Great Eats North of Boston

My parents were in town (from Hawaii) last week, and while they’ve visited me on the East Coast twice before, this is the first time they’ve come since I left the city. Since we’re a family that loves food, I took them to a few foodie gems we’ve found closer to home, as well as a couple of great places in the city. If you’re visiting New England, I highly recommend stopping by any of these dining establishments to grab a bite.

Blue Fin

Good Eats North of Boston

We live just outside of a forest and within a stone’s throw of several farms, yet somehow we also have a fabulous Japanese restaurant in our neighborhood as well. Asian restaurants here are often fusion, with Chinese places serving sushi and Thai restaurants serving Chinese food (confusing!), but at Blue Fin you’ll only find real homestyle Japanese food and incredible sushi. The sashimi is always fresh. The sushi chefs are artists. And they serve up a pretty mean martini. Insider tip: the bar is the most comfortable, relaxed place to sit.


Good Eats North of Boston

Just down the street from Blue Fin is Richardson’s dairy farm, which is a New England institution. I can’t tell you how many times James and I have finished off our sushi, only to drive two minutes down the road for dessert at Richardson’s. My favorite is the cherry vanilla ice cream, but I haven’t had a bad scoop there yet, and I’ve tried a lot of them! Mini golfing and batting cages are on the premises, but the real excitement is that there are cows! The ones that make the milk that goes in the ice cream! I mentally thank them every time we drive by.


Good Eats North of Boston

My dad’s number one request: New England clam chowder. James pointed us to Shea’s, which is a cozy restaurant on the water with award-winning chowder. I’m not sure if we’re just lucky, but we’ve never had to wait there, despite the fact that the fried clam place across the street is always insane and the food here is awesome. The chowder is perfect, and the sandwiches and salads are equally mouthwatering. You can easily get to the beach or to a bunch of antique stores from Shea’s, so it’s a perfect stop on the North Shore.

Mill River Winery

Good Eats North of Boston

Before heading to Shea’s, we stopped at this gorgeous little winery on the North Shore, in Rowley. The space is relatively new–airy and bright. They produce a wide variety of wines, and for just $5 you can taste them all. Although the chardonnay is award winning, our favorite was their crisp, dry Riesling. We might not be Napa, but this is a definite must for wine lovers. (Find a more comprehensive review, complete with actual wine vocabulary, at The Eats.)

I’m considering featuring more local places here on Frock Files with first-hand photos. Let me know if this sounds interesting to you. There are so many good ones; this is just a start! Where do you take people when they’re visiting your hometown?

Photo Credits: Blue Fin | Richardson’s | Shea’s | Mill River Winery



Cherry + Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

10 Minute Ice Cream Cake Recipe

It’s August! I’m in as much of a state of disbelief as you are. This month’s theme is Celebrate! I’m turning the big 3-0 at last, and anyway, it’s summer — we need to get our party on. All the recipes this month will be cake-related, since cake is my favorite and so are you.

James’ mom makes an ice cream cake like this one, except with chocolate fudge instead of cherry frosting in the middle. Since chocolate and cherries make me weak in the knees, I concocted a fluffy cherry-vanilla center. Using ice cream sandwiches as the base, this impressive-looking (and tasting!) cake takes all of 10 minutes to whip up.

10 Minute Ice Cream Cake Recipe


Makes two small cakes or one large cake.

12 ice cream sandwiches
16 oz. Cool Whip
10-12 oz. cherry pie filling (about half the can, as desired)
1 box instant vanilla pudding (1.5 oz)


1. In a large bowl, gently fold together the cherry pie filling and 8oz (half the container) of Cool Whip. Add the vanilla pudding packet until completely combined.

2. On a piece of parchment paper, lay out three ice cream sandwiches. Top with cherry/Cool Whip/pudding filling. Repeat with a layer of ice cream sandwiches, another layer of frosting, and another layer of ice cream sandwiches.

3. Cover the entire cake in the leftover plain Cool Whip. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

10 Minute Ice Cream Cake Recipe

I like to make a small cake (6 ice cream sandwiches) and reserve the frosting and Cool Whip to make another small cake later on, but you can make one big cake using all 12 ice cream sandwiches at once if you’re having lots of people over. You popular person, you.

P.S. More cherry and chocolate goodness.

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Weekend Links + The Best Pep Talk

Morning Coffee in France

Since we’re still on the search for the right pup (I’ve spent inexcusable amounts of time on Petfinder lately), I’ve decided not to say anything more until our new furry family member is safely at home. It’s too much of a wild ride! At a low point this week, I needed a pep talk and my best friend Lindsey, as always, came through with just the right words:

“I am also growing impatient for a sweet little puppy picture, which I will immediately turn into a custom puppy-aunt coffee mug, from which I will sip from each day and go, ‘Eeeeee!’ How’s that for a run-on sentence? I’m like mother&^%$# Faulkner over here! But seriously, have you bought Jacques the Squeaky Baguette? FOCUS!”

I will never, ever need a life coach as long as Lindsey is in my life.

I hope your weekend is filled with equally fabulous friends, sunshine, and delicious things. Here are a few things I fell in love with this week:

How to properly contour and highlight your face — including product recommendations and a diagram. As a visual learner, I totally needed this to avoid looking like a clown.

Seth Meyers and Jerry Seinfield on running into Martha Stewart with an improperly adopted dog, thinking you might fail at your career (and not), and the power of admitting that you have no idea what you’re doing.

Absolute truth. Especially during a heat wave.

I’ve watched this a dozen times, and it never fails to make me laugh.

What to do with all those Target bags you have lying around.

What are you up to this weekend?


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Cool Summer Dessert Roundup

I always think that I’ll eat healthier in the summertime, when salads sound refreshing and fresh fruit is in abundance. And while we’ve been eating our fair share of produce, we’re also guilty of having incredible sugar cravings. We live about five minutes from a famous farm that produces some incredible ice cream — I blame it on them.

Since we’re currently in the middle of our third heatwave of the summer (yep, that’s three heatwaves in about as many weeks), I think it’s the perfect time to indulge in all the cool, sweet recipes I’ve been saving up from some of my favorite bloggers. Here are five chilly recipes that you just have to try:

Blueberry Lemon Thyme Ice Cream from Hip Foodie Mom

Blueberry Lemon & Thyme Ice Cream from Hip Foodie Mom. (You don’t need an ice cream maker, just a mixer!)

Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches from Squirrelly Minds

Macaron Ice Cream Sammies from Squirrelly Minds

Lulu the Baker: Strawberry Pretzel Jello

Strawberry Jell-o, whipped cream, and a pretzel base from Lulu the Baker. Sweet + salty + cool = heaven.

Sundae Cones from Freutcake

Ice Cream Sundae Cones from Freutcake. (If you, like me, love Drumsticks.)

Mix and Match Popsicles from Oh Happy day

Mix + Match Popsicles from Oh Happy Day!

And in case you missed them, here are a few cool dessert ideas from me:

Boston Cream Ice Box CupcakesHow to Make Mochi Ice CreamVanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

Boston Cream Ice Box Cupcakes // Mochi Ice Cream // Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

How about you? Do you have a sweet tooth in the summertime?

Simple Recipe: Ice Cream Jello

As a teenager, I worked at a cafe where I learned how to make a perfect cappuccino — but didn’t drink coffee. Then in college, I worked at a boutique chocolate shop — but didn’t really eat chocolate. And though I’ve since begun eating chocolate every now and again, I’ve always been more attracted to fruity things, like this ice cream Jell-O.

My aunt has made this recipe for family parties since I can remember and it’s a crowd pleaser: creamy, fruity, and light. For Valentine’s Day, I’ve made it with strawberry Jell-O, but I’ve also made it with orange (for Halloween) and lime (with some vodka, for St. Patrick’s Day). It makes a big batch and takes only about 10 to 15 minutes of hands-on time, so it’s the perfect thing for a party. Or you could be like us and just eat the whole batch yourself. No judgments.


2 big boxes of Jell-O (I used strawberry)
3/4 quart vanilla ice cream
1 packet Knox gelatin
4 cups of water


1. Boil the water and then transfer it to a big bowl. Add in the Jello and gelatin. Whisk until dissolved.

2. Add in the ice cream and whisk until it’s all melted into the mixture.

3. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13″ casserole dish. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least four hours. The ice cream will rise to the top, making pretty layers.

4. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to make shapes. I found it easiest to make a hole in the middle so that you can slide the cookie cutter out rather than trying to lift it with the Jell-O in-tact. This is also a great excuse to taste test, using that middle piece.

Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

What desserts are you craving for Valentine’s Day?

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