Tag Archives: somerville

Olecito, Inman Sq

Standard

Where: Olecito – 12 Springfield Street, Cambridge MA
When: June, 2012

I’m a big fan of Ole in Inman Square and, before I started this blog as an excuse to eat out as much as possible, I would come up with excuses to get people to go there with me. “I’m celebrating growing my hair out!”, “I found the perfect nail polish color!”, “I perfected my cursive Gs!”… You get the point. I love Ole.

Because of my immobility (are you sick of hearing about my broken foot yet?) a good friend offered to come over with dinner from Olecito, Ole’s little brother who only does take-away, across the street. I clearly win the competition for world’s greatest friends.

I had picked up dinner from Olecito once before and had gotten the Arrachera Tacos which come with marinated steak, pinto bean spread, jack cheese, lettuce, and avocado sauce per a friend’s recommendation. Although very, very good (its still my friend’s go-to dish from there) it was a little heavy for me so this time I went for the Baja Tacos which come with battered fish (or shrimp), pickled cabbage, chipotle mayo, and cilantro pesto. Oh My My! Now this is what I am talking about.

The Baja Tacos were light, zesty, creamy, crisp, and just exploded in your mouth with flavor. I got two of them but likely could have eaten another two if they had been put in front of me. We also got some chips and guacamole which were delicious, as you can see by the empty guacamole container in front of me in the photo.

Overall, Olecito has a small menu and no seating but if you are looking for a quick, delicious dinner to go – this place is for you.  I’ve never tried anything but the tacos and likely never will as these own my heart.

Ole and Olecito are up there with The Painted Burro and East Coast Grill for my favorite shrimp / fish taco places in the greater Boston area. Olé!

How did Olecito measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Olecito on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Yoshi’s, Powderhouse Sq

Standard

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.

20120602-232913.jpg

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

City Slicker Cafe, Somerville

Standard

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!

20120713-154754.jpg

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

Casa B, Union Sq

Standard

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.

20120514-144515.jpg

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.

20120514-144519.jpg

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.

20120514-144529.jpg

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.

20120514-144546.jpg

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

Painted Burro, Davis Sq – Revisited

Standard

Where: The Painted Burro – 219 Elm Street Somerville, MA
When: May 2012

I’m very fond of the Painted Burro. In fact, in some cultures I may be considered “in love” with the Burro. He makes me very happy.

Lately I have been spending more time at the Painted Burro, it seems to be becoming one of my regular spots.  The have turned me into a big margarita fan.

This last visit started off as just going out for a couple of margaritas but once we got a couple of those in us we wanted food. We ordered the Guacamole “El Mero Mero” with fire roasted poblano & onion rajas and the Crispy Maine Redfish tacos with savoy cabbage, jalapeno slaw and baja mayo.

20120602-233019.jpg

The Burro offers three types of guacamole: one traditional, one with pork belly, and one with peppers and onions. We opted for the third options which was really good. The poblanos weren’t too spicy but gave the guacamole a nice texture and flavor. The guacamole alone would have been great so this was just an added bonus. And the chips… delicious. Not too heavy or greasy like a lot of places.

Its a little hard to tell whats going on in this photo but this is the Crispy Maine Redfish tacos with savoy cabbage, jalapeno slaw and baja mayo.I had had this dish earlier in the week and remembered it being really good (so good I forgot to take a photo before inhaling them) so suggested it again. We both really enjoyed the tacos and found them really filling. They had  just the right amount of crunch, crisp, spice, and creaminess. I think I actually prefer these over the shrimp tacos I got last time I was there.

Overall, I love this place and am upping the spoons I gave them last time. I love the atmosphere, the food is great and the service very good (they forgot to put in our guacamole order so when we asked 30 minutes later they brought it out for free and were very apologetic). I actually just realized why I recognized the bartender, he is / was the bartender at Posto, which is owned by the same people. You know you are in trouble when you start recognizing bartenders from bar to bar, right?

How did The Painted Burro measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

The Painted Burro on Urbanspoon

Highland Kitchen, Porter / Union Sq (ish?)

Standard

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.

20120506-185522.jpg

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.

20120506-185526.jpg

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.

20120506-185532.jpg

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.

20120506-185536.jpg

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…

20120506-185541.jpg

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.

20120506-185545.jpg

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

Andy’s Diner, Porter Sq

Standard

Where: Andy’s Diner –   2030 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA  02140
When: April, 2012

With a friend in from New York for a Kentucky Derby shing ding I thought there was no way she would drag herself out of bed (after only getting in it a few hours earlier) to have brunch with me. But she did! Originally we planed to go to Sofra but after looking over the menu we decided we wanted to try somewhere with more options (not that I would not be completely happy brunching off of donuts alone). I threw around a couple of places, one of them being Andy’s Diner in Porter Sq. I swear I had heard that this place was great as its right next to the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts but I must have misheard as it was far from great.

I actually really like the atmosphere – its this unpretentious diner type place with no frills and slightly curmudgeony older waitresses. The clientele is a good mix of young hipsters and older families. The location is great. Sadly, the food was disappointing.

I got the Denver Omelet which was fine enough but bland and a bit on the dry side. The home fries that came with it were super dry and had no seasoning. I couldn’t even get them to taste good by drowning them in ketchup. Out of everything I ate mostly toast as that was the best thing that came with my meal.

20120506-185609.jpg

Overall, I like the atmosphere but I wouldn’t go back because of the food.

How did Andy’s Diner measure up? 1.25 Spoons!

East Coast Grill, Inman Sq

Standard

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

India Palace, Union Sq

Standard

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

Saloon, Davis Sq

Standard

Where: Saloon – 255 Elm Street Somerville, MA 02144
When: March, 2012

Last Friday, after drinks at Area Four and before drinks at Mead Hall, I met some colleagues, Ken and Theo as well as Panos (did I spell that right?), one of Theo’s friends, for dinner at Saloon in Davis Square. I had been there one other time with Libby for drinks and really liked the atmosphere as well as the cocktail list.

As I waited outside for the boys to be done with their group hair cut (adorable) I got to watch a very, very drunk man who only spoke Spanish heckle the bouncer. The bouncer remained so calm and cool, I was damn impressed as even I wanted to march over and tell him to calm his ass down.  Well done.

After getting our IDs checked (thank you) we headed downstairs where we were quickly seated. Saloon is dark and cool and smells almost musty, but not in a bad way. There is just something in the air that makes you wonder what happened there the night before. Lots and lots of dark wood, area rugs and leather chairs. It felt like the kind of place you would go to for a bourbon and cigar after dinner at your grandfathers house and I liked it.

After hemming and hawing about getting a drink or not (it was going to be a long night) I decided to get the same cocktail that I got last time – the Americana. The Americana is bourbon based with brown sugar, j. thomas bitters, and sparkling wine. Its delicious and although strong it has a lightness to it that makes it feel like a totally acceptable drink to have with dinner.

Next, the menu…

My eye immediately went to the Bubble and Squeak partially because of the name but also because all the ingredients looked so good – some of my favorites. I second guessed by decision wondering if I should get the Grilled Flatiron Steak, which Ken got, or even the Fish and Chips. I decided to stick to my gut feeling and got the Bubble and Squeak. It came with a roasted sausage, mashed root vegetables, shaved brussel spouts, winter leeks, and onion gravy. Everything was cooked really well and the flavors worked really worked together. It was a 20120324-111939.jpgtad under seasoned for me so I added a little salt but otherwise it was great. It was pretty heavy and I sort of wished I had gotten something a little lighter as it was one of those wacky Boston winter days that felt like summer. You definitely won’t leave hungry if you get this dish.

When I asked Ken how his steak was he just glazed over and said “This is all I have ever wanted”. Enough said. Everyone really seemed to enjoy what they got and the only other comment I heard was that the portions were a little on the small side (from Panos). I know this is a blessing for me as I can rarely leave a plate until its been cleaned but I can see how this may be a con for someone with a larger appetite.

Overall great atmosphere, fantastic cocktails, and a small but very good menu. Great place to go with a group of friends, family, a date or just for cocktails. I’d definitely go back.

How did Saloon measure up? 4 Spoons!

Saloon on Urbanspoon