Saturday, February 14, 2015

You Don't Even Like Me

Soul Fire - Allston, MA

David so very excited for some bbq. Loog'at that brisket. 
     What is it about barbecue that makes you feel like you're going to die? Maybe it's just my body, but the overwhelming incredible flavors, sauces and sodium are like a sucker-punch straight to the gut. I ate nearly 4 hours ago and it feels like I'm just getting up from the table (well... I guess I did have a brownie... or two when I got home... but still). Anyway, David and I both finished up work around the same time + I forgot lights for my bike + we had hunger ----> the bbq. He's all about bbq food and when we walked by Soul Fire a couple weeks ago in Allston he asked me why I had never taken him and accused me of not liking him or some nonsense. So today was the day we would try it. I'd heard that this was one of the better bbq places in Boston, and it sure smelled like it. It was relatively slow inside probably because of the snow and lack of a) parking, b) driving skills, and c) patience in this damn city right now because of the snow. Don't get me wrong. I love the snow. It's the people that are bonkers.
     The dining area was relatively large, the servers were pretty quick and so was the food. I ordered the sliced brisket platter. The brisket itself was beautiful and presented on a piece of worthless Texas toast. I'm not a fan of it when bbq places do this, and I'd say a bunch of them do. I always wonder who actually eats that. Anyway, this brisket was full of a rich, smokey flavor and the fat layer on top had an awesome, super seasoned crisp exterior. There were some slices of meat that were a little more dry than I'd like, but I loved the flavor of it all. Some of the more dry pieces I dipped in their sweet barbecue sauce which was really different. It had a very pronounced apple flavor, which was really tasty and unique, but I don't honestly think it fit with the pork.
      My first side was the collard greens, which were good, but a little too sweet for me. I mean, I'd definitely get them again, but I generally like getting one vegetable side to "balance" things out or at least make me feel less like an overweight, out of shape elephant. These weren't as refreshing as, what I'd consider, standard collard greens with the little bits of ham. This had some sort of meat (probably ham) in it, but the sweetness made it a little odd. Oh well.
     My favorite part was probably the mac and cheese. They used little shells and their cheese sauce was super thick and heavy. It was incredible. Exactly what I had in mind. And the best part, or the best addition, was the crumbled barbecue potato chips they threw on top. The texture change was great and it added a very, very subtle barbecue flavor to the whole bit. Such a good idea.
     The cornbread was my second favorite thing. Oh man... I'm trying to recall all the cornbreads I've had in the city and I think this one comes out as number two, behind the infamous Union Oyster House. Soul Fire's cornbread was incredibly moist, held it's form as you ate it, and had actual corn chunks in it! This is a big deal for real. You neeeever see this, and I don't understand why. It just adds some more texture and small bursts of the true corn flavor. Perfection.
    Overall, this place really hit the spot, and I was so glad we could finally try it out. The meat is the most important part and the flavors in my brisket and in David's pulled pork were fabulous. All the other goodies were icing on the cake. Well done, Soul Fire.


La Hacienda - Somerville, MA

Chicken pesto and roasted peppers pizza.
     Well, shucks. I have the best coworkers. So these last two weeks I've been filling in for Frances because she's in Africa. Yea... Africa. Tuesday was payroll processing day and Adrian was out of the office, meaning it was on me, and I was ready for it. 4 o'clock came around and by 5 it was just me. But right after she left, Melanie popped back in, set a fresh, hot pizza down on my desk and said "here's some dinner in case you have to stay late." It was incredible and SO SO nice of her! She had grabbed this pizza from La Hacienda, which is a tiny little Italian restaurant on the corner right down the street from Gentle Giant. You'd barely know it was there if not for their little sign because there really aren't many windows at all and it's just a short, squatty little place on the first floor of this taller residential building I think. It always smells heavenly outside, and I've wanted to go for a while. What also always gets me is their front door. It's got to be ages old and is solid, carved wood. It's magnificent.
     So the pizza. She got the chicken pesto with roasted peppers and it was amazing. The smell was out of this world. It came topped with a bunch of pieces of chopped (lightly breaded) chicken, soft roasted red peppers and a powerful pesto base. Honestly I didn't recognize anything out of the ordinary about the cheese because the pesto, chicken and peppers stole the show. They were a great combination and a fabulous end to a long payroll day... before going to my first Boston Bruins game that night :]


La Cascias' Bakery and Deli - Burlington, MA
I don't 'sub'pose you want a bite do ya?

      OH man... one of the best deli subs I've ever had. We were doing a move for a lady the other day and she bought us lunch! It was the best. This was the first time this had happened to me, but then again I've only been on the trucks a couple weeks. This chic went to a deli called La Cascias' Bakery and Deli in Burlington. I have no idea what it looks like really, or what it's all about, but I do know they make a mean sandwich. I got a large Italian sub, and I kid you not it literally had and inch of sliced deli meats on it. I know it had salami and probably a bunch of other standard Italian sub meats. Not sure. It was basically meat, provolone cheese, and the best part which was this mix of very finely chopped hot peppers, pickles, and tomatoes. It was this incredible confetti they sprinkled on top. I loved the pickled flavors and the hot, spicy with the cold meats. The Italian bread it was served on was great too. Very soft inside, but harder in order to provide structure on the outside, with the little corn meal granules. Mmmm... I was so grateful.


Idaho Sunrise Potatoes - My Kitchen, Allston, MA

     I'm not quite sure why I've never made these before, especially after I've done essentially the same thing with an onion. Either way, I stumbled upon this idea on a blog called Our Best Bites. These were amazing, super easy, and a great way to use up some left over baked potatoes. I think you could either crack a full inside the potato (which is what I did) or scramble up some eggs with your veggies and toppings and put them inside. It's a really fun way to eat breakfast (if you're into the whole eating-as-an-experience thing) and looks pretty too.

Idaho Sunrise Potatoes
Baked potatoes, slightly cooled
Salt and black pepper
Shredded cheese of choice
Additional fillings of your choice (vegetables, meat, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice a layer off the top of each potato and scoop out the insides, leaving a thin layer of potato against the skin and avoiding puncturing the bottom. Reserve scooped potato for another use.

3. Brush the inside of each potato with melted butter or drop in a small pat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Throw in a little bit of shredded cheese and some of your fillings until each potato is about 3/4 full. Crack one egg into each potato. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, and top with additional cheese and toppings.

4. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until egg whites are set and yolks soft.

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