Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Hungry Mother of God

I'm no longer sure Russell House Tavern is my favorite restaurant in the Boston area. Hungry Mother is amazing.

Book a reservation or get there (Tuesday-Sunday) early, by 5:10, to grab a seat in the bar area. Their dress code, straight from the front page of their website is, "Please wear clothing; proper attire not required." Now that's my kind of place.

They have four beers on tap, but they're always an interesting assortment. There are of course also fun cocktails and a nice list of whiskey, etc.

Any food you order is a safe bet, but here are some highlights from my experiences:

You have to start with the amazing cornbread with sweet sorghum butter (pictured: small ($4); also available in large($8)). It's crispy outside, soft in.
I'm not going to bother telling you what all these dishes are since the menu changes all the time and you probably won't be able to get these exact things. Trust me, this was all some delicious shit.


Basically, the lesson here is to focus on the appetizers rather than the mains.

Save room for dessert. Those are always different too. Some are definitely better than others. This pie was one of those: Malted Oatmeal Pie ($9) with red wine poached apples and cinnamon chantily. Holy chantily, this was good.

And! Along with your dessert, order a half glass of Gritty McDuff's Black Fly Stout. So creamy, so perfect to pair with a nice pie or whatever sweet treat you have. 

Also, they will pick up discounted movie tickets for you for Kendall Square Cinema next door. That makes for a great date night.

Hungry Mother on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


If you're getting into Boston on a flight that arrives at midnight and your connecting airport had no food worth eating, you have a few options. If it's Friday or Saturday, one of them is Saus


Monday-Wednesday: 11:30am - 10pm
Thursday: 11:30am - 12am
Friday: 11:30am - 2am
Saturday: 12:00pm - 2am
Sunday: 12:00pm - 8pm

Frikandel -Belgian street dog ($6.95): Tasty, with lots of perfect heat house-pickled jalapeƱos, a soft bun, and great meat. 
The ole chipotle sauce - made with spicy chipotle, lime juice, fresh cilantro, homemade mayo - So good! It came on the frikandel, but this is THE sauce to get for your fries

Fries - 6/10, just regular fries like you'd get at any bar

3 o'clock - Cheddar Duvel - made of sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, golden Belgian ale: Like a super delicious cheese whiz sauce
7 o'clock 
- Green monster - made of jalapeƱos, habaneros, fresh cilantro, garlic: Not as hot as I'd thought it might be, but it was light and sweet and nice to mix with the cheddar one
11 o'clock - 
-Pindasaus - made of creamy peanut butter, dark soy sauce, date saus, chili paste: heavy, tasty, unsurprising
Mini Chicken and waffles: (only one) yummy little waffle corner, served with a sweet chili BBQ sauce, some pickles, and five fried chicken strip nuggets, all but one too chewy one were great, the breading was tasty. I prefer honey and or gravy to the tangy BBQ sauce, but whatevs cuz also at my dipping disposal was...
Poutine with pork belly! Lots of pork belly strips, those mediocre fries at Saus made better by being drenched in gravy and melting cheese curds. Oh yeah.

Your asshole

They also have four beers on tap, and a longer selection of bottles and sometimes cans.

Saus on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 14, 2014

Belizean Dishes

Fry jacks are a tasty little breakfast option we saw all over, like sopapillas. This one (top of the plate) was large.

But there were also little ones (top of the plate) as well as stuffed fry jacks, usually stuffed with beans, cheese and/or meat.

Cheesey Chaya Dip (from Rojo Lounge on San Pedro): Chaya, we learned, is an iron rich green, and in this case it was mixed with melted cheese and Parmesan and maybe more herbs with toast points. I think the chaya made for a better cheese dip than spinach usually does. Also fun to note, Chaya is a Jewish term for the soul, a Hindu goddess of shadow, and a brand of tequila.

As with Nicaragua, a ceviche is always a good bet at any restaurants in Belize.

Seaweed shakes - We saw this on signs a few times before I asked and found out you just order any shake and then they add some healthful seaweed to it, so that you can't taste the seaweed.

Mostly, there were several things I saw or heard about but didn't get to try, either because they weren't in season, we got there while the owner was eating the last one, or we ran out of time:
Soursop - local fruit - At Rojo, they have soursop ice cream when it's in season.
Pandanus - local fruit - Ditto.
Pigtail boil - You'll see this on restaurant's signs, at least in Placencia.
Gibnut - Called the "royal rat" because it's a rodent that looks like a rat, and the queen apparently really liked it. In Placencia, you can get it at BJ's, but go early (by 4pm). The owner was eating the last one of the day when we got there at sunset, and they only get gibnuts when the guys who catch them have them sometimes, and you never know when or how much they'll have.
Stew chicken - This is everywhere, but I never got around to trying anyone's. The one place I ordered it, they were out.
Chirmole soup

Also more common there are barracuda and snook fish, but the Creole place where we tried them overcooked them to the point where we couldn't taste their peculiarities. Poop.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Best Quick Meal in Brookline

Like maybe you just went to Trader Joe's and you want to eat a delicious meal on your way home without your Joe Joe's 'n' Cream melting. Enter Shawarma King. Though, I should say it's totally worth going a little out of your way for too. I'm not sure if there's a better Shawarma place in Boston.

Beef kibbi ($5.99): so good, with fresh parsley, onions, tomatoes, yummy pickles, and delicious ground meat with cinnamon and nutmeg, which makes it taste like Christmas

Chicken shawarma ($5.99): almost as good as the beef kibbi

I'm not a big falafel fan, but my girlfriend is and likes the falafel here.

Jallab (or raisin date rose water) with almond shreds ($2.99): This is so good It's almost my favorite thing about this place (except that the beef kibbi is too good for that). It's not as sweet as you'd fear, kinda tastes like a head shop. After a few bites of kibbi with their awesome hot sauce (I ask for a side of it when I go), it's so wonderful to have this cold, sweet, flavor blast to sip.

Lemonade with rose water ($1.99): The rose water is a tasty twist, though the jallab is better.

Want a side? Have some of their lemony lentil soup. Add a little salt and pepper, and it's quite good.

There is a restroom in the back; just ask.

 Shawarma King on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


#3 in Boston: Douzo

A medium-sized sushi restaurant in the Back Bay, Douzo is, so far, my favorite sushi in Boston.

Start your meal with the Octopus Ceviche with red onions, yellow peppers, some jalapenos, tomatoes for $12 

Up to this point in my life, this was the most I'd ever enjoyed octopus. The texture was just so much better than anywhere else I'd had it. All the wonderful flavors were balanced and mixed well. It was a perfect light appetizer.

  You must get the Torch Roll (in the back) with avocado, cucumber, and spicy mayo, wrapped with seared yellowtail with a touch of yuzu sauce and tobiko - 8 pieces - $16.95

The torchy flavor from the yellowtail sear was amazing with the salty tobiko, creamy mayo and avocado and the little crunch of cucumber. Close your eyes and bask in the near perfection of the harmonious flavor orgy of this roll.

Better still was the Crunchy Roll with cucumber, spicy tempura crumbs, wrapped with tuna and salmon, topped with mango sauce, ikura, and tobiko

 This one had that torchy flavor too, and it was actually slightly too heavy on that fire camp taste, but it was still so fucking goddamn good, especially the pieces with the beautiful tuna. My date was definitely getting laid.


In fact, she and I are now engaged. And we've been back to Duozo together.

I think their grilled corn ($6.59) is even better than Toro's.

Scallop Kiwi roll ($14.50): Amazing, 9.5/10
Coconut Eel Roll ($15.95): Not as good, not enough flavor, 6.5/10
Tiger Roll ($14.50) Great! Something was a little too chewy for perfect sushi flavor explosion cohesion though, 8.5/0 

Banana Tempura Dessert ($7.95) with fresh bananas flash fried in tempura batter topped with Mandarin oranges, ginger syrup, chocolate sauce, candied walnuts and vanilla ice cream: Like a banana split, if they fried the bananas. Well played.

If you can afford it, get the $42 bottle of silky sake. Damn, it's smooth and sweet. 

My one issue with Duozo is the ambiance. At least at dinner time, they dim the lights a little lower and play the top 40 hits a little louder than I'd prefer, but the sushi is so good that perhaps it's best not to distract each other with conversation.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Boston's Only Really Good Burger - The Haven

I love The Haven. It's the home of the only truly good burger my girlfriend and I have been able to find in Boston, joining the ranks of my top 5 favorite burgers of the USA.

Make a reservation. This place is popular.

There's a complimentary appetizer that's some kind of unsweetened oatmeal cake, served with salted butter.

The Amazing Food:

The Burger ($14) - 8 oz. grilled beef chuck, Hunstman cheese, house bacon-onion marmalade, house pickle sauce, arugula, farm tomato, chips: That Hunstman cheese (a version of which you can buy at Trader Joe's, by the way) is so good. It melts into the burger and tastes a lot like pub cheese, in the best way, which tangy wonder blends with the sweetness of the onion jam and the beef juice to just knock you back with pleasure. They do a perfect rare here (send it back if they eff it up. It's worth it to get this thing in perfect condition). It's so good. I also appreciate the hotdog-size fries.

Cross-section of burger
Truffled honey mashed rutabaga ($5 if ordered as a separate side): Meh, skip this.

Fish Supper ($16) - Beer-battered haddock, hand cut big chips, minted mushy peas and house tartar sauce: The fish was excellent. The minty peas were more like a mint pea tabbouli. 

White Pudding Sassitch and Mash ($17) - House-made chicken sausage, with braised kale, roasted parsnip, herbed mash and roasted chicken jus: Don't burn your mouth in excitement when this comes out of the kitchen scalding hot. I'm not the biggest sausage link fan, but this was one of the exceptions. And the mashed potatoes are so yummy and the parsnips so fun, that you ought to order this some time, at least if you're with someone who'll split this meal and a burger with you.

Good, Not Great Food:

Vegetable Bridies ($7) - with oyster mushrooms, caramelized onion, roasted garlic and rosemary
-Minty mashed peas
-Truffled Honey Rutabaga

They have a fun beer selection comprised in part by a few old-fashioned Scottish recipes.
There's the Haven Heather Ale (from Notch Session Brewery) - They say it's from a recipe from 4k years ago, cute, but we’ve improved the recipes since then in my book.
Tennents Lager - Not my favorite kind of lager, almost like Balkan lagers
Summary of what to order:
-The Burger
-The Fish Supper
-Hand-cut chips
-Herb or STILTON (holy shit, just saw this on the menu) Mashed potatoes
And some fun draft beers!

The Haven on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 14, 2014

Vices & Versas

A casual pub with 30 beers on tap, poutine, and an open wall? Yes please! Vices & Versas
Beer flights!

Our favorites were the Aphrodisiaque: A cacao vanilla stout (6.57%) from DDC brewery (on the bottom left). It was so chocolatey and vanilla-y and creamy, though it's probably only great in a sample size.
And then our most favorite: an India cream ale! (6.7%) from Dunham Brewery (Top left) - Creamy and hoppy! What a combo!

We each needed another pint of that.

And by then it was time for some pulled pork poutine with black and green pepper gravy. The pulled pork was great, the gravy was simple, the cheese was melty, the fries were skin-on, and the serving was not too big. It was exactly what we wanted.

30 Draughts!

Vices & Versa on Urbanspoon