Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's Racing Season... Which Means Fewer Food Experiments :/

Petit Robert - Brighton, MA

Amazing Baguette

     Feed a turtle, get free food. Sounds great to me. Malcolm had a Groupon for two for a three course meal for Petit Robert. Andrew was visiting so he came along. We headed to the Brighton location, and I was beyond excited for my first experience with French food. This place was beautiful inside. The lighting was really dim (hence why my pictures are so terrible) but the room gave off a rustic vibe. I straightened my posture, just to fit in a little better. Our first baguette was gone in minutes and the waitress was bringing another. I seriously have never had such a delicious baguette. Andrew was in love. Having been in France numerous times, he knew French food, and this was the real deal. The bread was beautifully crisp on the outside and soft, warm and fluffy on the inside. Slather some butter on that baby and send me to bed.
Pate Trio
     The first course was an appetizer. I was in an adventurous mood, so I ordered the Trio of Homemade Pâtés with Condiments. It came with a horseradish mustard and a few mini sweet pickles. Cute. Obviously, there were three kinds of pate. Chicken, pork, and a chicken/pork/potato combination. Never, did I ever think that pate tasted this good. The pork pate was so smooth and rich. Then again, the chicken pate was also smooth and rich. The combo had all the delicious flavors of pork and chicken but in conjunction with potato. I went from each pate to the next, trying to determine my favorite, but it was impossible. I think I liked it so much because it was mildly salty. Spreading a little of the pate on the baguette was just amazing. 
Duck Confit, Grilled Sausae and Braised Cabbage
     For my main entree, I ordered the Duck Confit with Grilled Sausage and Braised Cabbage. OH. My. Gosh. I don't even know what hit me when I first tasted what came on my plate. This was mind blowing times a thousand. The duck fell right off the bone, wasn't greasy, and it was just so succulent. The sausage was bursting with flavor and you could tell it was homemade. However, I think my favorite part was the cabbage. This wasn't your ordinary cabbage. It was cabbage mixed with carrots, peas, bacon and magic. This mix wasn't a mush, but all the components were very soft. I'm thinking this blend was at the bottom of the roasting pan when they cook the duck. It was out of this world. One work to describe this dish is definitely savory. The combination of flavors was prime. 
Warm Apple Tarte Tatin
     For dessert, I ordered something without chocolate (different than my norm). I ordered the Warm Apple Tarte Tatin, with crème fraîche. The pastry part looked like a slice of pizza, and laid atop it were slices of sweet baked apples. It was served with a creame sauce (supposedly made with raw eggs) that I wasn't too fond of. Let me just tell you, this may have been the sweetest dessert I have ever eaten. Those apples were absolutely soaked in a sweet, cinnamony sauce. This soaked then soaked into the pastry and it was delicious. Too sweet for Andrew, but right up my lightweight alley. 

Dave's Fresh Pasta - Somerville, MA

Lamb Sandwich
     I know I've blogged about Dave's before, but this experience was too fabulous to not talk about. For the first time, I decided to get a sandwich with my coworkers for lunch. It was my first time going to get lunch with them. They have no idea how excited I was. I didn't read much of the menu because I saw the Lamb Panini special and knew what I wanted. I order this sandwich on a chabata bread (I think). Absolutely delicious, thick and crisp on the outside when pressed with a panini press. This sandwich had slices of herb roasted leg of lamb, baby spinach, red onion, feta cheese, tomato, oregano and olive oil. You could taste the rosemary in the lamb and it really brought me home. The spice of the onion, the creamyness of the feta, the freshness of the tomato and spinach rounded out this sandwich so well. It was exactly was I wanted and how I had imagined it would be. If only my coworkers knew how much enjoyment I was getting out of this measly little sandwich. They'd think I was crazy. But hey! It'd been a while since I had a sandwich and I'm not sure I've ever had as satisfying as that. 

Picante - Cambridge, MA

Burrito Carnitas
     Joan and Lauren talk about Picante all the time, so I was absolutely pumped when we all decided to go with Joan's dad after Saturday practice.Picante is a little Mexican place up in Central Square that serves homemade chips and has an awesome salsa bar (first time I've ever seen that). I was feeling good regarding being at weight for racing at Henley, so I went with the Burrito Carnitas. Woah. A) I'm sure my stomach has shrunk to about half the size of this burrito. B) Oranges? The carnitas that stuffed this burrito were seared with fresh orange slices. How cool is that? You could taste just a subtle hint of citrus in the meat. This bundle of joy of stuffed with carnitas, black beans, rice, and cheese. Simple, yet amazing. So hearty and filling. My favorite part was definitely the carnitas. Sometimes when you get carnitas it's been sitting in this weird liquid in a bucket staying warm (example: Qdoba) for hours. This meat was different in that the edges of each meat shred is slightly crisp from being seared with the oranges. I can't wait to go back and try everything else. For example, Joan and Lauren both got Huevos Picante which was a deep fried tortilla shell filled with beans, cheese, poached eggs, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Who thinks of that? That's genious! I need to try it. 

Zucchini Chips/Flowers - 578 Washington St #3, Brighton

     Cutting weight stinks because I don't get to cook as much. But, this Saturday I decided to make (what I thought would be... ) a low calorie dinner. This was my attempt at Zucchini Chips. It's simple. Slice up some zucchini, dip in a flour and milk batter, cover in breadcrumbs and cheese, bake. These are absolutely delicious. They get nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A really great cheesy treat. If you're feeling adventurous, try going through the same steps but with zucchini flowers. Tastes like a flower... but it's fun!

Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips
1/4 cup Homemade Breadcrumbs (I just crisped up some bread. Not sure how you make breadcrumbs, but this worked)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp black pepper
Heaping 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cold milk (I used oat milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 small zucchinis)
OR zucchini flowers

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) In a medium bowl combine breadcrumbs, cheese (if using) and black pepper.

3) In separate bowl add flour, milk and vinegar.  Gently stir until combined but do not over stir.

4) Dip zucchini slices in flour mixture and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

5) Place coated zucchini slices on a baking sheet (I line mine with non stick foil for easy clean up!) 
and bake for 30 minutes, flipping the slices over once halfway through cooking, or until browned and crisp.

***Out of Towners - NEW!***

OK... So, I'm starting a new part of my blog called "Out of Towners." This is going to be a place where I mention the restaurants I've visited outside of Boston. I won't go into great detail about them, but I think are still worth mentioning. 

Rockland Cafe - Rockland, ME

Lobster babies. Delicious actually.

My precious
Fish Cake

     While visiting my cousin Kitty in Rockland, Maine one weekend, I got to see my cousins Judy, Katy, Jess and Baby Joseph along with Dave and Ian. It was an awesome weekend. The highlight? Ian teaching us how to properly eat a lobster at Rockland Cafe.... even after Jess found out her lobster was prego. Real butter to dip the lobster in and the best fish cake I've ever eaten. Cheap, delicious, homey. 

Fare - Philadelphia, PA

Hummus and Pita

Farmhouse Flatbread

Vegetarian Flatbread

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
     Serving mainly local and organic foods, Amanda, Mary and I headed with Judith to Fare to celebrate her birthday in Philly after a day of racing. Even though I felt underdressed, this place made me feel classy. We were served amazing homemade hummus with what I think was fire baked pita bread. For the entree, Mary and I split two flatbread pizzas (with light cheese... don't worry). One was a vegetarian with tomatoes, capers, eggplant, olives and feta and the other was called "Farmhouse" and had bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, and Granny Smith apples. The vegetarian flatbread was savory and the tomatoes and eggplant were perfectly roasted. The Farmhouse was fabulous and really interesting because of the combination of salt from the bacon and sour apples. The flavor combos of both of these were spot on. I with I could think of things this awesome. Lastly, gluten free chocolate cake? Yes please!

Halo Pub - Princeton, NJ

Chocolate Butter Pecan and
Mint Cookies and Cream topped
with Chocolate Covered Peanuts
     Rustic on the inside, Halo Pub sits in the heart of Princeton. It was gorgeous inside. Of course, I got two flavors I've never had before. Chocolate butter pecan was phenomenal. Mint cookies and cream? How it that not the world's best selling ice cream??? Beats me. It was great. Topped it all with chocolate covered peanut chunks. Stop at Halo on your way through Princeton next time. 

Rita's Water Ice - Camden, NJ

Chocolate custard and Black Cherry Water Ice
     I couldn't have asked for a better post-race treat. Everyone always raves about Rita's Water Ice, so after our first race day, Joan, Mary and I headed to try it. I order a gelati. It's a combination of their water ice (basically the world's best icee) and their phenomenal custard. I ordered the black cherry water ice, which actually had chunks of cherry in it, and the chocolate custard. The custard was incredible and went perfectly with the black cherry. We ended up going a second time and I got strawberry water ice (complete with chunks of strawberries) and chocolate custard. This stuff is seriously amazing. 

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