Prezza

Prezza is a small, upscale Italian restaurant conveniently located next to La Summa (!!!) in the North End.

Two weeks ago, I met my dad and aunt there for a spontaneous dinner after class on a Thursday evening. If you can’t tell, I seriously love my family who have been so generous to me since I’ve been in Boston.

Okay so I only got a couple pictures of our appetizers (thanks to my dad!) and I lost two of the pictures (oops), but below my absolute favorite of the three starters we tried is pictured.

Crispy Shrimp, Italian slaw and cherry pepper aioli

Now, I don’t usually like to look my food in the eye while I’m eating it, (bad joke, I know), but these shrimp were amazing! The coating was crispy while still being light and totally not greasy which is always a win with fried food.

We also got the Braised Short Rib, sunchoke puree and fried sunchokes as well as the Buffalo Mozzarella, roasted baby artichoke, roasted red pepper, olive oil, aged balsamic and fresh basil. Both were superb and I wish I had pictures of both (mostly so I can be reminded of how great they were).

For an entree, I ordered the Scallops, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, guanciale, and cauliflower puree.

Scallops, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, guanciale, cauliflower puree

These scallops were so amazing. The portion was so generous and absolutely satisfying because the flavors in this dish were so great. There is a surprising smokiness from the guanciale in the dish that I particularly loved.

Cod Oreganata, gnocchi, tomato, black olives, capers and anchovy

Above, is my aunt’s Cod Oreganata, gnocchi, tomato, black olives, capers and anchovy. I got to steal a bite, and this was so delicious. The fish was so light, but it complimented the acidic red sauce perfectly. It was great.

Veal Porter House, saffron lobster risotto and broccoli rabe

Pictured above was my father’s entree of Veal Porter House, saffron lobster risotto and broccoli rabe. I was only allowed to try the saffron lobster risotto which was fantastic.

Prezza is a definite splurge kind of meal but everything there is delicious. It’s a modern take on Italian food, however, everything here is so wonderful and carefully created that it is nonetheless, timeless.

Until next time! Xx

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Russell House Tavern

This was an awesome meal which made for a perfect Sunday. Last weekend, my cousin Amy treated me to brunch after seeing the incredibly Tavi Gevinson speak at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge.

We started off brunch with a half-dozen oysters. We got half Chatham oysters and half Wellfleets which were served with a Sweet Pickle Mignonette and Old Bay Cocktail Sauce (also some Tabasco when you ask nicely).

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Half-dozen Chatham and Wellfleet oysters

I don’t know how to talk about oysters and what qualifies a prime oyster, because I’m just an 18-year-old dilettante of food critique. However, I do know what I do and do not like in oysters so I’ll tell you about these based on that. The Wellfleets were meat-y, tender, salty, but it didn’t feel like you were drinking straight up salt water. With a squeeze of lemon, some Old Bay cocktail sauce and a few drops of Tabasco, they were just how I like my oysters. These were my favorite. The Chatham’s were bigger and brinier compared to the Wellfleets. They weren’t my kind of oyster, but with some cocktail sauce and tabasco on top, I nonetheless greatly enjoyed them!

 

Alright and now for the main course…

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Stuffed Brioche French Toast

Now what was this glorious stack of Brioche french toast stuffed with?

Nutella and candied hazelnuts.

And what is that topping the french toast?

Oh, just some torched bananas, powdered sugar and real maple syrup.

Was this dish amazing?

Yes, yes, YES!

I almost never order a sweet brunch dish. This dish looked too good to pass up though (well, and I got a side of bacon too which was also delicious), and I am so glad I ordered it. The crusty was chewy and the center melted in your mouth. The bananas added great flavor and I loved the crunch of the hazelnuts to add some varied texture.

 

When you ask for recommendations for brunch places in Boston, Russell House Tavern will always be named and for good reason. If you’re in town, make a reservation and visit for a brunch you can trust.

And now for some behind the scenes of me being that ridiculous person who takes pictures of everything she eats courtesy of wonderful cousin.

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Obviously, I make dining out very fun.

Until next time! Xx

Saus

This weekend, I had two really great meals that I’m so excited to be sharing this week and next.

On Friday night, I had an early dinner at Saus.  This restaurant is located location near Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market which tend to be tourist traps. However, Saus is tucked on a cobblestone street serving made-from-scratch comfort food like belgian-style fries and waffles. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that the fries have fifteen different dipping sauce options.

I went to Saus with my friend Christine, a fellow food lover, before we saw a musical over at Boston College (which was fantastic and I have to admit made me miss my theater days). When Christine and I go out to eat together, we have a tendency to order quite the smorgasbord of menu items. Since we were trying a new place this time, we definitely went a tad crazy, but it was a treat night.

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Starting top left (clockwise): Veggie Croquettes; Shaved Brussels Sprouts; Bread N’ Butter Pickles; Poutine; Crispy Wild Mushrooms

The Veggie Croquettes were so yummy. They were made from mashed potato, cauliflower, carrots and served with the Samurai sauce which is chili paste and Saus house-made mayo. They were crunchy on the outside and creamy in the inside. The Samurai sauce is really well paired with this dish because it’s unexpected but definitely complimentary in flavor to the croquettes.

Next, the Shaved Brussels Sprouts which come with a blue cheese vinegarette were amazing. They have a sprinkle of bacon bits on top which makes this dish reminiscent of a chopped wedge salad. This was totally delicious and made me wish that all wedge salads were made with shaved brussel sprouts.

The Bread N’ Butter Pickles were also great. I loved these because, although they were sweet as most are, they also had a slight saltier, dill flavor to them providing an interesting a tasty twist on traditional bread and butter pickles.

Okay, so this Poutine was great. Homemade fries topped with homemade gravy and Pineland Farms (a home state favorite!!!) cheese curds – basically it couldn’t go wrong. If you like putting malt vinegar on your french fries, don’t hesitate to put a couple shakes on these! We did and it was fantastic!

Now these Crispy Wild Mushrooms, were awesome. They’re a variety of fried, breaded cremini, portobello, oyster, shiitake mushrooms served with the Saturday Night Chive sauce. I personally liked the oyster mushroomed the best in this snack, and the Saturday Night Chive was great to balance out the oiliness and saltiness of the fried food. However, these are also pretty awesome dipped in the Samurai sauce.

Okay, so when authentic Belgian waffles (made with pearl sugar!!!) are available…

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Left: Waffle with Lemon Cream; Right: Waffle with Salted Caramel

The waffles are insane. Enough said. My favorite was the waffle with Lemon Cream but the Salted Caramel was also great.

Overall, this place is totally awesome. It’s pretty affordable if you’re looking for a treat. That being said, this place is a once-in-awhile kind of treat because let’s be honest – they fry their vegetables.

I’ll see you next week! Until then! Xx

Here and There: Parent’s Weekend!

This past weekend was very exciting because it was Parents’ Weekend at Emerson. This meant a weekend well spent with my parents and free of the dining hall! We had lots of great meals so let’s get started…

On Friday we had lunch at Union Oyster House which is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the United States. The atmosphere is very fun with the restaurant decorated wall-to-wall in Boston paraphernalia.

Below is the clam chowder and corn bread that I enjoyed.

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Cornbread and Clam Chowder at Union Oyster House

Later that night, we had dinner at La Summa since it was a quick walk from where my parents were staying. My mom and I both got the Pappardelle e Melanzane which is fresh wide noodle pasta gently tossed with thin pieces of eggplant, lightly flavored with basil and garlic in Marinara sauce.

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Pappardelle e Melanzane from La Summa

This dish was so delicious. I love eggplant parmesan, but I wanted something lighter that night, and this dish was perfect. It has all of the same flavors with the piles of fresh pasta and tender eggplant in a creamy marinara sauce but much simpler and arguably more flavorful.

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So yummy!

On Saturday morning we went over to the South End to try The Beehive. This restaurant was such an awesome discovery. The food was delicious and the service was so welcoming and friendly.

I ordered the crisp salmon cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise.

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Crisp Salmon Cakes, Poached Egg, Hollandaise Sauce from The Beehive

I love that this dish was served with a side salad because the salmon cakes were quite hearty with potato mixed in so you didn’t miss the carbs which generally come with brunch dishes. The hollandaise was just right and the eggs were poached just how I like them. The salad had a nice, light balsamic dressing on it to round out the dish. I would highly recommend this if you like eggs benedict but want to try something new!

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And finally, I went back to The Thinking Cup with my mom later that day so I could taste test their Vanilla Ginger Latte.

The Vanilla Ginger Latte was much better than the Cinnamon Honey Latte I reviewed in my last Here and There post. The cinnamon in the last latte clashed with the bitterness in the espresso, but the vanilla ginger latte was the perfect amount of sweetness with a little zing from the ginger.

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Also, we each got a Salted Caramel Blondie which was so good. It was caramely and crumbly but also had a surprisingly rich buttery flavor which was just delicious. It really complimented the latte well.

That is all for this week! A huge thank you to my parents who treated me very well this weekend! You are welcome any weekend in Boston 😉

Until next time. Xx

Myers + Chang

I love Asian food. Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, you name it, and I love it. I was intrigued and excited at the prospect of a new restaurant following these cuisines when I heard about Myers + Chang, which serves Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese food in the South End of Boston. The menu is very similar to my favorite restaurant in Portland, Empire, and Myers + Chang certainly didn’t disappoint in its delivery.

At Myers + Chang the menu consists of shareable dishes and depending on your hunger level, they suggest ordering 1-3 dishes per person. Therefore, there are lots of dishes you will see below because 1) I was having a special dinner with my dad and aunt, and 2) we were all very hungry. Here are some of my favorite dishes from our meal.

Sticky Glazed Lamb Ribs

At the restaurant, typically you order everything at once, and the kitchen sends out the food as it is made so your food is made as fresh as possible. The Sticky Glazed Lamb Ribs was the first dish to come out, and it was amazing. I didn’t expect to like them, and initially I didn’t want to try them because I don’t like to eat lamb, but they looked so amazing when they came out that I couldn’t resist. The meat was tender, and the “sticky glaze” complimenting with a sweet flavor to balance the savoriness of the lamb. I definitely recommend ordering these if you eat meat!

Esti’s Hot + Sour Soup

Okay so this Hot + Sour Soup was amazing. Empire had my favorite version for a really long time, but Myers + Chang really hit it out of the park with this one. The soup had lots of tofu, mushrooms, cabbage and the juiciest, mini pork meatballs. It was a great twist on a staple. My favorite part was how the broth was really flavorful, but it was thinner than most hot and sour soups which was why I particularly loved this soup.

Braised Pork Belly Buns

I never pass up an opportunity for bao. These Braised Pork Belly Buns did not disappoint. Braised pork belly on a light as air bao with the crunch of housemade pickles – you can’t go wrong.

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Fried Chicken + Ginger Waffles

The Fried Chicken + Ginger Waffles was one of the highlights of the meal for me. The chicken was moist and the waffle was flavorful. The pinnacle of this dish is the surprising sauce. It’s a sweet, chili garlic sauce that perfectly rounds out the dish.

Below are some of the other delicious items we ordered:

Pomegranate Vinegared Duck Wings

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Ming’s Market Greens

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Mama Chang’s Pork + Chive Dumpling

Twice-Cooked Lamb Belly Stirfry

Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps

If you save time for dessert get the Coconut Cream Pie! It’s made by Flour Bakery so it is guaranteed delicious.

Coconut Cream Pie from Flour Bakery

Until next time. Xx

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Here and There

So today, I have a bunch of mini reviews of some recently enjoyed things from my first month in Boston. Here we go!

My Thai Vegan Cafe is around the corner from campus and is consistently rated one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Boston.

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I ordered the Curry Vermicelli Plus which was stir-fried vermicelli with spicy yellow curry, coconut sauce, bean sprouts, onions, scallions, and carrot strips plus a combined mix of veggie-chicken and veggie-beef, veggie-shrimp, tofu and gluten. served with fresh bean sprouts, ground peanuts, lime slice and our own sweet-and-sour sauce.

My dish was very good, however, I expected it to be like a Singapore Noodle-style dish, but it wasn’t. Instead it was more like a yellow thai curry, which still tasted great, but it was more decadent than I really wanted that night. Luckily the garnish of bean sprouts added a nice fresh and crunchy element to the dish to balance out the creaminess. Other highlights from the meal included trying their various selections of veggie “meats”  and the homemade mango bubble tea made with coconut milk. The latter was great. I’m still undecided on the veggie “meats”, but I plan to go back and try more dishes because I was definitely intrigued.

Next! I finally got to go to Sweetgreen! Sweetgreen is a chain of salad restaurants from D.C. to NYC to Boston that focus on serving the freshest, local ingredients. I love-love-loved this place.

I ordered the Wild Child grain bowl which has organic wild rice + organic baby spinach, cilantro, peppers, raw beets, shredded cabbage, carrots, raw seeds, avocado, miso sesame ginger dressing. I also added their roasted tofu for some protein.

I ordered right off the menu and got the Wild Child grain bowl which was one of my favorite salads I’ve ever had. I also added their roasted tofu for some protein (even though without it, the salad would be plenty filling). I loved Sweetgreen because of how easy and customizable they make salads. When you are in the mood for a salad, sometimes it’s hard to find a place where you feel like you’re actually eating fresh vegetables and not just dressing and toppings. At Sweetgreen, there is a huge emphasis on eating the freshest vegetables in the tastiest ways. I wish these places were all over the place because I’m all about healthy and affordable fast food places.

And now onto the Boston Public Market! There was so much to try there, and I know I’ll definitely be back to try more vendors (so keep an eye out for more posts when I do), but on a recent visit I tried two of the most intriguing vendors.

First was the Red Apple Farm which I was definitely inclined towards visiting since it’s apple picking season, but I haven’t been able to go! However, below you can see that I’m not missing out on the best part of apple picking – cider donuts!

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The finished product…

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The donuts were great and not mention only a $1 a piece! However, the warm cider (not pictured) cost $4 which is a little too expensive for my taste and wasn’t nearly as spiced as I’d like it to be.

Then after walking around for a bit, I went to Bon Me to get a bahn mi! It was delicious and the awkwardly angled photo below does not do it justice.

The sandwich comes on a crusty but soft french roll and has pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, red onion, housemade spicy mayo, and pork pate. You can pick a filling for the sandwich, and I chose the Chinese BBQ pork which was great and not like the sticky, bright red pork you expect from most Chinese restaurants. The pork was really flavorful and tender. Some of the pork pieces were a little too fatty for my taste, but it was only one or two pieces so it didn’t detract from the sandwich too much. The sandwich was huge and only cost $6.96 with tax. Totally affordable and absolutely delicious.

And finally… The Thinking Cup! This little coffee place is a little nook on campus known for serving the highly acclaimed Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee as well as their amazing grilled cheeses. I haven’t been able to try one of their grilled cheeses yet, but I did get to try their Honey Cinnamon latte.

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Honey Cinnamon Latte at the Thinking Cup

I am not a coffee drinker, but there are times when I need that little burst of caffeine so when that comes I always lean towards lattes over coffee. I was excited to try a latte at The Thinking Cup because if you like adding a flavoring (like I do) than you can choose from some of their homemade syrups. I opted for the honey cinnamon syrup. Overall, the latte was quite good however, it was quite dark for my liking, and I found that the cinnamon in the syrup only emphasized the bitterness. I probably won’t get this again, but I’d love to try some of the other flavorings for their lattes (especially the vanilla ginger one!) plus I need to try one of their highly recommended grilled cheeses!

Thank you for reading! Until next time! Xx

Breakfast and Brownstones

On Sunday, one of my roommates and I woke up before the college student sunrise (noon) and walked less than a half mile around the corner from our dorm to Mike and Patty’s.

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Nestled into the corner of Fayette Street and Church Street, Mike and Patty’s is a 175-square foot restaurant known for their incredible brunch sandwiches which attract crowds. On this Sunday, they didn’t disappoint.

I expected there to be a line around the block, but we were pleasantly surprised to find the sidewalks of the neighborhood empty and two (out of the four) seats inside available.

I ordered the sandwich they are most known for, the Fancy. The Fancy has two fried eggs, cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, red onions and house-mayo on toasted multigrain bread.

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This aerial shot doesn’t do it justice.

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There we go.

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Like come on.

This was one of the best breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The bacon was thick-cut and applewood smoked. The egg was perfect (whites hard, yolk runny). The avocado was creamy and the red onion added a nice bite. Plus, the housemade mayo was flavorful without weighing down the sandwich. And in my opinion if you want to take this sandwich to the next level, add a drizzle of sriracha. In short, A++.

My roommate ordered the Jerry Jam (White bean hummus, spiced sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, roasted tomatoes, curried & carmelized onions, honey whipped ricotta, sprouts and green goddess on rosemary focaccia) minus the tomatoes and ricotta. She said it was also great. I stole a bite of one of the roasted sweet potatoes off the sandwich, and I could have eaten an entire plate of just those.

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Breakfast at Mike and Patty’s was absolutely delicious, and the location itself had charm. The staff was friendly and helpful. Despite the small space, they even encouraged us to stay and eat there. With this view, we couldn’t say no.

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Price wise, for a breakfast sandwich and small coffee it was between $12 and $13 so breakfast isn’t necessarily cheap. For my roommate and I, we didn’t mind the price since we have it in our budget to eat out once or twice a week. It makes all those dining hall meals worth it when you treat yourself on the weekend.

So if you find yourself looking for a breakfast place in Boston, visit Mike and Patty’s and take a stroll around the brownstone lined streets. In this Fall weather, it makes for a dreamy morning.

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See ya next time! Xx

La Summa

Okay so confession…

Coming to Boston I did have a couple spots that I already knew I loved. Most of these places are in the North End because that is where my family tends to gravitate toward eating while we are visiting Boston. When visiting the North End, most people don’t stray away from Hanover Street or Salem Street but some of the best restaurants, I believe, happen to be on the side streets. One of these restaurants is a small place called La Summa.

Last Sunday after a weekend home, my mom and godmother drove me back down to Boston and before heading back to my dorm they treated me to a nice Italian dinner allowing me to dodge the dining hall one more night 🙂

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We had been to La Summa before so I was excited to feast upon some damn fine, authentic Italian food. We started our meal with a special seasonal salad which was really great, but I didn’t take any pictures of it because I was hungry and forgot.. oops! However, above and below are pictures of the entree I ordered. I got a dish called Pollo Limone. It consisted of chicken breast in a light egg batter over fresh spinach pasta, artichoke hearts, and sautéed spinach which were all in a lemon butter sauce and topped with fontina cheese. It was good as it sounds, trust me.

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The chicken breast was well cooked while still being tender, and I loved the chicken coated in the egg batter because it forms an airy almost tempura like coating but remains light and doesn’t have the heaviness of being fried. The pasta was perfect and al dente and made me never want to eat pasta from a box again. The vegetables were all very complimentary to the dish and bonus points for the artichokes not having any tough outer leaves! The sauce was quite good and reminded me a slightly heavier, more decadent piccata sauce without capers. Plus the fontina cheese was really nice and complimented the creaminess that came from the butter in the sauce. This meal definitely earned an A+ grade.

After the meal we totally went to Mike’s Pastry, but I have had one too many cannoli from being in Boston so I got my all time favorite baked good, a black and white cookie. However, no pictures were taken of said cookie because I scarfed it down before returning to my dorm.

Overall, the experience at La Summa was really wonderful. The ambience of the restaurant makes you feel like you’re having a nice family dinner at home, and the food is authentic and truly delicious. This is definitely a favorite spot of mine in Boston, but it isn’t necessarily college-kid friendly in price so I’ll be saving this one for when the parents come to visit 🙂

Until next time. Xx