Monday, October 22, 2012


Last night I went out for dinner at Giacomo's in Boston's South End. One of my friends had raved to me on several occasions about the excellent Italian food at Giacomo's, but I've always been turned off by the long line outside of their North End location. Estimated wait time for a table there can be anywhere between 30 minutes to well over an hour.

Fortunately, Giacomo's has a South End location that is less well-known by the tourists, has minimal wait time, and reportedly has food quality on par with their North End location.

For an appetizer we chose the fried calamari which received a large number of good reviews on Yelp. Although not amazing, this dish was decent - the calamari was chewy without being rubbery, and the batter was not too heavy

For entrees there was one stand-out choice that we knew was a MUST, given that almost every Yelp reviewer had positive things to say about it: the butternut squash ravioli. This dish completely lived up to the reviews. The creamy sauce (mascarpone cream with asparagus and prosciutto) was a perfect pairing for the naturally sweet butternut squash filling of the ravioli.

Pictured again is the butternut squash ravioli with an extra dash of Parmesan - which Souheil added to make the picture "more photogenic"

Our second entree was the grilled tuna, which I requested to be prepared rare:

The tuna was accompanied by a potato cake, grilled vegetables, and red wine truffle sauce:

Souheil chose dessert, which was delicious - but I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't remember what it was called. To top it off, after extensive online searching, I couldn't find a single version of the Giacomo's menu that included the dessert selection

Creamy and similar to frozen custard in consistency, dessert looked like a large chocolate truffle, with a topping of raw almonds and cocoa powder. The interior was multi-layered, with the outside a chocolate flavor, and the inside a creamy multi-dimensional flavor that is difficult to describe

Of note, the few bad Yelp reviews of Giacomo's that I read were primarily targeted at the poor service. Once again, the Yelp reviewers were spot-on. I'm not exaggerating when I say that service was terrible. Not only did we feel pressured and time-crunched by the server to make our dinner selections after only several minutes, but on multiple occasions we had a tremendous amount of difficulty getting his attention. Finally, to cap off the evening, before we had completed our meal, the valet went home with Souheil's car keys in his pocket.

It took a bit of effort to track those down, but Souheil was finally reunited with his keys, and we were able to go home - with less than positive things to say about the entire staff

Overall rating: 6/10 (fantastic food but WORST service ever)

431 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Yesterday I had intended to do some shopping on Newbury Street, and yet somehow the only thing that I came home with were cupcakes

Sweet opened about a year ago at it's Newbury location, and also has several others across Boston - including in Harvard Square and Downtown

I've been here several times, and at each visit they've had new flavors to match the season

The guy behind the counter somehow convinced me to buy 4: stating that it would be a "better deal." At the time it didn't even cross my mind that I shouldn't be eating 4 cupcakes.

1. Dark chocolate with vanilla frosting:

2. Pumpkin pie: the icing on this cupcake was whipped and delicious, but the cake part of the cupcake was a bit more dense than I would have liked

3. Apple pie:

This was probably the best of the four, with whipped icing that was so light, it feels like it literally just disappears after touching your tongue. In the center there was a small amount of apple jam:

4. French toast: my least favorite of the four flavors - the icing was too sweet and heavier than that of the apple pie and pumpkin pie cupcakes, and once again the cake was more dense than that found in the apple pie cupcake 

Although not all of the cupcakes were a hit, overall Sweet is one of the better shops that I've found thus far in Boston, and location is ideal for a pick-me-up on an otherwise disappointing shopping day

Overall rating: 7/10

225 Newbury Street,
Boston, MA 02116

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pho Le

Yesterday was the Moon Festival, and while I didn't get to eat any moon-cakes, post-call I did happen to join a few of my co-residents for pho at Pho Le - a restaurant owned by Hau's friends

(Hau is also soon to be known as "boss-man," as he'll be my Chief when I rotate onto the Transplant service next month)

Hau took care of the ordering - given that we trusted him to be most familiar with the menu, and he did a fantastic job.

We started off with two fresh spring-roll appetizers:

1. Fresh spring-rolls with shrimp

2. Fresh spring-rolls with pork

Additionally we had a tofu salad:

For our main courses, all of us except boss-man ordered the traditional pho - the one with ALL the different mixed beef parts. Out of respect for the Buddhist holiday, Hau went vegetarian and had a tofu entree

While Louis and Lyonel got the XL sized portions of pho, Yue-yung and I went one size down:

I personally like my pho with plenty of rooster-chili and oyster sauce mixed in (apparently so does Lyonel - must be a West-coast thing... West side!!! Woooot!):

Probably the best Vietnamese food I've had in Boston thus far, it was definitely worth the trek out to Dorchester. Pho brunch left me warm and sleepy and feeling nice and fuzzy inside (although I think the 24-hour call contributed to the sleepy), soooooo my apologies to Yue-yung if at any point during the car ride home I used her shoulder as a pillow.

Overall rating: 8/10

1356 Dorchester Ave
Dorchester, MA 02122