On The Menu



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No posts in a while, mainly cause we have been busy. Here’s a recap of our long weekend starting with a review of South End Butter for dinner. (There are no pics for any of the food related topics because we were just too damn lazy to take any.)

South End Buttery

Friday night with no friends in town, we decided to go for a nice romantic dinner somewhere. We couldn’t find anything that looked interesting when we were looking through open table for any 1K restaurants that fit our time and need. We knew South End Buttery just opened a bistro at night, and since it’s near our place, our decision was made.

I called up during the day to make a reservation (sadly, South End Buttery is not on open table so we couldn’t use the newly acquired gift certificate we got in the mail) and was told that only parties of more than 6 can make reservations. No biggie, we’ll just head there around 7:30 and hope to beat the dinner rush.

If you have never been to South End Buttery, located on the corner of Shawmut and Union Park, it’s a nice bakery/coffee shop that serves sandwiches and salads during the day along with award winning cupcakes. There are two parts of the Buttery, the front half being the bakery, coffee shop area, and the back being the bar/dining area. We’ve never been at night, but figured all bistro related activities will be held in the back area.

We were wrong.

We arrived and all the tables in the front half of the Buttery were setup for dining. The entire back area was filled with bar goers and diners. Only one table in front had guests, two ladies awaiting their food. We were seated right away in the front area next to the glass counter that holds all the pastries that were left in the day. Now the Buttery bakery portion is suppose to be closed at 6:30 or 7pm. It was after that time and people were still coming in casually dressed in work out clothes, or flip flops and cutoff shirts, and walked right up next to us to peer into the glass windows to pick out the best cupcake for them. This I wouldn’t have minded if it was 2pm on a Saturday and we were just having a coffee or sandwich…but we were trying to have a nice dinner on a Friday night. Abby wasn’t having any of this and when our waitress came back to take our drink orders, she asked if we could be moved in the back bar area where it’s more intimate and away from the busy central walkway of the bakery. We were told it would be a 45 minute wait and that we could come back or wait at our current table and have an appetizer and drink and wait there. We decided on the later.

We started with a carafe of sangria (red wine style, there was an option for white wine style) and Moules Frites (mussels and fries). Our sangria came out quickly and as far as sangria goes, was pretty average to me. No floating fruits in the carafe, which I always deem a nice touch. It had a weird aftertaste…very herbal, like basil or mint that just wasn’t sitting right with me. But it was booze and cool and refreshing and I was getting warm sitting with all these people walking past me constantly. After not a long time, we were told that a table was open for us and we will be seated there and our appetizer will be sent to that table. SCORE!

We get seated in the bar area on a high top next to the windows. It’s very cozy in the bar area with our neighbors barely an elbow length apart. The noise level was high, but I tend to like that at some restaurants…obviously if we were at the French Laundry I wouldn’t want to hear the person next to me mention how much her athlete foot was bothering her that night or that the dude two seats across thinks LSU is going to repeat, but for a small bistro the noise level was very acceptable.

Our mussels came out along with the fries. The mussels floating in their saffron infused broth was incredible. I love mussels, and feel they are an easy dish to make well, but just because they are simple do not mean restaurants will always make it well. This was beyond good. We used up all the bread trying to soap up the broth, and began using the fries. The fries were very good fries, nothing more nothing less.

Our entrees came, and in a reversal of fortunes, Abby went with the hanger steak and I got the lamb loin. My lamb loin came out as a sort of deconstructed gyro. Romaine, tomatoes, olive and feta laid atop a pita bread with sliced loin of lamb aside it. There was tzatziki sauce on the other side. (Tzatziki sauce, or Greek cucumber sauce as I like to call it, might just be my all time favorite sauce. So light and refreshing, I normally order extra sauce whenever I get a gyro.) The lamb itself was cooked medium rare and was good, albeit a little salty. I had a bite of Abby’s steak and that too was a little salty. Luckily for me, the tzatziki sauce really helped tone down the saltiness of the lamb and I was able to enjoy my meal.

We were both stuffed and passed on dessert. The meal was not expensive, all entrees being below $20. Overall I feel like South End Butter Bistro is a decent spot with above average food. If you go, please wait to be seated in the bar area. Eating dinner while people in sweaty shorts are ordering cupcakes and standing around waiting for their pastries does not make a pleasant dining experience. I give South End Buttery Bistro a 3 out of 5.

South End Buttery on Urbanspoon

Las Ventas

Having the day off on Friday allowed me to run some errands (oil change) and relax at home with my new surround sound system. It also allowed me the chance to try out Las Ventas (Food from Spain) at 700 Harrison. This is a Spanish market shop that sells Spanish made items, like Iberico jamon and canned seafood. It’s located on the street level of the 700 Harrison condos adjacent to Estragon tapas restaurant, created a mini-Spanish themed corner of South End. Las Ventas, along with various items like aprons with the Spanish flag on it, serves bocadillos starting at $7.50. I spent a dollar extra and got the bocadillo with Serrano Jamon. (I forget the name of the sandwich right now.) Once I got home, I bit into it, and 3 minutes later my entire bocadillo was gone. Not because it was small (it’s probably 9 inches or so, which is a good size sub for lunch) but because I couldn’t stop eating it once I started. It was that tasty. Now it was more bread than substance, but that still didn’t mean it wasn’t a great sandwich. The salsa de Estragon along with the Serrano Jamon distinguished this from the run of the meal subs you can get in various pizza shops in the South End. They had a tuna fish sandwich as well as other Spanish-flavored bocadillos that I will definitely have to come back and try. I give Las Ventas a 4 out of 5.

Las Ventas on Urbanspoon

Saturday Cookout

A coworker of mine had an end of summer cookout at his house in Foxboro, so Abby and I headed out to the burbs to see how they live it up on the weekends. My coworker Craig lives in what I would have to call a mansion in Foxboro. It’s really not a mansion and it is probably a typical sized house for a man with a wife and two adorable daughters. But seeing as our condo is not even 750 square feet, any time we go to a friend’s house and their kitchen or shed or living room is larger than our condo, I feel like it’s a mansion.

Earlier this summer Craig told me his wife bought this inflatable water slide for his kids, and I definitely was excited to see this. Growing up, we didn’t have toys like this for sure. His is similar to the one in the following link, but did not have the water cannons. It was very impressive.


Craig cooked some really good food. All grilled up on his nice deck. Something I’m regretting a little bit about our condo is the lack of balcony or deck so that we can grill. Damn I love grilling, and I’m not that great at it so I would really love to perfect the art, so to speak. The best thing Craig had was his steak tips, which he marinated in Coke (no, not llelo), good seasonings and ketchup. Now I’ve never heard of steak tips before I moved to Boston. From what I’ve read and seen at butcher shops, steak tips are cut from the upper part of the sirloin. I dunno why every restaurant/bar in Boston serves it, but my guess is that it’s because steak is more expensive here so they have to market the cheaper cut, whereas in Oklahoma or Texas you can get a piece of filet for the same price as these sirloin tips. In any case, these grilled marinated steak tips were awesome.

All of their friends brought desserts (and their kids too…boy I am not ready to have kids, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough energy or patience like my brothers and sisters or like Craig and his friends to deal with kids…don’t get me wrong, I love kids, especially my nieces and nephew who I get to see tomorrow in Santa Monica, but they are a lot of work) and I was addicted to this one dessert known as Icebox cake. It’s basically chocolate wafers surrounded by homemade whipped cream. DAMN!!!

My other coworker Jorge showed up with his two boys and we drank some beers and played around with all the kids for a while. Then Abby and I had to leave, we had Steak Night plans with our buddies the Carstens.

Steak Night

As written about before in this blog, steak night is when we all gather together at someone’s house and drink a crap-ton of wine and eat a crap-ton of steak. Very simple, and very fun. This was Tom and Cindy’s first time doing steak night and they were using a virgin cast iron skillet (a lodge 12 inch one we gave them as a thank you present for helping us move). Not much to be said about steak night other than YUM! Tom did have over two friends (or one friend and his classmate) who were vegetarians….not by religion or by family beliefs, but by personal choice…YIKES!!!! If you do not know, I am a (to steal a line from a commercial) meat-atarian. I only eat meat, and boy do I love it. Now I’m not going to go all Bourdain on vegetarians or vegans, cause while I disagree with them for not enjoying the fact that we are on top of the food chain, that’s not a reason for me to dislike them. However, when you start preaching to me about how being a vegetarian helps lower your carbon footprint, well I got an issue with that. Oh, you say there are studies out their proving that being a vegetarian actually does lower your carbon footprint? Well, there are studies out their saying that the world is flat and floating along on the back of four elephants that are on top of a turtle, but I sure as hell don’t believe that. (Shout out to Terry Pratchett!) You can make a study prove anything you want, just by limiting your sample count, etc. It doesn’t mean a gosh-darn thing! If you are so worried about your carbon footprint, that’s all well and good, but to say to me that I should stop being a meat eater because of my carbon footprint, well I’m going to just turn on the grill and start marinating your stinking vegetarian ass in some coke and good seasonings and ketchup. I really have nothing against those that want to believe Al Gore and stop global warming, I really don’t. Just don’t get all preachy, scary Christian activists on me. It’s your life, do as you wish. That’s just leaving more steak, pork, and dog for me to eat.

Anyway, steak night was still a blast. Tom and Cindy are the shit and always good company. I was able to follow the OU game on my phone and saw that we were up 50-0 at halftime. Then I went home and watched my beloved Huskies give up 30 unanswered points to the hated, cheating Oregon Ducks to lose 44-10. Oh well…at least OU won.

Sunday Night Dinner

We stayed in on Sunday, choosing to relax and enjoy the time off. (Abby made from scratch an apple pie while I played with my surround sound.) For dinner we decided to go anti-meat because of all the meat we at on Saturday. We grabbed a bag of spinach, some brown pears and I made a kick ass pear and spinach salad. I eyeballed the measurements, but the ingredients are as follows:

Pears (Bosch if possible)
Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher Salt
Lemon Juice

Slice up the pears and combine it in a bowl with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice. Then, with a basic 4-1 ratio, add the EVOO and Balsamic vinegar. A pinch or two of salt and then a few tablespoons of honey and mix it all up and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Add the spinach and toss around until coated. You can add pecans or walnuts as you wish. We forgot to get them at the grocery store, so ours was sans nuts.

Also, I boiled up some corn that was so freaking cheap. As I’ve said in a previous email, corn has been freaking amazing this season. And these were no different.

Santa Monica

We are leaving tomorrow for LA/Santa Monica for my sister’s wedding. We’ll be critiquing her food at the rehearsal dinner and at the wedding reception.


Your blog is now on my favorite places, and I will make a point to look at it at least weekly!! I love the honest reviews, and if I can't think of someplace to go to eat, I'll consult the blog!