Archive for the ‘1’ Category

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Pizza Pie Paradise

December 30, 2009


I’m not usually one for fancy schmancy pizzas, I like a greasy sloppy slice over a healthy one, but in an effort to eat better I gave Zing! Pizza in Porter Square a shot, and I was pleasantly surprised. A pleasant atmosphere with a very happy and friendly staff stocked with a small but delicious selection of pizzas that focus on taste and local ingredients, it’s a hard thing to pass up.

Arriving later in the evening, the slice selection wasn’t what it could have been, but they had their signature pizza, the Blue October, ready to munch on. A pretty interesting pizza by anyone’s standards, the sauce is made of roasted butternut squash and provides a sweet and delicious base to the otherwise delectable ingredients. Carmelized onions, spinach, mozzarella and bleu cheese round out the toppings on their homemade crust. Pizzas are oblong instead of circular, so slices come out to be pretty big, about a foot long each, and the $3 slice is as filling as could be.

The shop is also filled with high fructose corn syrup free sodas and teas, as well as juices. A small but appealing selection of salads, though sadly I saw no more mentions of the roti that I had head so much about. There are also no trash cans, just compost and recycling bins, something I think more restaurants should get into.

On top of offering slices and whole pies, one could also get a pizza made on a gluten free crust, something that is fairly rare at a pizza joint (although this is changing more and more). I hope to stop in again soon to try the Holy Pepperoni, but the thought of the Blue October has me drooling at the thought!

Zing! on Urbanspoon

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Super sushi savings!

December 16, 2009


I guess it isn’t a shock to anyone that knows me that once again this week, I was craving sushi. Money was getting a bit tight (as it always does when you do a restaurant review blog) due to the holidays; so I was looking to satisfy this crave while also spending as little money as possible. So Café Sushi in Harvard Square did just that with their weekly $1 sushi night.

Every Sunday at Café Sushi, all of the sushi pieces are a buck. Yes, one single dollar for some of their delicious salmon, tuna, and eel. A delightful smoked salmon and surprisingly awesome jalapeno fish roe were also on the menu and I couldn’t have been happier. While the place was busy, it was also staffed with friendly helpful folks who were more than happy to help with anything. The seaweed salad that we got as an appetizer was garnished with marinated tofu, which only made the dish even better than it is at other sushi joints.

While I could go on about how great the salmon was, or how I could have eaten 100 of the jalapeno ones, the one point where Café Sushi disappointed was the rolls. They were loose to the point of falling apart, and sometimes there just wasn’t a lot inside the roll. While everything tasted great, these were still full price on the Sunday, which made the haphazardly made rolls that much more of a letdown.

So if you have a craving for sushi and don’t want to spend too much, hit up Café Sushi on a Sunday night and really take advantage of this awesome food at the lowest cost I could imagine. It gets crowded, so get there early or eat at the sushi bar to watch these sushi chefs in action!

Cafe Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Delicious dumplings and more!

December 10, 2009

Porter Exchange in Cambridge has been one of my favorite places in the area to go to eat for years now, and though there have been a variety of negative changes that have taken place recently (the loss of Kotobukiya market, the sushi counter changing to new owners who aren’t as good as the old owners), the places left are doing a great job of reminding me why I like to go there.  Sapporo Ramen is still cranking out delicious hot bowls of noodle soups and ridiculously delicious gyoza dumplings to please the passersby.

Being a relatively cold day out, I wanted something to warm me up.  I hadn’t been to Sapporo in quite a while, and while they have made some changes (positive ones, like new cups, new menus), the quality of the food has not dipped one bit.  Complex broths filled with delicately cooked ramen (try not to think of the dried out packages of sodium you see in the store or have eaten when you are broke, this is the real deal and is quite a treat) that are filled with choice ingredients.  I was a huge fan of the Vegetable one, with a soy sauce and pepper broth filled with all sorts of fresh veggies and tofu.  The house soup, filled with corn, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, scallions, and seaweed all topped off with pork and a hardboiled egg simmering in a house broth. The flavors of chicken and veggies in the broth really make this one shine.

My favorite thing to get, though, is the pork gyoza.  Tasty little dumplings, seared on one side, are the best way to spend $4.75 I can think of.  You also have the option of getting vegetarian ones, which are also pretty fantastic!

A great thing about Sapporo is that you can go with a friend or on a date, each picks a soup and experiments with new soups.  If one doesn’t care for theirs, they will assuredly like the other and a swap can be made.  That is what happened with Lizz and I, as we ended up liking the others much better than the ones we ordered, so we traded! Of course, we both loved the gyoza, and it came in just a bit over $20 for two people, so not too expensive either!

Sapporo Ramen (although this is the old menu, it is still relatively similar to the new menu)
1815 Mass Ave
Cambridge, MA

Sapporo Ramen on Urbanspoon

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SUSHI BOAT!!!!

December 7, 2009

Last week was I sick. Pretty bad too, just the unpleasant stuff you deal with around this time of year. And what could be my cure-all for what ailed me? Of course it is spicy Asian food! Between bowls of Pho and extra spicy drunken noodles, I had to take a break and have some sushi (plenty of wasabi!) and green tea. Going out on a limb and trying Fugakyu, Brookline’s most famous and also expensive sushi spot, they provide you with a way to enjoy their high quality sushi without breaking the bank. And that way is, Kaiten style sushi boats!

Offered Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, Fugayku has a sushi bar area with the little boats that go around in circles, each one carrying a different type of delectable sushi. The various offerings are on two different plates, a patterned plate and a white plate. Patterned plates are $3 and white plates are $4. With a smaller variety offered than the full menu, you can of course order extras. The Fugayku special roll is one of the highlights, featuring tuna, eel, fried sweet potato, scallion & bonito flakes. It’s $12 for a whole roll, or $3 for plate, so if you want to try it and get a healthy portion, you cannot go wrong with it.

The highlight of the whole meal though, was the dessert. Tempura fried chocolate wrapped banana drizzled in chocolate sauce and served with your choice of ice cream. It’s $7.95 and it’s the most delicious thing I had while I was there.

Sorry for the lack of photo, I was not able to snap a good shot due to the crazy deliciousness clouding my artistic vision.

Fugakyu
1280 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA

Fugakyu on Urbanspoon

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Whatta Delicious Wing!

November 25, 2009


Last week I decided to go spend the day in Arlington.  I caught a movie at the Capitol Theatre, looked at the cool shops, rode by Spy pond, and finally, the lady and me hit up Whatta Wing! Known primarily for their large variety of sauces for their wings (28), it basically seemed like your local sub shop, but with the added bonus of some butt kicking wings!

So, for the deal, they had 2 daily specials when dining in.  $8.50 for 8 wings, a bag of chips and a soda or 6 tenders, chips and soda.  For around a buck more you could get a side salad, but no drink.  At first I thought that was a bit on the pricey side, but once I saw the wings, I thought it was a deal.

I chose to get the mango habanero on the wings while Lizz got the garlic buffalo on the tenders, and boy were these things great.  The wings were huge, super juicy and cooked to create a nice crisp on the outside while leaving the meat tender and moist.  The tenders lacked the same amount of juiciness, but still were moist and big.  Did I mention that these suckers were big?  The garlic buffalo sauce was outstanding.  It leaned a bit more to the buffalo side of things, but had this garlicky kick that made the sauce downright exciting to eat!  The mango habanero was pretty good, but being a fan of the heat I expected a lot more habanero, but ended up with a lot more mango.  The sauce was sweet and delicious, but after a while I was dying to have a kick to it that I just wasn’t getting.  Next time I’m getting the Buffalo Suicide sauce!

One big difference between the tenders and the wings was how they handled the sauce.  The wings, after eating a few of them, got a bit soggy under the sauce.  This was a bit of a letdown because at the start of the meal, the crisp texture to the wing set it apart from so many other run of the mill places.  It wasn’t a huge negative though, as the meat and the sauces were still great.  My advice, eat these suckers as fast as you can!  The tenders though, never gave way to the sauce and remained a joy to eat all the way through.

So if you have $10 and want to get full off of a handful of wings or tenders, this is the place to do it.  With so many different sauce options, you could have a complete different experience each time you go. I can’t wait to go back and try the Spicy Teradactal or the Buttermilk Ranch wings!

Whatta Wing!
218 Mass Ave
Arlington, MA

Whatta Wing on Urbanspoon

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Burgers on the cheap in Harvard Square

November 18, 2009

Regular cheeseburger, small fries
One of the things I like almost as much as savings (SAVINGS!) is a good burger, and though the name Flat Patties held me at bay for a while, I’m pretty glad I stepped into The Garage that fateful day a few years ago and plopped down some dollar bills for what turned out to be a pretty fantastic burger for under $5!

While a friend of mine was working at a local tea shop around the corner in Harvard Square, he constantly talked up the new burger joint, Flat Patties, and their delicious cheese fries. The name Flat Patties didn’t get me interested, and for a while I held off. One day, however, I was craving a burger in Harvard and wasn’t in the mood for the Charlie’s experience (reading: me spending more money than I need to on cheap beer) and chose to stop into the Flat Patties and had a wonderful meal.

Now the menu is pretty basic, but has some cool offerings. Burger or double burger (cheese too!), chicken sandwich, fried fish sandwich, pulled pork, Portobello mushroom, and grilled cheese are the main attractions, with the proper extras (bacon, avocado, onions or mushrooms) available as well. They have salads (like I get those), some sides, and homemade desserts. The fries are fresh fried potatoes, and if you wanna get real good get he chili cheese fries. Fattening? Sure. Delicious? Of course!

Now the cheeseburger is a pretty fantastic for just a basic cheeseburger, and its only $3.20! Seasoned well fresh ground beef  topped with a cheese of your choice, lettuce tomato and the house sauce, all on a buttery “brioche style” bun, it is way better than the fast food fare you find at most inexpensive burger joints. It never takes very long to get one, and you can watch the guys in the back cook them right after you order. If you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, get one with a Root Beer float and some cheese fries. It will still be under $10 with tax!

As much as I love a quick, cheap meal from a place that is locally owned, I also love it when those meals are delicious. Not only do you get all three of those checked off at Flat Patties, you also have condiment bar that has jalapeno slices, and how can you not love a place that has that!

Flat Patties
81 Mt. Auburn St,
Cambridge, MA 02138

Flat Patties on Urbanspoon

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Pizza Specials Make The World Go Round

November 11, 2009

You have no idea how good this pizza is unless you've had it

I think it is becoming more and more obvious that I like places that seem to be from a time past. Places that seem out of place in this modern era of text messaging and twitter, places that want you to slow down, relax, forget about your troubles, and just enjoy what is going on around you. To me, The Paddock is a perfect example of this type of place, and I cannot wait to go back as soon as I can.

The Paddock is semi hidden in a residential neighborhood, this family restaurant and bar is dimly lit with a charm not often seen these days. There is horse and horse race imagery throughout, and the staff is adorned in black vests and pants, adding a touch of class. While the Paddock offers a wide range of menu options and specials, Lizz and I stopped in for the $6 large cheese pizza (available Tuesday-Thursday).

This pizza was far better than I had expected, and for $6 it was a steal! While it is only available three nights a week for dining in or take out, it was cheesy and cooked to a perfect crisp crunch. The pizza wasn’t greasy as some of the local orange cheese joints, and it made me wish I had ordered two of the specials (what can I say, I LOVE PIZZA). Though we had taken the pizza to go, there was a special that night for a pitcher of beer with a large cheese for only $15. While that is a good 3 dollars more than the pitcher/pie special at one of my other favorite joints, the pie at the Paddock is worth double that.

Other specials and desserts top off the items at the Paddock, as well as homestyle menu mainstays (such offerings as lasagna and baked ziti) offered at reasonable prices. They have a few long running specials for things like football games at the bar (25¢ wings, $5 for a beer and two slices), and pasta dishes that will feed a family of four (Chicken Parm and ziti or linguine for $30). So while this old timey place invites you in to sit back and relax, it also offers up great deals and meals to keep you coming back time and time again

The Paddock
249 Pearl Street
Somerville, MA 02145
Phone: (617) 628-6525

Paddock on Urbanspoon