Tuesday, February 26, 2008

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It's great to be a couple!

After taking Perla (our dog) to get her stitches out on Saturday morning, Alex and I decided that we wanted to check out a bakery we had heard about. The bakery's name was Flour. We had seen this bakery on Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and were enamored with the sticky buns. So off we went to the bakery with the intention of trying said sticky buns. Well, we didn't make it. Well, actually we did make it and even went inside the bakery. But our appetites were much too large Saturday morning for a pastry so instead we went to Mike's City Diner, which was about a block away from Flour.

I absolutely love Mike's City Diner. It's old school. It's exactly what I picture a diner being like. You have to wait in a line to get a table. On really busy days the line is out the door, but it never takes more than 30 minutes. At first I thought we were in for a long wait until I realized that most of the people in line were together. I felt some excitement thinking about how short our wait will be because we are only 2 people! Sure enough, the wait wasn't long and we were quickly on our way to having a great breakfast.

I ordered the "Emergency Room" which comes with pancakes, eggs, sausage/bacon, home fries, and toast. Breakfast is my favorite meal, so I always go all out with it. Alex ordered a side of French toast which to my amazement was too much for him. The food is brought out quickly and the servings are huge!

Every time we go we leave full and happy. We literally spend the whole day talking about how awesome their breakfast is and how we wish we'd go more often.

The only drawback to Mike's is that they only take cash, something about real food costing real money :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

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To the South End we went...

Some people out there may completely disagree with me on this, but the South End is one of my least favorite places to eat in Boston. Sure it has a lot of variety and some of the nicest looking restaurants, but the environment just isn't me. I'm a very laid back, jeans-wearing kind of girl and every time I go to the South End I feel so out of place. The crowd is older (think business professionals) and sometimes downright pretentious. Despite feeling out of place I still go to the South End hoping to find a restaurant that doesn't feel this way.

Well this past weekend we went to Gaslight. I had high hopes that it wouldn't be too South End-ish because of it's location (next to free parking and not on Tremont Street). We had reservations and arrived a few minutes early. When I went to check in with the hostess I was told we would have to wait 10 minutes for our table to be ready. Big mistake. If anyone who works at a restaurant reads this, tell your hostess staff to never give people a set time. We ended up being seated 25 minutes after our reservation, which means we were seated 35 minutes after we arrived.

Things were not going well. Two of our restaurant pet peeves happened when we first arrived. They told us it would take an X amount of time to get seated and it didn't happen. Then our reservation wasn't met and we were seated 25 minutes after the reservation time.

We were finally seated but because the restaurant was so busy it took the waitress a while to come buy our table. The seating arrangement at Gaslight is interesting. They have some tables for two and they have larger tables in which people who don't know one another are seated together. We got seated at a table for two, which was great because I'm not a fan of sitting with people I don't know.

I started off by ordering a martini (seeing a pattern, yet?). I ordered L'Acolyte which was made with Grand Marnier and Brandy and came with a sugar rim. It tasted just like a sweet orange. It was great.

We ordered the steak tartare appetizer. When it was brought to the table we were so confused. We had both expected to see shaved slices of steak but instead it was more like a paste topped with a fried egg. While it was still good we were both disappointed that they didn't include more croutons because those were really good!

For the entree Alex ordered the steak frites which was a skirt steak with fries and a bearnaise sauce on the side. He said the steak was good and although it looked more cook than what he normally orders, he said it was cooked just right.

I ordered the roasted salmon. For some reason I thought it would come with some mashed potatoes or some kind of side instead of the greens the salmon so I ended up just eating some of Alex's fries. The best way to describe how the salmon tasted was that it tasted like salmon. There was no special taste to this dish.

For dessert Alex had the caramelized apple tart tatin. This dessert was like apples in crepes with a caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Alex is a sucker for apples and he ate it all in like 5 minutes.

I ordered the molten chocolate cake. It was rich but not as gooey as I had hoped. There was no melting center you'd expect of a chocolate cake. It was still good though and since it was so rich, I couldn't finish it. But my lovely husband did.

Even though we were seated a while after our reservation and the environment was typical for the South End, it was still nice to go out with my husband after a rough week and have a decent meal. The food servings were on the smaller side (another thing I have come to expect from the South End), but the presentation was nice.Unfortunately, this isn't a restaurant we will be returning to. But I do recommend checking them and seeing for yourself. If your experience is different, let me know!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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What a week it has been! Our dog Perla had a semi-emergency surgery last Monday and Alex got into a car accident last Thursday. Luckily enough Perla has recovered beautifully, Alex wasn't hurt, and our insurance rocks. Despite all this stress, life must go on and this city eater must eat! This past weekend we ventured into the South End and had dinner at Gaslight. Gaslight was a typical South End eatery and that's not necessarily a good thing. BUT more on that tomorrow.

In our unending search for good Spanish food we are heading to Tango in Arlington this weekend (woo hoo for rental cars!). I have heard nothing but good things about this place and I only hope the food is reminiscent of my hometown Miami, FL.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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A Birthday Feast

I don't think I could have picked a better dining experience for Alex's birthday. We went to Bonfire and had a great time. Before we even had dessert Alex was talking about how this wouldn't be our last visit to Bonfire. The restaurant itself is beautiful. It's dimly lit with red walls and brown furniture. The crowd is on the older side and for the first time we felt under dressed (we had jeans on and people were either in slacks or dresses). This restaurant takes on Spanish food and gives it an interesting twist.

Although I had had a few glasses of wine prior, I couldn't resist their drink menu. One of my favorite things to do when going to new restaurants is trying a drink that I have never seen before. At Bonfire I tried their coconut lime martini. I was immediately intrigued because I couldn't picture how this drink would taste. The best way to describe how it tasted was that it tasted like how vanilla extract smells. It was such an easy martini to drink.

We started off with the smoked duck empanadas. 'Smoked' is definitely appropriate because it had a very smokey taste. The empanadas were full of pulled duck and they were layered on a black bean and avocado cream. The creams tasted perfect with the empanadas.

The birthday boy ordered the Brazilian Churrasco. This came with a potato cake and a gorgonzola cheese sauce. At first he was a little disappointed because it didn't look like a lot of food (this dish comes neatly piled up) but once he started to unpack it, it was enough for him. The meat was a tenderloin and not what we traditionally consider churrasco (for us, churrasco is a skirt steak), but it was just right to hit the meat lover's craving for a nice piece of steak. The potato cake was so great I was wondering how I could recreate it at home.

I ordered the paella and wow! It must have been the best paella I have ever had. They definitely were not stingy when it came to the seafood. There was an abundance of mussels, clams, shrimp, and lobster. This dish could have easily fed three people so I had plenty of leftover to eat the next day. The rice was very moist and all the meats in it weren't dried out. It was saffron heaven on my plate and it had a nice, spicy kick to it.

For dessert Alex ordered their chocolate cake. I think I ruined the dessert for him when I told him that they probably had a 'Bonfire' stencil that they used with cocoa powdered. The dessert was what you would expect of a chocolate cake.

I ordered the churros. They came with a spicy chocolate dipping sauce and the churros themselves were sprinkled with some spicyness (maybe mole?) too. It was a good dessert but when you have had a real churro, this dessert doesn't come close.

Overall, we enjoyed the dinner. The food was great but we felt like the desserts were a little too "safe." The rest of the menu was so creative, but the desserts were very traditional. It was still great and I know Alex can't wait to go back so we'll definitely be heading there again.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

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And she cooks!

Believe it or not I do cook. Granted it's not always great, but I try my best. Luckily enough I am very fortunate to have a husband who is not super critical of the food I make. I am definitely my own worst critic, but it's hard not to be when I take so much pride in food and how it tastes.

Last night I decided to make something that would be good for leftovers. I made Baked Ziti and used a recipe I found on AllRecipes. This recipe called for both ground beef and pork, but I only used beef. I also added 4 more ounces of cheese. I think I did a good thing with the small changes I made because as soon as the food landed on Alex's taste buds he said "mmmm." There wasn't a delayed reaction or a generic "it's good, I promise." It was instantaneous and I felt great.

Baked Ziti (my adaptation)

- 1 pound dry ziti pasta
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used roasted garlic)
- 1 (8 oz) packaged of sliced provolone cheese
- Salt to taste
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cottage cheese
- 1 (8 oz) package of shredded mozzarella


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Combine the sour cream and cottage cheese and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta for about 10 minutes or until al dente and then drain
3. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a skillet on low heat and cook garlic for about a minute; remove garlic and set it aside
4. In the same skillet over medium heat brown the ground beef. Once browned, remove from heat and drain the excess fat. Return to heat and add garlic and spaghetti sauce. Season with salt and then simmer for 10 minutes.
5. In the prepared dish, layer 1/2 of the cooked pasta, all of the provolone cheese, sour cream-cottage cheese mixture, and 1/2 of the meat mixture. Then create another layer of pasta and meat mixture and top with the mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until heated through and cheeses are melted.
7. Eat and enjoy!

For the original Baked Ziti IV recipe, please click here.
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Burton's = Delicious ALL the time!

Finally!! It took my forever to get this post up. But here it is....

We went to have brunch at Burton's Grill a couple of weekends ago. After this meal I think Burton's has solidified itself as one of my favorite restaurants. I could go there for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Their meals are all great. Since it was brunch I ordered myself a mimosa that was the perfect blend of champagne and orange juice. I've been to some places that either put too much or too little champagne. Alex ordered himself some fresh squeezed orange juice and he said it was some of the best he ever had.

I went the traditional route and ordered a breakfast dish while Alex ordered a typical brunch item. But before the main dishes, I just have to mention how cute their pastries were. Our waitress came by with a tray of mini blueberry muffins and croissants and gave us one of each. The muffins were awesome. They were so warm and soft on the inside. The croissants were very flaky and had a sweet glaze.

After eating our mini pastries they brought out the main dishes. Alex had two petite filets, eggs, home fries, and fruit. He said this was the perfect brunch meal because it had steak and eggs; it wasn't just one or the other, it was both. The steaks were cooked to order and were so tender. I think you could have cut them with a butter knife if you wanted to. I also think the waitress or someone had a crush on Alex because he got 3 eggs instead of the 2 the menu said the dish came with. When he was done, I was impressed. He ate everything that was on his dish. He couldn't even believe he had eaten it all. He felt better after he reasoned that he ate it all this food because he hadn't had a real meal in over 24 hours (he had overnight call at the hospital).

I ordered the short stack pancakes. Now this is the kind of false advertisement I like. This was no short stack, it was a huge stack. It's ok if your description isn't completely accurate so long as you build on it and make it better. I'll admit that I was overwhelmed when the plate was set down in front of me. It was a lot of food. I managed to eat a pancake and a half and a plate full of home fries (which were perfectly seasoned by the way). The pancakes were topped with the softest apples in a caramel sauce. This dish made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was the perfect breakfast comfort food.

I literally cannot wait to go back and try their other menu items (french toast, deviled eggs, and some monkey drink). Actually, I can't wait to go back period.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

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So not OM

As our excitement peaked about going to OM Restaurant we once again headed to their website to look at their menu. Now on the website they have a picture of the steak and egg I mentioned in the previous post, but it's no longer on the menu! Alex even called to confirm that it was no longer on the menu and they told him that after 2 years they decided to remove it. To me that seems like false advertisement to have a picture of an item and not offer it.

Since this was the main reason for us going there, I canceled our reservation. For the steak and egg we were willing to take the train out to Cambridge, but now that they don't have it there really isn't anything on the menu that we could not get in the city. Maybe some day we'll go and check it out.

So now we are going to Bonfire. This is another restaurant the birthday boy has been wanting to go to and I'm glad to finally find out what the big deal is when it comes to Todd English.
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Early Birthday Celebration

This weekend I am taking Alex out to celebrate his birthday. He has been wanting to go to OM Restaurant in Cambridge for a while. It all started when he saw a segment about the restaurant and they showed a steak topped off by a fried egg. So you know he'll be getting that dish.

Stay tuned for my review...

Monday, February 4, 2008

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Hidden Jewel

I just have to post about one of my favorite hidden jewels in the city. I was first introduced to this place by my friend Edgar. He raved about this place and their seafood casserole for about a year before I discovered there was a location in the North End (the one he went to was in the West End). The name is J Pace & Sons. This place is my absolute favorite for classic and authentic Italian subs. Their subs are loaded with meat and cheese. During the winter they have a little seating area inside and in the summer they have seating outside. This place is also great if you want to do a little shopping for Italian foods (Baci, anyone?). My favorite sub from there is the prosciutto and mozzarella sub on Italian bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Go check them out, I promise you won't regret it :)
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Tonight I'm Craving

I know...I'm horrible. I have yet to post about Burton's Grill but it's hard to do when none of the computers at home have the software for the camera. So instead of writing my posts at home I have to do them at work which has been crazy busy the past few days. But I promise to get it up soon!

The point of this post is talk about what I'm craving tonight: CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!! I tried having a chocolate chip cookie to quench my chocolate craving, but it didn't work. S
o now I am sitting at home watching American Gladiators and craving a piece of PF Chang's chocolate cake. This cake has to be the best cake I have ever had. It's fudgy and served with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream. Notice the 3 hands moving in for some cake....it's that good!!