Tag Archives: Food

Back in the Saddle

It’s been a little over a year since I stopped posting on this blog. I’m sure you’re wonder why that is (at least, the one or two of you actually reading this right now). Well, it’s been quite a year.

Just a few major life changes including getting married, moving and starting a new job. Oh you know. The small stuff.

The move was significant. My now husband and I are now living (so happily) in Austin, Texas. So as I had initially started this blog to log my experiences in Boston and sometimes embarrassingly admit to major culture shock, I wasn’t sure I should really continue blogging about my adventures since the whole plotline of my story had changed. However, as I haven’t lived in Austin since college and my husband is experiencing his own brand of culture shock from being a life-long New Englander finding his way to this country we call Texas, I’ve ultimately come to realize that this is a perfect venue to chronicle our wanderings. Plus, the food here is pretty incredible. More to come on that.

This is a long way to say that I’m back — with a slightly different feel — but back nonetheless. Looking forward to sharing our journey.

Of course, feel free to share recommendations for Austin or Texas-based activities, experiences or food favorites in the comments.

Update: I realized that I had a typo in the Title of the original post and my type-A personality forced me to jump in and fix it.

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2013 in a Nutshell

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Credit: Google Images

Wow — it’s been a while since I’ve posted to the blog. Let’s just say that 2013 has been a whirlwind of a year. Not only have I continued to explore Boston, in all it’s glory, but on a personal note, I got engaged, started a new job and adopted a dog. It’s been an incredible year but 2014 is going to blow it out of the water…I can already tell. I was thinking about how to best kick start my postings again and remembered that over the past few years I’ve been writing on this blog, I’ve started the year with resolutions. Well, let’s say goals (I personally think resolutions are made to be broken so why not make changes more achievable?). Before I create a list of places to visit and things to eat, I wanted to take a quick look back at what I was able to accomplish in 2013. 

*Note: anything crossed out was done in 2013. 

Food:

  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Erbaluce
  3. Regal Begal
  4. Giacomo’s
  5. South End Buttery
  6. Bee Hive
  7. Silvertone

Places/Activities:

  1. Harpoon or Sam Adams Brewery Tour
  2. Bunker Hill
  3. Boston Public Library
  4. Marathon Monday
  5. Fall Foliage/Leaf Peeping
  6. Corn Maze
  7. Haunted Boston Bus Tour
  8. Celtics or Bruins Game
  9. Institute of Contemporary Art

Based on the above, it doesn’t seem like I did much in 2013 but I think one of my downfalls was that I haven’t updated this list since the beginning of the year. Thinking about everything I did last year, there’s definitely much more here than meets the eye. For 2014, I’m going to leave my “places” list the same but I’d like to revise my food list, since it’s gotten quite small since I created it in 2012. More to come on my eating goals for the year. Of course, if you have recommendations, please leave them in the comments section. 

Happy New Year! Stay warm, Boston!


HIMYS Recommends Austin Eats: SXSW Edition (Very Belated Part Two)

A few months ago, I posted Part One recommendations of Austin restaurants that I felt were staples to the city (aka a place that as a tourist or a local, you should try). However, although I started writing this post at the same time that I wrote SXSW Edition Part One, for a variety of personal reasons, I was unable to finish it until today. What follows is a list of newer establishments that are worthy of becoming staples in the city or are generally just really good places to make a pit stop. While Austin is a foodie’s paradise, these may not be the fanciest of establishments but I believe your belly will thank you later. Enjoy!

BBQ: Franklin’s

Started as a food truck, Franklin’s is one of those restaurants that people rave about so much, you can’t help think: is this just hype? Let me tell you. It’s not. The meat is amazing. The brisket melts (that’s right, MELTS) in your mouth. The ribs fall off the bone. Of course, there are a few catches to any crazy popular restaurant in Austin. Franklin’s serves until it runs out of meat. Which means that you have to get there early and there is always a line. The last time I went to Franklin’s, I waited four hours to get inside and order. So, when you go, make it a good visit – get food to eat there and get some to go. The second catch, I’m personally not a huge fan of the side dishes. BUT – go for the meat and you won’t be disappointed.

As with any BBQ place, it’s easy to let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. You may just want to expect that this will either be your only meal of the day or you are going to have the meat sweats like no other. If you’re just in town for a short amount of time, and want to try all that Franklin’s has to offer, I actually recommend the Tipsy Texan sandwich. It includes brisket and sausage with loads of sauce – and don’t forget to ask for the cole slaw on top. (As a bonus, Texas Monthly recently ranked this as Franklin’s as the top BBQ restaurant in the world…so you know, it’s gotta be good.)

Comfort Food: Gordough’s

Yet another restaurant that started as a food truck, Gordough’s is definitely a place for comfort food with a twist. Most of what you find at Gordough’s is actually created with homemade donuts. Keep in mind, this isn’t just a donut shop. Imagine getting your sandwich made with a garlic donut instead of a roll. That’s what you’re going to find at Gordough’s – delicious dishes with a creative twist!

Food Truck: East Side King 

I am a huge Top Chef fan and I’ve been dying to try Top Chef: Texas winner Paul Qui’s group of food trucks East Side King. If you’re looking for asian street food, I’ve heard that East Side King is a must. The location I read about most recently was at the Shangri-La but you can also find these trucks at the Liberty Bar, the Grackle and the Hole in the Wall. If you’ve ever attempted to go to a Top Chef contestant or winner’s restaurant, you know that it can be incredibly difficult but it’s usually worth the wait. Since I haven’t personally tried East Side King food or been to a location yet, I can’t guarantee that you won’t have a wait but I’ve always been under the impression that food trucks are more accessible. So if you’re looking for something a little different, East Side King is where it’s.

American: Black Sheep Lodge

Located on South Lamar, Black Sheep Lodge has been a frequent lunchtime stop when I’ve visited Austin. It’s got a laid back atmosphere and definitely gives you the feeling of one of those great neighborhood bars. But it’s not the beer selection that caught my heart. It was the food. I love good fried pickles (slices not spears) — and Black Sheep doesn’t disappoint when it comes to this delicious treat. In addition, you’ll always find delectable sandwiches or burgers, which get an extra star for the option of tots on the side. Black Sheep is definitely an All American food locale where you can find your favorite variety of burgers or sandwiches always cooked to perfection.

What do you think? Any restaurants that you would recommend be added to this list or disagree with any included? Leave a message in the comments section.


HIMYS Breaks into Spring!

Once again, I was scooped up into a crazy whirlwind of traveling and mayhem (well, maybe the mayhem part isn’t quite accurate). In any event, the blog has been seriously lacking in content. I am back to report on many fun items from my travels. The first of which was Restaurant Week!

Technically, I’m not a food blog, but writing about new restaurants is so easy to do in Boston. They are everywhere! So forgive me now if you’re not looking for another food post…cause that’s what this is!

Boston holds Restaurant Week twice a year – and so the great experiment begins! This season, I was able to try three different places, and have given a summary of each below. I really love Restaurant Week for the opportunity it brings. If you don’t already know, area restaurants serve a fixed price menu for around $33 (which doesn’t include drinks). Some restaurants are always going to be pricier by nature. Which is fine. However, I have a hard time justifying the money on one meal if I don’t already know it’s good. Therefore, the fixed price makes it a perfect chance to try these places without feeling guilty or eating ramen for weeks.

With that in mind, I selected these restaurants based on recommendations but it’s important to note that these places tend to be in the mid-to-upper price range. I don’t actually know the names of all of these dishes, so forgive me for some of my crude descriptions.

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City Table 

Inside the Lenox Hotel, this restaurant claims to be a local neighborhood spot but in the higher end sense, of course. It’s a cute space, with a very modern feel – it juxtaposes nice with the classic vibe of the hotel. To me, the space felt a bit divided though and sometimes cramped.

For restaurant week, I started with an artichoke and leek arancini which was lightly battered and fried. It was a good idea but it seem to be a little dry and the artichoke was not distributed equally among the filling, so it just tasted like rice and batter at points. As my main dish, I tried the salmon with brussel sprouts in a cream and sliced potatoes. It wasn’t bad but it just seemed to lack seasoning and the fish was a little overdone. Dessert was a cheesecake with blackberry sauce, which was again, was just ok. It tasted like cheesecake you could buy at the grocery story.

Overall, my experience was not wonderful – and the food was just ok overall. For the price, I’ll skip this restaurant unless a friend selects it for a special occasion. I’ve been told it’s pretty good from a few friends, so maybe it was a Restaurant Week thing.

Blue, Inc.

In the aquarium area, I’m told Blue’s head chef is a former FOX Hell Kitchen contestant. I don’t think Gordon Ramsay would be upset by this place! The restaurant is very small but quaint. Lots of fun décor, and obviously a lot of blue, even the tables and chairs were different than the standard restaurant. It was refreshing to walk into.

For dinner, I started with a Tuna tartare. Let me tell you – I could have licked the plate when I was done. It was incredible. It was marinated in soy sauce, so I was told it’s not a technical tartare but, wow. It definitely got me excited about the rest of my food. For my main course, I went with a mussels fritte. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wowed. The sauce and fries were good, and there was a chipotle aioli dip that was incredible. I was, however, disappointed with the mussels. It tasted like they could have used another few minutes in the pot. They were just a bit too fishy for me – which is tough, because I love fish. Moving to dessert, I went with the carrot cake. It was just a little on the dry side.

Overall, I would absolutely visit again and give the main dish another shot. The mussels were not one of the dishes that the waiter recommended, so part of that is my fault. I was told the duck confit or the swordfish were the top choices.

Market by Jean-Georges

While I had never heard of Market before my Restaurant Week experience, I knew it was an incredibly nice place when I heard that it was 1) in the W Hotel and 2) there was a business casual dress code. If you don’t like either of those things, don’t go to Market. However, I was ready to give it a shot, so I put on my Sunday’s best and hit the town.

To start, I tried the split pea soup. Pea soup generally has a automatic “yuck” reaction for a lot of people I know. However, it was delightful. The flavors were amazing, it’s hard to describe unless you try it for yourself. I just know that from now on, I want my soup poured in my bowl table side. Yum! For my main course, I had a Sriracha cod with bok choy. Delicious!! I love Sriracha anyways – but throw in some perfectly cooked fish with some wonderfully steamed bok choy, and you’ve made a fan out of me. For dessert, I had a salted caramel ice cream with caramel popcorn on top and chocolate sauce (peanuts were an option but I don’t eat those). It was delightful.

Overall, as you can probably already tell, I loved Market. The service was fantastic, the food was outstanding and the atmosphere was great. You might not be allowed to wear jeans but personally, I never felt like people are condescending or snooty.

Visiting three places for Restaurant Week definitely made me feel like a little kid on Christmas. I really enjoy trying new things, and I don’t regret going to any of these places. I do, however, get a little annoyed when restaurants don’t give you the real experience during Restaurant Week that you would get on an everyday visit. It seems like Restaurant Week is an affordable way to become a regular. Why not take advantage of that?

There are definitely a bunch of other restaurants that I have on my list for the summer edition but I won’t spoil anything too soon! Hello Spring!


Not Your Average Resolutions Post

A new year brings hope of new beginnings and those always inspiring resolutions. Well, I don’t actually like making resolutions because I always found that I break them. Instead I prefer to set goals for myself. (I’m sure it all seems like semantics but to me, it’s actually easier to set goals that can be checked off throughout the year.)

For How I Met Your State (HIMYS), I am always talking about visiting places or doing things around Boston but have never actually kept a running list. Until now! The following is my resolutions or goals list for HIMYS 2012 edition.

Note: These are in no particular preference or priority order.

Food:

  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Firefly
  3. Erbaluce
  4. Orinoco
  5. Regal Begal
  6. Giacomo’s
  7. South End Buttery
  8. Bee Hive
  9. Silvertone
  10. The Capital Grille

 Places/Activities:

  1. Harpoon or Sam Adams Brewery Tour
  2. Bunker Hill
  3. Visit Maine or Rhode Island
  4. Boston Public Library
  5. Marathon Monday
  6. Fall Foliage/Leaf Peeping
  7. Corn Maze
  8. Haunted Boston Bus Tour
  9. Celtics or Bruins Game
  10. Institute of Contemporary Art

Here’s to another great year! What other places or restaurants would you recommend? Leave your recommendations in the comments section. And may your year be filled with adventure!


How I Re-Met My State: Minnesota State Fair

A few weeks ago, I headed back to my homeland Minnesota to visit family and friends. While I was there, the State Fair was just finishing up it’s 12-day tour. Every year since the 1940s, Minnesotans gather at the Fair Grounds to eat the best food, see some exciting shows and ride the ferris wheel. It’s a prime event to try some insanely weird food as well. While I’ve heard the East Coast has something called the Big E, I couldn’t miss my chance to really connect with my roots (and eat some greasy fair food).

And eat I did!

The official list of the items I sampled or ate in whole include: pork chop on a stick, sweet martha’s cookies, bacon on a stick, deep fried gator, turkey jerky, homemade lemonade, pickle dog, fire dog, cheese curds, birch beer, funnel cake, popcorn, deep fried oreo, carmel apple sundae, fajita burrito and roasted corn.

It was an epic taste fest – and out of everything I was able to try, I would say that my favorite food was the fried alligator. It tasted very similar to Burger King chicken nuggets. Or at least it had the same seasoning and batter.

The one item that I was surprised about was the fried oreo. I think oreos are ok; they are much better with milk. However, my family and I got a batch straight out of the fryer and it was warm, soft and sweet. I could only handle one but it was delicious.

Besides the food, the Midway is fun for kids but definitely not as magical as an adult. I have a very different memory of the rides from when I was a kid. The horse show area was fun with a group, mostly because we played betting games on the different competitions. Big winner got a whole bunch of quarters!

Honestly, there was so much to do and so much food to try, there was no way I could do it all in one day. It was a great chance for me to really get back to feel at home and remember why I like Minnesota.

If you ask me in the winter, though, I might have a different story. When else can you get hot dish on a stick besides the summer?

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Restaurant Week Review: Anthem

For my first stop during restaurant week, I decided to try out Anthem located in Faneuil Hall. I’ve considered eating at the restaurant before but was always dissuaded by several factors including price, clientele (gaggles of tourists) and wait. However, as a part of Restaurant Week Boston, the dinner menu looked delightful and the price was something I couldn’t pass up.

The three course menu costs about 33.00 (minus tax or tip, and does not include beverages), with options including fried green tomatoes, braised ribs and bacon wrapped tenderloin. Having only heard about Restaurant Week before, I was curious how Anthem would stack up.

Anthem

Honestly, Anthem was surprisingly delectable. The first course I tried the buttermilk fried oysters with chipotle-orange aioli, which were a nice level of crispy on the outside without loosing the succulent moisture and flavor of the oyster. For the main dish, I ate the crispy skin salmon with sweet and sour shittake mushrooms which was fantastic – the only part I was a little disappointed in was a fried rice cake side dish. Take this away, and the dish as a whole was fantastic. Of course, I couldn’t not try the fried twinkie for my dessert option – and I was totally floored when this fancy looking dish came to my table. The fried twinkie’s presentation was lovely, and I wasn’t disappointed to find that it reminded me of being at the Texas State Fair. Though, I did enjoy having fresh fruit and whip cream with it – something not really possible with a typical fair food.

All in all, the price was a great bargain and Anthem got me to consider looking past my previous hang ups. I would most definitely head to Anthem again – hopefully, in the summer when the windows can be opened to the patio area!

I’ve got a few more Restaurant Week stops planned – so keep an eye out! For now, I’m still looking for any recommendations, so leave them in the comments box, if you’ve got them!


Boston Eats! Nom Nom Nom!

First off – apologies for the short absence! Been traveling on and off for a few weeks…but I’m back in the swing of things! So let’s begin!

Courtesy of Restaurant Week

Twice a year, the City of Boston hosts Restaurant Week! This is pretty much what it sounds like – restaurants around Boston offer a 2- or 3-course meal for a set price, giving locals a chance to sample food at some of the finest shops in town for cheap! With such an avid restaurant scene, this event is a great way to try some of the world’s best without dropping an entire paycheck. What’s even better is that Restaurant Week is actually more like two weeks since it goes from March 6-11 and March 13-18. Additionally, most of the restaurants have lunch and dinner menu options.

The main newbie pointer for this whole shindig? Make reservations! I’ve heard that most of these establishments are wall-to-wall with people, so it’s best to expect a crowd. Also, understand that sometimes the food is not always at it’s best quality. With so many people, these restaurants often don’t break out the “big guns” for this event but you should at least be able to walk away with an idea of whether it’s worth the dough (yes, the pun was intentional).

Me? I haven’t gotten a chance to partake in the deliciousness yet but I do have lunch reservations next week and am planning on some other choice meals before that! My biggest problem is figuring out where to go! Of course, I will track my adventures here…so stay tuned! And if you have suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!!