Monday, April 27, 2009

sherman cafe in union square

I've seen the Sherman Cafe in passing a few times, so I decided that we should check it out for breakfast on Saturday morning. My brother-in-law, Joe, spent the night after he and Tony went to watch our friend, Jim's, band (Gene Dante & The Future Starlets) compete in the 2009 WBCN Rock n' Roll Rumble on Friday night. It's in Union Square in Somerville, pretty close to Bloc 11 but on Washington Street.

It's a really cute place with a nice selection of pastries, salads, and coffee drinks. We managed to get a seat by the window to enjoy some of the sunlight, but they also have a couple of large couches available. I think they offer free wi-fi too. I had a nice big latte with a salmon and cream cheese bagel. It was quite yummy! They have knitted coffee cup cozies that people can use instead of the paper kind which is a pretty neat idea.

The scones there are huge by the way! Tony had a blueberry scone and although I thought it was very good, he said it wasn't dry enough for his tastes. Joe had a chocolate chip scone and I think it was pretty tasty since there was nothing left on his plate later.

This is a good alternative for those days when we go to Bloc 11 and we can't find a seat (it's getting to that point lately!).

Friday, April 24, 2009

za in arlington, ma

It has been a long time since I've been to Za in Arlington. My friend and I decided to go there on Tuesday night for some yummy pizza and we weren't disappointed. I love this place because they pretty much just do pizza and salads - yes, kind of like Cambridge 1 - but it's a little bit nicer in terms of atmosphere and layout, and they have a nice selection of wines. Tony thinks it's a little too "shee-shee" for pizza. Oh well, you can't please them all, right?

Anyway, this time I had one of their chalkboard special pizzas: Maine Ducktrap Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche, Caramelized Onions, Fontina Cheese, Red Onions, Capers, Dill, and Lemon Vinaigrette. But because of allergy reasons, I omitted the capers and lemon vinaigrette. I got a little bit of olive oil on the side in case it was dry, and that worked perfectly fine.

It was quite delicious and I'd highly recommend it. Although, I think next time I'll request no red onions because there were a TON of them and it was a bit too overpowering for my tastes (as you can see in this photo below).

My friend had their mozzarella and tomato pizza with kalamata olives and said it was delicious, too.

She was smart and saved room for one of their desserts - the Bourbon Pecan Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream. Yum-o! I tried a tiny bite and it was very yummy (although she said that it wasn't as good as her mom's pecan pie - LOL).

And the sign of a truly good friend? One that'll hide a dessert that you are forbidden to eat due to stupid food allergies so that you don't salivate all over yourself. (P.S. Pecan pie is my FAVORITE kind of pie!)

Pie?! What pie? Wha?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

tory row in cambridge, ma

The owners of one of our favorite restaurants, Cambridge 1, opened up a new sister restaurant nearby called Tory Row. My husband and I decided to check it out after yoga on Wednesday night, especially after walking out of the building and smelling the burgers over at b.good. I wanted to see what it was like and they happened to have a cheeseburger (re: another red meat craving!) on their menu so we decided to stay and try it out.

Okay, so before I go on about the food, let me just say that it is a cute new place and we really liked the atmosphere (even though we sat at the bar). I like how the wine comes in short bar glasses instead of wine glasses (not that it matters but just a fun twist on the ordinary), and how they have a pretty simple menu (i.e. one page).

I asked the waiter what "loaded" meant in terms of the cheeseburger and he said it basically meant that it comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. So then I told him to tell them to leave the tomato off since I'm allergic to them. He says, "Okay, no problem." So we're sitting there and we can see the cook grilling up our burgers which was pretty cool. But then when the lady came around the corner with my burger, it was loaded.


So luckily Tony's burger came soon after mine and I managed to pick up the whole pile of lettuce and stuff - by now the tomato touched everything so I couldn't salvage any lettuce for my burger - and moved it over to his plate. No big deal really, more just a pain in the ass.

The bartender - a super nice guy, I will say - apologized for the tomato thing but then said, "I can't type in Portuguese so they can't understand ... ".


(Insert note here: I wasn't this aggitated by his excuse/response/explanation when it happened, or even the rest of the night during our walk home. But we talked about it the next night and it made me think. Plus, I had wine by this point so you know.)

That shouldn't matter. When it comes to food allergy issues, you can't use a language barrier as an excuse if someone goes into anaphylactic shock. I know it wasn't a big deal in my situation so I'm moving on with this review and stepping down from my soap box now.

Anywho. The burger was really good in the end. It was served with a potato rosti instead of french fries, so I was a little disappointed at first. It was pretty good but difficult to cut into at one point. My fingers got a little greasy and my fork slipped out of my hand which flung some potato onto the bar area. Oops!

If given the choice of going here or to Cambridge 1 on any given night, I think I'd opt for Cambridge 1. Unless of course, I was craving something other than potato pizza. Tory Row was quite crowded on a Wednesday night so I think that's great for them, and the location is prime real estate being right next to a T entrance. I'd definitely go back there for drinks at the bar although I'm a bit leery about ordering food again in case I get the language barrier excuse again.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the independent in union square

After a day of moping around the apartment because I've been sick, plus forcing myself to sit down and work on new card designs, Tony took me out to the Independent in Union Square for dinner. I know, I have a wonderful husband. :) (Although, you wouldn't have known that we were married if you were strangers there that night. He's been without his wedding band for almost two weeks now so whenever we go out I tease him that people probably think he's going out with a married woman. LOL)

Anyway, I was totally craving red meat that night (when do I not, seriously?!) so I ordered their half rack of lamb special. Of course, I didn't tell the waiter about my food allergies so Tony flagged him down and made me tell him about the cracked red pepper. Sure enough, he goes back to the kitchen, comes back with a menu and says that they use it in the marinade. Of course, I wouldn't think that they used it in the dish (because it wasn't in the menu) so it's a good thing we said something! That avoided a trip to the ER on a holiday weekend, thank gawd!

So I decided to get the steak frites. Yeah, I know, I'm so predictable! But hey, I love me some steak frites any time!

The funny thing is that I thought I had them here at the Independent before, but I don't remember it being served like this, as one big piece of steak. So perhaps this was my first time getting steak frites here. Anywho, it was absolutely delicious and cooked perfectly medium rare (maybe a tiny bit undercooked, but still very yummy).

Tony got the seafood fra diablo special (yes, we know it's really fra diavolo but that's how they printed it on the menu) which had shrimp, mussels, and calamari.

And since there wasn't anything left on either of our plates, I'd say it was pretty yummy. :)
But to top it off (as if we hadn't already eaten enough!), we had the profiteroles for dessert.

I think it's safe to say that we love the Independent. :) (And our bellies do, too!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

buddy's diner in somerville

Just thought I would share a recommendation for lunch (and breakfast) after I received this photo of the “Turkey Plate [Tuesday] Special” that one of our coworkers snapped at Buddy’s Diner. Buddy’s is located on Washington Street near Sullivan Square and it is a real deal diner. It’s a cash only, dine-in, and take-out sort of place that serves up good, homemade dishes. It got great reviews on Yelp so if you’re in search of a local breakfast or lunch option, consider stopping by for one of their daily specials. They’re really inexpensive and are known for friendly service and good coffee.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

7 deadly zins

One reason I love the Wine and Cheese Cask: special orders.

We LOVE this wine, 7 Deadly Zins, by Michael David winery in Lodi, California. We first tasted it at my parents' house in Livermore and then enjoyed a few bottles during our vacation in Las Vegas last year. Wow. This is an extremely yummy bottle of wine folks! Worth making a special order request to the Cask for (they are the best when it comes to special orders!), and worth the high sticker price.

One of the [MANY!] reasons I would love to be able to move back to the Bay Area is because of the fact that they sell wine at grocery stores and in discount warehouses like Costco. Yeah, I know I can get wine at Trader Joe's out here, but it's just not the same because I don't shop there for regular groceries all the time. It's so nice to be able to get everything in one stop. So anyway, you can get 7 Deadly Zins at Costco out in California for something like $12 a bottle and even at Target for $15! Unfair!

Yes! I said Target! Target! Lucky bastards.

Anyway, we enjoyed one of the three bottles I got from the Cask with a steak dinner last night. And man. That. Was. Good. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

snappy sushi in davis square

Gosh, I totally forgot to post about this sushi restaurant that we went to over a month ago. We noticed it one night while we were out and about in Davis Square and decided to try it out after work. It's called Snappy Sushi and it's on Highland Avenue (they also have a location on Newbury Street). It's cute and really small with stylish decor and nice lighting. I think there are only 6 chairs at the sushi bar so if you can't score one of those, then you have to sit at the larger communal table in the middle of the restaurant. We were able to sit at the sushi bar but next to the cash register so it was a little hectic there, especially with the number of calls they were receiving for take out.

The thing that is really different about this place is that they use brown rice in their sushi. It was a little sweeter in taste and it was good, although I'm not sure I was very crazy about it.

Tony had the spicy crispy scallop roll which had scallop, avocado, cucumber, green leaf, tempura bits, flying fish roe with spicy mayo and a spicy yellowtail inside-out roll.

I had some sushi from the a la carte menu - a yellowtail (Hamachi) roll, a salmon (Sake) roll, salmon roe (Ikura) nigiri sushi, and tuna (Maguro) nigiri sushi.

Again, I don't think either of us were crazy about the sushi or the restaurant so we probably wouldn't go out of our way to eat there again. But if you're in the Davis Square area and want to try a little twist to sushi (the brown rice), it's worth stopping in.


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