Category Archives: Union Sq

City Slicker Cafe, Somerville

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Where: City Slicker Cafe, 588 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143
When: June, 2012

Something very special happened to me on Memorial Day. Something very memorable. I went to the park near my house, Danehy Park, with a blanket and a book to read in the sunshine. I was walking around looking for a spot to lay my blanket, daydreaming apparently, when next thing I know I hear a unpleasant snap and am on the ground. Foot broken. Just like that. Yikes.

For the first three weeks I was restricted to crutches and told that I absolutely cannot put any weight on my right foot, even when it was all wrapped up and protected in the gorgeous walking boot they gave me. With such limited mobility I relied on dinner delivery from restaurants and my very generous friends. Here is the first of a slew of Cambridge area restaurants that deliver!

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I had a friend over dinner the day after I broke my foot and we decided to order from City Slicker Cafe as they have a good variety of sandwiches, among other things, to choose from. The delivery was quick and fries still warm by the time they arrived at my place. I was actually surprised that they were still pretty good as everyone knows that fries don’t travel. I got the California BLT which came with hickory smoked thick cut bacon topped with avocado, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo. You have a choice of a couple of types of breads but I got the Soft French bread. The bread wasn’t good, too soft and chewy and in need of toasting. But… the inside of the sandwich was very good. The creamy avocado with salty bacon and spicy mayo all went really well together. I’d order from here again (hopefully by choice and not because I can’t leave the house on my own), but would shy away from the soft french bread.

How did City Slicker Cafe measure up? 2.75 Spoons!

City Slicker Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Casa B, Union Sq

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Where: Casa B – 253 Washington Street, Somerville MA 02143
When: June, 2012

After my failed attempt to go to Casa B a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance to to go again, this time with a reservation. We got there for 7pm and were taken downstairs, which seemed to have a pretty different feel to it (cozier and more intimate than upstairs), to be seated. Originally we were taken to the bar to sit in this double bar stool thing which was a bit awkward so we requested, and were granted, a table. Thank god.

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We started with the Tabla de Ceviches which is an assortment of three ceviches, marinated in citrus, root vegetable chips. The three ceviches were langosta (lobster), merluza (hake) y salmón (salmon, obviously). They were all really good, fresh, light and zesty but the hake was probably my favorite. The trio of ceviches was served with plantain chips which were crunchy and earthy, a nice compliment to the lightness of the seafood.

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Next we got the Bacalaitos Fritos con Brandada y Alioli de Cilantro (salted cod fritters, brandade, with cilantro aioli). I expected these little deep fried fritters it to be really incredible but it fell a little flat for me. It was crispy and had the potential to be amazing but it was a little heavy and flavors a little muddled. The aioli was really good.

This was my favorite dish of the night. Camarones Rellenos de Yuca Envueltos en Tocineta con Salsa de Cilantro y Jengibre (Yucca Stuffed Shrimp wrapped in Bacon, Cilantro Ginger Dipping Sauce). The shrimp were succulent; yucca, earthy and bacon, salty. The sauce mellowed the flavors out and gave it a burst of freshness. I could have eaten a couple dozen of these.

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Next, we got the Albóndigas en Salsa de Guayaba (Meatballs in Guava Sauce). The meatballs were tender and juicy with the sauce adding a sweetness to balance them out. I thought that this was an unusual menu item for a tapas place, but what do I know? It totally fit and worked.

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For dessert, we got the Tres Leches – Leche Condensada, Evaporada,  Clásica Decorado con Merengue (Three Milk Cake: Condensed, Evaporated, Cream, topped with Meringue) which had come highly recommended from a friend. This little cake was really good – moist, soft, light, and fluffy. It satisfied my need for something sweet at the end of ever meal.

Overall, the service was great, atmosphere vibrant yet intimate, and food above average. Great for groups, a date, or just out with a friend. I’d definitely go again.

How did Casa B measure up? 4 Spoons!

Casa B on Urbanspoon

Highland Kitchen, Porter / Union Sq (ish?)

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Where: Highland Kitchen – 150 Highland Avenue  Somerville, MA
When: May, 2012

A few weeks ago the lovely Mr and soon-to-be Mrs Juddles came down to Somerville to have dinner with Libby and I. Our last dinner took us to the Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem which is fairly close to where they live and the one before that was at my place so this time we chose a restaurant near Libby’s. What better choice than Highland Kitchen which is just a stone’s throw away! The Juddles put our name on the list and with over an hour’s wait we went to Libby’s for a few glasses of wine. When we headed back down they were just about to call us to be seated – perfect timing.

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We started with the oysters which were a special (Wellfleet maybe or am I getting my oysters confused?). I loved them, as usual, and could have eaten another dozen just on my own.

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Libby and I decided to share a couple of appetizers and then a sandwich. First we started with the Ricotta and Mozzarella Fritters with a Chile-honey dipping sauce. Oh my. These fritters just melted in your mouth and the sweet spiciness of the sauce is such a nice compliment to the salty creaminess of the cheese. I think I may get these every time I go back. The photo is a bit blurry as I may have been shaking from mild excitement.

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We then split the Smoked Bluefish Cakes with mango-mustard hot sauce and scallions. These were really good, smokey and tangy with the sauce. Light but substantial.

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Now our main course… We split the Blackened Catfish Po’ Boy that came with remoulade, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles on french bread. This photo doesn’t do it justice but you get the idea. The catfish was really nicely cooked, or fried I should say, with a crispy layer outside and nice and flaky inside. As for the remoulade, I could eat that shit by the bowlful. The bread was perfect for it as well, toasted and not too doughy. The fries were delicious. Overall, fantastic.

We decided to get two desserts to share with the table, which is always a good idea…

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The first, which Judd was adamant about (that’s praise, not judgement), was the Hot Fudge Sundae with Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream. This was good, although very melty, and I would have likely really enjoyed it if we hadn’t gotten the second dessert but it just got blown out of the water by the second one.

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Now this is the dessert that blew my socks off. Warm Banana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. I have been so fond of bread puddings this past year – I have got to make one at home sometime as its rare to find other foods that are as comforting. The bread pudding was firm yet totally bursting with banana and caramel flavors. The ice cream, although simple, went along with it perfectly. Yes, please.

Overall, loved everything we got to order, especially the fritters and the bread pudding. The service was great (and wine glasses quickly replenished) and Highland Kitchen has a busy but friendly atmosphere. I’d definitely go back and likely will, many times. Just beware of the wait.

How did Highland Kitchen measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

Highland Kitchen on Urbanspoon

India Palace, Union Sq

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Where: India Palace – 23 Union Square Somerville, MA 02143
When: April 2012

As good as India Palace turned out to be, it wasn’t my intention to go there when I started off my night around 8pm. We started at Brick and Mortar in Central Square (where the old Enormous Room used to be, RIP) where we had a couple cocktails (delicious). We then decided to head over to Union Square to Casa B, which I had been wanting to try. After being told there was a 2 hour wait (gasp!) we decided to find another place since it was already creeping up on 10pm. We headed over to Machu Picchu where we quickly got a seat and ordered a couple glasses of wine as we looked over the menu. As we flipped from page to page something very quickly became apparently – they didn’t have a single non-meat item on the menu. Not one. As comical as it was, we were hungry and this wouldn’t work as not everyone in our party was a carnivore like I am. We apologized and left as everyone looked on confused. We had seen India Palace before we chose Machu Picchu so we decided to go back there. There was only one other party in there but they were happy to have us and the service was extra good because of it.

We started with vegetable samosas which we inhaled before I had a chance to snap a picture of them. They were filled with potatoes and green peas – good but nothing out of the ordinary.

For dinner we had the Malai Kofta and Chana Masala. The Malai Kofta is a dish of vegetable balls crooked in a creamy sauce with fresh herbs and mild spices and the Chana Masala is chick peas cooked with onion, tomatoes, herbs and spices. The latter was good, totally fine really, but the Malai Kofta was so good. I couldn’t get enough. I think this is my favorite Indian dish and not every place does it well (ahem, Anna Purna) so when I get a good one I can’t stop. I could eat this one from India Palace day and night.

Overall, India Palace is a great neighborhood Indian restaurant with good service and well prepared meals. Great for groups (especially since they were so empty), small parties, the works. Reasonably priced and good sized portions. I’d definitely go back if I lived in that neighborhood but its a bit of a hike when we have so many good places around my area already.

How did India Palace measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

India Palace on Urbanspoon