Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
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.
On Thursday, I had my goodbye happy hour at PF Chang’s after one of the office standbys Lia’s looked like there was dinner service in the bar area. This also happened to be my first time at PF Chang’s, and I was glad to finally give upscale Chinese American food a try. With a couple of bottles of PBR and PF Chang’s signature chicken lettuce wraps, I was able to go home to a blacked out, cold apartment full and warm. I am personally a fan of Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang’s earned some points in my booked as the Asian equivalent.
After my last day at work, I had dinner with a friend and former co-worker at The General Store. This also helped me knock off my last coupon. The General Store certainly lived up to the term “hole in the wall,” though “hole in the middle of the woods” would also be accurate. At one point I was accused of directing my friends in to the middle of the woods to kill her. Opps? The restaurant was a converted post office and was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives like Comet Ping Pong, but was able to deliver on a good meal. We both ordered the Fried Chicken Dinner with Mac n Cheese. The meal also came with two pieces of cornbread. We followed with a large slice of Lemon Chess Pie. One thing to keep in mind is that the fried chicken is first fried and then baked, so it may not be as hot. The pie was easily the star of the meal. If you have a car and want a mini-adventure to the suburbs, I would give The General Store a shot.
Fried Chicken Dinner and Lemon Chess Pie from The General Store
Saturday was originally suppose to be move out day, but now that I had an extra day to pack, I decided to hit up Bethesda at some places I never got the chance to visit. For lunch, I had a Double Double (sandwich with two kinds of meat and cole slaw) at Uptown Deli. Given that this was a new Jewish deli, I selected pastrami and brisket. Both were good though I wish the pastrami would have been cut thicker and the brisket more tender. However, Uptown deli was a huge upgrade over the now gone Morty’s Deli two Red Line stops away.
For dinner, I hit up Hinata Sushi Carry Out. Hinata is a small (really small) Japanese grocery store with 3 aisles less than 10 feet long with a Sushi counter in the back. One convenient note is that they sell sushi grade fish by the pound, which I felt bad for not being able to utilize sooner although $40/lbs of fish doesn’t really help you save even if you are eating at home. The sushi was somewhat disappointing, though rolls were under $5. I would recommend ordering one of the preset sushi platters rather than ordering a la carte. In addition, I was able to pick up a couple of Japanese snacks like Almond Pocky and a Lychee drink.
Sushi from Hinata and Brunch at Cafe Deluxe
Ironically, my final meal in the DC area was brunch (with women) at Cafe Deluxe. Although this was my suggestion due to the fact that my parents would be arriving around lunch. We each ordered the Deluxe breakfast that came with scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, and a biscuit. The breakfast was good, but the eggs and home fries lacked any seasoning, so a couple dashes of salt were required, but overall a great meal to fuel me for the move.
I think that for as much as I knocked DC, I’ll still look back with enough good memories. The food culture has grown for the better in the last 2.5 years with the addition of Obama and Sam Kass, an influx of celebrity chef restaurants, burger/cupcake/frozen yogurt/food truck boom mixed with DC’s own staples (Ethiopian, soul food, Ben’s Chili Bowl, steakhouses) and local chefs (Michel Richard, Michael Landrum). I hope that I won’t be missing out on too much of the action, but I am eager to get reacquainted with the best of New England. So good bye DC, it’s been real, but you still have a ways to go before you’re among the elite dining cities.