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Smoothie Lament


I have been getting really into making smoothies in the last month or two. Once it started getting warmer. I put bananas and avocados and kale and lots of frozen berries and almond milk in them. Not all at once. But sometimes all at once. And they were SO delicious. And a great way to get in a lot of fruit–and some vegetables, but I’m not a big fan of vegetable smoothies.

Then, guess what happened? I made a smoothie, and my blender started smelling like it was burning. My options are: a. discontinue use of blender or b. risk burning down the house. It’s probably not a huge risk, but it might short out the outlet or something even if it doesn’t actually burn down the house. Either way, not good. So I’m going with option a.

I have always loved smoothies, and I especially love them in the summer. I’m unlikely to get a new blender soon, so this means I have to find a good smoothie place. This is a problem. There are tons of places where you can buy smoothies. I don’t mean pre-bottled ones, but the blended-to-order kind. However, it seems rather more difficult to find a place that makes really good smoothies. Somewhere they use at least some fresh–not frozen–ingredients, and no juice from concentrate. As far as I know, there are none of those in my neighborhood. Purple Cactus makes pretty tasty smoothies, but I’ve seen them being made, and they’re using mostly frozen fruit. I think almost everywhere I could go for a really good smoothie would require a train ride. And really… is that worth it? Probably not.

So I guess I’ll be drinking a lot less smoothies than I thought I would this summer.

Restaurant Anxiety


I have plans to go to The Fireplace for dinner on Friday. I’m very excited. But actually, I’m kind of nervous about it as well.

No, I don’t have any worries about which fork to use–even if they are actually that fancy, I don’t really care if I use the wrong utensil. I have better priorities than THAT. And it’s not as if it will be an awkward social occasion either. Just dinner with my best friend, which is not the least bit stressful–in fact it is most exciting.

So, why am I nervous, you’re wondering at this point, I’m sure, since I tend to overexplain things before I’ve even gotten to the point?

I’m feeling a lot of pressure to order the right thing.

Now, if you’re not familiar with this restaurant (I’m not, really), it’s a pretty expensive place. I’ve never been there, but I pass it just about every day, sitting there on the corner with its “Boston’s Best Burger” sign in the window. It’s not the sort of place I can really afford to go to, and in fact the only reason I’m going there at all is because I was lucky enough to snatch up a livingsocial deal, just after I’d been musing that I’d really like to go to The Fireplace…

It stands to reason, therefore, that I probably won’t be going there again for a long time after. So I have to choose carefully, because I want the best possible experience from this place the one time I might ever go there. Having looked over the menu online, I’d like to try many of the dishes I read about, but I only have this one shot. I’d really like to try that “Best” burger, but logic says that it would be the one thing I could afford if I went back there without the coupon, so I should save it for next time. The lobster mac and cheese does sound… mmmm…

Oh, sorry. I got a bit lost in thought there.

Anyway, can you see why I’m suffering so much? Yeah, this is a first world problem for sure, but our “problems” are relative to our lives as a whole. Technically, all my problems are first world problems. Student loan debt is a first world problem. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

Not to compare this to my financial issues… this is a problem that’s almost fun to have.

I am extremely susceptible to  the dreaded FOMO–fear of missing out. It’s why I feel kind of sad when I see comments or pictures on Facebook about things my friends did without inviting me. It explains some of my impulse purchases. I’ve been trying not to let it affect me too much. It’s poking around now in this case, telling me that choosing one of those delicious-sounding entrees means giving up all the others.

In the end, I will get over it. I will order whatever I feel like I want most at the time and not overthink it, because I’m getting too old to waste time on stuff like that. Besides, the T stops running at some point.

Eating All Over Town


As I commented to a friend earlier today, I have been stubbornly refusing to go grocery shopping for about two weeks now. That is not to say I haven’t been to the grocery store, but I’ve only picked up a few things while I was there. I haven’t done a full shop for quite a while. I’m going to try to force myself to do it tonight. If not, it will have to be tomorrow, because there are too many things I need.

In the meantime, I’ve been buying a lot of food out. Breakfasts, because I haven’t wanted to wake up in time for breakfast. Dinner once or twice. Otherwise, I’ve been scraping together meals from whatever’s around in my kitchen, but not too much worth posting about. I’ll update you soon on one or two of the things I’ve adventurously cooked.

Until then, I wanted to run down some of the foods I’ve been purchasing… or having purchased for me (I visited my parents last weekend, so of course they bought me food), with short reviews of the places. We’ll start with when I was in Worcester.

1. Surya – Indian restaurant – I have loved this place for a very very long time. They’ve changed a bit since we first started going there. New owners or new chef or both. Some of my favorite items there have been the Rose Milkshake, Mango Lassi, Shahi Paneer, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Nan. And my ultimate Surya dish, tandoori chicken. At other Indian restaurants, tandoori chicken is not really my top choice. But here, they do this amazing thing with the marinating or the cooking method that just makes it so incredibly flavorful and juicy. This time, I decided I wanted to try it hot. Let’s just say that was a mistake. I usually get it medium, and I can hardly feel any burn at all. Fully spicy, it was still good, but actually made my throat sore, which I have never had happen when eating spicy food before. So I won’t be doing that again. If the burn had stayed in my mouth, and out of my throat, I would have been fine with it. Not a fan of food that makes my throat hurt. It actually still hurt the next day. But PLEASE don’t take this as a negative opinion of the restaurant. They are my favorite Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to and I recommend that everyone go there.

2. Ronnie’s – Sea food and ice cream – This place was close to my childhood home, so I’ve been there many, many times. I never get to go there anymore, though. I miss it. It’s a seasonal place that is open from April to October, I believe, and they have really good, quality seafood. They also have standard burgers, chicken, etc. for people who don’t like sea food, but then why would you go to Ronnie’s? I had the expensive jumbo lobster roll, which is just the perfect item if you like lobster. The clam fritters are delicious but probably not very healthy. And if you go for ice cream, I’d suggest the chocolate-dipped soft serve.

Now back to Boston:

3. Monte Cristo Mexican grill – Ok… so, I’ve ordered from this place before, and it always takes them a while to deliver, but it took them a really long time on Cinco de Mayo. I should have expected that. But I was ordering from Eat24 with one of their weekend coupons and they’re the only mexican restaurant on there that delivers to me… at least, the only one that didn’t also serve chinese food. So I got a carnitas burrito, which was tasty, but not life-changing or anything. (I have yet to come across a life-changing burrito. If you find one, let me know, because I WANT.) The service is friendly here but a little slow. The food is good, but not great, and sometimes just ok. I did get pork enchiladas from them one time and they tasted amazing, so maybe just go with the enchiladas, or a burrito if you’re not feeling too picky. But their fajitas aren’t served with tortillas. I was really confused…

4. Caffe Aromi – I’ve only been in this place one time before, just to get a latte or a chai or something. I stopped there for breakfast one morning last week because I was in a rush (unfortunately, it didn’t help me get to work any faster, but nevermind). I got a breakfast sandwich and a latte, and I wished I’d gotten a savory croissant and regular coffee instead. What I got was good, but my sense when I’m there is that I’m overpaying. I just don’t feel like you quite get your money’s worth. Also, the decor strangely makes the room look kind of empty, which is rather unpleasant to me. The food to me seems comparable to most other independent cafes, so maybe it’s just the weird tables and chairs I don’t like.

5. Grass Fed – I went there because I had been craving a burger. After debating going for quite some time, I finally determined that I didn’t feel like cooking so I headed out. I just got a standard cheeseburger, and I was what I expected. The draw of Grass Fed is being pretty much “gourmet” fast food. They claim to use local products as much as they can, which is a nice incentive, as it’s good to support local. The best way to describe their burgers; they taste like fast food, but good. It’s not a real, big barbeque burger, but it’s not a gross McDonald’s patty either. Worth heading out there once in a while.

6. Mr. Crepe – This place in Davis Square is a nice little treat once in a while. I used to go get coffee there on occasion when I went through Davis on my way to work. Their coffee is pretty good. Unfortunately they lost my order at first, meaning I had to wait for at least 15 extra minutes for my food to be ready. Of course. It was good. I got savory crepes with spinach, basil, and tomatoes, and I was fairly satisfied. As for the crepes themselves, I’m more a fan of the ones at Cafenation. These I think would be better with the sweet fillings. But that’s just me.

 

That’s all for now. I’m proud to say that I managed to stop myself from ordering a pizza, but I don’t know how much longer that will last. Pizza is wonderful and when you get the craving, how long do you really expect to hold out against the amazing power of pizza?

Cozy Eating at The Squealing Pig


Last weekend I had a great meal with friends at the little Longwood area pub, The Squealing Pig. It’s a place I had heard mentioned for a while, but never managed to go to myself despite living near it for over a year. I’m so glad I finally went! It’s a very nice atmosphere. Not quiet enough to be a good date spot, but good for a gathering of friends, or perhaps a casual date. They feature a wide selection of drinks and good, simple food.

Beer-wise, it seems they have some you’ve heard of and some you haven’t. I’d personally go for a Magner’s cider, which they have on tap. I find many brewed drinks taste better on tap. I’m not much of a beer person anyway, but there are many options for those who are.

The food is their spin on pub food, so they’ve got the usual appetizers (quesadilla, fries), soups, sandwiches, burgers, fish and chips, pizzas, etc. I had to go with the lobster toastie when I saw it on the menu. A toastie is like a panini. This one had bacon and cheddar cheese I ordered the soup of the day to go along with it, which was a smoked haddock chowder. I guess it was a seafood night.

I would give my meal a three out of five (this may or may not be my rating system for reviewing restaurants in the future). The flavors were all very good, but the soup was very hot and I, of course, couldn’t wait five minutes, so I burned my mouth a little bit. The toastie was a little bit dry. It was clearly not pressed with any sort of butter or oil on the outside of the bread, and none of the fixings inside had much moisture to release. I enjoyed both the soup and the sandwich, but it was not 100% satisfying. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures, because I was not thinking at the time about making a blog post. By the time it occurred to me, the food was gone.

My friends ordered the fish and chips and the asparagus pizza. I tried a little bit of each. I have to say, the cod was amazing. The batter was very light, and the fish was so moist and flaky. I almost wished I had ordered it. The fries were very good too, but they’re only fries, so I don’t have much to say about them. I remember thinking that the pizza had good flavors, but I only had a small bite, not enough to get a good sense of it. I want to try a pizza myself when I go back there. I’m thinking the shrimp and chorizo.

I can’t end without commenting that our table was right next to a lit woodstove, so my legs were very warm and comfy. However, there was also a large group of people having some sort of party, and I was extremely tired, as it was a Friday night. For me, if I had more energy or went on a quieter night, I think it would be a great place to come back to.

On the way home, my hands were freezing, and it felt like too much effort to get out my gloves. I stopped at the Green T Coffee Shop to get a nice warm beverage instead. It’s located right on the E train of the Green line (hence the name). Looking at their special drink menu, I noticed that they still advertised pumpkin spice lattes. IN MARCH. My answer to that was “yes, gimme.” I ordered a small–this was my first time in this coffee shop, and I was still pretty full anyway. The barista was very nice and friendly. There were no other customers to wait on, so we chatted a bit while he made my latte.

I found the “spice” part of the name to be a little lacking, but the flavor overall was very good. I suppose I could always get one, take it home, and sprinkle some pumpkin spice seasoning on it… unfortunately, my mouth was still angry with me for eating such hot soup, so the experience was not as pleasant as it should have been. I am intending to go back and try another of their beverages on a day when I have not done something stupid to my mouth or tongue.

*I realize that this is not a very professionally presented restaurant review. I’d rather it have the personal touch instead.

It’s Food


Uh oh… I’ve been neglecting my recipe-less life. I can’t remember if I’ve made anything worth writing about lately. I’m going to have to assume I haven’t… I’m sorry! I’ll just have to come up with something to say.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I assume everyone is drinking green beer or Guinness or Irish whiskey, or Bailey’s, or something like that. Or eating soda bread, potatoes, butter, irish style bacon, stew, or anything someone once told you was a very Irish thing to eat. I’m wearing a green t-shirt, and I’m going to heat up some of my seasoned curly fries as part of dinner. Potatoes are so Irish! No alcohol for me today. And really… I don’t care.

Last weekend I went to Bertucci’s with my dad, and as usual I really think my family’s recipe for meatballs can’t be beat. I forget how to make them though. I ate a LOT and somehow went home with three salads and a bunch of other leftovers.

I have also finally been to one of the many Mexican places in my neighborhood, a place called Acapulco – I tried the enchiladas. Good, but I wonder if some of their other options are better. The week after that, I went to Tres Gatos, a tapas restaurant/bookstore. The food is very tasty, but the ambiance isn’t great (it was really loud in there), and I’ve been to other tapas places I definitely prefer. I would definitely go there again, but only once in a while.

In actual news, I subscribed to two different tasting boxes and received my first one from Love with Food!

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I’ve heard that some bloggers get paid to review the stuff in their boxes. I would be happy to be one of them, but I am not, so I’m not planning to go through the contents of each box and talk about them. I might note anything that really stood out, like this time, the Cosmos salted caramel corn snacks. They had the consistency of cheese puffs, and more of a buttery than caramely flavor. I gave the chocolate covered wasabi peas to my roommate, because I didn’t think I’d want them.

Love with Food is a good one to subscribe to, because there’s a charitable aspect. They give food to the needy for every box you purchase, or something… I don’t know the details, but you can look it up on their site.

The other one I ordered, Goodies Co., I won’t get until April. They’re cheap, $7 a month, and availability is limited because they’re in beta mode, but I think I waited a week or two before they emailed me that I could get the box.

The point of these boxes for me is to reduce the need to buy snack items at the grocery store. And of course, if I find that what I get is not really worth the investment for me, then I can always stop getting the boxes. We’ll have to see how it goes. For now I am sure I’ll be happy enough with them, as it’s under $20 a month for both boxes.

And, in food news, that really is pretty much all I have to say. Not too exciting, I know. I’m going to have to make something interesting to fix that, and in the meantime I might have other life adventures to share with you.

Post-Thanksgiving


In which “post” has two meanings. Get it?

Nothing particularly exciting happened for Thanksgiving. Nothing really noteworthy about cooking, unless you consider the sheer amount of food for just three people. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, parmesan asparagus, butternut squash, apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan pie, Newton’s Folly cider, apple pie moonshine (which I will never have again), wine. I, of course, drank ate too much and got sick.

After dinner we watched The House of Yes, which happens to take place on Thanksgiving, but otherwise was not exactly a festive choice. Really weird movie. Parker Posey is cool.

On the way home, I just barely missed the train at each stop and had to wait another ten minutes or so. I was only thinking, “Come on, guys, it’s Thanksgiving. Can’t you wait an extra minute?”

Now, a brief story:

Trying to plan a time to refinish the wood of the kitchen floor is, to say the least, frustrating. Unless you’re going out of town, there is no such thing as a convenient time. The time we decided on was Friday after thanksgiving/Saturday, with the plan of having a working stove and fridge again on Monday.

Being kitchenless is also frustrating.

Can’t prepare food, and don’t have the ability to refrigerate leftovers, so you either have to buy non-perishable things that don’t need to be prepared, or go out. I of course did the former because it’s cheaper, but having the perfect excuse to go out, I wasn’t going to pass it up… Read the rest of this entry

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