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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: tapas

imag1234My friend Jesse moved back to Boston after being away in California for 9 years. We celebrated his move back to the bean by heading over to Fairsted Kitchen. See my previous post here. Jesse was pumped about this because it’s just steps from their new home.

imag1236Of course we had the scallops, just an amazing dish – cooked perfectly!

imag1238The sweetbreads were tasty – not something I would normally order but I’m glad Jesse persuaded me to try them.

imag1240The lobster beignets were light and delicious served on top of a light corn salad.

imag1235The gnocchi was perfectly cooked as well and simply light as air.

imag1241We had the blueberry pie for dessert. I’m not generally a blueberry pie kind of gal, I like more of a crust to my pie, but this was delicious – like biting into summer, not too sweet and the graham cracker crust gave it some good texture.

imag1242I usually turn my nose up at pot de creme desserts – chocolate desserts (at restaurants in general) usually don’t have effort put into them. However, this was outstanding – and I stand corrected about chocolate desserts. This was light and flavorful – a really delicious dessert. I am pretty sure we I licked the cup clean.

Fairsted Kitchen

1704 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

http://fairstedkitchen.com/

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I’ve been to Casa B once before. This time, we sat upstairs and had a totally different experience. Our waiter was amazing – great service, good suggestions, a really nice guy.

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They bring fried plantains to the table to snack on.

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I decided to try their raspberry lime rickey that was both sweet and tart!

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The only thing that I had last time that we repeated was the cheese plate – it’s too good to pass up. The dulce de leche is so delicious you (I) find yourself scraping at the wooden board for every last bite.

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A goat cheese with an ash rind.

IMG_2012And a cow’s milk cheese with guava preserve. The cheese plate came with grilled iggy’s bread brushed with olive oil.

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The albondingas ($10) are organic beef meatballsin guava + tomato sauce. A little sweet and a little savory – a really nice combination.

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The sandwich de pollo ($10) was grilled free range chicken thighs, sautéed onions, crispy shallots + grandma’s ketchup. This dish was a little  messy to eat (I still can’t figure out how I was trying to be lady like and cut it and then it ended up all over my shirt…thank goodness I had a jacket!) but it was probably my favorite. The chicken was well seasoned and the sauteed onions were a nice contrast to the crispy shallots.

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The choripan ($16) is chorizo and guava wrapped in puff pastry. We joked with our waiter that it’s kind of like a gourmet pig in a blanket. I love the sweetness of the guava paired with the smoky and salty chorizo and the buttery puffy pastry tied it all together nicely.

IMG_2016Of course we HAD to have the ice cream sandwiches ($12) – they won’t be on the menu for much longer. This time, I paced myself through my meal so that I would have enough room for dessert. The cookie on the rum raisin sandwich was delicious.

IMG_2017Of course I loved everything about the pistachio ice cream sandwich – the cookie was salty and delicious.

IMG_2019The chocolate hazelnut was SO rich!

What’s your go to tapas restaurant?

Casa B

253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA

www.casabrestaurant.com

 
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IMAG0233Casa B is located in Somerville in the Union Square neighborhood. We made a reservation using Soon Spoon – reserving with Soon Spoon allows you early access to their amazing pop ups.

IMAG0208Casa B offers Spanish Caribbean tapas. They have a bright and sunny room at street level and a more intimate dining experience downstairs.

IMAG0209We grab an early bird reservation and sit downstairs at the bar. Instead of bread they have fried plantains served with delicious dip.

IMAG0213What’s great about sitting downstairs at the bar is that it is basically like sitting at a chef’s table. We get to watch all of our food being prepared and the service is excellent!

IMAG0214They have an extensive cocktail list – can’t remember what this drink was, but think it had gin in it, and it was fruity and not too sweet – needless to say I drank this a little too quickly!

IMAG0217We start with the tabla de quesos ($18) a selection by the chef of three cheeses, served with guava preserve, figs with dulce de leche and salted Spanish almonds. All of the choices are delicious, and to be honest, I don’t particularly care for stinky cheese, but that dulce de leche is mind blowing…and the fig….just get out of town. The cheese plate comes with grilled iggy’s bread.

IMAG0218The bunuelos ($9) are Colombian farmer’s cheese fritters and roasted pepper aioli – simple but delicious.

IMAG0219The rollitos de aguacate ($9) are crispy avocado rolls with prune and cilantro dipping sauce. Again, simple, but delicious – loved the dipping sauce!

IMAG0221The setas organicas salteadas ($9) are sauteed organic wild mushrooms over grilled white sweet potato slices – lovely presentation and the mushrooms were so tasty.

IMAG0222The gnocchi de yuca ($14) is homemade yuca gnocchi in porcini sauce with cabrales cheese. This is a really hearty dish with bold flavors – the procini sauce is like gravy.

IMAG0224_BURST001At this point we are so stuffed to the gills that we can’t fit in another bite, but how do you come all the way here and not get dessert? So we try the strawberry and banana meringue. Watching them make this dessert is impressive – this is definitely a work of art! Almost too pretty to eat….almost.

IMAG0227And I came for the ice cream sandwich trio I had been hearing so much about. It comes with a pistachio flavor (above), the cookie is so perfectly salty and delicious.

IMAG0230The chocolate hazelnut on a shortbread cookie…

IMAG0232And a rum raisin on a snickerdoodle cookie. All AMAZING. I’m just bummed I didn’t leave enough room to finish them all.

What is your favorite tapas dish?

Casa B

253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA

http://www.casabrestaurant.com/

Casa B on Urbanspoon

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IMG_4137On our first night in Philly we decided to hit up Amada, a great tapas restaurant. There is a front and back room, and they couldn’t feel more like a contrasted – the front room is warm and light and the back room is a little darker, a little more romantic.

IMG_4102We opted to go with a bunch of small plates to share.

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amadaWe start with a lovely cheese plate ( 3 cheeses for $15) that included an aged machego with truffled lavender honey that was just delicious.

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(L-R) We had the almejas con chorizo – a dish with clams and sausage ($11) that was in a nice spicy broth; the patatas bravas ($5) potatoes with a paprkia sauce; the lamb chops a la plancha (from the grill) ($18); and the gambas al ajillo ($9), shrimps in a garlic butter sauce.

IMG_4121We also had the chicken brochettes ($6). All the dishes were amazing, lots of bold flavors. We were full but in a good way, the food wasn’t too heavy.

IMG_4124The tarta de queso – a cheesecake with meyer lemon sorbet and a shortbread cookie ($9) which was my favorite dessert of the three. It was reach and creamy and the lemon sorbet was so tart and refreshing.

IMG_4126The pastel de chocolate, chocolate cake with sherry caramel and pistachio ice cream ($9). The cake was rich and I loved the pistachio ice cream.

IMG_4128The bunuelos are fresh doughnuts with date jam and date and olive ice cream ($9). Amazing! the service here was really top notch, our server was well educated on all the plates and made some good suggestions. We would certainly recommend Amada to anyone who is headed to Philly.

Amada

217 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

http://philadelphia.amadarestaurant.com/

Reserve a table with Open Table.

Amada on Urbanspoon

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Obama in Cambridge

The President was in Harvard Square on the one night that I have a massage appointment. They told me in advance that I wouldn’t be able to drive in – the Charles Hotel garage would be closed to the public. No problem, I hop in a cab and rush over after work…only to find that not only can cars not even get close, but you can’t cross the street because they are waiting for the President to leave. So here it is, bone chilling cold outside, the wind whipping at my face and I’m standing there, freezing, just feet away from a relaxing, much needed massage! Twenty minutes later, we are allowed to cross. I get my massage (thanks Katie for waiting!!) and I meet a friend afterwards for dinner at nearby Alden and Harlow.

IMG_3718You may know Chef Michael Scelfo from his time at Russell House Tavern just around the corner. Alden and Harlow is Scelfo’s first solo venture.

IMG_3717Located in the old Casablanca space, Alden and Harlow feels completely different.

IMG_3700The menu has many small plates meant to share.

IMG_3701Our waiter is fantastic, he helps us make some great choices. He arrives at our table with some complimentary pickled beans that are quite tasty.

IMG_3703We start with the Grilled Cauliflower Caponata ($8).

IMG_3705Washington State Mushrooms* 60˚Egg, Pine Nut Crumble ($13). I especially liked this dish, the mushrooms were cooked perfectly and I love the saltiness from the egg.

IMG_3706Pickled Verrill Farm Corn Pancakes with buttermilk yogurt, Maple, and Shishito ($12) An unexpected combination of flavors and texture, but I love it.  I enjoyed the popcorn and the crunch that it brought to the dish.

IMG_3707Secret Burger* (limited availability) Our 8oz House Creekstone Grind, Your Faith, House Made Roll ($14). The bun was delicious and the pickles really added a little something something to this burger.

IMG_3709A closer look at the inside of the burger.

IMG_3713For dessert, the smoked chocolate bread pudding with Jacobsen Salt Ice Cream ($9). It was more bread than pudding consistency wise – very smoky and quite salty.

IMG_3716I love the decor – here, the light wall behind our table.

IMG_3715We were at a high top booth across from the bar. Good vibe here, an interesting mix of people. The service was quite good – will certainly be back again to try some of the other menu options.

Alden and Harlow

40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

http://aldenharlow.com/

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IMG_2888Talk about glitzy! The Cosmopolitan hotel is easily accessible from the Hilton by a bridge. Jaleo is located on the 3rd floor of the East Tower. Note, if you are coming in through the bridge, you will enter on the 2nd floor. Here is a view of the Chandelier Bar.

IMG_2877Jaleo is by Jose Andres, who you may recognize from his wildly popular restaurant in Washington, DC. The restaurant it bright and fun – and has 8 seats at a chef’s table if you want that truly memorable experience. The restaurant can get a  bit noisy at times and is certainly buzzing by the time we get there.

IMG_2878We grab a nice seat in the back, perfect for people watching.

IMG_2879Love the bold colors here. All the dishes were creatively plated (one even comes out in a shoe!) fresh and flavorful. The menu is well thought out and extensive, so there is something for everyone. Note, if you are ordering paella, it does take 45 minutes – so be prepared to wait.

IMG_2881Three queso ($26) Top: San Simón con garapiñado de frutos secos (Galicia) A smoked cow’s milk cheese paired with homemade nut brittle, Middle: Rey Silo Blanco Con Albaricoques Y Almendras(asturias) intensely flavored cow’s milk cheese with pimentón, paired with apricots and Marcona almonds; Bottom: Rey Silo Blanco Con Polvorón De Piñones (asturias) intensely flavored cow’s milk cheese with a pine nut crumble cookie. I loved the top cheese the best – the other two were a bit too “stinky” for me. All the pairings were delicious, I especially loved the cookie!

IMG_2883Tortilla patatas ($12) Spanish omelet with potatoes and onions – classic and delicious.

IMG_2884Chistorra Patata ($11) Slightly spicy chorizo wrapped in crispy potato – basically sausage wrapped in a potato chip – YUM!

IMG_2885Gambas al Ajillo ($16) shrimp sauteed with garlic, another classic, loved this dish and the presentation was beautiful.

IMG_2886Bruselas de jamo ($10) Brussels sprout leaves with grapes and apples – so bright and fresh – another great dish!

IMG_2887Torrejas ($15) our waitress likened this to French toast. There was a hint of orange zest inside and it came topped with apples. Not one of my favorite desserts, but it was still good. The service was good – our waitress was attentive and food came out promptly. Dress here was stylish and trendy although there were certainly people here who were much more dressed up.

Jaleo by Joe Andres at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

3708 Las Vegas Blvd S , Las Vegas, NV

http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/taste/restaurant-collection/jaleo.aspx

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Some places I post right away, and for some reason, some just sit in my draft box for ages. To give you an idea of how long this has been sitting in my draft box, we went here PRE expansion. It only took me 10 years of living in Brookline to go here, why should the post be any different. That isn’t to say that my sluggish posting time on this has anything to do with the food or service, because it doesn’t. We actually had a very lovely meal here. I love walking by and seeing the tables outside on Beacon Street, it is always packed and there is usually a wait – sign of a good meal I suppose. Recently, well not so recently, they expanded into the space next door that was formerly Bretton Realty. Back to the meal. The space is warm and cozy inside, a real neighborhood spot. All different kinds of people were here, some on first dates and some groups of old friends chatting the night away over a bottle (or 3) of wine.

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The atmosphere is dim, dare I say romantic? We start of with the garlic shrimp which I love ($14). After all, if both people eat garlic it cancels one another out, right? Really tasty – one of my go to tapas dishes.

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Next, another go to classic – the tortilla espanola ($5), basically a potato cake – warm, delicious and it just melted in your mouth.

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The chuleton ($26) is a River Rock Farm grass-fed rib-eye steak14 oz. The steak was excellent, but the real star of the show was my meal, the combination platter (see below).

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The Combination plate is Marinated pork loin, fried eggs, and French fries ($16). I am pretty sure I am a sucker for most things with a fried egg on it, but these fries were amazing…the kind you think about for days. The pork was excellent, but the best part is when you break the yolk and you get the creamy salty goodness over the rest of your meal. Excellent dish.

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For dessert we had the zurracaopte ($7), it was delicious, figs in a spiced red wine sauce…really tasty. Not one of my usual suspects for dessert, but glad we branched out and tried something new. We had a lovely waitress who knew a lot about the menu and gave excellent suggestions. When we were there, pre-renovation, it felt a bit small, but who knows at this point – it could be very spacious. So certainly worth another trip back for us, once the weather gets a little warmer I would love to go back and eat outside.

Taberna de Haro

999 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

Closed on Sundays

www.tabernaboston.com

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Coppa has been on my to try list since it opened, in 2009 (how embarrassing!). I finally made it there for my birthday, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. It was an unusually warm fall night-so there were people eating at tables outside when we got there. We had 6:30 reservations and the place was pretty empty-we felt like we were at the early bird special. Apparently this fashionable crowd eats dinner like the Europeans, it didn’t start to get crowded until about 8:30. The scene is an upscale neighborhood bar-dim lighting with dark wood and huge mirrors with a bar and friendly bartender in the back.

We sat at a small table close to the front of the restaurant. There aren’t many seats in here so things started to get tight when more people showed up. The restaurant is the brain child of Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette – so we knew that we were going to be in for something good. The restaurant offers tapas style plates, small offerings so that you can have a little bit of everything. Our waitress, Angelique, was excellent, attentive and she knew her food. She started us off with an amuse bouche that was a little more than one bite. These great peppers-really bright and crisp, really tasty.

We had the burrata with apples and sage ($14) which was really nice. The textures blended well with each other, although I wish there were a few more apples-the crispness of the apple went so well with the smooth, creamy cheese.

The meatballs ($8) were wood roasted and served with tomato gravy. A really nice meatball, flavorful and really moist, they melted in your mouth.

Arancini came next ($6) fried risotto balls with fontina cheese inside. These were excellent, but then again, how can you go wrong here?

The cavatelli pasta was home made and came with chicken sausage. ($14) The pasta was perfectly al dente and the chicken sausage was tasty, albeit a little on the salty side.

This dish has all of my “new things” in it. The special pizza of the night with hen of the woods mushrooms and a fried egg. Oh so delicious. The mixture of creamy and salty was really nice. We left feeling full, but in a good way, and really felt like for the amount of food we had, the price was right.

I give Coppa high marks, high quality food with excellent service. Stop in for a bite, you won’t be disappointed.

Coppa

253 Shawmut Ave

Boston MA

617.391.0902

http://www.coppaboston.com/

Hours
Monday-Thursday 12pm-10pm
Friday 12pm-11pm
Saturday 5pm-11pm
Sunday 11am-10pm

Brunch – Sunday 11am-3pm

Dinner – Daily

Coppa on Urbanspoon

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I have been to Tico a couple of times before, but this time was exceptionally delicious. Tico is a Michael Schlow restaurant….you may know his other restaurants in town…Radius, Alta Strada, and Via Matta. A great after work spot, this place offers tapas, or small plates. We were ravenous, and ordered enough food to be embarrassed about eating (afterwards). Above are the beef tacos ($11).

The mac and cheese ($9) was tasty-classic elbow noodles with serrano ham and bread crumb topping did not disappoint.

The gambas al ajillo ($14) came out sizzling…shrimp cooked in LOTS of butter and garlic.

The risotto ($12) came with chorizo and was smokey and rich in flavor.

And the corn ($9) came with bacon and chiles. A really nice light dish with lots of flavors, but sweet and smokey.

The service was ok, nothing to write home about. They cleared your plates as soon as you were finished, to make room for the next course, and your water glass was always filled. The restaurant is dim and a bit noisy with the after work crowd at the bar area, but certainly worth checking out.

Tico
222 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116

http://www.ticoboston.com/

Tico on Urbanspoon

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