Monday, February 6, 2012

I love exactly three things

And they are buffalo chicken, cheese and honey mustard.

Essay on buffalo chicken to follow.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

C'è di più a North End che la pizza, gli cannoli e piatti di pollo

That means "there's more to the North End than the pizza, cannolis and plates of chicken."

And yes, it is true.

I've been working as an intern at a magazine in the North End for almost a month now. In these four or so weeks, I've gained a newfound appreciation for the neighborhood and the people who live in it. Everyone knows everyone, everyone knows where all the good food places are, and everyone's welcoming and wants you to love the North End as much as they do. Maybe that last one is only true because I'm Italian – like everyone else up there – but hey, it's working for me.

And it's a great place to eat. Not only are there some pretty awesome restaurants in which to enjoy a super fancy dinner, but there are also some awesome delis and coffee shops where you can grab a delicious (and quick) bite for lunch. One of these places is Hot Tomatoes, at 227 Hanover St. The restaurant, which had a North End location years ago, recently reopened in its original neighborhood. More details about that later – I have an interview with the owner in about 40 minutes for The North End Business Journal. What I do know right now is that their food is bomb.

My new favorite thing is what I like to call a "loaded" salad, which is basically a salad with a ton of toppings. It's all part of my new quest to lose weight before I embark on a weeklong spring break cruise to the Bahamas with three friends – yesss. My theory is it's okay to eat a salad with a ton of different veggies and protein in it because I'm avoiding the carbs I would have otherwise eaten in a sandwich (especially since most sandwiches come with fries.) Hot Tomatoes has a bunch of "loaded" salads, so there were plenty of choices.

This is the farmer's market salad. One bite and it's May again and I'm at the Copley farmer's market, buying fresh peppers for sauteeing and big juicy tomatoes for salsa while nibbling on a just-baked loaf of bread. There's a little bit of pasta in it, which I know contradicts my whole no carbs thing, but that's okay – it was filling. In addition to the pasta, this salad is packed with yellow squash, cucumbers, little cubes of cheese and a little bit of goat cheese (there are tomatoes too, but I ate around those.) Delicioso.

ANCHE. At the bottom of my bag, there was a little ball of tinfoil. Curious, I unwrapped it, and, to my delight, discovered these little treasures:

If those aren't the cutest little garlic knots you've ever seen, we need to have a conversation. They're so freaking adorable it's unbelievable. So cute I almost didn't want to eat them. But, of course ... I did.

Anyway, check out Hot Tomatoes if you're ever up here on Hanover Street (who doesn't want to be on Hanover?) You will not be disappointed. I will be back.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


READERS. Pinkberry (or at least the one right off the Harvard Square stop) has brought back the green tea flavor I wrote an obituary for a couple of months ago. They also brought back my second favorite flavor, peanut butter. Aka, reincarnation is real. Made my day. Now get out there and eat them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Back to the drawing board

I'm sitting in a cafe in the North End where I am slowly becoming a regular. It's my second day (and third glass of wine) here this week, and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm also on my second cupcake and third cannoli of the week, but that's besides the point. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Deli dreams

One of the best things about eating, or even life, is coming across hidden gems when you least expect it. I definitely wasn't looking for anything spectacular when I hopped off the silver line and found myself in the most stunningly majestic area of the city I've ever seen – Northern Avenue, right by the harbor. 

This was one of those moments where I snapped out of the daze I basically live in to find myself somewhere I’ve never been before doing something I’ve never done before. Like I said, wasn’t really looking for anything great, wasn’t even really that hungry. I was, however, about 45 minutes early for an event I had to attend for work, and in need of a way to kill time before I had to photograph commencement for the school that I work at.

For those of you who've never had the pleasure of being in that area, let me enlighten you. It’s a busy area, home to the outdoor Bank of America Pavilion (where commencement was taking place), a brand new, three-floor Legal Seafoods complete with a roof deck that overlooks the harbor, and, on that day, an enormous influx of Wentworth parents, friends, and family members crowding up the street and searching for each other in a panic. All this was kind of insane, but what really blew my mind was how somehow, despite the seemingly intense level of activity, the area still managed to appear strangely quiet — it has the kind of stunning majesty associated with the financial district and the brooding, concrete buildings that make up Washington, DC. I was both amazed a little intimidated, and felt like a little ant leaving the anthill for the first time, but rather than scurry away in fear at the intensity of it all, I wanted to curl up into a little ball and make it my home. It was weirdly comforting. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the only thing to the north of the Pavilion is the water itself, the knowing that if you dare “mess” with the area and try to move any further, you’ll find yourself in the Atlantic. I felt like the area was my parent, protecting me from any jerks who might challenge its authority. 
Ok, maybe I sound nuts, but it was really cool, ok? Haters can go suck on some eggs. 

The only thing on this side of town besides the aforementioned huge restaurants and the Pavilion itself was an intriguing looking deli/convenience store called J. Pace and Sons. One glance at the place and I could tell by both the number of customers in there and by the assertive attitude of the workers that it’s famous in that part of the city. It was really busy – although the line circulated the entire deli counter and continued into the racks of wine, it still managed to move very quickly. Clearly, they don't mess around. They seem to be established, know what they want their business to be, and stick to it – at least that's the feeling I got. Like I said, I had nowhere to be for about 45 minutes (and there was nowhere else to sit) so I got in line and ordered a "Big Dig," a huge sandwich with prosciutto, mozzarella, basil, and red peppers. Couldn't have come up with a better combination myself. 

As you can see, I was already well into the sandwich by the time it occurred to me to take a picture. When it comes to sandwiches, it doesn't really take too much to please me. Every Friday, I go to the same Au Bon Pain in Cambridge and order a turkey, swiss, lettuce, and mustard sandwich, and nothing can make me happier in that moment than one of those sandwiches. But hold your horses, I can still appreciate an out of this world sandwich such as this one, I'm Italian, remember? 

I watched the guy at the deli counter take a fresh ball of mozzarella and slice it perfectly for my sandwich, so that of course was wonderful (you all know how I feel about cheese). Watching him slice that cheese ball was a very tempting, almost religious experience ... I felt like it was something I'd been waiting to see my whole life.  He put a lot of fresh basil on it too, something that's always kind of an afterthought to me, but it really does make quite the difference. And the peppers, eh, I'm not a huge fan of red peppers unless they're grilled and served with steak, but they definitely added a nice touch. And what kind of Italian would I be if I didn't go coo coo for prosciutto? (How do you even spell "coo coo?" I don't know). Point is, I love prosciutto a lot, and I put it on a lot of things I cook – especially flatbread pizza! Yum. 

Anyway, if you're ever up in the motherland (Northern Avenue will henceforth be referred to as "the motherland,") check out this great deli. They also have a mini grocery area, where you can pick up essentials as needed. I just googled the place and it turns out they have several locations! Check them out. Trust me, they're the best.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Disney dining dreams (two months later)

As you all know, I am a disgusting human being. Mostly because I have failed to keep you, my sweet readers, informed on the deliciousness that’s been going on in my mouth for the past (almost) month and a half. It’s been crazy times, let me tell you. I think I was burnt out from writing. The last time I posted was the end of June, right before my vacation and my co-op started. Since the only thing I did on vacation was freak out about the fact I had no sources for a story due the day after I came back, you can imagine the last thing I wanted to do to relax was write MORE. Well, enough about me. Let’s get back to deliciousness!
One thing I will say about my vacation (other than all I could think while there was OH MY GOD I’M GONNA DIE), is the quality of the food was hit or miss. I went to Disney World. Those of you who’ve been there can definitely back me up on this. Disney is one of those places where there are several amazingly delicious restaurants run by celebrity chefs and of course attended by some of the world’s most beloved characters. However, it’s also home to McDonaldses disguised as Dinosaur adventure restaurants, bad imitation French food and what is arguably the saddest attempt at beef teriyaki I’ve ever seen. Point is, you gotta know where to go, and once you know where to go, you’ve gotta figure out how you’re going to pay for quality food.
Luckily, my companions on this trip were none other than my wonderful (heee) family. My dad’s the kind of guy who would rather drop $100 for a cab than have to suck it up and deal with public transportation, so, as you may imagine, he has expensive taste. I definitely partially owe the fact I’m obsessed with good quality food to this dude, because he exposed me to fine dining at a very young age. Anyway, while on Mickey’s side of the tracks, we ate at several super fancy restaurants.
Ever heard of the Flying Fish Café? Probably not, but I bet you wish you had. It’s this great restaurant on Disney’s Boardwalk I can never get enough of. It’s probably because of the extremely positive experience I had the first time I ever went there. I don’t remember what the occasion was, but my mom and I were left alone to decide what to do for dinner that night, so, on a whim, we made reservations to sit at the bar for dinner about an hour before we actually showed up. I must have been 16. I just remember sitting down and being greeted by the bartender, a fifty-something New York transplant with short blonde hair arranged in a way that reminded me of the sun…but somehow, not obnoxiously so. Before even handing us a menu, she asked us what we were in the mood for. I mentioned I was a vegetarian (which, as you all know, has since changed), and the next thing I knew, the chef was standing right next to us, asking us how we felt about risotto and grilled veggies, and I’m thinking to myself, “um, I really don’t see why that’s even a question…” They were there for us every step of the way, right down to our after-dinner lattes. That was probably the most fun I as a teenage girl ever had with my mom, the angsty little fuck I was.  
Anyway, even though my dad, brother and sister will never fully understand the awesomeness of the Flying Fish, they still like to go there every time we make the trip down to Disney. Risotto and veggies aside, the place has really great seafood. Whenever I’m at a seafood place with my family, I usually take the opportunity to order lobster, because a) it’s delicious and b) I can’t afford to eat it unless they’re paying for it, but this time, I went crazy and got the scallops. THE SCALLOPS.

They were really good. I remember still being full from lunch so I couldn’t finish them, but they were bomb. And let me tell you, they were BEAUTIFUL with a nice glass of white wine…that belonged to my mother. Sigh. Being underage sucks.
Also, there was a cheese plate, something I'll never object to.

Those little grape things were bomb.
Anyway, I’m getting really hungry just thinking about those scallops…smeared in butter, covered with grilled veggies, cooked to perfection….aaahhh I’m killing myself! And crème brulee for dessert! But we won’t talk about that now, I’ve already decided I’m going to dedicate a post solely to crème brulee.
Another Disney restaurant I became obsessed with on my trip is Blue Zoo, a fabulously trendy seafood (see the trend here?) spot created by none other than celebrity chef Todd English. Ever heard of him? Wow, ignorant. JK I hadn’t heard of him either. Never met him, but based on the look and feel of his restaurant, dude is a Grade-A badass. Everything, from the teriyaki melo I ordered as my entrée to the gold-crusted dessert we shared to my sister’s appetizer flatbread pizza, was high class. I’m sure it’s expensive (but I wouldn’t know, thanks Dad!) so if you’re in the area and looking to splurge, you should check it out.
See that little thing covered in green? That's a risotto cake. It was so moist and delicious, absolutely perfect paired with the fish and its sauces.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So I hate myself for not posting anything in a whole freaking MONTH but I promise I'll post more yumminess later today. And I promise I have been eating. I just started my first co-op so I have been very tired and all written out by the end of the day. I know those excuses are sad and pathetic but I PROMISE I'll post later. I hope we can still be friends.