Monday, September 27, 2010

Eating Our Way Through Boston

If you know me at all, you know it's no secret that Boston is my favorite city. While the food in NYC really is incredible, Beantown will always edge out The Big Apple in my heart (the fact that both cities have nicknames with food in them is not lost on me, either).

Last weekend, my boyfriend Patrick and I took a trip up to Boston to enjoy the sights and some of the local cuisine. Our meals included the following highlights.

Dinner at Sonsie on Newbury Street, a trendy, upscale place with good food and fabulous tables for people-watching, was delicious, and I had a great roasted chicken dish. The chicken was tender and juicy and the green beans on the side were crunchy and fresh. Whenever I go to Boston, I make it a point to dine at Sonsie.
A funny food fact about me is that I say I don't like onions, but I LOVE both Onion Rings & French Onion Soup! And I LOVE Abe & Louie's! Abe & Louie's is a steakhouse on Boylston Street in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, and it's one of my very favorite places. They make a mean French Onion Soup, so of course we had to stop by for lunch. All I can say is "Holy Cheese!" This is my favorite French Onion Soup of all time, and I'm sure you can see why.
The next stop on our food tour was Giacomo's in the North End, Boston's Little Italy. A meal at Giacomo's feels like a huge family-style Italian dinner with a real Italian family, and they have some of the best seafood/pasta dishes in the city. I opted for the Fusilli with Shrimp & Scallops in a white wine garlic sauce, which I promptly covered in Parmesan cheese (another fact about me if you haven't already figured it out: If it's covered in cheese, I LOVE IT!
Brunch isn't as big of a big deal in Boston as it is in New York, but Zaftig's in Brookline is truly wonderful. They serve incredible breakfast dishes all day, 7 days a week. We used to go all the time in college, and this time, it was just as good as I remembered. The highlight of our brunch? The potato pancakes with homemade apple sauce.
If you've read my previous post on the topic, you'd know that no trip to Boston is complete without a delicious plate of nachos at the Sunset. I've been telling Patrick about these particular nachos for awhile now, claiming that I have yet to find better nachos anywhere in New York. Don't believe me? Read all the other reviews at that link. These nachos are epic!
As you can see in the picture, these nachos are loaded with deliciousness. A perfect distribution of guacamole, melted cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce & crispy chips surround a delicious, hot serving of chili underneath. My mouth is watering just looking at the picture! I think Patrick agreed how great these were.

Leave me some comments. What's your favorite food city? Why? I'd love to hear from you!

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fabulous Food: BONDST

BONDST has been my favorite restaurant since before I even moved to NYC. Why? I could go on all day, but here are a few reasons:
1. The food is exceptional
2. The atmosphere is sexy & intimate
3. Their Restaurant Week menu is to die for
4. Did I mention the food already?

Upon my first visit to BONDST a few summers ago, I tasted the Spicy Crispy Shrimp and the Chilean Seabass Skewer. Both dishes are amazing, but the Chilean Seabass Skewer may very well be one of the most delicious dishes I have ever eaten in my life. That is a bold statement, as I have certainly eaten a LOT of dishes in my time, but one taste and most would agree.

I have been telling my boyfriend about this restaurant for probably the last year. We had our anniversary last week, so I thought there was no better place to celebrate than BONDST. Personally, I prefer to sit downstairs in the lounge where they don't take reservations because you can't get the Seabass Skewer in the main dining room upstairs. Such a shame!

We stepped inside, sat down and began drooling over the menu. We decided we'd order 3 hot appetizers and 3 sushi rolls. I, of course, took pictures of everything. We started off with...
The Spicy Crispy Shrimp
The Goat Cheese Crab Cakes
And The Chilean Seabass Skewers
All 3 dishes were delicious, but that skewer has a special place in my heart. My boyfriend completely agreed. He noted, "The fish is sweet & smokey at the same time, and it flakes apart as you eat it." I'm telling you, get yourself to BONDST, sit downstairs in the lounge, and order this dish.

The miso glaze on top of the fish truly is both sweet & smokey, and even the mixed greens that come on the side have a delicious, fresh taste. I am always glad the dish comes with 2 skewers, because as I mentioned in my Tapas post, I'm not the best at sharing...
The 3 sushi rolls we ordered were Hot Eel Dice (top), Sesame-Crusted Shrimp with Citrus Curry Dipping Sauce (middle) and Spicy Tuna (bottom)

The rolls were great! I used to love eel, but all it takes is one bad eel experience. I remember getting an eel avocado roll one day from a West Village sushi spot, and the eel was a horrible, hard consistency with a terrible taste. I was skeptical to ever order eel again. The Hot Eel Dice roll at BONDST changed everything. The meat is tender and full of delicious, rich flavor. My faith in eel has been restored.

Patrick and I each ordered a drink, neither were anything to write home about, but I don't go to BONDST for their cocktails. I can't wait to go back, and I can't wait for Winter Restaurant Week! I make it a point to stop at BONDST every time Restaurant Week comes around, and as often as I can in between.

If you live in NYC, have you ever eaten at BONDST? What did you think? What's your favorite restaurant? Leave comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Overrated: Alta

Last week, some co-workers wanted to go out for tapas. The whole concept of tapas is a little foreign to me, as I'm not the best at sharing and I also like there to be a lot of food on my plate. Tapas force you to share, and you really only get 1 bite of the dish before it's gone. Regardless, a friend of mine had recently been to Alta in the West Village and liked it, so I decided to give it a try.

We walked in and I was, at the same time, pleasantly surprised by the warm, inviting atmosphere, and a little turned off by the smell of the place. It smelled like cleaning solution, but I quickly got used to it.

Then the waitress brought over the tapas menus, and my mouth began to water. All the dishes on the menu sounded so delicious. One of the other girls ordered 6 tapas to share between the 5 of us to start, and we each got a glass of sangria. I found the sangria to be too sweet, and not all that tasty. I hoped the food would be better.

We ordered Bacon-Wrapped Dates & Olives, Fried Goat Cheese, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Grilled Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers, Pulled Pork Empanadas, and Black Truffle Gnocchi. I realize these are tapas, but when they came out, the portions were even smaller than I thought they would be. None of the dishes were anything special, and I even found the Gnocchi to be completely tasteless.

Of course we were still hungry after the first round, so we ordered Smoked Eggplant and Lebne Dip, Lamb Meatballs and Catalonian Flatbread. These were only a little better than the first round of tapas, but again, nothing special.

The real surprise came with the bill. This lackluster meal cost $200 without tip. I found this appalling, especially since the food was not good. I do not plan to return to Alta, and I do not recommend it to anyone.

What are your thoughts on tapas? Do you think they make a good meal for a larger group, or are they better for smaller groups? I'd be willing to try another tapas restaurant, but I would probably only go with 1 other person so I could get more than just 1 bite of each dish.

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Best Salmon I've Ever Had

One of my very favorite restaurants in NYC is Extra Virgin in the West Village on the corner of Perry & West 4th. The food is fantastic, the atmosphere is great and they have an awesome wine list/drink menu. I've brought my boyfriend and friends to Extra Virgin, and this past Monday night, I brought my mom. Extra Virgin is also the home of The Best Salmon I've Ever Had.

My mom is what I like to call a "picky eater" because there are a lot of foods she just won't eat. She doesn't eat steak, she doesn't eat most pasta dishes, and she only sticks to what she enjoys, which includes salmon, chicken & meatball salad (don't ask). I have absolutely no idea how I am related to someone who isn't obsessed with food like I am, but I digress.

The first time ever I tried the salmon dish at Extra Virgin, I knew I had to bring my mom there, and I also knew that it was The Best Salmon I've Ever Had.
The fish is perfectly-cooked at "medium," and is accompanied by truffle mashed potatoes, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, frisée & a delightful red wine lobster sauce. I appreciate the fact that the sauce is under the fish, not poured over it. This allows you to dip the fish into the sauce and have only as much as you'd like. And not only is this dish delicious, but it's also very colorful and the presentation is just beautiful.

I was excited for my mom to try it, and as soon as she took her first bite, I knew I had made the right choice. She also agreed it was the best salmon she'd ever had.

I've probably been to Extra Virgin 10 times over the past few years, and I've only ever had the salmon. I know everything else is probably delicious, but it's just that good. I don't usually make a habit of only ordering one dish every time I return to a restaurant, but I worry that if I don't order the salmon, I'll immediately regret it.

How much does food presentation mean to you in the overall enjoyment of your meal? Do you tend to always order your "favorite" dish at a restaurant? Or do you like to always try something new?

I will continue to bring friends and family to Extra Virgin so that they too can try The Best Salmon I've Ever Had.

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie