Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Are You Trying to Feed? Ants?

Papagayo - Boston

The classic burrito from Papagayo

     This kid is great. David had planned a surprise for a random Thursday night and left me hanging until we were about to walk out the door. As the holiday season was in full swing, he had found a way to get super cheap tickets to see The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. I was thrilled, and I knew being back in that scene would make me want to switch career paths...again. Either way, we had some extra time before the show, so I finally got to try out Papagayo. Papagayo is a Mexican Restaurant with a few locations throughout Boston, and I've  always heard good things about it. Plus, I had seen a flying burrito on a commercial the previous week and was craving a burrito like crazy. They served a bowl of chips (yessssss) and salsa to start, but the chips were strangely hard. I still ate them because I love salt, but we both wished they were less brutal on the chompers. The kind of burrito that Papagayo serves is quite a bit different than your standard Chipotle burrito too. This was more of a wet burrito that needed to be eaten with a fork and didn't come with veggies inside. I did miss the lack of veggies to balance out the succulent Muchaka Meat, which I found out was beef that has basically been marinated, cooked, shredded and dried. But this meat wasn't dry. It had great flavor with a little bit of spice. The best part of this whole experience was that our food literally came out within 8 minutes of ordering... if that.
Snapshot of the inside of the Boston Opera House. Too
beautiful to not share. 

Oliveira's - Somerville

Please excuse the indistinguishable
collage of meats. 
     So this is kind of a funny story. This new undergrad, Julie, working in my lab agreed to accompany me on my monthly trip to do some field work at Hardy Pond. She offered to drive, and as we drive by Oliveira's, she says to me, "If we weren't on a time crunch I'd take you to lunch there. Oh wait! We aren't!" So in we went. I have run by this Brazilian Steakhouse many times and the smells are enough to send you on to the pearly gates. It's heavenly. When we got in, she told me to grab a tray and load up. She kept trying to get me to put more and more into my tray, but since it was pay-by-the-pound I was getting nervous that it was going to be a billion dollars, and I hadn't even gotten to the meat yet. She said, "What are you trying to feed? Ants?" I laughed. She didn't know about my "bottomless pit" past.
     They had a bunch of different kind of salads and meat and vegetable stews with unique spices and aromas. Then we finally got up to the counter where you could see skewer after skewer loaded up with different types of meat roasting over an enormous open grill. I was so overwhelmed. I got the lamb and steak, both of which were super juicy and had beautiful crisped and browned edges. I wish I could go more into detail about the different dishes I had, but I haven't a clue on the names of any of the thousand dishes I was eating. Just know that it was all delicious and fresh and authentic Brazilian. That was Julie's main reasoning in taking me to Oliveira's. She was Brazilian and wanted me to "experience" this Brazilian food. I've never had anyone (especially someone I had only met once before) buy me a $15 lunch AND not get anything herself. It was so very kind, and I was greatly appreciative.


Savin Bar and Kitchen - Savin Hill

Veggie Burger
     After a tortuous finals week grading exams for Bob Chen's class, he offered to take us all out for dinner Thursday. We all headed down to Savin Bar and Kitchen not too far from UMass. The place was emmm-pty. Inside it looked like your standard and modern but slightly classy bar with unique American fare. Hayley had said they had a great veggie burger, so that's what I went with. It was very beany and a little mushy, but I think that's pretty common when it comes to homemade veggie burgers that aren't stuffed with junk. It had a fabulous hearty and garlicy flavor and was served on a big fluffy bun, similar to the one I remember from Lulu's in Allston. The fries were pretty standard. Delicious, but just nothing spectacular. I'd say that if you're in the area, Savin Kitchen is a good place to stop for a quality meal, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there. The service was pretty slow too even though we were one of two or three parties in the whole place.


Angelo's - Ann Arbor, MI

     Andrew and I are rarely within 50 miles of each other, so when that happens, I will do whatever it takes to find him. This whole 'living in the Netherlands' thing really puts a damper on the time we get to spend together. So this Christmas, Andrew and I met up in Ann Arbor for breakfast at Angelo's. It's one of his favorites, and I can see why. This spot was buzzin' and boasted the smell of fresh baked bread (which I should've gotten, and I'm regretting it now). I ordered the huevos rancheros which came in second to Jim's huevos rancheros. This was served up a little different than I have ever had before. The corn tortillas were slathered with refried beans and cheese in between them and were topped with a pile of salsa, cheese, what they called "ranchero sauce" and two fried eggs. They were steaming when they came to the table, and it was perfect on a super cold day. The corn tortillas were really buried so I ended up just eating it all with a fork. Are you supposed to be able to pick them up?  I have no idea. Anyway, the potatoes were great too. Not too fried, not greasy. Just really simple and fresh.
Andrew at Angelo's for some heuvos rancheros :]


Titto Frittas - Ann Arbor, MI

Fish Frita. Wow. 
     Since I was down in Ann Arbor a few times around Christmas, I tried to see as many as people as I could that would be in town. I took an afternoon to meet up with Claire, and she took me to a place called Frita Batidos. It was aweeeesome, and it was so great to sit and chat with her for a couple hours. She has such great stories. Anyway... the food. This little lunch spot serves up Cuban inspired street food. I ordered the fish frita, which was a big fish burger patty, topped with their incredible skinny, super salty fries, and a "lemon-scented" mayo (just lemon-scented? Not lemon flavored? huh?) .That fish patty was the first of its kind that I had ever had. It wasn't overly fishy and had great parsley, lemon and other flavors that paired so well with the fish. While everything sat pretty heavy because of the oil and salt, I was still pleasantly satisfied and loved the unique, simplistic and modern atmosphere of Titto Frittas, complete with long picnic tables inside. Very fun! Try it out my Michigan folk!

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