Category: restaurant review

Starbucks Petites

It’s no secret that I like Starbucks. It’s one of my favorite places to study, and I enjoy the atmosphere as much as the coffee beverages. I also love getting coupons from the Starbucks Reward program. Remember when I got the coupon for oatmeal? This time, I was offered the chance to try the new Starbucks Petites, a line of small sized sweet treats.

I headed in to Starbucks with my Mom and we ended up choosing three for a family sampling. One treat was complimentary with my coupon, and we purchased the other 2 for $2.50. It was tough to decide, but we settled on the Carrot Cake cupcake, the Rocky Road Cake Pop, and the Salted Caramel Square. The barista took the time to carefully package them in little boxes so that we could take them home.

The treats are quite visually appealing and decorated perfectly. But they also taste great and received good reviews from the whole family. The carrot cake was moist, with a nicely sweet frosting. The cake pop was moist as well, with a rich and chocolatey coating. The salted caramel square was our favorite though, with a mix of sweet and salty flavors and plenty of crunch from the pretzels and pecans.

Having a small portion of a “real” dessert can be far more satisfying than any diet dessert food. These petite treats from Starbucks provide a few bites of something that’s truly delicious.

Uno’s Pizza

Sorry to leave you all hanging last week, but I just couldn’t keep up with everything. I even ran out of milk to make oatmeal. 😦 There were salads from Whole Foods, sandwiches from Subway, and a lot of Starbucks coffee. But finals are over, and I figured it was appropriate to start the week with a new take-out option that I recently discovered.


I admit, I snubbed my nose at Uno’s for years. All I could remember was greasy deep dish pizza that left me feeling uncomfortably full for hours. Even the salads on the menu didn’t offer a balanced meal. Plus, it’s a chain, and I’d much rather frequent smaller local establishments. But one night, fate brought me back. It was fairly late, I hadn’t eaten dinner, and I was on my way home but knew that the cupboards were just about bare. I thought about my options for takeout, but there aren’t many places that serve food late at night near my house. I spied Uno’s, and decided to give it a shot.

I was immediately greeted by a friendly hostess. I asked if they were still open, and she assured me they were. Then I realized just how many people were there enjoying a meal! She told me they could prepare anything for takeout, and that I should relax and take a look at the menu. This menu was a lot different than the one I remember! Yes, they still serve deep dish pizza, but they also have thin crust pizza, with a multi-grain version available. There were a lot of other options as well, but I decided to try a half pizza – the Roasted Eggplant, Spinach, and Feta on a multi-grain crust. It was less than $5, and the staff even served me a complimentary beverage while I waited.

When I got home, I dove right in. The crust was nicely crisp, and the toppings consisted of more vegetables than cheese, just the way it should be. The eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes were really the highlight. There was nothing greasy about this pizza. I know I was hungry, but the pizza was good! Just to make sure I was right, I went back another night and ordered it again, and took proper pictures.
Of course, I would prefer to make my own whole wheat pizza at home. But Uno’s turned out to be a decent option when I was in a pinch, and I appreciate their newer selections. The staff at the Newton Corner restaurant was friendly and attentive both times I visited, and I am hoping to get back there again this summer.

Veg, Sarasota, FL

My inspiration to blog while on vacation stemmed from a visit to a fantastic restaurant! I often cook when I am visiting with my family, and I do have new recipes and photos to share next week. But it’s also a pleasure to eat at new restaurants when I travel, and my parents and I like to try at least one new place each year in the greater Sarasota area.

This year, we ventured over to Veg, a casual restaurant which serves both vegetarian and seafood fare. As frequent readers know, I am not strictly vegetarian, but appreciate simple vegetarian meals. When we took a quick look at the lunch menu before heading in, I was immediately impressed with the selection of sandwiches and salads. The menu items combined mostly plant based ingredients, and many options were either vegan or could be easily made vegan.

My Dad started with the potato leek soup, which had a rich flavor and plenty of potatoes and mushrooms. I had the Portobello sandwich with caramelized onions, my Mom chose the Farmer’s Market Panini with spinach and goat cheese, and my Dad got the Portobello Muffaletta with an olive tapenade and Gouda cheese. The sandwiches came with a choice of cole slaw or fresh fruit, and we all chose the fruit. All of the sandwiches were made to order, and served nice and hot. We each liked our choice and would order it again, except for wanting to try other menu items.

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, our server told us her mother had made fresh Irish bread. We’re no strangers to Irish bread, and decided that it would make a perfect dessert to end the meal. This was a good version of Irish bread which was a bit more like a scone, just lightly sweet and very moist.

Our server was very friendly, and the place had a nice feel as a family owned business. This visit to Veg was a success, and I am looking forward to a return trip when I am back in the area. Plus, I really need to try their fish tacos which have gotten rave reviews. If you live in the area, or travel there, I recommend that you give this place a try!

Starbucks Oatmeal

This semester, I am eating breakfast on the go almost every morning at my job, at my internship site, or at school before class. I’ve even eaten breakfast on the T! My staples are Overnight Oats, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and yogurt parfaits. Much to my delight, Starbucks sent me a coupon to try their oatmeal. A free, hot breakfast? Sounds great!

The oatmeal itself is plain, made with water. But the barista told me he’d give me “the works” which includes a packet of mixed nuts, a packet of dried fruit, and a packet of brown sugar.

I used all of the dried fruit, about half the nuts, and a sprinkle of brown sugar. The texture was different than stove top, but this was still a pretty good bowl of oats. With these nutritional stats, this is a convenient and healthy whole grain breakfast. Of course, I’d prefer fresh fruit over dried, but Starbucks does sell bananas, so that is an option.

And of course, you can easily get a dairy serving with a beverage. Check out this post for great tips on how to customize a drink to meet your needs.

Prana Cafe, Newton, MA

This is the very first restaurant review to be featured on the blog. I love to cook and share new recipes, but it is fun to go out and let others cook for you….or in this case, not cook for you. Let me explain – Prana Cafe serves mostly raw vegan food. I’ve been wanting to try this place ever since it opened, and my friend Susan graciously agreed to come with me. I am not considering any food lifestyle changes, but every restaurant offers a chance to experience what other people eat, which I find fascinating.

After braving traffic and snow squalls, we arrived at the cute and trendy restaurant, and were seated quickly. So the question you’re dying to ask: what do you order at a high raw vegan restaurant!? Let me start by saying that they do serve beer and wine. There were quite a few food choices; plenty of salads, yes, but also soups, appetizers, sushi, pizza, and pasta. Our server was very patient with us as we asked about how things were made. I settled on the pizza of the day, which had a thin crust, and was topped with mushrooms, pineapple chunks, and sun dried tomato sauce. It was served with a side salad of field greens.

The verdict? Although it resembled pizza is some ways, this was a different dish altogether. But I did enjoy it. The crust was crispy, the sauce had a great flavor, and the pineapple tasted very fresh. I was going to bring my camera, and then chickened out. Next time! The pizza was very filling, and although we looked at the dessert menu, I didn’t really have room.

I will go back to Prana Cafe again, perhaps to try one of those desserts, since it offered a unique and yet comfortable dining experience. There are a lot of menu items which piqued my interest, and maybe I’ll try to recreate a few at home. I’d recommend that you go too, if you feel you’re ready for the adventure. You need to go in with your mind wide open to trying new dishes and enjoying a meal that may be quite different from your usual fare.