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24 Apr Cooking Matters Dinner @ Tremont 647

Last night, Sam and I got to attend a charity dinner at Tremont 647 thanks to a head’s-up call from Sarah.   647’s Chef Andy Husbands set up a 5+ course dinner with dishes from acclaimed Boston-area chefs, which meant a wide variety of high quality items.

Starting off, the cocktails were rye- and rum-based.  I actually preferred the rum one; mostly because it had Velvet Felarnum in it.  Whatever that is.  While we enjoyed those, we were passed chips with tuna tartare & a mix of Asian sauces on top, which was downright Pavlovian for me.  The buffalo chicken oysters and sunchoke soup (cool name) never made it to us thanks to a cluster-eff where hungry old people ravaged anything thing that passed by.  The next phase was Husbands’ mini pulled pork sandwich, topped with Lexington slaw, which is coincidentally a sweet new nickname I’ve given myself.   I thought the slider could only be improved by a brioche bun, because what isn’t?

At this point, we were onto the sit-down dinner phase, and we were (thankfully) seated at the end of the bar away from most of the action (read: rich old weird hobnobbers).  Our man, Rafa, behind the bar, snuck us a shot of Fernet, so we knew we were in good company.  The salad was by Chef Karen Akunowizc of Myers + Chang, and mixed tart with sweet in an uncommonly good way.  It made ranch dressing seem permanently irrelevant.  After that, a pasta dish featuring oxtail & rhubarb rolled by and set up the fish course.  One option was a crispy Loup de Mer, aka sea bass, surrounded by jumbo peas and the other was Ming Tsai’s red curry salmon wrapped in a banana leaf, which passed Sam’s stringent Sri Lankan test.   From surf to turf we went to a roasted strip loin, and my personal favorite of the night, the Persian-spiced rabbit.  Each bite was like a $10,000 Plinko drop.

Finishing the meal off was the incredibly  smooth roasted white chocolate w/ braised rhubarb & spiced jam and a trio of ridiculously good mini cupcakes from Kickass Cupcakes – the founder of which we got to talk to afterwards.  Talk about a nice lady – wow.  Makes regular cupcakes seem like nothing but child’s play.

For a donation to Cooking Matters Massachusetts, we were able to enjoy an all-star lineup of food, the point of which perhaps was to make us realize how well some of us eat in this country while others go hungry. It definitely proved its point.

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02 Aug Best All-You-Can-Eat Restaurants of Budapest

Goulash Palace
For Hungary’s most famous dish, and tons of it, go no further than Goulash Palace. For just $10, you get a massive ladle and a spot on a bench in front of a 100-foot-long trough filled with piping hot goulash. There’s no time limit, but don’t just nibble either. The average wait time for dinner is two hours.
International House of Kürtőskalács
Chimney Cake is perhaps Transylvania’s most iconic contribution to cuisine, and if you want the real deal, stop by IHOK near downtown. These foot-tall desserts are cooked over an open fire, and the record for most eaten is 227 feet worth by a Russian man, Jonah Zangief, in 1997.
Bob’s All-You-Can-Eat Pickled Cabbage
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian who loves to pig out, check out Bob’s. Each day, over 20,000 pounds of cabbage is pickled in their kitchen and each pound that you order comes with a pinch of salt to really kick the vinegar up a notch.
Ló Kolbász On The Square
Horse sausage, when made from the right horses, is one of the world’s finest delicacies. This particular eatery features thoroughbreds from racetracks all over Hungary, so each bite sprints past your tastebuds and doesn’t slow down till the Finish Line (Befejezés Vonal), which is a nickname for the bathroom.
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31 Jul Old Fort Pub – Hilton Head, SC

Official Rating: 92

Immediately upon arriving, you should realize this isn’t a pub. It’s clearly out of that league.

Old Fort Pub is a magnificent gourmet restaurant with one of the finest settings on the intracoastal waterway.

Inside is a country club atmosphere and the gentle service you’d expect with it. And, if you can take your eyes off the sunset, you’ll see that the menu is full of fresh local flavors mixed with contemporary American ideas that’s nearly impossible to do wrong on.

For a charming, relaxing evening, you simply couldn’t ask for a finer experience on the island.

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30 Jul Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte – Hilton Head, SC

Official Rating: 93

Any discussion of gourmet food on Hilton Head simply must include Charlie’s.

The warm, French country home atmosphere breathes life and the menu is essentially an all-star lineup of French cuisine.

You certainly don’t have to be a culinary expert to enjoy the experience, as the rich – and very fresh – food speaks for itself, especially when paired with one of their wines.  The dining room is cozy and charmingly well-lit, and of course, the staff is always highly-informed and gracious.

I’ve been here a half-dozen times or so, and it only gets better with each visit.  And they’re not paying me to say that, although it’d be nice.

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08 Jun Aquitaine – Boston, MA

[note color=”#FFFFE8″] Official Rating: 78 [/note]

I had a whole day of drinkin moonshine on the levee planned, so I started it off by going to Aquitaine for brunch.  I’d heard about their bloody marys from a homeless guy on Tremont, so I had to stop in.

Went in there full boar and rocked a croque madame while the busser told me umpteen times to go visit Spain.  Clearly, the magic of Jabberjaw had done a number on this man’s psyche.

After the guy at the table next to me ripped a herculean belch, I downed my last sip of bloody and bolted for the levee.  Truly a fine day.

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05 May Captain Curt’s – Siesta Key, FL

[note color=”#FFFFE8″] Official Rating: 68 [/note]

This bar pretty much has it all as far as good time vibes.

Sports atmosphere (giant TVs and team banners on the walls), karaoke (for young and old alike), a decent amount of beers, and just about anything you’d ever want fried.  I’m sure if you ask, they’ll even fry your beer.

Heckuva bar/wait staff to boot.

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28 Dec Christmas Weekend

Well, it was a fine Christmas weekend at home again this year. The first night, we hit up the bar at 310 Park South for some grub and drinks. The next day was spent mostly at Epcot. We rode Mission: Space and the GM Test Track before lunch @ Nine Dragons. Wandered around, watched China’s 360° movie, then went to the Christmas procession, which was narrated by Edward James Olmos “Famous”. Kept going and made it to France where we checked out their 360° movie, too, then went to Britain. They had a Beatles cover band, so that was pretty funny. Ate at Canada’s Le Cellier (aka Le Basemént) until it was time for fireworks. Pretty fun, I have to say.

For the rest of the weekend, we watched football, swam, and ate an epicurean feast, not unlike the Christmas Weekend Menu @ Home 2005. Ah, who could ask for anything more? Toyota.

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21 Dec Sweet Attack

Last night, we went to Street Attack‘s holiday party at the Other Side Cafe. We were looking forward to the whole thing, but the Guitar Hero competition really had our blood up. Mini Mickey’s were a-flowin’ and after Totally Travis did his thing, the competition was on. Funny thing is, we were the only two people the contest.

So, after a heated 2-out-of-3 battle of head-to-head action, I was soundly defeated on “More Than a Feeling”. For the prizes, though, we got a sweet Crumpler backpack and a $50 gift certificate to Hootenanny. All for basically just showing up and intimidating any would-be challengers. Completely solid night.

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30 Nov Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

[note color=”#FFFFE8″] Official rating: 91 + 2 major service points = 93[/note]

It’s always good when you have four waiters assigned to you, and they’re not just trainees. Since we showed up for Saturday lunch around opening time, this was the case. We’ve been to Emeril’s at Universal a few times before, and it was still a surprise.

To start off, we got the calamari and andouille sausage apps, and while the ‘douille was amazing, the calamari is still the best around. For our entrees, we got the mahi mahi, bbq-sauced salmon, duck confit pizza, and grilled pork chop, which was roughly 5″ thick. I have to say, they were all really good, and we still somehow managed to leave room for two desserts.

One was the white chocolate bread pudding and the other was the (in)famous chocolate souffle, and combined, they nearly killed me. As I struggled in and out of consciousness between bites, the overwhelming deliciousness coarsed through my veins, turning my brain to sponge, and my heart to concrete. But I survived, and… would I do it all over again? (Oh yeah.)

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