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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

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AKA Bistro closed its doors on May 8th, but we were lucky enough to visit before they did. AKA was run by Chef/Owner Chris Chung, who you may know from his days at UNI in the Elliot Hotel. AKA served French and Asian cuisine with classic favorites like quiche lorraine, croque monsieur, and ramen.

A few friends met up for lunch – we skipped breakfast that day because we knew we would want to order one of everything. To my surprise, I really loved the peas (I’m not a veggie girl).

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The French mac and cheese was so decadent and creamy.

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I love mushrooms, so I was excited to try the portabella mushroom frites that were served wth a side of miso, wasabi and Thai curry aioli. The frites were light and flavorful on their own, a really nice change of pace.

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Leah had the poke, with onions, ginger and pickled mung beans.

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We all shared the Aka pizza, a scallion pancake topped with mushrooms and caramelized onions with baby arugula. Put anything on a scallion pancake and I’m all for it – the pancake itself was really light and not greasy at all (like you know they can be – I’m talking to you 2am Chinese take out).

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For my main meal I had the bulgogi served over white rice and topped with a soft egg. I loved the marinated meat in this dish – very flavorful. I wish that the egg had been a little runnier, as I love breaking it open and having it run over the top of the dish…that being said, I could eat this for lunch every day!

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I love a classic croque monsieur – a grilled cheese with mornay sauce and ham, and this one was served with a side salad which I think you need to balance the richness of the sandwich. Wait, did I just say that?

Miss Chef Chung already? Don’t worry, he is popping up at Liquid Art House tonight to help celebrate their 2 year anniversary. Chung and LAH Chef Doug Rodrigues will join together in the kitchen to put out a special anniversary menu starting at 5pm. Dishes will include Japanese small plates like Hawaiian tuna poke and Scallop ‘motoyaki’. While there, you can check out the newly opened exhibit featuring work by Dante Latessa. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes because music starts at 10pm with beats by DJ Jeff Gill (10:00pm-12:00am) and DJ Epileptech (12:00-1:00am).

Rumor has it that Chef Chung will also be making a guest appearance at Journeyman in Somerville and he will be doing some private catering!

 

AKA Bistro

145 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, MA

http://www.akabistrolincoln.com

Aka Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy recently launched a new European style dessert you can find in your local grocery store! The 2 layer dessert comes in 4 flavors: Chocolate Crème, Double Chocolate, Café Au Lait, and Vanilla Crème.

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The desserts are made with premium ingredients including cocoa and arabica coffee. Great news, they are Kosher and gluten free so you have no excuses!

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The pudding like dessert is smooth and creamy with a whipped cream topping. It’s sure to satisfy your need for something sweet at the end of a meal or a mid afternoon snack! My favorite of the four flavors was the vanilla creme, but don’t take my word for it – pick some up in the dairy case and try it for yourself!

Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary samples of Grand Dessert. All opinions are my own.

 

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It’s hard to find Filipino food in Boston. I was pumped when Kulinarya, a brother sister team, was going to do a pop up at Aurum Hand Pies in Jamaica Plain. Note to self to go back another time top try the hand pies.

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I met Leah from Leah’s Life and Fiona from Gourmet Pigs for lunch. We started with the crab cakes: garlic lemongrass crab cake, greens, with a sweet bagoong dressing and fried tocino bits. I love these plates from Ogusky Ceramics – I have 4 pasta plates at home and can’t wait to get more!!

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We were anxious to try a little bit of everything on the menu. Next up was the Pinoy Hash: Kamote (sweet potato) and lechon kawali (pork) hash, served with two eggs, and greens. A familiar dish, now we are speaking my language!

IMG_0240Next we sampled the pancakes: 3 ube halaya pancakes with a coconut cream sauce. Not too sweet which was nice. I find that in general, I don’t usually like coconut, but when I have it in Filipino food, I actually enjoy the flavor – perhaps because it isn’t super sweet.

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We had the silog: garlic fried rice, Filipino-style pickles (daikon, radish, carrot) and your choice of Tocino (pork belly) or Tortang talong [vegetarian] (eggplant). We sampled a little of each. This was probably my favorite dish of them all.

If you’re interested in trying Filipino food (I highly recommend it), check out their Facebook page for details.

 

 

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GRK 1Sundays are all about brunch with friends. We headed out to Littleton, MA to break bread with some of my best foodie pals at Great Road Kitchen. The restaurant comes to you from the team that was formerly behind Vine Brook Tavern – it’s owned by Marcus Palmer and the kitchen is run by Executive Chef Chris Frothingham.

GRK 2The restaurant is really visually pleasing – a great bar in the front where you can sit an catch the game, counter seating for those who want a look into the kitchen, tall windows to let amazing light onto the lime green banquets and barn doors that can section off tables for private dining.

GRK 3There’s just something about counter stools all facing the same way that makes me happy!

GRK 4We started with the house smoked salmon for the table ($16), that comes with a mollet egg, English muffin, capers, red onion, lemon, and parsley.

GRK 5Lollie had the huevos rancheros ($14), corn tortillas, black beans, chorizo, 2 eggs over easy, pico de gallo, cotija chipotle, and cilantro.

GRK 6The table shared the lobster bisque – everyone had a spoonful of this deliciousness.

GRK 7My mom came along with me and she ordered the French Toast ($15) corn flake crusted, warm custard center, maple pecan butter, maple syrup & berries. Love the contrast of the custard center and the corn flake crust – and don’t even get me started on the maple pecan butter….heavenly!

GRK 8The quiche ($11) changes daily and really how do you say no to quiche, especially if it has bacon….

GRK 9The corned beef hash ($12) did not disappoint with 2 poached eggs over top.

GRK 10I had the Belgian waffles ($15), stacked 2 high, served over the top with nutella, fluff, strawberries, and maple syrup. Can anyone say cavity? It was delicious, it just hit the spot.

GRK 11And because I was on sweet overload, I had a side of the home fries ($4) to even things out: crispy bliss potatoes, caramelized onions and scallions.

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Last but not least, Annie had the steak and eggs ($24) which was a grilled bavette, served with house made fries, 2 fried eggs, and topped with hollandaise and demi glace.

Disclaimer: I was asked to be a guest at Great Road Kitchen. Our meal was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Great Road Kitchen

613 Constitution Ave., Littleton, MA

http://www.greatroadkitchen.com

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Kanes 4

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and for this preg-o food blogger, I have to celebrate it sober! I popped into Kane’s Donuts in the Financial District on Tuesday to preview their special margarita donut.

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Tomorrow is the only day that you can get this specialty donut, so hurry in, they’ll sell out quickly. The shop is located at 2 International Place, at 90 Oliver Street. It’s take out only here, there’s a small counter but standing room only.

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It’s not a secret that I love Kane’s Donuts, I visited them multiple times when they did a pop up at The Street in Chestnut Hill.

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The smell when you walk in the front door is intoxicating. All of the donuts are made fresh, with locally milled flour, local farm-fresh eggs, organic honey from a local beekeeper, fresh fruit, real bacon, high-quality chocolate, and fresh spices. The margarita donut was good, topped with a candy lime wedge – what I liked about it was that the glaze wasn’t too sweet and artificial tasting, like many margarita flavored things can be – the flavor was subtle and the actual donut was just plain perfection. We tried the lavender donut, which I normally steer clear of, because, again, the flavor is usually too strong for me, but Kane’s donut had a mild, subtle flavor. It felt like a very adult donut. Behind those two donuts is the lemon coconut, a new flavor that is appearing and not shown is the rose donut which will debut next week, topped with candied rose petals.

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So stop in tomorrow and pick up a margarita donut, or a dozen…don’t worry, I won’t tell!

Kane’s Donuts

90 Oliver Street, Boston, MA

http://kaneshandcrafted.com

Kane's Hand-Crafted Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Townsman 1I had been anxiously waiting for the chance to check out Townsman, Matt Jennings’ newest restaurant located on Kingston Street. Matt grew up locally and opened a restaurant, Farmstead, in Rhode Island. They did an awesome Biggie brunch, check out my older post here.

Townsman 2I love the decor -from the lights to the bright red chairs that add just the right pop of color.

Townsman 3As you can see, we were in during the holidays (I’m way behind!!).

Townsman 11The counter is a great place to get a view into the kitchen and check out all the action!

Townsman 4As always, we get a bunch of plates to split so we taste a little of everything.  Look at how lovely this red zen rickey is and yup, it tasted as good as it looks!

Townsman 6We started off with the dumplings, $11, that were plated on a dish made by Boston potter, Jeremy Ogusky. I love Jeremy’s work, I have the white pasta bowls at home…

Townsman 5I used to hate Brussels Sprouts when I was a kid…although I can’t actually remember my mom every trying to make me eat them…They are so in these days and I love to see what chefs do to make this dish their own. These crispy sprouts are served with  malt vinegar aioli, pork fat crouton and harissa spice ($9). Love the flavor and the texture of these sprouts!

Townsman 7I never pass up a fried chicken sandwich when I see one on a menu. Townsman serves theirs with a garlic scape aioli and greens with a side of some delicious dill pickles and house made chips. The chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside – perfect!

Townsman 8Of course we saved room for dessert and none of them disappointed.

Townsman 9Leah isn’t much of a dessert person, but we both enjoyed these mini ice cream sandwiches!

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How cute is this mini ice cream cone?

Townsman

120 Kingston Street, Boston, MA

http://townsmanboston.com/

Townsman Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Dumpling Palace 2

I never really liked school – but dumpling school is something I can definitely wrap my head around. A few weeks ago I was invited to Dumpling Palace for a hands on dumpling making tutorial. The intimate event had us forming dumplings with the chef and eating what we made! Top left is Leah Palone, Marketing Director of Boston Magazine; top right and bottom left Fiona from Gourmet Pigs.

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Something tells me I will need a little more practice before mine look even remotely acceptable, but it was a fun evening! Bik Ng from the Mayor’s office was on hand to help translate for us along with Chris Haynes from CBH Communications.

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Leah and I had been to the restaurant once before and had an outstanding meal, this one was equally as delicious.

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No we didn’t make these, but we did sample a variety of dumplings – everything from pork to vegetarian.

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And as if I wasn’t stuffed to the gills with dumplings, after we completed our class, we were treated to a delicious feast of lo main, fried rice, even more dumplings and scallion pancakes. Let’s talk about scallion pancakes, they are usually greasy and heavy, these ones are made fresh, never frozen, and made to order. They were crispy and light and I am now comparing all other scallion pancakes to these!!

Some more exciting news, the owners behind Dumpling Palace are opening a second restaurant in the next few months in Allston, keep your eyes out for Dumpling Kingdom!

Disclaimer: I was invited to be a guest at Dumpling Palace. My meal was provided complimentary, all opinions are my own.

Dumpling Palace

179 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA

http://www.dumplingpalaceboston.com

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IMG_9478Playska is the newest restaurant by Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann (TW Food and Bronwyn). Chef Tim’s sandwich shop is his nod to the Balkans.

IMG_9479The shop is small with only a few tables to dine in at, but it’s comfortable and relaxed.

IMG_9477As we are browsing the menu, trying to figure out what to order, we can’t help but drool over the display case.

IMG_9476Kolaches can be sweet or savory – I picked up some sweet ones to go in flavors like almond and apple. Savory options include herbed feta and paprika, tomato feta basil and bacon sauerkraut.

IMG_9483We HAD to get a sample of the pickled vegetables – the honey jalapeno carrots, the garlic pickled pear, the cauliflower and golden raisin, the beets and the daikon root.

IMG_9484The garlic pickled pear ($2.75) was by far my favorite, such an interesting flavor.

IMG_9485The beets were crunchy, which I really liked (admit it, no one likes soggy beets).

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The honey jalapeño carrots ($2.95) had a nice little kick to them.

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I love, love, love cauliflower and I also love golden raisins. Sounds like an odd pairing but it was a little sweet and a little tangy…really good all the way around.

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The Korean daikon root ($2.50) was simple and straightforward.

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The challah bread that the sandwiches are made on is simply delicious, and light as air. The first sandwich we tried was the pickled pork shank ($12.50) with chopped bbq style pork served with an apple pickle cabbage “slaw”, kardizi pepper and bbq sauce. It hits all the taste buds on your tongue, a little sweet, a little savory, a little tartness…yum!

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Next we tried a vegetarian sandwich, the Urnebes cheese ($12.50) that comes with a spicy feta and paprika spread, tomato, cucumber pickle, lettuce and toasted walnuts. Sounds at first like an odd combination but it totally worked, and that spread was out of this world.

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We finished our meal off with a “snow white salad” ($6.99) that came with Balkan cucumber, walnuts, garlic and yogurt. This salad was a really nice change of pace for me. Not something I would have ordered on my own necessarily, but I ate plenty of it since it was at the table :).

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You can’t leave the table without something sweet so we had the sheet cake which was so light and so delicious. Take a look at the generous amount of frosting too!

Playska

243 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA

http://playska.com/

Playska Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Branch Line 1Located in Watertown, Branch Line is a hot new restaurant in Watertown, known for their rotisserie chicken. They recently opened for Saturday lunch, which is served from 12pm – 3pm.

Branch Line 2We went during the week for lunch and while we were there right when they opened, don’t let the empty seats in the photos fool you, by noon time there wasn’t a free seat! I love the decor inside, the lighting fixtures, the tall ceilings and the wine taps.

Branch Line 4Branch Line offers Green Circle chickens (if you haven’t heard about them, read the NYT article here). I’m pretty sure that these chickens eat better than I do – four star restaurant veggie scraps – and they roam free. If you can’t make it in, you can get take out, half birds are $19 and whole birds are $36. It seems like a high price when you hear the number, but once you taste the chicken, you’ll think it’s totally worth it.

Branch Line 3Everything on the menu sounds delicious, so we have to contain ourselves….we order a half chicken to split and some tasty small plates just so we can try a little of everything.

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We started off with the fried cheese ($6) which looks to not be on the menu anymore. Tasty bites to get our appetites in gear.

Branch Line 6Snap peas ($11) mushrooms ($8) half chicken ($19). You MUST have the snap pea salad, not only is it pretty to look at, but there is just something really special about the flavors here, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.  It comes with a marcona almond vinaigrette, mint and ricotta cheese. YUM! The grilled mushrooms are served in CHICKEN DRIPPINGS….let the salivating begin. So super tasty. The chicken itself is served in “house sauce” and is so tender and flavorful.

Branch Line

321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA

http://www.branchlinearsenal.com/

Branch Line Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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IMG_8458In December, Pepe’s pizza opened in the Chestnut Hill Mall. The opening was greatly anticipated and the lines for both dine in and take out were long! We got there early (on day 2 of being open) and were close to the front of the line – luckily we were able to get a seat (and don’t worry, we ordered pizzas to go too)!

IMG_8465Pepe’s is one of the oldest pizzerias in the US. The chain opened in New Haven, CT and has locations in CT and NY. If you’re from New Haven, you’re either a Sally’s or a Pepe’s (there are strong feelings about this!) and it’s all about the white clam pie.

IMG_8459Foxon Park sodas have been served at Pepe’s since 1925! It comes in flavors like kola, diet kola, sassosa (Italian Lemon flavor), white birch beer, root beer, cream soda and ginger ale.

IMG_8460Pizzas come in three sizes (12″, 16″, 18″) and can range from $7 for a small tomato pie to $28 for a large clam pie. The New Haven style, thin crust pizza is cooked in an oven with coal, which leaves those lovely char marks.

IMG_8463The famous white clam pie – if you could have only smelled the garlic!! YUM!

So are you a Sally’s or a Pepe’s?

Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria

199 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

http://www.pepespizzeria.com

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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