April 21, 2010

Coppa - 4 Turkeys

Coppa was my 2nd stop on my food travels in Beantown.  Elyse and I stuffed ourselves silly at lunch but still had room to head to dinner that night in the South End in Boston.  After perusing a local boutique we stumbled upon (and Elyse buying half the store...haha) we made it to Coppa.  At 7 PM it was already overflowing with the after work crowd at the bar and we were at an hour wait.  After yelling over a couple's conversation to the bartender to order we moved over closer to the door.  The hostess saw us and asked if we want to go ahead and sit down at the counter at the window...Score!  As we are glancing over the extensive menu of small plates and pizzas I look at the drink list again to see what the heck is in my drink (it tastes like straight up bourbon).  I notice that the drink that I thought said "Macaroni" actually was listed as Marconi.  Not that it would have clued me into what was in the drink but I got it because I was starving and I thought a drink called Macaroni (one of my favorite meals ever...as you will see in upcoming posts) would satisfy that need. ha. While I really enjoy Bourbon drinks I am old enough to know it's a bad idea to drink on an empty stomach.  Meanwhile, Elyse was enjoying a fizzy concoction.  

Our initial plan was appetizers at Coppa then on to Franklin Cafe or another nearby locale but with all the yummy options at Coppa we knew we were hooked for the night with the selections here.  We chose the marinated cauliflower which was a melange of purple, white, orange florets. Elyse was disappointed because she thought they'd be hot...while I had no expectations.  Was I impressed? No but then again it's cauliflower. I don't know if I've ever been impressed.  On to the next few plates.  The cauliflower was followed by Arancini...very standard filled with risotto and fontina served with some sauce.  It was delicious.  The risotto was creamy and cheesy.  

The final couple plates were the Salted Cod Crostini which at first surprised me because I was expecting a couple pieces of cod on top of the crostini. Instead it resembled mashed potatoes but upon tasting it tasted really good and really salty.  For the weak hearted or if you are prone to high cholesterol steer clear.  This is salty...just as the name implies.  Just be prepared for the texture.  The pasta dish was amazing - it was stuffed with celery root with a parmesan sauce with a hint of apple.  Again, the perfect combo of salt and sweet except this time it had plenty of sauce (really the exact right amount).  There were toasted almonds on top as well which just complimented the celery root with crunchiness.  It was a special that night but if you are lucky to hear it on the special list again...Jump on it!  The waitress did a great job with this recommendation.   

The drink list was extensive but many ingredients we were clueless on so we decided to go with another of the waitress' recommendation...Aperol Spritz.  She described it as being similar to Campari.  It got better as we drank it...unsure if it was due to the increase alcohol levels or the taste itself.  I'd recommend not getting it though unless you are a fan of Campari.  

Elyse astutely pointed out to our waitress that we were charged $9 for the cocktails but they were listed on their blackboard as $8.  Not that a $1 is going to make or break our check for the evening but nonetheless it needed to be pointed out.  Anyway, I thought the blackboard was worthy of a picture so I started snapping.  The manager must have seen me because shortly afterwards we received a visit from the manager along with a refund for the difference.  Oh well - our waitress got a few extra bucks for the tip. It was a nice gesture.  

They don't take reservations so go early.  The bar area isn't very spacious so if you don't snag a seat you'll be dancing around the wait staff.  The food is worth the wait and in good weather there are some good patio seats.  

Score: 40 points
Ambiance (4), Tastiness of Dishes (7), Menu (5), Drink Selection (4), Cost (8), Accessibility (3), Service (5), Location (4)

Coppa on Urbanspoon

Sportello's - 3.5 Turkeys

We made it to Boston and I am well into my food journey thru the city.  I started off with an old favorite in the Fort Point area - Barbara Lynch's Sportello. First, how can you go wrong eating at a Barbara Lynch restaurant?  She's an icon in the Boston restaurant scene and her new cookbook, Stir, has inspired me to attempt making my own homemade pasta.  I'm still researching it :)

Anyway, on to the yummy first review...Sportello is set up perfectly to cater to the lunch crowd.  With the white gleaming countertops and bar stools patrons can get an up close view of their food being prepared.  My friend, Elyse, and I came here a little over a year ago to celebrate my engagement (when our waitress heard the news they gave us complimentary champagne).  We sat down and immediately received some scallion bread accompanied by some rhubarb ricotta spread with a little olive oil.  As we munched on the bread we chose the tagliatelle bolognese and the squash cappellacci.

The tagliatelle was not up to par with what I remember from my first visit.  The pasta was clumped together and the sauce was much blander than I recall and was overrun with meat.  It tasted good but didn't live up to what I know Barbara Lynch's restaurants can offer.

The cappellacci combined sweet and salty very nicely. It was stuffed with squash, topped with brown butter, sage and marcona almonds.  A few dates were thrown in which added the right amount of sweetness, however, we both agreed there could be more dates and a bit more sauce.  Who doesn't love a little extra sauce to mop up with the bread?

Overall, the atmosphere is great. I'd like to give it a try for dinner and then hit up her new bar, Drink, where they mix up speciality drinks based on the customers likes and dislikes.  I have to try this place again...I'm not sure if we were just on some incredible high the first time (well me for sure) but this one didn't live up to the amazing lunch we held in our minds.  The polenta for one was a high light last time but they cut down the options to just one on this season's menu (note: our waiter did say the could make up the mushroom polenta if we wanted).

Score: 35 points
Ambiance (4), Tastiness of Dishes (6), Menu (3), Drink Selection (4), Cost (6), Accessibility (3), Service (5), Location (4)

Sportello on Urbanspoon

April 12, 2010

5 Guys Burgers and Fries - 2.5 Turkeys

Since we moved here two years ago I've heard nothing but praises for Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  I unfortunately never make it to Clifton so when a new location popped up in right down the street at Rookwood Commons we jumped at the chance to finally have the famous burgers.

First of all, I had no idea this was a national chain so right off the bat it took it down a notch for me.  It was a typical diner set up with checkered tiles, however, I haven't been to many with sacks of potatoes stacked around you.  I liked that they really emphasized where their potatoes came from that day.

I had heard they oversize things so I got a Little Bacon Cheeseburger and I shared a small fry with my husband.  The burger had cheese oozing from under the bun which was pure eye candy to me.  The Little Burger is a misnomer because this thing was the size of a double quarter pounder at McDs (well maybe almost that big).  I asked what beers they had...answer was "none".  Strike 2.

Now for the first bite - the one we have been waiting two years to take.  It was, in one word, disappointing.  Not that it was bad but it just wasn't delicious.  I've had countless amazing burgers as I'm sure anyone who has visited Terry's can claim and this just wasn't one of them.  I know this is a "fast" burger joint but nonetheless I would prefer to go thru the drive-thru or wait the hour for Terry's than go back.  The burger was a bit overcooked to the point it was crumbly.

As for the fries - I had heard how they give you an excess so we opted for the small fry.  We finished the fries that were in the cup but when we looked in the bag this is what we found.

This is another entire small (or even medium) fry.  I couldn't believe how many fries we ended up wasting.  I know people like to get their money's worth but really?  If I wanted this many fries than I would have ordered them.

Overall, it's not terrible but I wouldn't shout it's praises from the mountain tops. It's convenient if you are shopping all day in Rookwood followed by dessert at Yagout.

Score: 28 points
Ambiance (2), Tastiness of Dishes (4), Menu (3), Drink Selection (2), Cost (6), Accessibility (4), Service (3), Location (4)

April 11, 2010

Who likes Music & Food???

I was checking recent posts of a fellow local blogger and thought some of you might enjoy this event.  Here's the link to her blog... Four Seasons: Music & Food Event.

I unfortunately won't be able to attend because we'll be heading to Boston this weekend to cheer our close friend, Paul, on as he takes on the grueling Marathon course for a 2nd time, however, this time as a qualifier!  We are so proud of him and can't wait to cheer him on.  Be sure to check in early next week for not only his results but I'll be sure to post reviews on all of our fun food adventures in Bean town.  I can't wait!  This is the city where I fell in love with food.

April 6, 2010

Via Vite - 4 Turkeys

I recently went here with my husband on what was likely my 10th visit.  I love the location of this restaurant...right in the heart of the city at Fountain Square.  The restaurant has clean, sleek lines but without being overly modern.  There is always a great weekday lunch crowd here taking advantage of their  lunch combo specials.  When you walk in during the week you feel the "power lunch" vibe immediately.

 I personally favor the Boucheron goat cheese salad with figs followed by the penne bolognese.  This time I was offered the option of adding a meatball to the dish - the waiter said it's how the dish is served at Nicola's (Via Vite's sister restaurant).  I was very disappointed by the quality of the meatball. It was overly dry and bland.  It added nothing to my dish and I will be sure to steer clear of it the next time.  However, the salad was as satisfying as ever.  I only like two salads - the Harvest at Dewey's and the Goat cheese salad here.  It's baked and topped with a spring mix.  It is absolutely delicious.

My husband's dish, Linguine with clams, was mediocre.  The pasta was swimming in a pool of oil which overshadowed the overall flavor of the dish.  The clams were tender and cooked well - definitely the highlight of the dish.  This was an unusual experience at Via Vite - usually I love everything.   I will be back based on my previous experiences - but if it was on this one then I'd have to think again.

Piece of Advice - if you go and the special is the lasagna GET IT!  It's delicious and comes with a very generous topping of creamy b├ęchamel.

Score: 41 points
Ambiance (4), Tastiness of Dishes (6), Menu (5), Drink Selection (4), Cost (8), Accessibility (4), Service (5), Location (5)

Via Vite on Urbanspoon

April 5, 2010

BD's Happy Hour - 3.5 Turkeys

If you haven't made it to BD's Mongolian Grill in Mason for a Happy Hour you are doing your bank account a serious disservice.  You can get drafts from $1 for domestics to $2 for imports.  This is every weekday until 11 PM!  That's what I call a Happy Hour!

This particular Friday evening my girlfriend and I met up for this budget friendly happy hour and some apps before a movie.  It was one of the first nice nights after Daylight Savings and I jumped at the chance to sit on their patio.  We shared the Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Dumplings.  The Lettuce Wraps we salty and crunchy.  We found ourselves in need of more lettuce which I take to be a good sign.  The dumplings were pan friend perfectly and although I prefer the ones from Wild Ginger (mainly for their dipping sauce) these hit the spot.  I'm not a huge fan of the food at BDs but these appetizers were surprisingly yummy.

Located right next to the Deerfield Towne Center in Mason it's perfectly situated for a night out in suburbia.

Score: 36 points
Ambiance (3), Tastiness of Dishes (6), Menu (2), Drink Selection (4), Cost (9), Accessibility (4), Service (4), Location (4)

BD's Mongolian Grill on Urbanspoon