Coffee Breaks & Other Food Thoughts

coffee breaks and confections

Days and events over the past month have me thinking. About food. About family. About friendship. About time. About what is normal life. About coffee breaks and cafes.

Is this now normal life? COVID numbers remain high and the pandemic continues. But government policies and the actions of most people indicate that society has moved on. I still have not worked in an office building in more than two years. Working from home is easier in many ways and cheaper. Impromptu coffee breaks with colleagues are what I miss the most. I also miss randomly stopping by coffee shops alone.

A few weeks ago, I had a chai date with a friend from law school that I hadn’t seen in about twenty years. She returned to India within a few years after we graduated, so there weren’t that many opportunities to connect in person. One of the last times that I saw her, she made me chai from scratch at her house. Of course it was delicious. One of my favorite memories of her is how we would share snacks in class too. Bonding over food and the law.

This time, we were only able to meet for a short period of time, so we had chai at a Starbucks near me. She looked the same, but had cut her hair and I remembered how she has the best laugh. It was also my first time taking my mask off in a Starbucks since before the pandemic.

A few weeks before, I attended a rehearsal dinner and then a wedding the next day. It was the first time in more than two years that I had eaten in a restaurant and attended a truly large gathering — mostly unmasked. The dinner was delicious. The wedding was amazing. I saw family that I hadn’t seen in years. We talked and danced and laughed. My cousin was the groom and he and his wife are perfect together. I’m so happy they found each other. Our family adored her from the first time we met.

I’m fully vaccinated and double boosted. I timed my second booster with the week of the wedding, so I’d have the highest immunity for this very large gathering. It seems to have worked. Now I’m inching toward whatever this new life is. Will we ever be post-pandemic? Maybe not. So this is it. I’m still uneasy about it all. But I guess I’m starting to move on too.

Since cafe visits are no longer tied with where I’m working, I’m attaching my errands with coffee breaks. I had wanted to visit French Press Bakery & Cafe in Needham since 2019. I’m not usually in that area, but suddenly I needed to be and had a little time to relax. So I enjoyed a cold brew and an almond croissant sitting outside in the sun. I love this place! The area is adorable and full of other restaurants and shops. It’s not too far from Quincy, so I’ll definitely return.

A few days later, I needed to be in Hopkinton, so I paired the errand with a visit to Muffin House Cafe. They also had outdoor seating where I enjoyed my iced coffee and blueberry muffin. This place was jumping! At a certain point, there was a line of people waiting to get in. It’s definitely a favorite local spot!

What’s next on my food journey? Well, it’s not a cafe, but I learned recently that H Mart will soon be arriving in Quincy. I’m so excited! It’s a Korean grocery store and I’m looking forward to trying some different foods. During the pandemic, I started watching a ton of Korean dramas and following several Korean YouTubers. I’ve learned about many Korean dishes and ways of cooking, so there have been foods and ingredients that I’ve been looking for. Now I should have an easier time finding them.

Have you noticed shifts in your daily life to bring back what you’ve missed from before the pandemic or new things you’re bringing in?

Snacking On Right Now: Noosa Yogurt

Picture of three stacked containers of Noosa yogurt.

It’s been months now since I first started eating Noosa yogurt. I know it’s spelled yoghurt on the package, but I’m American, so I’m going with the spelling that’s familiar to me.

Back to the yogurt. It’s the absolute best that I’ve tried so far. And I eat a lot of yogurt.

A co-worker first told me about Noosa. She raved and raved about how good it was. I didn’t think it could be that good. I mean, I love yogurt, but how good could it really be? I’ve tried so many different brands of yogurt and love them all in varying degrees. One day I noticed Noosa in the store and figured I’d try it. To me, it’s rather expensive, but I was very curious.

The consistency is more like pudding than yogurt and it’s bursting with flavor. I LOVE THIS YOGURT!! And I’m a person who does not use all caps. Because that’s yelling. Yes, I am yelling!

Collage of two pictures, left is color photo showing container of trailmix and trailmix in container of yogurt, left photo in black in white shows container of yogurt with trailmix mixed in and spoon.

So as much as I love this yogurt, I didn’t realize how readily apparent to others was my love for Noosa. Another co-worker mentioned to me how I start smiling when I’m eating Noosa and even just mention the name. Needless to say, she and another co-worker bought Noosa and also love it!

My new way of eating yogurt is putting trail mix into it for some extra protein and energy.  It’s a great snack and I am loving it. Picture me smiling. 🙂

The Resurgence of the Ice Cream Sandwich

Stack of ice cream sandwiches on a plate.

The ice cream sandwich never totally disappeared from the dessert scene. Vanilla ice cream between a chocolate cakey wafer is a classic American childhood summer treat.

It was good, but not that exciting. We grew up and the novelty wore off. But things have changed.  There’s been a lot of innovation since we were kids.

A few months ago, I tried Stop & Shop’s Limoncello flavor and became rather obsessed with them. They are so good! But they are around for a limited time only. Sadly, I couldn’t find them the last time that I looked.

Ciao Bella makes Gelato Squares in flavors like Key Lime Graham and Sea Salt Caramel. A cold, creamy treat for those of us who have not seen our teen years in a while. Actually, some teens and younger might like these too.

Now for those of us in Massachusetts especially, Hood ice cream takes us back to our childhoods. Hood has stepped up their game with some new limited time only flavors as well.

Pictured above is S’mores. Which I ate right after photographing. Because it was melting. I couldn’t be wasteful could I?! 😋

I also bought the Cookies ‘n Cream, but haven’t tried them yet. Looking forward to it! July is National Ice Cream Month and we are now in the heart of summer. I’m looking forward to trying out more variations. Especially since it’s in the food blogger job description — that I just made up!

Today is also National Ice Cream Day, so you can get going on your summer consumption too!

My Fake French Snack

fake French snack

It seems like something so simple shouldn’t taste so good. But it does. I picked up this brioche at Market Basket and slathered some wild blueberry preserves on it. What a great snack! I love Bonne Maman products, because they taste great and I keep the cute little jars.

The flowers have nothing to do with this snack, except for they are simple, pretty and giving me a French vibe too. So why not include them? Enjoy! 😀

pink flowers