On The Menu

Coppa (JP Review)

Comments (0) | Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coppa opened up a little while ago and we've been dying to go. We were a little put off with the horror stories of the long waits since there's no reservations available. We figured going on a Wednesday with just the two of us was probably the best chance we had at being seated in a reasonable time. Just our luck there was one table for two all empty, just waiting for us to show up. Perfect. We were seated opposite of the bar along the wall heading towards the kitchen. At the bar you can see the salumi selection laid out by some sort of slicing machine.

The drink list is quite extensive with tons of cocktails and lots of wine though the beer selection is quite small but does include some beers we've never had before. I went with the cheap $3 man-can of Naraganssat and Abby went with the 21st Ammendment. It does seem to take some time before our waitress brings us some water and take our drink orders, but it was busy and we weren't in any sort of hurry. It gave us more time to formulate our plan on how to order.

At Coppa there are small plates, a selection of salumi and cheeses, salads, pizzas, pastas and entrees. We decided on four small plates and a pizza. If we were still hungry, we could always order more. This seemed to be the modus operandi of the other patrons because both parties next to us would finish whatever was in front of them then look over the menu and order another item, rinse and repeat.

The first item to arrive was the beef heart crustini. This was absolutely incredible. Imagine the best roast beef you have ever gotten in a sandwich. Got it? Well the very delicately shaved beef heart is that but a million times better. So beefy, so tender, so delicious. A very good start to our meal.

Next came the white anchovies. I am a sucker for oily fishes, and these did not fail to live up to my expectations. Very succulent, laying in oil that had just a little spicy kick to it. I wished this was the oil that came with the bread that preceded the meal because I just kept dipping our leftover bread into it.

Meatballs were next. At first bite I just thought these were very good meatballs, but nothing special. Bite after bite that followed made me realize that these were not your ordinary meatballs. I don't if it was the lardo or the tomato sauce, but I wanted more and more meatballs. A restaurant could serve these balls of meat over pasta as their only dish and make a fortune.

Our last small plate was the veal sweetbread. This had a nice crust with a very tender middle. I've had sweetbreads before but that was almost always deep fried. Coppa adds a rhubarb sauce that was just ok.

Finally the pizza came out. We went with the spicy pork sausage one and added an egg on top. When our pizza was placed in front of us, our neighbors immedataely looked on their menu and contemplating ordering the same pizza and egg even though they had half a pizza left on their table. The pizza was fantastic with a crispy thin crust and a subtle tomato sauce. The sausage wasn't really that spicy, but the egg did add a little something to the pizza.

We were stuffed, but still wanted to eat more. I asked our waitress what was for dessert and she said a homemade blueberry and strawberry sorbet. We went with one scoop of both. The strawberry sorbet was incredible...the blueberry not so much. It wasn't bad at all, just wasn't as good. Next time I'd just get two scoops of the strawberry.

Our bill came and that was the biggest surprise of the night. While Coppa is not cheap by any means, it won't hurt your wallet either. Everything is priced pretty well, with maybe the pizzas $2 too much if you want to nit pick. The sorbet was surprisingly expensive at $6, but that balanced out with the cheap beer I got. Also, I now understand why there's a seating problem: no one seems to want to leave once they are seated. You can sit and talk and have cocktails and when you want another small plate, you just order it. The two parties next to us were well into their dinners when we arrived and both were finished at the same time as we were. I like that the servers weren't being pushy and trying to get people to leave. Overall, a very positive experience at Coppa. I definitely will be back because there is so much more on the menu I want to try, including the pig's ear which was not available to us that night. I give Coppa a 4 out of 5.

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Lester's Roadside BBQ

Comments (0) | Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chronicle did a profile of Lester's Roadside BBQ and when they said it was located in Burlington, I immediately thought it was Vermont, not MA. After a quick interweb search, this BBQ joint was indeed located in Mass, so I knew we'd be taking a short road trip to try it out. Today was that day.

First, there's ample parking in the rear. As you walk in, you see a very cute restaurant with gas station type of memorabilia on the walls. It's done in a nice manner too. (This is something some restaurants just don't get. There is a very thin line between "ultra tacky kitsch" and "well theme decorated".) You order to the left of the counter and wait for your number to be called. All the BBQ staples are there: pulled pork, ribs, brisket, etc. They do have some specials in sliders and blackened catfish too. Abby went with the pulled pork sandwich and I went with a 2 BBQ combo plate with pulled pork and ribs. I wasn't sure what I wanted between ribs and chopped bbq beef, so I asked our very friendly server what was best and without hesitation she said the ribs. The cook standing next to her nodded as she said that, so I knew that was the way to go. (Again, I like when servers answers questions like this without hesitation. I hate when they say things like, "I dunno..depends on what type of mood you are in" or something similar, basically deflecting the question back to the customer. You work there and obviously know what's good and what's not as good...please, I want your opinion.) For sides, Abby got the potato salad and I went with baked beans and mac and cheese.

We took a seat and the server brought over our $2 beer. It was just PBR, but $2 is $2 and that's a good price for a nice cold beer on such a hot day.

Right along the main counter there are the various homemade BBQ sauces. Hot, Sweet, Sweet and Tangy, North Carolina Vinegar, and Habenaro Vinegar. Though they were a little watery, they were all really good. My favorites were the Sweet and Habenaro Vinegar, but I dipped my pulled pork into all of them.

Speaking of pulled pork, our food was ready in a short time and we dug in. The pulled pork was so tender and juicy, not dry at all. (You could tell how juicy the meat was because the piece of white bread under the pork was soaking through.) The ribs were also cooked perfectly, not dry at all and extremely tender. The sides too did not disappoint.

Overall Lester's is a must hit if you live in Burlington. The portions are good and the prices are really good. Sandwiches are about $7 and platters range from $10-$15. I will definitely be back for more BBQ. I give Lester's Roadside BBQ a 4 out of 5.

Lester's Roadside BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Bar Louie

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Bar Louie

We hit up Bar Louie before a concert at Showcase Live in Patriot Place because Annie could not quit raving about their tator tots. There's a nice patio space outside and a huge roof patio but it was way too hot for us to be outside. We sat inside the massive bar/restaurant on one of the many hightops. As we walked pass the bar I noticed Boddingtons and Allagash White on tap...so far big points in my book. We sat down and our very chatty waiter comes over even before we could look at the beer list or menu. I ordered a beer while Abby and Annie just got water while they looked over the extensive list of beers. The menu has the typical sports bar/chain menu items and priced accordingly. Appetizers are $10 or less, mains are $15 or less basically. We weren't starving so we just went for a few apps to snack on. The loaded tator tots, the pretzel sticks, and the chips and dip.

The pretzel sticks were pretty good. They tasted like they were fresh baked, but I don't know if they truly were or not. I liked the cheese dipping sauce the best, the others being a honey mustard and a cinnamon butter. The tater tots weren't bad either, just not anything more than tater tots with cheese and onions and bacon on top of it. I guess I was expecting tater tots like those at Garden in the Cellar just not normal tater tots. Likewise, the chips and dip were a handful of stale chips with a guacamole, salsa and queso dip (the same one as the pretzel sticks).

Overall...a decent spot, but nothing to get excited about. I like the extensive beer list and if I was in Patriot Place I'd come back for a drink or two. And maybe if I was really hungry for a snack I'd order the pretzel sticks. Oh, something has to be said about the "uniforms" of the servers. The female servers all wear short black shorts with black tank tops and have their bras just popping out of the tanks. I don't know if one server decided this was a good look to make more tips and so the others went along with it, or if management actually encourages it. This was neither a plus or minus in my books. I give Bar Louie a meh-tastic 3 out of 5.

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Some Cheap Eats Reviews (Pourhouse and Rosebud Diner)

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Located on Boylston, Pourhouse boasts cheap eats and cheap beers. The specials changes daily, and on the night we went (Thursday) it was border bargains. All their Mexican dishes were half off. We both went with the soft tacos and two large beers. The tacos weren't anything special, but weren't bad either. They had decent enough flavor, but they were what you'd expect for $3.50 tacos at a bar. The rice and beans were fairly standard as well. The best part of the meal was definitely the price. For having two beers each and dinner, we were able to enjoy dinner without breaking the bank. Pourhouse is a good spot to go when you are looking for cheap eats and a good cold beer. I give Pourhouse a 3 and 1/2 out of 5.

Pour House on Urbanspoon

Rosebud Diner

Rosebud Diner can't be missed when driving around Davis Square. It's the large classic dining cart. We sat in a booth that had all their reviews and awards displayed above us. The menu has all the normal diner items (club sandwiches, burgers, etc) and there was Harpoon beer on tap. I went with the bacon burger and Abby went with the BBQ burger. Both were alright, with the burger being slightly dry. Abby's went with the potato wedges as fries and really liked them, but my fries were kinda bland and needed some seasoning. The prices throughout the menu were really good though. Burgers and sandwiches $7 or less. Entrees for $10 and less. The waitress was the type you'd expect at a diner: a little older and sassy. The dessert menu looked good too, but we were so full that we didn't get the Boston Cream Pie that I wanted. I'd like to give this place a try for breakfast, but for dinner it was just ok. I give Rosebud Diner a 3 out of 5.

Rosebud Diner on Urbanspoon

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Comments (0) | Monday, July 12, 2010

A handy website that tells you how to store food. (Stilltasty)

A tale of 2 McNuggets (CNN Health)

Beer Stimulus (WSJ)

I can't believe that Grimaldi's in Brooklyn didn't make this list, but at least they had one Boston spot, even though it wasn't Ernestos. (delish.com)

Not food related, but my high school needs help. (News9.com)

And finally, follow our blog on facebook. (Facebook)

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Black Jack Pasta (JP Review)

Comments (2) | Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lazy and not wanting to cook or leave the house to grab dinner, we opened up the laptop and searched foodler.com for possible dinner delivery options. Under their sponsored links I saw Black Jack Pasta and "free delivery", so I immediately looked at their menu. Fresh, home made pasta and wings and subs. Sounds good to me. I checked yelp and saw only 1 review from 6/30/2010. Either no one visits this place or it's brand spanking new. The wife looked at the menu and saw the Chef Jack's Special Dish (Ziti pasta w/ pesto sauce, prosciutto, fresh tomatoes, homemade fresh mozzarella
w/ a splash of balsamic vinaigrette) and knew what she wanted. However, both their online ordering system and foodler.com did not have this entree listed. So I just called them up and gave our order. I went with the buffalo wings and the potato gnocchi with papa's meat sauce. 45-60 minutes later our food arrived.

Abby's meal came with a side salad and a cookie. The chicken wings were a little soggy, but most delivery wings are. They did taste great and were pretty spicy. I believe I was only suppose to get 8 wings, but I ended up with 11. (I really hope I wasn't suppose to get 12...) The pasta (which I guess is what you should order from a place calling itself a pasta bar) was really, really good. I admit I was surprised, mainly because I didn't know what to expect. I've had pasta dished delivered from sub shops that seemed to have similar menus and they were over cooked and plain and boring. Here though, the pasta tasted very fresh and the sauces weren't slathered on, but added as a nice compliment to the pasta. Portions were a good size too. I first thought they were small, but upon eating the potato gnocchi I realized it was just the right amount. Not to say that the gnocchi was that heavy, but I was getting full eating it.

Prices are pretty good too. Roughly $10 for pasta dishes, a few bucks more if you go for one of their "full meal" dishes. This is definitely a place I'll order from again. I give Black Jack Pasta a 3 and 1/2 out of 5.

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