Archive for September, 2010

Spook Your Way to an Awesome Halloween Day!

September 30, 2010

The CoupMe Team is here with some great creative Halloween costume ideas just for you!

Tomorrow is October, so you know what that means: all of the witches, goblins and ghosts shall be roaming the streets before we know it. The leaves are already well into their oranges, yellows and reds, and although the weather was beautiful yesterday, the cold air will arrive here any day now and send us instantly into our jackets and scarves.

Once October hits, iParty and Halloween costume stores will become mob scenes, making it nearly impossible to find the perfect Halloween costume. Then, all of the sudden it’s October 28th, Halloween weekend is about to begin and all you have to wear is a silly cowboy hat with a plaid t-shirt from Salvation Army. Although the Lone Ranger is somewhat creative, let’s face it: the cowboy theme is very overdone. But have no fear; some of the CoupMe team is here to help your costume troubles! Here are some of our most creative Halloween get-ups:

One of Kristen’s favorite Halloween costumes was when she and her friends dressed up as different beer bottles. She was a Corona, wearing a yellow t-shirt with an iron-on Corona logo, as well as a plastic lime necklace. She also wore a pie tin with a Corona logo taped to the top as a hat. Her sister replicated her idea one year and she and five friends went as a six pack! Talk about creative – what a great idea!

Last year, Allison was determined to fulfill her dream of going as Kill Bill’s The Bride. The best deal she found on a snappy yellow tracksuit was from a vendor in China, who posted on eBay that he could custom-make the costume for a very reasonable price. In late September, she sent him her measurements and mentioned the time constraint, and this guy delivered – early! In under three weeks, the costume of her dreams arrived at the post office, and it fit pretty darn well. She added some fake blood and a Hanzo sword and she was good to go! Allison has yet to determine what to be this year, but is looking into some good duo-couple costume ideas. Got any suggestions for her?

Rachel’s best costume came during her sophomore year at college. She and a bunch of her roommates were Mario Kart characters. She was Yoshi, dressed head to toe in green, and then had a huge cardboard box as the “cart.” She was equipped with all of the necessary weapons of course, such as plastic bananas, lightning bolts, mushrooms, etc. She had a great time throwing things at people throughout the night! She even had an invisible ghost and used her prop to convince someone to let her cut the line for the keg. Props are clearly a definite must use, and add such great value to costumes.

Speaking of props, just last year I decided I was going to be a pinata. My sister gave me the idea. I basically just cut streamers up to look like confetti and stapled rows and rows of streamers on a shirt and a pair of shorts. I had a pinata stick and gave out candy. The trouble was that most people weren’t really sure of what I was, so I give best prop costume award to Yoshi!

As for costume ideas for this upcoming Halloween, Jared is planning on being Prince Charming and Jessica is going to be Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Hope this gets your creative juices going. In case you still find your spirit struggling, we certainly have the PERFECT spooky deal for you today! Get your VIP ticket package to Spooky World to start off October just right.

Please share your most creative or favorite costume with us!

Happy National Coffee Day!

September 29, 2010


For those of you who don’t know, today is National Coffee Day! Yes, a day devoted to that ever so delectable, energizing drink that gives you a reason to get out of bed on a rainy morning, or gives you that kick you need to get through the rest of the workday. Heck, if we celebrate Valentine’s Day and Earth Day, there should be a day for coffee-lovers too! And that there is.

I urge you to go out and snag a cup of coffee from your favorite cafe today. You definitely deserve it, and what better way to indulge in your #1 java than today? Plus, some of your fave venues may even be giving out discounted or, better yet, free coffee in honor of today! (You won’t know unless you take a peak.) But for now, I’ll give you some insider tips on my personal Beantown faves. Warning: I am a coffee addict so I decided to narrow it down to just a few. Enjoy!

For the Book-Lover: Trident Booksellers & Cafe is my go-to place when I’m looking for a fun scene. You can’t beat half book store, half cafe. You can read a book and enjoy your coffee. I personally love their cappuccinos and hear they have an amazing Viennese Espresso (Double espresso & house blend coffee topped w/whipped cream and cocoa). YUM!

For the Iced-Coffee Fanatic: I’d have to recommend PS Gourmet Coffee in South Boston. They have TONS of iced coffee flavors including Snickerdoodle, Butterscotch and even Coconut Macaroon. Yes, now you can enjoy all your favorite sweet treats in your java without loads of calories!

For the Computer Nerd: Being the writer/computer nerd that I am, I love a place that has WiFi and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Cafenation in Brighton. Cozy up with a hot coffee and then enjoy one of their delicious famous crepes.

For the Tastiest Cappuccino: Without a doubt, you must head to the North End for your cappuccino fix. While there are a lot to choose from, Cafe Vittorio on Hanover Street is by far one of the best. Here you’ll get an authentic Italian cappuccino, with the pretty heart design and all!

And if you want to save yourself the trip, check out today’s coffee deal in honor of National Coffee Day!

What are your favorite places to grab a cup of coffee in the city?

~Rachel, CoupMe

What are you waiting for Apple, Verizon?

September 28, 2010

So I’ve been sitting nicely, waiting for my contract with T-Mobile to run out so I can jump ship over to Verizon. My family has a plan already started on Verizon’s network, so I’d love to join that and avoid exorbitant fees. While this will happen in December, the next major issue I face is which phone to buy and employ with this service.

I’ve had a BlackBerry for the last three and a half years and loved it. I feel like everyone pretty much has to have a smartphone these days or else you run the risk of being out of touch with, oh, everything. Due to some malfunctions, I had to buy a cheap, non-smartphone and use it until the end of my current plan. While this phone does the bare minimum – voice and text messaging – it really highlights how much I used to take advantage of the BlackBerry’s features. After using my roommate’s iPhone during the last year, I really feel this is the phone for me. The UI is incredible and the features are abundant. Having the ability to change my fantasy football team while outside of my house is a pretty big perk.

So you can imagine my excitement during the last several months as the supposed relationship between Verizon and Apple to feature the device on a network outside of AT&T for the first time eeks closer. However, every report I now read and listen to states that both sides are holding this deal until possibly January 2011. Since I’m waiting until December to jump ship anyways, that timeline’s not a huge deal to me – but from reading various reports, it seems to be on most people’s minds. A recent survey from Deloitte found that nearly half of Apple’s customers are ready to jump ship to Verizon when the offer is made. Another report, conducted by investment bank Piper Jaffray, found that the biggest problem facing the iPhone 4 is its lack of Verizon network accessibility – not the much-talked-about and maligned antenna issue that many have made an outcry over.

So my question is this – what’s the wait for? If Apple were to offer the device on both networks, it would gain considerable customers, while retaining at least – and I think it’s more than this – half of their current base on AT&T. I don’t quite see why this wouldn’t be profitable for both sides. In many polls, AT&T its voted at the bottom of the major service providers, as it consistently drops calls. Referencing the Piper Jaffray report once more, of the 258 users surveyed, 20 percent stated they were aware of the antenna issue but three times as many cited the lack of Verizon network as the biggest problem. I say give these people what they want! Of course, I wouldn’t mind have the iPhone available in December either. That’s just me though.

Let me hear your thoughts on this issue.

~Seth, CoupMe

Brew-it-Yourself (and Other Fall Traditions)

September 27, 2010


I’m a fan of summer as much as the next girl, but I can’t help getting excited for fall. Sure, we’re going to be hit with blistery winds, cold fronts, and….eventually….snow, but we’ve also got some traditions to look forward to.

We’ve got apple picking, pumpkin carving, maybe even a haunted night of scares at Spooky World…but I’m trying to instill my own fall tradition at home: beer brewing.

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy going out for a nice glass (or 4) of beer on occasion, but you can’t always afford to throw down 5+ bucks per pint of your favorite brew.

Bars like local Power Hour fanatic favorite The Avenue offer $1.50 drafts, and Cambridge gastro-pub Lord Hobo recently featured a $5 beer week, which translated to a hefty discount on some of their highbrow brews. But the cheapest solution to getting your wheaty drink on? Brew it yourself!

Last October, armed with the desire to brew, a culinarily-inclined roommate, and a resident drunk friend, I made my way to Cambridge’s Homebrew Emporium to get started. The staff helped me get the tools, recipes, and ingredients I needed to get going. I created an Oktoberfest-inspired Belgian style Saison. Hey, some of us have a knack for wine tasting, some have a refined palate for coffee, but my passion du jour is beer!

Cost-effective and fun, brewing your own beer isn’t that hard. (Youtube offers many useful tutorials on the subject! Tip: the guys wearing flannel seem to have it down the best.) It requires time, patience, and a really big pot.
It’s also a great way to generate warmth to heat you house, so why not give it a go on the next cold day when you need a project?

The fruit of your labor will be five gallons of a tasty adult beverage to share with family and friends as the holidays draw near and the desire to hop on a pub crawl is superceded by the desire to keep warm lounging on the couch in your slippers.

Give it a go! If beer’s not your inspiration, start another fall tradition with family and friends, and share it with us!

Cheers,

Allison

They Couldn’t Keep Baby in the Corner

September 24, 2010

In the midst of ABC’s Red Carpet Premiere week, as well as the season premieres of other returning shows, Becky here at CoupMe shares her take on some of the fall’s most buzzed about television shows.

Summer is without a doubt my favorite season. There is nothing more enjoyable than the beach, summer nights and weekends spent venturing to places all over New England. There is one thing about fall, however, that does provide everyone with a large sense of excitement: the return of all our favorite shows with their season premieres! Here is a brain download on some of the returning series for this fall:

Dancing With the Stars: See blog post title.

Jennifer Grey: My prediction for this season’s winner. With the unfortunate passing of Patrick Swayze this past year, the dramatic effect of Jennifer Grey returning to dancing for the first time since Dirty Dancing is just pure genius by DW the Stars. “The Situation:” Yes, you are dancing on Dancing With the Stars, but did you really have to shave stars into your hair? The judges understandably doubt his heart in this competition. It’s hard to believe there’s passion for ballroom dancing when his main concerns in life are GTL: Gym, Tan and Laundry. Rick Fox: Out of the wood work! Kurt Warner: You adorable, little QB you. Mini-Palin: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Get the picture yet? Hasselhof: Wasn’t too sad to see you go. I really just view you as one awkwardly tall, beach running punchline. Audrina: you are pretty, but two MTV stars on one season is too much and quite personally, The Situation’s antics are much more entertaining than your melodrama.

All in all, solid cast. I know I didn’t mention everyone, but there are still so many shows to discuss!

Castle: The premise is interesting : a writer looking for plot inspiration via working with the police department on solving murder mysteries. The chemistry between Castle (writer) and Beckett (cop) is really what keeps me interested in this show. Mystery runaround shows are great because by the end of the episode, you always find yourself saying, “ahh, right! Makes perfect sense.”

Now wrapping up the Monday night line up: for all you football fans out there, Monday Night Football provided a game already worthy of the best MNF game of the season. It’s hard to imagine another Monday night game being able to top the nail biter put on by the Saints and the 49ers this past week. Alex Smith seemed to find his groove. If he continues on this path, I suppose the pre-season 49ers hype is no joke.

The new HBO series Boardwalk Empire seems to be creating the most new premiere buzz. The premiere was an hour long, which made you feel like you were watching a movie (especially without stupid commercials), but it was certainly necessary to capture viewers’ interest. The prohibition era is so intriguing due to the classiness, yet absolute absurdities of the time. Boardwalk Empire is able to capture all of that into what I hope to be a season full of well-acted, interesting-plotted episodes.

Wednesday brings us to Modern Family: true comedy entertainment right there. Some more humorous moments of the episode were when Phil was jumping across the car trying to stop it, but clearly doing nothing and Claire screams, “WHAT’S THE PLAN, PHIL?!” Also, Mitch stuck in the Princess playhouse with the bird – just hysterical. If you haven’t started watching Modern Family yet, you should start, it really does make you laugh out loud!

My current favorite show is Brothers & Sisters, and I am SO excited for the season premiere. Sundays are a great night for TV, as I also am an avid fan of Desperate Housewives. There always seems to be a fifth housewife who comes in during the season premiere and creates a ruckus in the neighborhood. This season, it’s Vanessa Williams! They also snagged hottie Brian Austin Green (I was a 90210 junkie back in my day). And to round out the perfect Sunday night lineup, there is Sunday Night Football to flip to during commercials (Miami vs. the Jets should be the game of the week).

We all say we are too busy for TV (at least I do), yet it seems as though we always have our shows that we cannot deny getting hooked on! What are your favorite shows? Which season premieres excited you the most?

~Becky, CoupMe

Dog Days of Summer, Red Sox Season

September 23, 2010

The first couple weeks of September are always a little strange for Boston sports fans, in my opinion. Obviously, football begins and many New Englanders turn their attention to the Patriots and focus less on the Red Sox. Normally, this is ironic, as the hometown nine are typically locking up another postseason trip, having been there six of the last seven years. However, this is one of those odd years where the Red Sox look to be left behind on the postseason bandwagon. This last happened in 2006 and before that, 2002. Incredible to believe that many could have almost completed college or high school without the Red Sox missing October ball. For those following the team before 2003 (or BPH (before pink hats) as I like to refer to it), this notion is incredible. During the 90s, the Sox made the playoffs in 1990, 1995, 1998 and 1999 and that’s it – and only 1999 produced a postseason series win, too.

This year has been an enigma though. The Red Sox – who usually get off to a hot start and attempt to hold the AL East lead – only led the division for one night – opening night, when they beat the Yankees, 9-7. They crept within a half game in the middle of June after riding a hot streak, but quickly fell back down to earth at the All-Star break and then began the second half miserably. They haven’t been in serious contention since. Currently, they’re the 10th best team in the whole league, which many teams would love to have a claim to, however, when two of the top three are in the same division, that’s not a recipe for postseason entrance or success.

Thus, many of those turning their attention to the Patriots might have a point. It’s a little depressing not to have the desire to look up last night’s box score or see how the other teams in the division did. Just looking on Craigslist, you can get Red Sox tickets for as cheap as $10 now. (While this is actually fine with me, as you could do this BPH, it just shows the decline of interest in the team’s dog days … though, I guess the feeling is bittersweet.) I’ll, of course, still watch the playoffs, but it’ll definitely be less exciting. Also making things a little aggravating is the inexcusable loss the Patriots just experienced in New York – which definitely doesn’t sit well with the masses that had turned their attention toward the Foxboro-based squad. In 2006, when the same attention was turned, the Pats produced a 3-1 record before the MLB playoffs began, beginning 2-0. Such is not the case so far, but the same record is within reach, so maybe the transition away from the Sox won’t be as tough – at least I hope so.

I’ll keep watching both teams, however, and I hope most Bostonians will too. For the Red Sox, there are still some milestones within reach. Jon Lester, with two starts left, needs to win both to achieve 20 wins in a season. If he does this, he’ll be the first Red Sox lefty to do so since Mel Parnell in 1953. In addition, Adrian Beltre currently has 28 home runs and 98 RBIs. Achieving the 30-100 milestone would prove a lot of critics wrong, though it certainly wouldn’t help the Red Sox in their upcoming contract negotiations with the third baseman. David Ortiz just hit his 30th home run, but still needs eight RBIs to reach 100. Doing this would give him his first 30-100 season since 2007. Also, if John Lackey was to get on track and finish with 15 wins, the Sox would have three pitchers with at least 15 wins for the first time since 2007.

So finish strong, Sox! Pick it up, Pats. And enjoy the second day of Fall, New Englanders!

~Seth, CoupMe

CoupMe Profile: 1st Annual Matt Brown Invitational

September 22, 2010


Here at CoupMe, we’re big into charities and the local community. Today, I wanted to take a moment to recognize one such charity and an upcoming fundraiser for it.

On Saturday, Norwood Country Club will be hosting the 1st Annual Matt Brown Invitational, with all proceeds going to the Matt Brown Foundation. For those unfamiliar with Matt Brown, his story is both tragic and inspiring. Matt is a 16-year-old Norwood resident who was injured earlier this year when playing for the Norwood High hockey team. Matt was initially left paralyzed, but after months of physical therapy, he has been to able to move certain parts of his body and feel sensations in others. Matt has seen incredible support from his community, with numerous fundraisers taking place and several media outlets detailing his story and achievements.

In addition to hockey, Matt was also an avid golf fan and belonged to the Norwood Country Club. Thus, the event has significant meaning beyond the surface. This event is set to begin at 1 pm on Saturday and features a busy schedule. For golf enthusiasts, a shotgun-style four-person scramble will take place earlier in the day, while there will also be driving range contests featuring high school golf teams and putting competitions as well. Later in the day, the country club will host a dinner as well as dancing and a large raffle of items donated by others. Music will be provided by The Echoes. For those interested in attending, you can visit http://www.ltsevent.com/boston/mbrown3/ for more details. Past fundraisers for the foundation include a comedy night, various other golf tournaments and hockey games.

Having also grown up locally and participated in such events, I know the power in numbers and how communities can come together to create incredible showings of support. With some of my best friends hailing from Norwood, I’ve also witnessed firsthand how tight-knit a town it is and how all residents look out for each other. Thus, I’m excited for this event and proud of those involved who are truly men and women for others.

For anyone interested in donating to Matt’s foundation, you can visit http://www.mattbrownnumber3.org/p/donations.html to contribute.

The Gals Behind Nella Pasta: They’re as Local as You Can Get

September 21, 2010


The staff here at CoupMe loves supporting local businesses, whether it’s sampling out-of-this-world cheese and sauces at the Farmer’s market or buying from the hidden gem, mom & pop shop instead of the famous brand name one. Lately, we’ve gotten the chance to have a little local taste of our own, from featuring the Newport Winefest on our site in August (which had a plethora of local, specialty wine and food) to featuring and attending the New England Dessert Showcase this past weekend (with New England’s finest dessert designers). Let’s just say we were in our glory, and all those sweets definitely hit the spot.

So, with all our local love (and love for food) you can image how excited we were to hear about the Boston Local Food Festival on Oct 2nd. The festival will feature hundreds of local vendors including farms, restaurants, health & fitness and many more. CoupMe staff member Rachel was lucky enough to meet with one of the featured vendors: Nella Pasta. After chatting with the two young women entrepreneurs, Rachel Marshall and Leigh Foster, (and tasting some of their delicious pasta), we felt their story was worth sharing with YOU. I’ll let the Nella girls take over from here!

RC: So you girls are quite the young entrepreneurs. When and how did you come up with Nella Pasta?

Nella: We came up with the idea at our previous job… Needless to say it was not the right job for us! After we realized that we both attended cooking classes in Florence Italy only months apart from one another, we began bonding over our shared interest in food. When homemade pasta, in particular, kept coming up in conversation we had this “aha” moment that we could actually start a business out of our shared interest.

RC: What makes your pasta “special” or unique in some way?

Nella: Our pasta is not authentically Italian. Instead, we focus on making our pasta healthy and delicious using whole grains and unique ingredients usually not found in pasta like ground flaxseeds and locally sourced produce. Some of our varieties such as roasted beet, fresh herb and roasted red pepper can certainly be found in Italy, but our southwestern black bean ravioli? Not so much. Through this business we have formed lasting relationships with local farmers who supply us with fresh herbs, vegetables, and most recently, locally grown wheat that make our product unique.

RC: I know your pasta is local, fresh and healthy. Can you go into a bit more detail into why you created it this way and what goes into your pastas/ravioli?

Nella: It’s a simple concept that isn’t considered often enough– why buy a zucchini that is shipped from Ecuador when you can find one close to home, at the peak of its freshness? When you buy locally, you are not only getting the best quality ingredients, but they travel a far less distance to reach your plate, thus lowering your ecological footprint. An added bonus? You’re also supporting the local economy. That’s why you will never find an asparagus ravioli in October or a pumpkin ravioli in April (but trust me, we’ve been asked!).

RC: What’s your favorite part of the job?

Nella: Everything we’ve learned along the way. We came into this business with a solid knowledge of food and a bit of business expertise. Now we’re creating a name for our ourselves as leaders (OK, we’re getting there) of Boston’s Local Food Movement. Our closest business relationships tend to be with the farmers whom we buy our ingredients from rather than store owners or other business contacts. OK, wearing sweat pants and eating cheese stuffed pasta on a daily basis isn’t so bad either.

RC: You’ll be at the Boston Local Food Festival on Oct 2. What are you most excited about?

Nella: We’re downright giddy about debuting our even-more-local pasta, made with wheat grown at Four Stars Farms in Northfield, MA. We sincerely hope that the demand is out there enough that we can begin to phase out all-purpose white flour altogether and focus on the heartier local variety. We’re also both suckers for fall flavors and have a serious soft spot for our roasted carrot, parsnip and maple roasted pecan pesto.

RC: Any interesting facts about the two of you some may not know?

Nella: Hmmm…. two odd facts: Rachel was a Criminal Justice major in college (in sunny FL) and Leigh used to be in the fashion business with her own belt company she started in high school. Also- our dogs, Finn & Bentley, are best friends.

RC: Also saw that you made it on one of the top contestants of DailyCandy’s Start Small, Go Big Contest. Why should people vote for you?

Nella: We are so thrilled to have been named finalists in the contest and yes, we’re dying to win! Since Nella Pasta is the only finalist in the New England area, our win would help bring attention to the Local Food Movement in Boston and hopefully encourage others to source their ingredients locally. We’re also at a serious turning point in our business where we’re ready to expand and with the funding and attention we would receive from the contest, we can take the necessary steps to get Nella Pasta into local specialty stores all around Boston (read: ravioli near you!)

RC: Thanks girls and good luck!

Boston for Film Buffs

September 20, 2010

Boston’s pretty much as far away from Hollywood as it gets, in geography and in attitude. But in recent years, as we all know, more and more filming has been going on in the city, bringing a slice of Hollywood to us (and thankfully leaving the cast of The Hills in California). Of late, we’ve even had a few of our own premieres, including last week’s Fenway showing of The Town, which hosted Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively and Jeremy Renner, among other stars.

But there’s actually more than just filming going on in Boston. You may not know this, but Boston hosts a ton of film festivals throughout the year, showing everything from tiny independents to small studio productions shortly before they hit screens around the country. Fall is prime time for Boston’s film festival circuit. So skip the blockbusters and high ticket prices and check out some of these flicks before anyone else has the chance!

The Boston Film Festival: One of Boston’s biggest film fests is already in progress, and runs until September 23rd. The Boston Film Festival hosts all kinds of films, from world premiere feature films to documentaries and shorts, great parties that the public can buy tickets to, and the occasional visit by a celebrity at a screening of his or her own film or a party. (Past celebs have included George Clooney, Greg Kinnear, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Dane Cook!) Film highlights this year include the world premier of The Last Harbor (shot in Rockport) and the East Coast premiere of Welcome to the Rileys, a drama featuring Kristen Stewart and James Gandolfini.

TerrorThon’10: Get in the Halloween spirit with TerrorThon’10, September 24 to October 2 at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square. With all the elements of a traditional festival–premiere showings, cast and crew Q&A’s, and, of course, parties–this festival focuses on a single genre: scary movies, from the new stuff to the cult classics. The festival is boasting some great highlights, including the U.S. Premiere of The Godfather of Gore, a documentary on legendary filmmaker Herschell Grodon Lewis, and Spookadelica, a definite must for horror movie geeks.

The Cape Ann Film Festival: Proving that film fans live outside of Boston as well, The Cape Ann Film Festival has 17 days of films showing from October 1 to 17 in multiple venues in Gloucester and Rockport. The fest kicks off on October 1 with locally produced documentary The Gloucester 18, which tells the true story behind the Gloucester pregnancy pact. (Full disclosure: the author of this post worked on the film.)

Looking for something to take you back to your childhood? How about a “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” singalong after the showing of “My Tale of Two Cities,” a documentary about a Don Quixote quest to make a film to help the places where the filmmaker grew up. “Mister Rogers” actor David “Mr. McFeely” Newell will lead the singalong. The films are from all over, with a special emphasis on those shot or set on Cape Ann.

Festivals occur all around Boston and New England all year round, and you never know when you might spot a star or see the next big indie hit. Check them out for your chance to be an insider, at least in our little slice of Hollywood.

Chocolate Surprises

September 17, 2010


It’s a little bit of a sweet tooth’s dream weekend here at CoupMe. We’ve got amazing deals and events for anyone who has a craving for chocolate and dessert. Tomorrow, we’ll be at the New England Dessert Showcase talking about CoupMe, trying out some of New England’s best sweets, and handing out some treats of our own.

If that’s not enough, our deal this weekend gets you a fantastic discount into yet another chocoholic’s dream destination: The Southern New England Chocolate Show on October 3rd. For $10, you get admission for a day of sampling every kind of chocolate: chocolate-covered potato stouts, chocolate stout, dipping chocolate…even a goat stew made with chocolate!

The Southern New England Chocolate Show is based around some of the world’s most unexpected uses for chocolate. We were pretty curious about how we could get our favorite dessert into other areas of our lives, so we asked Wesley J. Lallier, who’s responsible for all this chocolate goodness, to give us five ways you can use chocolate that you’d never think of. (Don’t worry–we’re leaving the goat to the experts!) Here’s what he came up with:

Chocolate, Coffee and Meat: Most of us don’t think about putting chicken in our dessert, but putting our dessert in our chicken is, it turns out, a much better idea. Grind up espresso beans or coffee and mix it with cocoa powder in a 50/50 mix. Rub it on any type of meat (Wesley likes a half chicken rubbed with the chocolate/coffee and grilled, but steak’s also a popular choice) for an innovative flavor that mixes the natural bitterness of the espresso and the sweetness of the cocoa.

Chocolates and Brandy or Cognac: Skip the traditional dessert and coffee course and impress your friends with this sophisticated combination that doesn’t require any baking. The key to making this combination work is to actually eat the chocolate and the cognac at the same time, letting the flavors meld. You can make it easy on yourself by actually buying chocolate balls filled with cognac. Chocolate and alcohol! What could be better?

Chocolate and Cheese: If you like one, you probably like the other, but chocolate and cheese usually exist on opposite ends of the meal spectrum. It doesn’t have to be so, if you’re a little bit more adventurous (and even if you’re not, pairing cheese with its complementary chocolate later in the meal is a great idea). There are some basic principles to adhere to: either match the flavor profile of the cheese to the chocolate, or go completely against it. For creamy, smooth brie, pair it with its chocolate twin, milk chocolate, or its chocolate opposite, the bold dark chocolate. A sharp cheddar goes best with a dark chocolate as well–they’re both bold, flavorful, and not too sweet.

Chocolate and Beer: In recent years, brewers have wised up to our chocolate addiction and started adding chocolate to their stouts. (Trinity Brew House will be serving up their chocolate stout at the Southern New England Chocolate Show.) Dark chocolate actually pairs well with any stout, but if you’re taking advantage of seasonal Oktoberfest beers, Wesley recommends trying them with a milder milk chocolate to complement their spiciness.

Chocolate and…Your Face? So not all chocolate is meant to be eaten. Turns out there are benefits to slathering up your skin with the stuff. (Tranquility Day Spa will be on hand at the show to give chocolate mini-manicures and pedicures if you don’t believe us!) If you want to enjoy the taste of chocolate while avoiding the extra calories, this seems like a great alternative to us!

Be sure to check out CoupMe’s sweet deals this weekend, and if you’re coming to the New England Dessert Showcase on Saturday, stop by our booth!