Wednesday, January 28, 2009

coconut custard

I love to bake, but because of my stupid food allergies, most of the stuff I bake is stuff I can't eat myself. But, I love to bake. It's the one thing that I have to focus on actually using precise measurements to make something, which is so unlike my other crafty obsessions. Like cooking especially. Recipe? What recipe? Oh my poor husband - the same dish never tastes the same twice.

I found this recipe for coconut custard on Alicia Paulson's blog the other day and decided to give it a try. I remembered having some dried, unsweetened coconut in our cupboard at home so I made ours using that. Here's what it looked like in the end:

It turned out good but rather wet, and I think she refers to this in her post. Perhaps the coconut releases more liquid when it cooks? Too much sugar? Hmmmm. Still yummy though. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

brunch at the beehive

We took Joe and Marina to the Beehive for brunch today before they went to the Boston Wine Expo. As most of you know by reading my past posts, this place is one of our favorites. So we decided to try their brunch and were happy that we did. Errr, our bellies were very happy that we did. :)

I got us an order of their beignets to start off with, mostly because we were all starving. They were freshly fried and so good! Not exactly like the kind in New Orleans as Tony and I remember, and not exactly like the ones in Italy that Marina likes, but still good.

Tony had the french toast which turned out to be quite a tall stack of a breakfast, topped with fresh strawberries.

Marina had the smoked salmon hash and it was so good! (I think I might get that if we go there for brunch again.)

Joe had the "eggs shakshuka". Oh yes. Shakshuka, baby. It's described in their menu as three eggs baked over north African style tomato sauce. I think Joe described it as: delicious.

I had the eggs benedict with smoked salmon. Yum-o. My favorite part of this dish is piercing the yolks and watching the raw egg run down onto the plate. Mmmm ... making myself hungry right now!

One bit of advice: make reservations ahead of time if you can. We did (thank you, Open Table) and it still took a couple of minutes for them to seat us. Both the upstairs and downstairs areas were pretty packed, which was not surprising. They had a live jazz band playing on the stage too. A very nice brunch experience.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

west side lounge in cambridge, ma

Despite the cold weather, Tony and I walked to the West Side Lounge on Mass Ave to have dinner with Renee. Funny how we've lived in Somerville for the past nine years and there are still a lot of restaurants that we haven't tried yet. Well, cross this one of our list.

We (Tony and I) were the very first ones there which was a little awkward. We sat at the bar and had some wine before dinner. It's a cozy atmosphere inside and the bartender was super friendly. It wasn't that crowded right after 6, but then suddenly the place was packed.

Renee had the fish tacos ... mmmmm, my favorite!! It's so difficult for me to get them nowadays since they're usually in a cornmeal based, fried batter. I wish places up here in the east coast would do them grilled or with a simple flour batter. Anyway, she said they were delicious.

Tony had a burger but substituted the french fries for a small salad. I think it was good because his plate was empty in the end.

I have had this craving for red meat lately. Perhaps a lack of protein in my diet? I dunno, but I'm also known to be a sucker for steak frites. Seriously.

These were good. Not the best I've ever had, but good. A tad bit on the salty side, but I think the fries make up for it.

Will definitely have to do this again sometime. Maybe when it's a little warmer to walk again.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

goat cheese + grilled chicken pizza

Sort of like pizza, but not really I guess. I found this delicious Ciabatta bread at Star Market (that I can eat - hooray!) and so I grilled some chicken, toasted the bread in the oven with a little bit of olive oil, slathered on some goat cheese, sprinkled on some fresh basil, and then zapped the whole thing under the broiler for a few minutes. Voila! A delicious pizza-like dinner. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

grafton street

Renee and I had dinner at Grafton Street after work last night and it was so nice to have someone to talk to about that feeling of having to go back to work after such a long break. Enough of the blah, blah, blah details ... I'll cut to the chase and tell you about the food.

I don't know why but I've been craving a lot of protein lately, like eggs and meat. Not necessarily together. Anyway, so I decided to get the steak frites and boy oh boy, was I glad I did. Yes, I am a carnivore.

It's so scary to think that I cleared almost the entire plate. Yeah, all 4'7" of me. That IS scary. Anyhoo [insert distraction from that insane thought here], Renee got the fish and chips dish. Man, those fishies were huge!

And the detail that my husband doesn't know about is that we shared their flourless Valrhona chocolate cake that came with a coffee-white chocolate chip cookie and coffee ice cream. Yum. Bad, bad yum.

I think I slept pretty well that night. ;-)

Friday, January 2, 2009

ariadne restaurant & bar

We celebrated the New Year with Tony's brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Marina, by meeting them at Ariadne Restaurant & Bar in Newton. It's a cute little [Greek] restaurant with Mediterranean and Asian influences, and luckily they were open on New Year's night (funny how a lot of restaurants aren't by the way).

The decor is very classy and comfortable at the same time. The menu was a little bit confusing to read because they have a regular menu, plus one they call the "Neighborhood Menu". We managed to figure things out and shared the Kofta (crispy balls of ground meat, bulgher wheat, and jasmine rice with tzatziki), Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice & seasonings), and Duck Liver Pate (served with with brandied cherries, toast points, pear, and hazelnuts) appetizers. Joe also had the lobster bisque soup which he said was good, but not what he had expected. I think the Mediterranean version was not smooth like the way it's normally prepared in New England, but he said it was good. We ate every bit of the appetizers (even asked for more toast points for the pate!), so I think everyone enjoyed them. LOL

For dinner, Tony had the seafood paella with saffron rice, fish, chorizo, mussels, and roasted tomatoes. Marina originally wanted to get the tuna sashimi dish but the waiter said they were out of the other components that they normally use to make that dish since they had a wedding at the restaurant earlier that day. So they compromised and brought out just the tuna with some slices of avocado and lemons. Joe had the bolognese pappardelle with an almond and basil pesto sauce. I had the golden trout dish over jasmine rice. I know that it looks rather plain in the photo below, but it's normally served with edamame and pickled vegetables and since I'm allergic to both I asked them to omit them.

Again, the food magically disappeared and both guys were complaining of having that feeling like your stomach was going to burst, so we skipped ordering dessert to my dismay. Would definitely go back there again for another special occasion celebration! Highly recommended for a romantic dinner getaway, too.


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