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Upcoming Event: Boston Restaurant Week, Summer 2011

It’s that time of year: the list of restaurants participating in Boston’s summer Restaurant Week has been released here. During Week 1: August 14-19 and Week 2: August 21-26 (generally no Fridays or Saturdays), the participating restaurants offer a 2-course lunch for $15.11, 3-course lunch for $20.11, and 3-course dinner for $33.11 and some may have additional deals. I’ve taken advantage of past Restaurant Weeks, but usually only manage to squeeze a couple places every time.

Here are the ones I’ve visited:

Upstairs on the Square*  91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, MA

Henrietta’s Table 1 Bennett St., Cambridge, MA

Harvest 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA

Masa 439 Tremont St., Boston, MA

And ones I’m still itching to try:

Sibling Rivalry 525 Tremont St., Boston, MA

Sportello 348 Congress St., Boston, MA

Tremont 647 647 Tremont St., Boston, MA

*(Personal favorite! I’ve already made reservations there.)

Pizza @ Figs

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Look at that! Yes, that is calamari on top of a pizza.

img_1449Here’s the whole thing – Fried Calamari pizza with a delightfully spicy tomato sauce, topped with arugula, fried calamari and a creamy lemon aioli sauce. Hard to eat without dropping half the calamari on your plate, but worth trying.

img_1448This is the Roasted Pulled Chicken pizza – with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, pesto, and scallions. Awesome. Not pictured: the Classico di Baffetti with basil oil, tomato sauce, and shaved parmesan grana – which I’m eating as I type. And getting greasy fingerprints on my keyboard.

We ordered 3 pizzas to feed 5 girls. Little did we know, they are HUGE. After stuffing ourselves to the brim, each of us went home with at least 2 large slices of pie. The pizzas are a little pricey ($12-19) – but totally worth it, in quality and the sheer amount of food you get.

Figs
67 Main St, Charlestown, MA
Website and menu here.

Review: Corner Grille

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As the sign states, ‘pizza pies’ are what you can expect to find at the Corner Grille – but these are not your average pizza pies. If you don’t live in or near Worcester, MA, you probably haven’t been to this unassuming little shop – even if you do live nearby, the Corner Grille is much more of a well-kept neighborhood secret than a pizza destination for most people. Well, friends, you are missing out. Corner Grille pizza is, by far, my favorite pizza ever.

What’s so special about this pizza? Is it the creative toppings – from caesar salad to butternut squash to caramelized onions – or the uber-thin, burnt around the edges crust? I’m sure it’s something different for every Corner Grille aficionado – but for me, a good pizza is all about the crust. The thinner, the better. Theirs has a pleasantly crispy, slightly burnt edge that tastes of pizza oven cracklings – you really can’t get much better than that.
gimme more pizza!

Review: Crema Cafe

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Is it possible to fall in love with a sandwich? Because I have.

One day, I stumbled upon Crema Cafe in Harvard Square. I was cold and in need of coffee, and I pushed my way through the hoardes of Harvard students to the counter, where I bought a croissant and a coffee. The coffee hit the spot, but I wouldn’t say it was especially memorable. The croissant was…a croissant. Flaky, buttery, but I’m not really a connoisseur of croissants.

A few weeks later, I ended up at Crema Cafe again. This time, with friends in tow, we decided to have lunch. And then, it happened – I fell in love with a sandwich. The Crema Chicken Sandwich, to be exact – grilled chicken and avocado slathered with a “zesty” corn and cheese spread, on white bread, grilled/pressed. OH. MY. GOD. I cannot get enough of this sandwich. It has a “zesty” kick, with the melty cheese and creamy avocado, large chunks of chicken, and the crusty bread…it’s everything I could ever ask for in a sandwich.

Since that fateful day, I have been to Crema Cafe literally every time I’m in Harvard Square. I also tried the Spinach Artichoke Chicken Sandwich – chicken and a creamy spinach/artichoke spread on a crusty focaccia, grilled. Delicious, but not quite as awesome as the other one. Their other sandwiches, soups, and the like look mighty tasty too.

Ok, so the food is great. The atmosphere could use a little help. Well, it’s just that it’s always so crowded – with Harvard students (ick) and moms with babies (double ick). The lines are usually long, and the staff aren’t too friendly. Crowded can be a good thing, but not when I always have to hover for a table because some Harvardite is taking up an entire table for 4 with their laptop and books. Once the weather warms up, Crema will  have room for outdoor seating – much preferable to cozying up with screaming babies and laptops.

In short, I could eat that sandwich every day. But next time, I will probably take it to go.

Crema Cafe, 27 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA

Psst…It’s Restaurant Week in Boston!

If you live in the Boston area, be sure to take advantage of Restaurant Week 2009.
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When: Sunday, March 15-Friday, March 20 AND Sunday, March 22-Friday, March 27
Where: Boston, Cambridge, plus suburbs
What: 2 course course lunch for $15.09, 3 course lunch for $20.09, 3 course dinner for $33.09 at your favorite restaurants
Why: Because the recession is going strong, and you haven’t been out to dinner in awhile.

A few that I know are good:
Chez Henri, 1 Shepard St, Cambridge, MA
Henrietta’s Table, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA
Upstairs on the Square, 91 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA

A few that I’m itching to try:
Amelia’s Trattoria, 111 Harvard St, Cambridge, MA
EVOO, 118 Beacon St, Somerville, MA
Sibling Rivalry, 525 Tremont St, Boston, MA

For the complete list of participating restaurants, visit bostonusa.com.

Review: Picco Restuarant

I’d never been to the South End in Boston before this past Monday – as it turns out, this quaint neighborhood appears to have quite a few restaurant gems. My friend and I tried Picco’s, a wood-grilled pizza and homemade ice cream place. While the service was a bit slow, we didn’t mind waiting at our sidewalk table, enjoying the perfect weather for an outdoor meal. The Greek salad was a good starter, full of juicy olives and salty feta, which we followed with a signature pizza – the Red Pepper, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Pizza. It came heaped with arugula and Parmesan shavings, and was served over a can with a flame inside, to keep it hot – it really hit the spot. We were too full to try the ice cream – I guess we’ll just have to come back another time.

Sibling Rivalry and Aquitaine were close by – I’ll have to visit the South End more often!

Picco Restaurant, 513 Tremont St, Boston, MA
http://www.piccorestaurant.com

Providence Restaurant Week

Sunday July 15th – Saturday July 21st

For a relatively small city, Providence has, in my opinion, a lot of great restaurants and, next week, over 50 of them will offer three-course lunch and dinner menus(for $12.95 and $29.95). Have you been dying to check out that super nice restaurant? Well, here’s your chance! For the full list and menus, check out their website.

Some that I already know are good:
Mill’s Tavern, 101 North Main Street
Red Stripe, 465 Angell Street
CAV, 14 Imperial Place

Some that I want to check out:
Caffe Dolce Vita, 59 DePascquale Avenue (Federal Hill)
Rue De L’Espoir, 99 Hope Street
New Rivers, 7 Steeple Street

Review: Pakarang

Had a second birthday dinner last night, this time with my friends! We went to Pakarang on South Main Street, which I had been to with my parents once. It was very tasty both times around and lives up to its sign, which advertises “Exquisite Thai Food.” The restaurant itself is really cool- when you first walk in, you feel like you’re in some sort of cave, and then it opens up into the dining room, which has an underwater/ocean theme with coral and shells decorating the walls.

The menu has a large selection of main dishes, including various curries, meats, and noodle dishes. Definitely vegetarian friendly (you can get tofu in anything) but they have alot of different meat and fish dishes too. None of us ordered appetizers, and most of us ordered curry. I had the Choo Chee Curry with tofu, which is a milder curry (well, I think it’s pretty mild) of carrots, summer squash, red peppers, and snow peas in a creamy and slightly spicy, peanutty-curry sauce- very tasty. Other people had Pad Thai, Red Curry, and the Chicken Pineapple. Everyone cleaned their plate, so I’d say we were happy campers! For the huge portions you get, most dishes are reasonably priced in the $8-10 range. The restaurant is nice enough for a date, and casual enough for a weeknight Thai craving. They also do takeout, and their menu is online.

303 South Main Street, Providence, RI

Also, there’s another Thai place that I’ve been too called Sawaddee Thai Restuarant, which is pretty good too. It’s very small though, so get there early or expect to wait.

93 Hope Street, Providence, RI

Review: Kabob & Curry



My parents and I went to Kabob & Curry on Thayer St. this past weekend for an early birthday dinner. I love Indian food, and had never really had it until last year, but now I’m always on the lookout for a good Indian place. I think I found it! Originally, I had heard mixed reviews- usually along the lines of either “It’s not authentic Indian” or “The food is good, but the service sucks.” I can’t really vouche for the first statement, seeing as I can’t tell authentic from non-authentic, but there were some Indian people there so that’s a good sign, I guess? The second statement did hold true though.

I had made a reservation for 4 of us at 6:45pm. It was crowded when we arrived, but there didn’t seem to be a wait. Despite that fact, we had to wait nearly 15 minutes to be seated, while people without reservations were just waltzing in and getting tables. Not cool. We were too hungry to be patient. The service wasn’t that great in general, but whatev. The restaurant was pretty crowded, a good sign, but a bit noisy.

On to the food! The food was great! They have an extensive menu and weekly specials, so you’re sure to find something delicious. I always get garlic naan and vegetable curry, I’m not that adventurous. I had the Goan Vegetable Curry- very tasty and just spicy enough to burn my throat but not chap my lips. That’s the way I like it. Mom had something with “20 spices,” which was ridiculously fragrant and tasty. I don’t remember what everyone else had, but we were all very satisfied. We also shared garlic/cilantro naan and naan stuffed with potato and peas for appetizers. I heard their samosas are the best, but we didn’t get any. The ‘rents got wine, but my friend and I were ignored for drinks (also not cool).

So, all in all, the food is great Indian, authentic or not, but the service isn’t so great. Just be patient, the food is worth the wait! And if you can’t make the trek to Providence, there are recipes on their website!

Kabob & Curry, 261 Thayer St., Providence, RI 02912

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