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Big Recap From Last Week

Comments (0) | Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shredded Chicken Tacos

We started last week off by making shredded chicken tacos. I've never made shredded chicken before, and I really don't know why. It's so freaking easy. I just seared the boneless chicken breasts on both sides, then covered with chicken broth and water and let it simmer for an hour or so. You can season this anyway you want. Since we were making tacos, I just added chili powder. I pulled the chicken out and then shredded it with a fork, then quickly cooked in the taco seasoning over the chicken on a pan. That's it. I'm going to have to learn what's in taco seasoning and not use the cheap taco packs anymore. It'll probably turn out even better. We made the onion/cilantro/lime juice salsa. This is an easy dinner.

Wedding Cake

So we chose our wedding cake. From our wedding package with our reception hotel, we had two choices: Kondieter Meister and Montillios. We had a bad experience at the former, and a great experience with the latter. Needless to say, Montillos is making our wedding cake. Since we went to both places on consecutive days, we ate way, way, way too much cake.

Lir and Kings Karaoke

Thursday night we went to Lir for a drink and a bite to eat before we were to go to Kings for some karaoke. I got a black and tan and their sliders...which turned out to be some of the worse sliders I've ever had. The patty was paper thin and dry and poorly seasoned. I've only eaten at Lir once before, when a friend had a birthday party there and had the buffet spread. I wouldn't discourage going there for dinner, just don't order the sliders.

Kings was fun. I normally am not a fan of karaoke, but since I knew I wasn't going to sing, and I had a few beers in me, I figured this was going to be a fun night. Sure enough, our friends Frank and Heidi, the showboats they are, took the stage and showed off. But they weren't the only singers there that night...no, there were some talented people who were showcasing their skills. I hate American Idol to death...I feel like I'm losing IQ points every second of watching it, but seeing these people sing at Kings with such great talent made me hate American Idol even more! How can that show allow the train wrecks, the people just wanting their 2 minutes on TV, the people who really know they can't sing but try to pretend like they can...how can that show keep encouraging that sort of crap, when there's all this talent out there on a random karaoke night? I recently heard of a book where the author spent a year traveling and hitting up as many karaoke nights as possible...after Thursday night, I wanted to go buy that book.

Oh, the famous Phantom Gourmet brothers were also there that night. I have to say, I thought they would roll with a better crowd. I'm sure three of the most well known Bostonians, rich because of their father, could get a better looking entourage. Abby says that two of them are married, so maybe that was their wives, but I can't seriously see these guys going out every night with their wives. They totally look like the sort of guys that would use their "fame" to get some side ass. What's funny is while I bash them, I still watch their show from time to time to find out about new restaurants. I like and respect what they do, in terms of getting people to try new places and different cuisines, I just don't like how they come off while doing it. Oh well...they rich and I'm not, so they must know what's up.

Honey Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Garlic Roasted Red Potatoes

Not sure if I ever gave the recipe for my famous Honey Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps or not, but they are so easy to make I can repeat it here. Cube some chicken breasts, cook in some butter over medium high heat until cooked through, add in orange juice and honey and let it boil, then bring it down to a simmer until the sauce is thickened. Be careful not to dry out the chicken though. Then wrap the chicken in lettuce (iceberg normally, but we went with green leaf this time) and eat. As a side, I made some Garlic Roasted Red Potatoes. Here, I just cute the baby red potatoes in half, minced some garlic and put it in some olive oil, coat the potatoes, then place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Really simply.

I'll have a recap of Top Chef coming later today. We also have some pulled pork cooking in the crock pot right now for dinner. Can't wait. Pulled pork is the shizz!

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Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great interview with Bourdain:


Looks like the finale of Top Chef this year is in New Orleans:


I've been listening to a lot of The Doors lately...the Manzarek brothers are totally underrated. The wiki for those of you who don't know who The Doors are:


A few years ago, I thought the Grey Album (Beatles/Jay-Z mashup) was genius. The Radiohead/Jay-Z mashup...I'm not so sure:


I had heard rumors that there was a new location for House of Siam, and sure enough, it's where the old Thai Village was. Will have to check it out one day to see if it's as good as the original location:


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ToP Chef S5, Ep7 (JP Recap)

Comments (0) | Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another rundown of my thoughts as we watched Top Chef:

- To honor the quickest chef in all of Top Chef, they let Hung be the quickest guest judge ever. Seriously, he was on for what...2 mins? I was completely wrong about this quickfire challenge too. Having Hung on, I assumed it would be a kosher/halal food type of challenge, but instead it was a pseudo tribute to him for his smurfland cereal quickfire and the chefs had to use canned goods and make a meal in 15 minutes. Well, the snobbery of the chefs come out. "I never cook with anything not fresh" "This is a mess, Jesus Christ". Look guys...the great skill of a chef is making something great from something not so great. The French took brains and other offal and made delicious sweetbreads. I'm sure if you guys wanted to be Top Chef, you can make something good out of some Hormel chili. (Which I love!)

- Jeff's dish was again majorly complex, but looked good. Him, Stefan, and Hosea were in the top 3, with Stefan winning. Hosea makes some comment about how he didn't want to give Stefan some spam because Stefan's "boyfriend" didn't let him have some artichokes or something like that. Talk about cranky pants...

- Radhika, Jamie and Leah were in the bottom 3 I believe. All there stuff looked like ass, so Hung probably chose wisely. Hung was a decent guest judge, albeit a brief one. He described what he liked and didn't like, which is good feedback.

- Jamie also calls Stefan Fabio's "boyfriend" and I have to wonder if this is cool or not. I remember a few years ago, there was this article talking about how the gay community was pissed that some sitcom (I can't remember, but I wanna say 2 and a Half Men) made some comments about the two lead male characters were boyfriends and how their reaction to it was offensive. I have to wonder if A) this group is that comfortable with each other and there is no fighting that they can joke around like that without pissing others off or B) that Stefan and Fabio being Euros mean you can call imply they are gay without being offensive. Imagine if instead of being two Euros, that Stefan and Fabio were Stereotypical American Frat Douchebag A and Stereotypical American Frat Douchebag B and the other cheftestants called them "boyfriends". They would flip out! "I ain't gay! I'll have sex with all the women right now to prove it! I like football and baseball!" The fact that Stefan and Fabio didn't even care and rolled with the jokes...I dig it.

- For the elimination they are all broken up into 3 teams: Team Pig (Jeff, Radhika, Fabio), Team Lamb (Leah, Hosea, Jersey) and Team Chicken (Crazy Eyes, Jamie, Stefan). I immediately think Team Pig is going to dominate and if Team Lamb ends up in the bottom, I will be forever happy because there's a good chance Leah or Jersey will get off my TV. Instead of going to Whole Foods, they go to Stone Barns Farm. This place was featured on a Bourdain show and I immediately wanted to go there. The fact that these chefs get to get the freshest of fresh ingredients with the "proteins" are cared for like crazy is great. The question is not what are they going to do with these great products, but how are these incompetent chefs going to screw up such great product. Dan Barber is the head chef and owner of the farm and he's a very likable guy. I'd love to eat his food one day.

- Team Pork cracked me up. Fabio's game plan was "No Indian, no over thinking, no Italian". This is hilarious. That's the major flaw of each of them, Radhika, Jeff and Fabio, respectively. They go with Fabio's ravioli with pesto, seared pork loin, Jeff's fried green tomatoes, grilled corn salad and a creme brulee desert. As they went over the menu, I thought immedietly that this was the team that was going to win. They were using the great produce they grabbed on the farm to make the pesto and the fried green tomatoes and they were lucky enough to get this beautiful pork to work with. How was I so wrong...

- Team chicken made roasted chicken, chicken cutlets, some sort of chicken soup and a tartlet made by the greatest pastry-chef in all of Top Chef history: Crazy Eyes. When they were going over there menu, Jamie did not want to do a roast chicken, calling it simple and boring...um, girl, have you never read any Thomas Keller or Daniel Boulod? A mark of a real chef, a great chef, is in making a roast chicken. It's simple, sure, but that's not the same as easy. Meaning, you don't need a whole lot to make it good, but you have to have good technique to make it amazing. I thought this was a brilliant idea by Stefan. You have the freshest of fresh chicken, why not cook it in the best way possible to showcase how great that chicken is: a roast. Hammersely in Boston is known for their roast chicken. That's not a bad thing to be known for at all. Of course the roast chicken was praised, as was Crazy Eyes' dessert. Looks like we have ourselves a winner.

- Team Lamb (or Team F Up) had...well they presented destroyed lamb and some sort of roasted potatoes and a berry trifle dessert. The lamb was absolutely destroyed. As Ariane was butchering it, I was screaming out on TV "Why are you letting Jersey butcher the lamb?!?!?!" It was painful to watch...then it was even worse to watch as she was tenderizing the poor meat...young lamb does not need to be tenderized! OMG!!!! The fact that Leah and Hosea let her do this is just as bad. Hosea even states that he can butcher really well...then do it man! Do it! Don't let Jersey ruin perfectly good meat! Hosea is starting to piss me off. I couldn't stand the whole Leah thing when that first started as one of those random clips in the middle of the show on like the 2nd episode. I couldn't stand it even more when they said that they both had significant others at home. I definitely can't stand it know that he's being blinded by the P and letting his work suffer for it. HOSEA!!! Don't put the P on a pedestal! Quit thinking about the P and think about the food! It's affecting your work when you should be one of the best cheftestants on this show, you are coming off mediocre. And let's be honest here...that specific P isn't all that worth it. Leah, I guess, is suppose to be the hot chick of this group...but it just ain't happening. Even with this so called great rack (which I'm still not seeing) the editing crew of Top Chef is not showcasing her in her bikini or taking off her shirt (like they did with Casey from season 3)...no, they are showing Jeff taking off his shirts. That's when you know there is no hot chick in this group. They'd rather show Jeff, a dude that is 120 pounds soaking wet, then any of the females. And you know the sad part? At least Casey could cook...in fact, she'd cook all of these females (and the males) under the table. So she had a great rack (albeit fake) and she could cook. This season they got ugly girls who can't cook. Congratulations Leah on being the skinniest girl at fat camp! Hoesa, quit thinking about the P and start cooking!

- Anyway, Team Chicken wins even though there were some tense moments between Stefan and Jamie. Carla deserved the win for having to deal with them both, but it's a team win. Team Pork is safe because even though they ruined the pork loin and Radhika did nothing, Team Lamb was such a disaster that it didn't matter. Now I'm happy. Ariane or Leah can go home and I won't have to see them again. It turns out to be Ariane and while I'm happy, I think she got screwed by Leah and Hosea. They totally set her up to take the fall, which isn't hard seeing as how incompetent she is, and they just come off looking like pricks. Ariane lasted a lot longer than I expected, and that shows you how bad this season's chefs are. And in class Jersey fashion, she calls out Leah and Hosea in her exit interview...all of a sudden you have a voice Jersey? Why didn't you say something to their face when it was happening? Ugh..so glad no more Jersey!

- Next week is restaurant wars and more shots of Leah and Hosea making out...egads!

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Pho Basil (JP Review)

Comments (4) | Friday, January 16, 2009

Our friends Annie and Jay went to Pho Basil on Wednesday and told Abby about it on Thursday. Well, don't you know we just had to go try it out ourselves on Thursday. It was freezing cold outside, and nothing is better to warm you up than a nice big bowl of pho.

Located on Mass Ave, right before Boylston in an area that I have not frequented that often. There are tons of ethnic cuisines here, but we normally pass by because parking is a pain in this area and it's a little bit of a walk from where we live. Well, it'd be like 15-20 mins, but we are lazy.

It must have been our lucky night though, because we found parking right in front of Pho Basil. As you walk you, you see a very clean and modern dining area. As we were sitting down, I noticed right away that the tables don't have the typical Vietnamese pho look. Meaning the collection of chopsticks, spoons and condiment rack is missing. Sirachai and hoisen sauce were present along with a fork and knife. I read on yelp that Pho Basil was mainly a Thai place that served Vietnamese food, and looking at the menu proved me correct. While there were quite a bit of Vietnamese dishes on the menu, it just felt more like a Thai offering. Probably because the students in the area are more accustomed to Thai food would be my guess. If there is something familiar on the menu, then it will draw in the customers and maybe the diners will branch out and give something new a try. In any case, the prices weren't bad. About $4-$9 for appetizers and pho starting at $6.

We started with Goi Cuon. This is the Vietnamese Summer Roll as so many people call it...actually a lot of people call it a spring roll. (As mentioned in one of my first posts this is a huge pet peeve of mine.) Rice paper wrapped around lettuce, rice vermicelli, with mint and shrimp and pork. One of the best appetizers in all the world. Light and refreshing, served with a peanut sauce that has a little kick to it. This is something that is hard to screw up. Pho Basil, even though there seems to be way too much lettuce, does this justice. A wonderful Goi Cuon to start. The peanut sauce being one of the best I've had in Boston.

After looking at the menu, I was tempted to order the Bo Luc Lac or the Tom Rang Muoi, but since this is my first time here, I had to try the pho. We both order the large Pho Tai, with me adding Bo Vien for $2 more. This is a large beef noodle soup with thin cuts of rare flank steak. Sometimes when I add the beef meatball to the order, only one or two are added...here Pho Basil added like 4 or 5. Very good! The broth was incredible. I added a little Sirachai and hoisen sauce and a lot of lime juice. Tossed in some bean sprouts and mixed it all up to break up the clump of noodles and get the rare meat separated and into the broth to cook. Pho is such a great dish because everyone eats it differently. It's always fun to watch a pho-virgin. In any case, the broth was some of the best I've ever had in Boston. The noodles were cooked perfectly, and the meat was still rare when the bowl was delivered (this is a must for Pho Tai). I scarfed down the huge bowl in minutes. It was so damn good. Perfect for such a cold day, warming me up instantly.

I think I might have found my new favorite Pho place in Boston. While Xinh Xinh is very good on its own right and is still one of my favorites, their Pho does not match up to Pho Basil. I'll have to find out if Pho Basil's other Vietnamese dishes stack up...though that may be tough to do since I'll likely order the pho everytime I come. I give Pho Basil a 4 out of 5.

Pho Basil on Urbanspoon

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Thick Cut Pork Chops and Potatoes With Garlic Aioli

Comments (0) | Thursday, January 15, 2009

Made thich cut pork chops last night. So cheap at Market Basket and really nice and thick with some of the bone on it still. Also made potatoes with a garlic mayo aioli sauce. First time I ever made an aioli, and it turned out ok, but maybe was a little too mayo-y and too thick. I want to make "patatas bravas" one day, which is similar to this but with a spicy red tomato sauce. Very tasty dinner.

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100th Post: A Link

Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just saw this article from Boston Globe this morning, thought I'd share it:


Pretty lame 100th post, but whatever. Making thick cut pork chops tonight (cheap from Market Basket) and of course new Top Chef.

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ToP Chef S5, Ep7 (JP Recap)

Comments (0) | Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Not really a recap, just a list of highlights and lowlights from the episode:

- This turned out to be one of the better shows in terms of challenges. The quickfire was to make a sweet dessert without using sugar. The elimination challenge was basically no limits what so ever...just cook your best dish family style. Awesome. Though some cheftestants totally missed the boat on this. I mean, seriously, fish tacos as a dish to showcase your work? That's horrible!

- Toby Young was introduced as the new judge since Gail is off for her wedding. He's ok. I've seen him on other stuff before. Definitely snarky-to-be-snarky. He's slightly better than Gail, but that's not saying much. A burnt dead horse could be a better judge than Gail. (In terms of adding something to the show...I'm sure Gail has a wonderful palate or she wouldn't be where she was today. I just can't stand her as a judge.) Why oh why did Top Chef have to piss off Ted Allen and Bourdain? Those two were great television!

- The guest judge was Jean-Christophe Novelli. I've seen the name before, but not sure where. I think he has a new show coming out too on Bravo, so there's the tie in. He wasn't bad, just didn't really bring much. Though the interaction with him and the Euros were cool. Not sure if the dude really cared about the World Cup as much as Fabio did though. (Football in all forms is dead to me right now...)

- Ariane...dammit...after sucking it up for the quickfire, she actually did something I'd try for the elimination. Say what you want about her (and I have) but at least the woman is confident in what she's doing. Which is huge for a chef. She's making up her mind as to what she wants to make, and she goes for it. No second guessing at all. This doesn't mean I'm starting to like her...in fact, everytime she's on the screen I want to throw my remote through my plasma so I don't have to see her ugly Jersey face. (This is also just because I want a bigger TV, but Abby won't let me get one...she thinks 42 inches is big enough...I want to fill our entire wall with a TV and that may not even be big enough.)

- On the opposite side, we got zero-confidence Bangs herself. Melissa can't seem to do anything right at all. As mentioned earlier, fish tacos are not going to win you Top Chef, especially if you can't do them well enough. She totally lacks any confidence in her cooking, not being able to see an end product and get it done.

- Eugene...dammit boy! I love whole fried fish, but you can't be overcooking that! Your presentation looked good still, but the product suffered. You mentioned how you wanted to try something new and wow the judges. Um...buddy, when you are given the challenge of make anything you want that will showcase your skills, don't go for something new! Make something familiar that you know is a success. One of your favorite meals maybe. How about that fried fish complemented with some sushi? A nice complentary dish of cooked and raw fish, showcasing your ability to cook and handle fish. I dunno, I had high hopes for you and you peaked at making your own BBQ bit.

- Leah still not seeing that great rack.

- Jamie - very, freaking smart. She understood the challenge perfectly. She knew she can cook good scallops and she did. I'm sick of the whole smugness and the fact that she has to impress on everyone watching that she deserves to win though.

- The judges were very love/hate in some of their comments. Jeff's dish was either loved or hated, same with Stefan. Do you really think Radhika (who had immunity and laid an egg with her food) knew it was Stefan's dish when she made those comments? Right on cue, Fabio defended his boy's dish. Not sure if that was editing or not. I did enjoy the fact that you got to watch them judge you.

- Crazy Eyes got lucky. But the right two people were sent home.

Hung is on tomorrow's episode. Interesting. I think they are going to have to cook Kosher or maybe Halal food, since that's what Hung's been doing in NYC.

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Comments (0) |

I'd love to apply, but since our wedding is August 1st, I don't think Abby would want me to be in Australia:


Great article by Mark Bittman about what one should have and not have in one's pantry:


Boston Food and Whine has the list of Boston Magazine's 50 best restaurants and did a nice mark off of the ones BFW has been to:


I was thinking of doing the same thing, until I realized I've only been to like 10 or so of these places. Well, here's my attempt at least (italicized ones we have been to) :

1. O Ya
2. L'Espalier
3. No. 9 Park
4. Clio
5. Aujourd'hui
6. Radius
7. Hungry Mother
8. Hamersley's Bistro
9. Oleana
10. Cragie on Main
11. Meritage
12. Salts
13. Oishii
14. Uni
15. Ten Tables
16. Neptune Oyster
17. Icarus
18. Persephone
19. Mistral
20. Sorellina
21. Rialto
22. B & G Oysters
23. Troquet
24. Lumiere
25. Pigalle
26. Toro
27. Blue Ginger
28. Upstairs on the Square
29. Excelsior
30. Benatti
31. Sage
32. T.W. Food
33. Locke-Ober
34. Taranta
35. Rendezvous
36. L'Andana
37. The Butcher Shop
38. Via Matta
39. Dante
40. Scampo
41. 51 Lincoln
42. Lineage
43. Bistro 5
44. Grill 23
45. East Coast Grill
46. Estragon
47. Union Bar and Grille
48. Il Capriccio
49. Bin 26 Enoteca
50. Avila

That list is very interesting. I wouldn't put Pigalle up there after our last meal there. Either way, it looks like it'll be a while before we can claim we've eaten at every single place on that list.

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Big Roundup From Last 2 Weeks (Sage Review)

Comments (0) | Monday, January 12, 2009


So December 29th was our 1st date anniversary so we went out for a nice dinner. We've been to Sage many times for drinks (they have a great bartender named JP who works weekends) but have never eaten there, even though the food always tempts us. We saw a prixe fix meal they were running if you ate before 7pm, so we made reservations for 6:45. It was a Monday and the place was dead, but oh so warm and and inviting. Abby was going to order off the prix fixed menu, but I was going to order off the full menu.

Our bread came with a tomato puree dipping sauce. I forget what was all in it, but it was very light and refreshing on the bread.

We got this chickpea mix as an amuse, which you can clearly see that it was larger than just one bite. It was good, but nothing special.

Our starters were the Kobe Cappaccio and Spinach and Riccatta Meatballs Over Veal. Both were excellent. Though I wish I could say I tasted the difference in having Kobe Carppaccio, but I couldn't. Regardless, it was really good. I noticed on some other website, that this was a dish you had to try if you were in Boston (I'll add the link if I can find it) and I would agree that this is a dish "worth driving too" (to steal a line).

For our mains, we both went with duck: I had the duck breast and Abby the crispy duck leg. Both were fabulous. I love duck and these were done perfectly. I normally do enjoy the dark meat better when it comes to duck, but my breast did not disappoint. So juicy and tender and cooked perfectly. Another home run.

Abby's meal came with a dessert and she chose the fried dough. Perfect amount to share for two at the end of a meal. The fried dough was light and fluffy and the strawberries were a perfect compliment.

Sage is a great restaurant. One of the best in South End. Our table was a little wobbly, and they moved us to an adjacent one with no worries. This is the type of place you can go for a drink or two at the bar and enjoy some good eats, or take a date to a romantic meal in the main dining area. Sage gets a 4 out of 5.

Sage on Urbanspoon


I was craving some cheese steaks the other day, so we brought down Abby's electric skillet and had at it. We make our cheese steaks with the shaved meat found in the meat section of the grocery store and also with sliced monteray jack cheese.

Thai Beef Stir Fry

Abby found this recipe in a book and wanted to make it. Came out pretty good, though probably needed a little bit of peanut butter to make it perfect.

Chili Cheese Nachos

I was craving some phat nachos one weekend, but didn't get any. So we decided to make them at home. God they were great. (This is why I'm fat...)

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Long Time No Post

Comments (2) |

Sorry loyal readers (if we have any loyal readers...if not, then sorry random readers) for the lack of updates. I'd like to say we've been crazy busy with the new year, but it's mainly due to laziness we haven't updated. We have a review of Sage (from Dec 29th) that will be posted later tonight, along with some dinners we've cooked. And I've got a recap for the last episode of Top Chef. In the mean time, here are some links:

Top 10 Sandwiches:

I think the Vietnamese Banh Mi should be on here though.

Wedding in a Taco Bell:

And speaking of Taco Bell, a friend recently told me she didn't believe the Chili Cheese Burrito existed. Well, here's a website dedicated to this deliciousness:

I wish I had one of those for breakfast right now...instead I'm having what I normally have for breakfast, the Hot and Spicy Bowl Noodle from Nong Shim:


Yes I really do eat this for breakfast 4 or 5 times a week. It's warm, yummy, savory, and fills me up. It's also much cheaper (since I buy the case) then eating in my cafeteria every morning. Plus my cafeteria at work sucks. Sure it's high in sodium and other bad things, but it's tasty and it helps my bowels in the mornings.

More later today, I promise.

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