Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Winter Bites 2016

This winter was a mild one but there were a couple of days in between that were cold enough to justify some super comforting dishes. Here's a look back at some of our favorite winter bites: 

Camion Au Pied de Cochon: What better way to kick off the New Year than with poutine! We came across the mobile version of 
Au Pied de Cochon, a Montreal establishment well-known for very indulgent meals. After a stroll around the outdoors Le Grand Marche de Noel market, a warm cup of fries with gravy and cheese curds hit the spot. But it wasn't your typical poutine as this one was spiked with foie gras. Talk about gluttony. Each heart clogging bite was totally worth it. 

Michigan Plus: I spent a good part of my childhood in the North Country but for some reason always avoided michigan dogs. It wasn't until recently that I appreciated the uniqueness of this regional New York chili dog. If it isn't a pit stop at our favorite border poutine joint, it's a stop in Plattsburgh to fuel up on gas and a michigan with a neon red Glazier dog. For a twist, there's even a garbage plate version which we've also tried, for science of course. 

CNY Salt and Pepper Plate: Call it Chinese New Year, Tet, or Lunar Year, it's a great reason to celebrate and feast amongst good company. We shared a wonderful, adventurous meal at Hong Kong Bakery with FUSSYlittleBLOG, Albany Jane, Jon in Albany, and Ms. Garlic . There was abalone, ginger and garlic lobster, and even pigs feet but the highlight of seven course meal was the salt and pepper combo platter. It was a crispy mix of fried squid, little bite-sized fish, and tofu that even my normally anti-tofu husband loved for its flavor and texture. My favorite bites were the salt and pepper pork ribs and accompanying jellyfish! 

Garden Bistro Mussels: Mondays just got better thanks to Mussel Mondays at Garden Bistro 24. At $13.50, the mussel entrees are a steal. A hefty amount of fresh shellfish is served with equally generous portion of frites to sop up a flavorful signature sauce of your choice. I had a chorizo and kale special but J's lemon basil butter had be stealing more than a few bites. 

The Saphouse Pancakes: Major hat tip to Deanna Fox for featuring The Saphouse at Stone House Farm on All Over Albany. As if we didn't love venturing out to Sharon Springs and Cooperstown enough, an all-you-can eat maple breakfast (pancakes or waffles) is the only thing that'll get me up early on the weekends. Get ready for a sugar high because at $6 per person, it's easy to load up on maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple butter to your heart's content. My only complaint is that the maple milk doesn't come in a gallon size because it's that addicting! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Boston Eats

A recent girl's trip to Boston pretty much turned into a delicious tour of Boston. Here are some hightlights from Beantown:

Gene's Chinese Flatbread: You wouldn't know it by its name, but whoever Gene is he makes a mean Xi'an-style handpulled noodle. Sure there is a pulled pork flatbread, but everyone comes for a bowl of the fresh, chewy noodles. The classic #4 cold dish is served with a glob of garlic enough to scare Dracula away for hours but it's the noodles that are the star. It's a sought-after item for its texture and for good reason. The salt level was a bit overwhelming but the freshness of the noodles made up for it. Another great bite was the $1 skewer of tender, well-seasoned cumin lamb. Next time, the cumin lamb noodles are on my list. 

Egg Waffle: The wonders of Yelp led me to one of the most satisfying $3 snacks in the depths of a Chinatown strip mall. As I walked past a storefront of caged, lived chickens and towards the back of a cramped sushi stand, I was greeted by the wonderful aromas of fresh waffles made by the skillfull hands of a little old lady. She bakes these wonderful made-to-order Chinese-style egg waffles that are sweet spheres of cakey goodness. A warm bag of these nubbins is the perfect hand-held snack to explore Boston's Chinatown.

L Street Diner: For a true taste of Bahs-ton, we stopped for a full Irish fare at the L Street Diner in Southie. It was my first taste for this type of blood pudding and it did not disappoint. I was expecting a metallic taste but it was just a delicious savory sausage. The meat-tastic plate also came with imported Irish sausage and bacon aka ham, regular breakfast sausage, seasoned home fries, and grilled tomatoes. It was a hearty breakfast enough to fuel us for the rest of the day. 

Boston Public Market: It was love at first sight stepping into this year-round-market. The combination of farmers market stands and local purveyors reminds me a lot of Montreal's Marche Jean Talon and New York's Chelsea Market. There's over 39 vendors ranging from cheese and smoked meat to ice cream and wine and the food court choices are all tempting.

With such a large breakfast, I only had room for a couple light snacks but man were they the best snacks of my life. This orange cardamom poppyseed doughnut from Union Square Donuts was hands-down the best doughnut I've had in awhile. Yeast doughnuts are my favorite and the texture was unbelievably light and fluffy yet chewy. Can we also talk about the flavor combination? So unique and amazing! 
Some bites just take your breath away. I also couldn't resist fresh, local sea urchin from Red's Best seafood stand. Uni is a splurge whenever we get sushi and to have a bite this fresh was life changing. Definitely a bucket item checked off my list to eat sea urchin straight from its shell. I also couldn't say no to couple of freshly shucked oysters. Boston's seafood game is on point.
Flour Bakery + Cafe: Hat tip to Jon in Albany for pointing me to Joanne Chang's pastry mecca. We ended our Girl's Trip on a delicious note gorging on the famous sticky bun that beat Bobby Flay in a throwdown, more doughnuts, and a homemade pop tart. The quality of these pastries is top notch but so is their savory side. I really enjoyed a slice of stuffed bread filled with lemon chicken, sun-dried tomato, red watercress, sambal, and provolone. It was pretty much an elevated version of garbage bread that tasted so good. Flour Bakery is at the top of my favorite Boston eats. There was so much to do and eat and so little time. I'm definitely looking forward to returning to Beantown and exploring the food scene.