Sunday, February 5, 2012

An Epicurean Rendezvous with Andrew

Union Oyster House - Boston, MA
     Coming from the west coast, Andrew was on the hunt for some good clam chowduh. I hadn't a clue where to go, but after doing some research he had decided Union Oyster House was to be our final destination. Established in 1826, Union Oyster House is America's oldest restaurant and is nestled in a little cluster of restaurants and bars that line Union Street next to Feneuil Hall. I had walked by numerous times after they had closed and all I could see was a small counter up front by the window covered in cracked oyster shells, cut lemons, and oyster shrapnel. Finally... I got to ago inside. Unbeknownst to me, this place actually had three floors. Or two and a half rather. Andrew and I were led up to the second floor where I instantly felt like I was on a ship crossing the Atlantic in the 1800s. The ceilings hung maybe a foot above my head and wood beams crossed the length of the room over head. All of the booths were tiny. Fit for 4 at most. The place also seemed almost dark because it was so dimly lit. Small yellow jar-like lanterns hung above every table just barely illuminating the small space. Pictures of old ships and shipping paraphernalia hung sporadically on the walls. The whole mood this place created was magical and seemed to transcend you to a different time and place.
     We were here for clam chowder, and that cornbread I had seen in pictures online. But I couldn't find the cornbread on the menu. I was about to get fussy. Finally we were greeted by a big soft spoken woman with a heavy Boston accent. Perfect. You would've thought the gates of heaven had opened when she asked, "Would you both like some cornbread?" YES. Ohyesohyesohyes. It came to our table nice and warm. After shooting a quick picture we dug in.... and time stood still. This was not your normal cornbread. Oh no. This cornbread rose to a completely different level. Super moist, sweet but not too sweet, lightly crisped edges. Though it wasn't necessary, the cornbread was perfected complimented with a little butter. . We had to have more. She brought us each another huge chunk before our chowder even came.

     The chowder was deeeelish! They weren't skimpy on the clam meet (always a bummer when that happens), the potatoes were nice and soft, I think it had corn in it, and it was just downright stellar. OH! And if you broke off a piece of cornbread and let it soak in the chowder for a minute... well you might as well have just died and gone to heaven. Once we were finally done and Andrew had broken his gluten free diet, we were about to head out. But not without more of that cornbread. Our lovely waitress sent us home with two free chunks of cornbread and recommended we grab a recipe for it at the front desk on the way out. Victory. Five stars Union Oyster House.

Saus - Boston, MA 

     Soooo we walked right out of Union Oyster House and right into Suas next door. Since Andrew spent so much time in Belgium I had to take him to this place called Saus. I've blogged about it before. Saus supposedly has Belgian style street food, including mainly twice fried fries and waffles (however Andrew says the ones we got weren't Belgian). We got a small batch of fries and 2 different sauces. One was their own homemade mayo which was actually pretty delicious. Different that the Hellman's you buy in the store. Maybe more of a bite? I'm unsure. Yummy though. The second one we got was a truffle ketchup. Weird. Good, but weird. Can't say I've ever had that truffle-y flavor mixed with ketchup, and can't say I'd definitely get it again. Andrew did get a really tasty ginger ale there though. It was light. Not overly sweet like most. Completely refreshing. 

Mike's Pastry - Boston, MA

     We're terrible. I know. Right out of Saus and right into Mike's Pastry. Since I've drooled over Mike's cannolis before, I'll make it quick. I got 3 things. A florentine cookie chip thing. Basically butter, honey, sugar and almonds... dipped in chocolate. A little piece of heaven. I also got a pistacio cookie that was pretty sweet. Maybe too sweet. Not as good as the one I got at Modern Pastry just down the road. Mike's chocolate sandwhich was good though. Two simple shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, surrounding a little splooge of chocolate in the middle. 
     Andrew got a chocolate cannoli and a lobster tail. Not a real lobster tail, but rather a puff pastry filled with this amaaaaazing cream and covered in chocolate. It was a little bomb of delicious. This was our view while eating th

Marcy's Breakfast and Lunch - Portland, ME

     It was cold, and Andrew and I hobbled in to Marcy's on the corner of Oak and Free. The place was tiny but packed with the locals. On a mantle that circled the room sat lava lamps, old telephones, trolls, coffee mugs, and pretty much anything that didn't have to do with anything else. A scrawny middle-aged lady just workin' to pay the bills and loving it was our delightful waitress. She loved us. Why? Because we ordered a lot of food. Maybe she loved everyone, because that just seemed to be her personality. First of all, as we waited for a table Andrew and I know we had to have one of their homemade muffins. The huge explosions of fruit and grain sat perched above the counter on display for hungry people such as ourselves. Our waitress suggested we get them grilled and butter. By all means, please make my muffin even more unhealthy for me. What the heck. It. Was. Amazing. I got blueberry and Andrew got raspberry and we split them. Both were fabulous. You know how sometimes when you eat muffins you save certain parts for last because they look like they might be the best bite? Well, in this case, the entire muffin was the best bite. Perfectly crisped on the edges from the grill, with just a perfect amount of butter made these muffins a success. Great success.
      For the meal I got one of their specials. It was a pot roast hash. It was the bomb (underused phrase). I don't care if it was their lunch-leftovers-from-the-night-before-gone-breakfast. It was fabulous. Potatoes, carrots, onions and huge chunks of roast topped with 2 eggs over easy and an english muffin. I wiped that plate clean....and then ate some of Andrew's hashbrowns, and ham... and eggs... and crack blueberry pancakes. He was "so full" and looked like he was going to fall asleep. Those of you that know Andrew know the look I'm talking about. Marcy's was cheap, friendly, and most of all, delicious. Definitely make it a breakfast stop if you ever head to Portland.

Standard Baking Co. - Portland, ME

     After cruising the shoreline for a while, Andrew and I needed a warm break. We headed into Standard Baking Co., a brick building tucked back from the street, for a little treat. It was warm and smelled like amazing breads and pastries. And everyone was so friendly. But then again, why wouldn't you be friendly if you worked at a bakery. I'd be so fat and happy. Anyway, there were too many delicous options. I wanted them all. I went with what was called a chocolate cork. It literally was a 4 inch tall chocolate cylinder. It was going to be good. It had chocolate. It was like a brownie smushed into a tube shape. The chocolate was dark, dense, and sweet and rich. So good. Not sure if I could have eaten another, which is saying a lot coming from me. It was one of those things where you stop, close your eyes, and savor the taste of every small bite. So great. Andrew got something called pain au chocolat. It was a big croissant that was filled with small chunks of what we think was dark chocolate and perhaps something else. The pastry was light, sweet, and flakey, while the chocolate was rich and so delicious. Standard Baking Co., you are far from standard. You are extraordinary.

Pizzeria Regina - Boston, MA

     It was our last free night to do whatever. Andrew was no longer gluten free, so we hit up Regina's once we got back from Portland. He needed to try this dough. We were seated almost right away (much different than the time that Malcom and I went) and ordered a 10inch (trying to be responsibele) #11 - The Giambotta. It had pepperoni, Regina sausage, salami, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and Mozzarella cheese (with anchovies on half). It was fabulous! I absolutely love the Regina sausage, their mushrooms are always fresh, the salami had such a great flavor and the veggies were just barely cooked. Still a little crisp/hard like I like 'em. The anchovies were different, but we figured we'd give it a try anyway. They were really salty (understandably so), and I don't think I'd get anchovies on a pizza again. Still glad I tried it though. Pretending we were full, we scooted out of there on the hunt for some dessert. Oh... and we forgot to take a picture of the pizza until after we had eaten it all. Oops. 

Bova's Bakery - Boston, MA

     Another location Jimmy and I had indulged in once before. Home of  "The North End's famous Italian Bread." I took Andrew and got this little square pastry that was made of phyllo dough and housed a bunch of candied pecans in the center. So much sweetness and goodness . I could've eaten the paper it was sitting on. Andrew got a baklava but said it wasn't the best. Oh well. On to gelato!

Gigi Gelateria - Boston, MA

     Finally, a new place. I'm no gelato connoisseur, but I want to be. We headed to Gigi Gelateria in the north end to get in those last few cals our bodies were needing (joke). The place was quiet. Almost creepy quiet and you could tell the workers just wanted to go home. We didn't care. There were so many choices, but finally we settled on a simple chocolate and lemon. The chocolate was so smooth and rich and creamy. Just what I was looking for. The lemon was refreshing yet sweet and sour. The perfect end to a perfect food exploration week with Andrew.

1 comment :

  1. so i was searching Mike's Pastry under image search, and you're the first result! i might have screamed a bit.