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.
Ray being deceived by Katie to act foolish. This is a fairly normal thing for us.
Sometimes, we’re a little ridiculous (and really bad at spelling).
Katie for the win.
With the new years and decade just around the corner, it’s about damn time Katie and I started a joint food blog. After over two and a half years since we’ve left the dorms at BU, we’ve remained busy in our respective kitchens sharing stories of failed meringues, unevenly baked cupcakes and clogged kitchen sinks. Our story actually goes back further to the beginning of freshman year where Katie slowly molded me into the culinary obsessed person I am today. Long hours of studying in front of Food Network turned into delivery from the many non-reputable Chinese takeout joints around campus and evolved to sushi hunting around Boston. Junior and senior year gave us our first kitchens and allowed us to feed roommates and for Katie to throw parties with fish and steak tacos, bulgogi, sushi, cupcakes and countless punch bowls with extra splashes of vodka when no one was looking.
Learning the hard way that Lucky Wah is not the key to collegiate success
Fast forward to the present and you’ll find two code monkeys looking for something new to challenge and inspire themselves. Enter Cafe Boulud Cookbook where pan seared chicken breasts and steaks become pate and calf liver. I’ll be the first to admit fear as beads of sweat formed on my forehead while going recipes with words that I can’t pronounce. However, this isn’t going to stop us from getting some hands on experience with French techniques and ingredients. Our victories will be Spartan yelling worthy. Our failures will be stomach wrenching.
This blog will be a healthy mix of recipe reviews and commentary, food news and hopefully provide some insight on what goes on in the minds of big dreamers. This will be a stepping stone to something greater and something to look back on fondly when we are critiquing turkey on white bread with a side of cucumber salad and naked baked potato at our assisted living communities. I’ll be starting things off with Onion Soup with Braised Beef Shank.
What better way to start 2011 than to embark on an epic culinary journey with one of your best friends? Ray and I have some pretty lofty dreams and we’ve talked endlessly about our foodie obsessions since our graduation from Boston University’s School of Management in ’08. After realizing that we’re only getting older, I set the ball in motion. I picked up a copy of Café Boulud Cookbook at Borders three weeks ago when my boyfriend produced one of those magic holiday coupons. Thanks Allen!
I read through the book cover to cover three times that following weekend. That Monday I made the decision that this was what Ray and I needed. If we were ever going to get some of our dreams off the ground, we would have to take baby steps to get there… like be in the kitchen more often and challenge ourselves. I immediately ran to Amazon to express ship Ray a copy of the cookbook as a Christmas gift.
Fast forward to today now that we both have our copy in hand. We’ve decided to split the book by its 4 sections and then by subsections. For instance, the game plan is to start with La Tradition. Ray will start at the beginning of Soups, Starters, Small Dishes, Lunches, and Anytime Food and I will start at the end until we cooked through that section. Then, we will move onto the next La Tradition subsection — Main Courses, until we have finished the entire La Tradition. Sounds easy, right?
So where do we go from here? Well, first I think Ray and I need some high def webcams. That way, we can speak to each other candidly and share some of those conversations with you. Anyone reading out there will also get to see how ridiculously good looking we are. Consider yourselves lucky.
We could also use some cast and crew mates e.g. friends who are willing to take notes, pictures, and Flip videos for a potentially delicious payoff.
I could also use some extra money, but I’m afraid that’s coming from just us.
I’m extremely intimidated now that we’ve laid the ground rules. My first recipe to tackle is Crusty Marrow and Porcini Fricassee. Holy cow, here we go.