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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Why I eat out

Consistency is an interesting word and I used it deliberately. I love going to the places that know me and offer the best homey service accompanying great, creative food. It feels comforting to build relationships with people at restaurants and to be a regular. It adds a level of consistency to a fast paced world and life. Not to worry, I still love trying new places but below is a recap of some of my favorite consistent spots around Boston highlighting some excellent dishes and service. 

During the month of March, once it stopped snowing, I ate at Strip T's at least once a week (maybe more if you ask my boyfriend) and had a bowl of their smoked miso ramen and a small Caesar salad each time. There was something comforting about both of those things and the perfect service. I even have a spot at the bar that I usually sit. They know my voice when I call. That miso ramen is one of the best dishes I have had and coupled with the perfectly cooked noodles it was a nice hearty, flavorful warm dish to get out of the snow zone. The Caesar salad is truly one of a kind. After I eat it, I sweat garlic for 24 hours but it's worth it. Consistently perfection. Also in the month of March and related to Strip T's, I went to the BTG Boston's first series of events where I got to enjoy Tim Maslow's fine Ribelle food paired with some of the best of Boston's sommeliers' wine choices. I loved that it felt like one big giant family style meal-- put together by two of my favorites, Theresa Paopao and Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli.

Smoked Miso Ramen at Strip T's
Over the winter, I went to Lineage for burgers at the bar about once a week. It was nice to go out, get a great glass of wine, a phenomenal burger and speak with Brad, Amy, Matt or even Jeremy, at the bar. Anything Jeremy Sewall does is perfection and I think Lineage is one of his less written about "famous" restaurants, but it is the original and that burger is my "best of Boston." I'm not a big fan of fries generally, so I usually sub out fries for a side salad when I have a burger. When I go to Lineage, I eat the hand cut fries. If I really feel like splurging, I go for dessert with a tea pairing. My favorite of the winter was a brulee'd banana split. What can I say, I'm a sucker for red meat and any dessert that has bananas. I am also a huge fan of Island Creek, Eastern Standard and Row34, but those were a bit more of a trek this winter.

Bruleed Banana Split and Tea at Lineage
Another spot or series of spots I think of when discussing good service is anything Barbara Lynch. I love all of her spots that I've tried. I still have to try B&G, but if I want excellent food with perfect service, I go to any of her spots. My favorite for special occasions is Menton because I feel like I'm at dinner and a show. It's perfect food with the right choreography. I haven't been in a while but after I went to a few Full Plate lunches, I felt that the staff at the whole restaurant group got to know me. As I mentioned in previous posts anything at Drink is a good time-- they take the decision making out of the equation for you and the cocktails are perfect. I feel like my soul is being fed at Sportello-- through tagliatelle and coconut cake and at The Butcher Shop with the charcuterie platter and wine. The service is friendly and consistent at each place. I love the ability to go from formal at Menton to more casual at the other spots in terms of look and feel but to have the same great quality of food and service.

Charcuterie and wine at Butcher Shop
Service and consistency matters as does creativity. Sometimes in a super fast paced world, knowing what you're going to get from a service and food quality is all you need for a slice or a plate of happiness.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dazzled by Deep Ellum

Clearly a fantastic brunch as a start to Super Bowl Sunday was the right move! It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm thrilled to be back in action and look forward to sharing more eating adventures with you!

Today, my boyfriend and I woke up hungry after a night of dancing. We have been cooking brunch more than we've been eating it out, but today was special since we knew we'd be making food for the Super Bowl. We trudged through the Allston/Brighton slushy streets to Deep Ellum and it was worth the walk. It was obvious from the crowd that Deep Ellum is the spot to be for brunch if you're in that neighborhood. When you walk in the spot is abuzz with good music and happy people eating delicious, creative food and drinks. We were too hungry to wait for a table and lucked out with two seats at the bar.

The bartender was really nice and knowledgeable. When I go out anywhere, I like to ask the server for their advice. I'm a sucker for breakfast food, but was enticed by their lunch menu. I'll have to come back for a recommended rueben. In the end, my New York roots had me go for house cured salmon. My boyfriend got their homemade egg and chorizo sandwich.

While we were waiting for the food to arrive, which was not very long, we enjoyed listening to David Bowie and watching the bar tender mix uniquely delicious looking drinks. I was surprised that they had about 22 beers on tap, but they chose to serve soda out of the bottle. They are serious about their beer! I asked if I could try their Bloody Mary mix because I wasn't ready for a drink but I'd seen the bar tender mix a few. I appreciated that they were willing to pour me a shot. That mix was perfectly spicy and pungent. Next time I go, I'll have a bloody!

The food arrived and it looked bright and as perfect as it tasted. I was excited to see my salmon thickly sliced with fresh tomatoes and arugala. The color and freshness is usually saved for summer tomato season. The nova was served on a bagel with caper cream cheese closed faced. I was excited to see that there was enough nova to turn this bagel sandwich into two open faced bagel sandwiches. I love nova open faced because I get to spread out the experience of eating one of my favorite comfort foods. The cream cheese was a perfect addition to the fresh nova, bagel and tomato. I liked that the capers were mixed in so that they didn't have the chance of rolling off the top of the sandwich. When I finished the sandwich, I was sad because it was so tasty. While the bagel did not taste like it was from New York (a little too soft), the toppings were so good, that it could have been on a saltine and I would have wanted more. I appreciated the flexibility to give me a side salad instead of potatoes. The salad was fresh and excellent: cukes, tomatoes and arugula with some lemon and salt.

I was lucky enough to also get to try my dining partner's chorizo sandwich. The egg was perfectly fried and had quite a bit of pepper on it. It was served on a homemade English muffin and the house chorizo was sliced and crisped perfectly. I was not expecting the homemade English muffin but it made the sandwich that much better. The crunch of the chorizo paired with the homemade English muffin and perfectly cooked egg made my bite absolute perfection.

Not only was the food outstanding, but it was reasonably priced ($25 including tax and tip) and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. I will go back to Deep Ellum in a heart beat. Looking forward to having lunch, dinner and drinks! When I do go back for brunch, it will be hard to decide if I will try something new or have that nova that tugs on my nostalgic New York heartstrings.