Showing posts with label cambridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cambridge. Show all posts

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seafood and Drinks at The Hourly Oyster House (Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)

Grafton Group, which has a good hold on Harvard Square with restaurants like Russell House Tavern and Grafton Street, opened another spot last year.
The Hourly
The Hourly is a seafood-focused restaurant. It was named after the horse-drawn carriages that used to transport people from Cambridge to Boston on the hour back in the day - in 1826. The cozy patio features a painting that shows one of the "hourly'.

I recently attended a blogger tasting at The Hourly and tried some of their most popular offerings.

We started with some raw East Coast oysters served with fennel mignonette. Among the oysters we tried were from Cuttyhunk - an island off of Martha's Vineyard, Island Creek oysters from Duxbury, Mookie Blues from Maine, and Warren's Cove from Plymouth, MA.
The Hourly
The oysters were paired with some Tuck Bekstoffer Hogwash Rose of Grenache from Napa. This was just one of the fun wines that they offer at The Hourly.
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Next we had some New England clam chowder paired with Barrel House Z's Sunny and 79' Pilsner (MA)
The Hourly
We had a small cup of the chowder to taste, but of course, the regular order is a full bowl. The Hourly also makes their own saltine crackers for the chowder, which was filled with chunks of clams. The beer is quite a unique one. It is a ginned pilsner made using juniper berries and it was aged in used tequila barrel. They paired this with the chowder because tequila works well with seafood.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Seafood and Absinthe Go Swimmingly Good at Waypoint (Harvard Square, Cambridge)

Waypoint is the seafood-focused restaurant from Chef Michael Scelfo from Alden & Harlow. Tucked between Central Square and Harvard Square, it has become one of my favorite restaurants to go to for seafood.

One time, I went for the chef's counter tasting menu using a Gilt City voucher (seriously, Boston's Gilt City has some great restaurant deals listed from time to time).

For the tasting menu, we started with some oysters with pickled fennel mignonette, and fish pepper cocktail sauce
Waypoint
this was paired with Ca Di Rajo's Le Moss Pet Nat
Waypoint
We loved the wine. Le Moss is an unfiltered sparkling Glera Pet-nat (Petillant Naturel). Unlike champagne, these wines are bottled before fully completing its first fermentation.

The second course was the steak tartare, 3 minute egg, smoked trout roe, toast
Waypoint
This was one of the better steak tartare in the city, in my opinion. The flavor and texture of the meat was spot on, and the slightly runny egg yolk added a nice touch.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sumiao Brings Hunanese Cuisine to Kendall Square (Cambridge, Boston, MA)

Boston honestly doesn't have too much regional Chinese cuisine, but this is changing with the arrival of Sumiao in Kendall Square. Sumiao brings Hunanese cuisine, which is hard to find in most places, and combines it with a chich decor and solid cocktails.
Sumiao

The regular menu already has a number of authentic Hunanese dishes, but on weekends they add even more authentic recipes as specials. I got to try the Homemade La Rou with Mushrooms ($28)
Sumiao
La rou is like Hunanese bacon - it is pork belly that's been smoked then hang-dried. This is one of the quintessential Hunanese food. In Hunan, they like to smoke their meats, which is then stir fried with some chili and vegetables (because Hunanese also love their chilies!). They also have la rou with a different preparation on their lunch menu for $13, and I encourage you to try it.

Hunan tofu pot, pork belly, green chili, black bean chili sauce, $18)
Sumiao
As I mentioned, Hunanese love their chilies. Chairman Mao hailed from Hunan and reportedly once said "you can't be a revolutionary if you don't eat chilies!" The Hunan tofu pot was one of the spicier dishes. The spice isn't too bad but it does build up (but if you want more, you can ask for "authentic spicy"). This was one of our favorites that day, with the nicely fried tofu and the flavorful pork belly.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Daily Guide to $1 Oysters in Boston

Do you love oysters but can't afford to eat a dozen at the usual $2.50-$3.50 price per pop? Fret not, because there are plenty of places and times to eat oysters for just $1 in Boston! Here is a guide to where to get $ oysters in Boston. I'll try to keep this list as updated as possible, but please check with the restaurant before going :)

Of course, do let me know if you know one that is missing from this list!
Sterling's

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From Lunch to Jazz, Beat Brasserie is a Crowd Please Any Time of Day

Beat Brasserie was already a popular spot in Harvard Square, known for its live jazz music and drinks, accompanied by some great food. But recently, Beat Brasserie also opened its doors for lunch on weekdays, adding another great option for nearby workers and students to grab a bite during the day.
Beat Brasserie
The restaurant is much quieter during weekday lunches than during live jazz sessions, of course, which means it would be good for a working lunch as well.

I recently tried the lunch and started with an appetizer of Fried Rhode Island calamari, vegetable frito misto, green goddess dressing ($13.50)
Beat Brasserie
Instead of the traditional heavy calamari plate, I liked that this was more like a salad.

For lunch entrees they have some overlap with the dinner menu, like the bowls and burgers, but they also have a quiche of the day, tuna nicoise salad, and others. The day I dined there for lunch, they had a rabbit pasta on the menu.
Beat Brasserie
The pasta was delicious and it was a good lighter option for lunch as well.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Boston: Dine at a Discount with GoPapaya App

Whether you're a student or someone with a "real job", everyone loves saving money, right?
Well, Bostonians can now have more opportunities to save money while dining out with this new mobile app startup called GoPapaya.

The idea of GoPapaya is like HotelTonight: they work with restaurants to fill tables during the restaurants' down time by offering discounts to customers, usually between 10-30%. On top of that, since they are new and promoting their app, you can sign up with my referral code "pigs10" and they will send you a $10 Amazon gift card after you complete your first reservation!

The restaurant will set a discount on the app in real time, and you'll have 30 minutes to arrive at the restaurant once you make your reservation. When you open the app, it will show you what discounts are available and for how much, sorted by the distance.
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Once you reserve the table, they will hold it for 30 minutes. During this hold and when you're checked in, you can't reserve another table unless you cancel the current one. Here's when I made one for lunch at Patty Chen's Dumpling Room in Central Square.
Go Papaya
To use it, you'd turn on your bluetooth, and the app will automatically detect when you get to the restaurant and check you in. You don't need to purchase anything from the app so there's no upfront cost like Groupons.

When I got to Patty Chen's Dumpling Room, I just told them I made a reservation with GoPapaya, and they knew what I was talking about.

Patty Chen
Pork Dumpling "Ramen" at PC Dumpling Room


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Charcuterie and Vegetables Showcase at BISq (Cambridge, MA)

The popular Bergamot Restaurant opened a more casual sister restaurant near my apartment in Inman Square. I had walked past BISq many times in Inman Square, and I finally had the perfect opportunity to try it when I saw a Groupon for a 6-course tasting menu for $30 per person! I hadn't used Groupon for a while but recently I took a look around and saw that they actually have some great restaurant deals in Boston. I convinced my roommate to join me for dinner one night.

BISq
Our tasting menu starts off with some grilled avocado, grapefruit, frisee, salumi jam, peppercorn vinaigrette
BISq
I love avocado so this was a great starter for me, but the star of the dish was really the salumi jam. Yes, really, it's "jam" made with salumi instead of fruits!

Herb-marinated beets, raita, fennel, sunflower seed granola
BISq

It was unusual to have beets paired with spicy flavors as in this dish.

King oyster mushroom carpaccio, queso verde, red cabbage, peanuts, omelette, soy-ginger dressing 
BISq

This was my favorite dish of the night. A thin slice of king oyster mushroom is topped with small cubes of egg omelette, peanuts, and a bold queso verde.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Searching for Good Sushi: Cafe Sushi (Cambridge, MA)

I've been on the hunt for good sushi in Boston, but I had put off Cafe Sushi for a bit because someone said the omakase was too expensive. I finally made it there, though, and this Harvard Square sushi joint was packed! As it turns out, you don't have to break the bank to eat here. I didn't get the omakase but you can have good sushi relatively for a relatively affordable price with their samplers.

The first is their Signature Sampler, which gives you chef's selection of five of their signature sushi creations for $15. At $3 per piece, it was a nice value.

Cafe Sushi

Among the signature pieces we got were the Salmon Aburi (seared salmon belly, aburi ponzu, negi),
Gomadare Branzino (European seabass, iced onion, sesame sauce), Maguro-zuke (house cured tuna with yuzu kosho), among others. These pieces are $3-3.50 if you order them a la carte.
Cafe Sushi

These signature creations add a unique touch to the nigiri - for example, the sesame sauce on the seabass was one I particularly enjoyed. The fish itself was great, fresh and definitely some of the best I've had in Boston.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

20 Years of Burritos at Anna's Taqueria in Boston

There aren't that many Mexican restaurants in Boston compared to LA, but Anna's Taqueria has been going strong for 20 years. In fact, they celebrated their 20th anniversary yesterday! Anna's has 6 locations around Boston now including one at the MIT Student Center, right across the street from my office. As you can imagine it gets quite crowded during lunch hours, but the line moves fast.

Anna's Taqueria
So Anna's al pastor tacos are actually quite good, as they have a trompo in the stores. They serve it Mexico City style with pineapple. OK, I've been spoiled by having al pastor tacos in Mexico City, but at least I can get some in Boston, right? Anna's is primarily known for their burritos, though.
Anna's Taqueria

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Area Four (Cambridge, MA)

I may have complained a bit about the lack of lunch options at MIT, but actually, if I just go out of campus for a bit, there are some great places - take Area Four, for example, known for their pizza.

The menu at Area Four is short and simple - some appetizers and salads, and then pizza. Area Four's pizza has won many accolades and boasts an older-than-12-year starter, over 30 hours of fermentation, and wood-fired oven. They make a great version of the New England staple, clam and bacon pizza with pecorino, chili pepper, and parsley ($17.50 for a small)

Area Four
I had a very satisfying Little gem salad with tomatoes, blue cheese dressing, and crispy pork belly
Area Four
The crispy pork belly made this salad that much better - it's still healthy right?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pinkberry Does Breakfast

I knew Pinkberry serves greek yogurt, and I've also tasted their oatmeal bowl before, but I haven't really thought about going there for breakfast until now. Did you know Pinkberry serves coffee? They brew Barrington coffee in a French press to-order. It's pretty strong and smooth.

Pinkberry

I've tried many versions of their greek yogurt and also their oatmeal before, and they also are doing a quinoa bowl which I have not tried, but I decided to go with the acai bowl, since I'm nearing the end of the season to eat cold stuff! Oh, Boston winter is coming ...

Anyway, I got my acai bowl topped with a bunch of fruits, granola, and a dollop of honey.
Pinkberry

Pinkberry makes their acai bowl using Sambazon acai which they blend with other things, so it takes a bit longer to prepare than the soft serve froyo, and not as firm, but I quite liked the way it tastes. Acai is supposed to be healthy for you and I got a my daily dose of fruits.

Overall it was a nice breakfast with pretty good coffee, making Pinkberry a nice option for breakfast if you have a location convenient to you! Next time, I'm going to check if they still do their PB&J oatmeal, where they mix in the peanut butter in the oatmeal, because that was delicious!

Pinkberry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 16, 2015

$1 Oysters and $2 Grilled Cheese at Dante (Cambridge, MA)

Having graduated from a lowly paid graduate student to a still-lowly-paid postdoc, I'm always on the hunt for cheap food! Cambridge is not known for that, but you can still eat cheaply with a view of the Charles River to boot. How? Head to Dante at the Royal Sonesta hotel on Tuesday early evenings.

See, Dante serves $1 oysters everyday from 4-6pm. I went with a friend once and splurged on some Moon Shoal oysters. The oysters here are fresh and cleaned properly.

Dante
If that's not enough, on Tuesdays, Dante also offers $2 grilled cheese in the bar and lounge area.

Monday, June 29, 2015

July 14: Taste of Cambridge Returns

Taste of Cambridge returns on July 14, bringing the best restaurants in Cambridge for a great evening at University Park. There will be plenty of restaurants and bars serving up bites and drinks, and lucky for us, Cambridge has some of the best restaurants in Boston. There will be over 100 booths there! Among the restaurants coming are Summer Shack, Russell House Tavern, Flour Bakery and Cafe, Art Bar, and Puritan & Co.

Taste of Cambridge
They've also brought in some new restaurants for an even bigger event. This year's new participants include some big names like Alden and Harlow, West Bridge, and Bondir Restaurant.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ames Street Deli (Cambridge, MA)

Backbar is one of my favorite bars in Boston, so when the same team opened Ames Street Deli near MIT, well, I was quite excited (and scared for my wallet).

Ames Street Deli is open from morning until evening with different offerings throughout the day (making the place even more dangerous for the wallet!). In the morning, come for a kouign amann. Ames Street makes a great one, the layers are so flaky and crispy with the baked sugar.

Kouign amann
They also have breakfast sandwiches and scrambled egg donut and bacon and egg donut! I'm not quite sure yet what those are like because I haven't woken up early enough to go to campus for those, but I'm certainly intrigued. The kouign amann is also typically gone by late afternoon, so you should come earlier for that, too.

At lunch, you'll find sandwiches. The sandwiches are on the smaller side, but each order comes with a side dish! I really enjoyed the Rabbit Sandwich (mustard bread, rabbit mortadella, pork liver, beets, radish)
Ames St

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Upgrade Your Office Lunch with Farmavore, Delivered

Cambridge has many great restaurants, but there's not much on MIT campus. I tried my share of Anna's Taqueria, the food trucks (which are too far to be my daily lunch), and the food court at the student center. Nothing worth seeking out.
Enter Farmavore.
Farmavore delivers homemade lunches made with local, sustainable ingredients to your office. The founders actually started out as farmers, so they're committed to supporting local farms.

Farmavore

They delivered a couple of lunches for me to try (OK, to my home because sometimes I go to work really late ....). The lunch boxes are labeled with the menu and how to reheat them (and the calorie count, if that's important to you).
The first was a Moroccan chicken tajine with rice.
Farmavore

As promised, the meal tastes homemade, with fresh asparagus and tender chicken. The chicken had a lot of flavors but not overly salty, I thought it was quite healthy. The portion was just right, as well, not too big, but enough to maintain your energy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Southern Fare at Kendall Square's State Park (Cambridge, MA)

I'm pretty lucky to live within walking distance to Hungry Mother and its sister restaurant, State Park. State Park has more of a sports bar vibe with more casual food and beers, but you can still look for great Southern food here from the James Beard Award winning chef Barry Maiden. Instead of the refined dishes at Hungry Mother, think sandwiches, fried chicken, and the likes.

Try the Snappy's Famous Pork Chop Sandwich (chili, cole slaw, tomato, mustard, $12)

State Park

For those who are not familiar, this refers to Snappy Lunch in Mt Airy, North Carolina. The diner is famous for their pork chop sandwich where the boneless pork chop is covered in a sweet milk batter - yes, very much reminiscent of french toast. Think french toast stuffed with pork chop, then made into a sandwich with chili and cole slaw... The pork chop itself is ridiculously tender! A wondrously messy sandwich worth digging into.

Another surprise for me was the Memphis BBQ Spaghetti (pork shoulder, sarvecchio cheese, garlic bread, $12)
State Park

Who knew spaghetti would work so well with BBQ sauce? It's just a bit saltier than bolognese, with a subtle kick. Bold and sweet, served with fluffy, buttery garlic bread. This has become another favorite of mine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Club Passim Launches In-House Dining Program (Cambridge, MA)

Club Passim, the long-time folk music venue and nonprofit that’s been supporting the local arts community in Cambridge for many years, have finally launched an in-house food program. They’d been lucky to snag Chef Brandon Arms to head this new kitchen. Until recently, Chef Arms headed the kitchen at Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the food they are offering. The food wasn’t just “really good for a live music venue”, it was actually really good in its own right. The menu items aren’t just your typical pub/bar fare, but Chef Brandon has created some fun, creative dishes that are rather ambitious for a venue like this.

We started off with some Roasted brussels sprouts, country ham, egg yolk puree, crispy potato ($7)
Club Passim
The brussels sprouts they used were smaller than usual, but a perfect bite size! I've never had them with egg yolk before, but this was a great alternative take on brussels sprouts.

Pork belly bun, asian pickles, jalapeno, cilantro, sweet soy ($5)
Club Passim
This was off-menu, but I really enjoyed the French Onion soup.
Club Passim

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ten Tables (Cambridge)

I finally tried Ten Tables in Cambridge, an outpost of the original in Jamaica Plain. It's a popular place - the cozy, dimly lit restaurant was completely packed and it wasn't even a weekend night. As with most other restaurants, they serve locally sourced ingredients, but instead of a hip, modern direction, they went with the comfortable, neighborhood feel.

We went with the tasting menu instead of ordering a la carte, which is $55 for 4 courses.

We started with a tile fish rillette

Ten Tables

Followed by Oyster with kombu seaweed, apple, vanilla foam
Ten Tables
I liked this surprising dish. I don't normally associate oyster with a creamy broth and vanilla aroma, but after my initial suprise I really enjoyed how the flavors worked together.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cambridge Brewing Company (Cambridge, MA)

Cambridge Brewing Company was one of the first places I explored in the Kendall/Tech Square area. It was on the way to/from work and when this Angeleno first moved to Boston and started walking to work, a mile seemed soooo far. So why not stop in the middle for a brew, right?
Cambridge brewing
They have 5-6 flagship beers, but I like browing their specialty and seasonal list, of course. The first beer I had here was the Olmstead's Folly: an herbed ale with Japanese knotsweed and cranberry.

You can get a taster pours of any of the beers, too, which was what I did the last time. Sgt Pepper is their award winning Farmhouse ale with peppercorn. I also tried a Gruit (German for "herb", this refers to an old style of beer made without hops) called Grandchester Meadows. This beer was a collaboration with Mystic Brewery and Earth Eagle Brewings. The last one was Machinery of Night, a blended and barrel-aged sour - also my favorite of this round.
CBC

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kennedy's On The Square (Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)

Kennedy's On The Square is a popular tavern in Harvard Square. The decor sticks to the name, with JFK-related photos and memorabilia on the walls.

Kennedys
They've recently launched a new menu and invited a bunch of local bloggers to try it.
Kennedy's
Between more than a dozen of us, we tried quite a bit of food. Here are some of my favorites from the menu:
Smoky meatballs with house-aged ground beef, veal, pork, sun-dried marinara, shaved parmesan ($11)
Kennedys

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