ingredients for 12 tacos
  • – Dirty Danwiches or BBQ Pork Banh Mi ($11 each or $10 each for orders of 5+)
  • – Tray of Dan Dan noodles ($50)

Includes six servings of noodles

Night Market is open daily at 5 p.m. and is located at 75 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. To place orders, please contact (857) 285-6948.

Mei Mei

Super Bowl catering is here! Email with your name, order, and phone number and we’ll call to confirm. Orders are limited, so everything is first come, first serve. Deadline to order is Friday 5pm, credit card numbers will be taken and charged if cancellations happen after noon Saturday.


Formaggio Cambridge BBQ



Pasture-raised pork shoulder, housemade steam buns, sauces and slaws. Serves 8.



12-pack of Frito Pies with your choice of chorizo chili or kung pao chicken, plus sour cream and onions.



Don’t show up to the party empty handed, grab a tray of 35 sweet corn fritters on the way! Comes with sriracha aioli for dipping.

Super Bowl By the Numbers: Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes (Recipe)


 My shelf full of cookbooks is like a team of football players. There are the books I pull out every day, my workhorses, I depend on them for every play to get a good meal on the table. Then, there are the ones I hold off on because they’re a little newer and I watch them, flip through the pages, earmark them for an upcoming dinner and pull them out at the perfect moment to spice up mealtime.  There are cookbooks I reach for based on the season and others I shelve until their prime time comes up again.

With all my prime bookshelf real estate taken, buying a new one requires careful assessment. The opportunity to review a cookbook comes up now and again and I also choose carefully thinking about what makes it stand out from the bookshelf.  Sometimes it is the cookbook author that draws me in, other times it is the focus of the cookbook, and then again sometimes it is the beautiful photography.  I have bought cookbooks from local chefs that I admire and whose food I love, but then not been that successful with the recipes in it.  I have bought cookbooks, vintage and new, that intrigue me for the recipes alone and I know nothing about the authors. Some have so much promise and fall short while others are pleasant surprises.

Most recently, I was asked to take a look at a cookbook from authors who I don’t know at all, apparently they are well known, but what intrigued me most about the cookbook was the way the recipes are done.  When you are watching your calories, which is a necessary evil, more often than not, you have to buy those 100 calorie packs of junk food, or you’re buying pre-made frozen meals full of junk simply because the calories and points are all laid out for you and you don’t have to measure the size of your chequebook (for portion control on proteins they say a chequebook size portion) or take out the kitchen scale.

The Perfect Portion Cookbook uses the 100 calorie counting system so each recipe is broken down into calorie counts and portion size suggestions.  The book is written by Anson Williams, Bob Warden and Mona Dolgov.  Just in time for the Super Bowl, I picked out this simple, football-worthy recipe for you to try.


Perfect Portion-guacamole-stuffed cherry tomatoes-recipe

A Contemporary Element in a Historical Setting: Godfrey Hotel Preview

Downtown Boston, is a funny sort of mosaic.  There is a lot of history in Boston, some of colonized America’s, oldest history in fact.  Boston is also a small city in the sense that everything is close by and it is easy to walk from one section to the other.  The North End is next to downtown which is next to Chinatown, the theatre district, and the leather district.  Each neighborhood can be walked through in minutes and not hours. Just a bit further away is Boston Common and Boston Gardens as well as the South End and Back Bay. You can’t always judge a book by its cover, though and while many historic buildings have kept their facades and have been restored rather than updated on the surface, inside might be quite a different story.

The Godfrey Hotel which has just opened it’s doors to guests a perfect example of a hotel that has embraced its historic roots but is living in the present.

Here is a sneak peek at what the Godfrey has to offer.

Guest rooms are sleek yet spacious with wonderful views of downtown Boston whether you are at street level or looking across the skyline.  Rooms have keyless entry which you can set up on your phone if you like as well.  Mobile accessible hotel services, and free wifi are just a few of the elements that make The Godfrey Hotel of this decade even though its facade is Boston’s old Amory building that was torn down in 1777 and rebuilt in 1904.  The Godfrey Hotel is adorned with restored features of the gothic revival era building.

Godfrey Boston-7

The building that was once home to to furriers and button makers will now host business travelers as well as tourists in their 242 guest rooms.  All rooms are king or double queen with Frette sheets and James Heeley products.  The lounge is more than just functional. It could be a chic living room from one of the nearby South End apartments. It feels like a home and not a typical hotel lobby.

In similar fashion, the coffee shop will not be a “we serve Starbucks” nook, but rather one of my favourite coffee shops: George Howell. In addition, there will be a restaurant on the other side of the lobby with walls of windows on two sides embracing the city vibe that The Godfrey is lucky to be steeped in.

Godfrey Boston-1


Winter Break Do-Over: Your Silver Lining Playbook 


More often than not, there are two versions of Winter break.  There is the postcard perfect, Hallmark made for tv movie, Disney dreamland version of Christmas and New Year’s Eve (and everything in between) and there is the “this didn’t go at all as planned” version.  Maybe it was the weather that stranded family members as 1/2 the place settings for Christmas dinner sat sad and empty.  Maybe it was the dreaded bug that had you and 1/3 of your family bed-ridden throughout vacation.  Maybe it was the lost luggage that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back as you (the proverbial camel) worked to calm everyone down as you pull into your in-laws’ place.  Whatever it was, life in general doesn’t go as planned and when you throw in kids, family, and a little winter the odds are against you.

Sitting fireside to enjoy a hot toddy , a sweet treat or a good book is pretty sweet!

My solution to life in general is to allow for do-overs, be flexible, and create your own happiness.  These can be done on a small scale such as taking the kids out of their routine for 30 minutes to grab a treat and 30 minutes of uninterrupted chit chat time together at a local café, or grabbing a coffee alone for 30 minutes before you run an errand. These can also be done on a larger scale.  One night away in a hotel is often a great way to capture a winter break do-over without completely breaking the bank.

How to get away without breaking the bank.  Only go for one night.  One night away can turn into a two day extravaganza.  You might not be able to check in until afternoon, but if you are going somewhere nearby  travel  time is minimal and often you can take advantage of the pool or nearby attractions before checking in to make the most of the day.  Take advantage of specials.  Rue La La, Groupon, Hotel Tonight, all offer deals on hotels and you can search by location and date especially if you do it last minute.  Be sure to read the small print so ther are no surprises and if you have questions don’t hesitate to chat with the help desk.  Cross check prices by going to the hotel sites themselves and that will let you see what amenities the hotel has as well. Lastly, check the hotels twitter feed and Facebook page to see if there are any specials there.


A hotel pool is always a treat, some hotels offer special amenities for children including video games (we have no gaming systems at home so for us a hotel gaming system is a huge treat), being away from the piles of laundry and dishes and the “to do” lists of home allows everyone to just slow down a bit and focus on spending time together. Bring along a simple craft project to do together.  Pack a deck of cards and teach the kids a few games you used to play with your family or put a few of those board games at the back of the toy chest into a bag and bring it along too.    Take a trip to the library and stock up on graphic novels, favourite picture books from when the kids were little, and bring that along too.

Before you leave or perhaps on the drive over to your holiday do-over destination, talk to the family about the hotel amenities and what activities are nearby and let everyone choose one thing they want to do.  The only rule is that no one can reply to any other person’s request. Nothing is allowed to be judged a good or bad idea (within reason) and don’t plan on trying to do everything. It is okay that you packed a box of games that no one ends of playing.

Here are a few recommendations for your family holiday do-over.

Royal Sonesta Boston: Great location if you want to pop into the Museum of Science. Skip the crowds and just go in for a quick 4D movie experience, a show at the planetarium, or an IMAX movie. You can also just stay in the hotel and take advantage of the large pool, Art Bar is very family-friendly for all your meals or you can head out to some nearby spots such a Tahaza, Commonwealth Cambridge, and Tatte.

Burlington Marriott:  The pool is pretty big, we even got a good family game of Marco Polo in when we had the pool to ourselves. Get lost in books at the nearby Barnes and Nobles or catch a movie nestled into the very comfy lounge seats at the AMC Burlington, have a healthy, tasty family snack time together at Clover, and/or indulge in gelato at Tuscan Kitchen.

If you live near Toronto or you want to splurge and get out of town Germaine and Porter Air (perfect for a first time family flight too).  (Details coming soon)

The Hyatt Regency has a wonderful saline pool, two little mascot pups (perfect for mean parents like us who will not let our dog-lover son have a puppy of his own)  and is ideally located if you want to catch a show with your musical loving family.  It is also steps from some fun shoppping at Primark and a tasty adventure in Boston’s tiny little Chinatown.  Skating on Frog Pond is just steps away as well and you can warm up with a French hot chocolate at the Thinking Cup on your way back to the hotel.

Taj Boston:  Nestled on the corner of Newbury street and across from the Boston Gardens, the Taj is a perfect holiday do-over location.  Pretend to be a tourist in your own city.  Warm your toes by the fire in one of the fireside suites or in the lounge/bar by the fire. Have Tea at the Taj or spend the night.  Any way to indulge in a little of this luxury will definitely count towards a holiday “do-over”

Charles Hotel is at the heart of Harvard Square, steps from the Charles River, Harvard University and the mix of independent and familiar chain stores that make up Harvard Square. If you’ve done Boston or you just want something a little less urban than the Charles Hotel is a great option.

Hotel Veritas is a swanky little boutique hotel perfect for a no-kids escape. Right in Harvard Square, you can catch a show at the ART visit Harvard’s art museums or hop on the red line and head into Boston for dinner, a show, a stroll?

New and Notable: Godfrey Hotel

Suite Escape: Fireside Sweets at Taj Boston

Whether it is toasty toes or toasted marshmallows that makes you tingle with excitement you can find either or, or both at the Taj Boston when you book one of their Fireside Suites. 42 of the Taj Boston’s suites feature wood burning fireplaces with complimentary fireplace concierge service. The menu that sits atop the mantle is not just for selections to enjoy by the fire but also for what you’d like to hear crackle and light up atop the fire’s andirons.  There is a choice of four types of wood or the Taj blend which uses one of each that will be strategically stacked in the fire place for you any time of day or night as you prepare to cozy up by the fire.

The birch wood is chosen for its strong heat.  It also burns quickly so if you want to enjoy a quick cocktail or afternoon snack by the fire before heading out for the evening birch is a great choice.

The cherry is fragrant and slow burning inviting you to linger longer and enjoy the nice scent of a wood burning fire on a chilly winter’s day.

The oak wood is less fragrant than the cherry but is a perfect end of the evening choice as it is long-burning and will keep a warm glow until you are ready to kick off your cozy Taj slippers and slip into bed for the night.

The maple wood will transport you out of the heart of the city and you will feel like you’ve settled in next to stone hearth at a New England country-side inn.  The scent of maple burning reminds me of a sugar shack in Vermont with a puff of steam and smoke coming out of the tiny shack in the woods with the promise of sweet warmth within to warm up my slightly numb toes.  So maybe you haven’t been walking the Vermont woods but those toes after a stroll down Newbury Street will definitely begin to  feel the chill.

Now on to those toasted marshmallows.  This is the Taj,not camping so there will be no sticks and sticky messes.  There will, however be plenty of treats including the most elegant toasted s’mores. The fireside dessert menu also includes chocolate covered strawberries, Taj dark  chocolate cake, warm caramel chocolate bread pudding (one of the best bread pudding’s I have had), and for those with a slightly less sweet  tooth a cheese plate with fruit jam and Taj honey.  While the children sip on the most elegant hot chocolate named “Starry Night” and adorned with marshmallows and chocolate shavings as well as a full moon sized  bowl of fresh whipped cream, adults can enjoy a Fireside cocktail. Have a shooting starry night of your own with a half bottle of Perrier Jouët Champagne or warm up under a Dark Velvet [blanket] in the  form of a glass of Courvoisier VSOP Cognac  or a glass or bottle of the house red.  On a cold winter’s night by the fire though, there isn’t much better than a hot toddy. The Taj’s Slainte is a warm blend of whiskey, lemon, cloves, cinnamon and Taj Honey (It comes from the rooftop hives!)
50% off second night when

Additionally, the Suite Celebrations promotion is a delightful offer for those who wish to extend their luxurious stay and further experience the legendary Taj hospitality. When guests book one night at the Best Available Rate they can delight in an additional evening at 50% off in addition to a complimentary breakfast for two in the award winning Taj Café.

Fireplace concierge service is availaible through April 2016.

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Red Sox Winter Weekend: Family at Foxwoods.        

It may be a little early for Spring fever but when it comes to Red Sox fans spring training cannot come soon enough. Next weekend, January 22nd through the 24th Red Sox fans can get a big dose of their favorite team and sport at Foxwoods.  Winter Weekend is a family friendly Red Sox extravaganza with clinics, a kids’ press conference, presentation of the IMPACT award, photo ops, batting cages, seminars, and a round of wiffle ball just to name a few activities.


  • Kids Press Conference” featuring Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello where kids get to ask their questions.
  • “Covering Ground” with Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr and Rusney Castillo sharing their thoughts on playing the outfield with Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans.
  • “Memories from the 1986 American League Championship Series” shared by Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Dwight Evans, Bruce Hurst, and Jim Rice.
  • “Battery Mates” will discuss the dyamics of memorable pitch and catcher duos featuring Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek.

Tickets are $60 for adults and $20 for children for the weekend.  Hotel packages are also available at the Foxwoods Resort for $229 per night.  

To make a reservation or purchase tickets you can do so online, or call or email for more information.  


Family Fun at the Marriott Burlington

The Burlington Marriott is in the suburbs but perfectly situated so that there is plenty to do within minutes of stepping outside the door. The Marriott has a great space if you want to just hibernate and not leave the property.  The lounge area is spacious and has a sleek, long, modern gas fireplace there is hot chocolate by the reception and once the kids get tired of reading and playing cards you can linger longer and send them over to the computers in the “business nook”.  The pool is a nice size with plenty of room for a game of Marco Polo or diving for pool toys as well as swimming laps.  There is a hot tub, and a decent workout room as well.

The restaurant, Chopps American Bar and Grille, is a full-fledged restaurant with wonderful, attentive service and plenty of delicious options to please the palates young and old.

If you are going to venture out there are some great options for dining, shopping, and entertainment.  Bowling at Kings is a great experience whether you’re heading out with a bunch of adult friends or you want to take the kids for a few strings.  The bowling alley is set up into different areas some that are more child-friendly and quieter and others that are near the bar.  We went over the summer and enjoyed a little bowling and a round of  shuffleboard.  For the little ones, there is a Chuck E. Cheese nearby or you can take a family outing to Barnes and Nobles which is two stories of books, CDs, movies and more.  If you want something a little more active, head outside to one of the nearby trails or visit Bauer’s Own The Moment for a unique skating adventure.  If you want to settle into a super comfy seat and take in a movie, the AMC Burlington is just a few minutes away.

Nearby shopping includes LL Bean,the Eileen Fisher company store and more at Wayside Commons.  The Burlington Mall has just a great selection of shops as well as Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace, and camouflaged within the food court a tasty little Indian restaurant called Gourmet India.  If you like good, home cooked, Indian food, go just a bit further than the mall to find the hidden gem Ritu Ki Rasoi.  Another favourite of mine is Border Café which has a split menu of Tex Mex and Cajun/Creole. A quick snack, breakfast, lunch, cup of hot coffee, ginger tea or homemade soda is definitely worth taking in from Clover. This unique “food fast” local chain is popular for its tasty treats, Eco-friendly “everything is compostable” practices, and rolls of paper and crayons for the artist in you or your family. Tuscan Kitchen is also nearby where you can grab a bowl of gelato or stop in for a full Tuscan feast.   If you prefer ice cream to gelato then head over to the shops at 3rd Ave Burlington and indulge at Bedford Farms.  The pizza loving family will definitely need to stop over at Flatbreads.

Burlington Marriott has a fabulous family offer for the winter.  The Family Fun Package rates are $179-$399. PROMOTIONAL CODE: MAJ

Rate includes:
• Deluxe room with one king or two double beds
• 50 USD dining credit to CHOPPS restaurant
• Breakfast for two adults
• One in-room movie and one popcorn
• Package value of $140

Be sure that promotional code MAJ appears in the Corporate/Promotional code box when making your online reservation, or call 1-800-228-9290 in the US and ask for promotional code MAJ.  For toll-free numbers outside the US please click here.

Terms and Conditions
Valid Thursday – Sunday through 12/31/16. 50 USD dining credit to CHOPPS restaurant (excludes alcoholic beverages, tax, gratuity). Up to 2 children under 12 years old may eat breakfast, lunch  and dinner from the children’s menu for free when accompanied by and adult dining from the regular menu. Rates are per room per night.  A limited number of packages are available.  Some blackout dates apply.  Taxes and gratuity are not included in rate.  Not available to groups of ten or more rooms or in conjunction with other promotional offers.  Any unused portion of the dining credit will not be refunded. Limited number of rooms are available for this promotion.  Tax is additional.  Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms.  Offer cannot be combined with any other promotions.  Blackout dates may apply.  Advance reservations required.  Other restrictions apply.  Rates are per room, per night and based on availability at the time of reservations.

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Downtown at Boston’s Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency-36

I have parked under the Hyatt Regency dozens of times without quite realizing that there was an elegant completely renovated hotel above me with a pool, the cutest little CEO (Cannine Executive Officer) Remi the Boston Terrier, and one of the most exquisite private dining rooms and patios I have had the pleasure to dine in.

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I was invited to a tasting and for a stay at the Hyatt Regency several months ago and have been looking for an excuse to hold a private event there ever since.  The hotel layout is airy and spacious and the dining room didn’t have that typical party rental room feeling that hotels often create and recreate over and over again.

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Location is key when you book a hotel. If you have young kids a pool is often a must too. Boston’s Hyatt Regency is perfectly situated in Boston because it has such a central location. It is a block from the Boston Opera House were you can see upcoming performances by Boston Ballet such as Russian tragedy Onegin, a balletic cabaret of 20th century pieces in Kaleidoscope, beloved Swan Lake or contemporary Mirrors. Although it is home to Boston Ballet, the Opera House is also home to Broadway in Boston where you can catch Beauty and the Beast and Pippin this winter.

Shopping was a little sad when the golden era of Filene’s Basement tarnished and then disappeared.  Now Ireland’s Primark is the star for wallet-friendly yet fabulous shopping. With many floors of everything from house wares, shoes and clothes for mom and dad to onesies for baby and hip sweatshirts and accessories for your teen Primark is a welcome asset.  You can splurge at Macy’s which on a cold wintry day you may want to walk through the indoor access walkway attached to the Hyatt and save at Primark.

As for dining you have some pretty fabulous options just minutes away from the Hyatt.  Head over to Chinatown, just two blocks away and enjoy dinner and/or cocktails at Shōjō if you want a modern taste of Chinatown.  For a treat you won’t want to miss the cream puffs from Beard Papa’s.  If bubble tea is your thing, you’ll have to try our favorites at Kungfu Tea.  Isabelle gets the Oreo bubble tea with boba’s and I like the jasmine or the milk tea with herbal jelly.  We don’t like it too sweet so we order “little sweet”.  The choices are:  no sugar, little sugar, half sugar, and less sugar. Everyone has their favorite places for dim sum in China Town:  China Pearl, Windsor Café or Hei La Moon.

If you want somewhere different to escape, you’ll have to pop into Yvonne’s even just for a drink, but it is a bit hard to leave without dessert to since pastry chef Kate Holowchik has way too much fun in that pastry kitchen.  For an all around fabulous meal and a taste of New England Townsman is the place to go and then of course also notable are JM Curley’s for American comfort food or Bogie’s Place for the next step up. If you want a little more low key Italian American then there is Salvatore’s for a quick pizza to go or dinner in.  I also enjoy a pre-theatre bite at Stoddard’s. For a quick sandwich to go or some wine and charcuterie to bring back to the room, be sure to stop into newly opened Gordon’s Wine with goodies from Moody’s Deli.

In general, I expect a decent breakfast at a hotel, but I don’t count on it being particularly good.  I know that if there is more than the simple continental breakfast there will be fruit that is decent (depending on the season) and a waffle machine that will keep my kids happy and well fed, but as for myself I plan on grabbing a coffee and something at a nearby café where I know the coffee will be better and the pastries won’t taste all the same whether they look like a bagel, a croissant or a Danish.

I loved the options for breakfast at the Hyatt and I became quite obsessed with the muesli. I love muesli and this is one of the best I have had.

For private events at Boston’s Hyatt Regency contact the hotel at  1-617-422-5516.  Reservations for the Hyatt can be made here or by calling 1-617-912-1234.