Friday, June 12, 2015

It's Hard To Hold Back When You Know

Frank's Suffolk Diner - Revere, MA

     Go to Frank's Suffolk Diner. This is the cutest, nicest, most delicious diner I've been to in Boston. Maybe ever? David and I were on a quest to use up my free coupon (yes another coupon) for a stack of Ihop pancakes but the line was so far out the door and we didn't have time for that (literally... I had a plane to catch). So we headed back to Frank's Suffolk Diner, which we had passed on the way. Frank's is in this little tin box with red accented windows. It's adorable. Inside, it's your standard red, white and black diner colors and is kind of shaped like the inside of a train car. The kitchen was right behind the counter, so you could see them prepare all of your food, which I thought made it feel extra home-y. The staff was also super friendly right off the bat, and our waiter was actually the owner. She wasn't Frank, but she bought the place and fixed it up, as it had been closed for 4 years or something.
Banana chocolate chip pancakes
     Anyway, they had an incredible breakfast menu with some really unique things. I ordered the Airport Special... well... partly because I was going to the airport and partly because it sounded great. It was two eggs any style with bacon, homefries and a "short" stack of banana chocolate chip pancakes. First of all, the bacon was great. It was meaty, thin, and crispy just like I like it. The homefries smelled so good and really were HOMEfries. By that I mean that they were cut there (as opposed to coming frozen in a bag), they had the skins on them, and they were cooked on their grill. Some places deep fry them and I think that's just silly. I think my favorite part was the stack of pancakes. They were not "short" as described. They were fat and fluffy (but not too dense like a buckwheat pancake), full of freshly sliced bananas, and had the perfect amount of chocolate chips in them. Sometimes too many chips make it feel too much like dessert, but these were still light, sweet and didn't even need syrup.
     David got some tasty items he let me try too. His Tex-Mex omelette was HUGE and full of beans and ground beef. Uh. Yum. Protein. His s'mores stuffed french toast was insane. They took two slices of bread, dipped in egg and GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMBS, stuffed chocolate and marshmallow between the two and cooked it. Simply madness. It was delicious, but super sweet. A few bites was plenty. I wanted to put peanut butter in it.
     As I said, go to Frank's. Even though it's not owned by Frank. This lady knows what she's doing.


Earl of Sandwich - Boston, MA

     Right after finishing the Walk for Hunger (my first walk for hunger) I thought... eh, 20 miles wasn't that bad. Within a few hours of stopping however, I realized I was in for more pain than anticipated. Regardless, once we finished, the Gentle Giant gang broke up and I headed straight for Earl of Sandwich to use my free sandwich coupon (love the coups) I got for signing up for their email list. I went through a newsletter binge a couple months ago and signed up for all the different restaurants that give you things on your birthday, but many of them require you sign up well before the actual day.
The Full Montagu

     Earl of Sandwich sits in the middle of the Boston Common (America's first public park) in a octagonal concrete building. It's odd. I wonder who Earl is. Anyway, you just walk up to the window to order and can go watch the goofballs play Quiddich is the field behind it (I DO NOT UNDERSTAND). To get the full bang for my lack of bucks, I got their Full Montagu which had roast beef, turkey, swiss, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and mustard sauce (not sure what that really means). Now I figured this sammie would be pretty standard. Maybe like a step up from Subway, but not as good as the mom and pop deli down the street. It was much better than I expected though! They did something genius I've never seen before. So I have two meats and two cheeses right? They put one type of cheese on one side of the bread and topped it with the meat. Then did the same thing on the other side with the second meat and cheese. In the middle the put all the veggies. Why was this great thinking? Because then when they went to grill it, the cheeses were the closest to the heat source (whether flipped or not), while the veggies were in the middle just chillin' and staying cool. So smart! I could tell the deli meats weren't super high quality, but the construction of the sandwich was just so impressive.


Met Back Bay - Boston, MA
Short Rib tacos, Pork Carnitas taco, and chips & salsa

     Every now and then Malcolm and I like to get together and catch up since we don't live together anymore...which is sad. It was a Tuesday, and apparently he's a big fan of the Taco Tuesday special Met offers. So I headed down to this swanky, dark joint at the corner of Darmouth and Newbury St, felt really out of place and just all around not fancy enough for an evening on Newbury. Either way, the inside of Met was really unique. In the downstairs area, there were two bars. Hanging from the ceiling around each bar was a glass case with goodies inside. The larger bar had bottles of liquor sitting inside the glass, and the smaller bar had mason jars full of veggies and other pickled things. Also hanging near the smaller bar was an enormous leg of meat that looked like it was aged. I have no idea if it was real or not, but it sure was strange. This second bar was definitely meant to give off a sort of butcher/wine & cheese/farm vibe but in a classy way. I dug it.
     For Taco Tuesdays they do 3 tacos for $6, so we got two different kinds and split them up for maximum flavor experience. I ordered the pork carnitas tacos which came in a grilled, soft shell and had a pleasantly surprising amount of carnitas in them. This meat was very different than other carnitas I've had before in that it was much more juicy and stuck together, rather than being moist to dry but fibrous and breaking apart. This also had a slightly smokey flavor from the chipotles. The best part was the roasted pineapple chunks they threw in. The caramelized edges added a sweetness that went perfectly with the spicy meat. Malcolm ordered the short rib tacos, which were served in a larger than normal crunchy taco shell. Inside, they stuffed their short rib meat that was apparently braised or marinated in coca-cola. Yes. Coke. I've never heard of that before, but it makes sense! It probably tenderizes the meat and breaks it down. I knew there was a slightly sweet taste I couldn't pin point when I was eating them. I also loved the charred onions they added in this one. They lent a nice roasted flavor that went well with the jalapeños.
     We also ordered chips and salsa which was excellent. The chips were definitely homemade and if you've read any of my nonsense about chips before, you know that gets a restaurant a big high five from me. I was also in love with the salsa. The chunks of tomatoes and onions were on the bigger side and roasted, but the tomatoes had the consistency and texture of stewed tomatoes which was different. This salsa didn't have the fresh, cilantro lime flavors you'd normally experience in a salsa. Instead it had a darker, roasted and rich flavor that was really excellent.
     Not only were our tacos $6, but they have a meatball bar on Sundays and $4.99 burgers on Mondays. So obviously that needs to happen because their burgs and fries looked deadly. Can't wait.


BurgerFi - Boston, MA

BurgerFi build your own burger :]
     BurgerFi went in on Comm Ave last summer maybe? I'm not sure, but I've wanted to go since I first laid eyes on it, regardless of the fact that it's a chain. David made a good point that it's very similar in look and feel to Shake Shack. They both serve burgers, dogs, custard and brews, and use the same color palette and look. Also, they both are focused on the principle of revolutionizing the world of fast food, cooking from scratch, using fresh and quality products, and instituting sustainable practices within their businesses. How can you not support that?
     Anyway, Meagan and I had planned to go together, but it never happened, so one day on my way home from work I called Eric and asked if he wanted to meet me there. The inside of BurgerFi kind of has that clean, modern industrial feel with a lot of wood, metal and simple light fixtures. It's pleasing to me. I decided to build my own burger with 2 patties, lettuce, tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and pickles. As I ate the burger, I was comparing it to the Shake Shack burger and came to many conclusions. 1) The veggies on the Shake Shack burger were much fresher and more crisp, which is huge for me. 2) The burger patty at BurgerFi was much less greasy and more satisfying. 3) The pickles were a big deal sealer, leading me to conclude that the BurgerFi burger was better. Shake Shack's fries were better though, in that they were more crispy and salty. I like the hand cut, real potato look of the BurgerFi fries, which made me think I'd like them more (that's generally how that works), but they weren't done enough and needed some more salt. Kind of just ... meh.
The concrete was pretty solid
     For dessert (never forget), we got a concrete which is custard mixed with a ton of stuff. This economically makes so much sense rather than that self serve froyo because you pick your custard flavor (chocolate... duh) and can mix in as many toppings as you want. We got a bunch: oreos, brownies, chocolate chips, reeses pieces and whipped cream on top. It was overkill, but incredible. I just wished it didn't melt so fast. You can't screw something like this up. It was spot on.


Kowloon - Saugus, MA

     So then I went to Kowloon. I went to Kowloon, and I was sad. It looks so cool on the outside though, and actually really cool on the inside too with fountains, volcanoes, and boats everywhere. But the food was definitely some of the worst asian food I've ever had. We went after Catherine's graduation with David's family, so at least the company was good. 
"Who ordered the Pu Pu Platter?"
     Now, I love some good mediocre asian food, but this didn't even hit that mark. For starters we ordered two platters of meat. One was the Pu Pu platter (haha) including things like ribs, chicken fingers, egg rolls, crispy wontons and fried shrimp. But really it was all nearly fried... and all made you feel awful. The best part was the flame in the middle. The ribs were actually decent (they were the only thing that wasn't fried), but I'm curious as to what they were marinated in or what the sauce was. Tasted like applesauce. I'm doubtful that it was. 
     For the rest of the meal we got a couple different combinations of chicken, shrimp, rice, lo mein and other random meats like SLICED DELI HAM or hard dry peas. I don't understand what was happening. Things were covered in some sort of slime. The flavors were partly blah, partly awful. However, the sesame chicken was good. I will say that. It was just intensely fried chicken strips coated in a tasty sauce and sesame seeds. That's the kind of mediocre asian food I like. Thank goodness Catherine ordered that, or else it would've been nearly a complete failure. 
      On their website, they have tons of awards listed for "New England's Best Chinese Food" and such and the hallways within the restaurant were lined with celebrity photos. I do not understand. What was I missing?!

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