Restaurant Review- Tiger Mama!

I’m so excited to share my experience at the newly opened restaurant Tiger Mama  in the Fenway area! Located at 1363 Boylston Street and a short walk from the Fenway T stop on the green line (D), this restaurant opened the second week of December 2015. Eater, Boston Globe, Zagat and Boston Magazine are among a few of the press that reported their anticipated opening! I feel quite lucky that I was able to watch this restaurant tick only days after their doors opened!

Tiffani Faison and her wife, Kelly Walsh imagined the concept for Tiger Mama through their travels in Southeast Asia. Their food isn’t strictly traditional to region but rather inspired by many memorable dishes and flavors. Tiffani opened Sweet Cheeks Q a few years previous and also competed on Top Chef- just a few drops in the bucket to prove her credibility!

My friend from college, Frank, is a true foodie so I love going out to dinner to try new restaurants and dishes with him! He used to work with two front of house managers at Tiger Mama, Dana and Heather, and wanted to visit! As soon as we arrived, the vibe was very cool, laid back and authentic. Eagerly greeted at the door by the hostess and a blinged out elephant, we were seated in the center of action allowing us a view of  either end of the restaurant.

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Super unique in design, there is an array of seating arrangements available for small or large parties. The menu is similar- full of small plates and larger portions meant to share. There are also two bars at either end of the restaurant. They  feature two different drink menus and are served across the restaurant. One of the bars even features a tiki drink menu!

At the rear of the restaurant lays an open kitchen with a chef’s table available for reservation. The decor fully matches the menu as funky and fresh- live palm trees, a living plant wall, and a cool neon sign reading, “TALK DON’T, COOK RICE”.

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Pleasantly greeted by our waiter, Patrick, we dove into the menu eagerly discussing what we wanted to try. Despite only being open two weeks, Patrick had many suggestions for both the drink and food menu and could recommend things based on our individual palettes. You could tell he was very passionate about the industry and was especially excited about the work happening at Tiger Mama.

Let’s get to the good stuff- the food.

As we were deciding what the order, the kitchen sent us the Lobster Fresh Rolls: charred lobster, bright veggies and spicy silky peanut sauce.

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This was the perfect introductory course to the rest of our meal. These lobster rolls were super fresh, crunch, sweet and the heat from the peanut sauce warmed the palette for an overall nice balance. YUM. I could probably eat a hundred of these and never get sick of it!

Crispy Garlic Prawns “LOS”: garlicky shrimp, crackly shells, brown butter

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This was INCREDIBLE. The shrimp were so delicious and the shells weren’t characteristically greasy like fried foods. The shrimp sat on top of charred and salted cabbage and scallions. The crunch to soft ratio of this dish was spot on!

Chili Spiced Short Rib Crudo: rich chili seared short rib, herb “salad”, black vinaigrette, charred leeks.

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Not my favorite dish but only for the fact that I’m really sensitive to spicy components. While the dish was very spicy, the short rib was tender and mellow and acted a great dish to share!

Lamb Roli: brickfields spiced and braised lamb, crispy roti, holy basil raita, mint cilantro jam

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Frank ordered this dish and was ooh-ing and ahh-ing as he ate it! It’s presentation was simple and could also act as a dish to share.

Pig Ricebacon, braised frilled pork, issan sausage, pork sung

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Despite how full I was, the rice was SO delicious. It was meaty and salty without being overpowering. The rice was perfectly cooked and supported many different textures.

Lastly, for dessert we ordered the Milk Toast! A piece of brioche soaked in coconut milk or an anglaise and then seared on a flat top. Simple, pure and delicious.

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Frank and I also ordered two rounds  of drinks throughout the meal! My first drink was fruity and girly with a twist of tang while Frank ordered a drink that focused more on the spirit.  The second drink we ordered was delivered with crushed ice in a large golden pineapple- equally delicious! And to top off the night, Chef Tiffani Faison made her rounds in the dining room connecting with guests!

Overall, I had an incredible dining experience at Tiger Mama! Everything from service, to seating and decor and especially the food, was outstanding. You could definitely sense the passion from the workers in both their service style and food. This is a restaurant you won’t want to miss! I can only imagine their success for the future and cannot wait to make my return trip soon.

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Thank you Tiger Mama! Kudos on a job well done!

Thanks for reading Food for Thought Thursday and don’t forget to check back on Tuesday for another look into my post grad life!

 

 

 

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Treats and Snoozin’

I really do love brunch. It might be my favorite meal of the day. I think I’m the female version of Ron Swanson when it comes to breakfast. Gimme all the eggs, toast. bacon, sausage, cereal, pastries, grits, biscuits, fruit, etc etc etc you name it. GET. IN. MY. BELLY.

I don’t get to brunch very often, since I typically work on the days where brunch is conventionally served, but that doesn’t really stop me from seeking out some of the best brunch places near me. If you’re on the outskirts of Boston, get ready for my compiled list of best brunch places I’ve found (or am dying to try)!

Newton:

The Village Cafe–  We live fairly close to this cafe and it’s one of our favorite spots to hit up! It’s paaaacked with locals on Sundays but everything is homemade and cheap! You can get the “Village Special” or the “Hungry Man” which gets you a selection of a little of everything- my favorite!

Brighton:

Cafe NationThis place has a really cool and low-key vibe. It’s a great place to just sit and get some work done with a coffee and breakfast sandwich! It’s immediately off of the 57 bus line with plenty of shops around it for people watching!

Dash CafeI’d recommend this place if you wake up late enough to want a sandwich instead of more breakfast-y type foods. They have a killer lox bagel with cream cheese, lox, bean sprouts and more which more than fills you up!

Moogy’sThis was the first place my roommate and I went to when we moved into our apartment. The food is super cheap and the place is pretty informal where you have to sit yourself and order your food at a window. There are plenty of creative brunch options to choose from!

FuelI just discovered this place today! It is right next to Moogy’s very close to Brighton Center. They have tons of tables and different seating arrangements for casual dining, catching up with friends or even tables to get work done! Their wifi is free and easy to connect to so it made a really great place to work and write a blog post! They had some really excellent homemade pastries: muffins, scones, cookies, etc as well as a fun menu for different drinks and sandwiches. I tried the Hazelnut Nutella muffin- yum!

609Allston:

The Breakfast Club: I haven’t been here yet, although I see a long line wrapped around the store every weekend on my drive to/from work! It’s right near the end of Harvard stadium and seems to be a Harvard favorite! Can’t wait to give it a go!

Bruegger’s Bagels: yes yes, I know this is a chain. But I really enjoyed a salt bagel from this location and will definitely be stopping back here to buy half a dozen to freeze for the future!

Fenway:

Eastern Standard: I haven’t technically been here for brunch yet, but I was there for drinks and appetizers. This place is really classy and right next to Fenway so it’s always packed, day or night. This seems like an excellent place for a girls fancy dress-up brunch or a place to bring parents/in-laws!

Coolidge Corner area:

RibelleI wrote a review on brunch at Ribelle that you can check out by clicking here! I can’t wait to go back for brunch another day- SO delicious.

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Cambridge:

The Friendly Toast: Vegan/allergy friendly brunch place that is FULL of character. It has some very interesting menu choices and combinations but the decor almost gives you even more to talk about! In the summer, they also have a small area of outdoor seating!

607Flour Bakery + Cafe: Maybe I’m biased because I worked here for over a year making all of the pastries and bread, but Flour is hands-down one of the best brunch/lunch places I’ve ever been to. Everything is made in-house, fresh daily by people who are passionate and hardworking. Recommendations include: the french toast, an egg bacon sandwich, sticky buns, banana bread, breakfast pizzas, cinnamon creams, blueberry muffins and butter bretons. CALORIES DON’T COUNT IF YOU WISH HARD ENOUGH!

Downtown:

The Taj Hotel: Also perhaps another biased opinion since I work there currently, but Sunday brunch is well thought out and executed. All of the pastries are changed from week to week by the discretion of the pastry team but there’s also a hot line, a raw bar and other little samplings. Brunch is held on top of the 16th floor overlooking some of the most breath-taking views of the city. This is a perfect place to celebrate something: an engagement, graduation, baby announcement, etc. However, it does come at a price ($80 a person, eek)! Reservations need to be made in advance but it’s well worth it for a big life event.

470The Thinking Cup: I haven’t been here yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things! I can’t wait to spend a rainy morning before work here!

Any other suggestions out there?? I’m on a never-ending journey to find the best brunch in the city! Let me know what you think; I want to hear from you! Check back on Tuesday where I show you how I made a DIY succulent wall!! Eeeeeep who doesn’t like little baby succulents!? Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Boston Bar Scene

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this post right now given that I’m extraordinarily hungover. Yep, I threw up twice last night. UuuUuUUuUuuuUUuugggggghHHHhhh. I’m surviving though; champing my way through this hangover! It’s not even my fault; I met this group of people at the bar and they just kept buying shots of all these different types of things and who am I to say no? Right? *Crying deep inside for all the bad decisions I made last night*

But I’ve lived in Boston for almost a year now and I’ve frequented a myriad of bars that are definitely cool places to check out. And of course, my list of places I want to try is always growing but I figured I’d share what I know based on area!

Brighton/Allston:

Lulu’s– awesome place for apps and a drink! Get the pretzel bites with cheese cause DAYUUM. They have a pretty decent selection of craft beers too if you’re into that!

Sunset Cantina– Biggest beer selection I’ve ever seen. I was so overwhelmed by the menu and the options but it’s got a pretty cool vibe! You can grab a table or sit at the bar to drink in a pretty casual atmosphere.

White Horse– This is the place that made me a complete wasteoid. They have some billards and pinball games and then a section of the bar turns dance-y later in the night!

Common Ground– I haven’t been here yet, but my roommates always talk about how fun it is! They host Millenial nights and 90’s throwback nights so the music selection is pretty clutch! I need to go sometime soon!

Tavern in the Square (TITS)– TITS is a chain bar in Boston and can be found in a couple different areas. This one in Allston is pretty huge but you get a cool mix of college kids and young post-grads who wish they were still in college (ME) who just wanna drink and dance. It’s pretty casual living in Boston now to hear someone say, “Hey, lets go to TITS. I really can’t wait to dance at TITS”. Maybe it’s just an excuse to say TITS. Heyoooo.

Deep Ellum– Are you a hipster? Do you like craft cocktails and beers? Are you a huge fan of cheese and charcuterie plates? This place is for you. When it’s nice, there a TEENY TINY area in the back to sit on their porch. Also, get the truffle fries. You won’t regret it.

Lonestar Taco Bar– The people who own Deep Ellum (right next door) also own the taco bar. You can get tacos for 3 bucks a pop and try a whole bunch of different funky tacos. You gotta get the charred corn on the cob here too! The bar is mostly focused on tequila based drinks but if you want anything else, they can grab it from the bar next door!

Devlins– This is one of my favorite casual patio bars for the summer time. They have a huge back patio for outside drinking/nomming including a portable bar in the back. It’s a great place to go on a date! (True life, my roommate and I went on a double date there with these guys we met in the park once!)

Cityside– Second favorite patio bar! Apparently this place gets pretty crazy at night as it’s not too far from Boston College, but the roof deck is pretty sweet!

Green Briar– Classic Irish pub. Pretty good clam chowder and onion rings! But cheap drinks and sometimes they host trivia nights or have a DJ play some music at night! Overall, pretty laid back!

Cambridge (Central Square):

People’s Republik– Very communist Russia feel at this bar! They have darts and some pretty cool memorabilia to look at but overall it’s a pretty laid-back, hipster bar.

Other places I want to go are: Miracle of Science, Middle East and MiddleSex.

Rosebud Cafe-This is actually in Davis Square right near Posto! Their service is pretty great; everyone is super friendly! In the mid-price range for drinks although they’re quality cocktails but the menu is pretty good too! The brussel sprouts were amazing! Their dessert menu is all pies too so go in with an appetite! I’d recommend the turtle pie a la mode!

**Sidenote: I work in Cambridge and don’t go back there too often to go out at night but I’ve heard that there are also great places in Harvard Square,Porter Square and Davis Square as well!

Fenway:

Cask N Flagon: This is where I had my Quincenera! It’s definitely a bar/nightclub at night so bring your dancing shoes! Drinks can be on the more expensive side too but it was super fun!

Bleacher Bar: This place was awesome. I went here before a Red Sox game once to grab a pre-game drink and they have windows that look right onto the field. If you get there early enough, you might be able to snag a spot to watch the game for free!

Downtown:

Julep: Drinks here were SO expensive. And there was a cover to get in. But it had two floors with a different music selection on each level which was kinda cool. But it’s in the more expensive part of the city so be prepared to shell out. Definitely more of a nightclub than a bar.

Howl at the Moon: Boston’s piano bar! I tried to go here once but the line was WAY too long to wait in. But I eventually do want to get there to check out the live music and sing the crap out of some throwback songs!

Hopefully these suggestions could come in handy to anyone visiting Boston! Maybe I’ll even run into one of you one night! Food for Thought Thursday post coming up in a couple days! I’m going to go crawl back into my bed and nurse on some water now… Until next time!

L8tr sk8trs!