Boston Eats

I’ve been living in Boston for a solid few months now, and I’ve managed to make some good food finds. My busy class schedule and decreased budget has led to me eating out far less than I was last year in Jerusalem, but Noah and I have still had the occasional meal out!

One of the most exciting food finds in the city is the newly-opened Boston Public Market. Opening just this past summer, the Boston Public Market is an indoor food hall featuring local vendors. There are produce, meat, and cheese vendors as well as specialty food shops and a variety of prepared food stalls. The inside of the Market is busy and colorful with seating areas smattered throughout the floor plan:

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It was hard to choose what to get for lunch, but eventually Noah and I settled on some top-notch items. Noah got a mac and cheese from the Cellars at Jasper Hills (from Vermont!) stall:

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I ordered a smoked bluefish roll from the Boston Smoked Fish Company:

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The sandwich was messy – but delicious! Noah and I also shared a brown-butter hazelnut crunch Union Square Donut.

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Union Square Donuts is based in…you guessed it!…Union Square in Somerville, and it is an extremely popular, local donut shop with lots of funky flavors. The donut was certainly good, although I don’t think donuts are my favorite sweet treat.

Noah and I also discovered a great diner in Watertown – the Deluxe Town Diner. We went to Deluxe Town Diner in a little bit of a pinch. Friends were in town visiting and we had ignorantly assumed that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a brunch spot in Cambridge without a two-hour wait. Turns out reservations are a must, and we had to drive out to Watertown to find good food with friendly wait-times. By the time we were seated, our brunch had turned into lunch time, so everyone was hungry! We ordered coffees and milkshakes to start:

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Followed by an assortment of eggs, potatoes, toasts, and pancakes:

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So so so good. I would love to go back here from another brunch!

Speaking of brunch, after the failed attempts to go to a Cambridge brunch (as described above), Noah and I were eager to try one of the places we had originally intended to go to. On top of my brunch-planning game now, I made a reservation at Cafe Luna for a couple weeks ahead. When we eventually had a meal there, it was clear why it’s so hard to get in! The food is great, but the space is also pretty small so there’s not a ton of table turnover. Noah and I both ordered egg dishes and shared a half order of stuffed french toast (with lots of fresh berries!).

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Definitely another winner!

I’ve also had some great dinners in the area. Two of my favorites places so far are just around the corner from mine and Noah’s apartment. The first is Cambridge Common. It’s a very casual bar/restaurant with really high quality, homey dishes. Noah and I ordered a salmon and rice dish, cheese ravioli in a pesto sauce, and sweet potato fries to share:

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The other nearby gem is Giulia. Giulia is an Italian restaurant that is a bit more fancy but still reasonably priced. I would also generally suggest a reservation to eat there (we were lucky to get a seat at the bar!). 

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We shared pasta and fish (which was amazing!):

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And since we were celebrating (first week of the semester!), we splurged for dessert with a chocolate torte and affogato (ice cream and espresso):

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Giulia was an instant favorite for me – definitely a great date night locale.

Finally, City Girl Cafe in Inman Square was another instant favorite. The menu at City Girl is on the shorter side, but all of the dishes looked really good and it was hard to make an order decision. I went with a friend who recommended it, and we enjoyed sharing a few dishes: fried ravioli, a quinoa/vegetable bowl, and Nicoise salad:

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And…although it’s not really a restaurant, Noah and I had a fun date night at the Downeast Cider House cidery. We had a tour of the cidery (complete with samples!) and then enjoyed a couple glasses of classic and pumpkin Downeast Cider.

These are the fermentation barrels:

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And the bottling machinery:

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Enjoying cider! Can you spot the photo bomber??:

 

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Great times eating and drinking around Boston!

 

 

The Green Mill

The Green Mill is a restaurant chain in Minnesota and other midwest states. Known best for serving pizza, they also have a broad restaurant menu as well as a full bar. Today I went to the Uptown Minneapolis location with my roomies from breakfast brunch lunch (how does time fly by in the morning?!).

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Yes, that is my finger in the picture. Just in case you don’t have enough of me as it is. 🙂

The meal started with the bruschetta appetizer and a strawberry smoothie:

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The bruschetta was pretty impressive – cheese melted onto the bread, served with plenty of veggies, cheese, and an olive tapenade.

For the meal we ordered a thai chicken salad:

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Veggie burger with fruit:

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And a walleye sandwich with asain slaw:

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I ordered the walleye sandwich. It was lightly breaded and topped with parmesan cheese. Delish! The asain slaw wasn’t the greatest…I was expecting something veggie based and was surprised to find it was more of a noodle dish.

The food was good, but nothing too spectacular. The menu was a typical ‘we do everything’ restaurant and was, quite frankly, a bit overwhelming to order from. Maybe I am just too indecisive at restaurants, but I have a lot of trouble ordering if there are a dozen sections in the menu! This is an okay spot for a quick meal in Uptown when the better restaurants are too crowded (we ended up eating here since there was too long of a wait at Uptown Diner), but I would put a lot of other places before it.

Applesauce Oat Bread and Brunch

I’ve always felt like brunch is an inconvenient creation. I always want breakfast. And I always want lunch. So brunch becomes an awkward middle meal where I never know whether to try to hold out and be starving or eat before and be full….

I’m lucky to have such problems. Alas, this weekend I had a brunch scheduled. It was a fairly late brunch – 11:30 – so I tried to solve the above dilemma by eating  a smaller sized breakfast as soon as I woke up:

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In the mix: yogurt, fiber one, strawberries, banana, and coconut whip (the cream from a can of coconut milk with just a tad of vanilla. See here for a tutorial).

I then hit the gym for some NROLFW and a quick burst on the stairmaster before coming home to make my brunch contribution: applesauce oatmeal bread! The recipe I used was from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book, and I made a few minor adjustments. full recipe below

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1 cup oats:

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Add 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda:

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In a separate bowl, mix together 1 egg, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 cup water:

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix it all up:

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Bake for 55 minutes at 350°.

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Allow to cool before slicing:

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This definitely had the taste of a healthy bread – a little dry and oaty. But I enjoyed and will particularly be looking forward to for breakfast later in the week! Maybe with peanut butter…or hummus…or as french toast. Only time will tell. 🙂

Ingredients
 - 1 cup all-purpose flour
 - 1 cup whole wheat flour
 - 1 cup oats
 - 4 teaspoons baking powder
 - 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 - 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 - 1/2 teaspoon cloves
 - 1 egg
 - 3/4 cup applesauce
- 1/2 brown sugar
- 1/2 water
- 2 tablespoons oil
Method
In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg, applesauce, brown sugar, water, and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. 
Pour into a greased bread pan at bake at 350° for 55 minutes. 
Allow to cool before slicing.

The rest of brunch was yum-azing. There were homemade caramel pecan rolls:

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Crustless quiche:

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French toast casserole:

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Plus fruit and juice boxes:

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This is my plate with a sampling of everything:

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A chocolate cinnamon roll came out of the oven a little later which I also sampled.

I hold by my original statement that the timing of brunch is monstrously inconvenient, but this meal was so delicious I wasn’t too bothered. 🙂

The Herkimer

I tried The Herkimer in Uptown for the first time today.

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It’s right in the heart of Uptown on Lyndale between Lake and Lagoon. I got a Groupon for brunch here a couple months ago, and I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to use it:

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It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to sit outside. Everyone else seemed to feel the same way, and the outdoor tables were packed while the inside was pretty deserted. There was a cute dog at the table next to us:

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I will admit, my expectations for the food at the Herkimer were not too high. I figured it would be regular bar food – standard fare cooked in a way that wasn’t anything special. I was wrong! The food was a lot better than I expected, and there were several interesting items on the menu that looked delicious. I settled on a breakfast burrito (without sausage and without sour cream). The burrito came with cheese, eggs, onions, potatoes, black bean spread, and a side of guacamole:

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Very yummy! Two of my table mates got the veggie burger which was a homemade mix of quinoa, black beans, pico de gallo, and almond basil pesto. One person ordered the burger with a side salad and the other with sweet potato fries:

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I didn’t taste the burger myself, but it got very positive reviews. The other order at our table was an ALT sandwich (avocade, lettuce and tomato):

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This sandwich was also greatly enjoyed.

Overall, the Herkimer was a pleasant surprise – and it’s only a few blocks from home! I would definitely go back here.

Keys Cafe Bakery

If you are ever in downtown Minneapolis for breakfast/brunch, there are really only two options as far as I’m concerned: Hell’s Kitchen and Keys Cafe Bakery at the Foshay. Keys, like Hell’s, serves breakfast lunch and dinner but, also like Hell’s, really shines with their breakfast menu.

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Keys has more standard fare than Hill’s, but there are still a few unique items on the menu (blueberry bran pancakes anyone?). The regular items – omelettes, scrambles, pancakes, eggs benedict, etc. – are all served freshly and deliciously with large servings and they taste just. plain. good.

When you walk in the door, you are greeted by a display case of oversize and delicious looking desserts, a la Cafe Latte.

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cookies!

Deciding what to get for breakfast was tough since so many things looked good, but we had an eclectic sampling at our table. First off, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee:

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I ordered a fruit plate that came with cottage cheese, homemade wheat toast, and homemade strawberry jam:

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Other family members got a buckwheat pancake with granola (the granola was cooked into the pancake):

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Cinnamon bread french toast:

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And huevos rancheros which came with eggs, refried beans, salsa, American fries (small diced breakfast potatoes), and two enormous flour tortillas:

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Holy yum! Everything was great. While there, I also perused their lunch and dinner menu and thought those looked appealing as well. Plus, if I were there for lunch or dinner maybe I could get one of the desserts. 🙂

Butter Bakery Cafe

I’ve had my eye on Butter Bakery Cafe for quite a while. I actually tried to go there for lunch once before, but I ended up at an abandoned storefront (they had changed locations and I was not aware). Their new location, and the one pictured here, is at 37th and Nicollet. I would describe the interior, briefly, as adorable.

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As soon as you walk in, you are greeted by a mouth-watering display of various baked goods:

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Some menu items are listed on chalkboards behind the counter, but a more extensive menu is also available on paper for you to look at:

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Added bonus…they love the earth:

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Butter describes their dishes as ‘extraordinarily ordinary,’ meaning they serve comforting old favorite dishes – but they do it extraordinarily well. After finally trying their food for myself (which – by the way – is all made from scratch and sourced from small and local farms/businesses whenever possible), I would say I agree with their description.

I ordered biscuits with mushroom gravy topped with one scrambled egg, plus a side of seasonal veggies. Unfortunately, we went in the mid-afternoon and they were out of their homemade biscuits, but they offered it to me on whole wheat bread. An offer which I accepted. 🙂

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My dad and brother got turkey sandwiches:

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And my mom got a small chicken salad with a bowl of thai chicken soup:

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Everything was fabulous. I will definitely be coming back here and might even go so far to say that I would make it a regular stop for when I go out for a quick and casual meal. My only regrets were 1) they were out of biscuits and 2) I wasn’t hungry for any of their award-winning and drool-inspiring desserts. Next time. 🙂

Out and About in DC

My DC posts are all a bit delayed as I was too busy with my friends and at the AIPAC conference to write them in real time, but you can enjoy them now….and it’s sort of like I get to enjoy the experiences TWICE!

For my first full day in DC, we got up to have ‘breakfast’ (quotes since it was approximately noon) at the American City Diner. Since the diner was only a few blocks away, we walked there.

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This was a truly traditional American diner – jukebox and everything!

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Our table was on an indoor patio, and we had a view across the street.

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The menu had all the diner essentials: milkshakes, eggs, home fries, french fries, and sandwiches of many colors. I ordered the Eggs Florentine, and it was so good I completely forgot to take a picture before eating it. Oh well!

After brunch, we headed out to explore DC. Stops included:
– the Washington Monument
– the Freer Art Gallery
– the Capitol
– the Sculpture Garden
– the National Gallery of Art

At the Freer, two things stuck out to me. The first was the Peacock Room. In addition to being great simply due to it’s name, the golden paintings of peacocks within were very beautiful:

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The second was ‘Monkeys Grasping for the Moon,’ a sculpture (of sorts) by Xu Bing.

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The monkeys sculpture hangs down from the ceiling, with the word for ‘monkey’ artistically written in 21 languages and strung together, a la monkeys in a barrel. The sculpture runs from the ceiling, down through several museum levels, and finishes just above a pool of water on the lowermost level.

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The pool is meant to represent a lake shimmering with the reflection of the moon. The piece is inspired by a Chinese folktale in which a group of monkeys unite in an attempt to capture the moon. To do so, they link arms and tails to form a chain from the branch of a tree to the moon. When they reach the ‘moon’ though, it is only to discover that it is really just a reflection on the surface of the pool beneath them. The moral of the story is that often times the things we work hardest for are nothing but illusions.

Continuing our art education for the day, we stopped by the National Gallery of Art. We didn’t originally intend to go, but we (meaning me) were drawn in by an advertisement for a photo exhibit called Faking It. The exhibit focused on the manipulation of photos prior to photoshop and other modern technologies. The gallery in its entirety is quite immense though, and we made several detours on our search for the Faking It exhibit. Example A, mobiles in the ‘colored paper’ gallery:

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Will they move if we blow on them??

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After the long day of exploring, we were looking for someone to eat dinner that would be delicious, affordable, and good for accommodating a large group. The answer was found at Indique Heights in the Friendship Heights neighborhood.

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I’m not always a huge fan of Indian food, but I really enjoyed my meal here. Of course, it’s hard to not to enjoy a meal when you are with such great company:

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The service and restaurant atmosphere were both great. There were sauces on the table when we arrived…

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…and the food arrived much quicker than anyone expected. One of the reasons I think I don’t always enjoy Indian food is that the dishes start to get monotonous for me. Luckily, Indique offered a Thalis (combination dish) with small portions of several menu items. I ordered the Vegetarian Thalis, and got a sampling of 4 different vegetarian dishes, lentils, mango rice pudding, and raita. Plus naan and rice. This was too much food to finish, but it was delicious and good for sharing around the table!

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Among the dishes others enjoyed were lamb biryani and chicken tikka makhani:

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Everyone enjoyed their meal, and if I lived in DC I would definitely come back to this restaurant. Since I was taking pictures throughout the meal, Cameron perused my blog to get the scoop.

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Now you’re famous! 🙂