Sunday, August 24, 2008

four burgers

Renee, Tony, and I tried out this fairly new place in Central Square called Four Burgers on Saturday night. Basically, all they serve are all natural beef, turkey, vegetarian, and salmon burgers. Lucky for us they also serve beer and wine. :)

First of all, it's in Central Square, so you know it isn't in the most refined area of Cambridge. The burgers were kind of pricy ($7 each) but we all agreed that they were really tasty. I opted for the waffle fries that come with each burger, while Renee chose the sweet potato fries option and Tony went with the french fries option. What was kind of funny is that my waffle fries looked like potato chips (kind of like the Ruffles cut but criss-crossed), and they charged an extra $1 for Tony's french fries. Anyway, details details.

All three of us got the beef burgers because let's face it, we were starving carnivores. The wine was good although they gave me a glass of pinot grigio when I asked for pinot noir. All in all though, we had a good time and would probably go back there again if we were ever in Central Square looking for a burger alternative to the Wendy's down the street.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the red house

Mike, Erin, Tony and I met up for drinks at Noir after work. It's a bar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge that has outdoor seating, which was perfect for a summer night. Erin talked me into having one of her all-time favorite drinks, a Dirty Harry. It's a martini made with Reyka vodka, blue-cheese stuffed olives, and a splash of dirt. (P.S. I had to ask to, what is "a splash of dirt"? It's olive juice.) I like pretty much all things savory so I thought it was pretty good. I think Tony wanted to hurl at the thought of blue cheese in a drink, but he was still a good sport and took a sip. I also had a glass of the Ste. Michelle pinot grigio wine which was excellent.

We decided to try out the Red House restaurant in Harvard Square for dinner. It's a cute restaurant with a cozy feel to it inside. It was interesting because on one side of their menu, they had a $30 pick-and-choose menu where you could pick three things from four categories. There was one appetizer section, two entree sections (not sure how they were distinguished), and a dessert section to choose from. I went to their website to get the names of the dishes we ordered but they don't post that menu online for some reason. So I'm gonna have to go by memory and more of a list of ingredients rather than the actual dish names to give this review. Here's what everyone had:

Mike had a Caesar salad to start with (forgot to get a photo of it, sorry!), shrimp linguini, and a slice of key lime pie for dessert. He didn't order from the pick and choose menu though.

Erin had two of the same things I had (she has good taste - lol!). We both had a sauteed mushroom and garlic dish as an appetizer. Then we both had a steak entree which was served with more mushrooms, rice, and asparagus. Of course, my asparagus made its way over to Tony's plate. For dessert, she had something with mixed berries on top of. By the looks of the photo I think it was something creamy.

The only difference between hers and mine was that I had a slice of the dark chocolate cake for dessert. Minus the raspberry sauce of course. And the real thing only came with one slice of orange ... this photo was taken after I put my slice onto Tony's plate.

Tony had a mixed green salad with watermelon and pine nuts as an appetizer, a puttanesca pasta dish as an entree, and a slice of dark chocolate cake for dessert.

We had a nice time and the food was delicious. I asked about the pick and choose menu and the waitress said that it is something they always offer (not just because it was Restaurant Week).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

met bar & grill in natick, ma

The last time I wrote about the Met Bar & Grill was back in November of last year, but we've actually been there 3 or 4 times between then and today. Renee, Tony, and I did a lot of shopping today during the Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday Weekend which started with a little breakfast and coffee at our favorite Bloc 11 Cafe. After all the major shopping duties were done, we introduced her to the burgers at the Met.

She tried the Paris burger which consisted of a fried egg, brie, and caramelized onions. Yum!

Tony had a Met burger with Swiss cheese. We had bad luck with them forgetting to put his cheese on the last two times we've been there but thank goodness they remembered this time.

I had my usual bunless Met burger in a bowl with arugula, sauteed mushrooms, and a side of roasted garlic aioli. No kissy kissy tonight with my garlic breath!

But the thing that makes you do a Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph is the massive basket of "Sweets & Rings" that comes out and takes up half the table. LOL Okay, maybe not half but you get the idea. This thing was oozing with their yummy, string, onion rings and huge slabs of fried sweet potatoes. Diet? Wha? Nothing but goodness here. And a couple of stuffed pigs. Yikes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

daedalus for dinner

We had dinner with our friends, Sara and Jeff, tonight at a restaurant called Daedalus in Harvard Square. They recently (not sure exactly when but like within the past couple of years?) added on a nice outdoor patio area on their rooftop. Normally, it's very difficult to get a table on the patio for dinner but we lucked out (with a parking spot too actually) and managed to get a table right away. Tony and I like to go there for drinks once in a while but it has been a while (like 3 or 4 years?) since we last ate there and we were both really impressed with how good the food was.

Tony had the Blackened Haddock Fillet which was topped with a cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and mango salsa; served with black beans, rice, and chorizo.

Sara had the Stuffed Pork Medallions which were stuffed with blue cheese, baby spinach, and portobello mushrooms; served with mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and a shallot peppercorn sauce.

Jeff had the Flank Steak cooked medium rare (my kind of guy!) with a Madeira wine sauce; served with mashed potatoes and grill asparagus.

I had the Salmon dish which was a pan seared fillet with white wine cream sauce; served with mashed potatoes and sauteed broccolini.

I was so tickled at how the mashed potatoes were piped onto our plates and couldn't resist getting a close up shot for ya'll to see. Plus, I think this is the first restaurant that I've had broccolini as a side dish at. Too fricken cool. The whole world needs to discover broccolini!

Anyway, it was such a beautiful summer night. What a great way to spend time with friends, enjoy good food, and share some laughs.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


For Tony's birthday this year, I had originally made plans to take him out to The Beehive for dinner. But alas, we ended up going there with Mike and Erin one night (read about it here) so I had to come up with plan B. I ended up picking Icarus, which is also in the South End (a.k.a. our new favorite hangout for some reason) and so we had a nice dinner there on Sunday night.

Unfortunately -- and I'll explain why in a second -- the restaurant was celebrating Restaurant Week. Normally I like to go and try out new places during Restaurant Week but my hubby does not, so that was one downer. Secondly, I had looked at their non-Restaurant Week menu ahead of time and found something I could eat, but they decided they weren't going to offer their regular menu items that night. Rats. (Note to folks who might get a sense that I'm sounding really snobby and picky here: most of the time, restaurants let you order from their regular menus despite the Restaurant Week shindig thingie so it wasn't like I was a martian with three heads when I asked our waiter for the regular menu.)

So the way it works with Restaurant Week is that there's a fixed price for a three course meal ($33.08) and you get to pick one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert from their special menu. We decided to also do the half glass wine pairing which was a little extra. It was a neat way to try different kinds of wines, too.

We both ordered the Farm Field Salad with Orange and Sherry Vinaigrette which was paired with a really delicious Pinot Grigio called "Altanuta" from Italy. We were both surprised at how large the salad was because, let's be honest here folks, most portions during Restaurant Week tend to be on the smaller side. It was a good salad but we both found it to be a little too salty for some reason. I think we enjoyed the wine the most. :)

Tony had the Roasted Chili Glazed Pork Loin with Corn Pudding and Watermelon. It was served with a Shiraz called "Yalumba" from Australia. He thought it was ... interesting. As he said, "It's like it doesn't all necessary go together but it works somehow. I like it, it's just different."

I ordered the Grilled Bluefish and Smoked Shrimp Butter with Roasted Poblano Pepper, Corn, and Quinoa Pilaf but of course, I had to do without the pepper and corn part for obvious reasons. Instead, I got three little roasted potatoes as a substitute. My dish was served with a Cannonau called "Santa Maria La Palma" from Sardinia that was quite good. The dish was really good, too, but again a little on the salty side.

The best part, of course, was the dessert! We both had the Decadent Chocolate Cake. Yum! The whipped cream on it wasn't the typically overly sweet kind so it made it even more delicious. We had a little glass of Banyuls called "M. Choupetier" from Languedoc, France that was a perfect compliment to it.

Afterwards, we went for drinks at Sibling Rivalry and had a fun time people watching.

Happy Birthday, Tony!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

blueberry bread pudding

I stopped by the farmer's market near Harvard Yard after work today and picked up another crate of freshly picked blueberries, plus three ears of corn for Tony to enjoy tomorrow night. Dang stupid corn allergy! These look so yummy!

Last week, I bought a really long loaf of French bread that we only managed to eat half of. So I thought I'd try to figure out how to make bread pudding with the hardened loaf tonight. I Googled for a recipe and basically came up with this one by combining a couple of them and based on what I had on hand. It actually came out really good! :)

Here's a shot of what it looked like before I put it in the oven:

And what it looked like after. Not very pretty actually since the blueberries kind of exploded. But it tastes much better than it looks!

the beehive

My husband works really hard at his job. Sometimes he works longer than he's supposed to. So occassionally he gets rewarded with a comp day. But has he taken any of those comp days? Nope. Recently his boss reminded him that he has them so he decided to take Monday off. We had lunch together and afterwards he hung out with his friend, Mike.

Rewind to the day before yesterday: Sunday. We played tennis and ended up stopping due to my sore baby toes. (More details about our tennis excursion here.) Mind you, when I say "sore" I mean they hurt so bad on Monday while I was at work that I couldn't wear my "work" shoes and hoped that nobody would notice my flip-flops. Sore as in a much darker shade of red than they should be. I could post a photo here but that would just be disgustingly gross. Okay, so on top of sore baby toes due to tight sneakers, my thighs and calves are a-c-h-i-n-g!!! I must be so out of shape ya'll.

Put all these things together: hubby with day off and the CAR + sore baby toes + aching legs = a ride home instead of a painful walk!

I guess they had not concluded their boys'-day-out so Mike was in the car when he came to pick me up. We managed to get in touch with Mike's girlfriend, Erin, before she hopped onto the train home so we decided to go out for dinner and drinks. We couldn't decide on a place in Harvard Square so we opted to head over to the South End (seems to be our favorite destination these days) to scope it out.

Funnily enough (I think I made up that term), Tony and I had driven around the South End on Saturday night in search of The Beehive to no avail. Of course, we easily stumbled upon it last night when we weren't even looking for it. It's next to Hamersley's Bistro on Tremont Street, near Sibling Rivalry.

It was a beautiful summer night -- not too chilly, not too hot -- so we sat outside for drinks. Apparently there is some sort of law for restaurants where customers have to eat something in order to be able to drink alcohol outside. So they have a smaller, snack-like menu for the outside sidewalk area that consisted of funny things like roasted peanuts ($2), olives ($4), a cheeseball and triscuits (yes, I said triscuits ... forgot how much that was ... $5?) and more. While Erin sipped on her dirty Ketel One vodka martini, the three of us shared a carafe of Pinot Grigio. We ordered some pate ($9) and olives to eat with the complimentary baguette (we ended up eating three altogether - such pigs!). It rained really lightly and then luckily stopped after a couple of minutes. We spotted this pretty rainbow, too.

We decided to have dinner inside the restaurant. Wow, what a cool place! We sat downstairs which is where the stage is located. They have lots of exposed brick, old chandeliers, and burlesque decor. The bathroom was kind of dark but also pretty cool with old, antique mirrors over the sink. The seating at our table was a little awkward because it was like a bench and the table had kind of weird angles, but we made it work.

Tony and Erin had the roasted cod, Mike had the blackened tuna, and I had the tuna tartare and ordered a side of the "Beehive Frites" for the table. The frites were like thicker potato chips and were really tasty. We all really enjoyed our dishes and pretty much handed back clean plates. Of course, we ate so much pate and bread earlier so none of us had room for dessert.

I think overall we had a nice experience at The Beehive. The food was delicious and so was our wine, but it was a tiny bit pricy. My main complaint was that the pate had nuts and raisins in it but there was no warning on the menu, etc. I think the restaurant really should consider warning customers about the nuts in them because of food allergy issues. Also because the pate comes nicely wrapped in saran wrap and then in a pretty paper that is a map of France with different regions outlined by the type of cheese they make. It would be such a waste for someone with a nut allergy to get it, open it up, and then have to send it back. Oh and we couldn't tell if it was nuts inside until the guys tried some for me. So. You know. I think restaurants need to label those types of things clearer.

Lastly (sorry for this really long review!), we had a good laugh when we got the credit card slips to sign because there was a line asking for our telephone number which is something none of us have ever seen before. Tony and Mike would like to think it was the waitress asking, but we had to burst their bubbles. LOL Sorry guys!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Tony was craving a burger last night. After going through the list of the usual places where we know we could get a good burger (Tavern, Christopher's, R.F. O'Sullivan), we decided to get in the car and drive over to the South End to see if we could find a new place to try. While driving around Tremont and Washington Street, we tried to find a new place called The Beehive that we read about recently. Alas, no luck.

Then I remembered this bar we happened upon a while ago called Coda. Luckily, we found a parking space not too far away and walked into a packed restaurant around 8:30 pm. I think we managed to get the last table at the moment. It has such a cozy atmosphere and our waiter was super friendly. He, Josh, was very patient (and comical) about my food allergy issues (thanks, Josh!). I was craving beef for some reason so I had the steak frites medium rare. Boy oh boy, was it medium rare! (That's a good thing by the way!) Tony had a cheeseburger and we both had a ton of yummy, thin, crispy fries. De-lish! We'll definitely go back there again. :)


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