Wednesday, February 27, 2013

thinking cup

The Thinking Cup Coffee Bar is anything but a secret, even though I wish it was. Recently crowded, but manageable in the evening hours, the Thinking Cup near the Commons is a relaxed non-snooty cafe with mood lighting, Stumptown coffee, and drool-worthy sandwiches & baked goods.

(My friend Grace's superior technology skills)
Push past the velvety curtain to be greeted by the baked goods that look way too perfect they must be the plastic food you played with in elementary school. Spoiler alert: they're real. And they are perfect.


With a new build-your-own grilled cheese option, the sandwich options have become almost impossible to choose from...too many tasty choices! Find more about the menus here. I ended up with my usual (iced chai) and a new sandwich, the Jittery Hen: Stumptown coffee braised chicken, house made BBQ sauce, pickles and smoked gruyere cheese on sourdough bread. The Jittery Hen is usually the Jittery Swine with pork instead of chicken (which I think I would have preferred). I loved the combination of the sandwich pickles with the shredded chicken & thinly sliced cheese but I was not a fan of the homemade BBQ sauce. I love thick saucy heavy and sweet BBQ sauce, but this was a minimalist take on the sauce. It's okay, I overlooked the minor deviation and enjoyed the whole thing!


We ended the date with one vanilla & one chocolate maccaron. They have so many flavors of these little gems...a whole caseful. Bakery perfection.

Definitely worth pushing past the local college kids to get your hands on the perfectly prepared coffee, drinks, sandwiches & baked goods. If you're not into the typical crowded cafe, give their brand spankin' new North End location on Hanover Street a try.
Thinking Cup on Urbanspoon
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ski weekend

This weekend we headed up to Stowe, Vermont for a ski weekend...turns out we picked the perfect weekend, with over a foot of freshly fallen snow to shred. Up we went, into the foggy snowy wonderland.

We got in late Friday evening and dove head-first into possibly the best winter cocktail I've ever had...a fall/winter version of Pimm's cup that tastes just like apple pie! All you need is equal amounts of Pimm's, brandy, and apple juice stirred with a cinnamon stick and an added handful of sliced apples & oranges. It's a deadly apple pie cocktail perfect for the winter!

In the morning we woke up early ready to ski. (Note: Yes, this picture is a joke)

After a long day of skiing we headed out for Mexican at the Cactus Cafe. I went with the shredded pork tacos with a plate full of beans & rice. The pork tacos had a tasty jicama slaw, but unfortunately the pork was overcooked and dried out. I don't even like beans or Mexican food for the most part, and I actually loved the beans & rice.

Sunday morning we woke up even earlier and headed over to my favorite coffee shop & bakery in Stowe, the Black Cap Coffee Cafe. Featuring lovingly-crafted drinks, tasty baked goods, and breakfast sandwiches, the Black Cap Coffee Cafe is a must-stop for me every single time.

After a long morning of skiing, we finally gave in to the strong waffley wafts that greeted us at the top of the gondola....the waffle cabin. Serving sugar waffles with chocolate sauce, you can squeeze these amazing little gems in one hand and scarf it down before hitting the slopes again, refueled and re-energized. Also of note...they cater. Yup, waffle catering. P.S. my birthday's in November.

We headed back out and skied until the fog rolled in before heading to the best sandwich shop in Stowe: the Green Goddess Cafe. Using high-quality ingredients with inventive little twists and surprising combinations, the Green Goddess Cafe is extremely impressive. Find more about them here.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

meatball subs

This weekend we're heading up to Vermont for a ski weekend, and for some reason ski weekends always remind me of meatball subs. Out of sheer excitement for the impending ski weekend, I got a massive meatball sub craving. Knowing me, once I have a craving, nothing but the real thing will do. I got home & whipped up some crave-worthy meatball subs within 20 minutes.

Ingredients (makes 3 subs):
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
salt & pepper
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley
1/2 cup panko
2 cans of tomato sauce (about 15 oz each)
1 large baguette
sliced cheese optional (provolone or muenster)

1. Line a baking sheet with foil. Mix turkey, onion, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, parsley & panko with your hands. Form small balls and arrange on foil. Broil for 10 minutes, until browned on top.

2. Heat 2 cans of tomato sauce over medium heat, covered, while meatballs are in the oven.

3. Place meatballs in the sauce, toss to coat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes to absorb sauce into meatballs.

4. Slice baguette (and add optional cheese), split & broil for 1.5 minutes until crisped and golden (and gooey).


5. Add meatballs to toasted baguette and top with extra sauce.


Enjoy with a handful of napkins with people that won't judge you for the sauce covering your face. Now off to skiing, cooking & fires with mulled cocktails, yes please.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Lineage is a highly-rated local-seafood & New England focused restaurant in Coolidge Corner. Created by Jeremy and Lisa Sewall, the casual & classy restaurant is surrounded with calming neutral colors and filled with innovative twists on local flavors. The Sewall lineage has been involved in Boston since its incorporation in 1705, and remains involved in the fishing industry to this day, leading to unbelievably fresh seafood creations. T & I have had this on our go-to list ever since August when we were able to enjoy the culinary creations of Lineage's Chef de Cuisine, Richard Morin, at the Whim's Series (more here). 


T started with the baby arugula salad with shaved fennel, roasted beets, local blue cheese, and a sweet garlic vinaigrette.

For an appetizer I managed to snag the last order of spicy lobster tacos! Their signature appetizer comprised of a mini salty hard taco shell, with chunks of lobster, diced red pepper, onion, a tasty avocado mousse, and a mango salsa. The dish wasn't very spicy, the only bit of mild spice came from the red pepper, but it was probably for the best. The combination of different textures & tastes was perfectly balanced.

T went with the flaky Roasted George’s Bank Monkfish with cannellini beans, small bits of house made bacon, preserved lemon, and fennel in a light buttery cream sauce. In addition to being beautifully presented, the dish was also just as tasty.

With my love of scallops (and mushrooms), I had to order the seared Scituate diver scallops with perfectly roasted mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, spinach, and a black truffle mushroom purée. Four perfectly caramelized fluffy soft scallops sitting on top of wilted spinach with the most perfectly prepared mushrooms I have ever had. I have always loved mushrooms for as long as I can remember, and these were the best mushrooms I have always had. I wish they just had sides of mushrooms that I could order, because I would order them every single time. To say the least, I was obviously a fan of this dish as a whole. 

Lineage provides reasonably priced, local, seasonable seafood with a focus on simple clean preparation in a casual & calming setting; definitely one of the best seafood restaurants in the Boston area.
Lineage on Urbanspoon
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Monday, February 18, 2013

oishii too

I just found the hands-down best sushi in the metrowest area and I am excited! Finally, an amazingly fresh & creative sushi bar within 20 minutes of me! To be honest, this has just slid into my #2 spot for favorite sushi in Boston,behind only o ya (but much much more reasonably priced). Oishii has 3 locations, one in the South End, one in Chestnut Hill, and finally one in Sudbury. Opening Oishii in 1998, Kung San expanded to Sudbury with Oishii Too in 2000. Beautiful artfully-presented pieces of sushi come straight from the bar to your plate, bursting with fresh clean flavors, all while not shaking your wallet with worry. Find more information here.

We headed over Saturday evening after a long day of shopping (without a reservation), and were able to snag the remaining 4 bar seats before the bar got quite busy. The place is small & cozy, with about 10 seats at the bar and 30-35 spots at the few tables.


We looked over the extensive menu & the specials board for a while before deciding on a wide range of appetizers & rolls.

Meim started with the lobster tempura, large chunks of buttery lobster lightly tempura-ed along with homemade potato chips & a creamy horseradish garnish. Delicious, but a bit difficult to eat with the large pieces, this appetizer was quite filling.

After enjoying steamed shumai, the heavy hitters arrived. On the outside of the picture below are the two Route 66 maki, with salmon tempura, snow crab, cream cheese, avocado & spicy mayo deep-fried and drizzled with sweet sauce (delicious). Lined on the inside of these two rolls were the Tekka maki (tuna), California roll, and Unagi maki (eel).

Next was the special roll I ordered, which is my favorite everywhere I go, and absolutely amazing here: Snow Mountain. Shrimp tempura wrapped with avocado and topped with real crabmeat and loads of tempura flakes. 

T ordered a special of spicy tuna with avocado, topped with roe & mango. This turned out to be one of his favorites, but other tasters begged to differ, stating the textures were a bit too mushy and the roll needed a bit of a crunch.

The final roll was the roll I forced T to order, as I didn't want to commit to it completely, but still wanted to try it! Thank the goodness, because this actually turned out to be my favorite roll of the night. Flavorful & light, it was the perfect roll to end with. The Matsuzaka Maki is a combination of crispy shrimp tempura & bonito flake maki covered with torched yellowtail & drizzled with plum sauce...also known as sushi perfection.

Much too full for dessert, we got the check and were pleasantly surprised to see the total was $160 for 4 dinner-portions including 3 drinks. So reasonably priced for a sushi dinner! With our stomachs smiling with fresh clean sushi, our wallets smiling with the amazing value we just received, and our mouths smiling from the super friendly service we received, we headed home...smiling! I am quite excited to have found this gem, so close to home, without having to head into the city to find fresh, quality, interesting sushi!

Oishii Too Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

breakfast wrap

Welcome to the weekend! Make this tomorrow morning to get over Valentine's day, to make up for Valentine's day, or to continue Valentine's day, up to you! As with most of my favorite recipes, this is tasty, moderately healthy, and done within 10 minutes. To make healthier, substitute mayo and ketchup with salsa or the cheese with queso. Mmmmm.

Ingredients (for 1 wrap):
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 small potato, cubed
salt & pepper
1 eggs
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup shredded cheese of choice (cheddar or a mix)
1 tortilla
1 tsp mayo
1 tsp ketchup

1. In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbs olive oil, potato, and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Push potato down so there is one flat coating of potato over the bottom of the skillet.

2. Stir to evenly cook until brown, about 5 minutes depending on size of cubes.

3. Meanwhile heat remaining 1 tbs olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Whisk egg & milk, add to heated skillet. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper.

4. Once egg begins to bubble add shredded cheese.

5. Fold sides up one by one, enveloping cheese in the center. Cook for 2 minutes & flip.

6. Optional brief toasting of the tortilla.

7. Once components are ready, lightly coat tortilla in mayo, then ketchup, topped with egg & potato bits.

8. Wrap it up into a burrito or a taco-like form & enjoy the ooey-gooey golden cheesy inside of the egg all wrapped up with the crispy potatoes. As I said...mmmmm.
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