Thursday, May 31, 2012

National Burger Month, Boston edition

Hey, did everyone know that May is National Burger Month? So, of course, here are a list of burgers to get in the Boston area, just in time for the last day of the month! 

I'm going to start with 5 Napkin Burger, which originated in New York. It's located in the Prudential Center and offers quite a filling burger. The first time I went, I had the original, which is a hefty 10 oz. beef patty with gruyere, caramelized onions, and rosemary aioli and a side of Tuscan fries. It wasn't bad, but I would much rather recommend to you their happy hour $2 sliders and 50 cent wings. Also, their milk lager and tater tots are definite treats. I'm still kind of weary of the sushi selection on their menu, though...

5 Napkin Burger

105 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA

So everyone knows about the ever so controversial Restaurant Week, right? But even though consumers get a chance to get a meal at a restaurant where they usually wouldn't want to splurge at, restaurants should still serve at their best to maintain their reputations, true? So what I don't understand is when I dined at Capital Grille, why my mixed green appetizer salad was more meager than what I get on an airplane. I then had their cheeseburger option and truffle fries. The burger was fine. Not the juiciest nor the most succulent. The fries were truffleless. I knew I shouldn't have chosen Capital Grille, and now I know I won't go back for a regular dinner. No one bring me there, please, unless it's a wedding reception, because the decor is REALLY bougie. 

Capital Grille
250 Boylston Street
Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston Burger Co. in Davis is always a fun place to grab a burger. Their burger combinations are always creative and delicious! I've had many, including the Artery Clogger, the Kitchen Sink, the Killer Bee, the Hot Mess, and the Bahama Mama (yeah, that's quite an embarrassingly extensive list). Most recently, I had the Mac Attack, which is a beef patty topped with their four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon. Good stuff. I also really enjoy their lemon poppy fries, and their pizza fries are fun as well. If you're in Davis Square and you're not going to Dave's for a sandwich or Anna's for a quesadilla, definitely stop by Boston Burger Co for a bite.

Boston Burger Co
37 Davis Square
Somerville, MA

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tong dak: Korean fried chicken

I think.. emphasis on think, that tong dak is a Korean fried chicken, smothered in a sweet and spicy hot pepper-based sauce. I tried making it twice, both times setting my smoke alarm off, and though I have yet to perfect my frying skills, I want to say the general flavors are there. Not sure how perfect the recipe is, but try it out and let me know! 

Tong dak
Chicken and marinade ingredients:
2lb chicken thigh, sliced into ~2inch pieces
3tbsp milk
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp baking soda
fresh ginger slices or 1/4 tsp ginger powder

Batter ingredients:
1/4 cup corstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg

For frying:
~1.5 cups canola oil

1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons gochu jang
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds

1. First, prepare the chicken in the marinade. Let it sit for at least fifteen minutes (I left mine in the fridge overnight).
2. In the meanwhile, heat the canola oil on medium-high for frying. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. And finally, in a baking dish, mix the cornstarch and flour.
3. Dip each individual piece of chicken in the egg, and coat it in the flour mixture. Then, carefully place it in the oil. Fry until it looks like a crispy golden brown. Do this for all the chicken pieces. I like placing them on paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
4. While frying, heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onions. Once browned, add the soy sauce, gochu jang and ketchup.
5. Once bubbling, turn off the heat and add the sesame oil and sesame seeds.
6. Finally, mix in the fried chicken thoroughly with the sauce.

...I really want to be the best Korean mom. Enjoy and let me know if you have any pointers for frying... or making Korean food in general!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gracie's, Providence

En route back to New York City earlier this week, I visited my cousin James in the quaint city of Providence, where he is attending the not so humble Brown University. He brought me and my mother to his favorite restaurant, Gracie's, a farm to table experience, providing American inspired cuisine influenced by seasonal local availability. 

We all decided to try the 5-course chef tasting menu. I wish I took notes because each description of the courses were an elaborate tale of a dozen ingredients and flavors. But, take my word for it, the delicately sized portions were a symphony of colors, textures, and tastes, and if I were to return to Providence, I would not hesitate to dine at Gracie's again. 
1. The bread basket. There was unlimited offerings of a raisin walnut bread, a classic baguette, an onion rosamary foccacia, and my personal favorite, the honey beer. The honey beer was so soft and fluffy, and so carefully glazed with sweet honey. I had approximately five slices of bread before the second course arrived. No big deal. 
2. With the lamb course, came a few balls of falafel. This was arguably the best falafel I have ever had in my life. It was crispy on the outside, nicely mashed and textured on the inside, and overall thoroughly spiced to perfection. Amazeballs. 
3. I'm totally over macarons, but these macarons were great because they weren't so sweet that it stung my throat. And even better? They were a complimentary post-dessert treat. Quelle magnifique!

1. lobster salad with squid ink aioli

2. rabbit ragout potato gnocchi

3. seared scallops with over pea stew and ham emulsion

3.5. raspberry lemon sorbet

4. lamb duo: sausage and belly
5. apple bread over honey vanilla panna cotta with rosemary salted caramel

5.5. complimentary macarons.. the best way to end a meal 
194 Washington Street  
Providence, RI 02903

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dinner party, Winter Bash: Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette

This sausage and broccoli rabe orecchiette is my new favorite recipe to use for dinner parties... not that I really had one before. I first successfully made it for my Chi Omega family pre- Winter Bash dinner, meaning I needed to feed a few hungry girls in tastefully tight dresses before they embarked on a night of drinking and general debauchery. This is not an easy task, for you want to provide a meal that is starchy enough to help you hold your liquor, yet you cannot choose foods that will be too heavy so that you feel bloated in a dress or walking in heels. Yeah, lots of math to do. So, I settled for this pasta. Flavorful, light, and simple. 

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette
1 pack Italian sausage, uncased and cut into half inch pieces(I like to go for spicy)
8-10oz orecchiette
1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut off the stems
5 shallots, diced
5 cloves of garlic, diced
6 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the orecchiette, remember to salt the water. Once it is cooked, drain it and toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. In a pan heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic and shallots.
3. Once browned, add the cut sausage. When the sausage is about half cooked, insert the broccoli rabe. Sautee until cooked.
4. Add the pasta to the sausage and broccoli rabe and toss until thoroughly mixed.
5. Add fresh black pepper to taste.

SO simple, so good. Try it!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Xinh Xinh, Boston

I must say that out of all the Vietnamese restaurants I have eaten at in Boston, Xinh Xinh is my favorite. Le's and Pho Pasteur are solid, but this hole in the wall that I have walked passed countless times offers quality Viet food without the hype or the wait, though I noticed that it is not a purely Vietnamese restaurant because they also offer a lot of Chiu Chow choices (making it even better!). Despite the fact that I severely burned my tongue the first time I was there, it was so worth it that I had to go back.

Bun bo hue

I burned my tongue on an unassuming bowl of bun bo hue, beef and pig trotter in a spicy noodle soup. There is a nice layer of hot (temperature and flavor) oil that came with the soup that can only explained in one of two ways: 1. the chef was too lazy to remove the excess fat and oil from his soup base 2. it was meant to preserve the temperature of the soup and the noodles as you ate it. Either way, I burned the hell out of my tongue and it was the most delicious noodle soup I have ever had in a Vietnamese restaurant. However, it only came with one piece of pig trotter. Unfortunate.

Not only is the food completely satisfying, but their music choice is superb. The first time I went there, I enjoyed my noodles listening to some Daft Punk. This time around, I spent my lunch jamming to Savage Garden, O*Town, and other feel good singalong tunes of the late 90's to early 2000's. If you don't go there for the noodles, go there for the DJ.

Perfect for: pre-theater meals, cold nights, and rainy afternoons. So if you're looking for a great Vietnamese meal and a mind blowing musical trip, head to Xinh Xinh.

Xinh Xinh
7 Beach Street
Boston, MA 02111