Tag Archives: restaurants

World’s Biggest Donut

OK, maybe it’s not the world’s biggest donut, but it was GOOD! I thought it would be funny to put it next to something “for scale!”  One of my coworkers purchased this baby from N&J Donuts in Oxford, MA.

Want to read more about how I like to make my own donuts?

Foodie Friday: Worcester Dining

Is Upton Metro West or Worcester? I guess it could be considered either. At any rate, there’s a new restaurant in Upton, Red Rock Grill and Bar, and I happened to dine there recently on only the 2nd weekend it was open. We had 4 diners with 4 different dinners with rave reviews all around. Cozy atmosphere, fun cocktails, hearty comfort food. I’m sure it will be a welcome addition to the area.

I think this was a special that night. Amazing maple sweet potatoes!

This was my entree. You can't see the crispy polenta under the eggplant but they were delicious!

**Disclaimer: We paid for our meals in full. I was not asked to write about the restaurant nor did I disclose that I like to sometimes pretend I’m a food blogger! I’m just letting some of my Worcester area friends and colleagues know about a new dining option!

Foodie Friday: Atlanta

If you’ve been following me on twitter, you know that I’ve been in Atlanta at the 2010 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting, a gathering of 15,000 Rheumatologists and Rheumatology health care professionals. It’s truly information overload and a LOT to process, but also a chance to gather with old and new colleagues and friends. I’ll have more on that later.

But it’s Foodie Friday, so here’s the Atlanta dining summary. First of all, we were staying downtown around the Georgia World Congress Center and preferred that restaurants were walkable or not a terribly long cab ride. Second, the majority of the groups I dined with were vegetarians. Highly meat-centric or BBQ places were pretty much out.

Our first night we walked into The Peasant Bistro downtown, walkable from the hotel, recommended by the concierge. We enjoyed a creative cocktail menu, many vegetarian small plates and salads and tempting desserts. I had a burger which was not exactly a slider but not full sized. It had a sweet onion relish which was fantastic. I didn’t take photos.

Upon the recommendation of a friend of a friend who used to live in Atlanta, the next night we took a cab ride over to the Inman Park area and enjoyed the ambiance of SottoSotto. Lots of great pasta dishes. One with butternut squash and crispy sage I think was the winner. I wish it wasn’t dark and late – I would have liked to see that area a little more. The waiter was really nice and waited for a cab with us, as it seemed to take forever for it to come.

Another friend of a friend recommendation was Nan Thai – advertised to us as, “The best Thai I’ve ever had, maybe anywhere, but definitely in Atlanta.” While my dish was not as photogenic as this beautiful papaya salad with sweet sticky rice cakes and the curry that came in a pineapple bowl, I ate every bite of my salmon on red pumpkin curry rice. Someone in my party also had the roasted maple duck and it was fantastic.

My last day I wandered over to Centennial Olympic Park to soak up some of those sunny 75 degree skies I knew had long left Massachusetts. I figured, “eh, why not” when I saw the little burger hut by the fountain. What a surprise! Googie Burger had probably the best veggie burger I’ve ever had! With pepper jack cheese and BBQ sauce – incredible! And I figured, as long as I’m getting a veggie burger and no fries I’m being pretty healthy, right? I got a Georgia peach shake and amused the other diners as I tried to get the perfect shot:

Rounding out the food offerings was a pretty standard but good pizza at Max’s Coal Oven Pizza, which also won high points from being walkable from the convention center.

So, ATL friends – how did I do?

*Standard disclaimer – I paid for everything in full, no discussion of blogs, etc*

Foodie Friday: Dining with a Celebrity

Upon learning I was invited to a wedding in Chicago, I had one food thought. Not deep dish pizza, not hot dogs and not even the fabulous Greektown. No, I immediately called up one of Rick Bayless’ hot spots for a reservation. Not only do I love the flavors and ingredients in this type of regional Mexican cooking, but I really enjoyed watching Mr. Bayless on the first season of Top Chef Masters and was just hoping his restaurant would live up to the hype. Having been to a so-called “celebrity” restaurant before and being extremely disappointed, I have to admit I was a little nervous.

I can’t tell you exactly what I ate at Topolobampo, because each dish had such complex layers of flavors. A scallop dish with shellfish consomme was out of this world, and I am NOT a fan of shellfish! Everything I tasted was incredible and I’m so glad to have had the chance to visit. The above photo is the only one I snapped because, well, this isn’t really a food blog or a formal review and also I was just having to much fun to worry about whipping out a camera in a restaurant! I know the dimly lit cell phone photo does not do justice to the presentation of the dishes.

Highly recommended, a great experience, not cheap at all (which you can tell by reading the many food review sites out there) but definitely enjoyed as a destination restaurant!

(And, of course, 100% just some fun for Foodie Friday, not compensated in any way).

Foodie Friday: When in Rome

Did you think I was going to talk about Italian food? My wonderful trip to Rome? Nope. Never been. But I DID follow the “When in Rome . . . ” rule and ordered the house specialty cheeseburger at the famous Shady Glen! You may have seen it on travel or food TV shows or heard about it, as I did, on the Road Food segment on NPR’s The Splendid Table. Fortunately, it is just a mere 90 minute drive and, fortunately again, I had SIX other family members who wanted to make a pilgrimage.

When you’re stuffed full of fried cheese, onion rings, crinkle cut fries and almond joy milkshakes, what should you do next? If you have a strong stomach, you should drive the windy backroads to East Haddam, CT, and tour the beautiful and unusual Gillette Castle. Our group was initially disappointed that there were no free razor samples (The castle was designed by William Gillette, an actor who brought the Sherlock Holmes character to the stage around 1900, no relation to the razors or Gillette Stadium). However, we all enjoyed hearing about Mr. Gillette’s life and, er, eccentricities, and soaking up the fall sunshine overlooking the Connecticut River. If you need to quickly get back to the interstate, you can take the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry!

Hope you have a reason to enjoy this south/central Connecticut day trip!

Foodie Friday: A Shakespearean Tragedy, Part I

A cool, clear Saturday night was the perfect time to watch the closing weekend performance of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of Othello. How great it felt, in the midst of such a hot and humid summer, to be sitting outside in jeans and a jacket and still feel cold! Oh, I’m happy for it now, but remind me about this when that same ground I was sitting upon is buried under feet of snow. This year’s production was set in what seemed to be WWII era, with men in military uniforms and tall boots and women in chic suits and/or “saloon wear.” Overall it was a beautiful evening, a FREE yearly event and a wonderful performance. However, this is Foodie Friday afterall, so I must discuss the nourishment.

Prior to traipsing across town to Boston Common, we dined at Helmand in Cambridge. A-MA-ZING! I had been wanting to try this restaurant for a while now and it did not disappoint. Sadly, the menu is not on the website but my husband did snag a printed menu about a year ago (he had been once before) – the older menu seems a bit but not too different. The descriptions are from the older menu. Loved watching the action at the wood-burning brick oven, where freshly baked flatbread was kneaded, shaped, cooked and cut before our eyes. Delivered piping hot, there was a selection of dipping sauces. One was yogurt, one like a coriander chutney and a 3rd was spicy and red – I didn’t try that one. For a party of 3, we had 3 starters and 2 entrees. The shared plates included KADDO (pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce), AUSHAK (ravioli filled with leeks and scallions served on a sauce of yogurt, mint and garlic) and MANTWO (homemade pastry shells filled with onions and beef, served on yogurt and topped with carrots, yellow split peas and beef sauce). One of the specials was a trout, which had some type of spice rub with a little kick and was perfectly cooked. We also had a rice entree, QABELEE (pallow rice baked with chunks of lamb shanks and raisins). PALLOW rice is described as rice boiled then drained, seasoned with canola oil, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin seed and black pepper then baked. We finished the meal by sharing a slice of pineapple cake.

I didn’t take any pictures. We didn’t really even speak but to say, “This is so good!” “This is awesome!” “I’m so full and I can’t stop eating!” In fact, upon leaving I wondered when I could come back. I’m not really a huge lamb fan but it was incredible. The pumpkin starter I probably could eat daily. It was that good!

Why is this part I? Well, next week come back to learn how I tried to recreate some similar flavor profiles at home.

(This was 100% my opinion, we paid for the meal in full, there was no discussion of reviews or blogs. I just wanted to talk about a restaurant meal I loved and if you’re in the Boston area, you might like to check it out too).

Powerful Pomegranates

The other day, this article on the health benefits of pomegranates appeared in my reader. Great! I celebrated with a pomegranate margarita accompanying this delicious treat of a poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef and fruits and decorated with pomegranate arils. See photo! And taste for yourself, Boston locals, at Tu Y Yo. A few months ago some of my favorite bloggers got to take a tour of the pomegranate harvest in California. Here is a link to one of the recaps.