Thursday, March 31, 2011

Snickerdoodle Blondies

A two and a half hour class is like the Chinese drip torture; you’re hoping for it to end, but the slow pain keeps reminding you that it’s going to go on forever. 
My history seminar isn’t actually that bad, but sugary treats certainly help us get through the afternoon without dozing off, (which is significantly awkward in a class of eleven people.)
I was having a particularly good morning, no nay-sayers or parking tickets (ya, that happened,) could get in my way.  I broke out the baking goods and fired up the ol’ oven. Snickerdoodle Blondies, prepare to meet your maker.
I adapted the recipe from one I had saved from Beantown Baker. I made some adjustments because I wanted to make a smaller recipe. When I halved the ingredients the batter seemed dry, so I added 1/4 cup of canola oil. I also created a different crust for the blondies by swirling the cinnamon-sugar into the batter, allowing the flavor to infiltrate all areas of each bar. The recipe didn’t include cream of tartar, the normal flavoring in Snickerdoodle cookies, but they seemed to lack nothing when finished.
Out of the oven they smelled like baked Cinnamon Toast Crunch. What is bad about that? Nothing. These bars stayed true to their name; they didn’t taste like a brownie or a cake, but like a thick cookie. The dough was buttery and the canola oil added a moistness reminscent of slightly undercooked cookie dough. (Swoon.) The cinnamon-sugar topping had caremlized in the oven, adding a fragile crust to the top.
They were still warm when I brought them to class, and they didn’t fully have a chance to cool because like Nicolas Cage, they were Gone in 60 Seconds 

Snickerdoodle Blondies
adapted from Beantown Baker

1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and set aside. Mix butter, egg, vanilla, brown sugar.  Add dry ingredients, then canola oil. Pour into greased 8x8 pan. Run a knife across the pan creating four lines. Pour half of the cinnamon sugar mixture into the "ditches" created by the knife and fold batter over and flatten out. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar on the top of the batter, covering the entire surface. 
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cupcake Happy Hour

Massachusetts may have banned all traditional happy hour fun because they're lame and forgot how much better beer tastes when you're getting a discount. But where ever you have fun sucking laws, alternative people with creative ideas are not far behind. In this case, an alternative early evening event was created by Kickass Cupcakes for some alcohol related fun. Not quite two-for-one pints, but fantastic in its own right. Cocktail Cupcake Happy Hour happens every last Monday of the month at Kickass Cupcakes, where they give free cocktail inspired mini-cupcakes to any and all visitors from 5-7 pm.
Friend and three-year-roommate Geneva (meet her, know her, love her,) and I wanted, nay, needed, to go.
While I was thrilled by the concept of free cupcakes and creative flavors, I am not always a big fan of the alcohol-sweet combination. I was wary that I wouldn’t love them, not because of quality, but simply personal preference. If there is anyone who agrees with me on that, do not worry, these cupcakes were delectable and not the least bit harsh from the alcohol. 
There were three varieties offered, and each visitor was allowed one of each kind.
The first we tried was Ciao-a-Bunga, described as a “chocolate cupcake, sweet ricotta center spiked with grappa, chocolate liquor frosting garnished with cannoli chips and white chocolate.” This cupcake reminded me of a molten chocolate cake. The smooth center and rich frosting seemed to melt together. The liquor flavors were almost indistinguishable, they served primarily to enhance the chocolate flavor. This was a messy, rich, bite of heaven. 
Raspberry Jello Shot
Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!
The next flavor was Raspberry Jello Shot, a lemon cupcake with a raspberry vodka jello shot center and chambord whipped cream. The cake was the lightest of the three, the cake was airy and soft, but the lemon flavor was overtaken by the vodka center. The gelatin filling was too vodka-y for me, but I don’t like vodka, so maybe it was just right. 
Mojito, I like all drinks where something is muddled.
Last was the Mojito, a top-seller at Kickass Cupcakes. It is a vanilla cupcake soaked in Brugal Blanco Rum, with lime icing and mint. After tasting it I can see why it is a favorite. The rum adds a depth to the cake flavor, and the lime icing was smooth and rich, (I was pretty convinced that there was cream cheese in the lime frosting, which is never a bad thing.) 
J. Beibs playin' hard to get.
After sampling the mini-cocktails, we decided to share a cupcake from behind the counter, The Lucky, with lemon cake with white chocolate buttercream and candied ginger. It also (luckily) came with a Justin Beiber photo on top. I won’t say that wasn’t a factor in our decision…
The staff was friendly and enjoyed our interest in all of their flavor creations. They even wanted to take our picture with Justin Beiber our cupcake. I will definitely be coming back when I need a treat or a bevvie.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere. 

Davis Square
398 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA

Monday, March 28, 2011

Egg du Jour!

 What do you do with a sad, empty refrigerator? You throw everything in a pan and hope it works out. In my case the only things I had were eggs and cottage cheese. I was leaving for the weekend and wanted to use up what I had. So I created a scrambled egg dish that used cottage cheese instead of milk. The result was unexpected and delicious, even better, I might add, than regular scrambled eggs.
The cottage cheese was barely recognizable in the finished product, but the curds somehow created a mousse-like texture when mixed with the eggs. They were creamy and soft yet not under-cooked. I plopped these on a plate next to my steamy coffee in a moose mug and was off to the races. Try this out for a breakfast packed with protein that tastes like decadent brunch special.

Mousse Eggs (ha.)
2 eggs
¼ cup cottage cheese (I used 1% milk fat.)
splash of water
sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar for topping
salt & pepper

Beat eggs and water. Add cottage cheese and mix. Pour in hot pan. Scramble lightly with spatula for 3-4 minutes. Empty on plate, top with cheese, salt and pepper.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Red House, Cambridge

 Wanting to come home after a vacation doesn’t mean you don’t like vacation, it just means you like your life.
I was thrilled to get off the plane, see my friends, and go to dinner with Joey at The Red House in Harvard Square. It was a red house (gasp) tucked back in the alley next to Tommy Doyle’s. I don’t know how I’ve never noticed it before. Possibly because when I’m leaving Tommy Doyle’s I’m not normally in a state to do much noticing…
Anyways, we walked in and the first thing I saw was a fat tank of lobsters. While I had vowed to not order seafood after a week on the cruise where fish appeared at every meal, the lobster tank changed my mind. I looked deep into their beady little eyes and thought, I will be responsible for ending your life.
We started with the cocktails, a dark and stormy for my dark and stormy guy, and a perfect pear for a…perfect pear? I ordered the Harvard beet salad for an appetizer. I prefer to eat my root vegetables  after they’ve completed an Ivy League education, so this salad was ideal. Joey was adventurous and went with the sweet potato and apple torte with chives and crème fraiche. This could have easily been a dessert. It was like a savory pie and reminded me of Thanksgiving.
For an entrée, I ordered my crustacean in pasta form, lobster carbonara, with eggs, bacon, and parmesan. The Red House offers two sizes for many of their entrees, so you can get the smaller size if you’re ordering an appetizer and pay less/eat less of a rich dish. 

For dessert Joey ordered the key lime pie, and I had my first ever bite of said pie. It was creamy with just enough tang, and the crust was nice and thick. (I personally like the crust to filling ratio in pie to be very crust heavy.) This was the only picture I took of the meal. Somehow, despite sitting there for over two hours I only thought to take a picture of a sad, lonely, half-eaten slice of pie. Shame. I’ll have to go back.

The Red House
98 Winthrop Street
Cambridge, MA

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cruise Control

Being on the Road, or on the boat, in this case, always gives great opportunities for sampling new tastes. Four fifths of my family went on a spring break cruise to the Caribbean. My week was a fine cocktail of experiences: one part laying in the sun, one part eating, zero parts working out. Card games and long dinners gave us lots of time at the table, and I am not one bit sad about it. While our cruise may not have given the most authentic sampling of Caribbean cuisine, the food was memorable nonetheless.
 On the second night of the trip we ate at an Asian restaurant at the top of the boat claiming to serve a wide variety of Asian foods. While I’m unsure that the Tamarind could represent the culinary substance of the entire continent of Asia I am sure that the food was fresh and creative. The meal was six courses, and similar to a pre fixed menu, we had to choose all six courses at the beginning. This was tough, but between the four of us it seemed that we had covered a great deal of the menu. Four people, six courses, 24 dishes, we had some work to do.  

 The star of the meal turned out to be the brothy soups. My mom and sister and I each ordered some type of seafood soup where the broth had a distinct flavor of scallop or mussels. The sea creatures swimming in the broth were moist but not overtaken by the soup. The saltiness was not over powering and crispy kale and bean sprouts held their own in the light broth. Another star was the seared Thai beef salad. The lime and mint vinaigrette gave the thin slices of beef a tangy bite and balanced the taste of nearly raw meat. The beef nested in a simple salad of romaine, julianned peppers, and red onions.
The desserts did not blow us away. The giant fortune cookie was enticing because, well, it was a giant fortune cookie. None of us were partial to the ginger-chocolate combination of my sister's pick. I did enjoy the delicate 'Mango Cloud' that I ordered, particularly because I was feeling more like a large boulder than a cloud at that point in the meal.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Granola Bars

My college athletic career may be over, but I still want to be fueled up for activities. (Activities!!!) I like having bars of different varieties in the middle of the day to stave off hunger pangs. Odwalla, Luna, and Clif tend to be my go –to brands, but I have been getting curious about making my own lately. After seeing a great recipe for granola bars on Brown Eyed Baker adapted from a foolproof formula on GoodLife {eats} I knew I had to take a whack at it.
Her recipe lists ingredients and measurements while leaving room for personalization. I used what I had in my house; oats, dried cherries, peanuts, almonds, peanut butter, syrup, and dried cranberries.
The result tasted great, the peanut butter and cherries were the unlikely stars. The texture, however, was a little tough. I had to substitute steel cut oats for half of the grain portion. These tough little buggers made the bars extra thick. We’re all glad that Nelly likes the thicky-thick girls, but some things shouldn’t be quite so dense.
Next time I will use only regular oats, unless I’m building a house using granola bars as bricks.

Basic Granola Bar Formula
(brought to you by GoodLife {eats})
1. Rolled Grains (2 ½ cups)
            suggestions: oats, rye flakes, barley flakes, etc.
2. Nuts, seeds & spices (1 cup)
            suggestions: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ginger, etc.
3. Sticky sweetener (1/3 cup + ¼ cup)
            suggestions: honey, agave necter, maple syrup, etc.
4. Dried fruits (1 cup)
            suggestions: raisins, apricots, dates, figs, prunes, cranberries, pineapple, etc.
5. Binder (1 cup)
            suggestions: pureed dried fruit, apple butter, peanut butter, applesauce, etc.
Mix ingredients together.
Press into 8x8 pan.
Bake for 30 minutes at 325.
Cool and cut.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This one's a good egg

Why are all small things cute? Who cares, I have a teeny, tiny wittle egg pan that I want to talk about because it is just so adorable. Thank you, Grandma, for the most perfect of perfect Christmas presents.
I was excited to use my new tool to make delicious breakfast sandwiches in my own home, preferably while wearing my furry robe and slippers. Grandma, you have given me not just an egg pan, but the ticket to an ideal morning. 
The pan is cute when it’s empty, and put a couple eggs in there and it’s just precious. It also happens to be the perfect shape to put on top of a bagel, an English muffin, or a frozen waffle. (!) Therefore you get a nice bite of egg white, not a thin, burnt sliver of egg that has spread all over a griddle. This particular morning, I decided to make a healthy sandwich to fuel me through a day of classes.
2 Flax Plus multigrain frozen waffles
2 eggs
1 slice 2% milk American cheese
Cooking spray 
Spray the pan and put in over a burner. Crack two eggs into the pan. Leave for 3 minutes. Slide spatula under the eggs and flip in one motion. (This step is kind of tricky because you have to make the molded eggs fit back into the small pan.) Let the eggs sit for another 2-3 minutes, depending on how done you want your eggs. When the eggs are almost done, place the slice of cheese on top of the eggs. Flip the pan upside down on one of the waffles. Top with the other waffle. (and if you’re like me, serve with the best condiment known to man, ketchup!)

All-Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge

Hey now, you’re at All-Star, get your grub on, pastram-ayyyy!!

So maybe All-Star Sandwich Bar may not accept my idea for theme song, but they should. This place is truly serving up the all-star team of sandwiches. They have competed, they have been drafted, and now they shine. Joey and I went the other day to sample some of the characters that make up this elite line-up, and we were not let down. 

To start, we had an appetizer of fried cauliflower with cumin and a mint yogurt dipping sauce. These little buggers were incredible. I could have easily had a plate of these and walked out full and satisfied.
But I didn’t. 

I ordered the Monday special, The Rachel; turkey, Swiss, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on sourdough. It had the salty deliciousness of a Reuben, with a fresh crunch from the slaw. (The sandwiches comes with a side of killer coleslaw, so I was pretty pumped that I got to double up with some on my sandwich.) The turkey itself was moist and slightly sweet, none of that dry turkey business that makes you grab for the water. 

Joey had The Gobbler, with turkey, apple-sausage stuffing, orange-cranberry relish, and gravy on rustic white bread. His was slightly messy, but tasted like a delicious rectangle of Thanksgiving. Despite having some not-so-light materials, the sandwich itself wasn’t weighed down by excess gravy or too much stuffing.
After the meal we were full, but not too full for a free Oreo from the jar on the way out. I will definitely be returning to this Inman Square gem, with Smashmouth on my ipod and sandwiches on my brain.

1245 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mr. Crepe, Davis Square

Crepes, (p.) k-reh-ps- noun. really, really, really thin pancake.
Mr. Crepe in Davis Square is always busy. Their tables by the windows always seem to be taken. Possibly because it is a crepe shop and espresso bar, and you know those Davis Square kind love them some lattes.
Joey and I went for dinner while I was taking a break from the library. After a 9 hour library marathon I needed one thing and one thing only, sugar. I got an image of myself as the Honeycomb creature (what is he?) who runs around yelling “ME WANT HONEYCOMB!”
Ya…it was kind of like that. 
Mr. Crepe has an extensive menu of both sweet and savory crepes. Joey went with a savory crepe with ham, egg, and cheese. So basically a breakfast sandwich, which is never a bad option.
I opted for a sweet one (uh duh) with strawberries, lemon, sugar, and whipped crème. The strawberries were sweet and delicious and confusing because where are they in season right now to be that good? The lemon, however, was the key to my heart. The way it tasted with the powedered sugar and the light crepe was divine. It reminded me of my favorite way to eat a Dutch baby. (Dare you to take that sentence out of context.) 

Mr. Crepe
51 Davis Square
Somerville, MA

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Buttermilk Scones

I woke up yesterday morning with hankering. The book from Alice’s Tea Cup was sitting idly by my bed, brimming with delicious recipes, just waiting to be attacked. After my first scone experience from said book I was anxious to try another recipe. And to be completely honest about things, the buttermilk in my fridge expired on that very day. Is that disgusting? Because I don’t really care all that much. One time I ate expired tofu, and that turned out to be a bad idea, but I wasn’t too worried about the buttermilk.
Anyways, this recipe was simple, no frills. It was a plain, savory scone. Carrie woke up just as I was putting the scones in the oven, and we both stood in the warm kitchen drinking coffee and waiting for the timer to go off. 

I decided to make a smaller batch this time. Smaller batch, for my small house, and a smaller pant size? Anyways, I was thinking that it would let me try more varieties with less materials and less waste.
They came out of the oven and we barely waited for them to cool before splitting them open to eat. We both had the same method, raspberry jam on one half, I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter (can you?!?!) on the other. Perfection. Plain, yes, but bland? No! To me, it was like a scrumptious breakfast biscuit. With a handful of ingredients and easy preparation, I would make these any day. 

Buttermilk Scones
3 cups all purpose flour
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
 (I halved the recipe to only get 4 big scones)
 Mix dry ingredients. 
Make well, pour buttermilk and melted butter into the dry. 
Mix gently from the outside in with hands. 
Make 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle on floured board, cut into pieces. 
Bake at 425 F for 13 minutes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Darwin's, Cambridge

If you want a sandwich, and you’re in Cambridge, and you want a Cambridge sandwich, then Darwin’s Ltd. is the place to go.  Darwin’s location on Mt. Auburn street doesn’t stand out from the road. It is tucked a few blocks behind Harvard Square, thus ensuring that no Harvard Square newbs or gawkers taint its premise.

I had the pleasure of going there for a leisurely lunch on a weekday. At about 12:30 we had no trouble getting a table after we got out sandwiches, but we weren’t alone either. The store itself is a hybrid, a mix between a coffee shop, upscale deli, and gourmet foods store. On one side you can order a sandwich or a meal to go and pick up some craft beers, and on the other side you can order a mocha and perfectly portioned tiramisu.

Thankfully I went in with my mind set on a sandwich, otherwise who knows what could have happened with all the distractions! I ordered The Longfellow, (all of the sandwiches are named for streets in Cambridge,) with ham, aged cheddar, sliced apple, Dijon, lettuce and tomato. They had numerous breads to choose from and I put my lil’ guy on olive. 

The sandwich itself was delicious, although slightly heavy on the ham element. I don’t particularly like it when I can’t bite all the way through a sandwich because it is too fat. Likewise, I like a good ratio of materials, which my Longfellow was lacking. Outside of the ham situation, the sandwich was tasty and sufficiently filled the hole in my stomach. The apple added a crunchy, sweet taste to the sandwich, and the bread was soft and salty from the olives.

I grabbed a chocolate, walnut, and cranberry cookie on my way out. Just to get a more thorough sampling of Darwin’s offerings, of course. 

148 Mt. Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cherry- Chocolate Scones

Wandering around the Strand in New York I fell completely in love with a little cookbook that I just had to have. I did not just love it, I was in love with it. It was the number one staff pick (!!!), had great photos of tea parties, and was just the cutest little thing ever. If I am a complete sucker for marketing, at least I am aware. As a lover of independent book stores and scones, I felt that I needed the book in my life.

Alice’s Tea Cup, by Haley Fox and Lauren Fox. With recipes adopted from their tea restaurants Manhattan.

One day later I set out to make a creation from my new book. Pumpkin scones was the mission. One grocery store failure later, and I was standing in the canned fruit aisle feeling the most pumpkin-less that I have felt since the Pumpkin Shortage of 2009. (Yes, it was real national phenomena, my Grandma warned me to stock up.) Anyway, I needed to come up with different ingredients for my creation. I decided on dried cherries and milk chocolate.

An hour later I was elbow deep in a bowl of butter and flour, just a’squeezin and a’mixin as fast as my little hands could go. I am not entirely opposed to the hands-as-kitchen-tools concept, but I was somewhat wary. Just a few days ago, after making a particularly large batch of turkey meatballs, my hands smelled distinctly of raw meat for about 8 hours. Granted it’s more desirable to have sugary, buttery, vanilla dough scent on one’s hands than raw ground turkey and egg, but nonetheless.  
 My final product was a recipe adapted from my new book, with the addition of a new ingredient pairing. Their recipe was phenomenal, the end result was a buttermilk scone that was sweet, light, and tangy. The dried cherries and chocolate worked great. I would definitely repeat this combination, although there are so many more to try!

Cherry-Chocolate Scones
 adapted from Alice's Tea Cup
 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Hershey's milk chocolate bars, broken into chunks
3/4 cup dried cherries

Mix dry ingredients. 
Add butter, mix with hands until course and mealy.
Add chocolate and cherries, mix. 
Make a well, add buttermilk and vanilla. Fold dry mix over wet until combined, don't over mix. 
Form into 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle on floured surface, cut into triangles. (8-10)
Bake at 425 F for 14 minutes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Playing Outside: The Fells

            I had an excuse to go for a walk in the Fells forest reservation in Medford this past week. My friend Carrie was dog sitting and needed to take the pup Coco for some good exercise. I have been to the Fells several times before, but never at this time of year. The Fells is a hidden gem in this area of Massachusetts. It is a large protected reservation of forest with a reservoir in the middle. There are a few walking paths throughout the area. There are some gradual hills, but overall it is more of a walk than a hike. 

            Coco, Carrie, and I arrived at the South Border Rd. entrance and took the trail that veered to the right to loop around the reservoir. While we had both walked this trail a few times before, the place looked completely different covered in snow. I mistakenly left my house in sneakers that were guaranteed to be soaked by the end. 

            The walk around the reservoir path took us about an hour. We came back to the car refreshed. Carrie and I were both glad we didn’t use the dreary, cold-ish weather as an excuse to stay inside. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Danish Pastry House

It’s about damn time. I have been going to this place for three years. It is a great all purpose neighborhood café. This place is memorable, and no matter what I order, I always make a note of something else to try on my next visit. When my mom visits from the West Coast, her first words after stumbling off the red eye are often, “Can we just go back to that little café I like…” And then we drive to the corner of Winthrop and Boston Ave and get a perfectly satisfying meal, snack, coffee or treat.

On this particular trip, I was in the mood for something sweet, and I wanted to try something that was unique to this establishment, something Danish! Before today, if you put a gun to my head and asked me to describe what makes a Danish Pastry Danish, I would be speechless.

Now, thankfully, I have an authentic and delicious answer to that question. The Kringle. I ordered a slice of the Almond Kringle in the glass case without even knowing what it was; it looked somewhat like a flat croissant. Pictures cannot do this pastry justice. Biting into revealed a complex arrangement of textures. The pastry was flaky and the almond filling was sweet and creamy, but not overwhelming. The entire pastry was infused with the toastiness of almonds, one of my favorite flavors. My only complaint was that it was over too soon. 

I had arrived at DPH this morning with the intention of catching up on some reading over coffee and ended up discovering a new type of food! I look forward to experiencing more that the Danes have to offer.

Danish Pastry House
330 Boston Ave.
Medford, MA 02155

Product Review: Me & Goji

There is very little that I accomplish before having breakfast. Unless giving dirty looks, expressing extreme discomfort, or being a snarky bitch count as accomplishments, then I haven’t done anything worthwhile in my 22 years of life in the pre-breakfast period of my day. Cereal is one of my favorite breakfasts, thus when I read about a company making healthy, delicious, personalized boxes of cereal I knew it was something I had to explore. Fortunately, Joey, is also a lover of all things breakfast-grain. So we sat down, did some serious research on the Me and Goji website, and then crafted our cereal with care and precision.
The online ordering process takes several steps. It allows you to pick a base for your cereal, with every type of grain flake and granola combination possible. The next steps allow you to add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and extras such as wheat germ and cocoa nibs. The last step allows you to name your cereal and upload a picture to be printed on the box.
A neat feature allows you to see how the nutrition information of your various ingredients changes as you make additions.
Our cereal concoction, titled ‘FUEL!!!’, was artisanal flakes, with pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, granola, and barley.  

 After a near tragedy when the package was almost delivered to the wrong address, I finally received the long anticipated FUEL!!! Joey and I are both firmly planted in the mixing>not mixing cereal camp, but for our unique creation we opted for a bowl of it on its own. It was hearty and I could almost taste the health benefits. The pumpkin seeds were a surprising flavor in the mix, but the blueberries were small and flavorless. We both savored our bowls, and after a moderately sized serving felt full and fueled up. 

Verdict: I enjoyed spicing up my morning routine with a new cereal combo from Me & Goji, but since I don’t like spending three times more than normal on basic grocery items, this product probably won’t be a repeat purchase.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Teach me how to Mardi

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, getting drunk while wearing bright colors? While I am not planning on giving anything up for Lent, I felt that I could partake in the pre-Lent festivities by attending a Mardi Gras pub-crawl in downtown Boston.
For a mere ten dollars I got a wrist band to go to all of the participating bars around Fanuil Hall, get drink deals, a couple free beads, and a free T-shirt! That, to me, sounds like a holiday.
Joey and I began our day with banana pancake stacks with layers of peanut butter between each one. My friends had outlined a strict schedule that had us arriving at the Fanuil early for the 2 pm registration, thus we needed a breakfast that meant business.
From 2pm until a blurry 7:00 we wandered from bar to bar with a crowd of people from my school. The first bar, Hennessy’s, was slightly stuffy. Why was the upstairs bar fashioned like a royal grandmother’s parlor? There was red carpeting and chandeliers. We ordered a drink and sipped slowly, examining the scene and checking out fellow crawlers.
Bacardi's take on Mardi bling. To say Joey was all over it is an understatement.
The next bar was Hong Kong, (hearing this I immediately assumed we were getting back on the T and going to my favorite dance spot in Harvard Square, but apparently there are Hong Kongs a plenty in this city.) My friend had instructed me that Hurricanes were the official drink of Mardi Gras, so we ordered them upon arriving at Hong Kong. 

Joey: “We’ll have two Hurricanes.”
Bartender: “…ya, we don’t have those, scorpion bowl?”
Joey: “Yes, sorry, did I say ‘hurricanes’, what I meant was bowl of unidentified liquor and juice.”
Me: “Perfect.”

So that’s when our Mardi-ing (see what I did there?!) really got going. McFadden's and Coogen's, were among the remaining stops. Five hours and nine loops around the Fanuil Hall area later, we dragged our carcasses onto the T and headed back to my house.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beers and Yo-Pros in Davis Square

As a college student in the Medford/Somerville area, Davis Square has been a fixture in my last three and a half years at school. My visits to the Square have differed over the years. Freshmen year, Davis provided me with one thing and one thing only; ice cream from JP Licks, by the ton. Sophomore year was the year of the coffee shop, Diesel Café with the hipsters. I would do some reading over fair-trade coffee and local pastries. Junior year brought Rolling Rock at Joshua Tree and the introduction of Boston Burger Co. (Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.) Senior year has been the time when I drop my young, immature habits and commit to patronize establishments that reflect my great wisdom, age, and sophistication. (L.O.L.)
First on the list is The Foundry, a  new place with an interesting menu, creative cocktail list, and extensive draught selection. Their mission presents a desire to put integrity into all their consumables. While I have only been here for beverages, I have been pleased with the selection and the service.
Between Joey, his friend Josh, and I we tried a selection ranging from Allagash White, to Founder’s Red Rye, (I always forget how much I like red beers until one crops up on a menu and I get all excited.) The Pretty Things “Baby Tree” was strong and smooth, although darker than I normal like. I could probably only drink one of those. 

Make my brew man-sized, please.
 The server was attentive, possibly extra attentive because it was a Tuesday night and there weren’t too many people in the bar. After our first round we were surveying the extensive beer list and having trouble making up our minds. The server took initiative and brought over four samples of a variety of brews. One of the beers was a aged in a bourbon barrel and smelled exactly like the liquor, (note to self: never order this.) We may not have liked all her options, but the sampling was a great idea and certainly added to the experience.