Happy Autumn Friday!I know I've been spending a lot of time on my Malaysia and Singapore! series. It's hard to condense, partly because there's just so much stuff to share. Crazy to think that I'm only about ⅓ of the way through all the posts that I plan on publishing from that series. (!)In order not to alienate my readers who aren't that interested in Malaysia and Singapore (or who just would like to see some Boston stuff), I've decided to start adding some Boston-focused posts here and there, starting with this post which summarizes what I've been up to in the past few weeks. If you want to follow my day-to-day activities more "realtime", you can always follow my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus account. I update pretty frequently.Additionally, we celebrated Bryan's birthday a couple weeks ago with a crazy weekend full of trying a bunch of new restaurants (as well as some old favorites). I'll begin interspersing posts from this new mini-series, which I'll call Bryan's Birthday Weekend Extravaganza, where I'll highlight some of the awesome meals we tried that weekend.I'll give you a sneak peek of that series in this post. 🙂
1. A New England cookbook from one of our own chefs!
Congrats to Jeremy Sewall, chef-owner of the ever-popular Island Creek Oyster Bar, Lineage, and Row 34, who just launched his first cookbook, The New England Kitchen, in collaboration with Erin Byers Murray.Bryan and I had the honor of attending their launch event at Island Creek Oyster Bar a few weeks ago. We enjoyed delicious passed hors d'oeuvres as well as endless shucked Island Creek oysters (they were fantastic!). I purchased a book and got autographs from both authors (as well as a photo!). I'm excited to try out some of the recipes and will report back once I do.
Deep fried Island Creek Oysters from the launch event
2. Newly Revamped Savenor's
Savenor's in Cambridge closed for renovations for about a month in August. We had no idea what they were going to do. The newly revamped space is beautiful and definitely puts their meats front and center. It feels more like a butcher shop than a gourmet market now, with a long meat counter as the centerpiece of the whole store.We were thrilled with the really interesting offerings - everything from Japanese Wagyu beef (at a pretty penny!) to dry-aged grass-fed prime beef. We're definitely looking forward to stopping by and trying some on the grill.3. It's Fall! What I've Been Cooking in the Kitchen
Oven roasted carrots
It's autumn! That means my CSA from Siena Farms has been delivering a lot more root vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (hello broccoli and kale!). I've been making tons of kale chips (all different kinds), as well as butternut squash soup (like this recipe but without the maple), which tastes phenomenal with a bit of Jonah crab and Serrano peppers sprinkled on top.
Another favorite is oven roasted carrots, which are seriously addictive and taste quite different from raw carrots. They almost remind me of sweet potato fries, which is why I titled my post on how to make them "Carrot Fries."
I took the plunge and finally tried making my own Bo Ssam from David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. Yes, it took 8 hours, but the overall result was delicious. I easily served it to 25+ people (along with many other dishes), and everyone loved it.
4. Bryan's Birthday Weekend Extravaganza Sneak Peek!
This year Bryan's birthday fell on a Monday, so he decided to take that day off from work, essentially creating a three-day weekend. Originally we had considered a driving trip of Vermont (to taste beers and cheese!) or a quick eating trip to New York City. However, after realizing how much time we'd spent in transit for the short weekend, we decided to stay in Boston and explore our own backyard.
For lunch on Saturday, we tried out Shabu & Mein, a new restaurant in Kendall Square by the same group that owns Fuji at Kendall and numerous other restaurants in and around Quincy. We were extremely impressed with the ramen, which had a nice tonkotsu broth and chewy, properly cooked al dente noodles. They also had Kobe beef shabu, which was delicious (though a bit pricey).
The ramen's probably the best I've had in Cambridge, and definitely one of the top ones in Boston at the moment. I'm looking forward to going back and then writing up a proper post!
Bryan enjoying Pig's Head for Two at the ringside seats at Craigie on Main
Bryan had always wanted to try the Pig's Head for Two at Craigie on Main. We found an available reservation late on Saturday night, so we took it.
Yes, it's a bit weird and definitely not for the faint of heart, but I can attest that it's really, really good. The skin is beautifully crispy, the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, and the flavors are spot on. It's definitely not something you would eat everyday, but it's worth trying at least once.
On Sunday evening, we had a lovely dinner at the ever-so-cozy Mamma Maria, an old North End favorite. Bryan enjoyed his favorite (the osso bucco), and we tried a variety of pasta dishes (all excellent). Our server and friend Jason was so generous as to give us four desserts to try, complete with candles for Bryan and our friend Peter (whose birthday is just one week earlier).
On Bryan's actual birthday, he decided he wanted to "try all these places I can never get into . . ." - in other words, places that don't take reservations and usually have crazy lines.
On Monday morning at 11:15am, we "got in line" at Neptune Oyster (we were basically the second and third people in line). We waited 15 minutes and immediately got seated.
The food is still as fantastic as I remembered it the first time I visited. I still love the Johnny Cakes (pictured above), and we finally got to try the hot buttered lobster roll.
For dinner, we stopped by Toro at around 5:15pm (can you see our strategy?) and waited at the bar for about 15 minutes before getting seated immediately. We ordered a ton of tapas plus paella. Everything was really good, and I plan on writing up a proper post for that meal.
It was a great birthday weekend, and I'm glad we stayed in Boston to better explore the city.
Happy belated birthday to Bryan, and with this, we kick off a new mini-series! Of course, the Malaysia and Singapore series will continue going along on its merry way.
Disclaimer: there are some links to Amazon within this post. If you click on it and purchase something, I get a tiny commission as an Amazon affiliate. Additionally, I also received my Siena Farms CSA at a discount. I did not pay to attend the launch cookbook event at Island Creek Oyster Bar, although I did pay for my own book.
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