Tag Archives: restaurants

Moksa, Central Sq

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Moksa – 450 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Oh hi! Its been a while, I know. That’s what a new, demanding job will do to you. Don’t get me wrong, I have continued to go out and eat my way through the city, take food photos, make notes, and write up drafts, but the sitting down and cleaning them up part has been something I am struggling with. Ok, enough about me, lets talk about stuffing our faces at Moksa in Central Sq.

I was stoked (stoked? Who am I?) when Moksa opened up in Central Sq last year. Having lived in Central Sq for years its fantastic to see all these new places popping up. We paid a visit to Moksa a couple of months after they opened and were looking forward to a few cocktails and nibbles after work. It was fairly nice out so we sat outside and kept sitting there for what seemed like forever until someone came over to take our drink order. I got the Peking Sailor which is Hendricks Gin, Campari, Elderflower Vinegar, Bubbly and Cucumber (they had me at Gin and Bubbly). The drink was ok, not sure it was my favorite thing ever (I switched to wine right after) but how it was served was hilarious. I don’t think it was meant to be ironically funny but when the waitress came out with these big glasses brimming with umbrellas and tchotchkes (thanks for the spell check, BL!) I couldn’t help but blush and look around hoping no one had seen the ridiculous cocktail I was about to drink. I mean, we are two women in their 30s in Central Sq, not at Senor Frogs on Spring Break in Cancun. I understand how many may like this sort of attention but it’s just not our thing. After much giggling we moved on to the menu and waited for our waitress again.

We decided to share a few small plates starting with the Vietnamese Spring Roll with Cilantro-Lime Sauce. This dish was delivered to the wrong table but eventually found its way to us. The Spring Rolls were pretty simple, fresh and overall pretty good, probably the best thing we ordered.

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Next we got the Thai Green Papaya and Mango Salad with Peanuts, Mint & Chili Lime dressing. Unfortunately neither of us were really a fan of this one. It was a little bland and the peanuts on the soft side which didn’t add that crunch we were hoping for. Next.

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I had the highest hopes for this next dish, the Popcorn Shrimp with Spicy Remoulade. If you know me at all you know I always lean towards shrimp dishes whether they are fried, buffaloed (yes, I am making that a verb), grilled, tossed with pasta, however you want to make them I will eat them. I’m pretty much the white nerdy version of Bubba from Forrest Gump.  Anyways, popcorn shrimp is one of my favorites and adding remoulade to any fried food makes it a baller dish, I could eat that shit by the spoonful.

The remoulade was fantastic but the shrimp were super dry. They were on a small salad that added some moisture but then they sat on top of another dry bready thing. Too much breading on the shrimp which contributed to the dryness. Pass me my recockulous cocktail to get this to go down, please.

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We wrapped up the night with the Vegetarian Fried Rice with Carrots, Onion & Sake Shoyu. Totally fine but nothing to write home about.

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After dinner we sat with empty glasses for over 20 minutes before we got up and went inside to ask them if we could pay. Can we please pay? Please? We’d like to give you money. Okthanks.

Needless to say, we weren’t fans of the service or food. I’ve heard the dance club in the back is decent and recently had a friend who got the bartender to swap shoes with her so she could go in (no flip-flops allowed) which has boosted my opinion but I think I’ll be going down the road for food in the future.

How did Moksa measure up? 2 Spoons!

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Craigie on Main, Kendall / Central Sq

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Craigie on Main – 853 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139

We’ve all heard about Craigie on Main’s famous burger but I hadn’t met anyone who had actually eaten it. Every time it came up the response was “Ohh I’ve heard it’s the best, I need to get there” or people would talk about their failed attempts. They had gone and tried to get the burger but it wasn’t on the dining room menu, they couldn’t get a seat at the bar, they were sold out, etc. These are the types of stories that usually get my hopes waaayy up ensuring that I am disappointed when the time actually comes around. But not this time, my friends.

I had somewhat randomly ended up at Craigie on Main after a few drinks (at Cuchi Cuchi) with my (now former) colleagues on a Tuesday night. As soon as Craigie was mentioned I started going on and on about their burgers and how I have heard so much about them and read articles, etc. Now they wanted to try their burger as much as I did. Excellent plan.

Miraculously, as we were entering Craigie someone was leaving, freeing up 3 seats together at the bar. BOOM. We took them, ordered 3 beers and 3 burgers rare. JLo got his au cheval, which is with a fried egg on top. Delicious but I wanted to taste the burger in its simplest form for my first time.

This photo really doesn’t do it justice (guess I will have to go back and retake it?) but this was a damn good burger. Damn good. You can taste the quality of the ingredients, especially the meat. The cheese was sharp, the bread a perfect combination of soft and toasted (and buttered, obvi). The burger is simple and flavorful. I get it now. You don’t find a taste like that in your average $8 burger (hence the $14 price tag -well worth it, btw).

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Overall, I liked the atmosphere of Craigie with the open kitchen and friendly staff. The bartenders were whipping up some awesome creations too, which I’ll have to get back for some time. I think we got lucky with finding seats so quickly as there were people waiting once we sat down so be prepared for that.  I’ve never eaten in the dining room and, honestly, probably never will as I’ll be wiggling my way up to the bar for a burger the next time I go in there.

How did Craigie on Main measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

West Bridge, Kendall Sq

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Where: West Bridge – 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

I haven’t spooned anyone in so long! Actually, that’s not true, I have been spooning like its going out of style but just haven’t polished up any drafts to a postable state in a while.

You know its been too long when you are writing about a menu item that no longer exist, as the case here at West Bridge in Kendall Sq. A colleague and I headed across the street from our office to West Bridge for lunch on one of those fall days where the sun was no where to be seen and the chill of the rain goes through you right to the bone. Obviously I got soup. And a glass of prosecco on tap. Just kidding, I would never do that during the work day…

I started with the Sunflower Chowder featuring a Woodbury clam as an ode to the traditional clam chowder. I had emailed Jared at West Bridge who told me that Chef Matthew Gaudet blends sunflowers into a familiar cream-based broth and finishes it with smoked pork shoulder. This chowder was… simply amazing. It was creamy and salty but not heavy. It was so damn good I regretted ordering a meal on top of this as I wanted another bowl. I don’t think a rainy day goes by that I don’t think about this dish. They also feature a larger portion for dinner, thank god.

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I then got the GLT, which is the item no longer on their menu. The GLT stands for Guanciale (an Italian style of unsmoked bacon), Lettuce and Tomato. Its a glorified BLT, which is probably one of my favorite sandwiches. It came served with thinly sliced fried chips and some pickled veggies. I loved the flavors of this sandwich but the Guanciale was a wee bit too fatty for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love fat, but this was Fatty with a capital F. Even putting aside my concerns about having a heart attack on the spot, I couldn’t eat more than half of it as it was just too much for me. I ended up wrapping up the other half and eating it later on a flight. It did travel well.

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Overall, the chowder was phenomenal, the service was great, loved the clean simple design of the restaurant, and they have prosecco on tap (so I hear). The sandwich was good but I don’t think I could get it again (and I don’t have a choice as they don’t have it on the menu anymore anyways) as it was just too fatty for me. I’m happy to have West Bridge just around the corner for many more lunches, dinners, and after work libations.

How did West Bridge measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Olivia’s by the Sea, Gloucester

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Where: Olivia’s by the Sea– 78 Thatcher Road, Gloucester, MA 01930
When: July, 2012

Summer in New England, at least for me,  is all about spending time near, on, or in the water. Whether that be on a boat, island, dock or beach there’s just something about breathing in that salty air and having the sun beating down on me that puts me in the best of moods. I wasn’t going to let my broken foot keep me from the beach. I was that girl hobbling along the beach in my bikini and air cast. Keeping it classy.

That being said, whats the best way to wrap up a day at the beach? Seafood, and lots of it.

This particular beach trip to Crane’s Beach landed us at Olivia’s by the Sea afterwards for a late lunch. Olivia’s is casual (you can comfortably go in your beach cover up) but still clean and nice. No frills. The menu, which is extensive, has almost anything you can think of from pasta to sandwiches to fried seafood plates. We opted for the Fisherman’s Platter  which came with fish, shrimp, calamari, and scallops (which we substituted more fish for as I’m allergic) , topped with some onion rings. First of all, this platter should be shared between three people, not two. Its huge. Everything was delicious, as fried food tends to be, and not too greasy or heavy. It was a good end to a beach day.

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Overall, Olivia’s by the Sea has decent service, is clean, and good standard beach fare. There wasn’t anything about Olivia’s that struck me as special or makes me want to rush back though, it lacks  certain charm. I wouldn’t not go back, I just wouldn’t seek it out.

How did Olivia’s by the Seat measure up? 2.75 Spoons!

Yoshi’s, Powderhouse Sq

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Where: Yoshi’s – 132 College Avenue Somerville, MA 02144
When: June, 2012

A few days after I broke my foot a dear friend invited me over to her house (with a pick up and drop off service!) for a movie and sushi. Full of Vicodin and exhausted from carrying my weight around for the last few days I was stoked to get out of the house and have a real evening with little effort.

We ordered from Yoshi’s in Powderhouse Sq, which I hadn’t ordered from since I moved out of Somerville a few years ago. We shared an order of Gyoza and then I got the Seaweed Salad, Spicy Tuna Maki and Sweet Potato Maki. For starters, this was too much food so ended up taking the Seaweed Salad home for another time.

The Gyoza, with “meat” (what kind, I couldn’t tell you) and vegetables, were lightly pan fried and flavorful. The sauce it came with wasn’t particularily good, it tasted very watered down which made me wish I had brought my own bottle from home (from Whole Foods – its the best I’ve found). The sushi was fine, your standard fare, although definitely not our favorite. We both talked about how we prefer Blue Fin and , for me, Super Fusion – both in Porter Sq. The Sweet Potato Maki was a little dry and didn’t have that crunch from the tempura that I hoped for. The Spicy Tuna was a little on the mild side.

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Overall, I wouldn’t actively seek out or suggest Yoshi’s but for delivery its quick and adequate. I wouldn’t order from here again unless knocked out on Vicodin with a broken foot without many other sushi options around. Glowing review, eh?

How did Yoshi’s measure up? 2 Spoons!

Yoshi's on Urbanspoon

The Hong Kong, Harvard Sq

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Where: Hong Kong – 1238 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA
When: May, 2012

One would think after stopping for waffles the night would start wrapping up. But no, not with us. After a long day of being super outdoorsy (drinking on patios and decks) and eating our way down the red line we decided, naturally, to get Chinese food at the Hong Kong, after waffles. For those of you who don’t know, the Hong Kong is a famous Boston spot known for its scorpion bowls, underage drinking, fights, and random drunken shenanigans. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone throwing up outside the Hong Kong after 1am. Most of this takes place on the top two levels where the bar and comedy /dance club are, so we were fairly safe on the first floor, which is a restaurant.

We were seated quickly although the waitstaff seemed a little annoyed that we were even there. We didn’t get friendlier service once seated but the food came out quickly, which is all we really wanted.

We ordered Crab Rangoons, Scallion Pancakes, and Fried Rice. The crab rangoons were your average deep fried greasy variety that tastes phenomenal at 3am but would likely make you nauseous any other time of day. The fried rice was unmemorable. The scallion pancakes, on the other hand, were quite delightful. They were fried, obvi, but not too heavy or oniony. The sauce served with them was tangy and gave it a nice bite.

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Overall, the Hong Kong is what it is. Its a place that’s open late when you want greasy Chinese food and can’t get down to Chinatown. Personally, I wouldn’t go back unless under this circumstance, which I shouldn’t make a habit of.

I did find a fortune in my pocket the next day which was a pleasant surprise. It said: Seeing your smile always brings smiles upon others”. Aw, shucks.

How did the Hong Kong measure up? 1.5 Spoons!

Zinneken’s, Harvard Sq

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Where: Zinneken’s – 1154 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge 02138
When: May, 2012

Twas the day before Memorial day and I was drunk. It was an accident.

The day started at 11am with manicures at a little place in Porter Square. I was grateful that they had Miami Beat, the color I had already on my toes. After that we walked down to Harvard Square and sat outside at the Legal Seafood’s for oysters, salads, and gin and tonics. It was absolutely gorgeous out and one round quickly turned into three rounds. We eventually headed to Dorchester for a friend’s BBQ. There we ate some more, listened to some piano and singing, met lots of new people, and shared some wine. During the BBQ, waffles was brought up consistently so, as the sun went down, we decided we needed to head back to Harvard Sq on a search for waffles.

We waltzed into Zinneken’s and excited looked over the menu, finally settling on the Dame Blanche. The Dame Blanche is a waffle with whipped cream and Belgian chocolate. I eagerly cut the waffle in half before I got to take a photo so you will just need to imagine it as a whole. The waffle was hot and fresh; chocolate warm and gooey; cream light and sweet. It was just as I remembered them from my short visit to Belgium a few years ago.

This waffle was the perfect end to the night. Except we didn’t stop there…

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Overall, from what I remember, the staff were very nice, decor simple and clean, and waffles amazing. I’ll have to go back and take my time enjoying my waffle instead of just inhaling it.

How did Zinneken’s measure up? 4 Spoons!

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

Emma’s Pizza, Kendall Sq

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Where: Emma’s -40 Hampshire Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: April, 2012

Happy Pizza Week!

I’ve been to, and enjoyed, Emma’s quite a few times so was excited to go back and get to write about it. I had plans to go to the Kendall Square Cinema to see Bully beforehand which was great as that gave us plenty to discuss at dinner, not like we need more topics. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend Bully. Its a great documentary about bullying although I need to warn you that it will make you mad. Some kids, and adults I may add, are just damn mean. Be kind, people. Be kind.

Ok, I’ll leave the movie reviews to the movie critics and stick to food.

We got to Emma’s Pizza around 8:30 on a Saturday so expected the worst – a wait. Surprisingly, we only had to wait a few minutes before being seated. Lucky us! I love the atmosphere at Emma’s – its small and cozy, bustling but not loud or crowded. We had a groupon to use but, surprisingly, couldn’t order enough to make it worthwhile to use so we decided to save it for another visit. We got the large Artichoke Hearts, Garlic, House Roasted Tomatoes, Rosemary Sauce, Light Mozzarella, and Ricotta Pizza with the intention of taking some of it home. That, of course, did not happen. I don’t eat a ton of pizza so wouldn’t consider myself anywhere near a connoisseur but have to say I really like the rosemary sauce on this pizza. All the toppings worked really well together as well. As far as pizzas go, its a good one.

Overall, I think Emma’s is such a sweet little place perfect for a date or a night out with friends. The pizza is very good and service serious and swift. I’ll definitely be going back and would love to try one of their salads or something a bit lighter as I always tend to overeat and roll out of there thinking I can’t possibly eat again.

How did Emma’s measure up? 4 Spoons!

Emma's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Evoo, Kendall Sq

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Where: Evoo – 350 3rd Street  Cambridge, MA 02142
When: March, 2012

How is it April already? March has been dubbed Munch Madness as I feel like all I did was eat, whether at home or out. I must slow things down as at this rate I will be plump but broke by the end of the year.

Having never taken part in Boston’s restaurant week I was eager to do so this round. Having wanted to go back to EVOO after a business dinner there last year (where I couldn’t even tell you what I ate as I was too busy being businessy) Libby and I decided to try it out.

I had made a reservation although when we showed up they didn’t even look it up so not sure that was necessary. We were quickly seated and greeted by our waiter, Wes, who was helpful and professional. The space is open but cozy, very welcoming.

20120329-180533.jpgFrom the restaurant week menu Libby started with the Maine Mussels Steamed with Potatoes, Onions, and Thai Green Curry and I had the Cornmeal Crusted Fried Oysters with Goat Cheese Fondue and Apple-Bacon Salsa. Libby liked the mussels saying it was a well prepared flavorful dish. I loved the fried oysters, I could have eaten another dozen of them. The cornmeal crust gave them a nice texture. The goat cheese fondue was really flavorful although a little thicker than I expected – less of a fondue and more of a creamed cheese I would say. Very heavy. I was not a fan of the Apple Bacon Salsa though – the apple was very firm and in large chunks and it was just a strange flavor combination.

For our entrees, Libby had the Seared Arctic 20120329-180543.jpgChar Filet with Celery Root Puree, Curried Roots and Creamy Apple Salad which she said was cooked nicely with a crispy skin but was was on the watery side (which I could see). A “B-” she stated. I had the Braised Lamb-Potato Croquette with Roasted Peppers, Cremini Mushrooms, Pete’s Sweet Pickles, Fried Egg and Lemony Lamb Juice. I actually couldn’t taste much lamb in this which was surprising as I would have thought that flavor would have dominated the others if anything. The sauce was not particularly flavorful and everything was very brown which was a bit unappealing. The egg on top was great. Overall disappointing though.

20120329-180550.jpgFor dessert we decided to split the Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding with Warm Buttermilk Caramel and Spiced Toffee Parsnip Cake with Pistachio Ice Cream. I had high hopes for the bread pudding as I have had some wonderful ones at Chez Henri and Temple Bar but it was really not good. The actual bread pudding was fine but the buttermilk caramel was very strange tasting. It just didn’t work. It was too sweet and had a unnatural taste it, like something you would find at a carnival stand. Dislike! The Spiced Toffee Parsnip Cake on the other hand was delicious.

Overall, the atmosphere and service at EVOO was great but I would not recommend it because the food was inconsistent. Some of the dishes we got were really good but then others were not. What a shame.

How did EVOO measure up? 2.75 Spoons!

EVOO on Urbanspoon