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


Rock n’ Roll Pizza

May 16, 2010

P.A.’s Lounge
is a well-established local rock club and bar with an Elks lodge charm to it. As a place that I love to go see music and grab a handful of drinks, I got even more excited to stop in this past weekend to try out the food, and was I happy that it was cheap, delicious, and a great change of pace for this neighborhood watering hole.

I chose to go with the traditional pizza, which at $8 isn’t a bad deal at all. For $11 you can get a cold P.A.’s Brew and one of these delectable pies. They are charcoal grilled, giving the thin crust a crispy exterior for the soft dough it encases. The cheese was melted to a nice crisp on the edges, while it remained gooey in the middle. The whole tomatoes really added a great flavor and an overall savory style.  The freshness was appreciated.

While offering a few other variants on the pie, one involving mushrooms and truffle oil, another with linguica and one more with chicken and hot peppers, they also have some more standard bar food. Burgers run about $6, $8 with the fries, and come served on a Portuguese roll, and the P.A.’s Dog is an all beef hot dog wrapped in bacon topped with their home made relish.

I can’t think of anything I could enjoy more than grabbing a bite, a couple of drinks, and checking out a show. I am glad P.A.’s has made that easier for all of us.

Pa's Lounge on Urbanspoon


Get Local!

May 6, 2010

I don’t spend much time in places with the word Bistro in the title, and yet there I was with Lizz, seated at Rafiki Bistro on Mass Ave between Porter and Harvard, getting excited to try my meal. Rafiki took over the spot formerly occupied by the Forest Cafe, and has decided to do a French style bistro dedicated to sustainability and being ecologically friendly, with a focus on local ingredients. Since I’ve been on a huge local food kick, I had to try them out!

While the place is fancy on the inside, there is still a casual atmosphere about it. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night snacks, they really do have a bit of something on the menu for everyone. Seeing a locally raised grass fed beef burger on the menu, I knew I had to get it. Lizz got the Herb and Garlic Crusted free range chicken. The burger was fine. For $10, it was a decent burger. The meat was juicy, the onions and cheese were just right, but the beef patty was extremely small. It didn’t fill the bun and was a bit of a letdown. I do think it might have been a fluke though, as the table next to us got burgers as well, and theirs looked like it filled the bun very well. The sweet potato fries were seasoned well, but some were overcooked and some were undercooked.

The Herb and Garlic Crusted chicken, oh man. Moist, flavorful, I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this. The mashed potatoes were creamy and rich, while the broccoli was absolutely fantastic. The natural gravy was such a great compliment to every item on the plate that you couldn’t help but want more.

With a selection of local beers, organic booze, and a seemingly great starting point to a menu, I hope to see the few foibles at Rafiki be fixed over the next coming months. The vegetarian fare seems exciting, with a delicious sounding lentil burger and an eggplant tower that seems interesting. I hope that I can write off these minor errors as opening jitters, and make it a semi-regular spot for burgers and beers with friends when we’re feeling a bit fancy.

Rafiki Bistro on Urbanspoon


You got $5?

April 22, 2010

Victoria Seafood isn’t located in Chinatown, it has two menus, and a lunch will only cost you $5. That’s right, $5. The surprising thing about this $5 meal deal is that it really isn’t bad, in fact, it can actually be crave worthy.

I admit, my first few trips were filled with bouts of negativity. I didn’t care for the egg fried rice, I didn’t like the egg drop soup, the crab rangoon was bland, etc. Over time and forced visits with friends, and I’ve actually come to love the place.

Offering 2 menus, the traditional Chinese food items you would expect to find in any of the Chinatown spots, or the cheap $5 lunch menu. Chock full of Americanized classics like Beef With Broccoli, Sesame Chicken, and Kung Pao Shrimp, there are 25 different main dishes to choose from, 3 different sides (I’m partial to the scallion lo mein), 2 soups (the hot and sour is my jam!) and 10 appetizers (who doesn’t love a good scallion pancake?), you will leave full and not even really missing that $6 or so you left behind.

The service is quick and generally done with a smile, and the place is relatively clean. Loaded will fish tanks full of crabs, lobsters, eel, and various fish; it kinda makes you want some! The twin lobster special is now $17, but it still provides folks a way of getting a lobster dinner for under $20.

If you are near Victoria during lunch hours, stop in, give it a try, there are by far worse ways to spend $5.

Victoria Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Cemita Heaven

March 28, 2010

I love tacos. I LOVE THEM. I can’t say this enough. For about a year I sold t-shirts that just had a picture of a taco on them. Who would have thought though going to a restaurant specializing in tacos, I would be wooed by their delicious non-taco items, in particular, the cemita. I’d never had a cemita before stepping foot into Dorado Tacos & Cemitas, but now I cannot get them off the brain.

A cemita is a Mexican sandwich that originated in the Puebla area. Layer upon layer of deliciousness is packed between a light sesame seed topped egg cemita bun. Black beans, chipotle adobo, cilantro, Oaxaca cheese, and avocado supply a wonderful compliment to the main filling of your choice. I am partial to the pork milanesa, breaded and fried pork, but there are 4 other options to choose from, including vegetarian options.

Seriously, sinking your teeth into this wonderful sandwich might change your life. I can’t think of any food that just stays in my mind as much as this. Assembled in such a manner that you get a little bit of each element in every bite, the flavor is a lot more complex than I would have expected, and I loved it. I think I could eat one of these things every day.

I also cannot leave out that Dorado might actually have the best tortilla chips in the Boston area. They have a lot of crunch, yet light, and lightly salted. They do have a spicy version available as well.

Now, in terms of deals, the price is under $6. Not too shabby. They also have a special every Wednesday where they have a fish taco for $2, or a taco plate for $5 including 2 tacos, rice, beans, and a charred jalapeno!

Take the trip to Dorado Tacos & Cemitas for a really great deal on some unbelievably great food.

Dorado Tacos & Cemitas on Urbanspoon