Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moksa's Two Year Anniversary and a Giveaway

Since I'm a big fan of Moksa in Central Square, I'm so excited to offer my readers a chance to win a pair of tickets to their 2 year anniversary celebration this Friday night!

Here's how to enter:

Mandatory: Leave a comment on this post telling me which menu item you'd most like to try.

Bonus: Follow me on twitter and tweet with a link to this post, mentioning @MoksaCambridge and leave a comment telling me you did this

Bonus: Subscribe to my blog

The winner will be chosen at random this Thursday 3/27/14 at 9PM.

Here are details on the celebration, including the food and drink menu which looks amazing!

WHAT: On Friday, March 28th, 2014 MoSka located in the heart of Cambridge, MA, will celebrate its two year anniversary by recreating an Asian Street Market in its live entertainment venue, Naga. From 6:00PM to 9:00PM, guests will be transported abroad as the restaurant serves fare at individual stations with perfectly paired cocktails that echo the regional influences on the restaurant’s menu. Guests can peruse the “street market” featuring stations serving Indian, Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

Mixologist Noon Summers has selected four regional pairings to compliment the  four dish options. As guests walk around Naga they can select a cocktail like the Mumbai Cup for pairing with the Pani Poori, puffy bread, chickpea salad and tamarind water at the Indian station. The Bangkok Dangerous will be available as a suggested pairing for guests who select Thailand’s Green Papaya and Mango Salad, and the Sakura Cobbler cocktail will be served as a pairing to the Japanese station’s Yakitori, scallions and soy marinade. Last but not least, the China Sea cocktail is the perfect complement to the Chinese Street Noodle selection.

Each ticket includes two drink and two food tickets. Options will be available a la carte for $5 per food item and $8 per featured cocktail. Additional cocktails will be available for purchase at the cash bar and regular food menu will also available.

WHEN:             Friday, March 28, 2014 from 6:00PM to 9:00PM
WHERE:           Moksa, 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139

Pani Poori.
Indian puffy bread, chickpea salad, tamarind water
Mumbai Cup Cocktail
Tamarind water, Vodka & lambise Ginger
Green papaya & mango salad
Bangkok Dangerous
Hendrick's, Chartruese, lime, ginger lambise
Scallions and soy marinade
Sakura Cobbler
Rhubarb, ume gastrique, vodka, lemon
Street noodles
China Sea
Tequila, lemon honey, curacao

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guide to Southie

          If you follow my blog you know that I've recently moved to Southie and have been having a great time exploring the neighborhood! When I first moved I wasn't sure where to go for groceries, what gym to join, or what the best neighborhood restaurants were so I've decided to compile my own list in this guide to Southie.
The Lincoln - This is definitely a local favorite for drinks, dinner, and brunch. I've never seen the bar less than packed, even on a weeknight! The menu has tons of great stuff, but my favorite was the brunch. read my full post here.

Franklin Café - This is my favorite neighborhood spot for tapas, with tons of creative dishes like General Tsaos chicken wings that you can read all about here. Though I haven't tried the brunch yet it's near the top of my list!
Telegraph Hill - As the closest bar within walking distance of my condo, this has quickly become a regular spot. I've tried a handful of dishes including the burger, the special $.50 cent wings (I believe these are Tuesdays and Thursdays) and turkey tips. My bf also loves the Sheppard's pie. They have a great selection of beers on tap (18 microbrews) and reasonably priced wines by the glass.
PS Gourmet - This place reminds me of my old south shore favorite, Mary Lou's. The coffee comes in a ton of creative flavors like snickerdoodle and white chocolate chip and they are brewed rather than flavored with sugary syrups which is hard to find.
Foodies - Just go there. This is a like a mini, more affordable Whole Foods. They have tons of fresh meat, seafood and produce plus a really great selection of prepared foods. The rotisserie chickens and shrimp salad have become a staple for me. They also have a good selection of products for those with dietary restrictions including almond milk, chickpea and almond flour, and gluten free pasta.
Wine / Beer Shop:
Social Wines - This is my favorite wine shop in Boston. They have a huge selection of natural wines, my favorite, and the staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. I've gone in several times, described the style of wine I like and come out with some amazing bottles! Most of the wines I've tried are in the $18-$35 range; they try to buy local and from smaller lesser known wineries whenever possible which makes them more affordable. Read my full review here.


Boston Athletic Club - While there are plenty of specialty studios in the area (including barre, yoga, and spin) BAC includes all of these in their regular membership package at a fraction of the price. For the variety, plus a full gym, pool, locker room, steam room, and free parking this is definitely the best value in anywhere in Boston. The facility is large and well maintained, and overall I've been happier with this gym than any other I've belonged to in the past.
I have a few places on my list to try including:
  • Local 149
  • Row 34
  • American Provisions (specialty food store)

          What are your favorite places in Southie? If you know of places I haven't mentioned, let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brunch at Puritan and Company

          I love Puritan and Company, so I was psyched to score a spot with the Boston Brunchers this weekend! Of course I checked out the menu in advance, and one of the things that caught my eye was the pastry selection including a house made Boston Cream Donut. I love a good donut and HAVE to order it when I one on a menu. I was even more excited when I arrived at brunch and learned that we'd be sampling ALL of their pastries!

Assorted Pastries

Preserved lemon corn muffin

Chocolate-cherry-almond blondie

Boston cream donut

Ham & cheese pinwheel
          The donut was just as good as I'd hoped, but I also loved the ham and cheese pinwheels and dulce de leche & coconut danish. Our group had no trouble cleaning our shared plate!

          I ordered the wagyu steak and eggs for my entree, and this was definitely the group favorite. Both the steak and the sunny side up eggs were cooked perfectly. The hollandaise was some of the richest and most fluffy I've ever had, and the mini slices of toast were perfectly crisp and buttery.

          Of course no brunch is complete without bacon, and this was also cooked perfectly - not too crisp or undercooked. I couldn't finish the plate, but my fellow bloggers were glad to help me out!

          Thanks to Puritan Company and Boston Brunchers for hosting such a great event. Can't wait to go back!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Brunch at Lincoln

          I mentioned a few weeks ago that I could see The Lincoln in Southie becoming one of my favorite neighborhood spots. That has definitely been the case; the bf and I tried them a second time in one week and went in for the brunch. We've seen long lines in the past, so we made sure to arrive just as they opened at 10AM, and had no trouble walking in.

          Shortly after being seated, our server brought over some delicious fresh baked cinnamon bread. Somehow I resisted the urge to inhale the whole thing, and limited myself to just a small piece.

          I ordered the crab louie without the English muffin. This came with crab salad, poached eggs, san marzano tomato, asparagus, tasso ham, Old Bay hollandaise, and, arugula salad. The hollandaise was lighter than some and just a little bit spicy - this dish struck a perfect balance between being filling and flavorful, yet still healthy.

          The bf enjoyed his corned beef hash with two over easy eggs, griddled english muffin.

          Of course we had to order a side of bacon; this was a generous portion cooked perfectly (not too crisp or undercooked).

          Once again The Lincoln did not disappoint. I can see why it's a local favorite; definitely one of the best in Southie!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


          Sarma is a Turkish inspired restaurant in Somerville with a menu consisting of small (meze) style dishes with influences from all over the Mediterranean. It is part of the same restaurant group as Oleana and Sofra, and I've been dying to go since it opened a few months ago. Last night I finally made it in, when a friend and I spontaneously decided to go for some drinks and apps.  We sat at the bar, and the bartender was extremely helpful. He was knowledgeable about the food and drink selections, gladly answered all of our questions, and make several recommendations for vegetarian options. I'm not vegetarian, but my friend is and we had no trouble finding a TON of dishes that sounded amazing. We also appreciated the glossary on the menu, which helped us decipher some of the ingredients listed on the menu.

          In addition to the regular menu, each night there are specials. Servers bring them around on trays and you can take one if you like. These aren't published and they have a limited number, so definitely go early! The specials last night included sesame fried chicken, grilled Vidalia onions, fried cheese, and a couple of others that looked amazing!

          I started with a cocktail with rum, ginger, and cardamom. I loved both the presentation and the flavors.

           We placed an order for a few small plates, but couldn't pass up the Grilled Vidalia Onions with Romesco Sauce while we were waiting. I would never have considered onions as the main component of a dish, but this just worked. The sauce was a little spicy, and a perfect combination with the charred green onion.

          Next were the squash fritters, dates, and brussels sprouts. They were all delicious, but my favorite were definitely the dates... you just can't go wrong with warm goat cheese!

Squash Fritters with Cilantro, Chickpea, and Walnut    

Hot Dates with Goat Cheese, Pistachio, Cranberry-Harissa  
Brussels’ Sprout Bravas with Hazelnut Migas

          Since we weren't uncomfortably stuffed and the food was all so good, we decided to order one more thing - the seven layer hummus with falafel crackers. We weren't able to finish it, but were definitely glad we tried it!

          I can't wait to go back to Sarma, next time with even more people so we can try more dishes!

Sarma on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Piperi Mediterranean Grill

          This weekend I tried Piperi for lunch, a casual Mediterranean Grill in Government Center. They serve healthy fresh ingredients, including fresh baked Turkish bread (Gozi), sandwiches, rice plates, and more. All of the toppings and sauces are made from scratch. I had a hard time deciding what to order, so I tried a little bit of everything.

Salad with roasted chicken, hummus, Moroccan carrots, tomato relish, and white bean tabouleh.

Falafel with a side of Gozi, tahini, spicy tomato, and yogurt cucumber sauce.
          This was a ton of food! My favorite was definitely the Gozi, which is made fresh a few times daily and warmed to order. It's similar to a pita, but much lighter. I enjoyed dipping the bread in all of the sauces, especially the hummus and spicy tomato. The falafel was another favorite, this was cooked with banana peppers which gave it a little bit of a kick and made with chickpea flour which makes it gluten free. 

          The salad was also very good, although it ended up being way too much food! Next time I would I skip the chicken and stick to the veggie options, since those ended up being my favorite. If you order the salad, you have to try the carrots! I loved the flavors, which I learned from talking with one of the owners were marinated with ginger and a little bit of goat cheese.

          Piperi is a great casual lunch option, perfect if you work or go to school in the area. It's quick and much healthier and tastier than some of the other alternatives. I wish it had been there when I worked in Government Center back in 2006!
Piperi Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pasta with Avocado Cream Sauce and Toasted Popchips "Breadcrumbs"

          Last week Blog and Tweet Boston headed to a fun event at Worbar Cambridge, where three Kitchen Surfing Chefs faced off Iron Chef Style and competed to come up with the tastiest, most creative dish using Popchips.

          Chef Jen Rogers created a Popchips Chicken & Waffle with honey-hot BBQ sauce, maple-cider slaw and a Bloody Mary shot on the side.

          Chefs Mark O'Leary and Justin Hackett created a Vietnamese Popchip Bahn Mi; a Classic Bahn Mi with BBQ Pop Chip Cured Pork, Salt & Vinegar Pop Chip Mayo, and Katy Perry's Supernatural Pop Chip Pâté on an Original Pop Chip Vietnamese Style Baguette.

          Chef Jitti Chaithiraphant created a Corn & Cheddar Popchips Soup topped with crushed BBQ Popchips.
          Although all three were delicious and so creative, the soup was definitely my favorite. Jess and I even went back up for seconds!
          The event didn't stop that night - it was actually an inspiration and kick-off for a blogger cooking contest. We were all encouraged to come up with our own recipes incorporating Popchips, and the winner gets a Kitchen Surfing Gift Card, and other amazing prizes from Popchips!

          I decided to incorporate Popchips into a recipe I was already planning to try: Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce and Toasted Popchips "Breadcrumbs."Although I'm not gluten free or vegan, I have been trying to eat healthy and have been experimenting with gluten free, dairy free recipes. This dish is a healthy version of pasta alfredo, one of my favorite comfort classics. I learned recently that cheese is a major part of some Italian dishes depending on the region, but others not so much because historically cheese was considered a luxury and less wealthy regions couldn't afford it. These regions often topped their pasta with toasted breadcrumbs in place of cheese, so I decided to try this with toasted Popchips to keep the recipe entirely gluten free (and because Popchips taste great on anything)!
1 avocado (cut into small pieces)
3-5 cloves of garlic
Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup almond milk
1 bag original Popchips
Brown rice (or your favorite gluten free pasta)
1. Fill a large saucepan with water according to pasta directions and bring to a boil
2. While water is heating, sautee garlic in a saucepan with olive oil until brown
3. Add avocado to the oil and garlic, and mix with a fork until creamy
4. Stir in almond milk, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and simmer for five minutes
5. Toss one bag of crumbled Popchips in a small frying pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and cook until lightly browned. 
6. Cook pasta according to directions, drain, and toss with avocado sauce
7. Top with Popchips breadcrumbs and enjoy

If you like my recipe, be sure to vote for it on the Blog and Tweet Boston site starting 3/19/14!

Taste of Iceland

          Taste of Iceland is back in Boston this weekend! Taste of Iceland, an annual festival that celebrates Iceland’s vibrant culture, has returned to Boston with a series of events from March 14-18, 2014. Presented by Iceland Naturally, the five-day event highlights the best of Icelandic food, music and culture, giving Bostonians a taste of what life is like in Iceland.  This year’s events include a special Icelandic menu at Rialto prepared by Icelandic chef Hákon Már Örvarsson, the Reykjavik Calling concert featuring Icelandic and Boston-area musicians at The Middle East, and Reyka Vodka Craft Cocktail Class at The Liberty Hotel.

          I had the chance to attend a media preview event showcasing items from the Rialto menu, and the food - flown in from Iceland - is definitely worth checking out! Here's a taste of some of the dishes I tried:

          Several passed Hors D’oeuvres including Icelandic dried-fish with butter, Cured Salmon in “Brennivín” with lemon-sour cream, cress and lumpfish caviar, Deep fried crispy balls of cod and potatoes with dill sauce, Poached salted cod “Bacalao” with cauliflower and “Söl”, and Pickled herring with sweet rye bread, curry dressing, green apples and spring onions. They were all delicious and so creative, but the salmon with caviar was definitely my favorite and I may have taken seconds (or thirds)!

          Icelandic Arctic Char with honey-grain mustard dressing, flan of horseradish, fresh herbs and dill oil - this was another favorite, the arctic char was cooked to a perfect medium rare and simply melted in your mouth.

           Seared filet of Icelandic lamb with glazed root vegetables, celeriac purée, juniper berry infused lamb jus reduction, dust of dried wild Icelandic herbs and blueberries. This was a unique combination of flavors, and though I've never tasted juniper berries, I really enjoyed them in this dish. 

          Dessert was a Delicate mousse of the Icelandic Skyr and Skyr icecream, served with apples and crispy oat – hazelnut crumble and cinnamon poached rhubarb. Another creative dish and very well executed - I've eaten skyr before but would never have thought about making it into ice cream!

          I've always had great meals at Rialto, and this was no exception. If you can make it in for this special Icelandic menu in the next few days, this is something you won't want to miss!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Brick and Mortar

          Earlier this week I headed to Brick and Mortar for a few drinks and apps with some coworkers. Brick and Mortar is a speakeasy style bar in Central Square, and true to form it was in a very non-description location with no sign or indication it was there (upstairs, next to Central Kitchen). In fact, I've walked by that place dozens of times without realizing it. When we got upstairs we were able to grab a spot at a high top table across from the bar.

          We ordered some drinks from a fun cocktail menu which included drinks like Crush On A Stripper and Duck You Sucka! I went with the Temporary Fix, a mix of citadelle gin, citrus, and cassis. When it came out, it looked like a giant slushy!

          I wasn't quite sure whether to just drink it, or wait for the ice to melt a bit and actually try to eat it like I would a slushy. I decided to just go for it, and enjoyed it like a cocktail.

          I had dinner plans and wasn't planning to eat, but I was way too temped by these fries not to order them!

          They were Brick and Mortar's version of Poutine with crispy duck confit, jalepenos, and melted gruyere cheese. These were even better than I'd hoped (if that's possible); the cheese was warm and gooey and had a consistency more like fondue. These did not last long at our table.

          We also tried the fried pickled vegetables, which I enjoyed (but not as much as the fries).

          Although I didn't get to try the burger, it looked amazing and got rave reviews!

          I'll definitely be going back to Brick and Mortar for both food and drinks, and the unique atmosphere. It's a new favorite in Central Square!
Brick & Mortar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lunch at Del Frisco's

          This weekend Blog and Tweet Boston headed to the Seaport to check out the new lunch menu at Del Frisco's. Del Frisco's has always been one of my favorite steakhouses for dinner, so I was excited to see their lunch menu. I had no idea we'd be trying almost the entire thing!

          Our first stop was the bar where we sampled two cocktails, and then we walked back to the Harbor Room (one of several private dining rooms) where we enjoyed this amazing view:

          Once we sat down, we started with some selections from the appetizer menu:

 Ahi Tuna Tartare, citrus, capers, kalamata olive spread, crostinis

 Crabcake, lobster cajun sauce 

          I've said before and I'll say again, Del Frisco's has the best crabcake I've ever had. I normally don't like crabcakes, but this has no breading. It is a giant pile of lump crab, pan seared and the lobster sauce is rich and creamy, and makes it even better!

          Next were several entrees from the lunch menu including a wide variety of meat and seafood options.

Steakhouse Salad: Broiled Prime Strip Steak, Deviled Egg, Baby Mixed Green, Watercress, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Bacon, Parmesan, Blue Cheese & Horseradish Lemon Dressing

 Seared Ahi Tuna Salad: Shaved Napa Cabbage, Arugula, Mango, Chilled Noodles, Toasted Almonds, Tomato, Avocado, Ginger-Sesame Dressing
Filet Medallions: Scallion Mashed Potatoes, Thin Green Beans & Lemon Butter Sauce

Sole Francese: Lump Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Cherry Tomato, Lemon Chive Beurre Blanc

          We also tried several cuts of steaks and some of the sides from the dinner menu. I really enjoyed the chance to taste a NY Strip, Ribeye, and Filet side by side to really highlight the differences. The ribeye was definitely the most flavorful, while the filet was incredibly lean and tender.

          After the steak I didn't think I could possibly eat another bite, but somehow I found it in me to try the dessert - a six layer lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting. My favorite dessert at Del Frisco's has always been the bread pudding, which I've liked so much I've never tried anything else. While I can't say I liked the lemon cake better, it could definitely rival the bread pudding and several bloggers said it was their favorite part of the meal.

          I definitely recommend checking out Del Frisco's for lunch, dinner, or a private event. Like any good steakhouse, steaks are $40+ but Del Frisco's offers an amazing deal on Sundays that I've taken advantage of several times! For $49 per person, you get a full meal including salad, 8 ounce filet, seafood pairing (crab cake, shrimp, or scallops) and a side. That's a savings of 40-50%!