Thursday, July 26, 2012


On my first real night back in the old 'hood for my friend Julie's wedding, we decided to head over to Momiji for a sushi dinner - because no one does sushi as well as the West Coast.

I've been oddly exhausted since my arrival - in fact almost delirious with exhaustion - so I can hardly remember what happened at dinner or what the food was like. I think it was yummy. Looking back at the pictures, I'm almost positive that everything was delicious - especially since I ate 2 whole rolls and an appetizer all by myself - but details are blurry

Rather than writing a play-by-play of the quality of the food, let's just enjoy the photographic evidence that I was indeed there:


Rainbow Tower: (Julie's) consisting of tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellowtail, and avocado over sushi rice with cilantro aioli, tobiko, and onion

Salmon Tartare: (Mine): Salmon with black tobiko, chives, and wasabi soy mustard sauce


Chirashi Bowl: (Jenn's) Assortment of sashimi over rice

Street Fighter: (Czarina's) Crab mayo mix with cucumber and cilantro topped with 7-spice seared tuna, garlic ponzu, shishito peppers, and jalapenos

Flaming Tuna: (Mine) Spicy tuna, cucumber, and avocado topped with spicy yellowtail, black tobiko, and spicy mayo

Spicy Rainbow: (Mine) Spicy crab mayo mix with cucumber topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, avocado, and tobiko with spicy mayonnaise

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

1522 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yunnan Kitchen

Last weekend was spent in my favorite place ever: NYC (which even after a year of being in Boston, still feels like home). After a full day of shopping in Soho, we decided to head over to the Lower East Side for dinner at Yunnan Kitchen - reported to be one of the best new restaurants in Manhattan.
The restaurant is not very large (which is expected given it's location), and average wait for a table is generally an hour to an hour and a half. However, we were lucky to  have arrived early enough that our wait was less than an hour for a party of 4.

[Another advantage of the restaurant's location is the abundant happy-hour options near-by: 4 Asian girls drinking on an empty stomach = recipe for pre-dinner fun]

The restaurant's menu is designed to be tapas-style: dishes are served as "small plates" with recommendation of 3 per person to satisfy the average appetite. Since we were still relatively full from lunch (and random snacking), we opted for 9 dishes to be shared among the 4 of us:

Tofu Ribbon Salad (Steph's favorite dish of the night): The tofu was combined with mint, cilantro, and just a hint of spice with a small amount of chili.

Wood Ear Mushrooms with Gingko, Celery, and Lily Bulbs: I've never been too big a fan of wood ear mushrooms, but the light garlic sauce and celery was a perfect pairing

Scrambled Egg with Jasmine Flowers (Daniella's favorite): Something that Chinese people realized long before everyone else is the fantastic pairing that tomato makes with egg. The Jasmine flowers added a nice extra dimension, but the best part of this dish was the light and fluffy texture of the egg (unfortunately it's very easy to over-cook scrambled eggs, after which they become too firm)

Crispy Chicken (Favorite of mine and Tiff's): The chicken was very tender and not fried in the typical Southern manner. The batter was minimal, but the chicken itself remained very moist

Lamb Meatballs: The spices coating these meatballs look dangerously strong, but they weren't. The meatballs themselves were well done but not dry

Fried Green Tomatoes (this was one of the specials of the night and not on the usual menu): Like the fried chicken this dish has it's American Southern counter-part, which it bore absolutely no resemblance to. The tomatoes had been only lightly stir-fried, followed by seasoning with a mix of peppers and spices, then chilled. The result was a refreshing and light

Cold Noodles with Ground Pork, Peanuts, and Fresh Herbs: This dish was absolutely delicious. Although you can't appreciate it in the picture, the noodles had a light tangy sauce with a hint of vinegar and chili

Mushroom Rice Cakes with Fermented Chilis:

Chinese Sausage Fried Rice: The rice used in this dish was a little chewy and sticky, which was a perfect pairing with the dried Chinese sausages

Everything we tried at Yunnan Kitchen was delicious, and prices were very reasonable. The amount of food that we ordered was perfect, and we left the restaurant feeling stuffed and happy. The best part of the night though, was running into old friends in the middle of dinner: we spotted our med-school pals Jenn and Jesse walking outside as they were scouting down a good post-tennis dinner place. Several hugs and "hello's" later, they unfortunately decided to eat elsewhere, because by then the wait for a table was too long for their grumbling stomachs to tolerate

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Yunnan Kitchen
79 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002

*Note the photographs in this post were again taken on my trusty Droid's camera, since my DSLR was not immediately available at the time*

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Paris Creperie

Today I found myself at the Paris Creperie for lunch, but my trusty DSLR was sitting at home, so I decided to create a post with photographs shot on my Droid's camera instead.

The Paris Creperie is located conveniently in Coolidge Corner, and is always pretty packed with young people. Their menu has a nice selection of both sweet and savory crepes, as well as delicious smoothies.

I decided to try the Smoked Salmon Crepe: slices of smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers. Although they were maybe a bit stingy with the salmon, the crepe was otherwise very good. The cream cheese and capers paired well with the salmon (obviously - as this is a VERY common combination) and the crepe itself had a nice hint of sweet that wasn't overwhelming

Louis ordered the Steak and Cheese Crepe which was exactly what it sounds like - sliced beef with American cheese, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Although you can't tell from my picture, his crepe was well-stuffed (much more so than mine was) with plenty of beef.

I might have been able to get a better shot had I pulled off the wrapper and manipulated the crepe a little, but somehow I don't think Louis would have appreciated the mutilation of his lunch...

I definitely plan to stop by again - this time with a real camera - and will hopefully be able to do more justice to my documentation of the food next time.

Overall rating: 6.5/10

Paris Creperie
278 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446


I've never had Afghan food before, and yesterday seemed as good a time as any, so my friend Christina and I decided to have dinner at Ariana in Allston.

Initially upon first stepping inside, we both paused and did a bit of a double-take. Christina finally broke the silence by asking: "Um... Did I just bring you to a date place??!!"

Although Yelp reports that the dress is "casual," Ariana has a very intimate and romantic sort of feel. The lighting is dim, the tables are each set with a candle, and the seating is primarily made for groups of 2 or (rarely) 4 (granted tables can obviously be pushed together to accommodate larger parties if necessary).

For an appetizer we each ordered the Kaddo, because it was gushed-over on all of the reviews on Yelp. This dish is a piece of baby pumpkin that has been seasoned with sugar, initially pan-fried, then baked to a melt-in-your-mouth softness and finally served with a mint yogurt sauce, as well as topped with a ground beef sauce.

This appetizer was beyond yummy - completely worthy of the praise it had received from other reviewers. The mix of salty and sweet was perfect, and the textures of the pumpkin worked well with the beef.

For an entree Christina ordered the Dopiaza: marinated and grilled leg of lamb served on a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with a puree of split peas and onions lightly marinated with vinegar, as well as a side of mushrooms and rice. The lamb was tender and not too gamey - although the dish wasn't exactly amazing, it was solid

My entree was the Kofta Challow: beef and onion meatballs, topped with a sauce made of sun-dried tomatoes, special mix of Afghan seasoning, spicy peppers, fresh tomato sauce, and green peas. There were very few green peas, not very much spice, and only a few sun-dried tomato pieces, but the meatballs were well-prepared, the tomatoes were more sweet than sour, and overall the dish was satisfying

Although (as I've already mentioned) I had never tried Afghan food before, my impression now is that it's not all that different than Turkish or other Middle-Eastern-style cuisine, but Ariana's Kaddo appetizer is pretty stand-out and definitely worth a try

Overall rating: 8/10

129 Brighton Avenue
Boston, MA 02134

Monday, July 9, 2012

Super Fusion

At this rate it's not going to be long before I've tried all the sushi places in the Boston-area.

 Yesterday was another scorcher so when it came to dinner, Laura and I were in the mood for something unheated - hence sushi.

Super Fusion is a tiny -as she described- "hole in the wall" place located in Washington Square that has more "Zagat-rated" signs on it's walls than it has chairs for seating customers. No joke - the entire restaurant consisted of two tables of 2, one table of 4, and a sushi bar that seats 4. When we arrived we had a little bit of a wait (approx 30 minutes), simply because of the minimal seating availability, but fortunately the restaurant is right next door to Athan's Bakery... let's just say that part of the wait time was spent gawking

 By the time we were seated, I was hungry enough to start with an appetizer, and chose the  spicy tuna salad: it consists of raw tuna, tobiko, and tempura crumbs mixed with a little spicy mayo. For those who are fans of raw fish, this was delicious. There were large tuna chunks mixed in with the more finely diced pieces - which made the overall texture better

Laura ordered the Brown Belt dinner combination, which consisted of one piece of tuna sushi, one salmon sushi, one shrimp sushi, one spicy tuna roll, and an eel avocado roll with cucumber:

I chose the Black Forest Maki: eel with sweet potato tempura, cucumber, black tobiko, and topped with eel sauce

as well as the Spider Roll: soft shell crab tempura with avocado, cucumber, tobiko, and eel sauce. The soft shell crab was HUGE, and combined with the avocado and eel sauce it was absolutely yummy

 I can understand why this place has so many positive reviews: the sushi they serve is well-made and the prices are pretty hard to beat. If you're not claustrophobic and don't mind dining in cramped spaces, it's definitely worth a visit.

If you ARE claustrophobic, take a beta-blocker, some Ativan, suck it up, and go anyway!

One final thing I thought worth mentioning - even though it was approx. 90 degrees yesterday, Laura still drank hot green tea with her meal * because that's what you're supposed to do at sushi dinner * what a trooper!

Overall rating: 8/10

Super Fusion
690A Washington Street
Brookline, MA 02446

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Elephant Walk

This weekend my friend from home Vera came for a visit, and in honor of her Cambodian roots we went to Elephant Walk for dinner.

They have a multitude of locations, but we decided to go to the one in Fenway. The menu is divided into two categories: French and Cambodian - with no real fusion dishes. Although a part of me is curious to know what a French-Cambodian fusion entree would be like, I appreciated the option to order a traditional Cambodian dish - especially since Cambodian cuisine isn't exactly common in the Boston (or even from what I could tell - the NYC) restaurant scene.

To start off with, we ordered the Nyoum Trasak Cambodian salad: sliced cucumber, chicken, red bell peppers, chilled soba noodles, basil, mint, crushed peanuts, and chili-lime dressing. It was hot and muggy all weekend, and the salad was refreshing thanks to the combination of mint, lime, and crisp bell peppers

For entrees, Vera ordered the Loc Lac: beef tenderloin cut into cubes and caramelized in a sauce composed of black pepper, mushroom soy, and garlic. The beef was well-done but still tender, and the sauce had just the perfect degree of sweetness

I chose the Khar Saiko Kroeung: boneless beef short-rib with jasmine rice seasoned with scallion oil. The beef short-rib was yummy enough - like the Loc Lac the sauce was sweetened- but the best part was the jasmine rice with scallions. I'm normally not much of a rice consumer, but this time I finished all of it

Finally, for dessert we shared the Gateau de Banane Carmilisee: banana custard with pate brisee pastry, and caramelized banana-flavored pastry cream. The pastry was rather thick and was the consistency of the crust that you get with Costco pumpkin  pie - perhaps even a bit firmer. The banana-flavored pastry cream was also a strange consistency. After being caramelized it was almost similar to marshmallow fluff in texture and flavor. I'm not a fan of marshmallow, so this didn't sit well with me

It's strange for me to be leave a restaurant with the feeling that dessert was the worst part of the meal, but that was the case here. I'm sure plenty of people out there will disagree with me, but marshmallow = NOT YUMMY

Overall rating: 6.5/10

Elephant Walk
900 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Buttery

One of the most highly recommended brunch places in Boston (at least among my colleagues/friends) is The Buttery in the South End, so that's where I ended up yesterday morning.

The South End is not an easy area to navigate for a non-native of Boston, as there are tons of one-way-only roads and oober narrow streets. Somehow we got lucky though, and managed to snag a parking spot immediately in front of the restaurant: it was the first sign that the morning was going to be a good one

The restaurant was pretty busy when we arrived, but we managed to get two seats at the bar without having to wait. The front of The Buttery is an area where people can order coffee or pastries to go, while seating for those who plan to dine-in is towards the back. This is a clever ploy on their part, since walking by their display of baked goods on the way to our seats got me hungryyyyyy.

I ordered a blueberry scone to start, which came with clotted cream and fresh strawberry preserves. The strawberry preserves and clotted cream were delicious! For all intents and purposes, the scone itself was just a vehicle for me to enjoy the condiments. I was a little disappointed that the scone wasn't fresh-out-of-the-oven warm, but the orgasmic yumminess of the everything else more than compensated

For entrees, Vera ordered the New England Crab Cake Sandwich with a side of Parmesan-garlic fries. According to her, it was probably one of the best crab cakes EVER. The fries were also good, but not nearly as awesome as the truffle-Parmesan fries that we had eaten at 28 Degrees the night before

I ordered the Buttery Breakfast, which consisted of two eggs (I asked for mine scrambled), two pancakes, and two sausages.

The pancakes were probably the best part of the entree: they were light and fluffy, with just a tiny bit of crispness at the edges

The food at The Buttery rivals many of my favorite places in NYC, and was in fact much better than several places that receive tons more hype (*hem* * hem* Balthazar). Highly recommended

Overall rating: 8.5/10

The Buttery

314 Shawmut Avenue
Boston, MA 02118

Sunday, July 1, 2012

28 Degrees

It took me the longest time to recognize that South Boston and Boston's South End were two different entities. You always hear about people getting shot in South Boston, and it's also the place where my car got taken when it was towed for being on the wrong side of the road on street-cleaning day. So when I first moved to the city and a friend from home suggested that I try some of the highly-recommended fine-dining in Boston's South End, I thought she was insane. How could there possibly be fine-dining in an area known for gang wars (ok maybe a *bit* of an exaggeration) and purse-snatching???

I finally got straightened out, and last night a few of us went out to dinner at 28 Degrees in Boston's South End. When we first walked in, the scene seemed like a mix between a bar, a club, and a restaurant. Decor was an attempt at oober-trendy, but they seemed to be trying a little toooo hard. There was what appeared to be a bachelorette party at the bar, and a few handfuls of young male professionals lurking near-by.

One in-arguably cool thing in the restaurant though, was the water display on the ceiling in the bathrooms. If only there were fish in there too...

The menu was an American version of tapas, with a mix of "small plates" and "big plates." I ordered the yellow fin tuna tartare:

I thought the tuna was a little bit too finely diced, but otherwise the dish was good. The fish was fresh, and there was a perfect hint of lemon.

My friend from home Vera ordered the steak tacos:

Eliza decided on a cheese plate:

Louis ordered the BBQ ribs "big plate" which was accompanied by mango coleslaw:

Caroline chose the tomato, basil, and mozzarella pizza:

We also ordered truffle Parmesan fries for the table, which out-shone my tartare. The amount of truffle oil seasoning the fries was perfect - strong enough that the ketchup and aoli sauce served on the side were completely unnecessary, but not overwhelming. (Unfortunately we were so excited to dig into them that I completely forgot to snap a shot)

Instead, included is a pic of two of BIDMC's best PGY-2's

Overall rating: 6.5/10

28 Degrees
1 Appleton Street
Boston, MA 02116