Friday, September 30, 2011

Ironside Grill - Sports Bar in Charlestown!

Nick and I were over in Charlestown a couple of weekends ago doing a little recon on the housing market over there.  Not that we are moving anytime soon, we were just curious what things are like in that part of town - what's better than going and walking around peoples houses and secretly judging and being envious all at the same time?!  After a long day of criss-crossing Charlestown more than once we were starving and thirsty.

Rather than waiting until we got home for some refreshments, we decided to head to Ironside Grill to grab a drink.  We both had been there once before.  The main focus point is the big bar that actually has a second bar like table behind it (almost like stadium seating) so there always will be plenty of places to grab a stool and watch a game.  With some of the football games on, Nick and I decided to grab a seat at the bar.

Even though it was not officially fall, Nick couldn't resist ordering a Pumpkinhead as it is his favorite beer, and one of the million reasons he looks forward to the season is because this is available!  However, Ironside Grill added something that neither of had seen before - a cinnamon and sugar rimmed glass.  This was beyond tasty and now, of course, Nick does not want to drink his beer any other way.  I had the Sam Adams Octoberfest, which was delicious as well.

Look at that rim!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Temazcal Tequila Cantina

For Nick's birthday this year his mom gave him a gift certificate Temazcal, which was a great gift because it meant I got to share!  Having heard there are crazy waits and no reservations, timing this dinner was going to be a bit difficult as I really did not want to wait 2 hours.  However, I had a conference over at the Westin, and since Nick works over there we figured this would be the best time.  Nick left work with the mission to add our name to the list in person (you cannot call in your name), but to make it more difficult, your whole party has to present in order to even add your name!  So after a bit of a hustle on my part from the hotel I met Nick at Temazcal at about 6:15 and were sat straight away right at the front windows looking out over the water.  With the water views and the bright and vibrant decor it makes you want to have a good time.

Sitting down with our iPads for menus we started looking at the menu, with pictures to boot.  After seeing the first one on the list I was sold, the Besos - complete with Patron Silver, St. Germain, lemon wedges, Agave nectar and fresh raspberries.  The drink was delicious, fresh and tasty.  I really could not even taste the tequila.

After getting our drinks, they served us a heaping pile of chips and a varieties of salsas.  The chips were fresh and the salsas were not your typical garden variety with a mild, medium and hot.  Instead they was a sweeter one, a medium heat and then almost like a bean dip with some cheese on top. Really, these chips could have been a full appetizer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Zen - My favorite sushi place...

I have been looking for a good go-to sushi place since I moved to Boston.  After trying a few places in Chinatown, Watertown, and in Beacon Hill (Ma Soba) I was still left wanting - that is until I went to Zen Sushi Bar on top of the Hill right next to the State House.  Prior to actually going there, I had walked by numerous times without giving it a second thought until a co-worker suggested it was worth trying.  Nick and I figured "why not?", and thank goodness we did because it was some of the best sushi in town.

After craving sushi for awhile Nick and I decided to head up to this new favorite spot for a little dinner.  Lucky for us it was still warm enough that we were able to sit out on the patio and enjoy some of the last days of summer.  In sticking with the Japanese theme, we of course went with some BIG Asian beers: a Kirin and a Sapporo.

Big Beers

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Petit Robert Central

Recently, I was lucky enough to go out to eat with one of my favorite people, L.  It had been awhile since we had gotten together and we had plenty to catch up on.  Not wanting to travel far, we opted for Petit Robert Central, a French Bistro right in the heart of Downtown Crossing.  When Petit Robert took over the old Vinalia space, it really made a good effort in creating a sleek downtown bar and restaurant that was not too over the top.  Having worked in that area for 5 years, I can say I only stopped in once and it was for the company Christmas party - Petit Robert should not suffer the same fate as it really is a space you want to spend more time in.  With a large bar and lounge area in addition to the dining tables, there is plenty of space to spread out an enjoy.

On this Friday night, L and I seemed to arrive after the apres work crowd died down (and it was one of the last summer weekends) so we were seated straight away at a table for two.  After ordering some beers from their less than traditional selection (Matilda and Leffe Blonde) we set to ordering an appetizer.  After a little back and forth, we settled on the Steamed Mussels Marinière, which had a lot of flavor, and certainly were not lacking in the butter department (a theme felt throughout the dinner), however it did not mask the mussels taste.  

Lucky for us, there was plenty of the hearty bread to mop up all the good sauce from the mussel plate!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Frontera Grill - Rick Bayless Amazingness

In my final recap of my recent Chicago trip, I think I saved the best for last.  After going to Chicago with Nick last year, one of the only things that he wanted to do was go to Xoco (the walk-up/fast food restaurant) for lunch.  However, once we got there the place was closed and Nick was somewhat devastated to say the least!  Not only was it closed, it was closed for two weeks while Rick Bayless took his entire staff to Mexico to learn about local food, so we could not go back.

So, when we were headed back to Chicago this summer, I called about 4 months in advance to make reservations at Frontera Grill.  Frontera is the family style restaurant of the Rick Bayless Chicago complex, and on a Saturday night you can wait up to three hours for a table!  They generally only take a few reservations an evening, and lucky for us our reservations were all set, so we were sat straight away. To begin, our server brought over a bowl of spiced mixed nuts, a flavorful bite getting us ready for the rest of the evening.

Spiced Nuts
When we were looking over the menu, it was difficult to make a decision on what to order because everything sounded delicious.  Lucky for us, our server seemed to know just about everything on the menu (I mean they go to Mexico to learn!) so we felt we were in good hands.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sushi at Coast

After a bit of a whirlwind weekend in Chicago seeing the sites and dealing with our cancelled flight, Nick and I were finally able to spend some time with our lovely hosts, C and S.  While we spent some time with C already, seeing them together is always a bit more fun!  Having covered many of our food bases already, we decided on sushi.  One of C's favorite places, Coast, was right down the street in Bucktown.  With a modern and fun atmosphere it makes for a great place to enjoy good company over some wine brought from home (yay for BYOB!).

I was actually the first person to take C to a sushi dinner.  It was some random NYC restaurant when were in high school, so needless to say we had no idea what were were ordering.  We ended up with some interesting rolls, including octopus and eel - why we chose those I still don't know.  In retrospect, salmon and tuna would have been some good starting points.  While eel is now one of my favorites, back then it definitely wasn't.  This is always a story we have to go over whenever C and I go out to sushi because it still makes us laugh!

After placing our white wine in some ice buckets we put an order in for Hamachi Carpacio, which had five pieces of yellow tail sashimi style topped with garlic olive oil, jalapano, and cilantro and was drizzled with lime juice and garnished with mixed greens with garlic balsamic dressing.  The fish was fresh and the citrus and jalapano added a perfect contrast. 

Hamachi Carpacio
In true Erica sushi ordering fashion, we got a serving of edamame.  All of the pods were filled and steamed well with the perfect amount of salt mixed in.   

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunday Brunch at Papagayo

I was trying to get together with my friend M, but rather than dragging her over to the Back Bay I decided to go towards her neck of the woods.  After a little searching (being the blogger it was up to me!) I settled on Papagayo.  I had heard so many good things about the food and drinks there, so I was excited to give it a go.  At about 11:00am I met M over in Fort Point Channel and was seated at an almost empty Papagayo.  We were immediately greeted by our server who was more than willing to go over the menu and make suggestions.   After ordering some coffee and mimosas we continued chatting and catching up and trying to make some decisions on food.

Part of a Complete Breakfast
The menu had a bunch of great brunch options that seemed more traditional but with a big twist.  For example, I got the Mexican eggs Benedict, which were poached eggs, English muffins, Chipotle Hollandaise, home fries and chili-lime dressed greens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wishbone - Wake-up Chicago!

Heading back to the mid-west!  We were supposed to be flying back to Boston, but thanks to Irene we were in Chicago for a few more days and wanted to make sure we took full advantage of that time.  First step: breakfast.  In July when I was out visiting C we went to Wishbone and it was delicious.  Even better, the restaurant was big enough so that there was no wait!  Since Nick and I had driven downtown for last three days we jumped when his friend C offered to come out to us!

Home done hot sauce
Just as before, the three of us were sat immediately and started to examine and discuss all the delicious offerings on the menu.  With a restaurant that sells itself as in the style of contemporary American cuisine and steeped in the home-cooked table fare of North Carolina mixed with a dash of Creole spice (AKA Southern Reconstruction), it was tough to making a decision.  After settling in a bit with some delicious coffee and fresh squeezed OJ, we made some choices.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friendly Toast - Such Great Breakfast!

When Nick and I first started dating, The Friendly Toast was one of our go-to breakfast spots.  We tested it out on a recommendation from a friend and soon found ourselves going there at least once a month.  With Nick living in Inman Square and me in Beacon Hill, the Kendall Square location was basically smack dab in the middle of our two places.  Good thing the food was more amazing than the location itself!

Table Setting...
When you walk into the Friendly Toast you are immediately greeted by a retro/hipster vibe.  The restaurant is decorated with an eclectic mix of 1950's and 60's ads and other items.  The walls are bordered with wall paper made up of Hardy Boy books, the bar is covered with a paper that looks sort of like "Garbage Pail Kids" cards but with household products, and all the flatware and table toppers fall right in with the decor with the retro feeling.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Corn Meal and Lime Cookies

Since I was in the mood to bake, and with an audience of taste testers at a birthday party later that evening, I decided to add to a menu that already included Coconut Macaroons (in case they did not go over well) and also make the Cornmeal-Lime Cookies from Joann Chang's Flour cookbook.  Nick loves lime flavoring and had been wanting to try these for a while, so why not give it a go?  I was curious to see how the consistency with the cornmeal in cookie would taste, but the flavors sounded delicious.

The Ingredients

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Coconut Macarooners!

I love all things coconut and have been looking at making the macaroons in the Flour cookbook for a while.  When Nick and I were responsible for bringing a dessert to a party it proved to be the perfect excuse to make them!  The post's title is from when Cookie Monster was auditioning for SNL on Facebook and he impersonated McGruber, calling himself Macarooner - too funny!  While these cookies tasted pretty good, they did not come out looking the way they were supposed to.  So here is the story of how I made the cookies that tasted great (people confirmed that!), but with some places noted where things did not turn out the way they maybe should have!


Welsh Cookies - Classic Family Recipe

This a very different type of cookie recipe, one that has been in my mother's family for quite a long time.  Whenever my grandmother (my mom's mom) came for a visit from upstate New York, this seemed like one of the go-to recipes we would cook together.  I have so many memories of cooking these - from the bowls we used (a nice 70's orange) to rolling out the dough, to the cookie cutters.  I always looked forward to making these with my grandmother since it was something special we would do together.  As I became more into baking myself, these Welsh cookies always seemed to be the first recipe I would pull out of the recipe box.

Welsh Cookies!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I will start out this post by saying that I am a huge fan of Mooo....  Nick and I had a fantastic Valentine's Day dinner there in 2009, it had my favorite burger for awhile, and the restaurant itself is contemporary.  I have been saying that with all of the burgers we have been eating since starting this blog, I needed to go back to Mooo... to get a good comparison.

While Nick and I were in Chicago for our extended long weekend, I was lucky enough to have my mom take care of Holly.  As a thank-you, I thought we could do lunch at Mooo... and see if their burger holds up as the favorite.  When we walked in, there was only one table of people.  The three of us decided upon the corner bar seat.  The bartender greeted us warmly and took our drink order, from which it took him awhile to return.  Turns out he had to fresh brew our coffee - OK, that I appreciated.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Over-Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Another Meatless Monday meant having to come up with something creative for dinner.  I had four large portabello mushrooms on hand and Nick had ripped a Cheese-Stuffed Portobello recipe out of an old issue of Food Network Magazine - perfect!  Based on some of the CSA veggies we had on hand, I adapted the recipe a bit.

The Ingredients

Friday, September 9, 2011

Milk and Honey Sandwiches and Italian Dinner

While hanging out (stranded) in Chicago we were lucky enough to be staying with one of my favorite people, C and her husband.  However, they are in the midst of gutting their kitchen, which left no space to cook or to really hang out on a couch (their kitchen is connected to the family room!).  So rather than lounging around the house and driving our lovely hosts nuts, one afternoon we headed out to lunch at Milk and Honey Cafe in Bucktown.  When we walked up to the counter to place our order, I was in awe of the amazing pastry display - so many yummy looking things!

Needless to say, we jumped on one of the cupcakes.  This was a banana cupcake with a caramel frosting.  Delicious!

Back to lunch foods (we actually did wait to eat the cupcake!)  We decided to keep it easy and order some sandwiches because they had a great variety.  Once we placed our order we headed outside to grab a table and enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pequod - Chicago Deep Dish and some Touristy Activities

When going to Chicago there are so many incredible food options, but one of the most basic is also the most delicious: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. When you ask for recommendations you can get any number of names, including the original Pizzeria Uno.  However, when I asked my friend C, who we were staying with, where to go for some good deep dish, without hesitation she suggested Pequod's Pizza

Chicago Deep Dish
When we were seated at our table, we noticed that not only was Pequod's C's recommendation, it was actually just named the Best Pizza in Illinois by Food Network Magazine.  With those types of endorsements I knew we would be in for a treat. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Island Creek Oyster Bar and a Red Sox Game

During my brother's trip we managed to hit some good New England trademarks: lobsters, and Back Bay/Sonsie.  All we needed was a little baseball!  Due to a number of circumstances, my brother and BL ended up with tickets to the afternoon game of a double-header, but since it was a weekday, Nick and I really couldn't cut work and go.  Lucky for us, Nick was able to get four tickets to the evening game as well!  Good thing my brother happens to be the biggest Red Sox fan ever!

Wanting to grab some dinner before the evening game and also wanting a good place to meet, we decided to head to the Island Creek Oyster Bar.  I had been wanting to try this place out for awhile and this proved to be the perfect time!

When I walked in, I was greeted by a light cottage feel that had a modern flair, making me feel far away from downtown.  After checking out the raw bar...

Raw Bar

Thursday, September 1, 2011

3 Pound Lobster Dinner at home!

A little apology to my readers - I am sorry for disappearing for a number of days!  I was in Chicago this past weekend for a wedding and was scheduled to return on Sunday night, but thanks to Hurricane Irene, our flight was canceled.  So, we were "stuck" in Chicago for a couple of extra days.  Lucky for Nick and I, we were staying with friends and were able to enjoy the extra long weekend.  Lucky for you, I have a few more restaurants to review in case you visit Chicago anytime soon (but those start next week.)

A must-do when my brother comes to visit is a great New England lobster dinner.  Rather than heading out to do this, we bring the seafood yummyness to us (or, rather, my mom's house!)

Thats a BIG lobster
When you are dealing with cooking three pound lobsters for more than 1 or 2 people that requires a pretty big pot.  Instead, we leave the cooking to the Cherry St. Fish Market - it makes for a much easier dinner!  I mean, look at these guys - they were HUGE and cooked to perfection.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...