This past week I stopped by to say hello to Maria and her family at Caffe Sicila. Nina, Maria’s Mom, invited me to come and see she and her sister Grace making pignulata. Caffe Sicilia has dozens and dozens of orders for this wonderful traditional fried pastry desert and they had already begun the first stages several days ago. Nina explains it is most typically served in Sicilian homes around Christmas time, but also other holidays too. Making this treat is a multi-step process, and labor intensive in the volume undertaken by Caffe Sicilia. The sisters offered lots of tips for making the most delicious pignulata (also spelled pignolata) and I hope I am remembering all that they shared!

caffe-sicilia-pignulata-nina-copyright-kim-smithThe dough is rolled out, cut into marble-sized bits, and placed in cold oil.


The bits of dough are throughly drained and set aside for several days as they release more oil. When ready to mold the pignulata, a glaze made of boiled honey and sugar is poured over the fried dough.



Nina and Grace grew up in Terrasini, Sicily, emigrating from Italy when they were young teens. The sisters talked about how back in their childhood days, most people did not have a kitchen oven. To bake their weekly bread and to bake treats during the holidays, families would take their loaves and cookies and cakes to the local town baker and “rent” their oven for a nominal fee. Cookies and cakes were placed on long, long wooden trays and carefully placed in the baker’s oven. Now everyone has their own oven, but most don’t bake nearly as much as they did in the old days.

Visit Caffe Sicilia and see their beautiful display of cuccidati (and every other kind of traditional Sicilian Christmas cookie), wonderfully sweet and spicy gingerbread cakes, cassata cakes, mini pignulata’s, Maria’s handmade marzipan fruits, and much, much more deliciousness!

Caffe Sicilia is located at 40 Main Street. For more information call 978-283-7345.


How to get in the holiday spirit ~ a Christmas thank you from James Corden to his Carpool Karaoke fans

Central Street Gallery – Transition to Online and Satellite Shows


Central Street Gallery (CSG) will be holding an inventory clearance until Christmas Eve featuring 20% off selected works. On December 31st, the Central Street Gallery (CSG) will be leaving its gallery space and transitioning to an online presence and future satellite shows. CSG has spent a wonderful eight and a half years at its present location at 11 Central Street in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

CSG will continue on with an online presence via its website, its electronic newsletter, Facebook and will retain its phone number – 978-526-7650.  It will also be an active participant in the annual Festival by the Sea and other art-related events in  town, e.g. paint-outs, quick draw competitions.

Central Street Gallery would like to thank the community for its support and patronage over these years.  The Gallery opened in 2008 just two months before the economy took a significant downturn.  Despite these challenges,the gallery not only survived but thrived. The fourteen artist members are very grateful for the opportunity they have had to display and sell their work in a community that has a deep appreciation for the arts.  The decision to close CSG’s doors has not been an easy one, however, the sale of the building earlier this year moved the decision forward.

Please stop by to say good-by and to make sure that you are on our mailing list.  In addition to the work displayed in the current show, the artists will have additional pieces of work at very attractive prices. For more information, please go to: or call: 978-526-7650.

Lobster Trap Tree – 2012 -2016

The first one I saw in 2012 was amazing and it gets better every year! From the days of stacked traps and colored lights we now have a wider base with doorways opening the inside with cantilevered traps opening up the center of the tree for a great view from inside, a look at the dome and viewing a light show of Christmas Colors on the floor. (The lightshow with its colored moving dots of light brought back memories of college…but that’s another story!) The stack is tighter and now the traps are color coordinated Yellow and Green by level and the colored lights have given way to energy efficient white LEDs.  The yearly engineering advances allow for more and more hand painted buoys from the kids at Art Haven. Hard to imagine anything more spirit lifting than just walking past the tree, not to mention spending some time in it and around! I met two photographers who were waiting for the light to go down and then were going from Gloucester to Rockport, ME and Portland to capture some other trap trees. Their take? Others might be a little taller but none are better than Gloucester’s tree!

Pure Pastry is Pure Perfection

Last week a co-worker arrived in the office with an amazing assortment of gorgeous treats from Pure Pastry in Beverly to share with the faculty and staff.

While delicious almost doesn’t do them justice, let’s back up a bit for a second to the presentation. I’m all about packaging….all about nice little touches…all about made with care. Kim Gregory goes over the top, in a very sustainable, green, and organic way, to make receiving her pastries feel like opening a gift.  And, a gift they are!  While almost impossible to choose….the two selections that I made were to die for. Truly, perfectly, delicious.

I look forward to finding a reason to order…or maybe even ordering for no real reason at all.

Here’s a bit about what Pure Pastry Stands for…


We are a unique wholesale and retail kitchen that is naturally organic, locally sourced and home grown. From our warm kitchen, we offer exquisite pastry that can cater to many special dietary needs. We are a small business purely dedicated to the integrity of our clients, to the pastry we make, and the foot print we leave on this earth. Through our beautiful handcrafted confections, let us help you enjoy the simple act of eating sweets together.

Pure Pastry celebrates our pure love for the bounty in the current seasonal treasures.Our Current Confections Menu brings together the mouthwatering flavors of season fruits and vegetables into a wonderful marriage in our naturally organic pastries.

There is much to be learned about Pure Pastry.  Please visit their website to read their story and learn about their ingredients, their current confections, their team, their “Forever Menu”, their “Tiny Sweet Market” that is open on Fridays and Saturdays, and much, much more.

LEARN MORE AT THEIR WEBSITE HERE:  Kim Gregory and Pure Pastry



Vote! GMG Community Coffee Maker Showdown Based On Reader Suggestions–Let The Voting Begin!

GMG Community Thinktank- Coffee Makers Please Leave a Comment With Your Favorite

So I asked our awesome readers what their favorite coffee makers were because I just can’t live my life drinking shitty Keurig coffee.

I’ve compiled the reader suggestions and will put them out here for you to read.  if you click on the link to each coffee maker you can read their reviews and then vote in the poll for your favorite.  Each model has links to its product reviews.

I’m leaning toward

The Bonavita BV1800 8-Cup Coffee Maker

Check out the Bonavita and read the reviews here



We have a Cuisinart with a stainless steel carafe. Highly recommend the stainless steel carafe as it keeps the coffee warm without burning it.

Cuisinart DCC-3200 Perfect Temp 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Stainless Steel


Brenda D


I have a Keurig out of convenience, before that, I had a Bunn for years that I loved.

BUNN NHS Velocity Brew 10-Cup Home Coffee Brewer


Donna Soodalter-Toman

Been using my Chemex since the 70’s- works great!!!!

Chemex Classic Wood Collar and Tie Glass 8-Cup Coffee Maker with 100 Count Bonded Circle Coffee Filters


Karen Pischke BSN, RN

Maybe you could have a ‘coffee contest’ on a pod cast and compare. My vote – French Press. First time we had French pressed coffee was on a beach in Tonga. I told my mother about how good it was and she bought my husband a French press 20 years ago. He didn’t think he’d use it. Now, not a day goes by that he doesn’t use it 1 – 2 x a day. 30 seconds to ground the beans, pour hot water and let it steep while you dress. Fresh ground beans of your choice, freshly pressed with great flavor, aroma and a head on it like a fine craft beer. Even though it’s glass, it’s lasted all these years. Now we have 2 French Press – one for his full caf, one for my decaf/half caf. We even have another ‘single cup’ French press that doubles as a ‘to-go’ cup. French pressed much quicker than you might imagine, and the flavor is totally worth it. ‘French Pressed’ all the way.

LINKYO Coffee Press – Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker 34oz, 1L





My honey got me a stainless steel Thermos French press, the two cup model. Changed the way I make and enjoy coffee.

Thermos NCI1000SS4 Thermos Vacuum Insulated Coffee Press, 34 oz



the bonvita 1900 with stainless carafe is awesome. 10 cup for me….best way to make a bunch of coffee, and to have more for later.
using a single cup pour over (Manual #1) taught me a lot about making better coffee…this was the choice for lots of coffee that will taste great and be available an hour later too. The only way it could be improved would be to build in a burr grinder into the bonavita itself.
Then get a Wacao Minipress for espresso on the go too…

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup Carafe Coffee Brewer, Stainless Steel




I’d second the french press suggestion–seems like a little extra work, but totally worth it. I will never go back to a standard coffee maker, and k-cups are an environmental disaster. Our french press came from Ikea–stainless steel, double walled so it stays warm. I do wish it was a little bigger (it’s pretty big, but we drink a lot of coffee). Oh yeah, ALWAYS grind your beans just before brewing. With our stainless steel french press I believe I make one of the best cups of coffee available on Cape Ann.

UPPHETTA Coffee/tea maker, glass, stainless steel



I second the Chemex. Takes a little more effort but the result is great. Looks really cool as well.


Chemex. Period. No better way.

James Eves

The key to drip coffee (besides buying quality coffee) is a Gold Filter





5 years in, going strong. Hottest cup of coffee and fast brew… I use a burr grinder on the side, but any grounds work well–

Don’t look back.

Moccamaster KBT 10-Cup Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe, Polished Silver

by Technivorm Moccamaster


Vintage Weber TV Commercial With A Redhead Just Like The ’78 I Picked Up Last Weekend

More From Joey’s BBQ Blog-

Northeast BBQ

The 1978 Vintage Red Metal Bowl Handle Weber Kettle Just Like The One I Drove Two Hours To Buy Last Week In An old School Commercial.

Here’s mine.  I still haven’t had a chance to clean her up but with a little elbow grease she’ll be looking close to looking new.


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Warming Centers Available for Residents

Cape Ann Community

Gloucester, MA – Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, with the City’s Health Department, Sawyer Free Library and the Rose Baker Senior Center, in cooperation with community partners Action, Inc., The Open Doorand the Grace Center, are providing warming centers for vulnerable residents during extreme-cold weather events.

After last winter’s February 14th cold-snap, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken formed a taskforce with City department directors and community leaders to establish a comprehensive cold-weather response to help ensure the health and safety of residents without permanent housing. The result is a plan, presented in March, that assures those who need shelter from the extreme cold will have a place in the community where they can stay warm.

“When temperatures drop this low, our city has an obligation to help those in need to stay warm,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “We don’t want anyone out in the cold which is…

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