Posted tagged ‘delicious’

The Atomic Bean Cafe in Cambridge rocks

February 5, 2011

I’m always looking for new coffee shops with wireless Internet access. I’ve actually been going to the Atomic Bean Cafe in Central Square for over a year now (I mentioned the joint in this December 2009 post), but it was just recently that I tried one of their paninis. I had the Atomic Veggie panini, which is basically hummus, tomato, cucumbers, sprouts, and lettuce between two pieces of bread. Since it’s a panini, it was pressed in a grill just before service.

My Atomic Veggie panini meal

The sandwich cost $7.50, which is a big pricey. Still, it came with tortilla chips, salsa, and pineapple slices. Everything was scrumptious. I like the cafe’s coffee, and the banana mango smoothie I sampled wasn’t bad either (if anything, it was a little too sweet). Their muffins are to die for. Bite into one of their orange cranberry or pistachio chocolate muffins, and you’ll know what heaven tastes like.

If you don’t mind feeling like a hippy, check out the delicious Life Alive cafe in Cambridge

January 14, 2011

It’s a new restaurant based off the one in Lowell. The menu calls the joint an “urban oasis and organic cafe.” You walk inside and one of the first things you notice is stacks of fresh produce (e.g. ginger, celery, carrots) behind the counter. You see this and know you’ll be eating healthy. Then you notice the list of smoothies. They are pretty expensive ($5.99 apiece), so I was a little hesitant to get one. I ended up caving and getting the “Love Alive” smoothie (blueberry, strawberry, banana, date, and almond milk). It was quite good, though I’m not so sure it’s worth the price.

Half of my smoothie (my friend had the other half)

I arrived there around 1 p.m. yesterday, and the line to order was very long. Basically you order at the counter, take a number, and are brought your food (just like the delicious Cafe Mangal in Wellesley!). As I waited, I scanned the decor and trinkets around me. A string of white lights framed a large and inviting window in the middle of the room. I also observed lots of green plants, a row of books you can read as you dine (if you get into a book you can put down a $5 deposit and borrow it), and an arrangement of teas. The teas are in little containers; you’re free to open the containers and smell the tea before ordering.

I ordered “The Seeker,” a salad with lemon garlic hummus, chopped cashews, granny applies, cucumbers, shredded carrots, spring greens, and ginger nama shoyu sauce. The dish comes in three forms: a bowl for $7.97, a wrap for $8.50, and a demi for $5.75). I got the bowl.

My friend Katie got “The Sufi Poet,” which is a salad with red-lentil hummus, cranberries, cashews, cucumber, granny apples, shredded carrots, spring greens, and balsamic vinaigrette. She just got the demi because her appetite was smaller. I must confess I initially thought the idea of hummus in salad is strange, but it went so well with the more subtle-tasting ingredients (e.g. the spring greens and cucumber). The lemon garlic hummus added just the right amount of “ooomph.” I also loved the texture of the chopped cashews.

Everything was fresh and oh-so-healthy-tasting, and it was the perfect amount of food. I will surely go back. We sat on the bottom level of the two-floor restaurant. It really doesn’t feel like a restaurant, but rather a cozy and colorful family room belonging to young artists. There are lots of nooks and crannies for sitting with your friends, as well as a play area for the youngins. Check out this little cove we snagged:

I look forward to trying some of their other menu items. They sell grilled tortilla wraps (like “The Seductress,” which boasts hard-boiled egg, broccoli, dark greens, shredded carrots and beets, garlic, yeast, and a whole wheat tortilla); “simple snacks” (like “The Crunchy Hippy,” which contains maple almond granola, dried fruit, almond milk, and maple syrup); and rice-based dishes (like “The Goddess,” which features ginger nama shoyu sauce, carrots, beets, broccoli, dark greens, tofu, and short-grain brown rice). You can also get sides for 50 cents to $3 apiece, like sesame stix, sun-dried tomato, and quinoa, as well as “jubilant juices,” like “Hive Alive” (a mixture of lemon, apple, honey, and pure water).

Another neat touch I must mention is they have a water dispenser with glasses both upstairs and downstairs (this is important to me because I normally drink tap water). Though they serve tea, I don’t think they serve coffee.

Try out the Blue Shirt Cafe in Somerville for its roast beef sandwich

January 5, 2011

blue-shirt-cafe

I’m not usually a fan of roast beef sandwiches. I find they are too heavy on the meat and too light on everything else (e.g. Billy’s Famous Roast Beef in Wakefield). But recently I discovered the wonder that is a Blue Shirt Cafe roast beef sandwich.  The item is specifically called the Highland Ave. (the cafe is located on Highland Avenue in Somerville); it consists of roasted beef, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and horseradish spread. I think you can get the sandwich with rye, sourdough, or wheat bread (I choose rye).

It’s the perfect blend of delicious meat, veggies, cheese, and the spread. The spread is amazingly tasty, and so is the bread. I have a hard time not shoveling the meal into my mouth. Round out your meal with a cup of squash soup and a strawberry banana smoothie.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/freeasinspeech/2193397272

Spinach and mushroom pinwheels, pork tenderloin with herbed breadcrumb crust, baked butternut squash, and strawberry blueberry pie

December 31, 2010

Leftover pork

Leftover pie

The dishes listed in this post’s title are just a few of the recipes I’ve recently tried out; they’ve all served me very well! I was invited to a friend’s going away party several weeks ago, and wanted to make a creative appetizer containing some veggies. I stumbled upon this spinach and mushroom pinwheel recipe from allrecipes.com (I really love this site!).

The recipe itself is very easy, though you need to start making the pinwheels several hours before your event. That’s because you need to chill the dough for 3o to 60 minutes, and then chill it for another hour once it’s been covered with the spinach/onion/mushroom/flour/oregano/salt/lemon juice/garlic powder/Parmesan cheese paste, and rolled up.

I made the pork tenderloin, squash and pie for a Christmas dinner. The pork was AMAZING. I was all worried about making a meat dish, since meat can end up too dry or just plain bland. Well, I found this wonderful recipe on epicurious.com.

Basically you buy three pounds-worth of pork tenderloin (typically two tenderloins), trim the exterior fat, and then prepare a breadcrumb mixture. Then, you roll the pork in egg followed by the breadcrumb mixture, brown the outside of the pork in a pan for five minutes, and bake the pork until it reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit (for me this took about 55 minutes, but I had 3.4 pounds of pork).

The breadcrumb mixture contains crumbs from fresh French bread (I used a blender to make the crumbs), fresh chopped parsley, fresh chopped rosemary, and crumbled bay leaves. Deliciousness! The meat was so tender and tasty.

And the baked butternut squash (from cooks.com) just melted in our mouths (and kind of tasted like candy…in a good way). I chopped up the squash into little squares and covered it with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Then I baked it for about an hour (15 more minutes than the recipe recommends).

The strawberry blueberry pie was sort of my own creation. I based it largely upon this allrecipes.com three berry pie recipe. Because I didn’t have raspberries I added one cup more strawberries and one cup more blueberries. That worked out fabulously. The recipe was sooooo easy. Obviously the blueberries didn’t need to be chopped, and the strawberries only needed to be halved. I mixed them up with some sugar and cornstarch and voila!, the filling was made. I didn’t bother making my own crust so that part was super-easy as well (though I’d love to find a good pie crust recipe one of these days).

I baked the pie for about an hour (with foil over the crust for the first half), and the thing was done.

Yeah for yuppie nachos!

November 28, 2010

Christopher's in Cambridge's Porter Square sells "yuppie nachos."

I tried Christopher’s “yuppie nachos” the other night (read about my love for Christopher’s in this blog post). In addition to tortilla chips, here’s what they include:

  • melted cheddar, jack and goat cheese
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • guacamole

How’s that for a fantabulous combination? It tasted just as good as it sounds. For my main course, to make up for the somewhat unhealthy appetizer, I had a Christopher’s salad (just $3.95!). It includes:

  • seasonal greens
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • sliced red onion
  • Kalamata olives

It came with some sort of Dijon mustard dressing that was quite tasty. I was really happy to have ordered this salad because a) it was delicious and b) it wasn’t jumbo-sized like most salads I’m accustomed to getting at restaurants.

Delicious roasted garlic potatoes

November 28, 2010
delicious-garlicky-potatoes

My leftover potatoes

I made delicious roasted garlic potatoes the other night. Here’s my recipe:

1. Wash and peel five potatoes.

2. Cut the potatoes into wedges.

3. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for six minutes, then drain.

4. Mix the potatoes with some chopped garlic (I used four cloves worth), oil (half a cup), salt (one tablespoon) and pepper (one teaspoon). Make sure the potatoes are coated with the other ingredients.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

6. Divide the potatoes into two baking dishes.

7. Roast the potatoes for 35 minutes.

8. Sprinkle two tablespoons of parsley and two teaspoons of thyme on the potatoes . Turn the potatoes to coat them with the spices.

9. Roast the potatoes 20 minutes longer.

They will be golden brown and oh so tender (not to mention infused with garlic, and who doesn’t love garlic?!?).

Some of what I consumed during my recent trip to Montreal

August 24, 2010

A chocolate banana crepe:

A salade nicoise (from the Nice region of France, with tuna, anchovies, ripe tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and more):

A homemade “flamm” (kind of like a flat bread pizza) with onions, bacon (“lardons” specifically), mushrooms and grated Gruyere (Swiss) cheese:

A pint of amber beer brewed by Les 3 Brasseurs:

This isn’t me, but I’ll post it anyway! My boyfriend with his Croque Monsieur (hot ham and Swiss cheese sandwich with Bechamel sauce) and French fries:

And with his liter of “brown” beer (also brewed by Les 3 Brasseurs):

We went out for one fancy meal during our trip (unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of our food). The restaurant was Le Grand Balcon (The Large Balcony) on Rue St. Denis (in the Latin Quarter). It’s a fairly new French-inspired establishment with an outdoor balcony (which we got a great spot on!).

Boyfriend on the balcony

I was happy to see they have a dinner “formule,” or in other words a sort of package deal for dinner. You pay twenty-something (Canadian) dollars for an appetizer, main dish, dessert and coffee (without the formule it would cost so much more!). Your choices are somewhat limited if you go with the formule, but the price is certainly right.

I ordered a goat cheese, apple and honey sort of pastry (came with some greens) for an appetizer, and he got the pistou soup (includes vegetables and mashed-up garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil).

For our main courses I got lamb marinated with ginger, curcuma (similar to tumeric my research indicates), and herbes de Provence (contains savory, fennel, basil and thyme flowers). He got Guinea fowl (first time) with prosciutto ham and mushroom cream. Both dishes came with seasonal veggies (I believe zucchini, carrots and green beans), and he also got some sort of potato.

The dishes were AMAZING. The meat was so tender. My boyfriend said his Guinea fowl tasted somewhere in between chicken and duck (not as dry as chicken, not as greasy as duck). He said he still prefers chicken, though acknowledged the meat was perfectly cooked.

For dessert we both got chocolate cake with creme anglaise (English creme) and caramel, and tall espressos. Very good!

Oh yeah, and with dinner we had a bottle of some French blush wine that was OK. The service at the restaurant was also OK– our French speaking-only waiter was very very nice, but it took a long time for our dishes to come out. Also, there were several spiders making webs near me on the balcony, which wasn’t too pleasant.

We had an amusing experience while at the restaurant. An American woman at the other end of the balcony had her purse stolen during the course of the meal. She was freaking out, of course, saying the purse contained $100, a digital camera, a cell phone, a GPS, etc.

I was trying to help her communicate with her credit card company in French over the waiter’s cell phone when the police arrived (one of the restaurant employees had called the police about the incident). They had just found the purse a few blocks away on the ground! And someone had gotten a picture of the lady who took it. She was on the loose, but most of the American woman’s belongings were still there. The thief had only taken the $100.

It was pretty crazy watching this scene take place. It made me hold onto my purse extra tight for the remainder of our trip.