Let me start by saying that the photos that you are about to see don’t even do this place justice. The Backroom at Moody’s is one of the best places I’ve eaten in a while. I can’t wait to go back, but have to lose 10 pounds first. So you walk in off of Moody Street (street parking and metered lots close by) into the deli. Pick up some charcuterie or cheese or even a sandwich to go.
They expanded the deli to include a dining room out back, the backroom. It fills up quickly, so reservations are important. The bar is hopping and we grab a great table, from which we can see into the kitchen.
A little amuse bouche.
There is a huge selection of charcuterie, pick one, three or six choices:
PORK AND RABBIT PATE, FIG AND FOIE PATE, BOHEMIAN PATE, PORK AND PISTACHIO PATE, COUNTRY PATE, CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE COPPA, BRESAOLA, LOMO, ‘NDUJA SOBRASADA PANCETTA, LARDO, COPPA DI TESTA, FINNOCHIONA, SAUCISSON SEC, WILD BOAR SALAMI, MAPLE TOGARASHI, SRIRACHA, ROSSO, LOUKANIKO,CHORIZO SECCO,MOLE,CHIPOTLE,PORCINI,HOT SOPPRESSATA, SWEET SOPPRESSATA, SUMMER SAUSAGE, SAUCISSON AU CIDRE, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO SALAMI, CACCIATORINI
cheese options include:
CHAMPLAIN TRIPLE, BEECHER’S CHEDDAR, PAVE D’AFFINOIS, GREAT HILL BLUE, MAHON, 3-YR AGED GOUDA, COMTE, CAMEMBERT, LISSOME, CAMPO
We start with the “never the same wagyu meatballs” a mixture of their best cuts of meat, fresh herbs and tons of cheese. Heavenly.
The spaetzle, which is not on their current menu.
The Brussels sprouts, which again, are not on their current menu – they were delicious. Add bacon to any vegetable and I’ll eat it!
They had a great pickle jar filled with local vegetables that we gobbled up right along with our charcuterie plate.
The pasta was so delicious, I only wish that the portion size was larger, it left me wishing/craving for more. The “bacon and eggs” is bolognese, black pepper mafaldine pasta and a poached egg.
The smoked wagyu brisket was so melt in your mouth delicious, when we all took a bite, we immediately wished that this was the only thing that we ordered.
The gnocchi was delicious – again, no longer on the menu, but other current menu items that sound delicious are: shrimp and chorizo ravioli with farmers cheese, saffron cream and calabrian chili; the wood fired littleneck clams, or the rigatoni with 7x wagyu beef shank, confit tomato, parsnip crema and fried sage.
My husband wanted to try the breakfast sandwich that was on the deli menu and they were kind enough to accommodate us.
We all wished that we wore sweatpants to this dinner because we were so stuffed. Yes, in a good way, with rich, delicious food, but we had to sit a while to digest, because we seriously couldn’t move.
I highly recommend you try out their restaurant, but if you can’t make it in, they also cater. They brought food to my old office one day and let me tell you that their sandwiches flew out of the kitchen. They aren’t your regular sandwiches, they are sandwiches kicked up to a whole new level. And to see PR girls devouring sandwiches, you know they MUST be THAT good. I can personally vouch that their charcuterie platter is both delicious and beautifully presented. Let me let you in on a little secret. Two words. TRUFFLE. CHIPS. They’re housemade and they are out of this world. In addition, they do a breakfast catering option, here are a few things to get you drooling:
The Cross Fit
4 EGGS, CHOICE OF BACON, HAM OR SAUSAGE, AMERICAN CHEESE (GLUTEN FREE)
CRISPY PORK, SCRAMBLED EGGS, JALAPEÑO, TOMATO, ONION, AVOCADO (GLUTEN FREE)
SCRAMBLED EGG WHITE, CHARRED TOMATO, CHILIS, BERMUDA ONIONS, AVOCADO, CILANTRO, LIME (GLUTEN FREE)
SANDWICHES & WRAPS
Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
CHOICE OF SAUSAGE, HAM, BACON, OR PORK ROLL
Moody’s Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich
EGG, CHEESE, PORK ROLL, SPICY KETCHUP
SPICY SAUSAGE, SOFT SCRAMBLED EGGS, GREEN ONIONS, CHEDDAR, BARREL-AGED HOT SAUCE
The Gino Wrap
HAM, SCRAMBLED EGGS, AMERICAN CHEESE, SPICY KETCHUP
468 Moody Street, Waltham, MA
Tuesday thru Sunday
Deli: 7am to 7pm, Sunday 8am to 4pm
Backroom: 5pm to late, closed Sundays
I have to admit that when I first heard about Roche Bros. in Downtown Crossing, I didn’t realize that there was a downstairs. So here I am thinking, hmm… a market with just a salad bar, a hot bar and prepared foods? What’s so special about that. It was only after talking with a friend and finding out there’s an ENORMOUS downstairs, did I return and see the market in its full splendor. So let’s back track a little: upstairs. So many grab and go options, super convenient for the office workers looking to run down and grab a bite to wolf down in between conference calls. Me, I’d probably never make it past the hot cookies. Downstairs is the actual market where you can pick up produce and something more substantial for dinner.
This market is my happy place. I love Roche Bros. in general, and their sister brand, Brothers Market. They have great products and I love to just walk up and down the aisles and find new delicious things. The bakery has every kind of sweet you can imagine, their pastry case is to die for, they have a cookie bar, and the seasonal candy at the holidays would make santa proud. Let’s not even talk about the $200 chocolate covered almond christmas tree…I’m surprised I restrained myself.
They have a great floral department, perfect things here to bring home to a loved one or maybe pick up something for a hostess gift. Check out the photo in the bottom row, in the middle: a bud vase that attaches to a bottle of wine. BRILLIANT! They have a large liquor selection with a bunch of local brands as well as something a bit pricier if you are looking for a special something something.
Give me ALL.OF.THE.CHEESE. Great local options as well as some brands I hadn’t heard of. The seafood case is super fresh and if I cooked at home, which I don’t, I would definitely pick some shellfish up . Instead, I picked up the party platter of bacon wrapped potatoes and Swedish meatballs and fed my family that for dinner. Hey, don’t judge.
Here’s a cool and unexpected thing about the market, they have a cute little tasting counter where you can grab lunch. Everything is made to order so they can accommodate most everyone. The housemade sodas were top on my list as well as the flatbreads – and what’s great is that you can buy all the ingredients for the flatbread right there at the market and make one at home for dinner. The tasting bar has a dozen seats around the U shaped bar – the service here is top notch.
We also sampled a selection of pastries from their bakery – each one was delicious, it was hard to pick a favorite, but that brownie/cake in the middle photo was probably the winner for me.
So yes, there is a great option available to you if you want to grab lunch out. But can’t make it out of the office? Need some catering for a meeting in the office? Roche Bros. takes care of that too. They have a nice breakfast and lunch catering selection that are anything but ordinary: try 10 assorted muffins for $24.99 – trust me, they’re delish!; a create your own Greek yogurt bar that serves 8-10 is $39.99; how about a breakfast sandwich box? Egg and cheese with bacon, sausage or ham served on an English muffin. Way to be the office hero! For lunch they offer individual boxed lunches, sushi platters, carved pork tenderloin, poached dill salmon…again, office hero – because let’s face it, those sandwich platters from your “regular spot” are just getting old. Need a little extra something to impress the clients? They offer floral arrangements. Celebrating your CEO’s birthday? Yup, cake and balloons can be delivered.
So go. Run. Stop in immediately! 🙂 You can thank me later.
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest of Roche Bros. to visit their Downtown Crossing location. My meal at the Tasting Counter was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
Tasting Counter at Roche Bros.
8 Summer Street, Boston, MA
Farmstead Table has been on my list for quite some time, so I was happy when Leah and I finally made it there last week. The inside is just charming: dark wood tables, bright red chairs and etsy-esque accessories. The restaurant is small, so if you want a seat, make sure to get there early. It was packed at lunch time by the time we left and I’ve read that brunch can get a little crazy.
Popovers has been our thing lately. We love them at Neiman Marcus Cafe in the Natick Collection. We had them here ($10) which were served warm with whipped butter and house made jam. They serve them until they sell out, so just another reason to get there early!
The made to order chicken noodle soup ($12) is what dreams are made of. Double broth, lo mein noodles, winter carrots and pulled chicken. Just the right amount of noodle/carrot/chicken to soup ratio and such hearty flavors. Perfect for a winter afternoon – comfort food just stepped up a notch.
I had the pappardelle ($16) served with chicken tenderloin, braised mushrooms and madeira jus. It was piled high with a light cloud of Parmesan – so delicate! Again, comfort food flavors, really rich and filling.
Look at the beautiful Parmesan on the Caesar salad!
We also tried the fried cauliflower ($10) that had tahini labneh, dukkah and lemon.
The desserts all sounded AMAZING so it was hard to make a choice. We went with the buttermilk white chocolate mousse ($10) that was light as air and so smooth and creamy. It was served with satsuma (orange) and pretzels. It hits all the taste buds on your tongue, it’s sweet and salty, it is smooth and then crunchy from the pretzels, and the citrus just paired so perfectly because it was such a bright punch.
We also chose the Merveilleuse ($10): espresso cream, meringue, and valhrona chocolate. One word. Heaven. Other desserts on the menu include a milk jam pecan tart served with pecan sablee and whipped cream; a crispy brownie sundae served with brownie bark, date ice cream, coconut and walnuts; and deep fried bananas served with passionfruit curd, coconut cream and tangy cashews.
Service was excellent at the beginning of our meal and became a little aloof as our server got in the weeds. Parking is on street at meters.
71 Union Street, Newton, MA
If you were looking for a family friendly restaurant in Boston, your mind probably wouldn’t go right to the Palm Restaurant. Mine wouldn’t either. I was pleased to hear about their new promotion that they are running through the end of February, Sunday Suppers. (Hurry up and get in there this weekend!!) They have a special kid’s menu and a featured dish: the Palm Classic Combo – a 9 oz. Filet Mignon with a Nova Scotia Lobster Tail or Jumbo Lump Crab Cake for only $49.50. The Sunday suppers are available every Sunday in February from 5pm – 9pm. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few other families here with toddlers and young children.
I love the decor, high ceilings, tufted leather banquets, crisp linens and the quirky caricatures on the wall.
So here is a look at the special kid’s menu, and let me tell you, Filet n’ Fries, now THAT’S my kind of kid’s meal!
Mozzarella Sticks with marinara sauce
Fresh Carrots and Apple Slices with ranch dressing
Filet n’ Fries – 4 oz. Filet Mignon, French fries or green beans
Mac n’ Cheese – creamy cheddar cheese sauce and penne pasta
Cheeseburger with cheddar or American cheese, French fries or green beans
Grilled Cheddar Cheese Sandwich, French fries or green beans
Penne Pasta – topped with your choice of marinara sauce or butter and parmesan cheese
Crispy Chicken Strips – ranch dressing, French fries or green beans
Vanilla Ice Cream – with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cherry
Bag of Warm Doughnuts – dusted with cinnamon and sugar and served with chocolate and raspberry sauce
I started with the lobster bisque. Lobster meat was in the dish and the bisque was poured on top table side.
The sesame seated ahi tuna was sliced thinly and was served on a bed of seaweed salad. The soy vinaigrette had just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the salt.
Next came the coconut crusted sea scallops. They were served with watermelon radish and jicama slaw. We really enjoyed this dish and loved the crunch on the scallops.
I had the Palm Classic Combo, a 9 oz. Filet Mignon with a Nova Scotia Lobster Tail. The steak was cooked a perfect medium with a cool pink center. You can choose from the following sauces: Brandy Peppercorn, Lobster Truffle Butter or Classic Chimichurri. The lobster was also tasty, I love when there is no work on my part to get it out of the shell! (Yup, I’m lazy with my lobsters) I was so full that I ended up taking half of the steak home with me!
And speaking of steaks, the Palm serves USDA Prime beef, aged a minimum of 35 days. We also ordered the filet classic Oscar style, served with jumbo lump crabmeat, asparagus and Hollandaise sauce.
The Wagyu rib eye 12oz steak was pretty outstanding.
The sides are served family style, made for two or more people, but you can also order them in individual portions. The hash brown potatoes were amazing, loved the crispy edges. Surprisingly, we had some left over and brought it home. The next morning I made steak and eggs and heated up these potatoes for a killer breakfast. No, dear family, don’t get used to those kinds of breakfasts!
Brussels sprouts are still all the rage these days. These were simply served with shallots and lemon zest – delicious.
The green beans were calling my name. They are served with pancetta, pepper flakes and pine nuts, what a great flavor combination. You almost forget that you are eating vegetables.
So I am super full after all.the.meat. But wanted to try out their dessert and I never miss an opportunity to have a sweet treat! They have so many yummy options: flourless chocolate cake, a warm bag of doughnuts, New York style cheesecake, a big chocolate layer cake, iced carrot cake or creme brûlée. I went with the key lime pie, served in a graham cracker crust and topped with blueberry compote. I had never heard of blueberry compote on key lime pie, so I had to see what that was all about. The flavors actually paired nicely.
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest of the Palm Restaurant to review their Sunday Supper menu. My meal for my family was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
One International Place, Boston, MA
The Brook Kitchen and Tap has been open for just over a month. We headed over to Maynard to check it out for lunch last week. Located on Main Street, the restaurant has a great bar area, a sun filled front room with banquets and a small private room in back. Jose, the General Manager, greeted us when we arrived. Such a nice guy and a real asset to this team. He walks us through the menu: what’s popular and his personal picks.
We start with the Brussels sprouts ($8) served crispy with sriracha ranch dressing. A nice warm spice to give these a little kick – so tasty!
They have a great selection of salads on their menu: The Brook house salad, the Caesar, the Napa and the garden salad. Here is the chipotle chop salad ($9) romaine lettuce tossed with roasted corn, pico di gallo, shredded cheese, avocado, tortilla strips, and black beans topped with chipotle ranch dressing.
Me, I went straight for the comfort food. The steak tips ($16) are very popular. They give you a pound of steak tips and TWO sides. Of course I’m going carbs on carbs, so waffle fries and onion strings it is! The meat was cooked a perfect medium with a cool pink center and had a really nice flavor to them.
How could we NOT order the bacon dog ($9) a 1/2 lb all beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with spicy mustard and fried onions. Hard to see the bacon here, but trust me, it was there! Gave the dog good flavor and crunch.
The meatloaf ($13) was going to be my second choice, good thing Kim stepped in an ordered it! It was topped with a mushroom demi and was packed with flavor. I usually don’t get meatloaf at restaurants because so many things can go wrong: either its too mushy and it falls apart or its just a brick. This one however was perfect, and the mashed potatoes just melted in your mouth.
We were stuffed from our meal, but had to try the Ghirardelli brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream and house made whipped cream. Decadent and delicious. A perfect way to end our meal.
The Brook Kitchen and Tap is open Sunday – Tuesday from 11:30am to 11pm and Wednesday – Saturday 11:30am – 1am. They have a kids menu and offer take out as well. Parking is at meters on the street or in a lot just next to the restaurant. Not close to Maynard, you can visit their sister location in Holbrook at 200 S. Franklin Street as well. They offer some good options for reasonable prices, so stop in soon and let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest of The Brook Kitchen and Tap to sample their menu. My food was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
The Brook Kitchen and Tap
51 Main Street, Maynard, MA
I love brunch. I used to go all the time, now, not so much… So I was excited to meet up with some fun (blogger) friends in Southie for brunch ON A FRIDAY!! Yes, you read that right, who doesn’t need an extra day for brunch? Lincoln Tavern has a brunch test kitchen on Fridays from 10-3 where they try out new items to see which ones will make the cut for the regular brunch menu. They serve regular brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 3pm. Let’s talk about the space. Lincoln Tavern is enormous. There is this great front area by the window, then a middle dining area with booths, and then a sun lit back room where the bar and wood burning stove are. I thought that it would be empty on a Friday because let’s be honest, shouldn’t people be working? It was rather crowded and after eating brunch there, I can see why. I’d take a work from home day and head out there every Friday if I could.
So Southie. Parking is on the street (if you can find it) or in a lot across the street (again, if you can get a spot…) I had to circle the lot a few times before I got a spot (they’re 2 hour spaces), so make sure to head out a little early and give yourself time to circle the block for parking when you go. Our server was awesome, she was super helpful – giving us great suggestions because EVERYTHING looked delicious, checked back on us often (we needed that!) and couldn’t have been sweeter.
So even though it’s Friday, we decided to do a little day drinking!! Yes! We had the small bucket of bubbles, prosecco served with apple cider, peach puree and orange juice.
Fluffernutter parfait ($6) peanut butter mousse, homemade fluff, cookie crumble, caramelized banana. Delicious, super light, and wasn’t too sweet.
Fried calamari ($13) with fried onion, cherry pepper aioli and lemon. Perfectly cooked, crispy and light.
Philly cheesesteak hot pocket ($7) shaved wagyu sirloin, griddled peppers and onions, tallegio cheese sauce. Ok this was AMAZING. They had me at hot pocked but that cheese sauce…oh, dear god, so heavenly. Even though it was savory, it managed to feel light.
Smoked salmon pizza ($14) with house smoked salmon, everything spiced crust, boursin cheese, baked egg, shaved red onions and capers. I’m not a huge fan of smoked salmon, but this pizza had all the right moves going on. I love egg on any pizza and the everything crust was a home run.
Breakfast pizza ($15) eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, hash browns, fontina, pecorino romano, and tabasco. Breakfast pizza, yes please. The first thing you notice when you walk into the back room where we sat was the intoxicating smells that were coming out of the wood oven – they were roasting peppers and cranking out pizza, so our mouths were watering before we even looked at the menu.
Fruity Pebble pancakes ($12), which were not on the Friday menu but are available on the weekend (Sat and Sun 10-3) came topped with cereal milk anglaise. So Instagram worthy that we HAD to have them and the kitchen was kind enough to make us up a special batch. A little on the sweeter side, but delicious. You might want to get this with a savory option to balance things out.
Short rib grilled cheese ($12) smoked pulled short rib, aged gouda, tomato, runny egg, and basil on brioche. It comes as a full sandwich but I split this with my friend Nancy, and they gave us two plates. This was another home run. I love short rib grilled cheeses. The meat was tender and flavorful and paired well with the cheese. The bread was perfect (there’s nothing worse than too much bread in your grilled cheese) and the fried were finger licking good, right down to the last one.
Chef’s fruit salad ($10) peaches, Asian pear, apple, mango, melon, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry. Nancy and I also shared the fruit plate, you know, just to balance out the short rib grilled cheese. This fruit salad was even one that I would eat. The fruit was perfect, ripe, sweet – made you feel like it wasn’t winter outside, seriously, this was good quality fruit (don’t you hate it when you get a fruit salad and the pineapple is white and the melon is hard as a rock?).
Brunch pot pie ($13) sausage, gravy, confit potatoes, broccolini, peas, sage, sunny side up egg and honey butter. You had me at honey butter. Not only is this served in a cute cast iron skillet, but it is enormous…like the size of a dinner plate. Great size for the price, because there was certainly half left over to bring home! The perfect comfort food, the crust was flakey and delicious.
Shrimp and grits skewers ($13) fried pecorino grits, harissa marinated shrimp, smoked tomato hollandaise, mixed green salad and picked jalapeño. Ok, this dish is not something I would normally order, or even give a second look to. Leah ordered it and I’m so glad that she did. The grits were PHENOMENAL. I’m still dreaming about them. So light and they packed a bold flavor. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and paired perfectly with the rest of the meal. Hope this one makes it on to the permanent brunch menu.
Butternut Squash pancakes ($10) toffee caramel, brown compound butter, toasted walnuts, whipped sour cream. Such a beautiful presentation, these did not disappoint.
And finally, the roasted onion and goat cheese pizza ($14) with oven roasted leeks and shallots, caramelized onions, shaved garlic and romesco sauce. Love the simplicity of this pizza, and the flavor. Sometimes simple is best.
Disclaimer: I was invited to a blogger brunch at Lincoln Tavern. My meal and beverages were provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
425 West Broadway, South Boston, MA
National Margarita day is coming up on the 22nd. Most people are going to post about where you can go get drinks to celebrate the day. Here’s what I’m going to post about: kids eating free, all you can eat Taco Tuesdays, and late night specials.
Each Margaritas location has its own special promotion nights, here is a quick summary (head to the website for full location details):
Starting March 7th, in Revere, kids will eat free on the weekends. Get two free kids meals with the purchase of an entree. (kids = under 10)
In Weymouth, kids eat free every day!!
So what’s on the kids menu? burgers, grilled chicken, chicken or beef burrito, chicken fingers, or fajitas (to name a few). Kids also get to pick one side: corn • diced pineapple • diced cucumber •
orange wedges • fries • beans • Mexican rice • diced avocado.
Other special promotions include late night specials: Enjoy $6 Appetizers including Guacamole, Queso, Chicken Baby Chimis, Jalapeño Baby Chimis, Jack Crisp, Hector’s Quesadilla and Tomato & Garlic Nachos from 9pm to close.
Everyone loves all you can eat Taco Tuesday: For just $9.99 – you get three Beef or Chicken tacos (hard shell or soft shell) and they are served with beans and Mexican rice. Then, we’ll keep the tacos coming until you’ve had your fill.
What are my favorite things at Margaritas? Well the Mexican street corn is delicious, served with chipotle aioli and quest fresco. For my entree, I do love the enchiladas (you can get chicken or beef) that come with Mexican rice and beans. Let’s talk desserts: Sopapillas: Mexican fried dough covered in cinnamon and sugar. Served warm with honey for dipping; the churros: cinnamon sugar coated pastries served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce or honey, the fried ice cream: vanilla ice cream with a crushed pretzel shell, covered in chocolate sauce, honey or both.
So why are you still reading? Get out to Margaritas and get your tacos and margaritas on! Where are the locations: Framingham, Lexington, Medford, Methuen, Northborough, Revere, Waltham and Weymouth.
765 Bridge Street, Weymouth, MA
This past weekend I braved the snowmageddon weather to head over to Wilson Farm to check out their Chocolate Fest. That’s right, will travel for chocolate. There were a bunch of brands sampling on Saturday, including some goodies from Wilson Farm’s own kitchen (oh but that chocolate mousse!). Don’t worry mom, I glanced at the vegetables while I was there too, just for balance 😉
So Harbor Sweets, one of my favorites, was there sampling their sweet sloops (photo left). Sweet Sloops are almond butter crunch toffee covered in white chocolate, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with pecans. I decided to take home a different kind of chocolate this time, you know, diversify. I went with the Barque Sarah, named after a three masted sailing ship to commemorate Salem’s maritime history. Milk chocolate with whole roasted almonds…so good!
Another company that I hadn’t heard of before, Barú, was sampling their marshmallows. They come in flavors like dark chocolate sea salt caramel marshmallows, dark chocolate raspberry marshmallows and milk chocolate covered marshmallows. In addition to making marshmallows, they have adorable little mini chocolate hippos filled with things like hazelnut truffle, milk chocolate honey almond or dark chocolate sea salt caramel.
Pure Sugar Candy was there sampling their delicious treats that come in the most adorable shapes – think footballs and little rubber duck lollipops. Stacey has a number of flavors to choose from: coconut, cake batter, pink grapefruit, apple and cinnamon to name a few.
And Boston Bon Bon was sampling their French macarons. There are so many flavors to choose from:
Lemon Custard, Earl Grey, Green Tea Latte, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Thai Iced Tea, Black Sesame Tiramisu, Taro Fudge, Coconut Caramel Flan, Chocolate Nutella, Salted Caramel, Lavender Honey, Creme Brulee, Rose, Orange Blossom, Coconut Peach Cobbler, Lychee Yogurt, Lemon Coconut, Blueberry(df), Black Raspbery Rose(df), Lavender Peach, Strawberry Peppercorn, Hisbiscus Tea, Apricot(df), Golden Peach(df), Mango Lassi(df), Vanilla Creme,White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate.
Personally the lemon was my favorite of the bunch.
Didn’t have a chance to make it out to Wilson Farm for Chocolate Fest? No worries, they carry great brands year round. Did you know that they have an award winning bakery? They make cookies, bread, muffins, pies etc. all in house. I’m told the apple cider donuts are not to be missed. I picked up some of their home made chili and a Shepherd pie (there was a snowstorm going on outside after all) which were delicious. I need to go back soon to wander through the aisles.
10 Pleasant Street, Lexington, MA
Leah and I visited Dumpling Palace a while back, so when Dumpling Kingdom, their sister restaurant, opened in Allston, we were excited to check them out (with our gal pal Kim too). Owner Zengqi Lui and Executive Chef Peter Wang also run Dumpling Cafe in Chinatown. Parking is a little better at Dumpling Kingdom, with a lot out back and street parking. The restaurant was pretty spacious (it is the largest of the three restaurants and holds about 85 people) and we had the place to ourselves – a weekday early lunch! They have a few large fish tanks in the back with live lobsters and fish along with an ENORMOUS crab! Service was on point, our waiter gave us some good suggestions and checked in with us throughout the meal.
I love the rice cake noodles here. I order them where ever I go and these are quite tasty – the pork and vegetable combination gives this dish great flavors. All the dumplings we had were delicious, each in their own way. The pan fried dumplings were flavorful and cooked perfectly. The skins on the wontons were just the right thickness (I hate dumplings that are too bready) and the filing was good. The soup dumplings, Xiao Long Bao, were a star, they were just the perfect salty (pork) goodness that warms you up on a chilly day.
137 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA
It feels like I haven’t had Sunday brunch with friends in forever! I was glad to head out to il Casale in Belmont for a day out with some great ladies that I haven’t seen in some time. Our meal started off with these delicious chocolate biscotti, dipped in chocolate. How could chocolate dipped in chocolate ever be bad?
Just to balance things out, we also had the macedonia di frutta, a seasonal fruit salad $12. (with prosciutto di Parma, an additional $7)
These delicious fig pastries were a hit at the table – they were gone in the blink of an eye! Brunch is served every Sunday from 11:30am – 2:30pm and they have some great live music!
No brunch would be complete without a little day drinking. Their Bloody Mary is impressive, made with vodka, il Casale’s fra diavolo mix, castelvetrano olives, celery salt $12. I had the grapefruit flower, which was elder flower liqueur, white grapefruit, and prosecco $12. Sweet but not too sweet, a really nice smooth citrus flavor. The roses fizz was my second choice, made with lemony vodka, cranberry, prosecco, and orange peel $12.
Uova in “purgatorio”, fried eggs in “purgatory”, spicy tomato sugo $12. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the sauce wasn’t too spicy. Can we also just note how delicious that bread looks!
Of course I ordered the tagliatelle alla Bolognese, classic meat ragù from Emilia Romagna $26. This is one of my top bolognese picks – so delicious. I get it every time. I fell in love with this just before my wedding and we actually held our rehearsal dinner at Dante, il Casale’s sister restaurant in Cambridge.
Benedetto (all Benedicts served on grilled Pugliese bread with hollandaise and home fries) this one is the fiorentina with sautéed spinach $14. Just a bright, clean, healthy dish.
The toast….alla Francese, is brioche French toast, cinnamon-vanilla batter, butter gelato, and crispy pancetta $16. So many wonderful things going on in this dish, totally different level of French toast. First, butter gelato?!?! Yes, cold and it had little bits of butter in it, would be perfect to put right on the French toast and let it melt. Can we talk about pancetta that is in little circle discs? Umm…pretty sure that makes pancetta taste better. Now, if I can only figure out how to get someone to make me pancetta this way at home…
S.L.T. which is Nova Scotia smoked salmon, lettuce & tomato bruschetta, mascarpone, and served with a side of rosemary fries $16. The fries are PERFECTION. Crispy, thin, just the right amount of salt. How beautiful does that smoked salmon look?
The tortino al granchio are house made crab cakes, with a panzanella salad, and lemon-caper aioli $16. The crab cakes were so light and perfectly crisp. The salad was delicious, it almost stole the show! Wait, did I just say that?!?
And last but not least the pollo alla marengo, sauteed chicken breast, crispy pancetta, fried egg, and a mushroom cream sauce $18. Serious comfort food here, and again, those crispy pancetta rounds!!
Our meal ended with a shot of Limonio – a bright, not too sweet lemon flavored drink.
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend a brunch at il Casale with a group of writers. Our meals were provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
50 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA