Category Archives: Brunch

Cider House Donuts

This past winter, I left my fear at the door, armed with two baby sized tubs of shortening, I got a little crazy with Mr. E… in the kitchen. It’s become a tradition of ours to get donuts at Craigie every Sunday, which proves miracles happen since I’m not the size of a house. I had to run and knock on the nearest piece of wood after typing those words.

We vowed to be more active members in our own kitchen and I’d been whipping up healthy eats during the week with some little cheat meals on the weekends. To jump start us, we forewent our typical Sunday donuts. Instead, we shuffled to the mall Saturday afternoon, picked up a donut cutter ready to make our donuts for the next morning. Mind you, I’m aware this was not a healthy move, but we were taking baby steps. Our impatience got the better of us and we headed to the store late Saturday night for some cider donut fixins.

I have such a wonderful memory associated with cider donuts. Earlier in last year toward the end of September, Mr. E and I drove up to Apple Crest Farms in New Hampshire for their fall festival and ate hands down the most amazing cider donuts.


Piping hot and super cidery from Apple Crest Farms

Seriously, game over. All other cider donut makers, just hang your hats and go home. I figured if we were going to make donuts, it would have to be the apple cider variety. Now I’ll admit, the amount of shortening you need to use is not for the faint of heart. Shortening really does improve the grease factor of fried goods, as I’ve learned with fried chicken. Just think as it sits, the fat solidifies back to its room temperature form so you’re not left eating an oil sponge.


A whole lotta’ shortening

Going at the dough

Cinnamon sugar and cider glazed cider donuts!

Ready to fry the remaining donut holes

Voila ici!

For the dough, I used a minimal amount of concentrated cider that boiled down to about 1/4 of its original volume. In hindsight, I should have pureed apple to pump up the apple flavor. If I’m eating a cider donut, I’d like to know I’m eating a cider donut. That being said, I thought we made a pretty solid showing for our first time. Will I be making donuts on a regular weekly basis? Absolutely not. Let’s leave that to the experts. Craigie on Sundays and Apple Crest in October. See you guys there.

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Thanksgiving Eats


Turkey Time

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and adjusted back to life in the grind today. I had all of week plus today off and was pretty happy with the food I consumed over the break. I got home last Monday, and my dad suggested we go to McDonald’s to get some McRibs. Knowing my parents, such a request was pretty shocking. I declined, and he suggested driving up to Edison so I could try some new Chinese restaurants. The first two we tried were closed so we found ourselves in heaven H Mart. Spacious, clean, reasonably priced and delicious food court options. We got a seafood pancake, a bowl of noodle soup, and some Korean fried chicken. Then, we shopped for lobsters and abalone for a late dinner.

On Tuesday my dad got KFC for lunch. My reality is seriously taking a U-turn. Maybe it was a little Thanksgiving warm up? The mashed potatoes and chicken were as I remembered, but the biscuits weren’t as big or fluffy. Recipe change? Sad face.

On Wednesday, the cooking began after some take out Chinese for lunch. I got started on baking treats for in house snacking, friends and neighbors. First up were Chocolate Chunk Cookies based off Tollhouse Cookies without the walnuts and chunks instead of chips. Next were the office favorite, Cookies n Cream Cupcakes, which friends also enjoyed However, they didn’t get them until 2-3 days after so they dried out a bit in the fridge. Finally, Thanksgiving desserts included Pumpkin Cheesecake and Apple Pie.


Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Cookies N Cream Cupcakes


Pumpkin Cheesecake


Apple Pie

The big day included waffles for brunch with a blackberry topping and fresh blackberries and bananas.


Thanksgiving Brunch

For the big meal, we had a 12 lbs. turkey brined and rubbed with sage, kosher salt and a little rosemary along with a half lemon and cinnamon stick in the cavity. Gravy was made using a roux, chicken stock and soy sauce. This was the most successful gravy I’ve made to date in terms of universal appeal, color, texture and taste. I did feel guilty about cutting out the pan drippings, since I had so much to do. Green bean casserole, dressing, sage and rosemary biscuits, sweet potato mash and spaghetti squash with cranberries rounded out the meal. The green bean casserole was the first time I made it completely from scratch, and while it looked sexy, the fried onions still didn’t measure up to French’s. The dressing was still inferior to Stove Top, but I’m still confident that someday I will have a recipe that will be better. The spaghetti squash was a new addition this year and was inspired by a meal at Oceanarie the week before Thanksgiving. The strands from the squash are pretty cool. When my dad asked if I cut the squash into the strands, I was pretty tempted to say yes. Overall, my dad said it was the best Thanksgiving meal to date that I’ve made, so my constant need for approval was satisfied for the time being.


Sage and Rosemary Biscuits


Spaghetti Squash with Cranberries


Green Bean Casserole


The Spread


Coma on a Plate

On Friday night, I met up with a few friends for burgers at 25 Burgers and had a Bull’s Eye Burger with sweet potato fries. The burger itself was pretty messy and greasy, but it’s the best burger within a 15 minute drive from my house. The onion strings and patty were the highlights, while the bun was lacking. The fries were decent, but the portion was rather small. Overall the burger, fries, and drink were a little over $12.


BBQ Burgers Don’t Know How to Disappoint

The next day, I ate at Shanghai Bun and got some sauteed pork and vegetables with Shanghai noodles, and my friend got chicken and mustard green soup. For dinner, I hung out with a few of my sister’s friends and went to the Olive Garden for the first time. The place was pretty empty when we arrived, but was packed by the time we left. I was definitely surprised with the decor and ambiance, since I always though the commercials were so corny. However, the prices were also higher than I imagined. I was thinking most entrees would be $8-15, but the range was more like $12-$20. The seating was interesting, with wheels on all four legs sliding in every direction. The bread sticks were on the salty side, but you can’t go wrong with unlimited warm bread. For my entree, I got braised short ribs. I’m not 100% confident that it didn’t come out of a bag, but the tenderness of the meat was still enjoyable. Overall, the meal was better than I expected, but at $28 with tax and tip, I’d rather spend my dining out money elsewhere.


If Only Plate of Food Grew on Trees


Healthy Can Taste Good


The Most Perfectly Shaped Breadsticks I’ve Ever Seen in my Life


Braised Short Ribs

Visitors Equal Gluttony 2

Last weekend, I had a friend over who was visiting from NYC, meaning it’ll be a challenge to impress from a food perspective. She arrived on Friday late afternoon and after dropping off her things at my office, we headed to Kingston Station in downtown Boston near my office. Although more know for its bar scene, we sat down for dinner in the back and got some drinks. The bread basket was average, but the maple butter elevated the bread, which led to a second basket. We shared PEI mussels to start that came with the standard white wine, garlic broth with tomatoes. For entrees, Grace ordered the Ahi Tuna Burger and I ordered the scallops with celery root puree, English peas, and carrots. The burger disappointed as it lacked the texture of a good sear and also came with sub par fries. Scallops were much better with a nice even golden sear and tender throughout.

Afterwards we headed back to my office for a mini tour and a game of pool (I won). Before heading to The Thinking Cup for dessert (sub par cupcake, good fruit tart, good atmosphere) and then to watch The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The next day, we went to the Friendly Toast in Kendall for brunch and ordered one savory egg and one sweet special. The eggs came with onions, tomatoes, bacon?, and some type of champagne along with home fries and toast. The pear and pomegranate french toast came smothered in a pear cream cheese and a side of sausage. Both were satisfying and unique, although Grace accused them of being overly flavorful. I thought that was suppose to be a good thing?

After brunch kayaking on the Charles was short lived as the forecast was cloudy, Grace either splashing me or herself with Charles River water, and bumpy waves so we left and headed to Newbury street so Grace could shop from the beginning to the end. This landed us with few great dining options as the more casual Back Bay dining scene is nonexistent so we ended up at Kashmir for Indian eats. We got a comp watermelon shooter, which tasted a little off as it didn’t taste like straight up watermelon juice, even though it was suppose to be along with Murg Do Piaza Khumb (pan roasted chicken with onions tomatoes, bell peppers, and spices), Gosht Korma (chunks of lamb cooked with spices and nuts in a mild cream sauce), Shahi Aloo Gobhi (cauliflower and potatoes with tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices), Garlic Naan and finished with Coconut Sorbet. Overall, the meal was average as the chicken and lamb were dry, and the naan was unevenly cooked. Mixing the sauces with the rice and the coconut sorbet were probably the highlights for me.

After getting back home and talking about Thomas Keller, Tom Haverfoods, and watching music videos we set out for some late night eats (failing to find Amy’s Cheddar Bowls at 3 locations) we sadly ended up at Tavern in the Square and had some tough as leather buffalo chicken skewers and drinks. Frozen food at Shaw’s would have been more fulfilling.

On Sunday, before heading to a doomed candlepin bowling excursion, we stopped by Anna’s Taqueria for lunch. Grace got the Mexican plate with chicken ranchero and some additional grilled veggies while I got the Carnitas Quesadilla (really a griddled burrito). Both dishes were good and very well priced. Grace even got to enjoy a non price inflated Mexican Coke (win for Boston).

We made a stop at Harard Square so that Grace could revisit from her days at pre-college, but it really just ended up being a trick to do some more shopping. We made a stop at Crema Cafe where I confirmed that I still don’t like coffee. On the way back home, Katie was able to get us two more tickets to the Yankees and Red Sox game that night so the original Oleana plans were canceled for Sunday night baseball! This of course was after I explained the value of these tickets to Grace so that the law of supply and demand made choosing easier.


At Fenway Park, we were able to get Pavilion seating with a counter service like seating and where food was brought to you. Some over priced beer and sausages later, we called it a weekend and headed home.

Portland, Maine

The NY Times article I read a few years back first put Portland, Maine on my radar as a dining destination, but back then, I already moved out of Boston and was adjusting to the more French and Southern inspired DC dining scene. When I moved back this winter, I made a goal to take a trip out with Katie and Krissie and as of this past weekend, I could cross it off my list. Sadly, we did not make it to any of the restaurants mentioned in the list, although Duckfat was by the same people who created Hugo’s.

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UWS Sarabeth’s

A few weeks ago, I got to spend time with Mai, my old roommate from college. CPA studying really overtook my life.  I made time for family and my best friends from Long Island.  Beyond that, unfortunately many people fell to the wayside.  That’s the bad thing about this test.  It really puts some of your relationships to the test.  It had been so long since I’d seen Mai and I was so glad we got together for a nice brunch to catch up.



Farmer’s Omelette – Leeks, Ham and Chunks of Potato with Gruyere

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Berries

Mai being the adorable girl she is, raved about the blog.  I being the ridiculous person I am whipped out my Flip and had Mai give me a few words about Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side.