Monday, September 26, 2011


This weekend was a coveted "golden" weekend and I was able to make trip down to NYC where one of the first things I did after arrival was visit Laduree, which recently opened a shop on Madison Avenue.

This Parisian bakery is known for it's macarons, which are so popular that there's been a line going out the door and wrapping around the corner ever since they opened their new location two months ago.

While waiting in line, a random passer-by questioned us: "What are you in line for?"


"What's so good about them? Are they free?"

Nope. They're actually rather pricey - but they're yummy!

*Rolls eyes and walks away*

In all, Daniella and I waited for about an hour and a half (you can see her pictured above with our bags of goodies). You would expect the line to move more quickly - given that all the macarons are pre-made and it should be a simple matter to just box them up and charge the customer. Wrong. The problem is that people are so darn indecisive. They stand there pondering and pondering what flavor(s) to get. C'mon people!!! Are you REALLY going to waste 15 more minutes of your life weighing the benefits of vanilla vs. chocolate? You've already waited in line for over an hour. Make the wait worth it and get both, dammit! My transaction was simple: "How many flavors do you have?"


"Ok give me one of each. Thanks."

The end. The sales-person is happy (I just dropped $45 on a 3-second encounter), I'm happy (yummy macarons!!!), and the people in line behind me are happy (Helllls yeah - one more person down, almost my turn next!).

Were these macarons worth the money? Or more importantly - were they worth the hour and a half of my valuable weekend? Totally. They're light, and airy - almost melting in your mouth. The flavors are true to what is advertised, and the textures of the filling are appropriate to the flavor (for example - the caramel macaron not only had caramel flavored cream, but also had a layer of caramel). By far the best macarons that I've tasted so far (and believe me - I've tried almost all the other macaron places in both NYC and Seattle).

My only warning: I've been told that each one of these babies has almost 200 calories, so don't eat all 15 at once

Frambois (Raspberry):



I'm currently still working on the other 12...

Overall rating: 9/10

864 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Sunday, September 25, 2011

North Street Grille

Last weekend my friend Jesse came up from NYC to check out Harvard's B-school, and we were able to snag brunch together at North Street Grille on my day off:

Jesse got the banana nut waffles with a side of bacon (not pictured):

In honor of my West-coast roots, I decided on the California omelette (avocado, tomatoes, and mushrooms):

The food was yummy, portion sizes were good, and the restaurant was clean and cozy. Not too far outside was an old-looking tree that a bunch of tourists were taking pictures of. Neither Jesse nor I could figure out what was so special about the tree... free cupcake to anyone who can answer that question for me!

Overall rating: 7/10

North Street Grille
229 North Street
Boston, MA 02113

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Neighborhood Restaurant

Last weekend a few of the interns decided that it was about time we started feeling more like people again, and escaped the hospital for brunch at Neighborhood Restaurant in Somerville. This place is popular, and we had to wait for about an hour and a half for a table of 6. My guess is that this isn't an unusual situation, given that they had a table set up with iced tea, coffee, and a cake-like bread for those of us milling around waiting to be seated. (Unfortunately, it took us about an hour of wait-time to figure out where they kept the cups for the iced tea and coffee. Hint: they're in the bottom drawer of the plastic storage bin next to the table)

We were seated in an outdoor patio area that was pretty eclectic and colorful, with *surprise* a bunch of grapes hanging from a wooden lattice-work above our heads.

In any other setting it might be considered romantic, but not here. Looking around at all the rainbow colored umbrellas and neon-colored table-tops, the word "hipster" popped into my head. Don't ask me why. I don't even know what makes someone a hipster - and I don't think that bright colors are necessarily associated with them (in fact, I'm pretty sure that in NYC all the hipsters wear dark jackets and super-skinny jeans (also dark) and ride around on bikes = completely unrelated to what I was seeing at the restaurant).

For brunch at Neighborhood Restaurant, each order comes with your choice of either a fruit bowl, or their special cream of wheat. While waiting in line, we kept hearing people rave about the cream of wheat (if you check the Yelp reviews, they also gush about the cream of wheat) - which was pretty surprising. When people think of cream of wheat, the boxed stuff is usually what comes to mind: not exactly appetizing. But I decided to trust the reviews, and passed up the fruit bowl. I was not disappointed. The cream of wheat was pretty yummy - creamier and sweeter than what Quaker Oats makes, with a dash of cinnamon on top.

For entrees, I shared the Portuguese breakfast and apple cinnamon crepe with Christina. The Portuguese breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, homefries, a crabcake, potato cakes, rice and beans, chorizo, and blood sausage.

The crabcake and potato cake were great, the homefries had some peppers and spices mixed in -which was a nice touch, and scrambled eggs and chorizo are always hard to mess up. As for the blood sausage... I've never tried blood sausage before, and I know it's popular with people in the UK, so I had hopes that it would taste better than it sounds (and taste better than it looks). I was wrong. I should have been fore-warned by the expression on Christina's face when she took her first bite, but I decided to be brave and try some for myself. EPIC DISASTER. It tasted horrible. It isn't even a matter of the texture, and I can normally tolerate liver dishes pretty well, so it wasn't the metallic taste of the heme that bothered me. There was an extra "aroma" (for lack of a better word) that lingers in your mouth which was the real kicker. Perhaps it's an acquired taste... After all, there are people in Australia who love Vegemite, and from everything I've heard, that stuff is also nasty.

The apple cinnamon crepe was a good way to wash away the taste of the blood sausage. Rather than ice cream, it was paired with hand-whipped cream and had a drizzle of caramel on top:

Overall, the food was good, and given the nice weather and the pleasant company, the wait really wasn't too bad. Portion sizes were huge, and we left completely stuffed. Plus, as an added bonus - I now know better than to ever order blood sausage again. We learn something new every day...

Overall rating: 7/10

Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery
25 Bow Street
Somerville, MA 02143