Tag Archives: pork

Kaze Shabu Shabu, Chinatown

Standard

Where: Kaze Shabu Shabu – 1 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02111
When: March, 2012

Alyssa reintroduced me to Shabu Shabu last 20120306-110524.jpgyear and boy am I glad she did. I hadn’t had it in years and had forgotten what a delicious, fun – and even healthy – meal it is. I like the idea of participating / working for my meals as well.

Alyssa is the Shabu Shabu master even owning her own hot pot and having prepared numerous dinners at home so shes a great person go out with as she knows exactly what to order.

We met at Downtown Crossing and headed over to Chinatown to Kaze Shabu Shabu which is a big (2 levels), unpretentious place with quick and friendly service. We got two broths, the Japanese Miso and something a little spicier, the Thai Tomyum. We both knew we liked the miso as that’s what we had gotten in the past but were surprised by how much we liked the spicy Thai broth. It was delicious and just the right amount of spice to warm you. We ordered beef and pork for our meats, udon for our noodles, and an extra side of taro. The broths already came with a generous portion of veggies which was great. I could have used a little bok choy (love it this way) but they didn’t have it.

Everything was really fresh, filling, and delicious. We definitely started off eating mostly the Thai broth but it evened out in the end. We rolled out of there full and very satisfied.

Overall, I think Kaze Shabu Shabu is a great place to go with friends, whether one on one or in a group. I’d probably recommend avoiding Shabu Shabu on a date, as it can be a bit messy (I think I wiped broth off my chin a few times and my place mat was a mess when I left). I’d definitely go back and would get the Thai broth again in a heartbeat.

20120306-110535.jpg

How did Kaze Shabu Shabu measure up? 4 Spoons!

Kaze on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Cuchi Cuchi, Central Sq

Standard

Where: Cuchi Cuchi – 795 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: January, 2012

I’ve been itching to go back to Cuchi Cuchi since Libby and I were there last weekend for a drink after going to Bondir. With some plans having gone pear shaped at the last minute, I found the perfect opportunity to go last night.

Cuchi Cuchi is such a charming restaurant. The staff’s fanciful clothing (flapper dresses, feathers, pearls, and even a tutu!) matches the restaurant’s whimsical décor with stained glasses windows, overflowing vases, antique tables and jeweled lighting. And… no TV in the bar!! It has quickly gotten itself a spot up there with Upstairs on the Square and the Beehive, my favorites.

We got there about 45 minutes before our 7pm reservation and sat at the bar for cocktails. What a selection! I had a Pimm’s Cup which was great. At 7 the hostess told us they had a table for us but if we wanted to wait 20 minutes more they would have a better table. Sounds like a good deal to me. We ordered a bottle of wine, Quinta da Alorna ’08 from Portugal, at the bar while we waited.

Once we were seated at our especially nice table we pored over the menu trying to narrow down which tapas we wanted. So many options! I really, really wanted to get the Ceviche from Panama as it’s not often you see a dish from Panama on a menu in Boston (or anywhere in the US for that matter) and it reminds me of a lot of good memories as a kid. I lived in Panama for 13 years while until I moved to the US when I was 16. Ceviche reminds me of days spent out on the ocean or Gatun Lake with my family on our boat, the Eek-e-de (Originally called “The Weekender” but it lost a few letters). We would come into dock sleepy and warm from a day in the sunshine and it would be the perfect, zesty, fresh end the day. It cooled you from the inside out. Alas, the ceviche at Cuchi Cuchi was made with scallops which I am allergic to so that wasn’t going to work. I actually considered still getting it, telling myself maybe I was over my allergy but that wouldn’t have been smart.

We narrowed it down to four selections:

  • Brie en Croûte – Brie, walnuts, bacon in puff pastry
  • Fried Artichoke Hearts – filled w/ gorgonzola, pistachios & basil
  • Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale – Grilled pork rolls stuffed w/pecorino cheese, pancetta, sautéed garlic
  • Potato Croquettes

I am not sure I can even categorize the above selections from my favorite to least favorite, they were all phenomenal. The brie was a lovely combination of salty and sweet and served with green apple for a little tartness. The artichoke hearts were lightly fried with a burst of gooey cheese and basil that sort of exploded, in the best possible way, in your mouth when you bit into it. The bracioletta was a little heavier (everything else was surprisingly light considering they were deep fried or wrapped in puff pastry), heartier and nice and salty. Being in the shape of an eggroll I kept expecting a dipping sauce but clearly they were not eggrolls and they did not need a sauce, they were plenty moist but still not fatty. If I had to choose a favorite I think it may have been the potato croquettes. I love anything croquettes. They were light and fluffy on the inside while crispy and golden fried on the outside. They were served with two sauces – a creamy alfredo and a zesty marinara. I saved one for my very last bite as that’s the flavor I wanted to be left with (until dessert that is).

Our waitress had recommended the French Banana Bread Extravaganza for dinner claiming she could eat one every night for dinner but we still, ignorantly, ordered the Tiramisu instead. We immediately regretted it as it just wasn’t that good. Sensing my disappointment and seeing me put down my spoon for the first time with a dessert on the table, my dinner date quickly flagged down our waitress and ordered the French Banana Bread Extravaganza. My hero!

The French Banana Bread Extravaganza came out practically on a platter. It was huge! There was no way we could finish the entire thing. Oh wait… yes, we could. The bananas were fried and caramelized and served with ice cream and whip cream and there must have been some bread in there somewhere. I didn’t stop long enough to really get a good look. This, along with a cup of coffee, was the perfect way to end a wonderful evening and an amazing meal.

I need to go back soon. Very soon.

Now for the pièce de résistance, the French Banana Bread Extravaganza in all its glory. Try to wrap your head around that.

How did Cuchi Cuchi measure up? 4.5 Spoons (too bad for that Tiramisu or it would have been 5)!

Cuchi Cuchi on Urbanspoon

The Salty Pig, Back Bay

Standard

Where: The Salty Pig – 130 Dartmouth Street Boston MA 02116
When: December, 2011

Kudos to twitter as that was how I first heard about this restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Since then I saw that a friend on Facebook went there with her husband as did my officemate (or my roomie as I have been known to call her). When I asked Dan where he wanted to go for his birthday he told me to pick a place that was meaty. With pig being right in the name, and my favorite animal to eat, this was my first suggestion and he took it.

I had stalked the menu before going and knew I absolutely had to get the saucisson sec. My family on my mother’s side, who all live in Paris, own a meat distribution company that provides meat to local restaurants, saucisson sec being one of them. This means all my aunts, uncles, cousins, ect have a bounty of saucisson sec in their kitchens for me to nosh on when I am visiting. These two words strung together alone remind me of long leisurely summer lunches in my grandparents’ garden, family vacations in Spain, and barbeques at my cousins’.

For those new to “saucisson sec”, it is (thank you, Wiki): “a variety of thick, dry cured sausage that originates in France. Typically made of pork, or a mixture of pork and other meats, saucisson are a type of charcuterie similar to salami or summer sausage”. Its delicious.

We started off with a bottle of Domaine la Guintrandy Cotes du Rhone (where is that little house above the o key?!) which went really well with all the meat and cheese we were able to partake in. To start we got the Saucisson Sec, as mentioned above, and asked for a recommendation for a cheese similar to Manchego that would go well with honey as that’s my latest obsession. Nick, our server, suggested the Mil Ovejas which is a firm sheeps milk cheese. Good choice, Nick. It was excellent.

While we nibbled we looked through the entrees and wondered what kind of meat the Salty Pig pizza might have on it as it just noted “Today’s Salty Pig Parts”. After a few minutes of grossing each other out suggesting the most disgusting pig parts we decided to ask Nick. Today’s pig parts were: Prosciutto Galloni (Traditional 1 Year Aged Ham), Coppa Piccante (Spicy Dry Cured Pork Shoulder), and Hot Soppressata (Old World Style Dry Cured Sausage). You had me at Prosciutto.

The pig parts came on a really thin crispy pizza crust with Parmigiano oil and a pale ale vinaigrette. I was thrilled about the crust as it snapped really easily between my falsy tooth (no chewy crusts for me for a while). The pizza was definitely salty, not for those who don’t like salt. It had some sort of seasoning salt on it which with the salty pig was crazy salty. Personally I love salty foods and the red wine cut through it very nicely so I had no complaints but I can see why there were a couple Yelp reviews saying it was a little much. Don’t forget your wine or something to cut through it, people.

The check is presented in a book where you can leave a note to draw a little something so when Dan exclaimed “we are going to draw you like a pig” to Nick we just had to. Not my best work really and apparently the wing ruined it but its all I’ve got. Hope Nick wasn’t offended by it.

How did The Salty Pig measure up? 4.25 Spoons!

Salty Pig on Urbanspoon