making food from anywhere, with anything

boston restaurants

a bit of restaurant exploration

Hello everyone.

Throughout Alex’s stay in Boston, he and I splurged on some good food.  One of the first restaurants we visited was Mare, located at 135 Richmond Street.  We were after good seafood without the touristy nonsense.

grilled octopus

For my appetizer, I had grilled octopus.  Octopus is one of my most favorite seafood delicacies.  It overcooks easily, much like squid, scallops, or clams.  Fortunately, this octopus was perfectly cooked.  It was tender, delicate, and flavorful.  No chewy, gummy toughness.  No stale flavor.  Perfect, melt-in-your-mouth tentacles.

It was served with a genovese pesto and potato mousse.  The pesto tasted really good with the octopus, as did the potato mousse.  I do not think I’ve ever had a potato mousse before, so that was interesting.

truffle crusted tuna

For my main course, I had truffle crusted tuna.  It was seared rare, which I have come to quite like.  I never used to like my cooked fish rare on the inside.  For whatever reason, it freaked me out even though I really enjoy sushi.  I’ve since gotten over that phobia.  The crust on the tuna almost reminded me of popcorn.  It had a peppery-salty crunch with a hint of…well, popcorn.  It was served with wilted greens, grilled eggplant slices and a red baby pepper stuffed with a kalamata olive tapenade.

It was some of the most well-done seafood I have ever had and definitely recommend it for a special night out, or well, any night out.

Another place at which we dined was Eastern Standard located at 528 Commonwealth Avenue.  We did both breakfast and dinner here (on separate days!).  Unfortunately, I took no pictures of our dinner (even though it was very good).  So, I will only discuss what I had for breakfast.

caramelized onion and goat cheese tart

For breakfast, I had a caramelized onion and goat cheese tart.  You already know how much I adore caramelized onions.  What you may not know is how much I also love goat cheese.  In September when the farmer’s markets were still in full swing, I frequently bought goat cheese from local sellers.  So good.  I love the richness of goat cheese, and it worked so WELL with the onions.   The tart was served with some greens soaked in a lemon vinaigrette of some sort.  While the dish was good, I wished I got the french toast instead.

One unfortunately rainy day, we planned to go to the Prudential Center.  It ended up not happening because the sky deck was closed for a special function, though the fog was so intense it was probably for the best.  We ended up grabbing dinner at a relatively cheap place on Newbury Street.

BURGER

Cafeteria Boston, located at 279 Newbury St, was an interesting find.  The chic decor was juxtaposed with a relatively unpretentious menu of (mostly) American comfort food staples.  I say relatively because they make it a point to discern their use of organic greens and grass-fed animals.  I’m not against either of these things, but I do find it annoying when it’s bragged about.  Alex wanted a burger, and I’d say he got a BURGER.  Topped with cheddar, “cafeteria sauce,” and a heaping mound of bleu cheese, this burger was too big to finish (yet so, so good.  I had a bite, of course.  You know, for purposes of the blog.)

I settled for a Cuban sandwich.  It was good, but then again, just a sandwich.

cuban sandwich

I enjoy Cuban sandwiches quite a lot, and this one was okay.  I’ve had better, and wasn’t completely impressed.  Their fries were good, however.  They were sprinkled with parmesan  and parsley, which was a nice touch.  On a whim, Cafeteria Boston is good.  It’s affordable by Newbury Street’s standards, but there’s better cheap eats around.

One of our final stops was a huge splurge, but it was a combination birthday celebration.  Alex turned 22 in March, and I turn 21 in May.  So, we went to Troquet.  This phenomenal eatery is located at 140 Boylston Street in the heart of the theatre district.  This restaurant goes to great lengths to ensure its diners are satisfied – I don’t think I ever actually finished a glass of water before it was being filled.  I don’t know if they made their own butter, but it was kept in these baskets from which they dug some out to put on your plate with a warm, crusty dinner roll.  They give you one dinner roll at a time, and are always willing to refill your plate.  I definitely ate way too many rolls before my actual meal, but it was totally worth it.

foie gras duo

For my appetizer, I chose a duo of Hudson Valley foie gras.  I have never had foie gras before, and clearly had no idea what I was missing.  The foie gras was accompanied by caramelized Seckel pear and an heirloom cranberry chutney.  On the far left is the pan seared foie gras (which I preferred, by far), and on the far right is the chilled foie gras.  The chilled item was interesting. The texture didn’t agree with me at first, but after a few tastes, I began to enjoy it.  It was very, very creamy.

black sea bass with clams

For my entree, I had black sea bass served with rice and clams in a saffron broth.  It was a riff on paella, which I’m particularly fond of.  The crust on the bass was salty, crunchy, and delicate.

Clams are one of my favorite seafood dishes (seriously. favorite.), and these were quite good.  The saffron broth tasted really good with the seafood and clams, as well.

The big finale was the dessert, needless to say.

chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse

I got a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse and creme fraiche ice cream.  The ice cream was absolutely delicious, but I’ve been sort of obsessed with creme fraiche lately so I’m biased.

The cake was dense, but not to a sickening point.  The peanut butter mousse was sweet, but not in an artificial way.  It was superb.  It was divine.  It was indulgence at its best.  And embarrassingly, I couldn’t finish it all.

So, that was mostly it.  I hope if you are in the area and are looking for a great place to go for a romantic date or whatever suits your fancy, these “reviews” help you out.  Eating out (and indulging) is fun, particularly when you rarely –if ever– do.

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beer and food

Good afternoon all, and happy spring!

Today, my friends and I took a trip to the Sam Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain.  The tour itself is extremely interesting, and comes with the added bonus of being free.  It makes for a good day trip.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Boston area, Jamaica Plain is a really cool neighborhood.  It’s got a huge variety of neighborhoods dispersed among green spaces and landmarks.  Some neighborhoods are made up largely of Hispanic communities, while others are predominantly Jewish.  Although it’s going through a period of gentrification (lots of college students, activists, and other young professionals are moving in), I think it still maintains its culture.

Today we walked along Centre Street in search of some food after the brewery tour.  Initially we sought soul food, but ended up at Miami Restaurant in the Hyde Square area.  This neighborhood is mostly Hispanic, and I’ve never been disappointed by the food here (although, this is only the third restaurant I’ve been to in the area).

Everything in this place is reasonably priced, and the quality of food is beyond expectations.  I decided to get two appetizers, mofongo and a jamaican beef patty, with a side of tostones.

mofongo

What is mofongo?  Well, it’s mashed plaintains mixed with garlic and in this case, pork rinds.  The flavor is out of this world.  The mellow plaintains are spiked with just the right amount of garlic.  The crunchy pork rinds add a perfect textural contrast to the softness of the plaintains.  And it was sprinkled lightly with salt.  Although this is an appetizer, it’s fairly large so it makes a good entree for just $7.  If you want an actual entree, they do serve a seafood mofongo, which I bet is insanely good.

jamaican beef patty

Embarrassingly, I have never had a Jamaican beef patty.  I’ve heard so much about them, but for whatever reason we have never crossed paths.  Today, it finally happened.

Meat encased in dough is a huge cross-cultural staple.  Eastern Europeans have pierogies, Hispanics have empanadas, and Jamaicans have these delicious things.  The crunchy yet soft dough gave way to incredibly well-seasoned and spicy ground beef on the inside.  For $2, they are more than worth getting.

To go along with these items, I decided to get a side of tostones.  Tostones are just fried unripe plantains.  While comparable to french fries, I think they’re a way better alternative.  They are very starchy, but have a softer texture than potatoes or yucca (yucca also makes an awesome french fries substitute).  For $3, you get a lot of tostones, as you can see below.

tostones

To top it off, I decided to get a mango milkshake.  It was REALLY good. It wasn’t too thick so I could actually drink it along with my meal.  For this warm day, it was very refreshing.  All in all, my meal cost about $16, and I have a ton of leftovers for later (which I am very much looking forward to).  If you’re in the Boston area, check out this place in Jamaica Plain – I can’t wait to head back to check out some of the other very tempting menu items.

Tomorrow’s dinner?  I’m thinking filipino adobo with oxtails and chicken?  Mmm….oxtails……


wanna see something delicious?

Good evening everyone.

Today is my roommate’s 21st birthday, and so I decided to hit Japonaise Bakery & Cafe in Brookline to pick up two slices of cake.  Before going to the bakery, I looked at their menu and had no idea what to get.  It all looked SO GOOD.  To narrow it down, I decided whatever I got had to involve chocolate.

Needless to say, their online menu was not comprehensive.  They had a number of other options in the actual store, which just complicated things (in a good way)!  I noticed they had French macarons – something I’ve been absolutely dying to try, so I instantly decided I would get two green tea flavored ones (they were so. amazing. I can’t even.).  As for the cake…

the african queen

OKAY, I was hasty and took a bite out of the cake before getting a shot of it, but you get the idea!  Three (or four? In my chocolate-induced coma, I failed to pay attention!) airy layers of chocolate cake accompanied by layers of creamy chocolate mousse with thin-sliced bananas, all topped with a fudgey chocolate layer of some sort (it wasn’t a ganache, and I’m not a baker, so suffice it to say it was a deliciously thick layer of chocolate love) dusted with cocoa powder.  Oh. My.  The cocoa powder perfectly matched the sweetness of the rest of the cake.  It was airy, not rich enough to hit your stomach like a brick, which is dangerous because you’d be tempted to have more than one slice of this if you had a whole cake nearby (then again, why would that be a bad thing?).

Japonaise Bakery & Cafe is so close to where I live, but I have never gone in before!  They had quite an abundance of free samples, which is always endearing!  Needless to say, I’ll probably become a frequent visitor – especially for more of those macarons.  I ate mine so fast, there was no chance of getting a picture.  Guess I’ll just have to pick more up….