Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Boston ABC Dining, Letter C: City Table

city table boston

We're already on our 3rd installment of Boston ABC Dining! For letter C we ventured over to City Table in Boston's Back Bay. Situated within the Lenox Hotel, City Table definitely has a posh vibe and a focus on American (New) cuisine.

city table boston

While waiting for your table you can take a seat in the hotel lobby, which is finely decorated with comfy red chairs and soft lighting.

City Table


city table boston

city table boston

To start, we ordered the Fried Clams. We assumed they would be served like fried oysters often are: in the shell and just a few at a time. The dish came out more closely resembling calamari. It differed from calamari in that it was softer, less chewy, and had more of that ocean taste retained in it. 

The fried clams were a fun adventure in the beginning - crunchy on the outside, but soft pillows, almost like cherry tomatoes, on the inside, with a hint of sweet flavor that you don't find in calamari. However, I found that after the first intriguing bites, it became a little strange. The textures seemed to clash and the dish was just too heavy and greasy for a 2 person appetizer. This would be a better dish to order if you came with a group. 

city table boston

I ordered the Grilled Snapper, topped with thai red curry, coconut rice and corn salsa with honeydew. I really enjoyed this dish. The cod was cooked well, fresh, and nicely complemented by the slight spice of the red curry. The corn salsa was a pop of bright, cool flavors that offset the spice and brought out the fresh fish. The sticky rice was a perfect solid base to bring all the flavors together.

city table boston

Nick ordered this -gigantic- Lobster Roll. Seasoned with nothing but butter, the lobster was huge and meaty but relatively bland in flavor. It didn't have the ocean taste I've come to associate with seafood, but maybe that's just how lobster is. I'll have to keep exploring this new strange world of lobster rolls before I make any rash decisions.


We had a great time at City Table. The service was a delight - our waiter came back a second time to make sure he gave Nick the right drink recommendation, our water glasses were always full, and the food came out in a timely manner. I would say the only real drawback was that the appetizer seemed to be meant for more people. We really wanted dessert but just couldn't fit any more food in! 

City Table seems to be the perfect Boston restaurant for a date night, birthday or celebration dinner - everyone was dressed to the nines and seemed excited to be there. All in all, I would recommend City Table if you're in the mood for a nice night out. 

Comment Challenge: Whats your go-to date spot?


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Adorable Rifrullo Cafe

rifrullo cafe

Adorable, retro, maybe a tad hipster for better or for worse. These are the terms I would use to describe Rifrullo Cafe in the heart of Brookline, Massachusetts. This small neighborhood venue adorns its walls with everything from beautiful mirrors, to old school bicycles, to a giant red couch, to a long parchment where they write their daily specials.

Rifrullo Cafe


rifrullo cafe

What really sets Rifrullo apart is it's community-centered approach to dining. Once a month they offer Community Dining, where for $45 you can enjoy a three-course family-style meal with other diners from the neighborhood.

rifrullo cafe

rifrullo cafe

rifrullo cafe

I ordered the Caramelized Bacon Sandwich, which came with Avocado, Lettuce, and Black Pepper Mayonnaise. We came just before the polar vortex blizzard hit, so they were closing up early and only had brioche buns at the ready. 

rifrullo cafe

The thick brioche may have masked some of the more subtle flavors, like the black pepper mayonnaise. Still, it was a great sandwich - all ingredients were fresh and tasty. I would definitely say it's a step above your ordinary avocado bacon sandwich. I can't wait to try some of the other items on Rifrullo's menu. The Chicken Quinoa Chili and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna sound to die for!


Comment Challenge: What's your favorite type of sandwich?

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Giant Food Challenges at Eagle's Deli Brookline

Eagle's Deli Brookline

Tucked away in sleepy Cleveland Circle lies Eagle's Delicatessen. Though it may look like an ordinary deli, it's anything but. Eagle's was featured on the hit show Man vs. Food, and offers generous portions & solid dishes at reasonable prices. On the weekend you can find the hungry college crowd here.

Eagle's Deli


Eagle's Deli Brookline

Nick ordered the Breakfast Omelette, with came with a side of rye bread and potatoes. The flavor was decent - not life-changing but great for breakfast or brunch. I was obsessed with the colors and simple yet pleasing presentation. 

Eagle's Deli Brookline

I ordered the French Toast with fruit. Again, Eagle's doesn't put a spin on their dishes or try to do anything fancy. They keep it simple but are great at what they do. All of the ingredients are incredibly fresh and tasty, and the colors and presentation were fun.

Eagle's Deli Brookline

For those who enjoy a challenge and have a strong stomach, Eagle's is the place for you. They offer some of the most ridiculous, ginormous burger specials! Check them out below:

  • Eagle's Challenge (65.99): 6lbs of burger, 24pcs of bacon, 24pcs of american cheese, 5lbs of fries, and 1 deli pickle
  • Furious Pete ($59.99): 5lbs of burger, 20pcs of bacon, 20pcs of american cheese, 5lbs of fries, and 1 deli pickle
  • Paul Jones ($49.99): 5lbs of burger, 20pcs of bacon, 20pcs of american cheese, 5lbs of fries, 1 deli pickle
  • Reilly Burger ($39.99): 3lbs of burger, 12pcs of american cheese, 2lbs of fries, and 1 deli pickle
  • Cowabunga ($30.99): 2lbs of burger, 8pcs of american cheese, 1/2lbs of fries, and 1 deli pickle
  • Nick Lachey ($17.99): 1 1/2lbs of burger, 6pcs of swiss cheese, 6pcs of bacon, and 1/2lbs of fries
  • Godzilla ($11.99): 1lbs of burger, 4 slices of cheese, and fries

Obviously I plan on going back one day to try one of these monster specials (though I'll most likely split it with at least 3 other people)!



Eagle's has a very casual diner vibe. It's always bustling with a college crowd, and fittingly has reasonable prices with above-average menu items. Do not come here for a sophisticated chef's tasting menu, or even a spectacular brunch. Come here with expectations for a solid meal at a price that won't break the bank, and you'll walk away happy. If you're feeling courageous, try one of their epic specials (and let me know how it goes)! 

Comment Challenge: If you had to do a giant food challenge, what food would you pick?



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Friday, January 17, 2014

Where to Find Good Mexican Food in Boston? El Centro Dos | Brookline Village

el centro dos boston

I'd have to say the biggest shock in my cross-country move from San Francisco is the epic struggle to find good Mexican food here in Boston. Being so much further from Mexico, it makes sense that there would be less of a selection. Thankfully, I found a good one: El Centro Dos in Brookline Village (so named because el Uno is in the South End).

Judging by the beautiful mural on the wall and the hanging portrait of Frida Khalo above the bar, I had a feeling I'd come to the right place.

El Centro Dos


el centro dos boston

el centro dos boston

Adorable hipster jar/water glass.

el centro dos boston
Shrimp Quesadillas

I ordered the Shrimp Quesadillas and did not know was I was getting myself into. They came stuffed to the brim with generous portions of plump shrimp and thick melted cheese. They were as amazing as they look, and just as filling. The fresh salsa was a great addition and brought some bright flavor to the mix.

el centro dos boston
Side of Avocados

I got a side of perfectly sliced and fresh avocados. Yum!

el centro dos boston
Spicy Fish Tacos

Nick ordered the Spicy Fish Tacos. They were amazing as well, with homemade sauce and fried fish, complete with a side of limes.

Comment Challenge: Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite dish?

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dessert Pizza: Max Brenner's Chocolate Restaurant!

max brenner boston
Roasted Marshmallow, Banana, Milk Chocolate & White Chocolate Pizza

For dessert one day, we ventured downtown to Boston's Max Brenner, a huge restaurant devoted to dessert - specifically chocolate! It seems too good to be true, and it felt like a dream or a scene straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Max Brenner Boston


max brenner boston

The cutest tin that our bill came in. I love quotes and I love chocolate, so to me this was a wonderful touch.

max brenner boston

It was so ridiculously hard to choose from the scrumptious menu items at Max Brenner! From chocolate fondue, to crepes, to milkshakes, how's a girl to choose? I clearly will have to come back for more. For the time being, we settled on an amazing dish: Dessert Pizza, with toppings of roasted marshmallows and bananas in a milk chocolate/white chocolate sauce. 

max brenner boston

But what about the crust? MB went with a thinner, more bland crust than you'd find on savory pizzas.This plain base was a perfect blank canvas for the sweet toppings.

max brenner boston

For a sweet tooth like me, you really can't go wrong with a chocolate restaurant. If Willy Wonka were real, I'd be the first one out there tearing open packages of chocolate bars and searching for the golden ticket. Max Brenner does a great job offering delicious concoctions at reasonable prices. The service was good - our waiter was quick and friendly. They even have a chocolate shop in the front of the restaurant to buy their glorious treats for later!

Comment Challenge: Do you prefer sweet or savory foods?

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Regal Beagle Brookline: A Twist on the Ordinary Brunch

regal beagle brookline

Boston's Brookline is quickly rising in the ranks for the best foodie neighborhood in bean town. Regal Beagle is a prime example of amazing cuisine in the area. We came here for a Saturday brunch and got some interesting twists on the classics!

The Regal Beagle 


regal beagle brookline
French Toast with Bananas Foster and a Side of Bacon

I ordered my all-time favorite brunch dish: French Toast. In place of the customary syrup and berries, my plate came topped with Bananas Foster. It was a delicious take on the usual - still sweet but in a different way. The brioche bread was thick and soft, perfect for absorbing the scrumptious Bananas Foster.

regal beagle brookline

regal beagle brookline

Fun fact: Did you know protein is really important to eat in the morning? Your brain actually uses it to create serotonin, which makes you happy! Regal Beagle's bacon was crisp without being burnt, and was great when dipped in the Bananas Foster! 

regal beagle brookline
Curry Chicken Sandwich

Nick ordered the Curry Chicken Sandwich, a twist on the ordinary chicken sando. It was really good, and tasted like a tuna salad with curry and amazing spices. The leafy green salad was a refreshing and healthy side as well.

Regal Beagle is a bar as well as a restaurant. With hardwood tabletops and cloth napkins, it's great for a night cap or a daytime brunch. 

The service is good but not spectacular. The food came out promptly but there was little interaction with the waiters - no interesting tidbits on the food or menu, and a quick come-and-go vibe. to be fair, this may be related to the table orientation in the restaurant. The booth tables where we sat were so close together that the waiters couldn't really squeeze between to take our order and chat us up. Instead, they had to semi-awkwardly lean in from behind the tables. Still, the food and decor were nice enough and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a visit here.


Comment Challenge: What are you favorite brunch items?

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sparks Coffee Shop


For Christmas, I went to stay with my mom in Reno, Nevada. I love staying with my mom - we always have the most relaxing time watching Netflix, playing chess, and playing with her two cats, Paris and Venus!

Reno is named the "Biggest little city in the world," since it's downtown area is full of bright lights and towering casinos. After some post-christmas shopping, scoping out 3-story antique shops, and seeing the sights downtown, we ventured over to Sparks Coffee Shop where we refueled on a delicious brunch.



I ordered a tea to start and was delighted with the presentation. Complete with honey, lemon, and a cute modern kettle, it took me forever to choose from the pretty tea assortment (I ultimately went with the green).

Shrimp Omelette w/ Queso Fresca, Avocado, Hash Browns, Cantaloupe 

Sparks Coffee Shop serves breakfast all day and has a great lunch menu as well. They seem to specialize in Latin cuisine, so I ordered the Shrimp Omelette. Topped with queso fresca & avocado, with a side of hash browns & cantaloupe, I had an amazing balanced and healthy meal. The shrimp were juicy and scrumptious, the cantaloupe incredibly fresh, and the omelette fluffy as could be. 

Taco Bowl

My mom ordered the Taco Bowl, which to our amazement was gigantic! It comes with fresh leafy greens, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. All of the ingredients were very fresh and it was a pleasure just to look at! 

Overall Experience


As you can see, Sparks Coffee Shop is extremely generous with their portions. We had enough to take home leftovers which is always exciting. The service was great - the waitress and host very friendly and helpful. Definitely worth a visit if you like Latin food and are in the Reno/Tahoe area!


After our brunch, we took a stroll down to the Truckee River in downtown Reno. You can see the ducks making their way downstream and the snow on the far bank. So beautiful!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Quest for the Best Bakery in Boston: Bova's Bakery

Bova Bakery Boston
The North End

As many of you read in my recent post on Mike's Bakery, there is no question that the best pastries in Boston can be found in the Italian North End district. The consensus seems to split up from there - some swear by Mike's, while other's refuse service to anyone except Modern. This post is about the mom & pop contender: Bova's Bakery. We trudged through the "polar vortex" in Boston just to get to these treasures. Read on to see if it was worth the trip!

Bova Bakery 


Bova Bakery Boston

Bova's, open 24 hours a day, has a distinctly family-owned-&-operated feel. Compared to Mike's large stainless steel interior and bustling lines of tourists, this cozy mom & pop joint greets you with a genuine smile when you walk in. 

Unfortunately they do not condone interior pictures, so allow me to paint a picture of my experience at Bova's: One baker is yelling in a thick Bostonian accent across the corner shop, just to check up on the cashier to ask how her cousin is doing. The shop is small - no more than 5 customers could comfortably browse - but filled to the brim with delicious sweet and savory concoctions. There are piles upon piles of cookies, cannolis, bread loaves, woopie pies, even savory bakes like pizza and these mysterious spreckled spheres that I'm determined to go back and try soon.

Bova Bakery Boston
Mini Red Velvet Woopie Pie & Chocolate Chip Cannoli

I ordered the Mini Red Velvet Whoopie Pie and a Mini Chocolate Chip Cannoli. The woopie was heavenly, with a perfectly soft red velvet outer layer and a light filling. Sometimes red velvet can be overpowering and too rich, but this one was just right. The cannoli had a great flaky crust that managed not to crumble in your hands, and the filling was divine. 

As it stands, Bova's Bakery takes the cake (or should I say the cannoli?) so far as Boston's best bakery. I appreciate the genuine family-run, local atmosphere, as well as the variety that Bova's has to offer. It seems that Mike's has more of a focus on cannolis, so if you are a die-hard cannoli fan, I would suggest checking them out first. We're really comparing the best with the best, so you'll be in good hands either way. Our trip through the polar vortex to get to Bova's Bakery was definitely worthwhile in the end! 

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Brunch Fiesta Special: Dining at Masa in Boston's South End

masa boston

If you're looking for brunch, Boston's Masa in the South End is a must-see venue. They offer a ritzy ambiance without the ritzy price, not to mention an incredibly unique Southwestern/Latin American menu. We dined here for their Brunch Fiesta Special and I already can't wait to go back for more!

Masa Boston


masa boston

masa boston

The vibe at Masa is sophisticated yet laid-back. With large gold-lined mirrors, a freshly refurbished ceiling, and white tablecloths, you can get away with bringing anyone from a date to a group of friends here.

masa boston
Yellow Cornbread, Blue Cornbread & Spreads

We began with a delectable and interesting assortment of complementary Cornbread and Spreads. The lighter color you see is the standard cornbread, while the darker ones below are actually Blue Cornbread! The top, red spread is a raspberry chipotle, which had a light citrus punch to it. In the middle we have a sweet honey molasses, followed by the apricot jalapeno. Those who know me (and my sweet tooth) may assume the honey molasses was my favorite, but surprisingly the apricot jalapeno impressed me the most. The first flavor that hits you is the fruity apricot. It's not until later - after you think you've tasted it - that the slightly spicy kick shows up to the party. It's an ambush of flavor.

masa boston
Caramelized Plantain Empanada

As part of Masa's Brunch Fiesta Special, we all chose the Caramelized Plantain Empanada to start with. I've never before encountered this genius pastry combination. With its outer flaky crust and sweet plantain innards, this dish is a reason in itself to give Masa a visit. 

masa boston
Caramelized Plantain Empanada

masa boston
Jalisco Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I ordered the Jalisco Chocolate Chip Pancakes with a side of bacon, and was not disappointed. The pancakes are small, so if you're looking for a big breakfast meal I would suggest going with another option, such as the Santa Fe Eggs Benedict (shown later in this post). But if you have a sweet tooth like me, these chocolate chip delights will hit the spot. Just grab a side of bacon and you'll be all set!

masa boston
Side of Bacon

masa boston

masa boston

masa boston
Santa Fe Eggs Benedict

masa boston
Huevos Rancheros

Masa is a hidden gem. For $7.95 you get a legit two-course menu, classy ambiance and great service. I highly recommend making the trip to have the Masa experience!

Comment Challenge: What is your favorite meal of the day?


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