I'm learning about Boston. This is important to me, much like learning Mombasa in Kenya was. I like to be competent in the cities I live. I've recently spent some time on Cambridge St. and have made my way to Inman Square noting many fabulous looking destinations along the way. I have no qualms about much of my learning being part of a culinary trail. None at all.
While out I passed the above establishment. I wanted everyone I knew to be there to clap and be happy at a sign that said School of Groove. I was so happy.
I ended up dining at Haveli, and Indian restaurant. I don't know if the food better or worse than Indian Pavilion per se, I love Indian food so much I think my judgment is skewed. However, Indian Pavilion has way better service, Haveli was lacking on that front. The catch here though, is that as much as I value service, at Indian restaurants I'm so into the food I could care less. I know that's not really consistent, but that's just how it is. At places where I'm just getting a salad or something, the mediocrity of the food combined with a terrible wait staff can make me regret every second leading up to my arrival at said food establishment. With Indian food, it just doesn't matter. Just make sure the chef's happy.
Look at it. Check the naan. Right up there with chapati.
Chicken paradise, red curry with chicken, veggies, and cashews. I'm told it was delicious.
Here is my Chana Masala, chickpeas cooked with potatoes, tomatoes, and exotic spices. The problem with Indian food is the intense desire to over eat. I was, however, able to abstain from said practice and had a delicious first breakfast as well. That's right, first breakfast-it was an extremely long, yet fulfilling, day. Second breakfast? I caved and purchased from Whole Foods, a chain I will regularly frequent once I win the lottery. However, I did love my second breakfast-a little tray with two mini pita, hummus, four stuffed grape leaves, and some other sort of veggie sauce concoction. Awesome.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Just because I haven't blogged in a couple days, doesn't mean there hasn't been beer to be had and places to explore.
Early in the week I stopped and got a drink with some friends at The Thirsty Ear, one of MIT's bars. I had been craving a Sam Adams Summer Ale, and got my fix, then before I headed home I tried Merry Monks' Ale by the Weyerbacher Brewing Company on recommendation from the bartender. I haven't had too many high alcohol content beers yet (Delirium Tremens, CBC's Benevolence), but for me they seem to either be a hit or miss. I would consider Merry Monks' Ale a hit. I wouldn't drink it all the time, the taste isn't one I would just be in the mood for like Blue Moon or the Sam Adams Summer Ale as of late, but it was still worth the try. It has some lemon/honey/spice flavors going on, but I wasn't repulsed like I usually am with beers of that nature-the reason being they were fairly mild.
Friday night we ventured to The Tam. I liked The Tam. I don't know how often I would end up there, probably just after movies as happened to be the case this night, but I liked it none the less. I think one of the main selling points was the service. Everyone was just super nice which I always appreciate. I also like the green ceiling.
The only downside was the beer selection, nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular. I got a Sam Adams Summer Ale and an Amber Bock. The Summer Ale tasted a little off which was kind of a bummer, but the Amber Bock tasted okay. Amber Bock isn't my favorite by any means, but I hadn't had one in awhile so I felt justified in ordering one. Tolerable, but not anywhere near my top 10...or possibly top 50.
Roomie and I post Tam. Looking good.
Then last night before heading to a concert, we stopped at Sunset Cantina so I could work on my beer club card and get the guacamole that I had been craving for approximately 48 hours.
We started off with my company ordering an Endurance Pale Ale (sweet bottle) and me delving deeper into Brooklyn Brewery (wind power!) with the Brooklyn Lager. Both were outstanding, and both had quite the hops flavor to them. The Endurance more so than the Lager, but still...
Out came the food. I was completely happy and content after this meal. Luckily I had help with the chips so I didn't have to waste food. Companion was impressed with the look and initial flavor of the wings, but not amused by the dryness of them. We also decided, him from experience, me from listening to friends, that they always over hype the spiciness of the wing on the menu. So is life.
Then we ordered our second round, companion went with the Victory Golden Monkey. I suppose this makes my forth high alcohol beer...? Anyways, solid. Not as overwhelming as CBC Benevolence. However, it kind of tastes like alcoholic apple juice...not something I would order on a regular basis.
I have been wanting to try a Mayflower for awhile and so went with their Summer Rye. I don't think I've every had a rye beer before. The verdict? Fine. I'll try other Mayflower beers. However, it just didn't have much flavor. It was super neutral with the faintest hint of hops if that makes any sort of sense. At least it wasn't one of the banana/lemon abominations I have come to fear from the wheat/summer/hefeweizen categories.
Somewhere around this time our server (Tristan?) came over and talked to us. I think I'm in love with the Sunset restaurants and completely thrilled the roomie and I stumbled upon them our second night in town. I am working towards being rewarded for my beer drinking at places practically drowning in variety while serving awesome guacamole and the service always rocks. I fully appreciated the knowledge of my server at Sunset Grill and Tap, and Tristan at the Cantina was right up there. A little more friendly, a little less business. He was a very enjoyable, unexpected addition to the evening.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Today I finally got a little homesick. You want to know what did it? I was drinking a Diet Coke at lunch, like always, when I happened to notice the back. Every year you can find Six Flags coupons on cans and such. Nothing exciting. But this coupon was for Six Flags New England, not Six Flags KY Kingdom, and a little part of me panicked.
So is life.
Monday, June 22, 2009
And we're back for the third, and penultimate, installment of Read the Book: Best Food Writing 2007. For those of you who can't wait, An Omnivore's Dilemma is up next. Already widely read, maybe I won't have anything new to add to it, but never the less, documentation of my having read it will be found here.
The Soulful Crepes of Brittany from Saveur by Nancy Coons
I love this piece. I love it because you learn something. I love it because it makes you want to go to Paris/go back to Paris. France really, but I tend to go straight to Paris. Not to short change a country or anything. And it gives you recipes. Reading about food rarely actually makes me WANT the food. This does.
Shanghai High from Bon Appetit by Adam Sachs
Entertaining. I tend to like articles that follow foods instead of follow the author around a city, but there's a definite reverence for both.
Old School Madrid from Saveur by Anya Von Bremzen
Same as above. I like this one a little bit more, but that's just me taking city preferences.
Visiting the Old City from Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey
Such a sweet article. You want to try the food. You want to experience the family. In my case, I want my children to write about me in such a way that readers wonder what she was really like in person. Just enough description to make me intriguing.
Waiting for a Cappuccino from Gastronomica by Carolyn Theriault
Awesome. I love personification. I love that the dignity of pepper is called into question. I love the history. This is the article you write while alone in thought and hope that everybody loves it as much as you do. Usually they don't. Sometimes you get lucky.
The Japanese Paradigm from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by John Kessler
The Insidious Rise of Cosmo-Cuisine from Food & Wine by Salma Abdelnour
Interesting. Point well made. I hope regional food traditions survive.
Meat from www.leitesculinaria.com by James Sturz
This is by far one of the most interesting stories in the whole thing. Ironic it's about meat right? Maybe not. It touches on the sensuality that is one aspect of food. It touches on the actual delicacy that is meat (really?). It's just fantastic. Fantastic for neither the subject matter, or the actual content, but fantastic for the writing and the idea and more importantly the ability to execute it all.
What's at Stake at the Butcher Shop from Food & Wine by Pete Wells
Also fantastic. Really instills respect for a trade.
The Best Burger from The Wall Street Journal by Raymond Sokolov
Not my favorite. I enjoy experiencing my guacamole hunt, I'm about to find a new topic though heads up, and I enjoyed reading about the taco trucks earlier in the book, but this burger piece just didn't hold me. Omnivores may beg to differ.
Steak, Well Done from Gourmet by Colman Andrews
I appreciated this piece because the steak house isn't an entity I had previously considered. Sure Outback has awesome baked potatoes, Logan's great rolls, but that's about as much thought as I've put towards that. Until now. Great read.
A Memorable Fruit from Edible San Francisco by Shuna Fish Lydon
I want to forward this to all my family members. Strawberries are what made my childhood go round. Oh, and the seed on the outside? That's the real fruit.
A Sugar Binge from The Pitch by Charles Ferruzza
Food nostalgia. I'm a sucker for it.
The Centerpiece from Saveur by Rita Williams
Fantastic in the way good writing and character development, no matter how concise, make you want to be there. You feel like you've missed out on some very important experience by not knowing the character that is Uncle Ernest. In the same way I hope my children write about me so that people want to meet me, I hope that concise piece of literature they produce captures all my idiosyncrasies in such a favorable light.
A Grandchild of Italy Cracks the Spaghetti Code from The New York Times by Kim Severson
Nothing's ever as good as Mom made it. Even if Mom made it burned.
Read the Book: Best Food Writing 2007 Pg. 1-102
Read the Book: Best Food Writing 2007 Pg. 103-204
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
It's been an eventful foodie weekend, and for most people the weekend is still in full swing. However, I'll be doing homework for most of the rest of it so I'm glad I got in what I did.
Last night I went out with a couple people. Our goal? Find a sports bar so I could fix my beer itch and we could watch the Red Sox game. Atlanta creamed them by the way. Which I'm 100% okay with. I haven't switched from Braves to Red Sox yet, much as I'm sure I won't ever make the full conversion from Predators to Bruins. Some things are too ingrained.
Anyways, we ended up at The Four's, voted best Sports Bar in America by Sports Illustrated. I started off the night with a Sam Adams Summer Ale. This beer is awesome, as are most all Sam Adams to be honest.
My companions rounded out the Sam Adams trio by order the Sam Adams Light and Sam Adams Boston Lager. Two other fine choices.
As for our food? Companion one got the Larry Bird. My dad would be proud. Not because of the meal, the name. Anywho, it was a grilled chicken breast with lettuce and tomato and deemed a success. She basically got two meals in one as the pasta side was massive.
The rest of us opted for the Nachos El Grande. I'll get to the complete lack of vegan items and very scant selection of vegetarian items in a minute. I ordered mine without the sour cream and chili. Doing what I can.
Overall verdict on The Four's? Nice. Great place and good service. I would take my Dad here. Enough TVs to really watch the game. However, the beer selection was a little lacking, I had my Summer Ale and a Coors and then opted to wait until I could get to a place where I hadn't tried all the beers. Additionally, I was a little disappointed by the vegetarian/vegan selection. My only real option for dinner was to technically revert to vegetarian with the nachos. I did the best I could by passing the cheese off onto the other giant nacho plate and taking advantage of the massive amounts of guacamole and salsa. It would be nice if at least one of their sandwiches was vegetarian. My verdict on the guacamole? Not too shabby, not the best by any means, but not bad.
After dinner the roomie and I headed to Boston Beer Works. Do you see that beer? It's called the Cherry Bomb and it's even more red in person, I kid you not. Did I like it? I liked trying a cherry beer, but the beer itself is a lot to handle. One pint was definitely my max. An experience I don't regret, but one I wouldn't repeat.
While there we ran into some guy who had just come from a beer festival. This is significant for two reasons.
1. I got a Long Trail bumper sticker (yay Vermont!) and
2. I learned Brooklyn Brewery is wind powered! A fact I just verified on their website. Brooklyn Brewery was already working their way onto my list of breweries I love (Sam Adams and Magic Hat) but this seals the deal
Home and to bed.
Today the roomie and I got up headed for a farmer's market. We had one in mind but I did some googling before I went. Intrigued at the chaos that was rumored to be Haymarket, and the love/hate relationship many of the reviewers seem to have with it, we changed plans and headed there.
My verdict? Okay, this isn't the farmer's market where you're going to meet the actual farmers and it's going to be organic and calm and peaceful and soul searching. Not at all. If I was to hijack a produce truck and then set up a rickety table to stand behind while I peddled you my contraband, this would be the place I would do it. That said, I freaking loved it. Why? I love fruits and vegetables and I'm broke. Rundown:
-6 red delicious apple
-2 bags of baby carrots
-3 cartons of blueberries
-2 containers of strawberries
and the roomie was just as bad. You can't beat that. You just can't. It should have been $7.5o but I jumped the gun on the apples.
Then I went to check on my sick friend and deliver one of my containers of strawberries as an antioxidant boost. He needed to sort out some financial stuff and so while we did that we stopped at The Other Side Cafe.
Oh. My. Gosh. I loved this place. I'm all about the new places and new beers, but a few standbys are always necessary. I think this is going to be one of them. My Sun Spot replacement if you will. And since I have had maybe 3 out of the 50 beers they offer I don't think this is going to dampen that pursuit in any way shape or form.
Companion got the CBC Benevolence while I sampled the Saint Botolph's Town. The menu is full of awesome vegetarian and vegan food but it wasn't really a meal time so we opted for the chips, salsa, and guacamole. Salsa wasn't really my style. It wasn't as...thick?...I'm not sure of the correct term there, as I generally would have liked it. Save for many salsa verdes. But it was good none the less. Guacamole was great, the color was a little off putting, but that's a variable thing anyways. Chips up to par.
So the beers. CBC Benevolence....oh my. This is not for the faint of heart. If you want to scare a first time drinker, pass them one of these. It's almost like starting a novice wine drinker off with a port. Not the best idea. It was an awesome drink to try though. I'm glad I didn't have to down the whole thing, but man what a beer. You take a sip and the alcohol just hits you in the face. Then you get this taste/smell that you can't quite pinpoint, but don't think I haven't spent my afternoon trying. If you're making bread dough in a bag, and you let it ferment, and then you open it to release the CO2 and push it out right in your face....or if you're eating a bread infused with brandy and raisins...something like that. Quite an experience.
So what about Saint Botolph's Town? Awesome. It reminds me of Yazoo's Dos Perros, you just feel like you are drinking a complete beer. I think I'm going to try some of the other Saint Botolph's next time I go.
Little snap shot of the awesome bathroom for you.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
On Sunday night the roomie and I headed to Sunset Cantina...on accident. We intended to go to Sunset Grill and Tap, but sometimes life takes you out of the way. Tuesday, however, I got back on track. Determined to venture out before the internship officially dictates every minute of every day, I found myself at Sunset Grill and Tap.
The first thing I want to say is that our service was absolutely amazing. I cannot over emphasize how much I love a good server. My butt had barely hit the seat before he was at the table, cheerful, and explaining the beer menu...which I much appreciated. It turns out that the menu is there to serve you if you know how to use it, complete with ratings and suggestions. That said, we got down to ordering our first beer:
I had the Troegs HopBack Amber Ale and my dining companion had the Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout. Verdict? Both were freaking fantastic. Hands down. I should have planned ahead and got a regular Guinness for side by side comparisons, but I wasn't on top of my game. Obviously. Check out the Guinness website for all the details.
Beer ordered, we turned to food. There are several things to note here.
1. I think it is weird that the Sunset franchise marks it's vegetarian items, but by vegetarian they mean pesco vegetarians. Fish is marked as vegetarian.
2. At Sunset Grill and tap the menu has many more choices, and many of them are awesome vegetarian, true vegetarian, dishes.
3. I got the tortilla basket at Sunset Cantina and was blown away by the guacamole and the quantity and price. Such an awesome deal. Well, at Sunset Grill and Tap it is a dollar cheaper, and instead of guacamole, bean and corn salsa, regular salsa, and sour cream you get guacamole, bean and corn salsa, and two other flavors of traditional salsa. The pluses are obvious. A dollar cheaper and sub sour cream for mango salsa!! No one needs half a cup of sour cream for dipping. Absurd.
After much deliberation, we ordered:
I went with the hummus. It was fantastic. You can see how I also had eggplant, red peppers, artichoke hearts, and traditional pita as well as chips. Everything rocked. Artichoke hearts and pine nuts are my new obsessions right below guacamole. Also, presentation was fabulous. They put paprika on top just like Mellow Mushroom does, but here they were successful. Mellow Mushroom drowned their hummus in paprika creating an almost bloody effect. Just look how good this meal looks.
Dining companion settled for fish and chips with the option of making either or both Cajun. He opted for the Cajun fish and regular fries. I got his word that the fish rocked. I tried some of the fries though. Nothing to write home about. Not really good at all. Maybe if they were Cajun. So far the Sunsets are blowing me away, but Seaport still rocks the fries.
To top off dinner we each got a second and final beer. I went with the Brooklyn Summer which was fantastic. A couple weeks ago I was at a bar in Nashville and had the Brooklyn Brown Ale, I never mentioned it here because I couldn't remember the name and the minute I saw the Brooklyn Summer on this menu it came flooding back. Both Brooklyns were quality beer in my opinion. My companion had the Sierra Nevada Summerfest. Also a solid choice. Four for four. Can't really hope for more than that.
Sunset Grill and Tap has a different beer club than Sunset Cantina. So now I have two beer club cards. I got four stamps on Tuesday which I was excited about, and I am also excited at spreading the membership to as many of my friends as possible.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Today was the first day of my internship. It was a lot, and overwhelming, and...a lot. So it goes when you move to a new city on Saturday, start on Monday, and am questioning some of the things you thought didn't need to be questioned. Luckily, one of those things is not becoming an R.D., I hold resolute to that, and so the year begins.
Money has never been my goal, instead I have tried to direct my life towards really finding things that I love to do. On that note, today instead of posting a Body Image and Eating Disorders Series post like I should, I thought I would instead post this little picture as a reminder of something I thought I knew very well but realize I sometimes forget:
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Today was the first full day in Boston, and I set out to make the most of it. Our internship starts tomorrow and any and everything to keep my mind off of it for a bit was most welcome.
First foodie stop? The grocery store. Shaw's to be exact. I loved it. I haven't been grocery shopping for myself in forever. Staying at my Dad's for this past interim month of my life has given my cart pushing skills a rest, but no more. Since I knew I would be carrying home everything I purchased, I kept the goods to the minimum of stir-fry ingredients, Silk Live! yogurt to get my stomach back on track post antibiotics, and a few other here and there's such as hummus. I felt a little more whole again.
Next adventure? Walking. Which is foodie related only in that all the walking I do allows me to eat the food and consume the beer that accompany my life as well.
Speaking of beer. I've always wanted to be in a beer club of some sort. Drinking my way towards a prize. Knoxville didn't have anything that interested me, and Nashville has the Flying Saucer but I'm not in Nashville enough to really make that work, so my goal was to find something here. Success. The roommate and I headed out to practice making our way to the hospital we'll be at for the next year. Somewhere along the way I decided now was the time to google beer clubs in Boston and make it happen. A couple wrong stops later we ended up at Sunset Cantina, not the Sunset Grill and Tap we had set out to find, but owned by the same people and the beer club transfers between the two places.
They don't have a swipe card that keeps track of all the different beers you drink like Flying Saucer does, but you can still work your way towards shirts, dinners, and your name on various restaurant staples such as stools and tables. I'm in. Even if all I ever get is a shirt. In order to maximize my beer clubbing, I think I'm going to start my way at the top of the beer list and just move on down. It will all be documented here.
Actually that's how I'm going to do it starting next time, this time I talked the roomie into each doing our own sampler. Mine? The New England sampler which had the Allagash White (eh), the Cisco Whale's Tale (also eh but better), the Harpoon IPA (I'm not a huge IPA fan but I like Harpoon's), and the BBC Coffee (good for a porter, I'm not a porter fan either, the roommate who loves coffee loved this). The roommate did the Fruit Loop. There was a watermelon beer, the first I'd ever tried, and I really kind of liked it. Then Magic Hat #9 which rocked as usual. A pomegranate beer which was different but acceptable, and the Ipswich Blueberry. I've never been a fan of blueberry beers, but they served her beer with real blueberries in it which was enjoyable.
So this beer club thing is awesome and as soon as I get a shirt I will feel one more step complete. Then onto dog sledding, but that's for another time. However, you want to know what really made Sunset Cantina rock? The Tortilla Basket. It is a STEAL for your money and totally delicious. The guacamole, remember that guacamole hunt ?, absolutely will rock your face off it's so creamy and good. Same for the black bean corn salsa. And colored chips. I love colored chips. You get so much food for $5.50 it's easily justifiable for those weeks when fun just isn't in the budget.