On The Menu

Spicy Bacon Cheeseburger

Comments (0) | Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Abby made some great cheeseburgers on Monday night. It had a nice kick to it with the Siracha she added. We also wanted to "gild the lily" so we added a fried egg on top. Sadly, neither of us was paying attention while the egg was cooking so we over cooked it. Still turned out fan-freaking-tastic.

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Roasted Chicken

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I tried to make roasted chicken this past Sunday using a Gordon Hamersley's recipe I found online:


It turned out pretty good, but not as great as I think it can be. Next time I'll probably do a brine the night before.

I roasted some potatoes with garlic and onions as well as a side dish. This turned out well too, but it gave the plate a very plain look. I was too lazy to do a pan sauce, but it wouldn't have been too tough.

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Rockport (Roy Moore and Blacksmith) and New Bridge Cafe

Comments (0) | Sunday, September 27, 2009

OU's bye week, so in what's becoming sort of a tradition we took Saturday off from college football and went to Rockport for some lobster.

Roy Moore
Our first review of Roy Moore can be found here. I can say nothing has changed in one year. $12 for one lobster is a great bargain. We got one a piece and went onto their back deck and went to town.

I've gone lobster crazy in the past year. Basically since I've been to Roy Moore for the first time, I've just been wanting lobster, lobster, lobster. I'm amazed that I used to think lobster was overrated and too much work. Now I know how to pick clean a lobster in just a few minutes. Good stuff. Roy Moore's is one of the top 5 destination for anyone visiting New England.

Blacksmith Restaurant

After the lobsters, we were still kinda hungry so we walked around to find a a spot that had a nice view and decent prices. We walked up into the Blacksmith, which seemed promising due to some nice lunch specials under $10. The mainly empty dining room was wide open with large windows lining the entire wall. This gave a great view of the ocean. Because it was lunch we had to order at the front and sit down while we wait for our meal. This is fine, but the fact that she told us to sit down first seemed odd. We probably could have just looked at the menu then and there and ordered. I noticed a group that came in later had issues with this ordering system. They sat down with their menus and were loudly complaining that the waitress was not coming to them. Eventually the waitress informed them they had to order up front. Again, not the biggest of deals to us, but I can see how it can be confusing.

Abby went with the blackened Haddock and I went with the fried shrimp box. Both comes with french fries. Abby also got the Lobster Ale from Shipyard and I got a kolsch style ale. Both beers were $6, so not the greatest of bargain there. The fried shrimp were pretty good, the light batter coming apart slightly when touched with a fork. The fries were handcut fries with the skin still on and were good and salty. I just wished they would have let the fries rest a bit after they were in the fryer to drain some of the oil because only a few fries were crunchy and the rest slightly soggy. Abby liked her haddock very much, but was not a fan of the lettuce and tomato that was in the sandwich.

I probably wouldn't make it a point to come here again, since there are other places I'd like to try in the area, but it wasn't a bad lunch at all. I'm sure the prices are a little bit more during high season, but the lunch specials weren't badly priced at all. I give the Blacksmith Restaurant a 3 out of 5.

Blacksmith Shop Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Blacksmith does have a very nice and clean bathroom, which must have been common knowledge because I witnessed no less than 4 people who walked in from the street just to use the restroom.

New Bridge Cafe

The famous New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea. The famous steak tips. I was given a recipe for steak tips a couple of years ago and when I googled steak tips recipes to find out if it's common to use Coca Cola in the marinade I found out that this was the basis of the secret New Bridge Cafe recipe. So I tried it out and DAMN was it incredible on the steak tips. Driving home along Route 1 we decided to hit up the famous restaurant for dinner.

We arrive and this place is a dive on the outside and a dive on the inside. (Not that that is a bad thing...in fact we were hoping it would be a dive.) We parked on the street and walked in to a bar area that leads to the receptionist area. And the receptionist is one of those cool, old, angry, surly women that you see in older diners and cafes. Immediately a good sign. It took a while for her to get our name because she was running around getting bread and utensils to other tables, but once we got our name in (and by this time there were at least 5 other groups lined up behind us waiting to do the same) it only took about 5 minutes or so before our table was ready. Quick turn around means another good sign.

There was no question on what we were ordering. I got my steak tips with the salad and Abby got hers with the french fries. We also ordered the home made root beer. (Diet for Abby.) It did take a while for our food to arrive, but this gave us time to look around at the other diners and the cafe itself. Multiple TVs with the game on and tons of Pats, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics memorabilia around. There was a table setup for 6 behind us with only 2 people sitting there waiting for their friends. As the veteran receptionist walked by to clean and setup other tables she kept giving them looks of pure evil. And I can understand why. I mean, you show up without your whole party and you take up a table that can be sat and cleared by the time your late friends even arrive is clearly a justifiable reason why the waiters and receptionist are giving you ice dagger looks every time they are near you. (We were done with our meal and were leaving right when their final friend showed up.)

Anyway, while we were waiting on our dinner, we picked at the bread. As you can tell, the bread is nothing special and no plates came out with the basket...and again, this was perfectly fine by us. We already know what type of place this is once we walked through those doors, no need for them to change and give us plates. The root beer was pretty good and sweet and we couldn't tell any noticeable difference between the diet and regular.

Our dinners arrive and Abby gets the biggest french fry wedges of all time. We get about 6 or 7 tips along with pretty big sides. I ordered mine medium rare and the wife goes for medium. However, after our first few bites, we noticed that it didn't really matter how we ordered them. Each tip we had were all different temperatures. Medium, rare, medium well. None were well done though, and all were still very juicy and nicely cooked with some good charred bits. I noticed this on the menu:

If the pic is too small, it says "Not responsible for well done orders." And I love it! No one should ever order anything well done. Bourdain talks about how restaurants will give the scrap meat leftover from butchering the nicer cuts to the well done ordering customers since they are just going to fry/bake/broil the hell out of it into a disgusting brown/black piece of crap. Even the New Bridge Cafe adheres to this rule.

Overall the steak tips were very good. Juicy with fantastic flavors that were similar to my own steak tips but with that added "something" that makes it restaurant style more than home style. The salad was a typical salad, but large in portion with a very nice homemade dressing. I did get a couple of pieces of steak that were gristly, but that didn't stop me from devouring it. Other menu items include Italian favorites and chicken or lamb tips in the same marinade. And the portions are huge. A couple next to us received Italian entrees big enough to feed families.

New Bridge Cafe is a local favorite and well known throughout New England as the place to get steak tips. This is a very deserving title. I will be back here. I give New Bridge Cafe a 4 out of 5.

New Bridge Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Weekend Roundup (Picante Mexican Restaurant, Estragon)

Comments (1) | Monday, September 21, 2009

Hey, JP's blogging again. First let me say: GO HUSKIES!!!! Way to beat USC (University of Spoiled Children). That made my freaking weekend. OU shutting out the #1 offense from last year wasn't too shabby either. Anyway, I'll try to get more posts in throughout this week. Things to look forward to include a Top Chef Masters recap, why I'm not watching the current Top Chef, and my thoughts on a great chef like Andy Husbands being on Hell's Kitchen.

Picante Mexican Restaurant
Friday night we jumped on the 1 to head down Mass Ave into the country known as Cambridge. Central Square is not that far away but for some reason it sure feels like it's another state. Maybe it's because the 1 stops every 20 seconds and it takes forever to get pass the Charles on a Friday night.

In any case we had plans to hit up Garden at the Cellar for some good bar food and tater tots. Once we got there though, there was an hour and a half wait for a table and no one looked like they were leaving their bar seats any time soon.

We walked back down Mass Ave and went to Picante Mexican Restaurant, a place I've been dying to try out. I've been trying to find really kick ass Mexican food in Boston since I moved here 5 years ago. What we got wasn't kick ass, but it was pretty darn tasty and satisfying.

Abby ordered the Tostada Salad with chicken and I got the Chicken and Rice plate. The friendly cashier (this is a order and pick up your food joint) told me to get the salsa verde over my chicken and rice and since she probably knows best I did. My chicken and rice was a nice simple dinner. It was a good thing I added the salsa verde, not just because it was a tangy salsa but because the dish could have been very dry. This meal was what it was: chicken and rice. Which is a good thing...when I order something like this, then I don't want anything else on my plate. I want chicken and rice. Abby's tostada salad was large and had a nice dalop of guacamole on top. You could go a lot worse for a Friday night dinner than Picante Mexican Restaurant. Plus the price is right with most dishes under $8. I give Picante Mexian Restaurant a 3 1/2 out of 5.

Cafe Picante on Urbanspoon


We missed out on our buddy Joey's birthday dinner a week or so ago, so we owed him one. On Saturday night we took him and Emilie out to Estragon. Located just down the street from us, Estragon is a trendy tapas restaurant. We've only been once before and enjoyed our meal very much. I'm actually surprised we haven't been here more often.

When I made my reservation online on their website I noticed that you could order a pig's head for dinner. I was nearly tempted to do this, but then I realized not everyone would want a piggy staring back at them no matter how good the cheek is. (And if you have never had pig's cheek then you are definitely missing out.)

Dinner started out slowly. Water took forever to get to our table and our waiter was no where in site to order. Luckily this was the only hiccup of the night. Everything else was fantastic. We ordered a bunch of different items and was not disappointed in any. OK, the salt cod fritter, while nicely cooked, didn't have much flavor. But that was it...the other ten items were fantastic.

Tortilla Espanola - you just have to get this at any tapas place or you aren't at a tapas joint.

Chorizo - served on toasted bread.

Patatas Aioli - came free to us for dinner, since every tapas joint in Spain always gives something free.

I forget the name of this dish, but this was my favorite. Pork belly fat and shredded beef over bone marrow and toast. So buttery and delicious! I want it now!

Potatas Bravas - fried potatoes with a spicy sauce.

Salt Cod Fritters - not really my favorite, but not bad either.

Head on Prawns. The best part of most animals is the head and I loved sucking the juicy goodness out of these guys.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - surprisingly good, and this is coming from a guy who doesn't like brussels sprouts.

Garlic Shrimp - simple and delicious.

Lamb Empanada - flaky crust covering chopped lamb meat. Another surprise...I wasn't expecting this to taste so good.

Seared Pork Belly over Lentils - screw the lentils, just give me the seared pork belly and I'll die a happy man. Something else you must try before you die.

We ate very well that night and I plan on coming back for the pig's head.

I give Estragon a 4 out of 5.
Estragon on Urbanspoon

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A few weeks ago we had to go to Pittsburgh for my buddy Biscuit's wedding. While there we had a few decent meals. We got in first thing on Saturday morning and googled for the best breakfast spot in Pittsburgh. We came up with two places: Delucas and Pamela's. Sadly, both places had what seemed like 4 hour long lines. That was ok by us because the area they were in, the Strip District, was happening with tons of food vendors and shops. We ended up at the Cafe on the Strip because the offered us a free glass of wine with our breakfast.

The food was good to slightly better than good. Nothing too special, but the wine was really good house wine. Apparently it's home made. The service and location were both fantastic. We were in the heart of the Strip District sitting on the sidewalk and could people watch while we enjoyed the free wine.

I give Cafe on the Strip and 3 out of 5.

Cafe on the Strip on Urbanspoon

Walking along the street after our breakfast, we spot this street vendor:

Which had this sign attached:

And Abby was dying to get some pierogies while we were in Pittsburgh, so even though we were full, we had to get some.

They were very, very good. Cheese and potato wrapped in dough and skillet fried with onions. Simple and delicious. We started talking to the Weenie King, and not only is he the owner of this great little stand, he also owns Bar 11 on the famous Carson Street. This is where it pays to talk to locals and get details on what's happening in town. The King told us to mention him and we'd get in free (I know, only saving like $10 probably, but still...free is free) but we never got a chance to check out his bar. Either way, Weenie King gets a 4 out of 5.

Our final food destination turned out to be a place I've already been. Fat Head's is located on Carson Street and is a local brewery/restaurant. Bottom line, I wish this was a place in South End. Nice micro-brews with sandwiches as big as your head? What's not to like? Maxim magazine listed their South Side Slopes one of the best sandwiches in America...and it sure is one of my top 10 sandwiches ever. Pierogies and Kielbasa and special mustard. This is a damn good sandwich. It washed down nicely with the Fat Head Ocktoberfest beer. Abby ordered the fried pierogies and those were nice and crispy and equally tasty.

I give Fat Head's a 4 1/2 out of 5.

Fat Head's on Urbanspoon

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