Bodacious Bahn Mi (I am starting to dread the alliteration)

October 20, 2010

What more do you want from a good sandwich than for it to be inexpensive, quickly made, filled with fresh ingredients, and most importantly, delicious? That is exactly what New Saigon in Chinatown provides for you if you stop in for one of their Bahn Mi sandwiches.

Offering a variety of different fillings from beef to tofu, these sandwiches are packed to the brim with fresh herbs and pickled vegetables. Topped with a little mayo, these feisty little sandwiches are packed with so many different flavors that somehow don’t fight each other. There is sweetness from the pickled veggies, sourness from the sauce used to cook the main ingredient, heat from the jalapenos, and whatever you want to call the flavor cilantro gives you, this sandwich has plenty of it.

For the low low low price of $3, this hearty sandwich can keep you full for a while. The crusty French baguette holds a lot of the flavors of the sauce and mayo, but it seemed to be a little on the stale side. They do offer a few other items, such as fresh made spring rolls and cans of soda. It takes about a minute to go from placing your order to sitting on one of the two stools enjoying your food, so you don’t need to take a ton of time out of your day to get a sandwich (and happen to be near Chinatown, that is).

So if you are looking for a quick meal, for a great price, that is actually tasty and filling, stop into New Saigon and get one of their Bahn Mi sandwiches, you will not be disappointed.

New Saigon Sandwich on Urbanspoon


Cheap Cheese Chic

October 4, 2010

Looking for a cheap, delicious bar snack to satisfy your hunger between meals, preferably with a beer to go with it? Well hop into Tory Row in Harvard Square and order the Curry apricot cheese spread, as it is probably the best way to spend $5 you will find these days.

Served in a ramekin on a butcher block with a sliced Nashoba Brook Bakery baguette and another ramekin of baby sweet/hot peppers, this cheese spread is about as surprisingly good as anything could get.   I originally thought that the flavors would combat each other, but instead they seem to complement each other well.  There is sweetness, probably because of the apricot, and nuttiness, mostly because of the cheese, and then some complex flavors provided by the curry.  Working together in unison, they meld into one wild taste explosion, just begging to be spread on more and more of the baguettes.  Heck, fill one of the peppers they come with and chomp on them for even more heat!

While Tory Row isn’t exactly my favorite place to eat and drink in Harvard Square, this little dish is quickly becoming one of the best, especially for the price.  Pop in on a nice day to sit outside and share this tiny meal  with a friend, or after a hard day’s work, pull up a stool, order a pint, and go at this snack with reckless abandon, enjoying the flavors while toasting the end of another work day!

Tory Row on Urbanspoon


Alliteration is difficult with Oysters

September 28, 2010

The days are getting shorter, the air is a bit cooler, and yet you desperately are trying to grasp onto those last fleeting moments of summer. What better way than to hop on over to the Terrace Bar bar Legal Sea Foods has set up in Harvard Square, order a Narragansett, and 6 oysters for $6 between the hours of 3pm – 6pm.

While Oysters are commonly thought of as a summer food, recent advances in aquaculture have made oysters safe to eat year round. Legal gives you the chance to enjoy some of the numerous local oyster varieties for a great price in a pretty relaxed setting (on the warmer days). The friendly and funny bartender was a real joy, keeping the beer and the conversation flowing.

The $1 oyster special rotates between a few varieties, so you can easily have a few different types in a weeks time. Served with cocktail sauce, horseradish, and what seemed to be pickled black pepper, these fresh briney treats were tasty with a little kick.

With wonderful service and a collection of really great oysters, it would be difficult to imagine a better after works snack.

Legal Sea Foods - Charles Square on Urbanspoon


Indian Burritos

September 22, 2010

My love of Indian food is no secret, and there is nothing that brings me more pleasure than ripping some naan, topping it with rice and some saag paneer, and eating it like a taco. Now, Chutney’s in The Garage in Harvard Square (located, oddly enough, where Flat Patties used to be) has taken all the guesswork out of eating Indian food as if it were Mexican food, and created their burrito style Indian food!

With a variety of different fillings, numerous vegetarian, chicken, and lamb options, they pretty much have something for everyone. You choose your filling, you choose one of the three wrap options, and then extras. They have seven different chutneys (With a name like Chutney’s…) and a wide range of fresh vegetables, so you can really customize these wraps to be whatever you want. The creamy paneer tikka roll was one of the best items I had. Extremely flavorful, and the super rich sauce complimented the paneer quite well. Its hard to beat a meal of this size for only $4.50, a combo meal for under $7 (with two sides, and a fountain soda), it won’t be difficult to get hooked on this place.

While I loved the roll I had, there were some issues. The tofu with mushrooms was saturated with salt and was fairly difficult to eat. The Samosas that come as sides, they are lacking something. Maybe its a dipping sauce, but I just wasn’t satisfied with them. It had all the proper ingredients, and they were mixed well, but if they were better I would have flipped my lid over the whole meal.

While Chutney’s isn’t perfect, it isn’t far from achieving excellence. A friendly and enthusiastic staff coupled with delicious inexpensive cuisine will keep me coming back. It is pretty great to see something pop up that is so different from everything else around it, while at the same time being comfortable and familiar. Chutney’s does both.

Chutney's on Urbanspoon


Perfect Pizza Pie

August 26, 2010

Everyone in the Boston area has their favorite pizza spot to go and pick up a slice or a pie. Some say Pinocchio’s in Harvard Square, others talk about the wonders of Santarpio’s in East Boston, and of course there are generally always some folks mumbling about the greatness that is Pizzeria Regina in the North End.  When I get a serious pizza craving, I head to what I believe to be the best place around for a slice or 4, and that is Leone’s on Winter Hill.

While their feud with another sub shop up the street is what got me in, it was a slice of the thick cut, Sicilian style slice that has kept me coming back.  The combination of crispy yet soft dough with a savory sauce, flawlessly melted cheese with herbs on top is one that does not disappoint, ever. And for under $10 you can get 4 slices, which is more than enough to feed two people.  While the price is right, after one slice of this magnificent pizza, you will have a difficult time getting this pizza off your brain.

With friendly service, this neighborhood shop really stands out on a street full of neighborhood sub shops.  Their prices are spot on, and the subs and salads are delicious, but the multiple sheets of the rectangular pies right behind the counter will have you ordering at least one while you wait for the rest of your meal to be completed.

If you love pizza as much as I do, which if you do you might want to seek help, you owe it to yourself to stop into Leone’s and give this pie a bit of attention. Your life won’t be the same afterwards.

Leone's Submarine Sandwich on Urbanspoon


Food Truck Fantasy

August 18, 2010

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger supporter of the recent “Food Truck Revolution” in Boston these days; however, Fillbelly’s seems to be the top of the pack for a relatively new venture. They aren’t doing just hot dogs, they are taking a risk and bringing delicious soul food all over the area at a very reasonable price.

While you may never know where Fillbelly’s is going to be located the day before, (it took me 4 attempts to actually locate them successfully), you can check the twitter, or you can call the cell number on their website for updates. I recommend a combo of both, because if you don’t find a way to eat their food, you’ll be pretty upset with yourself.

With menu items ranging from $2-$6, you’d expect portions to be small and unfulfilling, but that is not the case. Their chicken and waffle plate goes for $5.50, and the mac and cheese is a deal at $4 for a large. But do yourself a favor and opt for the Mac n’ Soul casserole. The Kitchen Kingz @ Fillbelly’s have a unique take on this classic casserole, adding in slightly crispy sweet potatoes that really give a sweetness to the dish that is much appreciated, and collard greens (vegetarian ones, even!) for a savory element. The textures all combined provide a satisfying, delicious meal.

While it might take a bit of extra effort to track down one of these new food trucks you are seeing pop up all over Boston, finding a place like Fillbelly’s is totally worth it. The staff was not only friendly, but genuinely enthusiastic about doing something different. While it might be different, it is also a pretty fantastic experience, and I whole heartedly recommend checking them out as soon as you can.

TO find out where Fillbelly’s is going to be located, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or call Chef Boz at (347) 204-8466.

Fillbelly's on Urbanspoon


Amazing Mexican Madness!

August 12, 2010

It’s funny how the best Mexican food I’ve had in the city isn’t actually in the city, but a suburb. I read about La Posada in Arlington Heights on another food blog and figured I would give it a chance. Not only did I immensely enjoy the lunch, but I liked it so much I went back the following day for brunch. If you in any way like Mexican food, you owe it to yourself to visit this place and try their outstanding spin on Mexican food.

Starting each meal with a pretty unique salsa and lightly salted homemade chips, Lo Posada started out on the right food. While the salsa wasn’t your typical tomato, onion, cilantro, garlic you get other places, it really has a nice sour/sweet taste to it that had me reaching for chip after chip. You also have the option of ordering guacamole, which is made at your table with your choice of “toppings” to mix in.

While the menu offers burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, I chose to go with one of my favorites, the chile relleno, which was fried to a perfect crispy exterior and filled with a rich, melty cheese. Served with some of the best refried beans I’ve ever eaten, perfectly cooked rice, and a cheese enchilada with a dark and sweet red sauce, I don’t think I could have asked for a more satisfying meal.

The brunch options did not disappoint either. Opting for a poblano pepper scramble, it too was served with rice and beans, some avocado slices, and some tortillas. The eggs were cooked to perfection, with creaminess to them, and the added flavors of the peppers really made the dish pop. The breakfast tacos were 3 gigantic tacos, absolutely brimming with flavor, and the Mexican Toast was out of this world French toast seasoned with Mexican spices and honey.

The best part about La Posada is not even the food, which is pretty great as mentioned above. It is the food combined with the friendly staff providing an atmosphere you feel very comfortable in, and the prices really put them over the edge. Entrees run from about $7-15, and appetizers are $4-8. The brunch menu, nothing is over $9. The three tacos? $6. SIX DOLLARS! From now on, when I think Mexican food in the Boston area, I am immediately thinking of La Posada, and figuring out a way to get there as soon as I can.

La Posada Restaurante on Urbanspoon


Lip-smackin’ Seafood

August 5, 2010

Courthouse Seafood is many things, most of them being delicious, awesome, and great. Having this place nearby in Cambridge has made my job very fun and very easy. While most famous for their fried offerings, such as fish and chips for $7 or a clam strip roll for $6 with fries, I have found that their Cajun Bluefish to be their tastiest of options.

While the inexpensive fish and chips drew me in, the delicious food had me coming back, I noticed I kept just staring at the Bluefish, done Cajun style, that was on the menu. Not being too familiar with non fried seafood, my mind was blown at how juicy and filling the bluefish was, with a touch of Cajun seasoning to give it some kick. You get your choice of side but I’m a sucker for pilaf, and their buttery version doesn’t disappoint.

While I do love love LOVE both going to the restaurant and the market, I do find it a bit of a bummer that they serve seafood that is on the avoid listing of seafood watch lists (specifically the Sole, Haddock, and Salmon). It would make me much happier as a customer if they took some of them off their menu, but I do believe they put in an honest effort to support local sustainable fishing for seafood. Just a few more steps and it would be perfect.

That being what it is, I do recommend stopping in and giving the bluefish a shot, as well as some clam strips, making a trip into the market just a couple of storefronts down, and doing your best to fill your belly and doing it in a responsible manner.

Courthouse Seafood on Urbanspoon


Atwood’s is Alright

July 28, 2010

Having heard high praise for Atwood’s Tavern for well over a year, I finally decided to stop in and sample the food and the beer selection. Everything about this place was great, from the hilarious and lively bartender to the very pleasing beer selection. The star of the trip was the food, which is not to be missed.

Stepping in, the bartender was super friendly and offered us menus right as we sat down. Greeted with a list of daily specials, it was quite hard to choose something off the regular menu. “Those will always be there, and do you really want macaroni and cheese on a 95 degree day?” I asked myself. “The guy next to you seems to be enjoying it well enough” was my response, but I was too late.

The catfish po’ boy was on the menu and what a sandwich it was! With a perfectly seasoned piece of catfish to the soft yet slightly crusty bread, there was a tangy sauce drizzled over the fish and it added a slight hint of spice. The sweet potato fries were good but a bit on the soggy side, however the regular fries Lizz got with her burger were absolutely mind blowing. I pretty much could have eaten an entire barrel of them.

With all the gastropubs that have been popping up all over the greater Boston area the past few years, I am glad high quality ones like Atwood’s are there for me to enjoy when I need an escape from the snooty high priced ones that seem to be the norm these days. Not only would I visit again, I kind of can’t wait to!

Atwood's Tavern on Urbanspoon


A Better Lobster Sandwich

June 14, 2010

Alive and Kicking Lobsters in Cambridge might not have the most diverse menu ever, considering it only consists of one item, but that one item is a doozey. Located off a residential street and set back a bit with a small parking lot in front, Alive and Kicking Lobsters main focus is providing fresh lobsters to the folks who stop in. They do however have something else to bring folks in and keep em happy, and that is the lobster sandwich, the likes of which knows no rival, for it is the ultimate lobster sandwich.

Served on buttery, toasted, sesame seed scalia bread, the sandwich might seem simple at first sight, but after your first bite you will know you have found something different. The sweet lobster meat inside the sandwich is still juicy, one of the perks of getting a sandwich from a place that stores live lobsters they catch with their own boats. Served with a side of Cape Cod chips and a soda of your choice, the sandwich isn’t the cheapest thing going, but it is worth it to sit out on the patio set in the parking lot and enjoy a sandwich.

On top of the one menu item and the fresh lobsters taking up multiple tanks, Alive and Kicking has a few freezers full of everything from chowder to shrimp and everything in between, a cooler full of beverages, and some fresh fish selections. The staff was super courteous to a bunch of late arrivals and made us feel at home, offering us tons of information. Places like this, while located in the city, really remind me of living in the north shore. A slower pace, a friendly smile, and a delicious meal all in one parking lot based seafood store. If you haven’t been, make the trip this summer and enjoy the afternoon.

Alive and Kicking Lobsters on Urbanspoon