Friday, May 15, 2015

Brunch at the Elephant Walk with Blog and Tweet Boston

          I love the brunch at Elephant Walk, so I was psyched for the opportunity to join Blog and Tweet Boston for an event there on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Although I'd tried Elephant Walk before, I'd never known the history behind the restaurant or why the combination of French and Cambodian. Executive Chef and owner Nadsa explained all of it. She was so friendly, and came out to greet all of us and told us her story and the story behind the restaurant. She was originally from Cambodia but spent many years in France working in her family's restaurant, and after coming to the US opened a the Elephant Walk with influences from both her French and Cambodian background.

          We started with a recommendation from Nadsa, the Roulex or Cambodian Spring rolls. Our table shared two orders one with pork and a vegan alternative with mushrooms. I ate mine the way Nadsa suggested: take a lettuce leaf, wrap it around the spring roll, top with mint and bean sprouts, and dip in the peanut sauce. I never would have thought to eat them this way, but the contrast between the lettuce and crispy spring rolls was perfect. These were also surprisingly light.


          For my main course I ordered the spinach salad with goat cheese, walnuts, caramelized onions, poached pears, and lemon vinaigrette and added grilled chicken. I don't normally opt for a salad when there are so many other brunch alternatives, but the combination of the goat cheese and pears sounded so good I just had to try it. This did not disappoint.


          Some of the other bloggers in the group enjoyed dishes like the french toast and duck crepe with an over easy egg.



          We ordered a few desserts for the table to share and I tried a bite of the G√Ęteau Choco-Caramel, which was amazing.


           
          I loved my second experience at Elephant Walk for brunch, and I hope to check them out dinner soon!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Day in the Square with the Boston Brunchers

          Last weekend I headed to Chestnut Hill Square a new lifestyle and retail destination on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill. They have a great assortment of shops, fitness center, and of course amazing food! I went with a group of Boston Brunchers and we toured the shops, ending with Capital Grille to sample some of the burgers on the bar menu.

           Some of the highlights of the tour included grabbing a latte at Starbucks first, then checking out Dry Bar, Francesca's, Soul Cycle, Athleta, Sweet Green, Brio, and Paper Source.





          My favorite part of the tour was learning to stamp and create custom cards at Paper Source!



          Before heading to Capital Grille, we had dessert first with a cupcake from Sweet and a giant cookie from Panera!



          When we arrived at Capital Grille I was excited but a bit nervous when I saw the long list of burgers on the menu!


          
          Thankfully we each got to pick one, and did not have to eat all of them! I ordered the gorgonzola and black truffle wagyu burger, which was amazing!


           The burger was cooked perfectly and topped with truffle mixed in with the melted gorgonzola. I ate every single bite including all of my fries.


          Capital Grille offers a special wine and wagyu deal for $25, which includes a burger paired with one of two types of red wine. The wines are typically $20 per glass, so this is a great deal! I plan to return to Chestnut Hill Square soon to try a class at Soul Cycle. I may just stop by Capital Grille for a burger after- I will have earned it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Posto Mobile

           Posto is a popular pizza and Italian restaurant in Davis Square, and now you can grab their pizza on the go throughout Boston at their new food truck Posto Mobile.


           The pizzas are individually sized and made from high quality fresh ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. Flour, water, sea salt and fresh yeast are the only ingredients in the dough, the sauce is made from the best Italian San Marzano tomatoes, and the mozzarella is hand stretched fresh daily. The pizzas are cooked in a wood burning oven at temperatures as high as 900 degrees, so they are ready to eat in 90 seconds.


          I recently stopped by the location on the Greenway for lunch, and had a great experience. I ordered the Sopressata pizza, which is a white pizza topped with arugula, sopressata, and mozzarella.


           I also tried a slice of the meatball, which came with red sauce, sliced meatballs, fresh garlic, and mozzarella.


           I really enjoyed both; the crust was perfectly crisp, the sauce was flavorful, and each had plenty of toppings.

           The desserts were also delicious, I tried both the cannoli and the tiramisu. I could only eat a bite of each, but I took the rest to go and they both held up very well the next day.



           I continue to be impressed by the quality of food available on Boston's food trucks, and Posto just raised the bar a little more. I hope to make it in to the brick and mortar location in the near future!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Strip by Strega

          Strip by Strega is Nick Varano's newest restaurant: a high end steakhouse in the park plaza. By the look and feel, it aims to be the most exclusive steakhouse in Boston. My first impression was that this is a place to host a business dinner and impress a client, and after seeing the outfits on the cocktail servers that I'm not their target clientele.  

          What distinguishes Strip from most other steakhouses in the city is the A5 Kobe beef on the menu. This is literally the best beef in the world, and Mooo is the only other steakhouse in Boston that regularly carries it. So naturally I went in with the fiance and a friend on opening weekend so we could enjoy some A5!

          We started with the tuna tartare served with avocado and sesame crackers. This was tasty and a generous portion, definitely enough for two to share. 


          You really can't go wrong with A5, and Strip's version was served with a selection of sauces including truffle butter, bearnaise, and two types of steak sauce. When I order A5 I prefer just a hint of salt, and instead enjoyed the truffle butter with my duck fat marble potatoes.


 

          The dessert was fun and one of the more impressive presentations that I've seen: cotton candy with pop rocks and chocolate covered oreos. 


           I enjoyed my meal, but being opening weekend there were a few hiccups. I would give them another try for the A5 once they've been open a bit longer and had time to work out the kinks. 

Strip By Strega on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 4, 2015

Babbo

          With all of the buzz surrounding the Babbo opening in Boston, I did something rare and waited a few weeks hoping it would be less crazy. The fiance and I went in for dinner this Saturday around 5:15 thinking we'd have no trouble getting a seat at the bar...that was definitely not the case! There was a 45 minute wait at the bar, but we were able to grab a standing table just at the edge of the bar and enjoy some apps and wine while we waited (the full menu is not available at these tables, but they do offer limited apps).

          We started with the octopus with shishito peppers and citrus. The octopus was cooked perfectly and came chilled in a citrus dressing. This was a generous portion but still very light.


          Next we ordered a platter with all of the cured meats, and a selection of three cheeses. The meats included coppa di testa, pancetta, salami, prosciutto di parma, and doppio parma. The cheeses included pecorino, parmigiano, and a triple cream goat cheese. I enjoyed all of them, but my favorites were the coppa, salami, and the goat cheese. I also loved the accompaniments of truffle honey, candied cherries and oranges.




          Once we moved over to the bar, we asked whether they had any orange wines or natural / unfiltered wines. The staff was very knowledgeable and went over the wine list in detail with us. They had several orange wines by the bottle and recommended one by an Umbrian producer so small the wines weren't even available in the US until the past couple of years.


          Next was the quattro formaggi pizza, a white pizza with mozzarella, gorgonzola, fontina, and grana. The pizzas at Babbo are Neapolitan style, and perfect as an entree for one or an app for two to share. The quattro formaggi was served with tons of gooey cheese, and I especially loved the flavor of the gorgonzola.


           Finally, we each had one of the house made pastas as a main course. I ordered the rigatoni with black pepper and pecorino, and the fiance had the gnocchi with tomato and oxtail. Both were delicious, but I was glad I chose the rigatoni!



          I enjoyed everything about my meal at Babbo and was also impressed by the incredible wine list and outstanding service. It's definitely elevated the Boston dining scene and already one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.

Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Farmavore

          How would you like to have a personal chef deliver healthy, home cooked meals to your office each day? Farmavore does just this, making the personal chef accessible to just about anyone with meals that cost about the same as your average takeout order or office cafeteria.

          I recently had the chance to try this new delivery service in Boston and was impressed by the creativity and quality. Each meal comes packaged in a microwaveable dish (just remove the lid) with heating instructions plus the calorie count and list of ingredients.


          I tried two meals, starting with the grilled lamb burger with feta and focaccia and the arugula salad with lemon oregano vinaigrette. The burger was cooked to a perfect medium, and I was surprised how well it traveled and held up after being warmed in the microwave. It retained its juicy pink center, and didn't get dried out at all.


          I also loved the salad, particularly the dressing! I wish I could buy a bottle of it to keep at home.


          My second meal was a chicken tagine with rice and asparagus. This was also excellent, and I loved the sauce with lemon, olives. and fresh herbs.


          Meals from Farmavore are available 1-5 times a week, and prices range from $10-$14 depending on how many times you order. They have both a chef and dietician on staff to make sure the meals are tasty and healthy, and the portions are just right (you will be full but not in a food coma). There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and they continuously work to refine their menu based on surveys and feedback. For more information or to try them check out their website.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Freshii

          Freshii is global casual restaurant that has expanded to Boston in the past couple of years. They've had existing locations in Fort Point and the Financial District, but just recently opened a flagship location in Back Bay.  Freshii is a fresh alternative to fast food and offers healthy and nutritious food to energize people on the go including custom-made wraps, salads, bowls & fresh-pressed juices at affordable prices. They are also committed to sustainability with their “Mission Green” focus, which avoids traditional fast food staples like excess packaging, heavy energy consumption and greasy processed meals. 

          I recently had the opportunity to try the new Back Bay location and see what Freshii is all about. The space was open with lots of long tables and counters for eating, and there were tons of fresh juices and healthy snacks available for grab and go in addition to the menu of salads, sandwiches, and bowls.



          I stopped in for breakfast, and started with a green energy juice made from apple, cucumber, kale, lemon, carrot, romaine, and spinach. It was delicious and refreshing; there was just a touch of apple and carrot to add some sweetness but keep the juice overall fairly low calorie (139 per serving).


          I also tried a bacon, egg, and cheese pocket which was warmed in a panini press and a great alternative to a traditional breakfast sandwich.




          The experience was quick and easy (I was in and out in 10-15 minutes) and enjoyed a healthy fresh meal prepared to order. Freshii is definitely a great alternative to traditional fast food and I hope to try them for lunch soon.

Freshii on Urbanspoon