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Birthday celebrations continue at Mohegan Sun

August 30th, 2010 · 23 Comments · Uncategorized

I think it’s safe to say that last week Adam’s birthday turned into birthweek – we had something fun planned for nearly every day, including of course dinner at Mooo, a cirque du soleil show Ovo (amazing!!) and last but definitely not least – a trip to Mohegan Sun. Adam loves casinos and aside from Vegas, Mohegan Sun is hands down his favorite place to gamble – it’s clean, beautiful and large enough that there is never really a time when you have to wait for a table + I can entertain myself with window shopping while he’s (hopefully) winning some money. 😎 So yeah, when I told him that I planned a trip there for the weekend (including an overnight stay, which was comped by Mohegan – thanks Michelle!!) he was seriously speechless of excitement for a moment, and then he couldn’t stop talking about it until the weekend finally arrived. 😆 Our friends Kyle and Tiffany even decided to make a day-trip there so we were able to share one super fun day with them as well. This weekend seriously rocked!! How about some pictures? 😉

After checking into our hotel room (VIP check-in at Aquai was so smooth and pleasant btw… they even offered us drinks before we went up to our room!) we settled in, I snapped some photos, and we were off to explore…

The room was spacious and clean

I loved the cute little details such as this tea and coffee holder :)

… and the cute toiletries

The view from our window

Dang, I should have brought my bathing suit (it was 95* out!!)

Big spenduh 😆

Mohegan has a pretty nice gym for hotel guests (I actually used it last time we stayed there 2 years ago). We both brought our gym clothes but were too excited to “waste” time on a treadmill.

We got a little exercise from walking around – the grounds at Mohegan are extensive (it’s the second largest hotel in the US). The decor is so whimsical – don’t the bright colors just make you happy?

[Hotel lobby]

[Shops at Mohegan]

I knew I’d have plenty of time to check out the shops later – lunch was our main priority! There were quite a few restaurants to choose from – it took us awhile to check them all out…

[Birch’s – we ate a casual lunch there last time and loved it]

[Bobby Flay burger joint – aka, Adam’s favorite burger place.]

There is a whole Asian gambling section (with their special gambling games) – I was *this* close to having lunch in their little food court. I wonder if it’s pretty authentic…

The Dunkin Donuts fit right in… there was a sign in Chinese (?) there after all. 😆

After walking around for ages, we finally settled down on Summer Shack. The owner Jasper White is a seafood legend in New England.

I agree! 😀

I guess I was in full vacation mode because I ordered the fried whole belly Ipswich clams (appetizer) for my lunch, as well as the heirloom tomato salad

The clams were a bit too soft (although tasty) and the salad was definitely of just regular tomatoes and a little too much oil, but I managed to pretty much polish off both plates (Adam helped a bit).

Adam LOVED his fish tacos. I was no longer hungry. Mission (kind of) accomplished. Dessert at Ben & Jerry’s made everything better… Adam kindly modeled it for me 😀

I got scoop shop only flavors – pecan butter (rich buttery ice Cream with roasted pecans) and chocolate therapy (chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies and swirls of chocolate pudding) – both amazing!

Finally Kyle and Tiffany arrived and the boys headed straight for the poker room.

Tiffany and I pretty much went straight to the bar. 😉 I had a glass of cabernet which was watery but it was fun to just sit down and people watch. :)

Eventually it was time for dinner. We had reservations at Todd English’s Tuscany. This dinner was one of the best (if not THE best) dinner experiences of my life (and Adam’s… and probably Kyle and Tiffany’s). I was originally going to just do 1 recap post for our trip but this dinner definitely deserves its own post (coming tomorrow!).

After dinner, with full bellies, we went… dancing.

Haha, there was NO WAY we were going to be able to shake it after a nearly 3-hour 8+ course meal (yup). Instead, the boys went back to gambling… and the girls went shopping! I was going to just window shop but somehow ended up with a little make over at Bare Escentuals (Tiffany, you are bad influence! 😉 ).

Now I was ready for dancing. Ha! Instead we went back to find the boys; Kyle and Tiffany drove back home, Adam went back to gambling (the boy had a ridiculous amount of energy – he stayed up until 3am!!)… and I went to sleep. It was glorious. I was so so happy we didn’t have to drive back home. Staying overnight is definitely the way to go.

Is it time for breakfast, already?

How do you all feel about pizza for breakfast? Hey, it was like 11:30 by then. Let’s call it brunch. 😀

My dad RAVES about Frank Pepe pizza (they stop by the original shop every time on their way to NY). I think he’ll be proud of our choice of… brunch. Yes, I’m sticking with that.

Original tomato pie with mozzarella and roasted red peppers

Pepe’s specialty white clam pizza

The original pizza needed a bit more seasoning but nothing that extra garlic powder and salt didn’t fix. The white clam pizza was fishy at the first bite but after the second bite, the cheese, garlic and herbs really stood out. We got 2 small pizzas and only ate 1/2 of each. At the end we really loved them and the leftovers made for great car snacks and dinner.

Adam ended up gambling after brunch. I made some good dice rolls at the craps table for him. :) And then, at some point at the black jack table, the guy sitting next to him just gave him 2 chips of $25 and said: “It’s just money, have fun!” I’ve never seen anything like that – it was so exciting. Adam’s luck totally turned around then and he ended up winning his money back (he was down before) and then some. It was amazing. What a trip!!

Do you gamble? Do you like casinos? I don’t gamble but I love nice casinos for some reason (they have to be nice though). Aside from a few sad people you see (that you know are gambling away their life savings) and the smoke, the energy is just so fun. I love hearing the cheering from the craps table, seeing the ridiculously corny slot machines and just everything about being transformed to a space where time doesn’t matter. Thank you again, Michelle and Mohegan, for hosting us. This was absolutely the most amazing end to a birthday week and I am certain that among others, we will not forget the dinner at Tuscany for a long time.

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Birthday celebration at Mooo (restaurant review)

August 28th, 2010 · 18 Comments · Boston, restaurant reviews

Ok, now that we got pickles out of our system (oh wait, just me?), let’s talk a little about steak houses, more specifically Mooo – the place Adam chose to celebrate his birthday this year (and also 3 years ago). Mooo is located in the XV Hotel in Beacon Hill and has a very modern vibe. It’s definitely not your traditional stuffy suit-dominated steak house. I kind of think of it as an upscale restaurant that happens to specialize in grass-fed steaks. :) The little grass pots decorating each table are reminders of the latter.

It was pretty dark in there, but I managed to snap a few decent photos; they may not be raiser sharp but I think they look more intimate (and natural) this way. Hello, birthday boy! <3

We decided a long time ago that we are not knowledgeable enough about wine to spend too much money on it; I’d rather spend a little extra on the meal. I let Adam choose a bottle for us and he ordered the cheapest one – Rock & Vine cabernet blend. It was a little sweet, kind of like table wine. Very drinkable but not exactly refined. The price was right though. 😉

As much as Adam loves steak houses, the two things he couldn’t stop talking about after our last trip to Mooo were lobster bisque and Mooo’s bread rolls. I believe these are brioche buns – so buttery, soft and warm. Yum!

Adam ordered just that for his appetizer. I chose a lighter starter – arugula, lemon, parmesan, and oven cured tomato salad

I enjoyed the freshness of the salad – it was very lightly dressed, letting the peppery arugula and sharp parmesan stand out. The oven cured tomato was basically a sun-dried tomato made in the oven (I know, a very technical description but I bet you know exactly what it tasted like now, right?). I didn’t care for the bread sticks – they were tasteless and stale. No worries, I was happy to eat my 2 little brioche buns. :)

It’s funny how certain places can send you straight back to a different time in your life. Adam said the second he stepped in Mooo, he immediately was transformed to our lives 3 years ago – we just recently got engaged and moved to Boston. It was all good memories. We really enjoyed just relaxing and reminiscing, while waiting for our entrees.

I didn’t order steak. I had every intention of doing so but the scallops “spoke” to me and Adam assured me that it was ok (I thought maybe it was a bit lame not to order steak at a steak house). Seared sea scallops, Georgia corn, chanterelles, whipped potato

Scallops, mushrooms and corn are a fabulous combo. This dish was (by-the-book) perfectly executed – the scallops were moist on the inside and perfectly seared on the inside. They were lovely, really. Unfortunately the dish overall was not particularly exciting. I like a little twist to the traditional – a little heat, or maybe a fresh pop of something? I didn’t get that here (although I did take over half of it home and gave the leftovers another life, my style, the next day – details to come in a different post 😎 ).

Adam’s steak with red wine sauce was very good. The truffle fries were even better. I had a few. I loooooove truffle fries.


For dessert, I ordered the chocolate stout cake (dark chocolate cake, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream) to share. The server set up a little special surprise for Adam. He was so surprised in fact, that he forgot to make a wish before blowing the candle. 😯 I made him make a wish later – all is well. :mrgreen:

The cake was… meh. Kind of cold, hard, and not particularly fresh. Tasted like supermarket cake to me. Adam also said the ice cream was icy (I didn’t even touch it). We both picked at the cake for a minute and left the rest. The bus boy was shocked we didn’t want to take the rest home. Sorry, this cake isn’t worth it.

Chocolate covered marshmallows came with the check. We each took a tiny bite and again left the rest. It was nothing special.

Overall, the dinner was lovely. We enjoyed the atmosphere, our waiter was very attentive without being overly eager and annoying and the food (except dessert) was solid (although in my opinion not particularly inventive). We will likely be back… in a few years (for Adam’s birthday?). This is the best steak house in Boston in our experience when you combine quality of food, service and the overall vibe.

How do you feel about steak houses in general? My thesis is that it’s a “guy thing.”

We’re off to continue birthday celebrations at Mohegan Sun!! Adam is like a little kid on Christmas morning right now. 😀


For other restaurant reviews, check out my Restaurant Reviews page.

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Pickle love

August 26th, 2010 · 21 Comments · product reviews

Thank you all for the super nice birthday wishes for Adam! We went out to dinner last night- the place is becoming a bit of a tradition for Adam’s birthday (we sat at the exact same table, on the same date, 2 years ago). I’m not complaining. :) I took pictures and was planning on blogging about it tonight but then something happened today that took priority. I got distracted by pickles! 😳

I treat myself to a special food item every so often (if the grocery budget allows it that months) – it always involves small businesses. I love supporting them! So when a few weeks ago I saw a sale on Gilt for Rick’s Picks for all sorts of crazy combos of pickled goodies, I couldn’t control myself. I stocked up. Today these babies arrived. Oh, it was a good day! :mrgreen:

The pickled veggies couldn’t contain themselves inside. They wanted to come out and play in the yard (after all, our crazy rains stopped). Wheeeee

So much goodness – smoked pickled okra, pickled green beans, sweet pickles, spicy pickles, wasabi green beans, even pickled beets.


The water can piggie wants a taste too. 😆

Are you a pickle lover? What would you do with this loot?

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