Tag Archives: seafood

Strega Waterfront, Seaport

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Where: Strega – One Marina Park Drive (56 Northern Ave), Boston MA
When: July 2012

I rarely head to the Seaport district so jumped at the chance to check out Strega Waterfront (not to be confused with Strega in the North End) on a gorgeous Boston summer night. We headed down there with a group after work and were promptly, thanks to a reservation, seated outside. So nice to be able to sit outside with a view of the water while eating.

We started with a bottle of wine (which led to a few more) and one of the specials which was like the Fritto di Calamari, lightly deep-fried fresh calamari served with marinara sauce, but with a variety of seafood. This dish was good but could have been a little crisper, they were a little on the soft side for me. It was also a bit messy looking. We also, unfortunately found a hair in the dish, so pointed it out to our waiter who quickly replaced it. I’d like to think it belonged to someone at the table but that’s unlikely.

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I then split a salad and main dish. For the salad we got the La Strega Salad which is baby arugula, grapefruit, walnuts and shaved parmigiano cheese in a citrus vinaigrette. The salad was light but bursting with citrus flavor, the perfect dish for sitting outside on a warm summer night.

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Now, for the pièce de résistance, the Ravioli Aragosta – Lobster filled ravioli finished in a crabmeat cream sauce. OH MY. I could have eaten the entire plate and then some but was grateful to be sharing as these little pillows are decadent. The sauce, which was delicate but rich, was probably my favorite part. I’d put that sauce on anything. Pass the bread please.

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Overall, Strega is a great spot for sitting on the water as well as people watching. The service was good and ravioli blew my socks off. I wasn’t impressed with our starter, especially with that rogue hair which really brought my review down. Good spot for families or groups of friends.

How did Strega Waterfront measure up? 3 Spoons!

Strega Waterfront on Urbanspoon

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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!

East Coast Grill, Inman Sq

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Where: East Coast Grill -1271 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: April, 2012

Well, I haven’t been this impressed with a restaurant in a while! East Coast Grill has been around as long as I can remember and I have never heard anything but rave reviews so I can’t really tell you why I haven’t been there before. Maybe its because they always seem so crowded anytime I have gone by? Or maybe I don’t spend enough time in Inman Sq? I don’t know but I do know that I will be going back often.

20120428-081344.jpg We got there around 8pm and sat at the bar for a drink while waiting for a table. We squeezed ourselves into the two seats right by the window, in front of the oyster bar, where we were sure we were cramping the date next to us. The bar and restaurant alike are both busy and lively but, other than the two little seats we snagged, doesn’t feel too crowded. We both ordered the House Margaritas which came with Sauza Conmemorativo Tequila & Grand Marnier.I’ve recently become a big Margarita fan and these were spot on. Frankly, I don’t know if they could taste any better.

A table was ready for us about 10 minutes later. Everything on the menu looked great, its all seafood and bbq which I think is a great combo, but a couple of things stood out. For starters, the oysters of course.

Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the house oysters as well as the oysters they had on special. He said they always have the Island Creek Oysters from Duxbury as they just think those are the best. We were sold and got a half dozen to share. They were delicious, just lovely.

We then got an order of the 1/2 Pound of Buffalo Fried Gulf White Shrimp with Maytag Blue Cheese Dip & Celery Sticks. I have been obsessed with buffalo shrimp ever since having them at Red Bones years ago (back when I was a pescatarian so alternated between the buffalo shrimp and catfish fingers) so anytime I see them on the menu I have to get them. These were great big juicy shrimp just lightly battered and fried then smothered in buffalo sauce. Delicious.

For my entree I got another starter as I already had a good amount of oysters, shrimp, and margarita in me. I ordered the Chile Crusted Black ‘n Blue Tuna Taco with Arugula, Avocado, Lime Pickled Jicama & an Orange – Chipotle Glaze. Holy crap, you guys. This was the best taco I have ever had in my life. No joke. It was exploding with flavor and yet was light and fresh. Amazing.

Overall, fantastic service, great atmosphere, and amazing food. Great place for a group (make a reservation), with friends or even on a date. I would go back anytime, just let me know when you are available.

How did East Coast Grill measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

East Coast Grill on Urbanspoon

Ciopinno, Recipe

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20111230-152649.jpgFor the last 5-6 years my dad and I have been making Ciopinno for Christmas dinner. Not being Italian I am not sure exactly how this tradition started but it was a one time thing that ended up sticking around.

With Christmas usually being just the two of us this is a great one-pot meal which is uncomplicated but fancy enough for company. This Christmas my mum flew in from California and my brother and his son from Japan so our family gathering almost tripled! Thankfully there is always enough Ciopinno to go around and then some.

I don’t love all of Giada De Laurentiis’ meals but this one is a keeper. To the point and delicious.

Don’t forget to pick up a loaf of crusty bread to go along side of it.

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Ciopinno
From Giada De Laurentiis

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound manila clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks

20111230-152704.jpgHeat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

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20111230-152736.jpgFor dessert dad busted out his cigar lighter, I mean torch, for crème brûlée. He makes one mean crème brûlée and whats better than being able to play with your food?

Yet another delicious Christmas at the Plants, or the Poinsettias as a friend dubbed us (get it? Holiday Plants!)

I’ll leave you with this photo of my dad’s pup, Arrow, guarding the Christmas tree. Happy Holidays!

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(Note my dad’s fancy Christmas gift tags, aka post-it notes)