Capo Restaurant in South Boston

This blog post isn’t turning out as intended.

My friend and I planned to meet for lunch at a restaurant in South Boston that had corn and crab chowder. I was really looking forward to it and was planning to bring back The Chowdah Project.

I got to the place first and it was wall to wall people with blasting music. I hadn’t been in a place like that since dorm parties in my college days. No thank you! I walked out with no intention of returning.

Oh, and parking was an absolute nightmare. It took close to a half an hour to find anything and it was a somewhat problematic space. I’m not used to South Boston and didn’t know the area. Now I better understand all the stories about people getting so upset when there’s snow and people remove their space savers. I cannot even imagine trying to park there when there is snow.

Anyway, my friend found a spot and then we walked around a bit and ended up finding Capo Restaurant. Unfortunately, there was no chowder. But I may have had the best squash ravioli of my life. It was perfect.

A light cream sauce. So much squash filling that you could really see, taste and feel it. Perfectly seasoned with brown butter and crispy sage. The restaurant is very spacious and airy with ceiling fans going. Lots of space between the tables. Just a nice vibe.

I definitely recommend Capo Restaurant. But leave your car at home.

Girl Scout Cookie Season!

Quincy locations to buy Girl Scout Cookies
It’s been Girl Scout Cookie season for a while now. But I haven’t randomly encountered any cookies for sale. This is a problem.

One of the best things about this time of year is eating those delicious cookies! So, I’ve taken matters into my own hands and gotten intentional about finding some. Their website lets you search by location to find upcoming cooking sales.

This is the weekend! Have you had any Girl Scout Cookies yet this year?

+ + +
Screenshot: Girl Scout Cookie Search Results

Seaweed + Sweet Potato Soup

I didn’t set out to create a new favorite soup today. But that’s what happened with this seaweed and sweet potato soup!

When January is acting like itself, it’s soup weather here in Massachusetts. So today, I decided to use some sweet potatoes and seaweed to make a quick and healthy soup. I purchased the nori, dried seaweed sheets, a while ago, but hadn’t used it too often. I was inspired to buy it after seeing several vloggers that I follow using it.

It’s not just for sushi. Nori can be cut up and used on noodles, rice and in soups. Since seaweed is so healthy, I want to incorporate it into my diet more often.

When I cook, I rarely use recipes and usually have a feel for what a dish needs. I always have soup stock ready to go in the freezer in easy to use portions. So I grabbed two large cubes of stock, and melted it in a pan with a chicken bouillon cube. It would have been easier if I did everything in one pan, but I did things out of order, so it took longer.

In a larger pan, I sauteed some shallots, sweet potatoes, and garlic in olive oil and butter until softened. I poured the stock into the large pan and added enough water to cover the vegetables with liquid. Then using kitchen scissors, I cut the nori into pieces and added it to the pan.

Now I’m trying to remember everything else that I used. Some ground spices: lemon pepper blend, garlic powder, cumin and turmeric. I think that the only other things were maple syrup, toasted sesame seed oil and rice vinegar.

These are the hazards of not using a recipe or measuring anything. It will be impossible to exactly replicate what I did. But I can come close. Since I’m documenting this for my future self. And for you if you’d like to try it.

This soup was such an unexpected treat and I’m looking forward to having some again tomorrow.

Roseadela’s in Salem

Roseadela's front counter

When I visited Salem recently, I took inspiration from a vlogger who often shares her many day trips from where she lives in Seoul.

I’m not a morning person. For me, that means that I like to lounge around at home and have nice slow mornings, even if I get up early. On weekends, it takes a lot for me to leave the house in the morning. But that’s what Cari does! It would also mean that there would be less traffic for the hour long drive from Quincy, so maybe I could get there quicker.

Also, I usually avoid driving in the rain or snow. It rained the night before, but there were only supposed to be passing showers in the morning and it would dry out by the afternoon. So I figured I’d go. I really wanted to see the art exhibit, As We Rise, and it was going to close the next day.

Neither of my assumptions ended up being true, but I’m still glad that I went. The exhibit was wonderful and will be a separate post. I was stuck in a couple of downpours while driving and there was way more traffic than I expected. But as I walked around Salem, it was great!

breakfast at Roseadela's

I hate rushing through breakfast, so I didn’t eat before leaving home. When I arrived in Salem around 10am, I was starving and needed caffeine. There was plenty of street parking, but I chose a parking garage near the museum. When I came out of the elevator on the street level, I saw a small cafe and shop called Roseadela’s. It’s the cutest place with such cozy vibes!

There was so much to choose from for a sweet or savory small breakfast. I ended up getting a simple egg and cheese sandwich and a latte. Both very good and hit the spot!

I ended up coming back again when I was going to get my car to leave. I would have loved to buy just about everything in there. Since that was not possible, I picked up a few things that I really liked to gift to some people. They have an online store as well where you can purchase some of their many offerings.

Roseadela's shop wall

The photograph on the wall is stunning and I asked the owner about it. It looks like it’s from another time and place. But it’s actually her and her daughter posing at a photography studio located in the same building!

Stopping at Roseadela’s was a great way to start my half a day in Salem and I was ready to head to the museum next!

What’s Needed at Food Banks

charitable organizations

The holiday season through the end of the year is when many charitable organizations are seeking donations. It’s also when many people want to support organizations whose missions they especially believe in.

One of my favorite organizations is Globe Santa and I’ve supported them for decades. They deliver holiday gifts to children in need. All children should feel the joy and delight of receiving at least one gift of their own.

Many of us also support food banks. I read an interesting post on LinkedIn written by Marco T. Lindsey about what people really need at food banks. His list started a conversation in the comments that also gave some good ideas. I didn’t read all of the comments, but I’ve noted some takeaways below.

MONEY: Money is the best thing to give. Food banks can best decide what they need. They need the means to buy it and may have discounted rates for purchases.

ASK: If you’d rather not give a monetary donation, look at the organization’s website and see if they have a list of particular items that they need. You could also contact them directly to find out what they need right now. The website list could possibly be out of date.

WASTE: A lot of donated food goes to waste and cannot be used. If it’s expired, it will be thrown away. One thing that I was surprised to learn when I volunteered at a food bank was that dented cans were thrown away. If a can was dented, then the integrity of the can was in question and the food might not be safe. I’m not sure if that is still the case or if all food banks abide by this rule, but it’s something to keep in mind.

One comment, shown below, that I found particularly insightful was by Sheila Freeman.

“As someone who has worked and volunteered for nonprofit organizations for over twenty years, there is one thing from your list you left off. Food banks only allow people/families to get food that will last for a week once a month, no exception. If you have kids they will eat this food in one day. The other thing heard staff who run these ministries say “if these people are hungry, they should take what we give them.” People who donates food have no ideal these are the policies in place when serving those in the communities. Another issue is these speciality bread shops give bread, a good variety in the donation, and anyone that buys it knows it is expensive but the food pantries throws away because it’s not bagged to last long, so much of it goes into the trash.”

I’m not sure that what she says applies to all food banks, but apparently at least some of them. And that makes sense that the bagged bread might end up going to waste.

It’s such a shame. Food waste is a huge problem in this country. It’s a double shame that so many people are in need of food at the same time that it is being thrown away.