Saturday, May 16, 2009

z food & drink in manchester, nh

My sister-in-law and I drove up to Manchester, New Hampshire for a scrapbook convention this weekend (more info on that excursion soon to be posted on my blog!). We had lunch on Friday afternoon at this restaurant I found online via Google called Z Food & Drink. It's a cute little restaurant on Elm Street in downtown, not too far from the Verizon Arena. I think we got there sometime around 1:30 pm and there was a decent amount of people inside having lunch, too. The waitress was super nice and very attentive. The food. How can I say this? The food was awesome.

But before I go on about the food, let me tell you about the decor. The table settings were really elegant and simple, but the quirky part was that there was some type of classic children's toy in the center of each table.

As you can see, we had Legos but other tables had a mini Etch-a-Sketch, a travel size Connect Four, there were about 3 or 4 Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads floating around, a magic eight ball, and a slinky.

(Apparently, someone got very creative with one of the Potato Heads today.)

The menu is kind of simple but I think that's what makes it work so well. The prices for almost everything on the lunch menu were under $10. I ordered a romaine salad ($8) which consisted of sweet gem baby romaine, white anchovies, crispy capers, asiago cheese, grilled bread, lemon confit, and a garlic dressing. I assumed (something you shouldn't do, right?) that the salad was going to be a small portion, so I also ordered the grilled cheese sandwich ($8) because for some reason I was craving cheese and bread together (and Marina and I thought we would split the salad because we thought that her dish, the goat cheese croquettes, weren't going to come out the way they did -- more to come below on that one. It was so yummy, like one of the best grilled cheeses I've ever had because it had ricotta, gruyere, and fontina cheese on grilled ciabatta bread. Like, um, did someone call this place up and tell them to put two of my favorite cheeses into one sandwich? I love gruyere and fontina, so to put them together seems ingenius to me.

So a rather pricy lunch on my end, I know, but worth it in the end. And as mentioned above, I think we both had envisioned the goat cheese croquettes ($10) to be the main focus of the appetizer sized dish that Marina ordered. So when it arrived and looked more like a salad with the croquettes piled on top of the field greens, with pistachios, dried cranberries, and a champagne vinaigrette she ended up not needing to share my salad in the end. Well, she did take a few bites because we both really liked the creamy but light dressing and we were trying to figure out exactly what was in it, so that helped me put a small dent in it. But I couldn't eat the potato chips that came with my sandwich because it looked like they were seasoned with something orangey-red. And ya'll know what my body does with spicy orangey-red things inside it. So instead of possibly ruining our weekend with a trip to the emergency room, I skipped the chips (and the pickle spear too) even thought they looked really good too.

Oh and the other thing that was a no-no for me was a cute little basket of popcorn that they gave us to snack on while we waited for our food.

One nice thing about their wine menu is that you can order glasses by the 4 ounce or 8 ounce size. So we both had a little 4 ounce glass of vino - Marina had the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and I had the XYZin Zinfandel. Both were excellent, and served in stemless glasses.

It turned out to be a wonderful lunch experience and since we'll be back up to Manchester in September for the Journey concert, I think we'll try to bring the hubbies there for dinner beforehand. We met the chef/owner, Tom Puskarich, right before we left and he was kind enough to share with us the ingredients he uses for the vinaigrette in Marina's salad. We told him we'd try to come back so hopefully we can stick to our promise this fall and try out more of his delicious dishes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

spring has sprung at the river gods

After driving around for a couple of hours -- we originally had planned to go see Third Eye Blind at the House of Blues on Landsdowne Street, only to be bummed that they sold out -- and not being able to find a parking spot in the Newbury Street area, we ended up finding one right in front of the River Gods. It was 9 pm by then and we had already eaten dinner earlier, but I was hungry and craving some of their yummy fries. So we sat at the bar, had some red zin and a vodka tonic, and pigged out on a huge plate of their fries (insert big guilty grin here). They have a really yummy garlic aioli that they serve with their fries. Needless to say, we returned an empty plate.

The place was packed when we got there and the DJ had music playing (perhaps a tad too loudly) the whole time. The bartender was super nice and it's just such a fun place to hang out in. Many thanks to our parking angel for the spot right out in front!

Oh and the spring has sprung part was in reference to the pretty paper flowers that decorate the bar area right now. I love how they jazz it up with decor based on holidays and seasons. They have some pretty flower balls hanging from the ceiling along with butterflies, but I didn't have my camera with me (just the phone) so you'll have to use your imagination. They do some awesome stuff at Halloween.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

new flavor at christina's

There's a new ice cream flavor at Christina's ... can you tell which one by looking at this photo?

We walked over to Christina's for an ice cream treat tonight after dinner. I love living in this part of Somerville and being able to do that once in a while: walk down the street to get some wine at the Wine and Cheese Cask; walk across the street from there to get some freshly baked bread at The Biscuit; walk nearby to get some locally grown produce and fresh cuts of meats at Savenor's; walk to get some delicious homemade ice cream at Christina's.

On the way there we ran into our downstairs neighbor. On the way back we saw one of Tony's old friends from college through the glass of a grocery store, and then were stopped by a neighbor that lives down the street from us while she was on her way to get something to eat too.

It's stuff like this that I'll miss if we move away into a more suburban area, especially if it'll make our lifestyle turn into being more dependent on driving to get some where. So for now, I think we'll try to get out more on foot to enjoy more of Somerville and the neighborhood gems.

With that said, maybe one of these days we'll actually stop and eat at Dali Restaurant. LOL Yeah, I know, we've lived here almost 10 years now and have never been inside that place.

And what flavors did we indulge in tonight? Tony got a scoop of coffee oreo on a cone. And I had a scoop of vanilla. Yes, just plain old yummy, never-fails-to-be-delicious vanilla. :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

farmgirl fare: savory cheese and scallion scones

I made these delicious scones for a baking contest we held at work this past Wednesday to go along with a "savory" theme. I was the only one that remembered to bring anything so I guess technically I won! I think they were a big hit anyway though since they all disappeared. As Ms. Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

I got the recipe by Googling "savory scone recipes" and came across this cute blog called Farmgirl Fare. I love looking at the photos of her cute farm animals. This one especially made me laugh out loud:

So anyway, if you like savory scones the way I do, I think you'll like these. They were quite delicious, I have to admit. And much easier to make than I thought it would be to make scones. The only thing I did differently was that I added 1 tsp. of ground black pepper to help give it a little extra kick. (Note: I doubled the batch, so if you make a single batch and want to add the black pepper, too, just do 1/2 a tsp.) I made smaller rounds of the dough, too, so that I could cut them into smaller wedges for a larger crowd. I did the optional egg wash suggestion and I think that made them look much better with a golden top.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin