Restaurant Review: Sarma

To round out my sister weekend, I wanted to cross another restaurant off the bucket list! We chose to go to Sarma located in Somerville at 249 Pearl Street! We chose to drive as the restaurant is in a semi-secluded location. There’s plenty of street parking available but for real, this restaurant is worth the extra effort!

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Sarma is affiliated with the restaurants Oleana, Sofra and the vendor Sienna Farms. I’ve been to Sofra before and am a biiiiig fan. Check out my review by clicking here! And I’ve also visited the Sienna Farms storefront and am impressed with their product quality and knowledge. Sarma was not a disappointment in any way shape or form!

Sarma had such a cool vibe. Very laid back and hipster with their tastefully worn down furniture, urban hanging light fixtures and textured plates lining the walls. There was a bar and high tops as well as the regular tabled seating to choose from. We made reservations a few days in advance and unless I wanted to chance a seat at the bar, I would call in advance again.

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We had a great waiter who explained their menu- there’s a bunch of categories ranging in snacks, to share plates to “entrees”. He told us that based on their size, 2 people could be very happy sharing 4 to 6 plates. And of course being the gluttons we are, we ordered 6 plates, one from each category.

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The menu was super helpful and provide a glossary on the side in case you weren’t familiar with a lot of middle eastern cooking terms (which of course, I wasn’t). We got this awesome flatbread with spices and olive oil for dipping to start. Our first official course was from the meyhane snack category:

Parsnip Fritters- cilantro, walnut, sesame, pepitas

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This dish was so beautiful, that I instagrammed it (no filter!) the second it came out! While beautifully presented, I thought this dish could’ve been a little more flavorful. I was a big fan of all the crunchy bits that opposed the soft parsnip on the inside of the fritter though!

Meze: Almond Fried Cheese- ratatouille, arugala pesto, dates

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I NEED this dish in my life every. single. day. I wish I didn’t have to  share with my sister. Anything that is fried and has cheese has my name written all over it. The ratatouille was super flavorful as well and perfectly paired with all of the dishes components!

Vegetables: Asparagus- avgolemono, egg katayif, black truffles, dill

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I’ve become a big fan of asparagus lately as well as yolky eggs. I loved the texture contrast between the phyllo dough and garlic butter sauce that the asparagus laid in. So delicious!

[avgolemono= egg and lemon, katayif= shredded phyllo]

Pancakes, Pie and Pide: Nettle Spanakopita- cucumbler sorel tzatziki, za’atar, walnuts

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Nothing is more classic than spanakopita! We were getting super full at this point..

Sarma: Pomegranate Glazed Lamb- green wheat, swiss chard, parsnip

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I was a big fan of the parsnip puree but the texture of the lamb was throwing me off a bit. Great flavor though and an awesome share dish!

Shish: marrow bean plaki, whipped feta butter, pita crumb

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This last dish was so tender and amazing! I love love loved the pita chip crunch and really savored the meats flavor.

Overall, we left super stuffed and happy! I felt like this food was very genuine and made with love. Sarma proved to be an awesome place to explore a new cuisine all the while making it accessible and affordable to the audience. This place is definitely high on my recommendation sheet!

Next Food for Thought Thursday, I’ll be sharing some of my work from the Taj Hotel from the last couple months! Thanks for reading and have an excellent weekend! I plan on celebrating with my friends this Friday for my Birthday de Mayo! Party complete with pinatas and fake mustaches! Bon weekend!

 

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Restaurant Review: Bistro Du Midi

This restaurant was listed on my Bucket List post from a couple weeks ago! One of my friends from college, Devon, is an assistant pastry chef at Bistro Du Midi and received an awesome employee of the month gift card in recognition of her hard work! She decided to share the gift card with me so we could eat our hearts out!

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Bistro Du Midi is located at 272 Boylston Street, Boston MA. It’s a 2 minute walk from the Arlington T stop on the green line so it’s very easy to find. The restaurant is two floors with the kitchen being on the second floor. The view from the second floor overlooks the Boston Public Gardens! This place is definitely full of class, so dress up! The food and drinks were amazing too so let’s not dilly dally anymore:

Devon and I each ordered a crudite, entree, two sides to share a la carte and one dessert. But since she works there, we ended up getting…

Amuse Bouche: Smoked White Asparagus Soup with Escargot Beignet

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Fluke Crudite with Fried Squid Ink and Bottarga Consomme

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Faroe Island Salmon Crudite with Parmesan Crisps and salmon roe

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Pate Plate with Crispy Pork Belly Pate

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Duck Breast with Sweet Potato, Artichoke, Almonds and Duck Jus

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Thyme Garganelli Pasta, Lamb neck, Morels, Spring peas, Manchego

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Spring peas, favas, crispy pork belly

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Mushrooms, trumpet royale, hen of the woods

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Earl Grey and Elderflower Souffle

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Ice Cream Flight with Black Sesame , Caramel and Ganache, Marshmallow and Red Velvet Ice Cream

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Wild blueberry cheesecake, hazelnut cremeux, lavender sponge cake

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Mascarpone beignet, citrus sugar, pear cardamom butter

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Everything was so yummy! My personal favorites were the Smoked Asparagus Soup, Salmon Crudite, Duck Breast and the Ice Cream Flight! Such a great experience and service was impeccable. We each got awesome drinks that were well balanced and tasty. I definitely recommend this place for a splurge night out! Devon’s gift card was for $150 so after that, her employee discount and the free plates that were sent to us, the bill was ONLY 12 DOLLARS! I literally couldn’t have asked for a better deal or experience!

I have a couple more posts planned coming up but I’ve been busy at work working 6 day weeks consistently so my time is tight! Stay tuned for more things to come!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

 

 

Restaurant Review: Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Boston has WAY too many restaurants. I feel like no matter how many places I try, my list doesn’t get any shorter. Perhaps this is because I keep adding new places to my list… ugh my poor wallet! This place was a particular brunch treat because I was able to share it with my boyfriend Nick and eat some  pretty fantastic food.

Kirkland Tap & Trotter is located on 425 Washington Street in Somerville, Massachusetts. It’s a 15 minute walk from the Harvard T stop on the Red Line. Tony Maws is the chef and entrepreneur of Kirkland along with another acclaimed restaurant Craigie on Main. Kirkland Tap & Trotter  used to be The Kirkland Cafe under different ownership and really embodied connecting with the community and being the best dive bar around town. Kirkland Tap & Trotter maintains some of that dive bar/neighborhood charm with innovative menu items.

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I won’t lie, but this brunch was on the pricier side but I can promise worth every penny. Nick and I started with their housemade donut with apple cider glaze. Service was very attentive and they were great at upselling their products hence us buying into a “brunch appetizer”. Not that donuts are ever a hard sell for us… Overall, perfectly sweet donut and fluffy. Perfect sharing size pre-brunch entree.

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I ordered the mushroom and reggiano frittata served with a winter vegetable salad and housemade foccacia. Despite being an avid olive hater, the salad and frittata were a great balance for each other. I especially loved the reggiano crusted on top of the frittata! I want more right now just thinking about it!

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Nick ordered the Crispy Fried Bone-In Pork Chop and it was the best decision of his life. It was served with a fried egg, parsnip puree and foccacia bread. I coudn’t not try a bite with Nick proclaiming how amazing it was. The pork chop was so tender and rich and was enhanced by the fried egg. The foccacia would be great to sop up whatever was left on the plate too! Ugh, I’m still dreaming about that bite.

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Kirkland Tap & Trotter is fun for drinks at night as well as they have a fairly creative drink menu. Perfect for casual drinks where you can sit at a table and actually converse with friends. I would definitely recommend KTT to friends!

Thanks for reading and of course, I would always love more restaurant suggestions! Enjoy your weekends!

Restaurant Review: No. 9 Park!

I most recently went to an excellent restaurant in the heart of Boston called No. 9 Park! It’s located at (you guessed it…) 9 Park Street, Boston MA. You can easily take the green or red line to the park street stop and walk only minutes to their entrance. The location is one that can’t be beat- right across from Boston Commons and caddy corner to the new state house.

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As per usual, one of my friends used to work at No. 9 so we were treated to some really excellent service and a couple free appetizers. No. 9 is a restaurant on the pricier side, so the way we tackle these restaurants is to go for ‘zerts, apps and drinks. Perfect for sharing and usually leave feeling satisfied but not stuffed to the brim. And it’s friendly on your wallet as well!
The service was impeccable. It’s a smaller restaurant but the service staff was very attentive and polite as they took my coat upon arrival, walked me to the restroom when asked, refilled water glasses effortlessly and anticipated our needs at every turn. Usually with restaurant reviews, I can go pretty in depth to each dish but sometimes it’s nice to go out to eat to just enjoy the company of others. Enjoy the pictures posted below with as many descriptions as I could find!

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Prime Steak Tartare: sour cream and onion, gaufrette, pickled Cipollini

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Marinated Lamb: Gorgonzola fondue, brioche, mixed greens

802Cranberry Upsidedown Cake: lemon, olive oil, almond

801Apple Beignet: ginger, mulled cider, tuile

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Hazelnut Semi-freddo: caramel, coffee, chocolate

Overall, I had a lot of fun with friends and I loved trying new dishes to share! My top favorite of the night included the Prime Steak Tartare and Apple Beignet. This is the perfect place to go for a special celebration or purely as a culinary adventure. I’m slowly checking things off my Boston bucket list!

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Come back on Tuesday for a quick update about my life outside of the foodservice industry! Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Watch Cowspiracy and save the planet!

My roommate and I stumbled upon this documentary on Netflix called Cowspiracy and since we’re trying to be better humans to the planet, we decided to give this a watch! With a name like Cowspiracy, I assumed it was going to be about animals and it’s relation to vegan/vegetarianism. I am not a vegetarian nor do I ever plan on being one but this documentary is completely the opposite.

It’s insanely interesting from the very beginning and reveals that of all the emissions in the atmosphere, factory farming and byproduct production contributes to 51% of noxious gases released. 51%!! Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions which is more than all vehicular exhaust combined.

In order to produce one hamburger, we use over 600 gallons of water to help feed the cow, grow it’s crops and then factory produce a product. That’s 600 gallons per ONE BURGER. Another part of the issue is that we cannot properly graze and grow cattle ethically and free-range. They need an inordinate amount of space to graze and compared to the amount of consumption seen by consumers in the United States, there isn’t enough land available (meaning completely void of buildings and inhabitants) as we would need about 4 country’s worth of land.

More often than not, forests are torn and burned down to allow grazing space for the cattle. Once the land is stripped, soy bean fields are planted and their crops are used to fatten up the animals. The number of forests are dwindling and we’re just tearing down natural resources to fuel our greed. Not to mention that cattle shouldn’t be eating soy and it affects the quality of meat.

By eating less meat and byproducts, we are discouraging producers and diminishing the amount of greenhouse gases and pollution we’re adding to the atmosphere. The same can be said for fish and sea life. We continually over-fish in the ocean and discard marine life not being used. This is called by-kill. For every one pound of fish caught, 5 pounds of by-kill are being thrown away. We also don’t give fish enough time to repopulate due to the frequency of our over-fishing. It’s possible that we might see fish-less seas by the year 2048. 2048! That’s easily within my lifetime! That fact really freaked me out because its tangible and completely feasible. It was at this point I knew I would do what I could to reduce my footprint on the planet.

We continue to overuse numerous resources every day- water, land, electricity, etc. There’s just so much more we can do to impact the future. So what can you do? Options include your usual suggestions of turning off lights, unplugging electronics and appliances, using less water, recycling as much as possible and reducing the use of paper products. However, there are things we can do to change the food industry little by little without giving up many of our luxuries.

Switch from regular cows milk to alternative milks like soy, almond or cashew. Reduce or eliminate meat from your diet and invest a little extra money into plant based foods. There are a few super cool companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek who are inventing and producing products like mayonnaise, “chicken” strips and “ground beef”. They examine properties of meat and create  a product that is virtually the same. Of course, we can also start eating insects given that they’re an abundant resource full of protein but maybe that’s getting a bit carried away!

All in all, this was an incredibly informative documentary and it has changed my life thus far. I definitely am not an extremist but I believe that a little goes a long way. If each person changed one small habit, we could collectively be saving our environment years and years! Check out the documentary and some of the videos I included below! Be an advocate for our environment and know that each person can make an impact!

 

Are there any other documentaries I should be watching? What type of things do you do to change your impact on the environment?

On Food for Thought Thursday, I’m sharing my not so vegetarian recipe for Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup! Perfect for a snowy winter night! Thanks for reading!

 

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!

 

 

 

Restaurant Review: Naco Taco!

Naco Taco was a food truck in Boston that recently took their success and transformed their ideas into a restaurant. Located on 297 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Naco Taco is easily accessible by T (short walking distance from Central Square or Kendall Square stops) and buses. They opened their doors while I was working at Flour across the street so I couldn’t wait to finally check them out!

647The restaurant sports a large outdoor patio with the actual food truck parked right on the premise. While there was regular table-side service, the servers grabbed some of the food ordered from the windows of the food truck. Our waiter was super nice and attentive and did a great job at trying to up-sell the menu asking if we would want chips and salsa or second rounds of drinks.

646 648Their drink menu featured numerous Mexican beer, beer cocktails and a few wine/sangria options. What I really like about their food menu was that you can literally order as much or as little as you want. The pricing on the menu is based per taco so you can easily predict what you’ll be getting. I ordered an al pastor taco and a side of street corn to share with my friend.

The al pastor taco was made with spit roasted pork and burnt pineapple. It was the perfect size for a light lunch with my side of street corn. I think the taco could’ve been a little more flavorful or feature a sauce to keep it from being too dry. I would give the taco 3 Abby stars.

644The street corn is what got me. I love corn, especially in the summer. And I love nothing more than corn smothered in cotija cheese. Depending on the week, the street corn is prepared in different ways, but ours came with cotija, pine nuts and thin slices of peppers. I can dig it. 5/5 Abby stars.

645My friend also got their chips and salsa which was pretty good! I would definitely recommend this place as a meet up spot for after work drinks and light apps. The patio is awesome for the summer and the inside of the restaurant is pretty large with a cool, relaxed vibe. Definitely a great addition to Central Square!

As always, does anyone have a Boston restaurant recommendation? I’m always looking for new places to try! If you liked what you read, you can hit the follow button at the top of the page (for my fellow wordpress friends) or you can click follow by email on the right side of the web page to receive my posts weekly via email! Have a great weekend and check back on Tuesday to read about my first kayaking experience along the Charles River!