Sunday, November 13, 2011

Regina, who are you and are you looking for a roommate?

Bazaar - Allston, MA

     For my post 6k treat I went back to Bazaar, the Russian grocery store I fell in love with not too long ago. I was on the hunt for a potato. Not your normal potato. I asked the ladies behind the counter what was in it. They conversed back and forth for about a minute and came back to me with "cocao moose thing." I said, "I'll take one." It was a painful ride home. I wanted to wait to eat it. In my first bite I knew there was something in here they weren't telling me about. Rum. There had to be rum. I swear. The chocolate tower was super dense. More dense than chocolate moose, but less dense than fudge. Ok, that's a rather large range... but still. The outside was covered in slivered almonds and on top there was a dollop of a sweet cream with what I think was a white chocolate/chocolate swirly chip thing resting against it. The cream was so delicious. I kind of wish there was more of it. It was a nice light, sweet contrast to the dark, dense chocolate it was on top of. I have no idea why this was called a potato. Maybe it's time for some research.

Tasca - Brighton, MA

   I've always heard so much about tapas, but I've never had it before. Basically, tapas are small plates of food originating from Spanish cuisine. This sounded ideal to me because when I go out to eat, everything on the menu always looks so good and I hate deciding. This way, you get to order lots of different things in smaller portions. Malcom knew the bartender, so we were hoping for a sweet deal. 
     Simply walking into Tasca was a treat. The lighting was very very dim (I couldn't really take pictures) beautiful music played in the background, Spanish style paintings and decor adorned the wall, and all the classy people really set the mood. For drinks we started with Sangria. I'm not a wine person, but seriously... this was the best sangria I've ever had. This had red wine in it and was even better than the white sangria from Ecuador. It was deliciously sweet, but not too sweet. Chunks of apples and oranges floated on the top. Malcom got nearly all the fruit though. Unfair. Ann continued refilling out mishapen clay pitcher over and over (and we didn't pay a dime). 
     Onto food! There were 34 options to choose from. I am not kidding when I say every single dish sounded mind blowing. To start, we knew we had to get the Gambas al ajillo. It had mini shrimp that came in a sizzling tiny cast iron skillet. The shrimp were drowning in a garlic oil with slivered garlic cloves and a red chili pepper. It sounded amazing. Smelled more amazing. And tasted even more amazing. There was so much flavor in each little shrimp. I'm sure it all had to do with the heavenly liquid they had been cooked in. We kept dipping bread in the oil and topping it with chunks of garlic. Sensual breath ensued.
     Another dish in our first round was the Confit de pato; fall off the bone succulent roast duck leg served over braised red cabbage and apples. The meat was so amazingly moist but not greasy and.... well... fell right off the bone. Not sure what it was braised with, but the red cabbage and apples added a slight sweetness to each bite of duck. Definitely the best duck I've ever had, even thought I haven't eaten much duck. 
     Grilled brie. Who has ever eaten grilled brie? I wouldn't have ever thought of it. A mammoth chunk of grilled brie was served with a homemade raisin and apple chutney and a grilled baguette. Supposedly the chutney was something the chef just came up with one day and decided it was so delicious, that it is now served with numerous dishes of theirs. It was sweet, cinnamony, and was delightful when you topped it on a smooshed chunk of brie on the bagette. The brie took on a whole different taste and texture than any other brie I've had before. It was warm (warm cheese, weird? naw) and slightly gooey, yet held a rather solid consistency. Easy to spread. Mmm...

     At this point, it was time to order more. I had delicious escargot at Clarkston Cafe in Clarkston, MI once, but I hadn't tried it anywhere else. This dish was called caracoles and was just as amazing. I love the little dish it comes in with the tiny hole. I also love salt. The escargot were baked in a garlic herb butter with cognac. I can't say I knew there was cognac in it at the time so that flavor wasn't too prevalent. The garlic however... very noticeable. And you can never go wrong with butter. Each little guy was just a flavor bomb. 
     Our next dish was a sort of flank steak in a red sauce. Not your typical pasta sauce though. It was creamy and full of onion slices and portobella mushrooms. Truth be told, nothing super special about the meat other than it was so tender. The mushrooms were actually my favorite part. Mmm fungus. 
    Two more. Another dish we got was the Pulpo a la Gallega. Octopus. I thought I had octopus before, but once the tube feet started falling off the meat into my mouth, I knew this was a new experience. This had definitely never happened before. It was served with olive oil sauteed potatoes. There was a slight "smoked Spanish paprika" flavor but not too much. The meat seemed a little bland (especially in comparison to all the other things we had eaten) and seemed to be missing something. Once we added the lemon juice it was a little better. My favorite part was, however, the chewing on the little tube feet. 
      The final dish was the lamb sausage because... well I love lamb. You can never go wrong with lamb. It came in the form of a long slice. I think it was the type of lamb you get when you order a gyro and they shave it off that block of lamb meat. What's that called? Either way, this was different. They edges were a little crisped. It gave a little burnt/browned flavor. There was also an AMAZING mint paste or something on the meat. The freshness of the mint mixed with the lamb was simply phenomenal. I seriously couldn't believe what was happening  in my mouth. The lamb was also served with an Israeli couscous. It was different than normal couscous in that each little call was larger and more mushy. Sounds odd, but the flavors they added into it were delicious. Let me tell you... I feel like some serious science of flavors and thought was put into this dish. Perhaps jesus himself was an influence. Had to be. 
     Overall.... ABSOLUTELY AMAZING RESTAURANT! Ann gave us such a great deal, I was full, I had tried a million different things, and everything was downright delicious. Five stars Tasca. 

Treats on Washington - Brighton, MA

    A muffin from Dunkin wasn't going to cut it. I started off on a walk down Washington looking for a cafe with a nice pastry selection. I happened upon Treats on Washington. My dreams of a muffin quickly vanished as soon as I saw their cinnamon rolls. They had one covered in icing, but I went with the sticky pecan one. The nice man behind the counter warmed it up for me. It was so amazing! I noticed there was something different about it though. Turns out there was some sort of orange zest/marmalade in it. It added such a neat citrusy taste to such a sweet roll. Inventive! 
    I also got a peanut butter cookie, but it was dry. No big deal. 

Cafenation - Brighton, MA

My muffin hunt turned more into a cafe hopping adventure. Believe me, I was satisfied... but I had to walk across the street to Cafenation. The place was jam packed and I had to see what the deal was. Looks like they made some bomb breakfast sandwiches and crepes, but I got some rosemary roasted potatoes. They came steaming hot and were cooked perfected. Not too done, yet slightly crispy on the outside with a hint of rosemary. Carbo-load. 

Boca Grande Taqueria - Brighton, MA

    I'm telling you... I gained six pounds in a day and a half due to my post 6k weekend. And it was worth every pound. Finally had to try the homemade tamales from Boca Grande everyone raves about. Generally, when I think of tamales I think a tiny tubular things with a pork paste in them. Still delicious, but nothing like what I was just about to consume. I asked for the red pork chili tamale. The man pulled out a small football shaped tamale out of the steamer, unwrapped the string tied around each end, cracked open the corn husk, and cut down the center of the tamale. Instantly heat and aromas escaped the cornmeal covered pig. I was pumped. Inside was an abundance of what looked like shredded pork. He proceeded to pour on a mild salsa different than a normal salsa. It wasn't chunky really. More liquidly than anything. On the side he added some diced tomatoes and onions or something. The cornmeal surrounding the pork was literally a good inch think. Thousands of calories I assume. But when you mixed the cornmeal, pork, salsa and a little dollop of sour cream.... mmm! Ridiculous.   

Pizzeria Regina's - Boston, MA

    Finally! Pizza time! I could've gone a million different places. But this had to be good. It had been eons since I had pizza, and I had wanted to go to the original Reginas in the north end since the first week I moved here. The original opened in 1926 and is considered the original curbside to go pizza place. It was 2pm on a Saturday, and the line wrapped around the building and I thought I may not make it in time for work. Malcom and I were literally almost at the back of the line and there were HUGE parties in front of us. We thought we'd never get in. After about 25 minutes, one of the workers went down the line looking for the next party of two. We got to cut in front of, I'd say.... 30 people. It was sweet. 

     We quickly ordered the Sausage Caciatore. It had sliced sausage links, mushrooms, roasted onions and peppers and fresh parsley over their own marinara sauce with pecarino romano and mozzerella cheeses. THIS WAS THE BEST PIZZA I HAVE EVER EATEN. Hands down. How do I even describe this?? Hmmm well, the crust wasn't super thick on the bottom, but the crust around the edges was nice and thick and full of bubbles. I love the bubbles. Supposedly they're still using their 80 year old recipe with a special natural yeast. Whatever it is, it's godly. The sauce was mildly sweet but had a great zing to it at the same time. The sausage slices were huge and plentiful. One thing that made this pizza stand out more than any other pizza I've ever eaten was the size of the peppers and onions. They didn't cut them up small... at all. Sometimes the pieces of pepper were large enough to be considered a full bite in itself. On one piece, 5 chunks of onion were slightly fanned out spanning the entire slice. The whole milk mozzerella cheese was just full of flavor and seemed to have melted differently than most cheeses you see on pizza. Everything about the pizza was amazing. I had to pick up each slice by sliding it onto my hand. My hands have never been so dirty  from eating pizza and I was 100% ok with it. It was completely possible to just get lost in each bite. So many great flavors and textures. Regina... who are you and are you looking for a roommate?

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